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The Battle of Los Angeles 1942 : New Light on the Original Picture?

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posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 07:28 PM
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As the President slept in Washington a huge alien spaceship appeared over Los Angeles during the early hours of February 25th 1942. Pearl Harbor had just been attacked a few months before and there was a genuine fear of Japanese raids on the west coast of America. But this was something else.

In Culver City and Santa Monica this huge object appeared in the sky around 2 am local time. Minutes later the air sirens broke the silence, a blackout was initiated, and the citizens of Los Angeles looked at the skies in fear. Soon Air Wardens and the local Artillery were in action as defensive forces were scrambled.

As the beaming searching lights slashed through the night sky they all began to converge on one thing. A giant unidentified object, described by some ,as a huge lantern hanging in the sky. The Army's 37th Coast Artillery Brigade illuminated the darkness as they bombarded the object for over 30 minutes. Hundreds and hundreds of rounds were expended in attempts to bring the object down. Many citizens were injured as shell fragments fell across Los Angeles and tragically a small number of citizens (6) lost their lives.
The object eventually glided over Long Beach and slipped out of view over the Palos Verdes hills as the guns fell silent.


Well that’s the UFO lore concerning the “Battle of LA”. I’m sure many of you know the story or at least are vaguely familiar with it. It is probably one of the most famous UFO cases in the English speaking world and pre-dates the Roswell story.

The main reason I am posting this is that I have just been watching “UFOs Declassified” (Season 1 Episode 3 in the UK and Episode 1 in Canada). It’s a Canadian “History” production which has been shown on “Yesterday” in the UK.
Some viewers can pick it up online in higher resolution at :

Brits & Irish : uktvplay.uktv.co.uk...#

Canadians : www.history.ca...



Some of the audio may be scrambled on the above

Alternative video source :

UFOs Declassified Battle of LA

Oh! Some of you don’t want to waste 45 minutes watching the video. Fair point - I didn’t really want to compose a big thread either. Oh well... I hate people who post a video and one line of text and then scarper too...expecting everyone else to do the work. And it’s the rules.

So - The episode deals with the battle of Los Angeles 1942 (amongst other LA UFO cases) and looks into two major pieces of evidence concerning this case.

• Analysis shows original negative did not come from the same film stock as the famous ‘enhanced’ photo used in the LA Times the following day. In fact it appears to not have been taken by an LA Times photographer.

• Analysis of an official military document detailing this event :
The History of the 4th AA Command, Western Defense Command, Jan 9 1942 to July 1 1945


Analysis of the Negative



Above : Los Angeles Times used this picture a number of times. This is a retouched version of the searchlight photo created by Los Angeles Times' artists. This was a common practice in the newsprint industry of the time. Mainly due to deterioration in quality of photos once they were printed in newspapers.

Most of you will be familiar with this photo used to illustrate the “Battle of LA”.

Another photo from the Herald Examiner exists as well :



Here is the negative that was used for the enhancement in the LA Times. I’ve taken from a still in the TV show.


As we can see it is a lot less clearly defined and there may be something at the centre of the beams reflecting them. It’s not easy to tell.


What is interesting is that, whilst searching out the original negative stored at UCLA, the archivist Simon Elliott mentions that the notch on the negative does not appear to be from film stock that the LA Times photographers used at the time.




So if it didn’t come from the LA Times photography staff where did it come from?

Next the photos were analyzed by former photographer for the LA Times and imaging expert George Reis. He concludes that the LA Times photos used were copied from the ‘original negative’ after using computer software to prove so. He then states that the original negative can be matched to “Kodak Fine Grain Positive” film stock and that this is “very indicative of a copy negative”.

So what was thought as the original negative is in fact a copy in Reis’ opinion.

This throws a lot of doubt as to exactly what the famous “Battle of LA” picture actually shows us.

Not only that we do not know who took it and whether it has been re-touched or not.


The History of the 4th AA Command

The following officially released document is scrutinized as well in this documentary.
The History of the 4th AA Command, Western Defense Command, Jan 9 1942 to July 1 1945


There seems to be a lot of conflicting information from witnesses regarding various aerial phenomena in the skies above LA. Even though it is explained in the show that the US did detect something approaching the West Coast to place forces on alert in the TV program. (see extracts below)





However the program focuses on there being a report of a shot down aircraft in the area of 180th and Vermont Streets.




Apparently this was also confirmed by the 77th Precinct of the LAPD, the US Navy and a report in the local press – clip ©LA Examiner.






The Japanese never admitted to operations in the area on Feb 25th, 1942 and so the program then explores the possibility it was a downed experimental US aircraft.

We also have a couple of witnesses who were children at the time giving their stories and Bob Wood discussing an MJ12 document regarding the case. The latter is not treated as serious evidence as its provenance is impossible to verify.

Ultimately it leaves us with questions rather than answers.

I haven’t looked into this case in a lot of detail and I am aware there are a number of other threads that have discussed the Battle of LA going back years on here. But at this moment in time I really don’t have time to go through them!

So given that the authenticity of the negatives ( and by default the source for the famous photo) is now being questioned do any of you ATS members, perhaps with more knowledge about this case, want to expand on this?

What do you think was going on back in 1942?









edit on 22/8/15 by mirageman because: corrections



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posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 08:39 PM
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Well goodness, I read your post and thought surely someone would have responded by now. Since you have done a fine job and given a good effort, I do feel you deserve the respect of some response. I'm confident more will follow. It is Saturday night after all.

Anyhow, I have always been intrigued with this particular moment in time. Seems almost like the phonix lights of that era. So many multiple sightings , so many witness, yet somehow still remains questionable even though the witness will still stick with the cliche they know what they saw. Hell, I know what I have seen and yes, I was by myself but I will stick too it. Neither here nor there for this post, but basically same mentality which seems somewhat consistent with other members here.

I've been around awhile and have read many of the other post of this happening as they have come up. I am very curious to hear the others chime in. I'm not surprised you have tripped across what you have. Seems enevitable actually. Slowly time has a habit of trickling out what it wants known.

Basically here commenting to support you and like you, waiting to hear what others say.



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 08:49 PM
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What do you think was going on back in 1942?


War jitters?



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 09:06 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr

What do you think was going on back in 1942?


War jitters?



That and weather balloons, most likely. Here's a more rational take on the event:

rationalwiki.org...


Weather balloons were released from each of the dozen anti-aircraft positions around the city every six hours. The balloons were illuminated from below by an enclosed candle which would reflect off the silver lining of the balloon itself to ensure that it was visible at night.



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 09:20 PM
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a reply to: mirageman

I have always been intrigued by this story.

I dont think i can contribute anything special atm. S&F



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 09:23 PM
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a reply to: redtic

I thought the movie 1941 covered it, like only Hollywood can.



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 09:44 PM
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a reply to: mirageman

Given the incident happened during the beginning of WWII and the whole West Coast was in a state of shock and excitement, it would certainly be the case that the affair was entirely managed by the government and nothing got printed that the government didn't want printed. That has been entirely true of the UFO enigma since day one (when ever that was) and continues to this day.



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 10:08 PM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: mirageman

Given the incident happened during the beginning of WWII and the whole West Coast was in a state of shock and excitement, it would certainly be the case that the affair was entirely managed by the government and nothing got printed that the government didn't want printed. That has been entirely true of the UFO enigma since day one (when ever that was) and continues to this day.


On the other hand, one has to keep in mind this was 5 years before the Roswell incident and what supposedly really happened hit the news before that got retracted to being a ballon too. I feel pretty confident saying communications weren't as fast then as now. Think this is one that the touch of reality slipped through the cracks before it could be stopped. IMHO of course.



posted on Aug, 22 2015 @ 10:10 PM
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a reply to: onehuman




Think this is one that the touch of reality slipped through the cracks before it could be stopped.

Here's a question.
When did the first claims that the "Battle of Los Angeles" involved UFOs or ET show up? As has been pointed out, eyewitness reports varied wildly.


Searchlights sought out either a plane or a blimp
www.bookmice.net...


Two hundred planes


No planes


A giant butterfly


bombs dropping everywhere


A plane shot down
www.bookmice.net...


Reports from excited civilian observers, who were sure they saw planes, ranged from one to 200. But one watcher near an aircraft factory said he had long-range field glasses trained to the sky areas raked by the long, slim rays of the searchlights, and saw "not one single plane in all the time the firing was going on.
www.bookmice.net...



edit on 8/22/2015 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 02:04 AM
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a reply to: mirageman


Why do humans constantly insist this is out of the ordinary.

I see a rock. Nothing more than a rock.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 03:28 AM
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originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: mirageman

Given the incident happened during the beginning of WWII......



Actually, it's just a little thing but the beginning of WW2 was in September 1939, not 1942.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 04:20 AM
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a reply to: mirageman

Very nice OP, S&F, i never heard of it before, shame on me...

Weather balloons and they were in full war fear and started firing at them? That would be funny and sadly it is the most likely explanation, still cool.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 05:21 AM
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I believe the "Battle of Los Angeles" was a legit UFO encounter. The actual negative of the famous photo had to have been switched by a government agent. like FBI, War Dept,, OSI. The reasons I believe for the switch was to defuse the mass hysteria that many Americans faced with Orson Welles "War of the World" radio broadcast four years previously and to save the Americans of the embarrassment of premature friendly fire within its borders with the war time allies.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 06:15 AM
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originally posted by: trifecta
a reply to: mirageman


Why do humans constantly insist this is out of the ordinary.

I see a rock. Nothing more than a rock.


I didn't. But it has become part of UFO lore. I will also say I do not know all the details of the case.

The contemporary news stories were all about the conflicting reports of the night and "war nerves". There is no mention of anyone suspecting it was an alien spacecraft in 1942. For example I found this piece from a couple of weeks after the event :

LIFE magazine of March 1942 mentions that





In the pre-dawn hours of Feb 25 anti-aircraft batteries in the Los Angeles district spat 1430 rounds of sparkling ack-ack into the sky – at what no one knew...




Searchlight batteries, grouped in the vicinity of an airfield and several big aircraft factories outside Los Angeles, scour the sky during the pre-dawn raid excitement of Feb 25. The blobs of light left of the center in the picture is a bursting anti-aircraft shell, one of scores fired into the evidently empty air in the course of the five-hour alarm. The many little dual horizontal lines of light are stars, which moved during the time exposure. They come in pairs because the photographer closed his shutter briefly during the exposure, cutting each star path in half....


The TV documentary in the OP also shows how the famous photograph was retouched for effect and the 'object' where the searchlights converge is nowhere near as well defined in the negative image.


As Phage said, when did this change from being a war story and become a "UFO Story"?



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 06:19 AM
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Im a fan of the blimp passing by, or balloon passing by, creating mass hysteria among the military idea.

nonetheless...that OP is solid. You know how to ATS.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 06:30 AM
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a reply to: mirageman

Thanks for putting in the effort. It makes ATS better and you reminded me of Internos who used to have the highest respect around here.

Setting aside whatever object/s triggered the battery, the history of that original image interests me in the same way it interested you and the doco researchers. A lot of genuine beliefs are often grounded on shaky evidence and here we have a single 'photo' that some use as evidence of visiting aliens.

In terms of 'chains of evidence,' we don't have an original photo, we have a negative from a copy of what we presume was an original. Then we have the widespread technique of using charcoals and chalks to make the images 'pop' more in the old B&W printed press. A touched up, coloured-in copy of a copy.

Not much eh?

I pulled out a couple of images from LIFE magazine, March 1942. The resolution isn't great, sorry. The pics show the aftermath of the 'battle' as there was a lot of damage to property from shells.






posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 06:49 AM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

I see we were thinking along the same lines with that LIFE magazine article.

The full magazine piece can be seen here : Click Link

In fact even a simple tweak of the 'copy' negative with image manipulation software creates a much more interesting object in the centre of the beams.

Before


After Contrast enhancement


Of course the other interesting part of the documentary is that the Navy, LAPD and LA Examiner confirmed an aircraft had crashed in Vermont Avenue.


ETA: There are also some more details about the photos used in the LA Times : Click Here




edit on 23/8/15 by mirageman because: ETA



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 06:50 AM
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I think the negative being a copy may just point to someone (possibly govt or the reporter himself) making a copy and keeping the original thinking it was a pretty fantastic and possibly historic scene. I don't think it points to anything shady.

It would be interesting to know what the general policy was back then when they got a 'front page' type photo as far as getting backups to negatives.

If anything, I don't think that detail is any smoking gun or even relevant. The overall story though seems like it could easily be anything from war jitters to sensationalism to enemy planes to actual ufos. Without any confirming military documentation, I don't think there will be a definitive answer.



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 07:02 AM
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a reply to: mirageman

Yeah I chuckled when I hit 'post' and you'd been doing the same thing.

I ripped 26 old magazines off google books a few years ago and the app couldn't capture the resolution. They all feature historical UFO-related articles.

On that resolution thing, there's a high chance it's GIGO. We start with an image that has shaky provenance and then apply modern software filters until an object becomes clear - presto! There's a US ufologist who filtered the heck out the same image and discovered a flying saucer in the middle. I'm thinking it was one of the Roswell slides guys...or connected to him.

I'll watch that doco tonight (probably).



posted on Aug, 23 2015 @ 07:21 AM
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a reply to: Halfswede

I think the relevance here is that a rather underexposed negative image was used to create an "illustration" for the LA Times. People have studied that photo and claim it shows a large UFO at the centre of it for years. I am not sure who first suggested it was a UFO over LA that night. But without it there probably wouldn't have been a UFO story here.

Of course the night before there was a Japanese submarine attack launched on California. So it probably was war jitters. The Japanese denied they had sent any aircraft to the area that night so it probably rules out enemy aircraft. Could it have been a civilian aircraft that triggered the alert ? Maybe? But it would surely have been shot to pieces as it approached the coastal defences.

The irony is that the Battle of LA really may have been triggered by a weather balloon.
edit on 23/8/15 by mirageman because: typo




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