Yesterday, while scouting locations for people to stay during our upcoming wedding, my fiancee and I stumbled across a place important to the history of both California and the United States. We'd pulled into Oak Knoll Campground,
on Sate Highway 76 east of Pauma Valley and near La Jolla Indian Reservation. The campground is on the lower slopes of Mount Palomar, site of the famous observatory. Somehow the name didn't register with me until we'd gone inside the clubhouse, where teenagers were playing pool. There, tacked to the wall, were posters and news articles related to George Adamski
: It was here that he claimed to have studied his UFOs.
Adamski was one of the foremost UFOlogists of the 1950s, and in his books, such as Flying Saucers Have Landed
and Inside the Flying Saucers
, he describes first how he observed the flying ships and later how he met Orthon, a Venusian, and later people from other planets, who gave him spiritual knowledge. Before being a UFO guru, Adamski had established an order of Tibetan Lamas in Los Angeles.
There's not much for the UFOlogist to see at the Campground these days. I'd read in the paper at one point that they planned on building a small museum to Adamski, but nothing seems to have been done and I think the place has changed owners since then. We met one of the owners and his son nineteen-year-old Skyler, who manages the place and seems to be quite the salesman already. They've done extensive renovations (and are doing more), and have installed some very nice cabins. They also seem interested in keeping the Adamski story alive. "We haven't had a chance to meet him yet," Skyler told us, though we told him a couple of times he'd been dead many years. "He's not dead, he's just gone home -- like Elvis," his father chuckled. A paperback copy of Flying Saucers Have Landed
sat on their table, which Skyler told us he'd just started reading. Earlier, he'd taken us out to see the exact spot where it supposedly all began. "He was standing exactly three feet to the left of the flagpole when he saw the first ship," we were told.