March 27, 1958
It stood about 2 1/2 feet high and was a heavy steel and plastic cylinder complete with safety valves, cranks and ominous looking buttons. A steel disk covered on end. The other end, about 4 inches in circumference, was filled with dirt.
"Look at it," he demanded.
I assured him that I was--that I wouldn't take my eyes off of it for a second. "What is it?" I asked.
He cleared his throat and looked me straight in the eye. "It's an object," he announced, "that attacked me from outer space."
He didn't flinch when he said it.
But I did.
"It was Monday night. About 10-10:30. I was walking down Loma Linda Avenue," he continued.
"I was nearing the corner of Serrano. On my way to the drugstore."
"To buy some cigarettes."
"Filter tips," he explained.
"And?" I said impatiently.
"I'm getting to it," he snapped. "It came flying out of the sky. Missed my ear by inches. My right ear. I heard this terrible whish-thump-splat."
"You saw it?" I said.
"I saw it after it hit the ground. It missed the sidewalk by 8 inches, maybe."
He pointed to the bottom of the object. "Look at the dirt and grass inside the plastic cylinder. It cut a sharp hole a few inches deep in the lawn of this apartment house and then bounced out again and lay down on its side."
"What did you do then?"
"I was very cautious. I sneaked up on it and touched it."
He glanced quickly to his right and left. We were alone. He whispered.
"It was warm."
"Warm?" I cried.
"Yes. But I poked it and it didn't move. So I picked it up and took it over under the street lamp and examined it. It looked harmless enough so I took its handle and cranked it."
He demonstrated for me, cranking the handle vigorously.
"Nothing," he continued. "Nothing happened. I've been carrying it around ever since, showing it to people. Nobody knows what it is. There's not a marking on it.
"Mr. Coates, you've got to help me find someone who knows what it is."
"I do?" I asked.
"Absolutely. Because so far it's nothing more than an Unidentified Flying Object. And to be perfectly honest with you, I don't believe in such things."
[Note: The Mirror didn't run a picture of this object, unfortunately, so we have to rely on our imaginations--lrh]