Nothing weird is out of bounds in this blog turned story series, read by me, Gary S. Pritchett. Each episode begins innocently enough, with a brief introduction, then quickly spirals into mayhem with a reading from one of my own books…or takes the listener on a journey, dragging legendary characters and creatures through time and space into fictitious versions of historical events. The line between mythology and accepted reality is sometimes blurred by a War Of The Worlds type recording, leaving you to decide where the myth ends and your imagination begins. Humor and sarcasm are usually involved in equal doses, and it is best to just listen while you drive…nothing you’ll hear is really happening. Or is it?
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Something else you should all know, I’m really bad at pronouncing names, maybe the worst ever. Just felt you should know. Anyway, now…onto the show.
Today we will do a sideways crawl back into 1942, discussing an event that has always fascinated me, The Battle of Los Angeles. We’ll follow that with a completely fictional story that involves a time traveling character from an H. G. Wells book, The Time Machine, written in 1895.
Do a search into this battle. Things said by officials about what happened in the air over LA are even further out there than my time traveler idea. Reporters of the day were weird too. They apparently pronounced the City Of Angels Los Ang-a-lees back then. Just when you think you’re sure about something, like the name of a major city, time and perspective throws you a curve ball…I like to say LA better anyway, so it’s all good.
Some witnesses claim a UFO appeared over the skies of the city in question…Or a weather balloon, or a blimp, or multiple aircraft, or something else altogether. Radars picked up an unidentified inbound target 120 miles west of LA, and by 2:21 am the UFO was within a few miles of the coast, so government officials told everyone living in the area to just turn off their lights, ignore the very loud sirens, and go to bed. Oh, and there won’t be any radio either, just because, you know, radio stations might tell you something completely different than the story being crafted in the war room.
This is a true UFO incident, because to this day, no one know for certain what was being blinded by searchlights while floating just above their heads. Guesses abound, but guesses are not facts, so this was the night our ever seeking UFO community was born, and X-Files fans could plan their first ever episode party.
At 3:16 on the morning in question the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing .50 caliber machine guns and 12.8 pound anti-aircraft shells into the air at reported aircraft: over 1400 shells would eventually be fired. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted, but their aircraft remained grounded, maybe because the pilots looked up and said, “Dude, they’re blowing up the sky where they want us to fly? Nope, that would just be silly. Not doing it.”
After that the information center was flooded with reports of up to 25 planes, or blimps, or balloons, or something in the air, because the mysterious object flying in from sea seems to have vanished from radar. That must have been the night that Photoshop was invented, because something was hanging out in the spotlighted photographs, but since the software copyrights weren’t yet filled, and computers were decades from being a thing, we shouldn’t talk about any of that.
Anti-aircraft guns were heard overhead shortly after 3am until 4:14 am, but a total blackout, including a complete radio blackout, was ordered by the Fourth Interceptor Command at 2:21 am. Yes, one hour before anything happened. So, like i said, nothing to see here, all you people that say you saw something, it was balloons. Or, as General George C. Martin believed, the incident might have been caused by commercial planes used as a psychological campaign to generate panic. And everyone knows that 18,000 pounds of anti-aircraft shells could never hit a commercial plane, right, sounds legit.
“The unidentified object, which some sources thought might have been a blimp, moved slowly down the coast from Santa Monica, and disappeared south of Long Beach.” It required nearly 30 minutes to travel 25 miles, which is much slower than an airplane. Flashing guns were seen by rooftop, and explosion’s could be felt in downtown Los Angeles, fifteen miles away. Intercepting planes were reported to have been dispatched, and planes were spotted through searchlights, even though, as we we know, the planes never took off because pilots are just too smart for that.
By 3:30 am observers said the object was over the coast south of Long Beach. Shells were frequently bursting around the object, but nothing could hit it. More than 1400 rounds were fired, but the only things damaged were a patio, and several buildings, and some cars…three civilians unfortunately died as an indirect result of all the shooting: three were killed in car accidents because of all the chaos, and two people of heart attacks attributed to the stress of the hour-long action.
A Japanese submarine did indeed fire 25 shells into an oilfield north of Santa Barbara Monday evening, this was the night before the interaction. Yes, a submarine fired and hit California, a lot of times…while President Roosevelt was giving one of his famous fireside reports to the nation…no wonder everyone was on edge…but a radio block-out mandated by an under agency of an under agency one night later, sure, that makes perfect sense.
Spielberg, and an all-star cast led by John Belushi, had fun with the event in the movie 1941, and made the term “War Nerves” a national sensation, in possibly the worst movie with the best cast ever. A photo published in the Los Angeles Times on February 26, 1942, has been used by several ufologists and conspiracy minded people as evidence of an ET visitation. Los Angeles Times writer Larry Harnisch noted that the retouched photo, along with faked newspaper headlines, were presented as true historical material in trailers for the film Battle: Los Angeles. He commented that “if the publicity campaign wanted to establish UFO research as nothing but lies and fakery, it couldn’t have done a better job.”
And that’s all the true stuff, seriously, all of that was really true. Now for the actual fiction. None of what I’m going to read is actually going on right now. Don’t freak out and hit play from this purely fictional and COMPLETELY made up part just to scare your little sister. That would just be rude. But do be sure to subscribe to fringeradionetwork.com in general, and this show in particular, in any way possible. There’s very little rude about that…and if you leave a review I’ll definitely forgive you.
So, here’s the part I made up:
“This is Jack Robert Thompson, and you’ve tuned your radio to KGFJ in Los Angeles. This is our 15th year of broadcasting from midnight to 6 in the morning, but never has any night seen the sights of this one. I’m certain history will know that i must not be the only person breaking the law tonight. We are all under a blackout, every house light and radio station has been dimmed into nothingness. All but us. We are broadcasting because no one else will.
“I am alone here, reaching out to everyone out there, and I pray that you are all alive and well. I need to think that those at home with children are safely inside, far away from these terrible explosions in the sky. There is no way to sleep with the air raid sirens wailing through the darkness, and maybe you shouldn’t even try to rest. At least the spotlights and search beams give some light to cut through the smoking clouds of spent ammunition. I feel the need to ask at least one of you with no little ones to comfort, someone who is a reporter at heart, and is as alone as I am, to venture outside into the danger, and tell me what is floating around up there, just watching us scurry about down here.
“If you have braved this night, write down everything you see or hear. I have been given no information about what evil awaits morning’s light. You will have to be the eyes and ears of the world now, and your story will need to be passed down to any generation that hopefully will come questioning after us.
“What I do know is this: It is 3:45 am, February 25th, 1942, and air raid sirens are warning of attack. What might be attacking? No one knows. I, Jack Robert Thompson, saw a glowing flying object at the vortex of upturned search lights, only moments before entering the station. This thing seemed to blink in and out of time and space. When an explosion occurred beside it, the unidentified object just vanished before returning moments later. What man could create such a vessel? Surly no one alive today has that ability.
“If any brave soul is near our location, and has information, I implore you to come on air with me and tell the world what you have seen.”
Seconds later, the door opens. A man wearing tattered clothing, from an unrecognizable age, enters the room. Jack’s eye’s widen, and he waves the stranger in closer. He pulls a chair near, and moves to it, while asking the curious traveler to sit in his spot beside the microphone.
The unexpected guest walks around the room, touching cords and buttons, seeming to Jack that he might be conducting some sort of inspection. As he passes, and sits at the helm, Jack smells gunpowder, and sees that the stranger’s arms are blackened, and his pants are threadbare. Mr. Thompson is taken back by the odd fellow’s appearance, quizzical stare into the microphone, and his apparent interest in the electrical lights overhead.
Jack says, “We have a guest that has just arrived! Sir, tell our listeners your name, and what you have seen.”
“What are listeners?” Replies the stranger.
“Here, speak into the microphone and teach us what you know. My good man, just start talking.”
“Microphone? Is that what this metallic device is? What does it do?”
“You, of course, use it to talk to anyone listening. Through radio waves, you know, stop toying with me sir, there is no time for this now.” Jack is nearing his limit, this person has to know what a radio station is, and what a microphone does.
“Radio waves!” The stranger exclaims. “Traveling out through the ether from this standing object? People outside of this room will actually hear what we say? How brilliant. I’ve seen odder creations these last few years. Why not, I’ll play along.”
Jack nods, and the stranger continues.
“Listeners.” Looking to Jack for approval, “The greeting I received on this night has been far from welcoming. My time machine, and I, are much worse for the experience. A fellow in the year 2032 told me that I must absolutely come here tonight, and that I would be the toast of the town. Now, I understand.
He wanted me to instead be toasted by the town. This is the last time that I travel backward without doing any research into events on the date of my arrival.”
Jack leans back into his chair, crosses his arms, and says only, “Continue.”
“Very well. My name is Moses. Not that Moses, of course. Probably. Anyway, I was thinking about going back to my home in 1895, but was told that the morning of February 25th, on your beautiful coastal beach, would be far more pleasurable. The historian I was debating at the time did not seem to appreciate how near his daughter was leaning against my side; and he blurted out that your current date contained the best that humanity would ever have to offer. The most beautiful women, the best food, and all the wealth a man can carry, given free of charge. I will be less trusting of fathers going forward. Not since Weena has someone been as nice to me as this girl, and I let my guard down. I thought that this gentleman must be as kind as the rest of his family. I was obviously mistaken.”
“Wait” Sam said, “you mentioned a time machine, and the name Weena…are you being serious with me, sir. You’re telling me YOU are the Traveller that H. G. Wells wrote about? Who put you up to this flight of fancy?”
“It was certainly a fancy flight, I can you tell that.” The Traveler joked. “Those lights outside blinded me, and it was all I could do to avoid becoming the target those live rounds were aimed at. Is this how all visitors are greeted on the California coast? You people must have a terrible problem with immigration. I was just going to settle in for a few days, and enjoy your beautiful weather. But no, it is much hotter here than I’d expected. And loud too, can’t forget that. A handle was blown loose from my machine, and it landed just outside your door. While retrieving it, I noticed that yours was the only lighted structure around, so in I came, hoping for a spot of drink and something to eat. You have offered me only communication with imaginary listeners through this microphone, so I will be off now. Maybe I’ll stop at that base in Antarctica before returning home, is it still cool there this time of year?”
“Yes,” Jack replied, “It is always quite cool there anytime of year. Take my jacket, you’ll need it. Before you go, is there anything you can tell me that will prove your story? Who should I bet on in the World Series this year?”
Not really expecting an answer, he received one anyway. “I will tell you this. The historian was a fan of your sporting teams, and he did tell me that this would be something I can use as a bargaining chip. The St. Louis Cardinals will be victorious in 1942, and the New York Yankees will claim the throne in 1943. Good luck in your future, and it rarely pays to be a betting man, but on these two choices I would bet heavily.
“Another thing, I do know a few things about you, sir. Your young son Hunter is going to become an incredible writer. That boy will set the world on its ear. You won’t need to worry about his success. Mental stability, maybe, but none the less, he will be a brilliant success. Please don’t ask me anything more about him, or I might seem even more gonzo crazy than i already must.
“Oh, save all the coins you can too. 1964 will be the last year real silver is used in them, trust me, your monetary system will go straight downhill from there. Remember what we’ve discussed. I doubt anyone else will know unless you tell them. On that note, good morning, invest wisely, and goodbye.”
The Traveller departed as curiously as he’d arrived, and Jack Thompson sat stunned in his chair for longer than he realized. The sirens had long since stopped, and sunlight was now filtering in through the studio window.
He speaks slowly into the microphone. “What if this has all been true? That fellow couldn’t have been riding the glowing object I saw in the sky, just blinking in and out of existence – could he really have a flying time machine?”
The morning man arrives to assume the reins, and asks ‘How was it in here last night? Keeping your thoughts all to yourself in a blacked out station must have felt strange.”
He walks over to Jack and continues, “It was crazy out there, but things have calmed down now. Wish I had some clue what was going on.”
Jack asks him, “Weren’t you listing to my show? I broadcasted right through the blackout, and I reported exactly what happened. I even interviewed someone who told me he was in the know. Didn’t you hear any of that?”
The man walks to the microphone, traces the cord, and holds up the plug, “A broadcast always goes better when you plug this thing in.”
You have been listening to Mythos, written and read by me, Gary S. Pritchett. Mythos is brought to you by The Fringe Radio Network, that’s Fringe radio network, fringeradionetwork.com.
A link to my books on Amazon.com is in the show notes, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Tell a friend, and leave a review. Remember that shout-outs are coming soon.
If there are any strange events that you want someone to explore, tell me in the comment box. We just might use them, and say thanks to you in an upcoming episode.
And until next time, thank you for listening to Mythos.