The 1976 and 1979 Colusa California UFO sightings – 04-16-22

Colusa California UFO

September 9, 1976 UFO sighting by Bill and Linda Pecha one-third of a mile to the west of Colusa California. Click to enlarge.

Colusa California UFO

In 1976 and 1979 two very unusual UFO sightings occurred in the small agricultural town of Colusa, California. There were many more sightings over those years, many of which went unreported or barely acknowledged.

We will be covering these sightings on SoulStreamRadio in some depth and share some of our conclusions about them.

We did play the original testimony on audio of the report from the man who first sighted the 1976 UFO on his property.

The testimony is amazing and it is also available later on this page to listen to in it’s entirety.


UFO Sightings Google Earth – Downloadable maps to view in the desktop Google Earth for these cases.

Case Information and Data

Case #1  – Colusa sighting of September 9, 1976.

This UFO sighting occurred in Colusa County, California, on October 9, 1976 about 1/3 of a mile west of the town of Colusa and just inside it’s borders as the sighting progressed.

Towards the end of this sighting report is an audio file with first-hand interviews with the witnesses by the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington State.

The Encounter

An unknown flying object appeared in the skies over the farm of Bill and Linda Pecha. At around 1:00 AM while Bill Pecha was watching television in the house, a power outage occurred, Mr. Pecha ventured outside to see if he could find the cause, thinking it might be a circuit breaker that popped.

Lenda and Bill Pecha – 1976 photo.

After Bill walked around the corner of his home to check his circuit breaker panel and had inspected it, he turned and then spotted the unknown object hovering in the air, silently watching him.

Pecha estimated the size of the craft to be approximately 150 feet in diameter and around 15 to 20 feet in height. It was a grayish-silver color. The craft had no apparent engines and made no sound as it hovered near his position at the circuit breaker panel.

Pecha described the object as having a number of hanging appendages around it’s circumference. There were unusual tentacle-like objects like instruments or sensors that could be seen coming from the object. The object emitted bright lights as well.

Pecha ran back into the house and informed his wife of what he  had seen, and together they watched the UFO though a window of their home.

Soon, the object flew away. They took their children to a neighbor’s house, who also witnessed the mysterious flying craft with the craft in pursuit of them as they fled their home.

Audio of UFO report to the National UFO Reporting Center

The saucer as seen by witness Bill Pecha Jr. in 1976

Nurse Elaine McGowan also observed the same craft, which was emitted a humming sound. Sometime, probably during the approach of the Pechas’ UFO, witnesses nearly two miles away, in southeastern Colusa, caught sight of what must have been the same object.

Mrs. Elaine McGowen is an L.V.N, (licensed vocational nurse) who works for the Colusa County Ambulance Service She is also a reserve radio dispatcher for the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office.

Witness Bill Pecha’s sketch of the UFO. Click to view larger image.

“I had gone to bed, oh, around 12:15,” Mrs. McGowen recounted. “Soon after I got in bed, the electricity went off—the fan went off in my room. And I got up, went into the living room, and turned the hurricane lamp on. And (then I)  walked outside to see if anybody else’s lights were out—(or) if it was a fuse in the house….”

Her son Fred had been watch TV when the power went out and joined her when she called out the sighting of the UFO. They decided to go outside to get a better look.

Both Fred and Elaine McGowen walked south-southwest out to their mailbox at the end of the sidewalk leading to the street. Mrs. McGowen saw a light above the silver-dollar tree down the street. She saw it for perhaps a second, but she didn’t pay any attention to it because she thought it was an aircraft light. Fred does not remember if he saw the light at that point. Mrs. McGowen walked northwest across her yard to reach First Street “to see if there were any lights up town further.” Fred ran ahead of his mother.

Map of the two UFOs seen by the Pechas and neighbors on 9-10-76 – Click to view larger image.

“There was no light I could see anywhere in town,” Mrs. McGowen said. “And I walked back over to where 1 was originally standing, right by my mailbox. And (I) looked up and the light was still there.”

The light was “a lot smaller” than the full moon in angular size and was as bright as 10 automobile headlights (but the size of one) a block away, Mrs. McGowen reported. The UFO was brilliant white in color. It was still positioned above the silver-dollar tree, at azimuth 260 ±3 degrees and angular altitude of 3 to 5 degrees.  The McGowens did not see the beam that the Pechas’ described as emanating from the bottom of the UFO at certain times.

Mrs. McGowen variously estimated that she watched the light hover apparently motionless for anywhere from three to twelve minutes.

As I noted above, this is probably a greatly inflated estimate—the true figure remains speculative. Elaine’s sighting is recounted in the audio call in to the National UFO Reporting Center. They called her home to get her testimony which she graciously provided.

Fred Morris UFO Sketch from Colusa UFO 9-10-76 – Click to view larger image.

Her son Fred Morris provided a drawing of the UFO he witnessed. Fred, age 17, had gone to the Sheriff’s Department a few minutes earlier to report that he and his mother had seen a strange object in the sky west of their home. The Pecha home was due west of their house.

“I’m really bad on how large things are but it was really a very large object,” she said. “The whole bottom was a massive, brilliant white light. And the top of it was dark in the middle. You couldn’t see any windows or anything but you could definitely see the whole outline of the object.”

It is clear from the two sketches that Bill Pecha and Fred Morris saw much the same craft but with Fred seeing less detail than Bill Pecha had from his closer viewpoint.


1979 Colusa UFO Sighting at the Sacramento River, 5 miles north of Colusa, California. Click to enlarge.

Case #2 – The Sacramento River / Colusa area encounter of October 26, 1979 by Reuben and Carlos Genera

At around 12:15 AM on May 29, 1979, on the banks of the Sacramento River, five miles north of Colusa, California, a silver, bullet-shaped craft with two intensely brilliant beams of light was observed hovering over the Sacramento River by Carlos Genera and his brother Ruben.

“At about 12:15 a.m., it came out of nowhere and stayed at one point for about two or three minutes, and then came over our heads,” Carlos said. “It emitted a nice steady hum like a big electric generator.” Ruben said the vehicle created a considerable stir among the animals along the river and nearby farm.

“Everything started getting excited all at once. There was a big commotion right away … roosters crowing, ducks quacking and geese honking, even through it was just after midnight. An additional observation was that  the bullfrogs in the vicinity were provoked into croaking loudly evidently in protest at being disturbed.

The sighting location on the Sacramento River with Carlos Genera pointing to the location of the craft. Click to view larger version.

They noticed the same craft about 1/2 hour later as it moved off to the west of them at great speed until it was out of sight. The sighting was later reported to county sheriff’s office and also called into Beale Air Force Base (which was disinterested in the case).

Carlos experienced a headache for a week after the encounter before it went away. His brother Reuben had nightmares for more than a week after the event. The brothers were aware of the UFO sightings several years prior by the Pencha family and stated that they were now believers after seeing one of these craft for themselves.

Source:  Gribble, Bob, 1989, Looking Back, MUFON UFO Journal no. 258, October 1989, page 24

SUN HERALD, Colusa, CA – May 29, 1979

UFO Sighted Near Colusa?

The drawing shown above is how Carlos and Ruben Genera described the UFO they sited over the Sacramento River early Saturday morning. Unlike the Pecha drawing below,the Genera brothers were unable to see the top of the UFO. The drawing shows only the bottom of the UFO as they saw it from their boat. The fat portion is the front

The last UFO sighted over Colusa was Sept 13. 1976 by Bill Pecha. Jr.who drew the description of *li«tt he saw in the drawing shown above.

A silver-colored, bullet-shaped unidentified flying object with a pair of intensely brilliant beams of light was reported hovering over the Sacramento i River north of Colusa early Saturday morning.

Carlos Genera and his brother. Ruben, told the Sun-Herald they saw the object while sturgeon fishing about . five miles upstream from town They said it was about two city blocks away from their boat when they first saw it at an altitude they estimated to be about 1,000 feet. They spotted the object at about 12:15 a.m.

“It came out of nowhere and stayed at one point two or three minutes,”  Ruben said. “Then it came over our heads and headed west toward the foothills,” Carlos added.

Carlo6 said the UFO emitted “a nice steady hum like a big electric generator. ” Ruben described the sound as being “like a big vacuum.” “After it left, we could still hear the hum for about 50 minutes,” Ruben added.

Carlos explained that when the object first appeared, they couldn’t make out the shape because of the bright lights, one on each side, that were shining directly at them.

But when it came over them they saw it was formed like the head of a bullet, with the blunt end that fits into the cartridge casing being the front. Carlos said there was one bright light beam on each side and another at the tail end. Also he said, (hey could see several lighted portholes underneath at the front end.

The object the Genera brothers described differed considerably from the UFO Bill Pecha. Jr., reported seeing just west of Colusa the night of Sept. 10. 1976. That UFO was saucer- shaped with a dome and tentacles hanging from its underside. Over the years, other UFOs have also been reported in the vicinity of the Sutter Buttes.

Ruben said the object they observed created a considerable stir among animals along the river and at nearby farms. “Everything started getting excited all at once. There was a big commotion right away.”

He related that they could hear roosters crowing, ducks quacking and geese honking even though it was just after midnight. Also, the bullfrogs were provoked into croaking loudly, evidently in protest of being disturbed,

The incident lasted about six minutes, all told “It was scary and it was exciting —everything all at once,’ Carlos declared. “You would never believe it until you’ve actually seen it.” Ruben added Carlos said he and his brother continued fishing until about 5 a m. then came in and went to the sheriff’s office to report what they had seen and to find out whether anyone else had observed the object.

Both men who sighted this amazing object have now passed on but their story remains for the world to consider and ponder.