The Contra Costa County UFO Landing

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
July 4, 2018
Last Updated
October 11, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
9 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

In the summer of 1977 in West Pittsburg, in the Contra Costa County area of California, three teenage boys would claim to witness a “flying saucer” land. Their account garnered enough interest to eventually earn itself a place in the 2nd April 1978 edition of the Oakland Tribune. And their story wasn’t told with a mocking tone, with all three of the boys still suffering nightmares over the incident.

A depiction of a UFO over the desert at night

A depiction of a UFO over the desert at night

As easy it might have been to dismiss the teenager’s accounts, the police would interview them all separately. All would tell the same story, and all exhibited genuine displays of fear in relation to their encounter. Whatever came to the ground in a purposeful and controlled landing that evening in California, it was unlikely to have been nothing more than the teenager’s imaginations.

The incident is also one that will likely, and unfortunately, offer no further details. However, like many other such sightings and encounters, should it remain in the conscious of the UFO community, it may prove one day to be the missing piece to another account and ultimately be a part of a much larger answer.

“Three Miles In Five Seconds!”

At around 11 pm on 20th May 1977, Lennie Young, George Ferrera, and Patrick Morrison – all 14-years-old – were sitting enjoying the California night sky, [1] mulling over their options on how to spend what remained of the evening. They were in a quiet field in between the Santa Fe Railroad tracks and the Suisun Bay marsh regions. The boys would often come here, particular Lennie.

Suddenly, the teenagers would notice a “group of bright red lights” with a “blue light flitting like a firefly” in between them. The lights remained at exactly the same distance from each other suggesting they were all connected to one structure. The young boys watched the object hover for several moments before it then sped off into the distance. When they made their report later, it was estimated that the object traveled around three miles in only five seconds.

A slight sigh of relief that the strange craft had left them soon turned into a nervous gasp only seconds later, however. The bizarre object was suddenly back overhead. And this time it was descending. The three teenagers looked on from their spot in the lonely field as the strange craft came down to the ground.

On the side of the “round, but flat” object was a row of square lights that the boys believed to be windows. Various lights would blink and flash in no apparent sequence. Aside from the lights and general outline of the craft around 150-feet ahead of them, and the dim light from a liquor store across from the field, all around was swallowed by black. Then, something came of the darkness.

“They Were Not People! They Were Something Else!”

Three humanoid figures came out of the darkness heading directly towards the three teenagers. Lennie would later state, “They were like smoke. They were black and had no faces. I don’t know if they had arms or heads”. He would estimate them to be between five and six feet tall. Recalling how well he knew the field, even claiming to have stayed there “all night” previously, he would state in his report, “I know what people look like walking in the dark. They were not people. They were something else”.

Pat agreed that they walked “weird”. He would also recall how they appeared to wear “long skirts over their heads”. They also walked “as if they were linked together”. George would state they “walked like robots” and that they were “gray objects with a kind of human shape, but no eyes”. Incidentally, it would seem that of all the boys, George would take the incident harder than the others. He still suffered regular nightmares up to a year following the incident.

It was as these strange robot-like creatures were approaching the teenagers that they suddenly found their feet and ran. It appeared, at least from their perspective, that the three humanoids were following them. They eventually lost sight of them, however, and arrived, scared and breathless at Pat’s house.

A depiction of humanoid robots

A depiction of humanoid robots

Destined To Remain Unexplained

It was Pat’s mother who rang the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office. Deputy Sheriff Douglas Pendleton would speak to all three of the boys personally. He immediately ruled out alcohol or drug intake. And as well as being impressed with the similarity between their stories, he further bought into their sincerity when they offered to take lie-detector tests to prove they were telling the truth.

UFO investigator, Richard Haines, would also speak with each of the young boys. He too believed their story was too solid to be a lie. And their fright all too real. Haines would also point to the fact the weather was clear that evening over West Pittsburg, with no ground fog of any kind. Essentially, their sighting was very unlikely to be a mistaken natural aerial phenomenon sighting. Furthermore, the colors and structure of the craft didn’t match any known military or commercial aircraft.

Despite the apparent authenticity of the three teenagers, however, the case would ultimately stall. What’s more, it will most likely remain unexplained barring any matching accounts that might come to light in the future. None of the teenagers experienced missing time and there were no signs of abduction. Hence, hypnotic regression would be of no use and would reveal nothing further. Also, there were no physical signs of a landing at the site the boys witnessed the craft. And, due to the already secluded location, there were no other witnesses to offer another point of view and to add to the timeline of events.

There are, however, similar sightings on record which took place, relatively speaking, around the same time as the West Pittsburg incident. Before we look at one of those sightings, however, check out the short video below. It features a recent UFO sighting over West Pittsburg, California.

The Mojave Desert UFO Incident

Although the incident was not reported until 2005, [2] a sighting of three strange oval-shaped UFOs in California’s Mojave Desert in the summer of 1978, around a year after the Contra Costa County sighting, and is perhaps one of the most detailed on record.

That the incident occurred in the vicinity of two of the state’s air force bases is potentially also of interest and might also explain why so many UFO sightings occur in this part of the United States.

The incident in question occurred at around 5:30 am one August morning in 1978 an unknown Air Force servicemen and two other colleagues were driving through the Mojave Desert on Highway 395 near Phelan on their way to George Air Force Base as part of their work as F4-Phantom Weapons Control Technicians. In front of them, the mountainous terrain of this part of California looked all the more surreal as the sun began to rise over the top of them.

However, as the witness was taking in this serenity, he noticed a bizarre oval shaped vehicle rise from behind the mountains. He noted how it appeared slow, and floated “like a blimp or (a) balloon”. In fact, his first thought was that it was nothing more than a blimp that was made from a particularly reflective material. However, when the object stopped its ascent around two moments later, he was a little more uncertain that it might be a blimp. He realized he very well may be viewing something a little more out of the ordinary.

He alerted the two passengers who witnessed the object. No sooner had they done so, however, when another identical object rose into the air from the same place over the mountains. Once more, after rising in the same manner and pace as the first object, it came to a sudden stop at roughly the same altitude as the first object.

The three witnesses looked on in amazement as a third object, once more identical to the previous two, rose into the air and stopped at the same altitude as the first two.

An Agreement To Remain Quiet

The three bizarre objects remained hovering for around two minutes while the three witnesses kept them in their view. Then, one by one, they began to move again. The first object began to rise slowly at first and then came to a complete stop. It then moved to another point “slightly above the horizon” in around three seconds, stopping dead once more. All the while the witness claimed there was no sign of “acceleration or deceleration”. The remaining two objects then performed the same movement.

They remained where they were once more before they descended again, this time all at the same time, eventually disappearing behind the mountains. All the while, all three of the strange crafts glowed brightly, suggesting to the witness that this illumination came from the objects themselves as opposed to them reflecting the sun.

Before continuing on with their journey all three of the men agreed to not to mention the incident to anyone. This was partly due to the fear of being ridiculed by their colleagues, and partly because they were under orders that should they experience anything that might be a “UFO” they were to report it to their commanding officer only.

Although they would keep the incident to themselves for almost 30 years, the main witness would report the incident to several online reporting sites in the mid-2000s. He was certain that what they witnessed that morning was not “any conventional man-made or natural object”.

Some People “Know A Rare Truth” That Some People Do Not!

He would continue that prior to the sightings he was a “complete non-believer” and a “very scientifically-minded skeptic”. However, following the incident his mindset completely changed, adding that the fact they (UFOs) are real “implicated many in positions of authority who continue to deny this”. He would state that it is his belief that there are people on positions of power and influence in the government that “knows a rare truth that most are not aware of”.

In short, the experience and his genuine belief that the US military and government (or at least aspects of them) knows a lot more than they publicly state left the witness with a certain amount of bitterness and distrust, in general. And it is easy to see why. In an age where we are told to be wary of silly conspiracies (and rightfully so) such refusal to acknowledge and level with people over such matters as UFOs only pushes people toward those who might be looking to take advantage of those looking for answers. Essentially, the world’s governments have created such a problem themselves.

What the objects might have been is perhaps open to debate, although it seems highly unlikely they were balloons. Is it possible they were top-secret military aircraft? Given how they moved with no signs of “acceleration or deceleration” this also appears unlikely.

That, then, leaves us with the real possibility that these objects were genuine extraterrestrial vehicles. Might their appearance near the mountains around the Mojave Desert lend some credence to the claims that alien bases can be found in these and other mountain ranges of California? Or might we consider the closeness of the Pacific Ocean and the idea of underwater alien bases?

Whatever the reason, UFO sightings are a regular occurrence in California, and have been since the start of the Modern UFO era, with many other sightings on record before that.  Whether there is a connection between this sighting in the Mojave Desert and other incidents we have examined here is perhaps open to debate. Although, if there is not a direction connection, that forces us to ask the question of just how many different alien races are visiting our planet? And why do they all appear to concentrate (for the most part) on the same apparent “hotspots”, in this instance, California?

Light Over The California Desert

The following year in June 1979, in the city of Twentynine Palms in southern California, came a similar and equally intriguing encounter. The witness, who wished to remain anonymous, was a member of the US Marines and was stationed at one of the several bases in the region. On this particular night, around 1 am, he was driving through the National Monument Park. He was on a particularly lonely stretch of road and his was the only vehicle on it. This was something not lost on him when his car suddenly stalled and came to a stop. It was around this time the witness felt that his thoughts, although clear, were not entirely his own.

He had, for example, a sudden and intense urge to exit his car and “walk out towards the desert”, which he ultimately did. It wasn’t long before he confused his bearings, however, and he was soon lost. Suddenly, he noticed a strange flashing ahead of him. It seemed to be getting closer and by the time it was directly over him a sudden wave of dizziness forced him to collapse to the desert sand. The last thing he recalled seeing was a row of lights approaching him.

He would awake to find a tall woman standing over him. Long blond hair flowed neatly from her head which also contained two welcoming bright blue eyes. She adorned a one-piece silver outfight, tight to her frame, which came up to her chin in a collar. She was looking at the dazed soldier and then went to help him to his feet. As he stood upright and cleared his head he could see a large silver disc-shaped craft behind the woman.

A mystical image of a UFO on an alien world

A mystical image of a UFO on an alien world

Blond Alien-Women And Robot-Like Humanoids!

As he focused more on the craft he noticed a ramp extending from it towards the ground. Two extremely tall human-looking people – around seven feet – walked down the ramp. They each donned the same shining attire as the woman now stood at his side. They, though, also adorned a “mirror polished helmet” that obscured each of their facial features.

Behind this mystery pair came another humanoid. This one had the movements of a robot and stood at around eight-feet tall. Once this taller “robot-like” figure reached the bottom of the ramp it remained still, as if standing guard. Along with the woman with long, blond hair the witness would go aboard the craft. However, the only lasting memory of the time inside was of standing in a large room full of “military weaponry”. The witness has not undergone any hypnotic regression to recover other memories of the incident and it is highly likely, like the incident from 1977, that very little, if any, further information will be available regarding this most intriguing extraterrestrial encounter.

Incidentally, the detail of a blond “alien” woman with bright blue eyes comes up more often than we might think. And while, perhaps understandably, this kind of outlandish detail is often a warning sign of delusion to many UFO researchers, it is a detail that perhaps is indicative of a specific race of aliens making regular visits to Earth. And, as some UFO researchers suspect, it might be that their DNA will be remarkably similar to, if not exactly, like our own.

Check out the short video below. It features a recent UFO sighting over Twentynine Palms, California.


1 Three boys frightened by strange creatures from landed UFO, UFO Evidence
2 US Air Force personnel witness 3 large oval shaped craft in Mojave desert, UFO Evidence

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.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.


UFO Insight does not take responsibility for the content of the comments below.  We take care of filtering profanity as much as we can.  The opinions and discussion in the comments below are not the views of UFO Insight, they are the views of the individual posting the comment.

Newest comments appear first, oldest at the bottom. Post a new comment!

  • Brenda says:

    Yep look up UFO visits Rio vista also umm makes me wonder about the delta

  • Ron Jump says:

    I had just got off work in a paper mill near west Pittsburg, CA. The night of May 20, 1977 heading towards Concord, CA just began my accent up willow pass and all the sudden it felt like I was in slo-mo with the craft in the depiction hovering up the side of the hill over the top of my car! I carried that night for forty years as I googled to satisfy my curiosity, Bingo!

  • Tony says:

    Lol…yeah sure, smh

  • Shanna says:

    This is great info regarding aliens. I had a close encounter with an orange orb that responded to me and seemed to be intelligent. I’ve also witnessed several ufos close by. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *