Mike Orrell is a believer in the unknown. The Helix High alum (class of ’74) caught sight of something in the sky above Santa Ysabel in 1990 while taking a photo during a visit to Inaja Memorial Park.
The resulting image depicts nine unidentified flying objects. Orrell said they have been labeled UFOs by several experts in the field.
Using a new Canon EOS 650 at the time, the native La Mesan said he was actually just taking a random photo.
“I took a deep breath, I exhaled, and pulled the trigger,” said Orrell, who didn’t actually see the visual oddity until he developed the photo. “Once I saw it in the 4 x 6… I said, ‘These don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen.’ ”
Orrell calls himself a “citizen scientist” who accidentally stumbled onto something inexplicable. Still, he said nothing happens by accident. Since developing the photo, Orrell has been sharing it with as many people as he can.
“I’m not trying to make a dime off of this,” he said. “I’m just trying to spread the word.”
Orrell was a believer before taking the fateful photo. “I’m open-minded, but I’m not a blind believer,” said the self-professed student of metaphysics.
“I plan to spread the UFO gospel,” he said with a laugh. Orrell’s website features more information on what he has termed, “Best UFO Photo Ever!”
Orrell hopes the photo continues to engage believers and skeptics in debate. “Long may it live past my own earthly demise,” he said.
DRIVING GRATITUDE FOR VETS: The La Mesa City Council is inviting La Mesa residents who served during World War II to attend the Feb. 22 council meeting at 6 p.m. in council chambers. The City Council also will honor WWII vets for their service during the meeting.
This recent invitation is just the latest of the city’s ongoing campaign to recognize its veterans. Every month until June the council will pause to honor a different veterans group from each of the major military actions. The finale takes place June 3 when La Mesa’s Fletcher Parkway will be designated “Veterans Memorial Parkway” during a ceremony at Parkway Middle School.
Councilman Dave Allan said fundraising for the signs has brought in $9,000 so far. “I was surprised there is no such parkway honoring veterans in San Diego County,” Allan said. “La Mesa will be the first.”
WWII veterans planning to attend the council meeting are asked to RSVP to the city at 619-667-1105.