Folk Beliefs

Blue Mountain Flying Saucers

Informant: Grandma Johnson once saw a flying saucer. Yes, she saw it—saw it hover, and then it landed in a field by her house. And when she went to go look at it, there was a—a burnt place, in the field. A burnt area.

Me: Did anyone else see it?

Informant: Not that one, no. Grandma Johnson saw that one. But one of the other families in town—their two little girls, they saw a flying saucer land near their house. And they wanted to go out and look, too—to investigate—but their parents, oh, they wouldn’t let them. They were hysterical! They wouldn’t even let them outside, they were so worried they’d go looking.

The informant (my grandmother) was born in Missouri and has lived in Berkeley, CA for close to sixty years. She has always been a remarkably hard worker; she was raised by her uncle on his farm, where she more than carried her own weight, and, after completing four years at Penn State (where she was the only female Chemistry major at the time), she insisted on paying her uncle back every dime of her tuition. The informant moved out to California, went to graduate school at Mills College, and became a nutritionist working with nursing homes and other care facilities to develop standards for feeding different types of patients. After having two sons, the informant became the President of the Parents Association for the Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA and remained an active member of the Claremont Book Club.

“Grandma Johnson” is the informant’s mother (born and buried in Blue Mountain, Missouri, despite having moved to Berkeley, CA for several years to be cared for by the informant), so the date of this flying saucer viewing would have occurred a little fewer than one hundred years prior to 2015, the date of the collection. Today, a Google search of Blue Mountain, Missouri yields one major result—the Blue Mountain Methodist Camp. The area, the informant says, has not changed too much; the landscape is still predominately rural, low to lower middle class, and religious.

UFO and flying saucer sightings tend to occur in regions of America (specifically America; the United States has an undeniable fascination with extraterrestrials) where there is less light pollution and a lot more open space (a flying saucer landing in a city would cause innumerable damage, but a landing in, say, a corn field, might be more discreet). The informant delivered her mother’s encounter with a flying saucer to me in a way which I believe indicates that the informant, too, believes in extraterrestrial contact with Earth.

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