The 1952 Californian UFO Wave

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 24, 2018
Last Updated
November 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Waves

Throughout 1952 the state of California would experience one of the busiest years in terms of UFO and alien activity. Reports of silver discs flying through the blue skies in broad daylight. Strange glowing spheres traveling with unknown pace yet without a sound. And several encounters with strange humanoid entities. The claims of bizarre goings-on in The Golden State were as varied as they were regular.

A superimposed UFO over a typical 1950s California street

A superimposed UFO over a typical 1950s California street

What’s more, many of the sightings would involve “working professionals” such as scientists, police officers, or other, rightly or wrongly, perceived trusted and reliable members of the state. This would mean many of the sightings are not simply dismissed as easily as they might be otherwise. While we are going to look at a mere handful of those sightings and encounters here, 1952 may prove to be a quietly important year in UFO history.

The Oakdale Alien Incident

One evening in early-January 1952 in the city of Oakdale a family were driving home to their farm. [1] On their journey, they would witness a “bright white light” hovering over the road ahead. As it is was some way off in the distance, the family wouldn’t pay the light much attention upon arriving home. They would carry on with their evening before retiring to bed. However, later in the night, the entire family were woken and dragged from sleep by an intensely bright light that surrounded the entire house.

Then, the family’s dogs suddenly became very quiet. As they peered out of the ground floor window, the family could see a “little man-like figure” approaching their property. It came right up to the glass and knocked several times on the window. The father of the family stepped a little closer. He could see the figure had a helmet with a visor on. However, he could clearly see strange “large black eyes” behind the face-shield. Even more disturbing, he would later state his belief that the eyes were merely a cover for the “actual eyes” that he could see blinking strangely behind these apparent lenses.

In a similar vein, the creature’s skin appeared to be a flesh-like uniform of sorts. This is a particularly interesting detail as many other accounts, some of them decades later, would state a similar assumption. By this stage, the rest of the family had ventured into another room, now quite frightened. The creature turned away from the window and returned into the light, which itself died down suddenly and vanished.

The Sighting Of “Dr. W.” And “Dr. Y.”

Several months later, on 25th April in San Jose, two scientists were driving to their place of employment (a private unnamed company) when they witnessed a strange object traveling through sunlit skies overhead. The time was a little after 11 am when biochemist “Dr. W.” and bacteriologist, “Dr. Y.” were driving along the road. [2] They continued to follow the strange aerial anomaly until they arrived at their company car park. There, they would exit their vehicle and take a closer look.

Over the road from their location, directly over the building that resided there, was a “small metallic-looking silver disc”. It was at a tilt of approximately 20 degrees and was rotating. One of the witnesses would later describe it as “like the motion of a disc in a water meter”. They would estimate the width of the disc to have been between four and five feet.

Neither of them could hear any particular sound from the object, certainly not what you would associate with conventional aircraft of the time. They also noticed no sign of exhaust or any other type of fuel emission. Suddenly it would burst into motion again. It would move through the late-morning sky in an arc-like motion. When it was over the railroad, it turned in the air and moving around ten miles per hour, it would head in their direction.

It was then that both witnesses noticed a much larger black object, much higher above at around an altitude of 10,000 feet. They would estimate it to be at least 100 feet across and simply hovered silently with a strange authority. Moments later, two identical large black round objects appeared as if out of nowhere.

A depiction of a fleet of UFOs over California

A depiction of a fleet of UFOs over California

Second Thoughts Of An Official Report

With their attention momentarily on the much larger discs above, the two doctors noticed the smaller, silver disc was now much closer. It was still approaching, and still at its calm, leisurely pace. Then it stopped moving and spinning at the same time. It remained still for a second or two before moving off at a much faster pace, climbing higher as it did in the direction of Mount Hamilton. In sympathy with it, one of the large black objects moved away in the same direction.

The two men remained where they were next to their parked car. The two black objects continued hovering before one of them set out towards the north and the other shot directly upward disappearing into the waiting cloud in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. The men checked their watches. It was 11:15 am – only fifteen minutes had passed by. Each would quickly make their way to their respective offices to immediately dictate accounts to their secretaries. Dr. W originally planned to make an official report to the nearby Moffett Field air base. However, while waiting on the line, he suddenly had visions of public ridicule from his colleagues. He hung up the phone.

Although they wouldn’t make official reports, they would speak privately and under anonymity with UFO researcher James MacDonald. The sighting, by two respected professionals no less, is certainly intriguing. And is one that would be replicated several times in sunny California over the next several weeks.

Strange Glowing Spheres!

On the evening of 13th May, at a little before 9 pm in National City in the San Diego area of California, aeronautical engineer, Donald Carr, along with six other corroborating witnesses, would witness a strange glowing sphere in the evening skies overhead. Carr would tell of his encounter to respected UFO researcher Richard Hall. [3]

The object was coming out of the north at an altitude of around 15,000 feet. Its speed was such that it was most definitely not a conventional aircraft and when viewed through a telescope was a definite disc shape. The object would perform turns in the air before changing its direction and heading back northwards. Carr would note that these sudden changes of direction and rates of speed should have resulted in accompanying noise. However, the object moved in apparent silence.

Carr would later state that “since this object followed an apparently controlled course it was moving under the influence of gravity”. He would continue that “it must have been guided by an intelligence unknown to us”.

Ten days later on 23rd May, another sighting of strange spheres came to light. Burbank resident, Orfea Angelucci was driving home from work. All of a sudden, a strange “tingling sensation” began to overtake him. Out of nowhere, a glowing silver metallic disc appeared in front of his vehicle. As it moved away, the strange sensation ceased. When he looked in front of him, where the disc was, there were now “two glowing spheres”. Suddenly, these spheres morphed into a man and a woman “of noble appearance”. He would recall that they would “materialize before him as if on a screen”.

These two strange mysterious humanoids would hand him a “goblet”. He would drink from this and strangely it “relieved his unpleasant sensations”.

The Redding Abduction

During the fall of 1952 in the Redding area of California came not only a sighting of a UFO but a claim of alien abduction. With the unnamed family at home for the evening, the main witness would report of a sudden “urge” to look out of the window. When he did, he could see a “huge, silvery oval-shaped craft” heading towards them just above the treetops. They would immediately call to the rest of the household to come and view this bizarre object.

As the aerial anomaly got closer, with the entire family now stood watching the monstrous craft, they could see a “circular” motion on the underside, as well as a bright orange light. As it passed over their property, all would later agree that it moved in absolute silence and disappeared out of sight into the early-evening sky.

Several hours later, however, just as the main witness was preparing for bed, he would notice that his twin brother appeared as though he was in a “trance-like state”. He was sitting straight upright in his bed, for example, staring ahead. He also now noticed a strange blue light penetrating the room from outside. The witness was just about to call out his brother’s name when he suddenly noticed a strange, tall figure in the room.

It adorned a black cape that came down to its knees and wrapped an otherwise pale grey body. Its head was hairless and large – too large for its body – and its eyes were equally oversized and a deep black.

A depiction of a UFO over California

A depiction of a UFO over California

Inside A Strange Object With Many Corridors

The witness, now scared and confused, turned around and went to head out the door. However, in the doorway was another tall figure. This one would talk to the witness through telepathy in a female voice (which the witness presumed meant the entity was indeed female). It would tell him to calm down.

This being looked slightly different from the first entity he noticed in the room. Its head was more “egg-shaped” and the chin was decidedly more pointed. The oversized nature of the head, though, as well as the large, black eyes and grey skin were very much the same.

Then, without him realizing what had happened, the witness claimed to be floating upwards in a strange beam of light. The female entity was beside him. His surrounding would suddenly change again. He now found himself in a strange object “with many corridors”. There were also more of the strange grey-skinned entities that had appeared in his bedroom. The female entity would lead him down one of these corridors and into a small room. Once inside, he would sit in a strange, futuristic chair.

Then, one of the entities would place a bizarre device on each side of his head. Once this device was in place and activated, images of future events would flash and run through his mind. The next thing he knew, both he and his twin brother were back in their beds. There was no sign of either of the two strange entities.

Just What Was Going On In California In 1952?

There were many more equally strange incidents throughout California during 1952. Auto repair shop owner, Cecil Michael, for example, would claim to have witnessed a “disc-shaped object” flying extremely low over his shop in the city of Bakersfield in the summer of 1952. In fact, the object was so low that he could clearly see two occupants inside the craft. Each looked “heavyset” and each wore strange hoods. Then, several weeks later in the mid-October, the same two men (or at least ones who looked very similar) appeared at his shop themselves.

A similar sighting occurred near Lake June (although the exact date is unknown), when California resident, Jack Peterson, claimed a “small humanoid figure emerged from a cone-shaped device”. Even stranger, this device had seemingly emerged from beneath the ground. The humanoid figure looked around briefly before re-entering the craft, which then burrowed back down into the depths of the earth.

It seems quite obvious, even to the most skeptical mind, that something strange was patrolling the skies of California and scouting the area from the ground throughout 1952. While some of these sightings will no doubt be the result of mistaken identity by excited and overactive minds, some of them cross over the barrier of uncertainty, where the only question should be “what happened” as opposed to “if it happened”.

Were these sightings government experiments? And if so, why perform them over relatively highly populated areas of one of the busiest states in the country? Or might they have been extraterrestrial? Might the plethora of sightings in 1952 be the result of some kind of alien reconnaissance mission? Only further study might reveal the answers to those questions.


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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