Remembering C. Scott Littleton Ph.D. – Eyewitness To The Battle of Los Angeles
By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
On this day we pay tribute to my good friend, colleague, research partner and eyewitness to one of the most significant UFO events in history.
Here is an excerpt of an article by a former student of Scotty’s, Caitlin Hammer. The UFO Chronicles published her piece back in 2006:
“Scotty Littleton awoke to his parents’ whispers in the hall. He peeked out and saw his father’s pale face. As an air raid warden for his beachfront neighborhood, Scotty’s dad had to leave his family and enforce the blackout outside. The shells weren’t exploding over the ocean this time, so it couldn’t be a drill. But neither could he confirm his fears of a real enemy attack –nobody answered the phone at the Civil Defense Headquarters. Only after he walked into the street for a better view did the air raid siren start up.
Mrs. Littleton’s father was staying with the family, and he was slow to get out of bed. Slow to do everything actually. But when Scotty’s dad shouted from the doorway, “Mr. Hotchkiss, I think this may be the real thing,” the old widower bolted down the basement steps.
Scotty and his mom were too curious to remain underground. Besides, the old man’s morning breath is deadlier than falling shells, they thought, and ran back up the stairs to the beach at their back door. The two of them stood side by side, clinging together for warmth, their eyes on the sky. Searchlights focused on what appeared to Scotty’s mother as a silvery, lozenge-shaped bug, seemingly paralyzed by the lights, hanging directly over Hermosa Beach.
Glowing shrapnel fell on the beach in front of them, sending the pair back under the eaves for protection. Scotty was so close he could smell the acrid smoke as the shells exploded. His eyes refused to blink and his lower lip dangled. Were the neighbor kids seeing this?
Not far from Strand Street, another air raid warden left his family in the backyard staring skyward. The thing they watched so raptly reminded him of the Graf Zeppelin he’d seen land at Los Angeles’ Mines Field in ‘29, only wider and flatter. He and some neighbors jumped into their cars, tossing a couple of shotguns into the backseat. The object picked up speed and vaulted into the night sky as they followed it, racing down Sepulveda. As it moved away, the warden got one last look at the rectangular silhouette. Three narrow slits, like the gills of a shark, stood out, glow an angry orange-red. And then it was out of range . . ..”
Professor C. Scott Littleton was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1933 and grew up in Hermosa Beach, CA. He attended Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, CA (1946-50), served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea (1950-52), and attended El Camino College in Torrance, CA (1952-54), before enrolling at UCLA in 1955, where he received his B.A. (1957), M.A. (1962), and Ph.D. (1965). He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at UCLA in 1957.
An internationally recognized expert in comparative Indo-European mythology and folklore, as well as Japanese religion, Professor Littleton has published extensively on Japanese myth and religion, the origin and distribution of the Arthurian and Holy Grail legends, and the theories of the late French mythologist Georges Dumézil. He is the author of The New Comparative Mythology (3rd Edition, University of California Press, 1982) and, with Linda A. Malcor, co-author of From Scythia to Camelot: A Radical Reassessment of the Legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail (Garland, 1994; a revised, paperback edition appeared in 2000). He is the editor of Eastern Wisdom (Henry Holt, 1996), a book surveying the major Asian religions, as well as the author of the chapter on Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan, and has contributed chapters on Japanese mythology and religion to several other anthologies, including Roy Willis, ed., World Mythology: The Illustrated Guide (Simon & Schuster, 1993), Michael Coogan, ed., World Religion: The Illustrated Guide (Oxford University Press, 1998), and Raymond Scupin, ed., Religion and Culture: An Anthropological Focus (Prentice Hall, 2000). A semi-popular book, Shinto: Origins, Rituals, Festivals, Spirits, Sacred Places, was recently published by Oxford University Press (2002). He is the general editor of Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth & Storytelling by (Duncan Baird Publishers, 2002), as well as of Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology (Marshall-Cavendish, 2004).
Littleton has done extensive field work in a Tokyo neighborhood, focusing on its annual matsuri, or Shinto shrine festival, an account of which appeared in an article entitled “The Organization and Management of a Tokyo Shinto Shrine Festival” (Ethnology 25:195202, 1986). He has also studied contemporary Japanese popular culture, focusing on the teenage dancers and rock bands that perform on Sunday afternoons in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park (e.g., “Rituals of Rebellion among Contemporary Japanese Youth: The Outdoor Disco at Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park,” Religion 17:119131, 1987), and is currently researching the possibility that elements of the Arthurian tradition diffused to China and Japan as well as to Europe from its point of origin in the Trans-Caucasian steppes (e.g., “Yamato-takeru: An ‘Arthurian’ Hero in Japanese Tradition,” Asian Folklore Studies 54:259-274, 1995). He has also researched the extent to which the hallucinogen cannabis sativa played a role at the Oracles of Delphi and Dodona (e.g., “The Pneuma Enthusiastikon: On the Possibility of Hallucinogenic ‘Vapors’ at Delphi and Dodona.” Ethos 14:76-91, 1986).
Littleton’s other research interests include nineteenth-century travel accounts—with Horace L. Hotchkiss, he is co-editor of The Diaries of Blakely Wilson: An American Traveler in Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land, 1874-1876 (Mellen Press, 1998)—and occult and paranormal phenomena, with emphasis upon the UFO phenomenon and alien abductions. The latter interest is reflected in his science fiction novel, Phase Two (Red Pill Press, 2009), which concerns alien abductions, and an article entitled, “Divine Rebels, Alien Dissidents: Does the Mythology Surrounding Lucifer, Prometheus, and the Ancient Mesoamerican Deity Quétzalcoatl Reflect a Pro-Human Faction in the ‘Alien Raj?'” (UFO Magazine 17, No. 2:48-51 & 80, 2002), as well as his participation in the annual Aztec UFO Symposium, Aztec, NM (2006), where he discussed the mysterious object that flew over Southern California in the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, and precipitated the so-called “Battle of Los Angeles,” to which Littleton was an eye-witness. He is also the author of a memoir, 2500 Strand: Growing up in Hermosa Beach, California, During World War II (Red Pill Press, 2008), which includes a chapter devoted to the “Battle of Los Angeles.”
Littleton’s articles and reviews have appeared in American Anthropologist, Ethnology, Ethos, Journal of American Folklore, Journal of Asian Studies, Monumenta Nipponica, Journal of Folklore Research, Western Folklore, Asian Folklore Studies, Religion, History of Religions, Natural History, Journal of the Classical Tradition, Cosmos, and The Journal of Indo-European Studies, where he also serves as mythology co-editor. In addition to major essays on Indo-European mythology and the theories of the late Georges Dumézil in Mircea Eliade, et al. eds., The Encyclopedia of Religion (Macmillan, 1987, 2004) and Simon Glendinning, ed., The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 1999) he has contributed articles on a variety of subjects to The Encyclopedia of Religion and War (Routledge, 2004), The New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004), and several other scholarly encyclopedias and compendia. He is also the author of the basic article on “Mythology” in The World Book Encyclopedia (Scott Fetzer, 1991), as well as over fifty short articles on various mythological subjects in both The World Book Encyclopedia and the Academic American Encyclopedia.
He has received grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (twice), the American Philosophical Society, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and has served as a Visiting Fulbright Lecturer at The University of Tokyo and Waseda University (1980-81), Tokyo, Japan, and as a Senior Fulbright Researcher at Waseda University (1994). In 1991 he received The Graham L. Sterling Memorial Award, given annually to a distinguished member of the Occidental College faculty.
Littleton retired from full-time teaching at Occidental, after forty years, in May of 2002, and lived with his wife, Mary Ann, in Pasadena, CA. He passed away November 25, 2010 at the age of 77.