posted on Oct, 29 2014 @ 06:19 AM
a reply to: audenine
I've noted the 'football field' comparison in the past and share your interest in the sociology of the term as well as its place in the developing
narratives of UFO reports. It deserves a brief, generalised history to put it in context.
In the late 1940s, estimated sizes of reported objects were quite modest and averaged out at the 30ft diameter range. I only mention 'objects' as
estimates of lights are meaningless. The 1950s continued with similar-sized objects being reported in increasing numbers rather than growing in size.
There was some variation in estimated sizes, but not to the extent of massive objects.
The 1960s remained the same with some 'saucers' reportedly larger and yet still much smaller than 'football fields.' The famous
Betty and Barney Hill
sighting was reported as being close to 60ft in diameter.
It was the 1970s when some reports began to compare reported objects to football fields. The first one I've found is from August '73 in a MUFON
Another from '73:
Two from early 1974:
Interestingly, there's a claim of a reference to an object the size of a 'football field' that dates to the late 19th Century airship flaps. That
one remains to be confirmed though...
There are references to UFO lights being compared to the lights at a football field (clusters and brightness) that predate the 1970s and even more
where distance from object was compared to football fields. This strengthens the explanation that people make references to things they think others
will be familiar with. The field-size is fairly standard whereas if someone said the object was as 'large as the church tower' or as far away as
'Old Jenny's store from the corner,' it'd be meaningless in translation.
By mid-'76 there's a rise in the use of 'football field' as a benchmark of size. Going through the 70s and into the 1980s, we see a greater
increase in the terms. This could be reflective of the UFO culture picking up on standard phrases and using them more widely. It could also be human
nature to exaggerate the size of what was seen to rule out the possibility of it being explained as military. The appearance of the 'big black
triangle' reports would also play a part as they've dominated the 80s and 90s and are frequently claimed to be enormous.
There's also a change in the way we are educated and maybe a decrease in the overall ability to express our experiences? The early sightings reports
(1940s-1960s) often featured angular diameters and compared magnitudes of specific stars to the brightness of whatever they'd seen. Maybe since the
70s, people say 'football field' because they don't have the same knowledge? Likewise, how many UFO investigators ask witnesses about degrees of
elevation? It's a different world.