Monthly Archives: April 2015

Flying Saucers Reported Over Mojave Desert

The latest flying saucer report comes from Silver Lake airport near Baker. Two aircraft communicators stationed at Silver Lake report they watched a brilliantly-glowing object speed through the desert sky for nearly 10 minutes Saturday night before it disappeared on the western horizon.

Their report was confirmed by crew members and 25 passengers of a United Airlines plane and by aircraft communicators at a station in Las Vegas, Nevada.

David Stewart of Redondo Beach, first officer of the United plane, said the object was more cigar-shaped than the previously reported pancake-shaped “saucers”.

L. M. Norman and R. E. Connor, the two aircraft communicators at the Silver Lake airport, said the object might have been a meteor.

“We first saw it some 15 degrees above the horizon north of Silver Lake,” Norman said. “It appeared to be a big ball of fire with a large luminous vapor trail.”

“We watched it from 7 to 10 minutes. It looked like it might have been falling, but then it swung off toward the west and disappeared.”

The fiery object was observed not only by the two communicators at Silver Lake, but also by four pilots  who had stopped at the airport for an overnight stay.

While the Silver Lake men watched the object, their station was in contact with the United Airlines plane which also spotted it.
Steward, the United officer, said his crew of five men all saw the object, as did the plane’s passengers.

He said his ship was flying at 14,000 feet and that the object flew a parallel course for 20 miles then faded in the distance. He estimated its speed as faster than his plane’s 290 miles per hour.

from the Barstow Printer-Review, June 29, 1950

Tools of the Desert Indians

The tools of the desert dwellers varied with specific material available and with the individual Takic or Numic bands of Uto-Aztecan speaking Indians: Vanyume, Paiute, Chemehuevi or Kawiisu. Simple wood fire drills enabled Native Americans to make fire. By burning roots of a tree or bush, the Paiute preserved the fire. Use of rolled up juniper bark which when lit held fire for a long time.

They made stone mortars and metates (some portable) for grinding food and paint. A stick served as a stirrer; a tortoise shell, sheep horn or pottery as dippers; a rabbit scapula or carved wood as a spoon; a sheep’s horn, coiled basketry or pottery became dishes. Tortoise carapace had been reported used as diggers, bowls, dishes to hold seeds. In Oro Grande specimens of tortoise shell rattles have been found. Waterproof baskets, animals’ stomachs, and pottery “canteens” served as water carriers. Knives and drills were, of course, made from flaked stones and shaped bone. The yucca spine with fiber attached served as needle and thread. Sinew provided strong twine and backing for bows. Glue came from boiled sheep’s horn. For tanning skins, aborigines used the brain of larger animals. Professional tanners contend that the brain size of each animal is large enough to tan that animal’s skin. Paiute people utilized desert hardwood for their three to four feet long bows, sometimes
backed with sinew. Chemehuevi sinew-backed bows, often recurved, were powerful and accurate. Some Paiutes and Utes made bows from juniper trees by cutting through the bark. When that section died, they took it off the juniper tree and carved it into sturdy bows.

Tools of the Desert Indians

“When that section died, they took it off the juniper tree and carved it into sturdy bows.”

Arrows, made from reeds or arrow weed, were tipped with local quartz, chalcedony, jasper, or traded for obsidian obtained from the Paiute or Shoshone of Owens Valley. Netting and snares added to the survival tool kit.

Dozens of varieties of juncas, reeds and grasses made baskets for cooking, wearing (as hats) and storing. Some baskets with pitch added to them held water.

Their migratory yearly rounds made it necessary to store food to be retrieved during poor winters. They built water resistant caches with rocks, or into caves, or tree trunks. If grasses came late in January, runners went to their caches for food.

These tools allowed desert Indians to survive in a harsh environment for 5,000 years.

Courtesy Mojave River Valley Museum by Cliff Walker



Galena is a natural mineral form of lead and silver
and is a most important lead ore mineral that is 86.6%
lead and 13.4% sulfur.

photo of galena ore

Galena ore – courtesy R. Reynolds

Because of the lead content, it is important to
wash your hands after handling this ore—just a safety

More metallic oxides

courtesy MVRM

Kinds of Cacti

A selection from:
Sun, Sand and Solitude
— By Randall Henderson

Here’s a solution for those who are appalled at the thought of mastering all those tongue-twisting names the scientists have
given the various species of cactus which grow on the desert. George Wharton James offers an answer in his book Wonders of the Colorado Desert. James said he once asked an old desert prospector how many varieties of cacti he was familiar with.

pencil cholla cactus

Stick you cactus

“By gosh,” said the prospector. “You city fellers have no idea how many kinds we got. I know every one of ‘em. There’s the “Full of Stickers, All Stickers, Never Fail Stickers, Stick Everybody, Stick and Stay In, Sharp Stickers, Extra Sharp Stickers, Big Stickers, Little Stickers, Stick While You Sleep, Stick While You Wait, Stick ’Em Alive, Stick ’Em Dead, Stick Unexpectedly, Stick anyway, Stick In And Never Come Out, Stick Through Leather, Stick Through Anything, Stick & Fester, Barbed Fishhook Cactus, Rattlesnake Fangs Cactus, Impartial Cactus, Democratic Cactus, The Deep Sticker, and a few others.”

More about Desert Cactus

Rub-a-dub Tub

Bathtubs when first introduced in 1840 and laws were passed against their use due to safety reasons. Someone conceived the idea of a bathtub on wheels which visited homes by appointment. The idea worked so well these wheeled tubs were introduced in most of our larger cities and were quite a moneymaker. Most of them were built of steel and copper and about 7 feet long and nearly as wide. At least curtains on a frame gave some privacy.
(Capper’s Weekly, 1930)