Today (and tomorrow, since it happened in the middle of the night) is the anniversary of the Battle of Los Angeles "“ not the Rage Against the Machine album, but the event that may have involved some UFOs and extraterrestrials. Here's a brief synopsis: Just a couple of months after Pearl Harbor, unidentified objects were reported floating over L.A. By 2:25 a.m. on the 25th, air raid sirens were going off and a total blackout of the area was ordered. At 3:16 a.m., U.S. forces started firing at these objects and continued for about an hour. At 7:21 a.m., the blackout was lifted and everything was declared fine. Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox told the press that what had happened was no big deal; that everyone just had "war nerves" and had overreacted. But overreacted to what? To this day, we still don't know. Non-extraterrestrial explanations have included weather balloons, sky lanterns and Japanese fire balloons.
Anyway, to commemorate this historic (if bizarre) occasion, today's Q10 is about people "“ some you'll know and some you won't - who have claimed to experience aliens or UFOs face-to-face.
2. Ronald Reagan. When he was governor of California, Reagan, his pilot and two members of his security detail were flying near Bakersfield when a big light appeared behind the plane. "All of a sudden, to our utter amazement it went straight up into the heavens," Reagan told the Wall Street Journal. "When I got off the plane I told Nancy about it and we read up on the long history of UFOs." The reporter then asked if Reagan believed in UFOs and Ronnie backpedaled, not wanting to seem loopy. "Let's just say that on the subject of UFOs, I'm an agnostic," he replied.
3. George King was drying dishes in his London flat in 1954 when a voice said to him, "Prepare yourself! You are to become the Voice of Interplanetary Parliament." So he did. He gave away all of his possessions and began tape-recording "transmissions" from an advanced spiritual being named Aetherius living on Venus. In 1958 on top of Holdstone Down in North Devon, England, he said he made contact with a being who was Jesus when he was on Earth. Because of this, Holdstone Down is now a place of pilgrimage for members of The Aetherius Society. This just sounds like a good old-fashioned case of Crazy to me, but who knows?
4. Lonnie Zamora is a retired police officer from New Mexico who came across a couple of aliens in 1964. His story is notable because he was regarded as a competent, honest man who was overly strict with law enforcement "“ not the type to make up a wild story.
Zamora heard an explosion and went to investigate, thinking a local dynamite shack had exploded. What he found was a pair of small people in white coveralls, checking out a shiny object on the ground. One of them noticed him and appeared to be surprised. Zamora got out of the car to see what was going on and if he could help when he heard a very loud roar and saw a flame under the object on the ground. The object then rose into the air and left.
5. Betty and Barney Hill were abducted in 1961 and taken aboard an alien spacecraft. Aliens examined each of them separately; after they examined Barney they came to Betty and tried to remove her teeth. She had to explain to them that Barney had dentures and she didn't; the aliens didn't understand aging and the need for fake teeth.
6. James Cooke was telepathically invited to board a color-changing spaceship in 1957. The aliens told Cooke to tell the world that humans would 'upset the balance if they persist in using force instead of harmony'. When Cooke replied 'They won't listen to me,' the apparently comedic aliens said, 'Or anybody else, either.'
8. Herbert Schirmer was a police sergeant in Nebraska when he was abducted by aliens in 1967. He said he saw a blurry white object with blinking red lights that communicated with him mentally to prevent him from drawing his gun. The E.T.s were based in Venus, were friendly and received their energy from our power lines.
9. Travis Walton was doing contract work for the U.S. Forest Service when he encountered an alien in 1975. His crew testified that they saw a bright light from a floating, silver disc strike him. Panicked, the crew drove off thinking the disc was chasing the truck. When they went back for Walton a short time later, he and the disc had both disappeared. After police searched for him for five days, Walton showed back up on his own five days later with tales of alien abduction.
10. Two French school children spotted "four small beings" when they were out herding their family's cows in 1967. When the younger child asked the beings if they wanted to play (she thought they were also children), the beings plunged headfirst into a nearby "sphere" and the sphere flew off. They reported the incident and police discovered a sulphuric odor and yellowed grass where the sphere reportedly was.
12. John Lennon said he was once standing at the window in his apartment at the Dakota when he saw something oval-shaped flying slowly through the air; he claimed it eventually disappeared behind the United Nations Building and hypothesized that it was doing research. He called the police to report what he had seen and they told him that he wasn't the first to call in about it. Since he was interviewing John Lennon, after all, the interviewer asked him if drugs or alcohol had been involved prior to the incident. "No, God's honest truth," Lennon said. "I only do that at weekends or when I see Harry Nilsson."