Friday, November 17, 2017

Flying Saucer Ambush: Brush Creek, CA, 1953

Gail Sprague, illustration for The Saucerian #2, 1953

This case cannot truly be considered forgotten because Gray Barker devoted an entire chapter to it in his classic 1956 book,  They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.
John Black and John Van Allen told authorities they had been mining "fissionable material" in the Marble Creek area near Brush Creek, California. On at least two occasions, they witnessed a flying saucer land and a small man get out, fill a pail with water, then fly away. There seemed to be a pattern to the visits, so the miners intended to be ready to shoot at the saucer when it returned. They consulted the local law enforcement asking for permission to fire at it. The Brush Creek incident raised some ethical and legal challenges. Can aliens be shot for trespassing? Captain Fred Preston of the County Sheriff's Department, said no.
Idaho State Journal June 25, 1953

Long Beach Independent, June 25, 1953

Gray Barker, author of They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. 

Gray Barker reported on the case in the first issue of The Saucerian, and followed up in the second issue, "Report on the Brush Creek Saucer," which was the basis for his coverage in They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers.
To me the story somehow smacked of truth, and I felt I should try to get to the bottom of it. Paul Spade, an amateur astronomer of California, who had volunteered his services to saucer investigation in his area, also volunteered to go to Brush Creek and look into the matter.
Spade provided the most detailed description of the saucer argument: 
The little man wore green trousers, a jacket and a tie. His shoes were particularly strange in that they seem to be so remarkably flexible. Although they were distinctly recognizable issues, they seemed almost to be a part of the man's feet. The outfit was topped off with a green cab over black hair. He seem like a normal person and except for his small stature and somewhat odd dress.
They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers

300 people were ready for the saucer's return, but apparently a much smaller number was ready at the alleged landing site.

Long Beach Independent, July 20, 1953

The Chico Enterprise-Record, July 21, 1953

The saucer did not return. Among the puzzles in this case is why the miners would have wanted to shoot their visitor. In the trespasses on their camp, the little man only took a bucket of water on each visit. That's hardly a crime worth punishing if it risks starting an interplanetary war.

We were unable to find much on John Q. Black, but the obituary for John J. Van Allen indicates that he was a veteran of World War I, and died on June 3, 1957, at the age of 64.

This Brush Creek incident is not forgotten, and is cited in many UFO databases and prominent books like Passport to Magonia by Jacques VallĂ©e. However, considering the absence of tangible evidence, it would seem to be fit only for a discussion of folklore.  For further reading, see the entry by Patrick Gross at UFOs at Close Sight:

Project Blue Book Case does have a 12-page file: 20 May 1953, Brush Creek, California. The Air Force closed the case on the Brush Creek incident, and it was classified a hoax.

. . .

A special thanks to Louis Taylor of Information Dispersal for the original UP photo of Black and Van Allen.

1 comment:

  1. FTL technology and they're using a rope ladder? I don't think so.


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