Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UFOs One Year at a Time: 1947

or non-incident
or misinterpreted incident
or fabrication
or First Contact with Aliens
or just a bunch of stuff that fell off a crappy top-secret balloon that wasn't even in the area at the time, unless of course it WAS there...

"Hey droogie, don't crash here"
Okay, so what can I say about Roswell? Is there anything that has not been said and proved and disproved and re-proved and bunked and debunked, de-boned and filleted, parsed and parsed again, not so much ad infinitum as ad nauseam?


No, there is not.
So I'm not even gonna try.
The case is too complex to go into here, I think. And it is well-known enough and has been so endlessly rehashed that there is nothing fresh I can add. Frankly, I can think of better things to do with my time than chase after rumors about What the Mortician Saw, the Rancher's Tale, the second or third or fiftieth crash site, the fantastic time-traveling test dummies, and all that. Not that my time is so monumentally valuable, but I have read everything anyone has to say on the subject, and come away none the wiser. Reading the hundredth account of an 85-year-old second-hand witness who's sister's boyfriend bought a dog from a guy who said he knew something about a crash in the desert is not much of a path to enlightenment.

Roswell is an oddity, a curiosity. We are buried under a mountain of data, facts, lies, misinterpretations and petty rivalries. There is nothing further to be gained from it.

Something that either was or was not a flying saucer either did or did not crash two or three or four times in remote stretches of New Mexico. Said something either did or did not contain the bodies of four or six or ten creatures that may or may not have been from around here.
How can it be proved? Physical evidence that has managed to remain hidden for more than 60 years will likely remain that way.

Honestly, I have no opinion on it one way or the other, except that I regard this endless pursuit of ephemera as exhausting and ultimately futile. The truth may be out there, but does it really matter?

The skeptics say, "Roswell: Case Closed." The believers say, "Roswell: Cover-Up." And I say:


Go to fullsize image

Although the history of UFOs can be traced back to early cave drawings, pictures, and folklore, the modern era of the study of UFOs is usually believed to be the 1947 sighting report of nine "flying saucers" made by pilot Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947.

Arnold was aiding in the search for a missing plane when the sighting occurred. He did not believe his story would be believed, but swore that it was true. Arnold related his sighting to the Chicago Daily Tribune: "The first thing I noticed was a series of flashes in my eyes as if a mirror was reflecting sunlight at me..."

"I saw the flashes were coming from a series of objects that were traveling incredibly fast. They were silvery and shiny and seemed to be shaped like a pie plate...What startled me most at this point was...that I could not find any tails on them."

Arnold estimated that the objects were flying at an altitude between 9,500 and 10,000 feet, and at a great speed. After clocking them from Mt. Ranier to Mt. Adams, he arrived at an estimated speed of 1,200 miles per hour. "It seemed impossible," he said, "but there it is...I must believe my eyes."

The term "flying saucer" was coined, not by Arnold, but a reporter. Arnold made the statement that the objects moved, "like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water." East Orengonian newspaper reporter Bill Bequette paraphrased Arnold's statement when he placed the story on the AP news wire. Arnold's term "saucer-like" became "flying saucers."

The US military attempted to ignore the press reports of Arnold's sighting, but as the story grew, they felt compelled to take action. A meeting to discuss a course of action was held at the Pentagon on July 7, 1947, only a few days after the Roswell crash. Taking charge was Chief of the Army Air Force Air Intelligence Requirements Division, General Schulgen. The group made the decision to follow up on "qualified" observers' reports of flying discs. Three days later, Arnold received a request from Continental Air Command to appear for an interview, regarding his report. Two Counter Intelligence Corps investigators would carry out the investigation. The results of this session were included in Project Blue Book.

Arnold's report was one of the first of 850 different UFO reports to make US media by the end of July, 1947. More than anything else, Arnold was in the right place at the right time to forever be an important part of the history of UFOs.


1947 Kenneth Arnold Newspaper Story

Sacramento Bee June 26, 1947

Pilot Reports Seeing Mystery 'Aircraft' Over Coast Range

PENDELTON (Ore) June 26.-(AP)-Nine shiny objects flying at 1200 miles per hour over the Coast Range of Western Washington-that is what pilot Kenneth Arnold of Boise, Ida., reported he saw while on a routine flight over the mountains. He stuck to his story while fellow pilots openly scoffed at his report and experts said they had no explanation as to what the "objects" could be.


"It seems impossible, but there it is," Arnold insisted.

Calls Them Aircraft

He said they were bright, saucer like objects-he called them "aircraft"-flying at 10,00 feet altitude. A flash of reflected sunshine brought them to his attention, he asserted, and for a second he was stunned by their "incredible" speed.

He said he rolled down the window of his plane, thinking it might have caused the reflection, but he still saw them with the window down.

They flew with a peculiar dipping motion, "like a fish flipping in the sun," he said, and "they were extremely shiny, and when they caught the sun right it nearly blinded me."

Figures Speed

He reported they were about 25 to 30 miles away when first sighted flying north. He glanced at his instrument clock and timed them between Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, a distance of 47 miles.

It took 1:42 minutes, Arnold reported, added that after he landed, he got out a map and by triangulation figured the speed of the "objects" at 1200 miles per hour.

"I might have missed a second or two in my timing, but the speed still would be near 1,200 miles per hour," he asserted.

In Portland, the state senior Civil Aeronautics Administration Inspector, Edward Leach, said he doubted "that anything would be traveling that fast."

Size of Transport Plane

Arnold also said a DC4 was flying in the vicinity and he estimated that the "objects" were about the same size as the four engined passenger ships, although the "objects" did not have wings.

"One thing that struck me," he said, "was that they were flying so low. Ten thousand feet is very low for anything going at that speed."

He reported that they appeared to fly almost as if they were fastened together-if one dipped the others did too.

1947, USA:
Maury Island "hoax": an early Men-In-Black incident three days before the Arnold sighting, in which a "donut-shaped object" dropped slag on a boat near Tacoma, Washington; the next day an MIB visited Harold Dahl, who was piloting the boat, and warned him not to discuss the sighting; the boat's owner, Fred Crisman, was suspected of being a CIA employee and was later called to give secret testimony at the trial of Clay Shaw in New Orleans; pilot Dahl disappeared and UFOlogist Arnold, who investigated the case, reported unexplained failure of his own plane's engine soon after two Air Force investigators were killed taking off from Tacoma's airport.

1947, Italy:

In August of 1947 an Italian artist by the name of Rapuzzi Johannis was taking a leisurly walk in the mountains between Italy and Yugoslavia. He saw just in front of him a red glowing saucer. This saucer was about thirty feet wide and it was accompanied by two small dwarf-like creatures. These creatures had very large heads with green faces, sort of resembling that of a fish. They also had a circle around each eye. Apparantly one of the creatures had hit Johannis with an electrical ray which left him very weak and almost paralyzed. After this incident the creatures ignored the Johannis and left.

A French Letter,
July 11, 1947

(sort of)
its "flying saucers"

(From our Paris press room)

PARIS, July 10. -- The "flying saucers" occupy, these days, a large place in the international Press, and yet we do not live a hollow period which requires the recourse to the Sea Serpent and other periodical monsters of the Loch Ness.

The world's opinion is alerted and imaginations are excited. America gave the tone: we learned successively that "flying saucers" had been seen that and there, that one of them had been discovered in Roswell, that others had come to fall down against a mountain, that another still had landed in a farmyard.

Scientists leant on the question, scanned the sky, spoke about visions, hallucinations, mystifications. Some even declared that they were new craft more or less atomic that the American specialists would be testing in the greatest secrecy.

A difficult to keep secrecy, at least in these aerial displays, since the opinion is impassioned in the entire world and that the fever reaches several continents.

"Saucers" or "pancakes", as you wish, were seen a little everywhere: in Iran, in Australia, in Denmark. England had his own too, as the "Evening News" tells us, and France also. It seems, indeed, that two shepherds saw a squadron of black dots surrounded by [?], between Bourges and Chateauroux, and made a statement about it to the Gendarmerie.

Who, currently, did not see their "saucer". -- F.D.

Flying Saucers Seen In 36
States - July 7th, 1947
The Milwaukee Sentinel
From Frank Warren

SAN FRANCISCO, July 7th - Military aircraft hunted the skies over Pacific Coast states today for the "mysterious flying saucers" that for 12 days have puzzled the entire country.

Early reports of results were negative.

Five P-51s of the Oregon National Guard cruised over the Cascade Mountains of Washington-the area where the strange objects were first reported. A sixth circled over Portland in constant radio contact with the other five. All carried photographic equipment.

Col. G. R. Dodson, commanding, described their flight as a "routine patrol," but said they had been instructed to watch for the "flying discs."

At Manhattan Beach California, W Mckeivey took a Mustang fighter plane up above Van Nuys. For two hours he cruised 35000 feet, but "didn't see a thing."

Gen. Carl Spaatz, commandant of the Army Air Forces, was on a Pacific Northwest fishing trip. He denied knowing anything about the flying discs-or of plans to use AAF planes to look for them.


"I've been out of touch with things for four or five days," he said.

Louis E. Starr, national commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, yesterday in Columbus O., said he understood Spaatz had a "group out right now" looking for discs.

At Muroc Army Airfield in California a P-80 jet fighter stood ready to take off the moment any flying saucers are seen in that area.

A cautious attitude marked both military and scientific comments, but Capt. Tom Brown of the Air Forces Public Relations Staff in Washington had acknowledged the Air Forces had decided"there's something to this" and had been checking up on it for 10 days.


First sighted June 25th, and greeted with scornful laughs, the objects have been reported every day since by observers in 36 states. Most of the objects were reported July 4th. A few were reported yesterday.

Such competent observers as airline pilots say they have seen totally unexplained discs or saucers, larger then aircraft and flying in "loose formation" at high speeds.

David Lilienthal, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission said they had nothing to do with "atomic experiments," and Army and Navy officials also entered positive disclaimers.

Newspaper stories quoting an unidentified California Institute of Technology scientist saying the phenomenon might have something to do with experiments in " transmutation of atomic energy" caused a brief sensation late yesterday. The institute quickly denied the report.

Reports generally agreed the objects were either round or oval. Estimates of their speed ranged from about 300 to 1200 mph. They were described as flying with an undulating motion at heights of 10,000 feet and less. Some described them as glowing, or luminous.

Nova hart, a ST Louis mechanic who was trained during service in the war to spot all types of aircraft, said he saw one of the strange objects near Pattonville yesterday. It was flying at 300 ft, he said.

He described as circular, with a ribbed framework and silver in color. Hart said it appeared to have a motor with a propeller attached to the center, and it kept turning like an airplane doing a slow roll.

First published reports occurred June 25th. Kenneth Arnold, Boise Ida., businessman pilot, told of seeing nine of the discs flying in formation at 1200 mph over the Cascade Mountains in Washington.


Arnold's account was taken lightly.Various explanations were offered-"reflections," "persistent vision," "snow blindness."

Soon afterward other individuals-in New Mexico, Missouri, California and other states-reported they had also seen the flying objects.

Then on Independence Day, 200 persons in one group and 60 in another saw them in Idaho. Hundreds of others in Oregon, Washington and other Western states reported seeing them.

July 4th also brought the first reports east of the Mississippi. Since then they have been reported seen in widely separated sections of the country in 36 states in all.

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