A SPECTACULAR VIEW
Anyone who lives or spends significant time in Three Rivers is well familiar with the view of Alta Peak and Moro Rock. It is an iconic, coveted view. Furthermore, once someone points out one key feature, it is utterly elephantine in nature. But during a late July more than 65 years ago, it was a view with something far more remarkable to see than just an imagined pachyderm etched by the tree line.
In his 1955 book, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, retired Major Donald Keyhoe recounted how a “giant ship” had been sighted near that cherished elephant. Keyhoe wrote that a “huge saucer had raced past Moro Rock in Sequoia-Kings National Park, its brilliant yellow glow lighting a nearby canyon.” The book even claimed that the park superintendent himself saw this enormous UFO.
Indeed, The Fresno Bee reported on July 28, 1953, under the headline “Mystery Flashes in Parks Baffle Officials, Visitors,” that the “most definite view of the light display was reported by Superintendent E.T. Scoyen, who said he and his wife were sitting on the terrace of their Ash Mountain residence… when there was a streak of bright yellow light between them and Moro Rock, up the canyon. About 10 seconds later, he said, a big yellow ball about 1,000 feet in diameter rose from that point.”
The Bee report noted the light had also been seen by residents in Visalia, a camper near Mehrten Creek above Hospital Rock, and by Mr. and Mrs. Sam Pusateri of Three Rivers, who commented that “the light seemed to drift down the canyon.”
The Visalia Times-Delta also reported on what was described as resembling “a ball of fire rolling near the rugged mountain tops of Sequoia National Park.” The paper noted the report had come from “responsible persons” but also opined that “phenomena such as these grip the imagination” and that “the theories regarding what causes them are as abundant as the stars in the universe.”
For several nights, several others saw the strange lights, mysterious flashes and, as Keyhoe later wrote, “the huge machine as it streaked over the area.” Three Rivers resident and Ash Mountain entrance station ranger Carl Buehler wrote a report concerning “the appearance of a cigar-shaped air vehicle which appeared four days in succession and maneuvered around Moro Rock.” Incident at Moose Lake
A LOCAL UFOLOGIST
Carl Buehler, for years after, would publicly speak out on the existence of UFOs, becoming a local expert of sorts on the subject. Buehler, a veteran of World Wars I and II and a former pilot, once described a UFO he and his wife witnessed in 1946. Near the Kaweah River, they saw a “round disc-like object, almost immobile, with an undulating movement which hung there for five minutes.” Incident at Moose Lake
Buehler related how the “golden glow of the object changed to a bright white light which blinded us momentarily, then disappeared. It went straight up.” The Three Rivers resident later became a member of the National Committee on Aerial Phenomena and was frequently a guest speaker at civic organizations throughout the area. Incident at Moose Lake
In addition to his official duties as a park ranger at Sequoia National Park, Buehler served for years as a member of the Ground Observer Corps, logging and compiling sightings of any type of aircraft from the numerous fire lookouts throughout the 1,200 square miles of the parks. Each week, he would compile reports from these fire lookouts, together with sightings from his station in Sequoia, and forward this to the United States Air Force, which supervised and for whose benefit the Ground Observer operation was conducted. The sightings that occurred in Sequoia in July 1953, including by the park superintendent himself, would undoubtedly have been among the most noteworthy Buehler ever forwarded to the Air Force. Incident at Moose Lake
Both Carl Buehler and Major Donald Keyhoe later claimed that the Air Force, being alerted to what was happening for several days that summer of ’53, actually scrambled jets from a nearby airbase. Keyhoe, whose book argued there was a long-going government coverup of the UFO phenomenon, wrote that “though the Air Force refused to admit it, interceptors were reported diving toward the low-flying, giant saucer.” Buehler noted, however, that the mystery vehicle, as if warned by radar, “took off at fantastic speed and disappeared within seconds.” It must have been quite a show to anyone in Three Rivers looking up at that view. Incident at Moose Lake
A MYSTERIOUS PLACE
Not far from Alta Peak is a place that even today hikers say has a reputation for weird occurrences. Moose Lake is just east of the 11,343-foot high mountain, in an area of stark and desolate beauty.
The alpine lake is situated above timberline at 10,500 feet with vast open views of the Great Western Divide to the east. When viewed from the Tablelands just to its north, Moose Lake is said to appear tilted, as if it couldn’t possibly hold water. Incident at Moose Lake
And the story that one contemporary hiker — who, himself, once observed a stunning, unexplainable light show over Black Kaweah and the Kaweah Peaks Ridge — relayed to me recently is, itself, tilted, and I wonder if it really holds water. But it is not my place to judge. Incident at Moose Lake
In the next installment of Sierra Paranormal, this story of high strangeness continues, courtesy of a tip from John Uhlir of Three Rivers. We will meet an extraordinary, out-of-this-world visitor who showed up not long after those mysterious lights appeared above Alta Peak and a huge saucer circled Moro Rock back in the 1950s.
This bizarre individual was encountered along the Wolverton trail, not too far from Moose Lake. We will examine the little-known case of the visitor from…Incident at Moose Lake
Tune in and log on next time to find out a lot more about this mysterious stranger.