Treasures of the Valley » Mike Lawler

UFOs over Crescenta Valley – Part 2

I’m continuing this week with the history of strange sightings in the skies above our community. These stories are taken from the book, “The Tujunga Canyon Contacts” by Ann Druffel and D. Scott Rogo. These stories in Part 2 involve helicopters, both conventional and mysterious.

The book says that in the 1970s, there were several sightings of “phantom helicopters.” They often appeared at the same time as UFOs. They resembled helicopters, but didn’t appear to have rotors and didn’t make typical helicopter noises. They were always black and didn’t have lights. The book surmises they are alien imitations of earth aircraft. As intriguing as this sounds, the book doesn’t cite any specific examples of sightings of these phantom helicopters. They do, however, give two rousing stories of conventional helicopter/UFO interactions.

On a summer evening in 1975 at about 8 p.m., residents of a home overlooking Big Tujunga Canyon heard a helicopter circling over the canyon. The wife and a visiting friend went onto their balcony to check it out. They could see the lights of the circling helicopter and were alarmed to see, about 1,000 feet above the helicopter, a round, brilliantly lit object. The helicopter was obviously watching the object as it circled.

They called the husband out to see this spectacle and the three watched amazed as the bright object began to change its shape from round to diamond, then to a chevron, then to a classic saucer, as it somersaulted in the air. It then began to zig-zag above the helicopter and changed altitude abruptly up and down.

With this, the lone helicopter left but soon two more helicopters flying in formation came in and seemingly tried to follow the object’s movements, but from a distance. In the dark, they saw occasional flashes in the cockpit of one of the choppers as though someone was taking photos. Soon two jets flew over at a higher altitude. Obviously, the object was attracting attention.

At 10:30, bright lights went on higher up in the San Gabriels in the direction of a Nike missile base that had recently been deactivated. At this point the object began to slowly move away followed by the two helicopters until they were out of sight of the people on their balcony.

Another night in February 1977, a police helicopter was above La Crescenta. The two officers aboard saw a bright yellow light pass below them at high speed, heading north. Thinking it was an airplane without proper lights, they followed it to investigate.

As soon as they turned to follow, the light zipped up to the same level as the helicopter and began to slowly circle the police chopper about 300 feet away. Now the two police officers got a good look at the object. The yellow light was at the bottom of the craft, which was a dark upright cylinder about 15 feet high and five feet wide. They could clearly see what appeared to be struts of some sort attached to the cylinder.

After about two minutes of circling the helicopter, the object rose about 500 feet and darted off to the south then vanished. The officers were startled by how rapidly the mysterious object had disappeared. It was nearly a full moon that night and if the object had simply turned off its light they still would have been able to see the object traveling away in the moonlight.

One of the police officers stated afterward, “It didn’t disappear into the distance as if it put on speed. One minute it was plainly visible, the next instant the light and cylinder weren’t there.”

According to the book our area, and in particular Big Tujunga Canyon, is a hotspot for UFO activity including, as I mentioned before, one of the earliest (1953) alien abduction stories.

These are wonderful stories. Whether you think they are true or not true is entirely up to you. But if you like these kinds of stories, hang on to your hats! Next week I’ll delve into the San Gabriel Mountains report files of the Angeles Sasquatch Association.

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