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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 7

  Feb. 26, 1942, Searchlights  

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

These days, many of The Times photos and negatives are held at UCLA. Here’s one of two negatives that Scott Harrison of our photo department got from the archives. As I said at the beginning, the searchlight photo has been heavily retouched, but it is authentic to some extent.


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 4

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 5

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 6

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles


  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

We can tell this is a copy negative because of the crop marks. Notice that the blacked-out skyline has already been painted in.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

It’s not quite as clear whether the searchlights have been airbrushed.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

But instead of blobs of paint, the photo has round spots of light, perhaps lens flares or some type of reflection in the lens.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

This is another negative from UCLA and it doesn’t appear to have been retouched.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

This time, there’s no paint evident along the bottom of the picture.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

No airbrushing is evident on the beams from the searchlights.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

Now we see exactly what Marvin Miles said of that night: “But the objects in the sky slowly moved on, caught in the center of the lights like the hub of a bicycle wheel surrounded by gleaming spokes.”

And so we find at last a powerful, authentic image. One that was certainly too dark and too subtle to retain its details when published in a newspaper. Those of us who weren’t around can only wonder what it must have been like to see this and experience the Battle of Los Angeles first-hand in 1942.

Is it a UFO? As far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing but a convergence of light beams with some randomly clustered dots of light.  Another good story ruined.

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Comments (4)

The idiotic search for and fear of extra-terrestrials, "who" are light years away from us AT BEST, never came up during WW2. There was a lot more obvious fear at that point, bombs falling from Japanese planes.

These retouched photos were printed all of 2 1/2 months after Pearl Harbor. The Rose Bowl 3 1/2 weeks after Pearl Harbor was moved to Durham, North Carolina, for Gaia'a sake. That was the fear. Of course? Not necessarily, when saucer freaks have used these fraudulent phots for decades since to hint of invasion from space.

The photoshopping of our minds post-WW2 to get us to fear saucers is about the same fear "Homeland Security" has used to BS us into thinking Muslim tanks (or are they Mexican again this year?) will soon be rolling down Main Street: Both, fantasies to serve the higher purpose to lie us into scaring ourselves with cultural sci fi, and to bolster the continuing acceptance of the profitably bloated military that comprise the true invaders, and occupiers, of our treasury, and our lives.

@Native Angeleno,

My mind isn't photoshopped. I don't fear saucers nor Muslim/Mexican tanks nor your trite military industrial complex.

While your paranoid scale is set to high, mine is at a more reasonable level; which allows me to discern the facts and disagree with you.

Please, don't turn this blogsite into divergent philosophical debates.

Be cool, bro'.....

Back in part 3, there was a blob that had come off and nothing was under it. Now I see it was way at the top border, probably outside of the crop line. Interesting. That negative is pure research GOLD... and will be ignored by everyone who wants to believe it was a UFO that night.

Actually, I find these unaltered versions more compelling than the touched-up version. There seems to be an object there partially, but not completely, blocking the lights. Still, neither is enough to draw any conclusions. The people who were actually there sure did, though. I don't think SETI or UFO investigators are idiotic for searching for non-human intelligence. In a universe as huge and old as ours, it doesn't seem impossible to me that at least one other intelligence has arisen and figured out how do do something we haven't--yet; traverse interstellar distances.


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