Thursday, December 30, 2021

1965: UFO Contact in California

Santa Cruz, California 1960: Daffy Don’s Furniture Outlet began selling televisions and home electronics, and on the second floor of their store, the service department was an affiliated independent business, Sid’s TV & Radio Service, owned by Sidney Padrick. Padrick was 40 years old, a family man, a private pilot, an Air Force reservist, and he had served during World War II. After leaving the military, Padrick became a repairman of radios and televisions, with the sales and installation of TV antennas as his top moneymaker.

Santa Cruz Sentinel ads for Sid’s TV & Radio Service, April 1960

Something changed in early 1965. Padrick said that on January 30, he’d been taken for a ride in a flying saucer at La Selva Beach with a spaceman named Xeno. The story had a religious element; one of the spaceship's rooms was a chapel.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Feb. 21, 1965

Sidney Padrick called the Air Force on Feb. 4, 1965, to report his flying saucer experience. An appointment was made, and Major Damon B. Reeder flew from Hamilton AFB to interview Padrick. When he landed, he found Padrick was accompanied by a member of the local press. Shaking the reporter, Maj. Reeder had Padrick drive him to the sighting location, tell the story and make drawings of the flying saucer.

Padrick’s saucer sketch for Project Blue Book (1 of 3)

Maj. Reeder’s 7-page report of Feb. 10 observed that while Padrick told his story, “he frequently referred to type written notes.” Reeder noted that Padrick was “a glib talker,” and his Project Blue Book report concluded:
“Mr. Padrick alluded to the fact that he is going to write a book or magazine article about his experience with the spaceship. It is my opinion that this is not a valid UFO contact but rather an attempt on Mr. Padrick’s part to get the Air Force involved in order to lend his story some authenticity and credibility.” 
Less than a month after his alleged encounter, Padrick was giving lectures for Dan Fry’s flying saucer Contactee group, Understanding Inc. Fry’s newsletter carried a notice of Padrick’s lecture for February 24th the Santa Cruz #9 Unit, and closed with the line, “The New Age Press has contacted him to write his story.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Feb. 22, 1965

Here’s a summary of a lecture Padrick gave in Contra Costa County, California:

Oakland Tribune, April 22, 1965

The announcement for Padrick’s lecture for the Church of Religious Science discussed his many lectures and appearances in major media.

The Roseville Press Tribune, April 23, 1967 (photo from The Sacramento Bee)

One of Padrick’s interviews was recorded and appeared on the LP disc, File #733 U.F.O., 1966.

The UFO album by Jack Jenkins featured 4 tracks with Padrick telling his story. 
To hear it, click the link below to a recording on YouTube hosted by John E.L. Tenney:

The Career of a UFO Contactee

Many UFO organizations and publications became interested in the case. In the APRO Bulletin, May-June 1965, Coral and Jim Lorenzen reported, “Mr. Padrick received quite a bit of local attention from radio. TV and newspapers. APRO members who talked to him came away with the impression that he was sincere in his report.” However, the APRO editors felt that Padrick’s story of the aliens’ hidden planet was a product of his “unconscious mind,” saying, “It is suggested that Mr. Zno was a visitor from Mr. Padrick's private hidden world…”

Donald Keyhoe and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) had an unfavorable view of Contactee tales, but their organization looked into Padrick’s the story. From NICAP Affiliate Newsletter, May 5, 1965: “PROBABLE HOAX… west coast claim in January, by Sid Padrick, investigated by California Unit #2. Witness reputation of story-teller.” (We’ll hear more about this investigation later from Data Net.)

The Little Listening Post, a Contactee and new age newsletter by Clara John published a special issue, an interview with Sidney Padrick, who they found to be “without guile.”  He recounted his story, including the details Padrick claimed the Air Force didn’t want him to talk about. 

Advertisement in the Reno Gazette-Journal, July 31, 1965

Meanwhile, Padrick was still busy giving lectures and appearing at UFO conventions. The official journal of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America, Inc., Oct. 1965 advertised:
"THE 9th ANNUAL NORTHERN CALIFORNIA SPACE-CRAFT CONVENTION will be held Sat. & Sun., Oct. 30 & 31 at the Claremont Hotel, Berkeley, Calif. Della Larson will again be official hostess and chairman . You 'll hear: Dr. Daniel W. Fry, Hope Troxell, Sidney Padrick, Dr. George King, Col . Arthur Burks, Gabriel Green, Lois Robinson, Clark L. Wilkerson, Dr. Frank E. Stranges, and Neva Dell Hunter."
Padrick also appeared at AFSCA’s own third national convention Reno, Nevada, in July 1966, and again at the 10th Annual Northern California Space Craft Convention in 1967.

Padrick’s story was popular enough he didn’t even to show up for it to be told at UFO gatherings.

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 29, 1966

Padrick’s lecture, “Outer Space Visitors to Earth” was given far and wide, from the Business and Professional Women’s Clubhouse in Los Angeles to Miguel’s Old Restaurant in Reno.

Advertisement from Reno Gazette-Journal, Oct. 28, 1966

Michael Jaffe published an article on Sidney Padrick in DATA-NET Report, Sept 5, 1967, based in part on the investigation of Jo Clark and Paul Cerny of NICAP. They had attended Padrick’s lecture on March 12, 1965, in San Jose and began a six-month investigation, and found his story full of discrepancies and contradictions.”

DATA-NET Report, Sept 5, 1967

One earthly contradiction was that Padrick denied taking money for the appearance, but it was revealed that he actually received 25% of the admission fees. Jaffe met with people who knew Padrick and they told him how he had begun “Telling strange stories and fantastic tales. His customers lost confidence in him.” Padrick neglected his home and declared bankruptcy. Shortly afterwards, Padrick came out with the UFO story, which he unsuccessfully tried to sell to national magazines. Jaffe found out that Padrick had moved since the sighting and located his new home, a ranch house in Monterey County. Padrick wasn’t there, but he spoke to his son, Dave, a young man who shared his interest in ham radio. When Jaffe asked him about the UFO story, Dave referred to it as “bullshit,” but couldn’t say why his father had made up the story, and he preferred not to discuss it. Jaffe said, “His personal feelings were that he was sorry about the whole thing.” Jaffe concluded, “Sid Padrick did in fact fabricate his story…”

About this time, Padrick dropped out of the UFO scene, but he left some unfinished business.

NICAP’s UFO Investigator, April 1971, reported the result of a recent case went before a judge in San Jose Municipal Court. The plaintiff complained that five years earlier Padrick had taken a loan of $1000 from him to produce a book on his UFO story, but nothing was ever produced. Padrick claimed the manuscript was complete, but it was lost when he let someone borrow it. The judge ruled that Padrick repay the $1000 with interest.

Over the years, Padrick’s story continued to circulate, given a boost his 1965 interview from The Little Listening Post was reprinted in Official UFO magazine, January 1978, as “A Probing Conversation With a Contactee” by Harold D. Salkin.

Decades later, Padrick’s story was still circulating, as seen in this article in his old local Santa Cruz paper.

The Californian (Salinas, CA), Aug. 9, 1991

Padrick himself was no longer talking about UFOs. However, in 1991 he sent a letter to a newspaper column disclosing that since 1940 or so, he had been having recurring dreams of taking strange flights. One version of the dream included an encounter with a famous and tragic religious cult.

Reno Gazette-Journal, Nov. 17, 1991

Sid Patrick’s story of outer space visitors never made much of an impact beyond the California Contactee scene, which was already fading when he entered the franchise. His time in the business was short, but his saucer story still spins. Sidney Padrick, passed away on September 30, 2012, in Marysville, California at the age of 93.
. . .

For Additional Reading

The Sidney Padrick Air Force case file from Project Blue Book

Patrick Gross has an excellent list of resources on the Sidney Padrick case at URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

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