On the evening of February 24, 1942, air raid sirens went off throughout Los Angeles County. A total blackout was ordered and air raid wardens were summoned to position. At 3:16 a.m., the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells at a reported unidentified aircraft. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but stayed grounded. Artillery fire continued until the 4:14 a.m., over 1,400 shells fired. An “all clear” was sounded and a blackout order lifted at 7:21 a.m. Three civilians were killed, another three died of heart attacks, several buildings were damaged. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the incident a “false alarm.” Newspapers of the time published a number of sensational reports and speculations of a cover-up. Some modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft. When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of “war nerves” likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.
It’s Friday, February 24
Artwork by Adam Meredith is on display through March 25 at the Janice Mason Art Museum in Cadiz. Meredith specializes in historically themed figurative graphite drawings and photography. He also constructs miniature buildings, which will be included in the exhibit. The opening reception is tonight from 5 to 7.
Murray Preschool, Head Start, and Early Head Start will hold registration for the 2012-2013 school year next Friday from 8 to 3. Registration for children ages four and under will be held on the first floor of Alexander Hall, located on North 16th Street. For more information, call 809-3262.
Author Jennifer Trafton will give a reading and sign copies of her novel, “The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic,” tomorrow at 11:30 at the University Book and Bean. Trafton’s debut novel tells the story of one brave girl’s efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible. For more information, call 761-BOOK.
Find more community events at wkms.org, where you can also learn about supporting public radio. Thanks.