The 1960 Red Bluff Incident

First Published: November 10, 2018 Written by Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

One evening around midnight in the summer of 1960, in a usually quiet area of California, two police patrol officers would be witness to an encounter very likely out of this world. Furthermore, several other police officers also witnessed the same incident from different locations. And further still, on the night in question, the nearby US military base the Red Bluff Air Station would confirm the presence of an anomalous object on their radar.

Red Bluff UFO

Strange then, that only hours later the same military base would deny such a confirmation. Nor would they investigate the sighting. In fact, only because of an independent investigation would the military put forth their eventual explanation for the incident. An explanation that, as we shall see, is not only inaccurate but outright factually impossible. With that in mind, then, why did they feel the need to retract themselves from the sighting so quickly? Was it nothing more than official policy? What of the radar operator? Was the confirmation a mistake on his part? Or was the US military involved in covering up the incident as is the accusation of so many other similar sightings?

An Oblong-Object “Surrounded By A Glow!

Just before midnight on the 13th August 1960, California Highway Patrol Officers, Charles Carson and Stanley Scott were cruising along Hoag Road near the town of Corning when a sudden light came crashing out of the night sky. Their immediate reaction was that an airliner was about to crash to the ground. They stopped their patrol vehicle and stepped out of the car so as to be able to locate and alert emergency crews to the crash site.

However, as the scene unfolded before them, it became apparent that it wasn’t a plane crashing to the ground. In fact, whatever it was, it wasn’t about to crash but was under some kind of intelligent control. The object moved in complete silence, descending to around 200 feet from the ground. Then, it suddenly moved in the opposite direction before ascending to a distance of around 500 feet. There, it stopped and hovered silently.

In his police teletype report, Carson would state the object was in front of them and “surrounded by a glow making the round or oblong object visible”. At each end of the craft were “definite red lights”. Every now and then “five white lights” would shine between the two constant red glows. As the two officers watched the object move once more in the air it “performed aerial feats that were actually unbelievable”.

Deputy Clarence Fry at Tehama County Sheriff’s Office would receive the radio report from the two officers. He would contact operators at the Red Bluff US Air Force radar station. To his astonishment, Red Bluff would soon report back that they had indeed got an “unidentified object” on their radar screens.

Red Lights “Sweeping” The Skies And Ground Of California

Meanwhile, officers Carson and Scott maintained their position near their vehicle. According to Carson’s report, the object would approach their patrol car on two occasions. On each occasion “the object turned (and) swept the area with a huge red light”. When Scott would direct the red light from the patrol car towards the object, however, it would move away from them. From their position, they would observe the object sweep this red beam across the skies and to other locations below around six times.

When the strange craft began to move away and towards the east, the two officers jumped back into their cars and followed. However, as they came up to the Vina Plains Fire Station, a second object appeared ahead and approached the first craft. Both of them hovered, sweeping their red beams across the skies and towards the ground. They would bring their vehicle to a stop once more and watch the proceedings.

They would continue to watch until both of these mysterious crafts moved away to the east once more, this time disappearing over the horizon. It was now after 2 am. Upon returning to their base at Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, they would learn that two other officers, as well as the serving night jailer, also witnessed something strange. Their descriptions all matched with what Carson and Scott witnessed out on the lonely California highway.

Red Bluff Corning California

Corning, California

Sudden Military Denial

The following morning, in reality only several hours later, Carson and Scott would drive to Red Bluff Air Station. Their intention was to add their report to that of the military’s. As well as to speak with the radar operator who had confirmed the sighting to Deputy Fry at the Sheriff’s Office. However, when they arrived at the base, the Air Force would now claim they hadn’t seen the object on radar. And there was no military investigation into the sighting. According to them, there was no sighting.

With the military essentially washing their hands of the affair, Carson would take it upon himself to file a report with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in November 1960. It was from this course of action that the sighting remains in the public arena today. In this report, further details of the encounter would emerge. As well as some of the personal reflections of the experience from Carson himself, remember, a trained police officer with experience in taking details in the most pressure-packed situations.

For example, it was Carson’s feeling that there was definite intelligence to, or behind, the object. Whenever he would take the car closer to it, the object “seemed aware of us” and consequently moved away. During the course of the sighting, Carson determined that when they remained motionless and stopped the car, the object would instead come to them. Incidentally, whenever it did approach, they would experience “radio interference”. Lastly, the shape of the object was like that of a football. And the glow most definitely came from inside the object and “was not a reflection of other lights”.

This last point is particularly interesting. Especially when considering the “official” explanation.

Obvious Holes In The Official Explanation

According to the US Air Force, who were forced to respond to NICAP’s investigation, the two police officers witnessed a “refraction of the planet Mars and the bright stars, Aldebaran and Betelgeux”. They would claim “temperature inversions” had caused the “glowing craft” the two officers believed they had seen. They further claimed that a layer of thick smoke from a nearby forest fire contributed to the bizarre conditions. Interestingly, and perhaps tellingly, when NICAP would point out the planet and stars involved would have been below the horizon at the time of the sighting, the Air Force simply changed the star to Capella. This too would have been impossible. Capella would have risen in the skies and not disappeared below the horizon as the objects did.

Needless to say, Officers Carson and Scott rejected these assertions outright. Both of the officers had extensive military backgrounds, with Carson serving in the Air Force, and Scott serving as a paratrooper in the Korean War. Carson would state “both of us are aware of the tricks light play on the eyes during darkness”. Both would take this into account during and after the sighting. Incidentally, when an independent check of the meteorological records was conducted, there was no evidence that “temperature inversion” could have occurred on the night in question.

Perhaps also of interest are the several sightings which occurred in the days following the incident. What was the apparent sudden interest in this otherwise quiet area of California? And whose interest was it?

Sunnyvale Sighting

The Sunnyvale Sighting

Whether there is a connection or not is open to debate, but a similar nighttime sighting in California took place three years later on 26th September 1963. It was around 4:20 am when Sunnyvale Police Officer, Galen Anderson would observe a strange craft while carrying routine night patrols of the streets of Sunnyvale.

A sudden radio call from other officers on patrol would alert him to look for something untoward. He stopped his patrol car and then, seconds later, a huge object moving from “east to west at an elevation angle of 45 degrees” filled his vision. It was moving at around the speed of a “propeller-driven craft”. The craft was made of a gray metallic material which was brightly lit up along the edge. As Anderson continued to watch, the UFO made a sudden turn and disappeared at a much faster pace. The whole incident had lasted around 45 seconds.

Five minutes before Anderson’s sighting, at 4:15 am in the nearby town of Monta Vista came another sighting. Supervisor at the Permanente Cement Company, George Scott, heard one of his workers calling him. When he came over to the excited worker, he moved his focus upwards. That’s when he saw the glowing craft moving upwards into the sky for around 60 seconds. Another police officer, Lt. Haag, also witnessed the same craft only minutes after Anderson.

Were these alien crafts over California? A state that experiences more UFO sightings than many others? Or might they have been the result of secret military technology experiments? Only further study, research, and pressure for disclosure will begin to answer such questions.

Check out the short video below. It looks at some of these apparent connections between the US government and UFO sightings.

About Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for anything interesting, from UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies and unsolved mysteries. He also has a passion for film, music, and the NFL. As well as writing for various websites, he runs and writes for Me Time For The Mind.

Marcus has written a total of 371 articles for UFO Insight. You can contact Marcus via email.

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