The 1964 Cisco Grove Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
December 31, 2018
Last Updated
September 5, 2020
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

The apparent UFO occupant encounter in Cisco Grove, California is a case that has endured over the decades despite its outlandish nature. As one writer would state in 2015, perhaps the reason is “it is completely absurd, and yet there are good reasons to suspect it happened”. Aside from the bizarre details on offer, one of the main reasons of suspicion from skeptics is the fact the incident has only one witness. However, as we will examine, the witness in question only recently allowed the use of his real name with the account. This, due to his fear of losing his job as a “rocket propulsion” engineer. And while the story was told in its basic form with pseudonyms, Donald Shrum (the witness) turned down considerable amounts of money due to his stance. Hardly the actions of a hoaxer.

Donald Schrum blended into an image of a UFO

Donald Schrum

Whatever did happen that evening in September 1964 in the northern region of California is open to debate. However, it would certainly appear that Shrum is a credible witness. And his account one that should perhaps receive further investigation and comparison alongside other ever-emerging incidents. As we will touch upon later, there are details in Donald Shrum’s encounter that appear in incidents that occurred on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in London, England, almost eighty years previously.

Bow-Hunting For Deer In The California Woodland

On the evening of 4th September 1964, 28-year-old Donald Shrum, along with two friends, Vincent Alvarez and Tim Trueblood, were hunting in the Tahoe National Forest near Cisco Grove, California. All had considerable experience “bow-hunting”. And all were overall general outdoorsmen. On this particular night, after having established a camp, they were hunting for deer. Perhaps due to their comfort in the outdoor environment, with the night fast approaching no less, all agreed they would push deep into the woods in pursuit of their targets and, if they had to, they would spend the night in the woods and rendezvous back at the camp in the morning. Before long, all were separated and venturing after their potential kills.

With daylight losing the battle against the night, Shrum would make the decision to find somewhere to bed down for the night. Or more accurately, bed up. Shrum had with him a military-style belt which allowed him to secure himself in a tree. Given the number of wild animals who might wish to turn the tables on the hunter, Shrum believed this was a preferable option to camping on the ground, alone and ultimately, defenseless.

Shortly after securing himself for the night, however, a strange light appeared in the distance. Of more concern to Shrum, it was “zig-zagging” around the trees at low altitude and heading towards him. Thinking his two friends had arranged a search for him after all he jumped from the tree and quickly released three of his flares to give away his destination. As he was waving his arms and yelling for attention, he began to realize what was heading his way wasn’t a rescue helicopter at all.

Artist's impression of the Cisco Grove incident

Artist’s impression of the Cisco Grove incident

Humanoids And Robotic Creatures

The glowing object finally stopped around fifty yards from his position. It was spherical but unlike anything he had ever seen before. He quickly made his way back up the tree, making sure his bow was at the ready. Fear was now rising at a seemingly unstoppable rate within him. That fear would rise even more when three small humanoid creatures emerged from the craft and began making their way straight towards him. As they came closer, he could see that while two of them were most definitely humanoid, the third was more “robot-like”.

The two humanoids began to shake the tree, obviously in an effort to force him from it. He would cling on with all of his strength. However, when a “white vapor” shot out from the robotic creature’s mouth, he later realized he was knocked unconscious. Only momentarily, however. Aside from an intense feeling of nausea he was unharmed. He began lighting the matches he used for his flares, dropping them towards the menacing trio in an effort to force them away. Although they would back away for a short while, they soon continued their assault.

By this time, Shrum had managed to load an arrow into his bow and let it fly in the robot’s direction. Seconds later, a shower of sparks flew into the air suggesting a direct hit. As quickly as he could, he fired two more arrows in the general vicinity of the creatures’ location causing them to back away. However, before he could take advantage of the situation, a second robot appeared. And once again, a white vapor hit Shrum and caused him to lose consciousness.

A Stand-Off From The Trees!

As before, he must have been out only for a short time as the creatures were still below and it was still very much dark. However, the two humanoids were now attempting to climb the tree. He began to light anything he could and then drop it down so as a to deter them, including pieces of his clothing and his baseball cap. When he could no longer use clothing, he would send branches, pines and anything else he could get his hands on.

While this nocturnal stand-off played out, the strange aerial vehicle suddenly shot upwards and out of sight. The strange creatures below, however, continued, undeterred by these events. And while Shrum could hold them off temporarily, they would ultimately return. Then, at some point during the night hours, another robot appeared from somewhere in the surrounding woodland. It appeared to link up in some way with the other robot. The next thing Shrum knew, a thick, black cloud of smoke was heading in his direction. In the seconds that followed, he blacked once again.

When he awoke this final time, he was alone. There was no sign of the ship having returned but all of the creatures, including the robots were gone. He was barely hanging from the tree by his military-style belt. He could also see that by now, dawn was quickly heading his way. By the time daylight was the stronger influence, he dropped himself from the tree. Dazed, tired, but largely unhurt, he would set out for the prearranged meeting place of the camp site from the previous afternoon. Once there, he would discover both of his friends waiting for him as planned.

Artist's impression of the Cisco Grove incident

Artist’s impression of the Cisco Grove incident

A Partial Corroboratory Account

So, what should we make of such a scenario? There are certainly other accounts on record that speak of “robotic creatures” accompanying more flesh-and-blood aliens. Most receive similar skepticism as this one. The fact that we ourselves use robotic machines for all manner of purposes, though, should halt such one-sided and predetermined skepticism in its tracks. There are also numerous accounts of witnesses being knocked unconscious by strange vapor. Perhaps one particular case that contains both of those elements would be the strange encounters of Spring-Heeled Jack from Victorian England, whose roots stretch into legend and folklore, but which has always been of interest to UFO researchers.

Furthermore, one of his two fellow hunters, Vincent Alvarez, at least in part, could corroborate the incident. From his position, he witnessed the strange glowing craft moving over the trees. It would then take off with great pace into the sky. This would likely have been while Shrum was battling with the strange creatures.

Incidentally, all three of the men would return to the destination later that day after hearing Shrum’s story. They did find several of the arrows he had fired, as well as several pieces of charred clothing. However, the coins he had thrown at them had seemingly been scooped up by these menacing visitors before they left. His two friends would believe his claims, though. In part due to Alvarez’s own sighting of the glowing craft leaving the scene.

A Strange And Intense Military Meeting

However, when Shrum’s mother-in-law, upon hearing of the encounter, told an astronomer friend from the local college, things began to take a gritty turn. The astronomer would immediately contact the nearby McCelland Air Force Base. He would inform them of the account and the location of the witness. Even more bizarre, instead of visiting him at his home to listen to his version of events (even though he had not made a report) they would arrange to meet in an empty house at an “off-base housing development”.

Shrum would agree to the meeting. The two officers present would listen to his account and then “confiscate” several of the arrows. Later claims suggested these had “shavings” of the robot” on them. Then, though, they would insist that what he had just described to them hadn’t happened. Or not in the way he remembered. Furthermore, they would present several “alternative” scenarios, as if giving him the opportunity to pick one for himself. He would eventually agree that he wasn’t certain of what he had seen. If for no other reason than to keep his employers from facing similar questions.

Shrum has stuck to the same story and version of events for over half a century. And surely a hoaxer would have made sure at least one of the other hunters witnessed the events in full. For “authenticity” if nothing else. Perhaps the fact they didn’t is proof enough of such authenticity.

Check out the video below which discusses the incident at length.

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • J. De Francisco says:

    I am a USAF Veteran and will be 76 on January 11th. I was stationed at Beale AFB in the early 60s, not far from where Cisco Grove was abducted. I also had a sighting at Beale and have since had a few Missing Time experiences in my day. I was interviewed on radio,tv,news media. I’m a UFO Researcher now since 1995.

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