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L.A. UFOs: Looking Back

I started this piece some months ago, and thought I lost it when I switched computers. (Oh, lovely lap top!) I just found it the other day and so here it is: memories and comments on UFOs and places I’ve lived in California: Hollywood, West L.A./Culver City outskirts, Topanga Canyon, and the Santa Cruz area.)

Recent L.A. UFOs

The past couple of weeks it seems there’s been a little spike of items about California UFO sightings; in the southern part of the state. Here’s one that discusses a UFO sighting from in the Inland Empire. These items about L.A. UFO sightings sparked memories of my experiences with UFOs in California.

There was the ‘Battle of Los Angeles’ UFO in 1942. This took place a few miles from the pink stucco house I grew up in Los Angeles, though twelve years before I was born. (Any internet search will give you lots of information on the 1942 Los Angeles UFO.)

I have always been interested in Fortean topics, including UFOs or ‘flying saucers.’ Even as a child, I took it for granted that these things were very possible, if not a normal part of reality.

My mother saw a UFO in Los Angeles. I’ve written about this before; she was on the porch after dinner, and called us to come look at the spaceship. Everyone laughed and said “Yeah, sure mom” (a reaction I always find interesting) but I came out to take a look. By the time I did, the UFO was gone, but my mom was very excited. She insisted it wasn’t a plane, described its lights and movement -- including its sudden disappearance. The UFO moved very fast; stopped above the apartment building across the street, “sat” there for a few moments, then zoomed off. She didn’t recall a shape so much as a few lights that appeared to give it shape. I remember this incident, but not what she insists I said to her, which was: “Don’t worry mom, they’ll be back, they always come back.”

While I accepted that UFOs existed, I didn’t know much about the topic. I didn’t even go past thinking about it beyond the craft; which is an interesting phenomena in itself. Obviously, if they’re UFOs and not ours, they’re somebody's. Maybe on a particularly thoughtful day I might extend that idea and realize that aliens from beyond were piloting the things, but that was as far as it went. Alien abductions, close encounters, and alternative theories to the ETH were unfamiliar to me back then. It wasn’t until I was in my teens and moved to East Hollywood that I began to explore UFOs a little further. A neighbor loaned me Erich von Däniken’s Gods From Outer Space. This was the first book I read on the subject. I thought it was all very weird, I simply hadn’t heard of anything like this before: ancient astronauts, and all the rest of Von Däniken's theories. But I was fascinated.

I began discussing UFOs with others, including my father, who told me of a UFO sighting his brother and family saw in the California desert. A huge UFO came from nowhere, followed them, flying low right above their car for a few miles before zooming off at incredible speed.

For a while during my teen years I lived in Topanga Canyon with family. I heard a few stories of UFO sightings, nothing too exciting. Nothing about aliens, but stories of craft. Actually, I remember hearing more about “Bigfoot families,” living in the canyons in the area. (The Bigfoot stories came complete with warnings to not go wandering around alone, especially at night. All the ingredients of a good Urban Legend. Which doesn’t mean there couldn’t be “Bigfoot families” living in Topanga Canyon. While I am of the opinion Bigfoot exists, as readers know, including so called “paranormal” Bigfoot and a UFO connection, the stories I heard back then seemed like put ons. I never got the impression the people telling me these stories really believed them, or had any direct experience, which was unlike the UFO stories I heard.)

And yet, even though I hadn’t seen a UFO in California, (that I consciously recall) I have had some nebulous and related experiences, beginning in childhood. When I was little up until I was eleven or so I had a continuing experience of encounters. These involved a specific little ritual: I had to be on my back, stare at the warm gold-yellow light under the bedroom door, and wait for “them” to come and float me out the bedroom door, the hall door, the front door, and out into the huge pine tree on the corner. After that, I don’t remember what happened. I do remember dreams, (I still have them) of weird saucer shaped ships in the sky, and me sitting in that tree, the stars so close to me I felt I could reach out and touch them. I don’t know what these beings looked like, except that they were small, and there were about five of them. They seemed benevolent. These excursions were as literal and real as my walking to school or eating breakfast or anything else; they were not dreams. It wasn’t until I was older than I realized how most people would consider such a thing; that it was fantasy, or misremembered fuzzy memories of a weird kid, so I kept it to myself for a long time.

Missing Time in West Hollywood

My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I had a strange experience in Los Angeles. We were walking home from the local tavern and pool hall where we went a few times a week. Usually the walk would take no more than an hour (depending on intensity of conversation and how many times we stopped to make out) but on this one night, it took us a few hours! When we walked into the apartment, we were startled to see it was so late, and we couldn’t account for the time -- the “missing time” -- at all. We commented to each other how weird it was but we also went straight to bed. We slept great, and woke up feeling very alert and energized. We were shocked to find out it was four in the afternoon! No UFO is connected with this incident, except that, for some reason, I began to have very intense dreams of UFOs, including what I call the “Geisha Woman” dream after that night.

The Geisha Woman and The Floating Dome

In this dream I’m in a floating, domed space ship. The dome is transparent, I can see the stars. I’m very frightened, sitting across from an unusually tall, slender woman who barely seems human. Her face and hands are chalk white, she has huge deep black eyes, and black hair styled in a sort of “Geisha” style. We’re sitting cross legged from each other, and she is very calmly and coldly explaining to me why I can’t leave, and why I can’t go to see my husband, who’s off somewhere in this ship. I am really pissed off, but more scared than anything.

At the time of this dream, I had heard, like most people in U.S. culture with a passing interest in UFOs, about Barney and Betty Hill, but I didn’t know any details. Other than that, I still wasn’t familiar with the UFO literature or community.

Santa Cruz Meditation

Another odd UFO related memory happened both in the Santa Cruz, California area and Oregon. I was with family, at night, by a river. It was a beautiful night. Nothing strange happened at all, just a nice memory. Years later I painted a landscape of the spot. I was in my bedroom in Oregon, meditating, and for some reason, my mind went to back to that time, to the river with my family. And abruptly the memory shifted; in the memory, I’m looking up at the starry sky, and a star beings to move. In my head I think to myself “that’s weird, I don’t remember that” and then I hear a voice say “This is what happened, you know it did . . . look closer” but I didn’t want to, and snapped out of it.

I wonder if more of us than we think have these kinds of memories, that if we did a little searching, we might find these buried not too deep at all within us. And if this is true, that we encounter the strange far more often than is acceptable in our society and technological world, why do are so quick at hiding these memories? We are so adept at surprising that we do it unconsciously, where, in the unconscious, they continue to live. Like leviathans, they slowly breathe and shift, submerged in our memories, occasionally entering our dreams or unexpectedly, and most innocently, intruding on our secure realities.

If these memories are of something concrete, like physical extraterrestrials from another planet, some mechanism within us causes many of us to shove these encounters away from our consciousness. (And if it is some sort of mechanism, who put it here? Is it something genetic, something put there by “them,” -- if so, why, especially if they bothered with us in the first place -- is it a defense/survival tactic?)

If these memories are of something not quite concrete, and not from another planet -- from out there -- but here on earth, some ‘Daimonic Reality,’ (see Patrick Harpur) we still are suppressing them, and the question still remains: why?

Or maybe it’s a combination of both, which I often think is the case.

Many a UFO witness who’s encountered beings and ‘abductions’ recall their experiences literally and consciously. That hasn’t been my experience, which makes it frustrating for all of us. It’s murky data, it isn’t anything concrete, it’s anecdotal, and it hovers at the edges of mysticism and spirituality, which makes some UFO investigators roll their eyes in exasperation. Sometimes it makes me roll my eyes in exasperation.

But I’m not pessimistic about any of this, quite the contrary. It’s messier and complicates things, but the UFO phenomeana is already complicated. (and attempts to uncomplicated it are a waste of time and a distraction.) It only shows how there are many aspects to the phenomeana that need a multi- perspectives approach to studying the thing.

We need the Stanton Friedmans and Richard Dolans, and we need the Jacques Vallees and Patrick Harpurs. We need the observers and commentators, like the Colin Bennetts and Alfred Lehmbergs, and we need the personal like Jeremy Valiens. We need the folk. We need the archivists like Wendy Conners. We need bloggers who share their experiences and dig through UFO history to share it with the rest of us. We need to hear from all of you who’ve experienced UFOs in some way, or who have an active and genuine interest. (Note: the indulgence of chronic skeptics will not be allowed.)

Whoever you are; researcher, witness, etc. share your story. We need it all, and the more unique perspectives, the better.

Suggested Reading:

Preston Dennett:

  • Topanga Canyon Sightings,
  • UFOs Over L.A.
  • Patrick Harupur: Daimonic Reality

    Jacques Vallee: Passport to Magonia

    Bruce Rux: Hollywood vs. the Aliens

  • Erich von Däniken: Gods From Outer Space

  • Contact R.Lee

    Trickster's Realm Archive

    R.Lee's Blog : The Orange Orb

    Women in UFO & Paranormal Studies