Flying Saucers over Orange County


Along with every other ten-year-old, red-blooded sci-fi kid in the mid-1970s, I studied up on UFO sightings until I could reel off sighting details and photo analysis the way other kids tracked sports statistics. Since my crappy eyesight wasn’t going to get me a ticket off the planet via NASA, I figured that my best bet was to hitch a ride on an alien spaceship.

I was particularly fascinated by the famous set of saucer photos taken in Santa Ana in August 1965 by an O.C. highway worker. Most of the famous UFO photos were taken somewhere far away like Brazil, Spain, or Oregon (when you’re 10, everything is far away), but here was one taken a couple towns over on Myford Rd. in Santa Ana (Irvine now). Hell, I’d ridden my bike over that same patch of road. All I’d have to do was hang out a bit and stick my thumb out for a ride.

Assuming that the whole thing wasn’t a hoax of course…

I hadn’t thought about those pictures, or even UFOs in awhile until recently so I figured I’d poke around some sites and see what folks were talking about. And if you’ve been reading so far, take a wild guess…

The Society for Scientific Exploration has a 40 page report on the photos along with some details I didn’t know. After the photos got some media attention, photographer Rex Heflin was approached by some NORAD personnel who asked him for the photos and warned him to not discuss the sighting any further. Heflin obliged, and to no one’s surprise now, the photos disappeared. That is until 1993, when they mysteriously reappeared in Heflin’s mailbox.

Honestly, the whole thing smells like fish with claims of hoax, brief legitimacy, and counterhoax but I still love the photos as some local pop culture.

By the way, there’s a lot of words expended in those links on the “dust cloud” below the saucer in photo 1. It’s not a dust cloud, but a cluster of weeds growing next to a water canister used in the irrigation for that field. You used to see these canisters adjacent to the roads all over south county but they’re gone along with the fields. Hell, even Myford Rd. is gone now – it’s old alignment (as seen in the photo) is now part of the Jamboree / CA-261 interchange.

About Chris Barrus

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