This week I’m writing about one of my all-time favorite cases, and it comes from the very heart of California. The case was originally investigated by Paul Cerney of NICAP back in 1965, and has been looked at by many notable scientists and ufologists since then. It was even the subject of an episode of NBC’s “Project U.F.O.” that aired on May 7, 1978. Although the episode disregarded all the facts, it still showed that there was more interest in the subject than was let on. Due to the main participants fear of losing his job at Aerojet Corporation in Sacramento, he remained anonymous until only recently, so the story faded to obscurity until brought to light recently by authors, researchers and MUFON Field Investigators, Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte.
Last week I attended CERO International’s presentation of Noe and Ruben’s book; “Alien’s In the Forest” in Culver City, and was able to hear their presentation first-hand. I also had a chance to ask my friends Ruben and Noe a few questions. I have been pushing many industry professionals to make a movie out of their book because this case is so fascinating. I urge everyone to order a copy of it through roswellbooks.com. So here’s what happened on that fateful day.
On September 4, 1964, three friends who were also all employees of Aerojet Corporation in Sacramento, California, decided to take a hunting trip into an area of the Tahoe National Forest east of Sacramento known as Cisco Grove. It was not rifle season yet, but that did not stop them, as they were all equipped with bows and arrows. The group consisted of Tim Trueblood, Vincent Alvarez, and the main witness Donald Shrum. It should be noted that all of the men were avid hunters, and had extensive experience in survival outdoors.
Shortly after the three made camp they headed out in a southward direction. They had all agreed that if they got separated and it got dark, they would just hunker down until morning and then return to camp. As they headed south they began to separate, and before too long it began to get dark. Donald Shrum was not worried about being on his own in the forest, and had prepared himself for the possibility of spending a night in a tree by bringing a military style belt with which to strap himself into a tree if need be. He was just getting ready to climb into a tree for the night when he saw a light in the distance. His first thought was that it was a Forest Service plane or helicopter, so he stepped in between two fires that he had made on the rocks previously, and began to wave his arms and scream. The light turned towards him, and he recalls feeling relieved until it got to about sixty yards from him and hovered. It was then that he realized that what he was looking at was “from outer space” and he started to panic, throwing his bow up into the tree before hand-walking the branch and pulling himself up after it. He still at this point thought he was only looking at an eight-inch glowing sphere, but as the craft completed a sweeping arc beside him in the canyon he could see the outline of the whole craft and understood the gigantic size of the object he was observing.
What he came to call the “Mother Ship” was a cylindrical craft about one hundred and fifty feet in circumference, with three large lit vertical panels evenly spaced in the middle of the craft. Suddenly the three panels opened up, starting as vertical slits then widening, and a smaller ship flew out the bottom part of the center panel. Donald Shrum would later refer to this craft as the “scout ship”. Though not getting a completely clear view of it after it left the larger ship, Mr. Shrum did see it land on the nearby ridge clearly enough to see that it had a little light on top of what looked like a flying saucer.
Shortly after he witnessed the landing of the saucer craft on the ridge, he heard trampling in the nearby brush moving in his direction, followed by the appearance of two humanoids. Mr. Shrum witnessed them breaking off brush and examining it closely as they moved through it. They proceeded to a spot directly under where he was in the tree and looked up directly at him. It was at this moment he recalls, that he knew he was “fingered”.
The humanoids were four to five feet tall, although Mr. Shrum says it was hard to tell for sure because he was looking down at them. They were wearing a one-piece silvery suit with “puffy joints”, and although the faces appeared too dark to distinguish any characteristics, the eyes looked similar to welding goggles, and were about two inches in diameter each.
At this time another being joined the first two, this one appearing more robotic than others. As it was picking it’s way down the rocks Mr. Shrum could see that it had two flashing orange eyes. It came down to the flat rock that the tree he was in was on, and looked up at him. It then ran its hand through what was left of his fire, scattering the embers. Mr. Shrum remembers its eyes very vividly as being red-orange and flickering like fire. He is still not sure to this day if the other being was a robot, or just another of the humanoids but in a different type of suit, but suddenly it turned aggressive.
The robot positioned itself directly under Mr. Shrum, and raised a hand to its helmet and appeared to be fidgeting with some kind of controls on the helmet. All of a sudden a shot of vapor rose from its helmet toward Mr. Shrum as its face lit up. Mr. Shrum blacked out instantly from the vapor, and the only thing that kept him in the tree was the fact that he fell over his bow and it prevented him from falling further. Donald Shrum carried a sixty-pound bow on hunting trips, and at that close of range he was to the robot it had the same knockdown power as a rifle. When he came to, he shot an arrow directly at the robot, striking it in the chest amid a shower of sparks that resembled an arc-welder. The force of the arrow knocked the robot back against the rock, and almost knocked it down completely! Mr. Shrum fired two more arrows at the robot, and the two humanoids took off into the brush about thirty feet away. When asked later why he only fired at the robot, and not the other two humanoids, Mr. Shrum replied that he didn’t feel threatened by the other two, only by the robot.
Throughout the whole ordeal, it was Donald Shrum’s quick thinking and wit, combined with the skills acquired by someone who has hunted in the forest for most of his life, that properly armed him to fight back against his alien attackers. Whenever Mr. Shrum went hunting he always made sure to carry lots of books of matches with him. Also, back then it was fashionable for men to use lots of hair oil when styling their hair, so his hunting cap was of course soaked with the stuff. When they tried to approach him again, Mr. Shrum lit his cap on fire, which instantly blazed up, and he dropped it to the base of the tree where they were gathered. They all jumped back about fifteen feet from the tree, and the “Mother Ship” that had been hovering level with Mr. Shrum in the canyon the whole time, suddenly took off toward space so fast that it was just “star size” in the space of a second. Mr. Shrum burned whatever he could to keep them at bay, even wrapping pinecones with torn strips of cloth from his shirt to throw down at his attackers. Even though it was only thirty-three degrees out and he was shaking with cold, Donald Shrum ended up burning everything but his T-shirt and jeans in his fight to survive the night.
At one point Mr. Shrum even threw some change down at them. They examined it intently, and interestingly after the ordeal was over Mr. Shrum looked for his change and it could not be found. He even wrapped his compass in strips of cloth and lit it on fire to try to toss into the brush further away to start a fire since there was none left under the tree he was in, hoping that the flames would attract “the cavalry”. When he ran out of stuff to burn, Mr. Shrum headed for the top of the tree. The tree was very sparse, and he had no trouble seeing the ground from there. As they tried to approach him again, he broke off the top of the tree and threw it down at them. Any time that he would throw something down at them, or shake the tree, they would back off.
It soon became a cycle of them gassing him, him passing out, coming to as they were trying to climb up to him, and he throwing something down to stop them. He knew that he had never blacked out for long because each time he came to, they were just starting to boost each other up the tree in an attempt to reach him. This all took place over many hours during the night.
Finally after an undetermined amount of time a second robot appeared, and walked up to a position where it was facing the first one, directly under Mr. Shrum. A “weird type of energy” passed between them and then a huge cloud of vapor rose up towards Mr. Shrum where he was tied in to the tree with his military belt near the top, instantly rendering him unconscious. When he came to from that he was hanging from the branch by his belt, with his head and feet hanging down, and his attackers were gone. Mr. Shrum recalls that it was light out at this point, but the sun was not up yet.
When Donald Shrum stumbled into camp that next morning after his all-night ordeal, both Trueblood and Alvarez could tell by his disheveled appearance that he had been through some sort of traumatic experience. Mr. Shrum was visibly shaken, and much of his clothing was missing. Later Vincent Alvarez filled out an affidavit stating that he had witnessed the larger “Mother Ship” from his position near camp as it came down out of the atmosphere and went to a different part of the forest.
When Donald Shrum returned home and told his family what had happened to him, the were understandably worried about what effects he might have been exposed to, such as radiation, so he underwent some medical tests. Mr. Shrum was worried about his security clearance at his job at Aerojet, so his name was never associated with the case until many years later. However Mr. Shrum’s mother-in-law had taken some classes at the local college, and knew an astronomer there. She told him, mistakenly thinking he could help, and he in turn called the local Air Force base. The Air Force wasted no time contacting the Shrum’s, and setting up an appointment for them to speak to two “representatives”.
The appointment was made for them to meet at an empty house amongst the off base housing at McClelland AFB. The two “representatives” presented themselves as being from the base, but it was later uncovered that they were actually dispatched from none other than Wright-Patterson AFB. Mrs. Shrum was deeply disturbed by both the empty house and the demeanor of the two men, who did there best to dissuade Donald Shrum from what he had seen, even suggesting at one point that what he had seen was nothing more than Boy Scouts on a camping trip! At the same time apparently, they also sent out a crack team to the site in an effort to recover any evidence that might have been left at the scene. Mr. Shrum knows this because when he returned to the site himself to look for the other arrow, it was freshly raked and littered with cigarette butts. The Air Force men that questioned him also took the two main arrowheads, one of which had a lot of the material present on it from when it struck the robot. Although they promised to return the arrowheads when they were finished with their analysis, Mr. Shrum never saw them again. It is known that one ended up with famed investigator J. Allen Hynek.
As far as any lasting effects of Donald Shrum’s encounter, he said that for a year afterward he’d have a terrible nightmare where he’d wake up screaming “those eyes, those eyes!” He also developed a peculiar buzzing in his ears that would occur from time to time, and which he always attributed to them “being near”.