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Original UFO Photograph From 1942 Battle Of Los Angeles That Was Sold On eBay
By Vicky Verma
On February 25, 1942, around 2:30 in the morning, the people of Los Angeles were abruptly awakened by air raid sirens. The city was instructed to blackout and prepare for a possible attack. Searchlights illuminated the sky, searching for enemy aircraft. Eventually, the lights converged on a single object, causing frightened citizens to step outside to observe. The sky was filled with hundreds of explosions and smoke as the Battle of Los Angeles began.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the entire west coast of the United States was on high alert. Blackouts and curfews were common, and rumors circulated about Japanese battle groups invading the coast and enemy spies infiltrating the population. The Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, warned that American cities should be prepared for enemy attacks.
On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine off the coast of Santa Barbara fired 25 explosive shells at an oil field, causing minor physical damage but sending a clear message that America’s coast was vulnerable to attack at any time.
In the early morning of February 25, a radar station picked up a strange object in the sky over the Pacific about 200 miles from Los Angeles. By 2 am, two other radar stations confirmed the object, now only 120 miles off the coast, and headed directly for the city. At 3 am, the object was reported to be 25 planes flying at 12,000 feet, just off the coast of Santa Monica.
Suddenly, the object vanished from the radar. The city was ordered to blackout, and anti-aircraft batteries were loaded and ready to shoot on sight. Visual sightings continued, with some reporting one large ship and others multiple aircraft in formation. Anti-aircraft explosions lit up the sky as shrapnel rained down on the city for the next hour. The object eventually disappeared over Long Beach, and the situation was already under control by 4:14 am.
The incident was front-page news along the West Coast and across the nation. Over 1400 high-explosive shells and countless 50-caliber rounds were fired, but there was no evidence of any downed aircraft or bombs. Shell fragments damaged several buildings and vehicles, and five civilians died as an indirect result of the anti-aircraft fire: three were killed in car accidents in the ensuing chaos, and two heart attacks attributed to the stress of the hour-long action.
The Battle of Los Angeles has been the source of numerous UFO sightings, with some of these reports coming from credible military sources. Project Blue Book investigated over 12,000 UFO sightings between 1952 and 1969 and was able to explain most of these sightings, but the object over Los Angeles in 1942 remains unsolved and unexplained. Despite numerous investigations and explanations, some still question what was fired upon that night.
Out of the 12,000 cases, there are still 701 unsolved, unexplained objects documented in Project Blue Book. Of the 700 cases, the object over LA in 1942 remains unexplained.
The most logical explanation for the LA object was a Japanese air attack, although 250 anti-aircraft guns filled the sky with explosions and shrapnel, there were no confirmed hits or downed targets. After the war, the Japanese military claimed they had no aircraft in the area at that time.
A local police officer claimed he saw two planes shot down, but there was no evidence of that on the ground. Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy under Franklin D. Roosevelt, said it was just a false alarm and an overreaction due to jitters, but the army disagreed. They said the alert was absolutely real, and the army report said that as many as 15 planes might have been involved flying at various speeds and altitudes.
Despite the numerous military reports of something in the sky, skeptics say it was just jitters, but what about the eyewitness accounts and the three separate radar hits? The supporters of the UFO theory say the radar hits are absolute proof of a UFO, but it is important to note that radar technology in 1942 was not perfect.
Upon asking his opinion on the UFO sightings, Major Donald Keyhoe said, “With all due respect to the air force, I believe that some of them will prove to be of interplanetary origin. During a three-year investigation, I found that many polishes have described objects of substance and high speed. In one case, the polish reported their plane was buffeted by an object which passed them at 500 miles an hour. Obviously this was a solid object that I believe was from outer space.”
However, the famous photograph of the object over LA has been discovered to be doctored and possibly retouched. One can see the searchlights converging on something in the sky that is shaped like a saucer or football. However, the photo was enhanced and possibly retouched.
Image credit: David Marler
Image credit: David Marler
This was a common practice in the past to make photos more visible in newsprint, but the original photo was very different. It was underexposed and barely showed anything except for the faint lights. It was previously thought the original negative had been lost, and the one in the LA Times photo archives is not the original. The LA Times could not track down the original after working with investigators.
Interestingly, UFO researcher David Marler presented an original photo of the object over LA at the 2017 Ozark Mountain UFO Conference. He has actively investigated and researched the subject for 32 years. He joined The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in 1990 as a Field Investigator Trainee. (Source)
The story of how Marler got the original photo is really interesting. He claimed he bought it on eBay back in September 2012. The famous photograph was possibly not taken by an LA Times photographer, and the source of the original negative is in doubt. If it didn’t come from the LA Times, where did it come from?
Marler claimed that he traced it back to the Associated Press. So, all the photographs of 1942 objects over Los Angeles on the internet are doctored image published by the LA times. The authenticity of his photo can be confirmed after Ben Hansen, a former FBI agent, showed him a clip he shot with Simon Eliot, Archivist of the LA Times Collection at UCLA, where Eliot showed Hansen the original negative that an LA Times photographer did not take.
Below is the explanation given by David Marler:
“This is the original negative, and I’m viewing it as a positive because it just plays havoc with your eyes when you’re looking at things in reverse. So I wanted you to be able to see what the actual original image before it was doctored looks like. Here you can see all the writing on the side of the negative and again that typical notch pattern that’s not typical for the LA Times. If we blow this up, here’s what we’re looking at. This right here, and you can see these little blobs of light. These are all anti-aircraft explosions captured at the moment the photographer clicked the shutter…
I know what the original photos look like and the characteristics they need to have. One interesting thing is that not only is it a photo, but on the back, it has a stamped property of Associated Press dated February 25, 1942. I have other examples to show you from the collection that have the original news teletype glued to the back with one of the original descriptions of the event.
Here’s a blow-up and it’s very blurry, but there is a note to the editor dated February 25, 1942. This means that it was published that morning in preparation to be disseminated across the newswire as an Associated Press photo. It says ‘caution, use credit if you use this photo.’ I have many other similar photos, so I know the characteristics to look for.
Image credit: David Marler
Image credit: David Marler
The original news teletype says ‘Associated Press Photo, not LA Times.’ It says ‘caution, use credit from Los Angeles, how any aircraft barrage looked to Los Angeles.’ This picture shows how the early morning anti-aircraft guns shooting shells into the sky appeared to the average Los Angeles resident who got up to watch it. The small round white dots were made by the exploding shells.
Many people thought that a slow-moving object was the target of the guns, but hours later, the army still had not identified it. And again, Associated Press Photo, February 25, 1942. This is a nice piece of history to have in regards to the case.
Now we’re talking about a case that is 75 years old this year, and I think it’s interesting because as UFO researchers, we can never close a case unless we can rule out the possibility of a prosaic explanation. If you have an open case and you know it’s not a satellite or aircraft, it’s truly an anomalous case, and you can never close it.”
Some people claim that the object was shot down by the ordinance in the air that night, but others believe it was just a weather balloon that anti-aircraft gunners launched. There are reports of planes, bombers, and a crashed aircraft in the middle of the city, but the government claimed that it was likely shrapnel and burnt embers from exploding shells.
Dr. Robert Wood, an aerospace engineer who worked for Sikorsky, Hughes, McDonald Douglas, and Lockheed, believed there was a cover-up and exposed secret government projects. After retiring, Dr. Wood researched and exposed the Majestic 12 and other secret government projects. He received five leaked documents about the Battle of Los Angeles; at least one has been authenticated.
One of the documents is a memo between FDR and George Marshall, the army’s chief of staff. It is dated one week after the incident. It reads, “This headquarters has come to the determination that the mystery airplanes are not of earthly origin and according to secret intelligence sources, they are in all probability of interplanetary origin.”
However, the government denied the memo, and Dr. Wood only received photocopies, not originals, so there is no way to test the paper to authenticate them as genuine. Nevertheless, this case, 80 years later, remains unsolved, and if there was a flying object in the skies above Los Angeles in February 1942, it remains unidentified.