Monday, September 21, 2009

UFO FYI: Jan. 24, 1967; Yorba Linda, CA

1967 - A 14-year-old youth with the last name of Kirsch took a photograph of a disc-shaped structured object over Yorba Linda, California at 5:25 p.m. The photo was reported in the Santa Ana Register newspaper, and subsequently evaluated by NICAP as that of a genuine (not hoaxed) flying object. (Sources: Santa Ana Register, June 7, 1967; Ann Druffel, MUFON UFO Journal, June 1976, p. 10; Richard H. Hall, The UFO Evidence, Volume II: A Thirty-Year Report, p. 286).

Jan. 24, 1967; Yorba Linda, CA

5:25 p.m. PST. A 14-year-old boy saw and photographed a metallic-appearing object shaped like a top hat with four legs projecting from the bottom. (Hall, 2001, pp. 286-87, from "The Yorba Linda Photograph" in Flying Saucer Review, Special Issue, Nov. 1967, pp. 26-35.)
NOTE: The year 1967, encompassed a major part of the most intensive and long-lasting UFO sighting wave of all time. The wave was a U.S. and international UFO sighting wave that actually began in 1966. Not only was this a massive sighting wave involving nuclear equipped missile shutdowns, but also a number of humanoid incidents were reported along with the usual ground and air incidents. For an excellent chronology, visit:

January 24, 1967

(UFO Phenomenon at Close Sight) On January 24, 1967 at twilight, Tom, aged 14, was startled by a dark hat-shaped object hovering outside the second storey window of his home in Yorba Linda, in a small, relatively isolated town on the edge of Orange County California. He quickly rushed to another room to get his inexpensive Mark XII fixed-focus camera and returned within seconds. The object had moved farther away from the windowpane in the meantime, but that he was still able to snap one black-and-white picture before running downstairs, shouting for his family to come and view the strange craft. Unfortunately, by the time they had climbed the stairs, the UFO had moved out of sight. Tom had the impression that the object was "gigantic", but there was no objective reason to accurately talk of its size, so that this could be a subjective impression only.

He regularly used a mail-order film company to process his photos, but they had lost a roll of film shortly before this incident, so instead of posting it by mail for developement, he asked a friend who was 14 to develop it for him.

His friend was not an experienced developper, and the negative and photo emerged scratched, dulled, and was probably light-struck, so it had to be restored professionally later. The cheap camera also had a faulty winding mechanism that caused several long scratches on the negative.

The sighting and the photograph came to the attention of Ann Druffel of NICAP's Los Angeles section in June 1967, and she subjected to analysis by six photographic experts during the next four years, including sophisticated aerospace photogrametric systems. All the experts estimated that the photograph was of a real, three dimensional object, either stationary or moving at slow speed. Double exposure, cutouts, hand-thrown, or string-suspended models possibilities were examined but ruled out.

Tom had reported four thin appendages hanging down from the bottom rim, but on the photograph, only three were showing. One of the expert speculated that it could have withdrawn or folded up.

Investigation revealed that when first seen, it subtended an angle of about sixteen degrees and about one degree when the photo was taken. Tom's visual impression was that the bottom rim was continuous and slanted like a top hat; however, the photo showed the rim was actually composed of egg-shaped bulges, from which the legs apparently protruded.

Tom's character and reliability were checked, and appeared flawless. He was an honest, intelligent youngster, appreciated by his friends and school authorities. His family did not see the UFO, but confirmed that he had called them, and that he was very excited after he saw and photographed the object. The family tended to believe Tom for another reason: Tom, his parents, and his sister had seen a large silvery object with lighted windows on January 4, 1967 just twenty days before the hat-shaped object was photographed. Before this event they had no interest in UFOs and considered the subject silly and uninteresting.

But following their January 24, 1967, sighting, they saw quite a number of other, more distant UFOs, and other residents of Yorba Linda and the area also saw some. Tom has never tried to make any profit with the photograph, and has made it available to researchers for use without restrictions. A photograph taken by a single witness could not shake NICAP's natural skepticism and caution, so they initially estimated that the photograph was a hoax. With further analyses, among other densitometer readings by a major California aerospace firm, who estimated that the object had photographed much darker than it should have, their cautiousness seemed justified. However, another study by a Southern California geodetic survey company revealed that the color of the object could be red, which would photograph darker than black.

This seemed at odds with the witness' description, since he said the object was dark. Very interestingly, what happened was that this allowed to discover that Tom was colorblind in the red, seeing dark reds and maroon colors as rather black. Numerous studies continued later, and nobody could find any sign of hoax. In 1999, a computer-enhancement expert said he could confirm the three-dimensionality of the object, and he also found a faint highlight on the body of the craft, indicating probable reflection of sunlight off the rounded surface, consistent with the position of the sun at the time of sighting.

ON THE OTHER HAND... Investigator Larry Robinson says: "January 24, 1967; Yorba Linda CA: This photo is of a satellite that was part of a Hasbro GI-Joe military space explorer set (with a space shuttle that was amazingly accurate for the 1966 release date). The focus of other objects indicates that the lens is focused on a small object very near to the camera. The fact that the object is darker than the window frame indicates that the object is inside the room. If it had been outside and larger, atmospheric scattering would have made the image much lighter."

NOTE FROM CHUCK: I don't know what he means by "satellite" and "space shuttle." The only 1966 G.I. Joe space explorer set I could find came with nothing more than a tiny replica of a genuine NASA space capsule. This vehicle is neither a satellite nor a space shuttle, and is anything but amazingly accurate, for 1966 or any other year. In proportion to the G.I. Joe figure, the thing is considerably smaller than a phone booth. You would not get me up in one of those, even if my head was made of hollow plastic. The thin walls would not block out any harmful cosmic rays, and would certainly not survive the heat of reentry into the atmosphere. By the same token, it bears an amazing lack of resemblance to the object in the Yorba Linda photo.

From The Mufon UFO Journal, June 1980, No. 148
California Report
Magnetic Anomalies and UFO Flight Part II (excerpt)
By Ann Druffel

On January 4, 1967, Tom X rose about 6:00 a.m. and went downstairs to the kitchen of his family's new townhouse. Looking out toward the eastern foothills, he saw an immense, oval-shaped object flying low over nearby homes. It was seemingly metallic and flashed red lights similar to the "taillights of a Thunderbird."

Tom dashed upstairs to wake his family, and his parents and younger sister Alyce watched the huge object cruise leisurely out of sight over the isolated, hilly terrain on the eastern border of town. The family called a nearby air base, but were informed no vehicle resembling the giant craft was aloft.

The X family seemed stable and reliable. None of its members had prior interest in UFOs. However, in succeeding weeks, Tom and other family members viewed other strange objects in the sky near their home. Intrigued, Tom bought a $5.00 Mark XII camera, hoping to photograph one of the unusual objects.

On January 24, 1967, Tom was upstairs gathering material for his homework. Glancing out a bedroom window, according to his statement, he was horrified to see a dark, machine-like craft hovering near the house. It was shaped somewhat like a man's top hat, and four thin appendages dangled from the bottom. It had a curious dull, but nevertheless metallic, sheen, "like aluminum foil held at an angle." The surface of the legs had a similar appearance. (See Figure B)

Tom dashed to his bedroom and returned within seconds with his camera. The object had moved away to the east, but Tom was still frightened of it. Crouching on the bed, he hurriedly snapped one photo, then dashed downstairs, calling for his mother and sister. When they returned upstairs with him, the object was no longer in view. They were impressed by Tom's disquieted state.

Tom asked a 14-year old friend to develop the photo because he was afraid to trust mail-order processing. This young boy was inexpert, and the developed negative emerged lightstruck, scratched and fogged. However, it showed basically what Tom had described (4).

The picture came into my hands in June 1967, and during the next 4 years was sent to six different photographic experts. None was able to prove it as a hoax, and all explanations such as double exposure, cutouts, hand-held model, etc. were ruled out. Most of the experts felt the picture to be genuine.

In October 1971, the photo was taken for study by Al Cocking, then president of a Southland geodetic survey company. After using advanced photogrammetric equipment, Cocking stated his opinion that the photograph seemed to be that of an actual object, about 100 feet from the camera and three-dimensional. It was also considered free-flying and in a hovering or slowly moving mode.

The object, however, was not "gigantic," as the witness had stated. It was somewhat less than 2 feet in width, so it was assumed that it must have been right next to the window when Tom first saw it, perhaps one of the closest encounters on record! The picture was finally accepted by many sources as probably genuine, and has been so treated in UFO literature. Analysis of it continues to the present day.

The photo was taken in the midst of a flap which continued through December 1976. About ten good cases of puzzling objects were reported in the vicinity, most of which had more than one witness. In addition, numerous UFOs of lesser value were reported. The objects typically appeared in the southeast section of Yorba Linda and in most cases their flight paths were easterly toward the isolated Santa Ana Mountains and foothills on the town's rim.

For the rest of Ms. Druffel's very interesting article, visit:

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