Treasures of the Valley » Mike Lawler

UFOs over Crescenta Valley – Part 1

Many years ago, I wrote about one of the earliest modern alien abduction stories recorded. It took place in 1953 in Big Tujunga Canyon. I got the story from a book on the subject “The Tujunga Canyon Contacts” by Ann Druffel and D. Scott Rogo.
The majority of the book deals with the mysterious encounters with aliens by several local women from 1953 through the ’70s. But it has a wonderful chapter on the many UFO sightings locally, all gleaned from local newspapers, which I’ll recount here.

The earliest of these UFO sightings took place in May 1949. Two Glendale women watched a silver disc cross the afternoon sky at a high rate of speed over downtown Glendale. It seemed to tilt and then suddenly disappeared. Later that month, again in broad daylight in the same area over downtown Glendale, 18 different people all reported a disturbing sight. They all saw a semi-transparent oval-shaped object hovering over the city. It sat motionless in the sky for several minutes, emitting a faint noise like a motor. Then, just like the silver disc observed earlier, it seemed to tilt, and then disappeared.

A year later in March 1950 many La Crescenta residents reported watching a large object slowly transit the morning sky. It was described as a “gondola-shaped object” attached to a light-colored triangular “hull.” That same day in the late afternoon, several Burbank residents watched a “revolving wheel” in the sky above Burbank Airport, a wheel with shiny “spokes.” The wheel flew quickly southwest and disappeared.

In 1952, several people in Eagle Rock watched a bizarre object slowly cross the sky to the north over the San Gabriel Mountains. It was described as a brilliant gold ball streaming a red tail behind it. It was visible for several minutes.
On an overcast day in January 1954, a Glendale woman reportedly watched two brilliant bluish-white objects directly above her spinning around each other. The objects appeared to have sawtooth edges and were hovering for about 15 minutes just below the cloud cover.

In 1955, thousands of people in the Crescenta Valley watched three round silver objects hovering high in the sky. Their positions seemed to constantly shift in relation to each other. They were visible for several hours. High altitude weather balloons were suspected but an investigation showed that none were in the area.
Two sightings were reported in the summer of 1957. Two Glendale men watched through binoculars as a strange object with a body and tail hovered over the Crescenta Valley for five minutes, then suddenly accelerated and disappeared over the San Gabriels. A month later someone in Glendale watched two jets over the CV area being followed by an orb with a dark center.

Ten years passed before another well-publicized sighting was reported, and it was a good one! One evening in 1967, three friends in their 20s watched from the San Fernando Valley as a large disc shaped object flew near them, several hundred feet off the ground. They followed it in their car, chasing it up through the Sunland-Tujunga area and into Big Tujunga Canyon. But while heading up the canyon road, their car broke down. Two of the group decided to follow on foot, while the third had seen enough and chose to walk back.

The pair, a young man and woman, followed the object up into an isolated part of the dark canyon. There the disc halted and hovered near the ground. The pair cautiously approached to within a few hundred feet. Suddenly a ball of fire rose up from a nearby hill and what the two described as an electrical beam shot out from the ball up into the hills. After that shocking event, the saucer continued its way up the canyon. The pair tried to follow but eventually lost it. The next morning, they walked back out of the canyon and reported their experience.

We get some good stories from these past UFO sightings, and next week I’ll continue with some more from the 1970s when we get several “phantom helicopter” encounters.

Mike Lawler is the former
president of the Historical
Society of the Crescenta Valley
and loves local history.
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