The Battle of Los Angeles
Where? Los Angeles, California
What happened? On the night of 24 February 1942, not too long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, air raid sirens rang out across Los Angeles. Thousands of people witnessed searchlights around Los Angeles fixing on a target hovering over the city, and the Coast Guard Anti-aircraft guns were ready to fire. They assumed it was an attack from Japan – but they were wrong. To this day, the Japanese claim they never attacked and there is no wreckage or other evidence to say that they did. People inland started to report seeing the large craft, or fleet, and Air Raid Wardens put the city into blackout. Some witnesses describe the sighting as a tremendous single object, crawling through the sky, whilst others say it was a group of smaller objects. At 3.16am a barrage of AA shells began, and the firing at the object continued throughout the night until the blackout was lifted at 7.21am. Several buildings were damaged in the firing and six people were killed – three by friendly fire and three from stress caused by the attacks.
How was it explained? The next morning the papers were filled with several different explanations. Some reported that it was Japanese planes that were shot down – though there was no evidence to say that this was the case. The LA Times ran a front-page picture showing an image of an odd object caught in the searchlights. The Government denounced the whole story, calling it a false alarm caused by ‘war nerves’, however many witnesses confirm that they believe what they saw was extra-terrestrial.