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Kenneth Arnold's erroneously reported sighting: The origin of flying saucer reports?

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posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:24 PM
reply to post by Aliensun

I'm not sure whether you have read the OP. Arnold could have mistaken a goose for a saucer, it doesn't matter to the challenge I'm attempting to throw to ATS.

Do you have any good data indicating that the image of a flying saucer was around before Arnold's reported sighting. If so, that would mean that the hundreds of reports of saucers after that event were not likely to all be just caused by the cultural influence of that report. Are you with me. That little argument above is just derailing the point of the thread.

Could ATS prove a point and move forwards here. This is getting silly already. I really should have known better.

Mods: Feel free to delete off topic posts rowing about Arnold's sighting.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:25 PM

Originally posted by _BoneZ_
reply to post by seabhac-rua

Fair enough. But I'd be more apt to believe that what Arnold saw was a Ho 229 (or variation thereof) and the bottom image is of a street lamp with the top part invisible due to the over-exposure of the photograph.

I have a hard time believing that aliens were flying around in the 1930's and 1940's with ships that looked just like 1930's and 1940's human technology.

And you probably are right.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:33 PM

Originally posted by thesearchfortruth
1. Nicholas Roerich's travel diary mentions that his travelling party encountered a metallic silver disc hovering above the Himalayas.

2. The Maury Island sighting (UFO Hunters episode)

3. Battle of Los Angeles (I think you could call that disk shaped?)

4. Hopeh Incident (you already have a pic of that)

5. Miracle of the Sun
I don't know if you can call it a UFO or not, but it was reported to be disk-shaped.

6. Washington DC. 1942 UFO

Much more like it.

The Battle of LA may have been a legitimate UFO. However, in an unretouched version uncovered by Scott Harrison (who located an original of the negatives this year) the saucer shape cannot be seen. The witnesses did not report disks or saucers either.

Thanks for the info though. Good post.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:36 PM
reply to post by Pimander

Unfortunately, you may not get what you're looking for. UFO's have been reported for hundreds or thousands of years. The term "saucer" is only a more "recent" term used for saucer-shaped discs. So, unless you actually scour through images of UFOs pre-1940's to see which ones look like saucers or discs, then the term "flying saucer" will likely not be available pre-1940, despite however many UFO's that look like flying saucers were actually documented.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:39 PM
Actually, only one of the nine objects Arnold said he saw was crescent shaped. The rest were a different shape, kind of saucer-ish.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:55 PM
I know this is not proof but it is an interesting read:

Ronald R. Claridge, a holder of the DFC, wireless operator on Lancaster bombers with No.7 Squadron, RAF during WW2.

On Aug 11th 1944, his aircraft, as master bomber, had led a raid on the oil refineries at La Pallice, France.

"We were returning to our base at Oakington(Cambridgeshire) and still flying over France, which was a hotbed for German fighters, so we were very alert," wrote Claridge.

He continues: "I was the radio and radar operator and as such was concentrating on my 'Fishpond' screen
looking for the blips of German fighters. The first thing I knew that anything untoward was
happening, my screen went blank - I though it was an electrical failure. I was reporting this
to the skipper when he shouted over the intercom, 'What the hell is that?'
I moved into the astrodome, which gave 360-degree vision. I stood looking into the night.
On our starboard side was a sight I have never forgotten. By this time our Lancaster was
flying straight and level. There was a string of lights which stretched ahead and behind us
for what seemed miles. The lights along our side were the largest and brightest, fading into
the vast distance. We could only hear our own engine noises and there was no turbulence -
only the lights.
As my night vision improved I saw a grey saucer-like object emerge as part of the lights.
It is still difficult to describe its size.....I am an artist and I painted what I saw. Our Lancaster
was a large aeroplane but the only comparison I can make is that we were a dot on a sheet
foolscap paper. We all watched this object for about three minutes. We watched it shoot
away - it was just a flash of light and the vast size was gone in less than a second, without
any noise of turbulence."

Mr Claridge goes on to say that it seemed that more intelligence officers were present than usual at the debriefing of that particular mission. "They just took notes of our experience and did not seem surprised at all at what we reported, and we were not even debriefed about the raid." He also stated "One thing I do remember is that we were told not to discuss what we had seen, even among ourselves, and I think we respected this."

Proof of saucer shaped objects before 1947? Well, if the witness testimony is to be believed then yes.

If only he had took a picture
but it probably would have been taken from him if he had.

edit on 10-8-2011 by seabhac-rua because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:56 PM

Originally posted by _BoneZ_
reply to post by Pimander

however many UFO's that look like flying saucers were actually documented.

Just to be clear. I know the term was coined in 1947. The documented UFOs that looked like saucers you mention above are what I am looking for.

Feel free to add some to the thread.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 08:58 PM
reply to post by seabhac-rua

Looks like another good one, especially if more than one crew member reported it. Do you have a source for the Lancaster sighting. I think I have seen it before in one of Timothy Good's books but...
edit on 10/8/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:10 PM
reply to post by Pimander

Yeah, well spotted, 'Need To Know' is the title. The source given states: 'Letters from Ronald R. Claridge, DFC, AEA, to Alex turner, 23 September/8 October 2003, given to author.'

I don't know what the verdict is on Mr T Good's credibility as an author, but it's a very interesting read.

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:18 PM
reply to post by seabhac-rua

Tim has made a lot of money (best selling books) and done some sterling work collecting reports, especially regarding the alleged UFO cover up. Paradoxically though, he feels that complete ET/ID disclosure would be a disaster on many fronts. He supports a gradual disclosure which he believes is already happening.

This is an interesting interview with Tim.

edit on 10/8/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by _BoneZ_

Yes it could very well be...or it could also be...

As I had replied in InfaRedMan's thread The Evolution of UFO Design which I recommend to anyone who wants a good read on the subject:

The more I search, the more I believe that Arnold's sighting might have been the "flying wings" developed by the Horten brothers back in Germany...they had started a prototype as a glider back in the thirties...

Good Topic OP ! S&F !!

edit on 10-8-2011 by SonoftheSun because: grammar

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:25 PM
Please stop quoting my original posts...

back then I was "healthy sceptic"..

posted on Aug, 10 2011 @ 09:32 PM
reply to post by Pimander

There's some net-literature about Charlemagne and flying disks, or 'blazing shields' as they called them back in the day. Off the top of my head, one story tells how, as Charlemagne's army was fording a river, two or three bright silvery-shining shields with fire blazing around their rims, buzzed the terrified men and beasts putting an halt to the attempted crossing until the next day. Another tale tells how as Charlemagne was laying siege to a walled town, three disks, one large an two small, descended from the heavens. The larger disk then stood by as the smaller ones went about blasting fire on the defenders and eventually smashing some walls so that Charlemegne's army could breach the defense's and take the town. Whoever these dudes driving the disks were, they had a hard-on for Charlemegne.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 01:58 AM
reply to post by Pimander

This is an interesting challenge especially for photographs taken before the Arnold sighting. There's really not that many pictures that were taken prior to 1947 and most of the ones I have seen, I would be reluctant to even post them.

NICAP has a "Pre -1947" chronology case listing titled "The WWII Years & "Foo-Fighters" and a few of the reports describe disc shaped objects. link -

Here's a case from Idaho that might be of interest since it happened 10 days after the "Kenneth Arnold sighting"

United Airlines Flight 105 Case
Emmett, Idaho - July 4, 1947

Stewardess Marty Morrow & Captain E. J. Smith

Two other independent sets of observers in other parts of Seattle reported seeing multiple discs about a half an hour before Ryman took his photos.

That night an incident occurred which was second only to Arnold's sighting in terms of media coverage. Captain E.J. Smith and First Officer Ralph Stevens of United Airlines Flight 105 were the chief witnesses. Shortly after takeoff from Boise's Cowan Field at 9:04 P.M. MST, they observed from their DC-3 airliner five discs "silhouetted against the sunset in a loose formation." When Smith asked Stewardess Marty Morrow to come forward, she confirmed the observation. Ironically, before the crew boarded the plane, someone had asked them if they had seen any flying saucers - as the disc sightings were by then starting to receive more and more publicity. Smith snapped back with a smile that, "I'll believe them when I see them."

In that dark cockpit Smith remembered his famous last words as they watched the mysterious sight for several minutes as four more discs joined the group just as the original five faded from sight. The second group flew in a straight line formation of three together with the fourth one off by itself. Smith said "this group seemed to be higher than our flight path," [then at 7,000 feet] "and when they did leave, they left fast!"

The sightings lasted twelve minutes and covered 45 miles as the unknown objects moved in a northwesterly direction across Idaho. At one point Smith recalled that it looked almost as if some of the discs merged together.

link -

edit on 11-8-2011 by easynow because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 03:00 AM
Sharp eye and great question Pim!
S&F for you my friend.

I have been meaning to get around to doing a thread on this but you know how that can go.

Having done a little research on that era myself (
) I think I can add a few observations perhaps for clarity.

Originally posted by cripmeister
Actually, only one of the nine objects Arnold said he saw was crescent shaped. The rest were a different shape, kind of saucer-ish.

cripmeister is correct insomuch as that is a copy of the written report to Army Air Forces (AAF) intelligence, July 12, 1947, with drawing of objects. (But annotated in recent years version.)

Here is the actual original report:

On July 12th intelligence officers Captain William Lee Davidson and First Lieutenant Frank Mercer Brown interviewed Arnold for six hours, taking a lengthy detailed statement from him at Boise's downtown Hotel Owyhee.

Just prior to that, Brown and Davidson had tracked down a well-known acquaintance of Arnold's, David N. Johnson. Johnson was an aviation reporter for the Boise Evening Statesman and a widely respected wartime B-29 bomber pilot. Johnson gave Arnold a good recommendation as did many others who knew him. In fact, Intelligence officers took an immediate liking to Arnold — probably due to his aviation background.

Brown and Davidson came to confide details of other cases to him because he had expressed such an interest and need to prove his own story. Arnold even claimed that they had told him that some in military Intelligence had become aware of saucer stories as early as April 6.

While investigating Arnold's story, Brown and Davidson discovered the sighting was not the only such incident that day. Others approached Arnold himself, reporting similar sightings.

A report came to light that was made the same day and time by a member of the Washington State forest service who had been on fire watch at a tower in Diamond Gap. At 3:00 P.M. PST on the 24th he noticed "flashes" over Mount Rainier that appeared to move in a straight line.

Arnold hoped to find other accounts supporting his observation and even hung around the East Oregonian newspaper office until the 27th, monitoring additional saucer reports on the Associated Press Teletype.

But let's start at the beginning:


June 24 1947 - Mt. Rainier, Washington - 2:50 P.M. PST


Bug-Eyed Salesman Reports Fast-Flying Mystery Planes

PENDLETON, Ore., June 26 -- (U.P.)-- Residents of Pendleton sought an explanation today for the nine strange "saucer-shaped" planes an amateur pilot claimed he saw flying at an estimated speed of 1,200 miles an hour across southwestern Washington.

The story was told by Kenneth Arnold, flying fire extinguisher salesman from Boise, Ida.

He landed here, slightly bug-eyed, Wednesday and told how he spotted the "extremely shiny nickle-plated aircraft" skimming along at 10,000 feet on Tuesday. Arnold was on a search for a missing Marine corps plane at the time.

"They were shaped like saucers and were so thin I could barely see them," he told Jack Whitman, a local businessman.

"There were nine of them and they were flying in a screwy formation about 25 miles away from me. It wasn't any military formation I ever saw before.

"I figure they were moving about 1,200 miles per hour because I clocked them with a stop watch during the time it took them to fly from Mount Rainer to Mount Adams. That's 42 miles and they made it in one minute 42 seconds -- about 1,205 mph."

Arnold said the strange aircraft were skittering across the southwest slope of Mount Rainier when he first sighted them.

Whitman suggested tactfully, that Arnold had been seeing things but the pilot insisted, "I must be believe my eyes."

There was no comment from military authorities on Arnold's story.


In later years follow- up queries to Jack Whitman confirmed the newspapers report as being accurate as to what Arnold originally told him.

That original AP story got nationwide coverage and resulted in his immediate celebrity and made him the eye of the storm in the midst of a barrage of sightings.

And then shortly thereafter this appeared:

As you see he said "I haven't has a moment of peace since I first told the story."

In the Portland Oregonian on July 11, he was still referring to the shape of the objects as "saucers" or "saucer-like... I actually saw a type of aircraft slightly longer than it was wide, with a thickness about one twentieth as great as its width. ...I reckoned the saucers were 23 miles away."

The Brown and Davidson Army Intelligence team interviewed William Rhodes (who snapped 2 photos of one) in late July, 1947 as did the FBI somewhat later.

Brown and Davidson even talked in confidence with Kenneth Arnold and Captain Smith about the case on July 31st—showing them the photo.

Arnold then responded, to their surprise, that the Rhodes' heel-shaped image looked like one of the nine disks he saw. Arnold stressed that point because only one of the "saucers" he observed on June 24th looked distinctively different—in fact it looked heel-shaped!

Up until that point Arnold had confided that detail to no one because he had not even remembered it himself until hearing the description of the Rhodes' sighting from Brown and Davidson.

Having sorted through all available newspaper sighting reports from that year, I can tell you that the most common sighting reported during that year by people who were close enough to see the shapes of the crafts were this same circular shiny nine ship V formation, with one of them being heel- shaped, all the rest being circular.

And yet in the pic displayed in the OP, we see Arnold posing with an artists rendition of a clearly crescent shaped craft.

Where did this come from? (and when)

I think the answer can be found in Arnold's soon to be acquaintance -
Ray Palmer:

Editor of:

And in 1948 was editor of Fate magazine, who paid Arnold for his article called -

"I Did See the Flying Disks - Source: Kenneth Arnold, FATE Magazine, Spring 1948"

And in 1952 published the book he "co- wrote" with Arnold called - The Coming of the Saucers

Even some points in Arnold's own account of his sighting as published in his book, The Coming 0f The Saucers, do not jibe with what the official files say he told the Air Force in 1947.

I also recall that early on Arnold complaining that his life was now daily consumed with letters and telephone calls and requests for interviews, all of which he complied with, "without receiving a dime for his efforts".

(Can't find the newspaper article with that quote at the moment, will get back to you.)

It appears to me that in the end, Arnold was fed up with 5 years of ridicule, harrasment, and everybody wanting all his time for nothing in return, finally took Palmer up on his offer and decided to get paid, and was willing to go along with stretching his heel shaped craft description to now crescent shaped.

I hope some of this helps and perhaps brings some perspective to the Arnold case and morphing craft description.

edit on 11-8-2011 by A51Watcher because: the usual

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 03:11 AM
reply to post by Pimander
There are no images of disc-shaped craft that pre-date Ken Arnold's sightings; at least, none that people could agree on. There are some two-dozen book and comic covers detailing discs prior to 1947. Skyfloating had the excellent idea of looking for them in this thread: The idea of Flying Saucers pre-1940s



Kottmyer would say, "Well, there you go! People had read pulp comics and subliminally been predisposed to imagining discs." From his hardcore position, he's found certainty and the evidence always supports his view. To me, it's a view that seems detached from his fellow human being and consigns many in the Western world to being no better than 4 year-old children jumping at shadows. Much stronger memes, like Ronald McDonald, Yoda and Millenium Falcons are saturated into the world's consciousness and yet, where are the sightings? What in particular, about discs, caught the public collective consciousness to the point the next 30 years was spent reporting them?

With the frequency of pilot sightings in the '40s and '50s, it's worth remembering that most were war veterans and had flown under fire. If they were to be hallucinating anything, why not Stukas or D3As? Nash and Fortenberry were veterans and Nash in particular was intelligent enough to debate Menzel and win. Is it reasonable to lend more weight to comics and reporters in their subconscious than the imprints of enemy aircraft still fresh in their minds?

Kottmyer occupies the extremes in the same way people insisting discs were space ships from Venus or Zeta Reticuli do.

An interesting and lengthy analysis of the Arnold sighting is by Martin Shough. He's a true skeptic in the way he has no loyalty to ufology or any particular position that I'm aware of: The Singular Adventure of Mr Kenneth Arnold.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 10:17 AM
reply to post by easynow

Thanks easynow,

The sighting you cited is interesting. As there were nine of them, they could perhaps even be the same objects sighted by Arnold (who also saw nine objects moving very fast in formation.) Of course that still does not explain what they are.

I will have to go through the NICAP earlier sightings myself if I am going to take this challenge through to the end. It would hardly be in the spirit of collaboration, after challenging members, to keep my results and more importantly conclusions to myself.
edit on 11/8/11 by Pimander because: typo

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:10 AM

Originally posted by Kandinsky
There are no images of disc-shaped craft that pre-date Ken Arnold's sightings; at least, none that people could agree on. There are some two-dozen book and comic covers detailing discs prior to 1947. Skyfloating had the excellent idea of looking for them in this thread: The idea of Flying Saucers pre-1940s

I did fear that there were no 100% credible images pre-Arnold. I did have my fingers crossed that more would manifest on this thread which is why I posted the two (three with the most suspicious one) hoping to act as a trigger. However, the Rhodes image is pretty close.

That said, with any Air Force disk sightings of disks pre-Arnold that were photographed, surely the films would have been taken by intelligence on landing for analysis. If so we may never see them. There are lots of personnel who have testified to seeing film of photographs that have never been public domain. As usual, no proof!

I saw Skyfloating's excellent thread (In fact, I ought to U2U her) when running the search for this and was tempted to include a few sci-fi comic book images to prove the idea disks were around but thought better than to further dilute my key message. The thread got off to a shaky start as it is in terms of the message getting through - although I guessed A51, easynow, yourself and several others (some of whom are notable by their absence so far) would see the significance of the challenge.

Originally posted by Kandinsky
Kottmyer would say, "Well, there you go! People had read pulp comics and subliminally been predisposed to imagining discs.
With the frequency of pilot sightings in the '40s and '50s, it's worth remembering that most were war veterans and had flown under fire. If they were to be hallucinating anything, why not Stukas or D3As?
Kottmyer occupies the extremes in the same way people insisting discs were space ships from Venus or Zeta Reticuli do.

Yet more evidence that you are a thinker in the truest sense, K.

You have stolen some of my thunder on the follow up thread to this with your comments here. I very deliberately cited Kottmyer twice, precisely because his comments - which are relied on by hard-core skeptics - are easy to debunk. Along with your own comments (which I will quote in the follow up) which I wholeheartedly agree with, there is the fact that not everyone read sci-fi comic books. There were obvious candidate images in the popular imagination that folks (especially pilots) would more likely assign to unidentified objects than saucers.

Thanks for the Shough link. Yet more reading - it's a good job I enjoy it.

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 11:57 AM
reply to post by A51Watcher

Yet again you amaze me by going down an identical avenue to me.

It's obvious what myth I have set out to dispel with this work. I had 4 main lines of attack.

1. Pre-Arnold photographic evidence of disks. May turn out to be the weakest but...
2. Credible pre-Arnold disk reports. There are some for sure.
3. Arnold DID report seeing disks contrary to the myth. You're there with the goodies. Cripmeister was on his way too on this evidence.
4. The idea that pilots were more likely to hallucinate saucers than enemy planes just doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Kandinsky picked up on this immediately.

In other words Arnold saw disks, they had already been seen previously and the coining of the term "flying saucers" does not explain the wave of sightings. I'm probably going to be crucified or ignored when I write the follow up. Take your pick.

Now then, Palmer. Interesting you should bring him up. That's a name tied up in my research into disinformation/CIA/mind-control/cover-up. I'm not going to stick my neck out too much here and derail the thread. I need to do more digging on this. If I fire a few key words to see what you think?

Palmer-Letter-Arnold-Crisman-Island. What you say?

P.S. This thread was largely ignored on ATS.

edit on 11/8/11 by Pimander because: added P.S.

edit on 11/8/11 by Pimander because: credit K

posted on Aug, 11 2011 @ 12:33 PM
I think while there will always be hoaxes, flying saucers sightings are reported because flying saucers are sighted.

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