Central Coast mystery: The Eyes in the Hill - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Central Coast mystery: The Eyes in the Hill

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It's really hard to find, and even some who have lived on the Central Coast for their entire life don't know what it is, but as KSBY found out, it has been described as "The Eyes in the Hill."

"The Eyes in the Hill" have been looking over the Central Coast for decades.

"I have never hiked up to it, respecting private property lines," said Daniel Krieger, a historian.

We wanted to hike up as well, but the current property owner did not grant us access and the property is fenced off. So for this story, we decided not to disclose the exact location.

"I would suspect you would not find too much," said Krieger.

We searched for answers in other ways: contacting Vandenberg Air Force Base, members of the Chumash Indian Tribe, and the San Luis Obispo Historical Society and did not get answers until we found Krieger. He has been teaching history on the Central Coast for 50 years.

He said the legend of "The Eyes in the Hill" goes something like this...

"It was just intended to ward off an attack. To scare people," Krieger explained. "Well those were the positioning points for telephone poles that were painted "battle ship gray" in the aftermath of the Japanese Imperial Navy attack on Pearl Harbor (on) December 7th, 1941."

As the legend goes, the eyes were a defense mechanism for World War II.  The telephone poles were hauled up the hillside on mules and strategically placed.

"They were mounted and they were quite improvisational.  It was like a stage set but from a distance it looked very, very real," he said.

Poles stuck out of the eyes to look like cannons to those scanning the coast through periscopes.

"They would look there and they'd say 'Oh my gosh, those look like 16 inch guns, we better stay away from this part of the coast,' " said Krieger.

According to the legend, there are many more eyes watching over our coast -- but where they are exactly, we will have to keep looking.

There were five attacks on U.S. soil during World War II, the closest one, the bombing of Ellwood Oil Field, just outside Santa Barbara on February 23, 1942. On that day, a Japanese submarine fired 16 shells at Ellwood Beach causing only minor damage to the oil field.

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