On a summer day in1955, a group of children ranging in age from four to ﬁfteen years had one of the most frightening, sustained and out-and-out bizarre alien encounters ever chronicled. Over the course of hours these children endured a series of events so outlandish that it’s nearly impossible to categorize the case.
This series of truly astonishing events began at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 22, 1955, in the picturesque Casa Blanca neighborhood in Riverside County, California. That day a group of about eight boys were playing in the garden of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, the parents of one of the children.
That child, one Kermit Douglas, was wrestling on the lawn with another boy when he suddenly noticed a strange object hovering in the air above them.
The kids stopped playing and stared skyward at the translucent, yet radiant, dome-like structure until it abruptly vanished.
A moment later a second object appeared with a distinct musical “ping”. This resembled a disc hovering on its side, which at times seemed to be spinning. When it did so, the lines of light emanating from it seemed to be “bent round” the rotating structure in what was an apparent breakdown of traditional physics.
Within seconds the group of children became transfixed by the “semi-transparent” objects, which were “round like basketballs” and consisted of various colors like red, blue and orange, but mostly silver.
Theses bizarre orbs and domes were repeatedly vanishing and re-appearing with the high pitched pings ringing out with every flash. This ethereal display went on for some time, but whenever one of the children ran into their homes to call their parents outside the odd objects suddenly disappeared.
This apparent awareness on the part of the UFOs (or its occupants) regarding who happened to be watching them was odd enough, but when Blanche Campbell screamed for her mother to come outside and see the display, the UFOs remained completely visible to the children, but could not be seen by the adult.
At ﬁrst the group were fascinated by this amazing aerial extravaganza, but without warning the phenomena transformed from a colorful display evoking a sense of child-like wonder to an alarmingly bizarre series of encounters with a group of inexplicable entities.
The kids started in astonishment as one of the more beautiful and brightly colored objects landed in a football ﬁeld about half a block away from the children. One of the witnesses described the colossal orb as being:
“…about as large as three houses put together…[and that] it was very beautiful and colorful.”
The massive UFO hovered three feet off the ground, but as the group began to migrate toward it two of the boys suddenly became aware of something moving near the house next door to the Douglas home.
Stunned, boys claimed they saw a translucent being roughly the size of a four-year old child, floating just off the ground near the house. They described creature has having:
“…a big red mouth, big red eyes. And four round objects on his face which sparkled like diamonds… where his nose should be.”
As if that weren’t weird enough, where its legs and feet ought to have been was just a tapering rounded nub. They also noticed a belt around its waist with a disc-shaped buckle that shone like a bright mirror, dazzling the children. At this point, the youngsters were becoming terrified, and broke into: “shouts, screams, and floods of tears.”
One of the horrified kids nearly plowed over his own mother as she sprinted outside to see what the panic was all about — needless to say, like all other adults who had come outside to see what the commotion was all about, she saw nothing.
The rest of the group who remained outside speedily left the hovering thing behind to get a better look at the object floating above the football field. As the kids arrived at the sprawling field a 7 year-old boy became transfixed and began walking toward the object, saying it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Two of the older boys, concerned for his welfare, tackled the seemingly hypnotized kid before he could get too close to the UFO.
It was then that all hell broke loose. Marvin Simms claimed that UFOs began to descend from the sky, appearing and disappearing at a rapid pace, stating that they: “…sort of spiraled down, and when they took off they disappeared with a whirling motion.”
One landed on a nearby rooftop while another apparently knocked a branch off a walnut tree. A third flew past with a long antenna: “…which seemed to emit some kind of ray.”
At the same time one of the boys was startled to see a disembodied, child-sized, silver arm beckoning to him from mid-air from about 20-feet away.
The arm appeared to be clad in some sort of riveted armor or protective shielding. Although the report fails to mention whether or not the unnamed boy responded to the gesturing, free-floating limb, one can hope that he had the good sense to run in the opposite direction.
Yet another boy told reporters that he saw a “strange man” in the field who was gripping two gun-like devices with which he temporarily paralyzed a pair of his friends.
While this description of a fast shooting, futuristic gun wielding he-man instantly invokes images of James Cameron’s “Terminator” in many modern minds, one can only imagine how perplexing (not to mention terrifying) such a vision must have been to kids weened on the altogether more wholesome television exploits of “Davey Crockett” and “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger“.
As if all of these inexplicable happenings weren’t weird enough; it was then that an opening appeared on the side of the massive craft and out floated one of the strangest creatures ever recorded in either paranormal, cryptozoological or ufological lore.
According to the eye witnesses, the thing that emerged from the huge orb was about three and a half feet tall, with red eyes and a red mouth like the other hovering, ghost-like creature. This one also had a rounded head and four diamond like objects embedded in its face that resembled nostrils.
Unlike the first creature this being was solid and seemed to have an undulating, satiny white epidermis or was perhaps clad head to toe in a diaphanous coverall.
Arguably its most bizarre characteristics were its odd series of appendages consisting of four legs that ended in rounded nubs and two arms that split at the elbow to grow into two sets of forearms on each side with a hand attached to each. In total the thing had two arms, four forearms, four hands and four tentacle-like legs… making this a truly alien apparition!
One of the boys, Ronnie Strickland, claimed that the floating, multi-limbed entity “spoke to him” and told him to climb up into a nearby tree, whereupon it promised to pick him up in ﬁfteen minutes time. He and another boy apparently climbed the tree in a trance-like state, and the earthbound children confirmed that another UFO approached, right on schedule.
This Saturn-shaped vehicle had a stationary outer rim and a rotating central part that made a “swishing” sound. According to the kids a group of “little men” were seen climbing out onto the rim in an attempt to reach Strickland and his friend and help the hypnotized boys aboard.
The panicking children — no doubt fearing that their friends might be abducted, never to be returned — pleaded with the two boys to come down, but they refused and continued to focus on the rotating UFO: “…with a fixed stare.”
In a brilliant piece of ingenuity, some of the youngsters ran for a nearby garden hose attached to one of the neighbor’s homes. The lengthy tube reached the tree and the intrepid kids began to douse their friends with water in an attempt to bring them out of their trance.
One of the boys snapped back to reality and climbed down the tree, but Strickland remained in a daze and “sort of slid off” the branch he was perched on and apparently levitated onto a nearby rooftop. Still in a stupor, Strickland proceeded to walk right off the edge of the roof. Blanche Campbell later claimed that she had watched in horror as Strickland had:
“…turned red before he jumped off the house.”
Although the boy landed on his head, he mercifully suffered no permanent injury from the long fall. But when he came to Strickland could recollect nothing of what had happened to him and steadfastly refused to believe that he had floated to the roof and stepped off of his own accord when informed of his actions by the others.
Following Strickland’s potentially ruinous spill, the multiplicity of UFOs and their various (and increasingly more outlandish) inhabitants abruptly disappeared, never to be seen again. Perhaps it was all fun and games for these otherworldly entities until Strickland’s fall brought a more serious note to the proceedings. Perhaps they simply grew bored, or maybe their mission — as unfathomable as it may have been to mere Earthlings — was accomplished.
Either way, these myriad creatures and their multifaceted vehicles departed as swiftly as they had arrived leaving the befuddled children to a lifetime of wonder and, one can only assume, more than a few lingering psychological traumas to work their way through. According to famed UFO researcher, Ted Bloecher:
“After this, the objects, with their paranormal pilots, disappeared; but when the Riverside Press reporter arrived, about an hour later, one of the little boys was still crying.”
in 1978, Bloecher and fellow researcher Isabel Davis detailed the extraordinary series of humanoid, extraterrestrial and cryptid encounters that seemed to riddle the United States during the mid-1950s in an invaluable report titled: “Close Encounter at Kelly and Others of 1955”
Among the array of cases covered by Bloecher in the report is that of the Casa Blanca (sometimes known as the Riverside) Entities. In his summation of the encounter, Bloecher wrestles with the perplexing nature of the event in question:
“This extraordinary incident — manifestation may be a better word — lacks sufficient information to come to any final conclusions. Even so, available data are sufficient to conclude that something bizarre and inexplicable occurred that afternoon at Casa Blanca; that the children alone were able to perceive it; and that whatever it was, it appears to be directly related to an area of UFO phenomena suggestive of certain types of parapsychological experiences.”
The question of whether these entities were extraterrestrial, inter-dimensional, biological, parapsychological or merely phantasmagoric manifestations of the children’s collective imaginations remains open and, as such, is still intensely fascinating (and deeply frustrating) for all of us who ponder its implications… not only for the the children who bore witness to this prolonged and disturbing series of incidents, but for the human race as a whole. For if the intentions of these presumably “superior beings” are to at best mess with our minds and at worse abscond away with our children for purposes too terrifying to contemplate, then it seems that we’re all in for a whole lot of grief.
It bears mentioning that the infamous alien attack on the Sutton family now known worldwide as the Kelly–Hopkinsville encounter (or, as it used to be referred, the Hopkinsville Goblins Case) took place with in the same 24-hour span as the Casa Blanca incident. Though there are no readily apparent connections between these two events — save that the interlopers were ostensibly extraterrestrial — it surely must be registered as one of the most astonishing days in the history of ufology!
A few days following the harrowing events, a trio of investigators from the Borderland Sciences Research Association — Winona Cromwell, Jean Rowland (who created all of the original sketches based on her discussions with the eyewitnesses) and the aptly named Mary Starbuck — interviewed the children involved with the event and concluded their report with the statement that they felt certain that the kids were telling the truth, stating:
“…for they have been, and still are, very frightened, so that it will be a long time before they forget what they have experienced.”
Which, for my money, ranks as one of the all-time greatest understatements in the history of paranormal research.
Rob Morphy is an artist / journalist / filmmaker / graphic designer / crypto historian / podcaster / co-founder of American Monsters, Cryptopia and Cryptonaut Podcast