it seemed impossible
-- but there it is
PART ONE OF EIGHT PARTS
By the end of July 1947 the UFO security lid was down tight. The few members of the press who did inquire about what the Air Force was doing got the same treatment that you would get today if you inquired about the number of thermonuclear weapons stock-piled in the U.S.'s atomic arsenal. No one, outside of a few high-ranking officers in the Pentagon, knew what the people in the barbed wire enclosed Quonset huts that housed the Air Technical Intelligence Center were thinking or doing.
-- Captain Ed Ruppelt
Chief of the Air Force Project Blue Book
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956)
ON JUNE 24, 1947 A PILOT named Ken Arnold reports seeing nine aerial objects from his plane -- and the term 'flying saucer' enters history.
Seventeen days later, an official press release announces that 'the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc' -- and a legend is born.
This is the story of those amazing two and a half weeks when it all began... exclusively as told through the daily newspaper reports of the time.
WEDNESDAY : 25 JUN 1947
Source: East Oregonian, Oregon - 25 Jun 47
Impossible! Maybe, But Seein' Is Believin', Says Flier
Kenneth Arnold, with the fire control at Boise and who was flying in southern Washington yesterday afternoon in search of a missing marine plane, stopped here en route to Boise today with an unusual story -- which he doesn't expect people to believe but which he declared was true.
He said he sighted nine saucer-like aircraft flying in formation at 3 p.m. yesterday, extremely bright -- as if they were nickle plated -- and flying at an immense rate of speed. He estimated they were at an altitude between 9,500 and 10,000 feet and clocked them from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Adams, arriving at the amazing speed of about 1200 miles an hour. "It seemed impossible," he said, "but there it is -- I must believe my eyes."
He landed at Yakima somewhat later and inquired there, but learned nothing. Talking about it to a man from Ukiah in Pendleton this morning whose name he did not get, he was amazed to learn that the man had sighted the same aerial objects yesterday afternoon from the mountains in the Ukiah section! He said that in flight they appeared to weave in and out in formation.
THURSDAY : 26 JUN 1947
Source: Hayward Daily Review, Calif. - 26 Jun 47
Man Reports 'Saucer-Shape Plane' Flight
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 Rainier 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 believe my eyes."
There was no comment from military authorities on Arnold's story.
Source: Chillicothe Constitution, Mo. - 26 Jun 47
Mystery In The Sky Is Reported
Incredible Speed By Saucer-Like Objects Reported In Oregon
Nine bright, saucer-looking objects flying at "incredible" speed at 10,000 feet altitude were reported here today by Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho pilot, who said he could not hazard a guess as to what they were.
Arnold, a United States Forest service employee engaged in searching for a missing plane, said he sighted the mysterious objects yesterday at 3 o'clock. They were flying between Mr. Rainier and Mt. Adams, in Washington state, he said, and appeared to weave in and but of formation.
Inquiries at Yakima last night brought only blank stares, he said, but he added he talked today with an unidentified man from Ukiah, south of here, who said he had seen similar objects over the mountains near Ukiah yesterday.
"It seems impossible," Arnold said, "but there it is."
Arnold said he clocked the objects from Mount Rainier to Mount Adams, and estimated their speed at 1,200 miles an hour. He said they appeared to fly almost as if fastened together -- if one dipped, the others did, too.
Oregon perhaps is more concerned than many areas over reports of mysterious objects because of the wind-borne balloons launched from Japan during the war. One of the bomb-laden balloons fell near Lakeview, Ore., in May, 1945, killing six persons.
At Portland, Ore., Edward Leach, Senior C.A.A. aeronautical inspector, said he could offer no explanation of the fast-flying objects reported by Arnold.
"If they were actually as described," Leach said, "I don't know what they could be. I rather doubt that anything would be traveling that fast."
Leach said he was not sure whether objects traveling at 1,200 miles an hour could be seen clearly enough to tell that they were weaving in information, as reported.
In Washington, the War department said it had no information on
the sky mystery.
An army spokesman expressed interest in any objects which would fly at the estimated speed of 1,200 M.P.H., declaring:
"As far as we know, nothing flies that fast except a V-2 rocket, which travels about 3,500 miles an hour -- and that's too fast to be seen."
Moreover, the V-2s, unlike the saucer-shaped objects seen in Oregon, are cigar-shaped.
The spokesman said it was safe to say that the army is not conducting any high-speed experimental tests in the area mentioned and is certainly "not shooting" in populated regions.
Source: San Antonio Light, Texas - 26 Jun 47
Men From Mars? Sky Whizzer Seen!
Pendleton, Ore. (AP) A tale of nine mysterious objects -- big as airplanes -- whizzing over western Washington at 1200 miles an hour got skepticism today from the army and air experts.
The man who reported the objects, Kenneth Arnold, a flying Boise, Idaho, businessman, clung, however, to his story of the shiny, flat objects, each as big as a DC-4 passenger plane, racing over Washington's Cascade mountains with a peculiar weaving motion "like the tail of a kite."
An army spokesman in Washington, D.C., commented, "as far as we know, nothing flies that fast except a V-2 rocket, which travels at about 3,500 miles an hour -- and that's too fast to be seen."
The spokesman added that the V-2 rockets would not resemble the objects reported by Arnold, and that no high speed experimental tests were being made in the area where Arnold said the objects were.
Arnold described the objects as "flat like a pie pan," and so shiny that they reflected the sun like a mirror.
He said he was flying his own plane at 2:59 p.m. two days ago toward Mount Rainier, when they appeared directly in front of him 25 to 30 miles away, at 10,000 feet altitude.
By his plane's clock he timed them at 1:42 minutes for the 47 miles from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Adams, Arnold said, adding that he later figured by triangulation that their speed was 1200 miles an hour.
Source: East Oregonian, Oregon - 26 Jun 47
Boise Flyer Maintains He Saw 'Em
Kenneth Arnold Sticks To Story of Seeing Nine Mysterious Objects Flying At Speed Of 1200 Miles An Hour Over Mountains
By BILL BEQUETTE
Kenneth Arnold, a six-foot, 200-pound flying Boise, Ida., business man, was about the only person today who believed he saw nine mysterious objects -- as big as four-engined airplanes -- whizzing over western Washington at 1200 miles an hour.
Army and civilian air experts either expressed polite incredulity or scoffed openly at Mr. Arnold's story, but the 32-year-old one time Minot, N.D. football star, clung to his story of shiny, flat objects racing over the Cascade mountains with a peculiar weaving motion "like the tail of a Chinese kite."
A CAA inspector in Portland, quoted by the Associated Press, said: "I rather doubt that anything would be traveling that fast."
A Washington, D.C., army spokesman was quoted as saying, "As far as we know, nothing flies that fast except a V-2 rocket, which travels at about 3500 miles an hour -- and that's too fast to be seen."
NO HIGH-SPEED TESTS IN AREA
He added that there were no high-speed experimental tests being made in the area where Mr. Arnold reported seeing the mysterious objects.
The Boise man, who owns the Great Western fire control supply which handled automatic fire fighting systems, described the objects as "flat like a pie pan and somewhat bat-shaped" and so shiny they reflected the sun like a mirror.
He said the reflection was so brilliant that it blinded him "as if someone had started an arc light in front of my eyes."
Mr. Arnold reported he was flying east at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday toward Mt. Rainier when the objects appeared directly in front of him 25-30 miles away at about 10,000 feet altitude.
By his plane's clock he timed them at 1:42 minutes for the 50 miles between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. He said he later figured their speed by triangulation at "about 1200 miles an hour."
ADMITS MIGHT HAVE ERRED
He admitted he might have erred 200-300 miles in his figuring but added "they still were the fastest things I ever saw."
When first sighted, he thought the objects were snow geese.
"But geese don't fly that high -- and, anyway, what would geese be doing going south for this time of year?"
Next he thought they were jet planes. He said he had heard so many stories of the speed of this type of craft traveled so he determined to clock them.
However, he quickly realized "their motion was wrong for jet jobs."
"I guess I don't know what they were -- unless they were guided missiles," he said.
"Everyone says I'm nuts," he added ruefully, "and I guess I'd say it too if someone else reported those things. But I saw them and watched them closely."
"It seems impossible -- but there it is."
Mr. Arnold, who flies 60 to 100 hours monthly throughout five western states, said he was 25-30 miles west of Mt. Rainier, en route from Chehalis to Yakima, when he sighted the objects.
SEARCHING FOR LOST PLANE
He explained that he had been cruising around the western slope of the mountain in hope of seeing a marine corps plane, missing since last January.
"I heard there was a $10,000 reward offered to anyone who locates it," he added.
He said the "planes" remained visible by the flashes of reflected sunlight for some seconds after they passed Mt. Adams, perhaps for as far away as 50 miles.
Mr. Arnold admitted the angle from which he viewed the objects would make difficult precise estimation of their speed, but insisted any error would not be grave "for that speed".
The DC-4 was closer than the objects, but at 14,000 feet and somewhat north of him. He said he could estimate the distance of the objects better because an intervening peak once blocked his view of them. He found the peak was 25 miles away, he related.
The Boise flyer said they flew on the west sides of Rainier and Adams, adding that he believed this would make it more difficult for them to be seen from the ground.
He said he "measured" the formation by a snow-covered ridge over which they passed and estimated the "train" was five miles long.
THOUGHT WINDOW WAS CAUSE
He said that at first he thought the window of his plane might be causing the reflections, but that he still saw the objects after rolling it down.
He also described the objects as "saucer-like" and their motion "like a fish flipping in the sun."
Mostly, he said, he was surprised at the way they twisted just above the higher peaks, almost appearing to be threading their way along the mountain ridge line.
"No orthodox plane would be flying like that" he commented.
"Ten thousand feet is very low for anything going at that speed."
Mr. Arnold was flying a three-passenger, single-engined plane at 9200 feet at the time, he reported. His speed was about 110 miles an hour.
The Boise man, who is married and has two children, landed here yesterday and said he would remain another day or two before returning to Boise.
He described himself as a "fire control engineer" and emphasized he is not employed by the forest service but is a free-lance contractor.
FRIDAY : 27 JUN 1947
Source: Oregon Journal, Oregon - 27 Jun 47
Arnold Insists Tale of Flying Objects O.K.
PENDLETON, June 27 (AP) -- Kenneth Arnold, a veteran pilot and fire control engineer, Thursday clung stoutly to his story that he saw nine shiny crescent-shaped planes or pilotless missiles flying in formation at a speed of at least 1,200 miles per hour over the Mt. Rainier region.
"It's God's truth -- I will swear it on a Bible. I saw them and I clocked them. They traveled 48 to 50 miles in 1 minute and 42 seconds."
(A plane traveling 48 miles in 1 minute and 42 seconds would be moving at a speed of 1,692 miles per hour.)
Arnold said he saw the objects flying in "weaving formation" in a line at 10,000 feet as he piloted his own small private plane over Mineral, Wash. He said he flew at a right angle to the line of flashing objects.
When he landed at Pendleton, in route to Boise Idaho, Arnold told his story and stuck to it.
"Some of the pilots thought it over and said it was possible. Some of them guessed that I had seen some secret guided missiles. People began asking me if I thought they were missiles sent over the North Pole. I don't know what they were, but I know this -- I saw them."
Arnold, general manager and owner of the Great Western Fire Control Company, said he first saw the objects when they flashed in the sun low over the slopes of Mt. Rainier.
"Then I saw them, weaving and ducking in and out as they came south not more than 500 feet over the plateau. They looked like they were rocking. I looked for the tails but suddenly realized they didn't have any. They were half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear. I was in a beautiful position to watch them. I thought they might be jet planes, and I clocked them. Then when I saw they had no tails and I realized how fast they were going, I knew they were like nothing I had ever heard of before. There were no bulges or cowlings; they looked like a big flat disk. They were larger than the ordinary jet plane but slightly smaller than a DC4, if you don't count the rear fuselage."
Arnold said that the objects waived "like the tail of a Chinese kite."
"They hugged the horseback between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, and the flashing they made in the sun reminded me of the reflection of a great mirror."
Source: Spokesman Review, Wash. - 27 Jun 47
Housewife Sees Them
BREMERTON, Wash. June 26 (AP) -- A housewife, Mrs. Elma Shingler, reported today that on two different occasions the last 10 days she had seen strange, shiny "platterlike" objects hurling through the sky at tremendous speed.
The first time was in the afternoon, either Tuesday or Wednesday last week, and the second time about 10 a.m. last Tuesday, she said. They were traveling from the southeast, toward the Cascade mountains, in a northwesterly direction and apparently passed overhead toward the Pacific ocean, she added.
Source: Oregon Journal, Oregon - 27 Jun 47
Salem Woman Sighted Disks
SALEM, June 27 -- Mrs. Dennis Howell, a resident of the veterans' colony in southeast Salem, has come forward with a claim to sighting the mysterious silvery disks sailing along in the sky. Mrs. Howell said that she spotted the disks between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Tuesday but gave no further thought to them until she read the story quoting Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho pilot as having sighted the mysterious objects.
Source: Ellensburg Daily Record, Wash. - 27 Jun 47
Mystery Deepens On 'Flying Discs'
More Persons Come Forward With Reports of Objects
The mystery of the "flying discs" deepened today as more Washington and Oregon residents stepped forward to back reports of the eerie saucerlike objects first reported Wednesday by an Idaho flier to have been flying in formation over the Cascade mountains.
(By the Associated Press)
One witness, E.H. Sprinkle of Eugene, Ore. produced a photograph last night of "flying objects" which he said he sighted from a Eugene hill June 18. Enlargements showed seven dots in the sky in what could be a military formation.
A photographic laboratory report, however, suggested the dots were only dust spots on the negative.
Still another version, this time of a night flight, was reported by Archie Edes of Wenatchee. While driving on the Moses Lake highway last Friday night with his father and family, Edes said he saw a speeding object "descending in a long slant... It looked like a long, oval blue-white flame.
"As we watched, it neared the ground and when it was about 200 feet high it exploded. There was no blinding flash, but there were great showers of sparks and piles of flame seemed to hurtle to the ground," he said.
A "very bright, shiny object" was reported by Mrs. Dennis Howell of Salem, Ore. A week before, according to Mrs. Howard K. Wheeler of Bremerton, she and her husband sighted three of the objects flying west about 6 o'clock in the evening.
A Yakima woman, Mrs. Ethel Wheelhouse, also reported sighting the "whatzits" Tuesday afternoon. They sped so fast she could not count them and abruptly disappeared, she said.
BELLINGHAM, June 27 (AP) -- The "flying discs" first reported yesterday by an Idaho flyer may have been over this far Northwest city if George Clover isn't mistaken.
Looking up while rebuilding his house about 10 a.m. Tuesday, Clover said he saw three shiny objects shaped like kites heading south towards Seattle. He insisted they had no wings nor pontoons and that they were traveling "real fast."
"They don't shine like a looking glass," he recalled, "just sort of gleam. There were three of them flying kind of haphazard. They didn't fly any formation like our planes."
His wife also saw the mysterious objects, Clover said, but they were out of sight before his sons could get out of the house.
"At first I thought it was Army jet jobs," he said "because the engines didn't sound like no gas engine."
LONGVIEW, June 27 (AP) -- Mrs. W.H. Eagen, wife of a Longview theater manager today declared she had seen what appeared to be a "flying pie pan" traveling at high speed and at a great altitude last October here.
She made the disclosure after reading an account or a group of saucer-like objects seen over the Cascades by a flier. Two high school girls also saw the same object, Mrs. Eagen avers.
NEW YORK, June 27 (AP) -- The reports from five areas west of the Mississippi river about mysterious disk-like objects flashing across the sky agree roughly with the way light occasionally is reflected from a distant airplane.
By Howard W. Blakeslee
(Associated Press Science Editor)
In a clear air the flash of sunlight from a plane can easily be seen 50 miles. This flash is round, the shape of the sun. Any other reflection at a great distance is also likely to be round, coming only from a small area of the plane.
Not accounted for are the speeds reported by some observers. A distant plane does not appear to be moving fast.
Source: Oregon Daily Journal, Oregon - 27 Jun 47
Flying Disk Mystery Grows
2 Midwest Men Support Boise Flyer
Descriptions Tally on Fast-Flying Pie Pan Objects
(AP) -- A Boise flyer's tale of nine mysterious objects hurtling through the air over western Washington was discounted by Army and Air experts today, but received confirmation in reports from two midwestern cities.
Descriptions of the shiny, "piepan" shaped objects, apparently flying in formation at terrific speed tallied in virtually all details, and at least two of the midwesterners added information on "motor noise" and "vapor trails."
"The machine, or whatever it was, was a shiny silvery color -- very big -- and was moving at a terrific rate of speed."
"The funny thing about it was that it made no noise. I don't think it had any type of internal combustion engine."
Referring to a claim by Kenneth Arnold, flying Boise Idaho businessman, that he saw nine shiny objects in western Washington similar to the one Savage described, the Oklahoma City man declared: "I know that boy up there (Arnold), really saw them."
Savage said he told his wife about the object at the time but "she thought I must have seen lightning" and he also told some skeptical pilot friends.
"I kept quiet after that," he continued, "until I read about that man seeing nine of the same things. I saw it and I thought it only fair to back him up."
Mrs. Savage said today she now was convinced her husband saw the object. "He was very much worked up about it when he read about the man in Washington," she declared.
Savage said the object he saw was high up in the air -- "somewhere around 10,000 feet. I couldn't be sure, judging from the ground where I was."
Source: San Antonio Express, Texas - 27 Jun 47
More See Flat, Fast Discs Cavorting In Sky
By Associated Press
Conjectures multiplied Thursday as widely separated areas reported apparent confirmation of incredibly fast disc-like objects flashing through the sky -- but skeptics remained.
Following Wednesday's report at Pendleton, Ore., by Kenneth Arnold of Boise, Idaho, that he had seen nine saucer-shaped shiny objects dipping and skimming through the sky between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in Washington state at an estimated 1,200 miles an hour, came these observations Thursday:
Byron Savage, Oklahoma City businessman-pilot, said that five or six weeks ago he observed from his front lawn a flat disc-like object hurtling through the sky at tremendous speed. He said he told his wife and a few pilot friends then said no more until he heard of Arnold's report. "I know that boy up there (Arnold) really saw them," Savage declared.
At Kansas City, W. I. Davenport, a carpenter, said that Wednesday he, too, saw nine speeding objects, moving west high in the sky. They were going fast and he could not make out their shape, he said. However he reported engine sound
and vapor trails -- the only one of the observers with that to report.
A Bremerton, Wash., housewife -- west across the Cascade Mountains from where Arnold saw his objects -- said that twice in the past 10 days she had seen "platter-like" light-reflecting objects. The first time was last week Tuesday or Wednesday and the second time at 10 a.m. Tuesday this week.
"I thought surely nothing could travel so fast," Mrs. Elma Shingler said. Her observation that they wavered from side to side was similar to Arnold's report of dipping as though planes were changing place in a formation. She said they were moving northwesterly.
At Eugene, Ore., E.H. Sprinkle said he nearly got a picture of them. A week ago Wednesday, he said, he took his $3.50 camera to a local Butte store to test it. He spotted objects in the southwest racing toward the northeast, but before he could click his shutter they were nearly out of sight. He said he had not told of seeing the objects -- which he said were similar to those Arnold reported -- because he thought no one would believe him. Enlargement prints from his film showed nothing but clear sky.
Against these supporting observations, skeptics sought explanations. Capt. Al Smith, United Air Lines pilot on the Seattle run, said he thought Arnold saw reflections of his instrument panel and Dr. J. Hugh Pruett, University of Oregon meteorologist said that "persistent vision," often noted after looking at bright objects such as the sun, could have kept such reflections before him after they had passed.
Elmer Fisher, first meteorologist in the Portland weather bureau, suggested a slight touch of snow blindness from the mountain peaks.
These possibilities were centered on Arnold's observations and left unanswered the question raised by the other reports.
Pruett said that whatever the objects were, they were not of meteoric origin for meteors do not dip or sway.
Source: Gallup Independent, New Mexico - 27 Jun 47
Silver City Folks Report Sighting Of Mystery Disc
SILVERY CITY June 27 (UP) -- Dr. R.F. Sensenbaugher and members of his family reported seeing a brilliant disc sail out of the northern sky Wednesday evening, the Silver City Daily Press said today.
First report of such discs came from Pendleton, Ore., Wednesday where Kenneth Arnold, flying Boise (Idaho) businessman, reported seeing nine such objects, each as big as a DC-4 passenger plane, moving at a high rate of speed. A similar report came from Oklahoma City residents.
Dr. Sensenbaugher, a dentist, Mrs. Sensenbaugher, and her sister, Mrs. C.B. Munroe, were riding along the Tyrone road last Wednesday about 8 p.m. when they reported a luminous disc sailed out of the northern sky and disappeared in a few seconds over the southern horizon.
Dr. Sensenbaugher said the disc appeared to be about half the size of a full moon, very brilliant, far-distant and apparently not moving at excessive speed.
They could not connect the appearance with any natural phenomenon they had experienced and their curiosity was further whetted when they read about such bright objects being seen in the skies of Washington and Oklahoma.
Source: Lubbock Evening Journal, Texas - 27 Jun 47
Air Saucers Reported At Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY, June 27 (UP) -- An excited resident of Will Rogers courts in Southwest Oklahoma City telephoned the Daily Oklahoman last night and said:
"Hey! I've just seen one of those saucers you fellows have been writing about. No kidding, it was traveling from northeast to southwest -- sort of toward Will Rogers field. And boy was it moving!"
The caller hung up before his name could he asked. He is the second Oklahoma City man claiming to have seen the "flying saucers" in recent weeks.
Source: Oregon Journal, Oregon - 27 Jun 47
Objects Seen Several Times
Lloyd Kenyon, 26, of 6934 S. E. 45th Avenue, today told the Journal he had seen the much discussed piepan objects while over-seas during the war and also while fishing on Johnson Creek less than a year ago.
Kenyon, a former shipfitter in the Navy, reported he first saw the disks while in the Russell Islands in 1943. He was aboard a ship at the time and said several others saw the objects traveling at an unbelievable speed.
"I have also seen the same objects several times while fishing."
Source: Miami Daily News-Record, Florida - 27 Jun 47
Pilot Still Puzzled By Aerial Objects
PENDLETON, Ore., June 27 (UP) -- The next time Kenneth Arnold sees saucers flying through the sky he'll get a picture of them.
The 32-year-old Boise, Ida., businessman pilot whose report of nine disc-like objects flashing through the sky at incredible speed brought a number of similar reports as well as expressions of doubt, today bought a movie camera with a telescopic lens so "next time I hope I'll have a picture of what I see."
He said that while he was inclined to join the skeptics, he couldn't because "I saw it," adding that all he wanted was an explanation of what he saw
SATURDAY : 28 JUN 1947
Source: Dixon Evening Telegraph, Illinois - 28 Jun 47
Joliet Man Reports Seeing Disks in Sky
Joliet, Ill., June 28 (AP) -- A railroad engineer reported Friday he had seen a group of fast flying disks in the sky near here Tuesday -- the same day an Idaho businessman reported having sighted a similar phenomenon over Western Washington.
Charles Kastl, of Joliet, an engineer for the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern railroad for 38 years said he saw the disks about 1:50 p.m., Central Standard Time Tuesday while he was driving to work.
"There were about nine of them in a formation -- flat circular objects -- going faster than any airplane I ever saw," Kastl said. "They appeared to be very high flying south, and weaving slightly in flight, and every now and then one would reflect the sunlight in a brilliant flash.
"I got the impression that they were somehow being towed although I could see nothing ahead of them. They were in sight about 25 seconds and then a building obstructed my view."
Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho reported seeing a similar formation, at 10.000-foot altitude over the Cascade mountains in Western Washington, Tuesday afternoon.
Source: Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. - 28 Jun 47
'Pie Plates' Reported by Woodland Man
WOODLAND (AP) -- The skimming pie plates were over Woodland, Clyde Homan reported Saturday, adding that they were seen by his tulip farm foreman too.
Homan said he was in his office and noticed a bright flash. He looked through the window and saw two groups of objects -- very thin and reflecting light strongly -- moving along in undulating motion at a speed he estimated at about twice that of an airliner.
He ran out and called the foreman who emerged from a warehouse just in time to see them, Homan said.
Altitude of the objects was estimated at 1000 to 2000 feet.
Since the original report of high-speed discs moving through the sky was made by Kenneth Arnold of Boise, similar reports have come from areas throughout the West.
Source: Spartanburg Herald, South Carolina - 28 Jun 47
'Flying Discs' Just Bottle Caps, He Says
EVERETT, Wash., June 28 (UP) -- The "flying discs" sighted by scores of persons throughout the West during the past week are nothing more than the aluminum center of beer bottle caps.
That's the claim of Ray Taro, local iron works operator who said he's been blowing hundreds of thousands of them from his 40-foot high stacks during melting-down operations.
"This flying disc nonsense is getting out of hand," Taro said Saturday. He pooh-poohed explanations that the discs were fragments of meteors or reflections from distant planes or the migraine condition of certain people.
"It's me -- my foundry -- that's responsible," he announced.
"Here's the way it works: I've been boiling these bottle caps for alloying metal. The cork burns and the steel caps melt. But the little aluminum discs inside the cap don't melt.
"They're blown out of my stacks by big blowers."
Source: Spokane Daily Chronicle, Wash. - 28 Jun 47
"Flying Saucers" Geese Or Swans, Kennedy Believes
A possible explanation for "flying saucers," which have aroused international speculation since they were first reported by a business man aviator over Oregon this week, was given today by Frederick G. Kennedy of Spokane.
A student of physical science all his life, Kennedy is the retired principal of North Central high school.
"These objects sighted from the air were probably geese or white swans," he said.
"The illusion that they are huge disks seen from many miles away is a matter of relatively. If you are sitting near a window watching a fly walk across the glass, it is easy to imagine that the fly, instead of being a small object moving slowly and seen from close up, is a large object in the distance moving at a terrific speed.
"We are accustomed to seeing geese in flight from below. However, seen from eye level they have an entirely different appearance. They have a swirling motion that gives a disk-like effect, especially when the sunlight is reflected from just the right angle.
"The weaving motion attributed to the 'flying saucers' would also lend credence to the theory of birds in flight."
Source: Hayward Daily Review, Calif. - 28 Jun 47
Air 'Saucers' Are Handbills
LAWTON, OKLA,, (U.P) -- Excited residents of Lawton reported sighting a "whole flock" of flying saucers northeast of here.
They saw flat objects glistening in the bright sunlight, and they could hear aircraft motors droning in the distance.
The strange objects turned out to be handbills released from an airplane.
Source: Spokane Daily Chronicle, Wash. - 28 Jun 47
Shiny Disks Hurtling In Sky May Have Been Jets
WHITE SANDS PROVING GROUNDS, N.M., June 28 (UP) -- An army rocket expert ventured the opinion today that Kenneth Arnold's flying saucers were merely jet planes but almost a dozen persons sprang up about the country to say they had seen the mysterious shiny disks also.
Arnold, a flying fire extinguisher salesman from Boise, Idaho, said he saw nine of the weird ships breezing along at a speed of 1200 miles an hour.
Lt. Col. Harold R. Turner, commanding officer of the army's rocket proving grounds here, said today that the disks must have been jet airplanes.
Falling Bodies Explained
Turner came up with an explanation for "falling bodies" reported in at least two places in the south-west today. He said they were meteors. And he dispatched a search party by plane to Tularosa, N.M., and another by automobile to Engle, N.M. to bring back proof.
But Mrs. E.G. Peterson of Seattle said no -- she had seen the things too. Not only that, her son also saw them. In fact, he called her attention to them.
"My son saw three of them," Mrs. Peterson said. "But by the time I got out there I could only see two. They didn't look like jet ships or anything else I ever saw before.
"They were shiny, and seemed to be fluttering in the wind. We must have watched them for five minutes before they disappeared, going east."
Several other residents reported seeing them in the area.
The eyewitness statements were music to the ears of Arnold, who has been the butt of no little ribbing ever since he told of seeing the circular gadgets whipping along at 10,000 feet near Mt. Rainier in southern Washington.
If he and others actually saw the saucers, they must really have been covering ground.
Arnold said he saw them "about 3 p.m. Pacific standard time" on Tuesday.
Seen In Illinois.
Charles Kastl, 60-year-old railroad engineer of Joliet, Ill. said he spotted "about nine" of the things as he walked along a highway at 1:50 p.m. central standard time on Tuesday.
That means they must have covered the distance from Seattle to Chicago -- about 2000 miles -- in three hours 10 minutes.
Kastl said he saw a string of flat circular objects going "faster than any plane I ever saw" about 10 to 12 miles east of Joliet. They were flying about 4000 feet high going from north to south.
"I could see no connecting link between them, but they acted as though the leading disk had a motor in it to power the others because when it flipped, the others would too. When it would right itself, the others would right themselves."
Kastl said he "didn't think about" the incident, except to tell his wife, until Arnold reported seeing the planes.
If the disks really made the flight from Seattle eastward on Tuesday they must have headed back west the next day. W.I. Davenport, a Kansas City carpenter, said he saw nine of them flying a westerly course while he was working on a roof about noon Wednesday.
He said they were going so fast he barely had time to count them.
By Thursday, the saucers had made their way to southern Utah.
Three aeronautical experts at the Cedar City, Utah, airport said they saw the disks "flying east-bound at terrific speed" Thursday night.
Astronomers at Seattle and Joliet said there was no natural explanation for the reports.
[Note: The San Mateo Times, California, carried a shorter version of the above story but included the following paragraph:
The Utah witnesses -- Airplane Mechanic Roy Walters, Airport Manager Royce K. Knight and western Airlines Local manager Charles Moore -- insisted they were not together when they noticed the "silver streaks" high in the Utah sky.]
Source: Oregon Journal, Oregon - 28 Jun 47
Flying Saucer Story Grows
Reports Pour In From Wide Area
Kenneth Arnold, the Boise businessman who touched off nation-wide conjecture with his story of the "flying saucers," Friday armed himself with a C150 movie camera in case he should ever again meet up with the missiles he saw putting through the skies over Western Washington.
"Next time, " he vowed, "I'll get proof to back up my story." At the same time, the one time North Dakota football star fired a telegram at the Oregonian whose roundup story of opinion on Arnold's elusive sky travelers reported views of observers who intimated with tongue in cheek levity that the pilot was seeing spots before his eyes.
Mirror Angle Out
The telegram, sent just before he took off in Pendleton in his single engine three seater plane for Boise, said:
"I am certainly on your side of the fence and I did not believe it either but I have never suffered from snow blindness, mirages, or spots before my eyes of any kind."
Arnold said he, "made certain" the objects were not the result of reflections from his own airplane, as suggested by a veteran United Airlines pilot. His story, he reiterated, "is positively true."
Arnold told Pendleton newsmen he was not a pilot who did "crazy things" or who did "screwy flying." He said he had never been charged with a flying violation during his three years as a licensed pilot.
Jap Balloons Recalled
He recalled that wartime stories of the Japanese balloons sitting over the Pacific Northwest were treated with skepticism and he suggested "that's the way it might be with my story."
But Arnold's story had its backers. By Friday noon several residents of Oregon and Washington stepped forward with tales of the eerie saucer-like objects which the Boise flyer said he spotted flying in formation over the Cascades.
E.H. Sprinkle of Eugene said enlargements of a snapshot he took with a $3.50 camera showed seven dots shaped like an "X" or "V" lined across the sky. Laboratory reports, however, suggested the dots were only dust spots on the negative.
In the northerly city of Bellingham, Wash., George Clover said he looked up into the sky about 10 A.M. Tuesday and saw three shiny objects "like kites" heading south toward Seattle. He insisted they had no wings or pontoons and were traveling "real fast."
Widespread Reports In
"At first I thought they were army jet jobs," he said, "because the engines didn't sound like gas engines."
A Kansas City carpenter said he saw nine such discs, too. So did a pilot in Oklahoma City. Still another version, this time of a night flight, was told by Archie Eden of Wenatchee, who saw what he described as a speeding object descending in a long slant while he was driving on the Moses Lake highway.
"As we watched, it neared the ground and when it was about 200 feet high it exploded. There was no blinding flash, but there were great showers of sparks, and piles of flame seemed to hurtle to the ground," he said.
A Yakima, Wash., woman Mrs. Ethel Wheelhouse, reported sighting the "whatzits," Tuesday afternoon. They sped so fast she could not count them and they abruptly disappeared, she said. In Portland, Mrs. Jerry Nuels, 6510 S. E. Foster St., said she saw some flying discs south of Kelso last Friday. She said that they were "bright and shiny."
Science Steps In
From New York, the Associated Press attempted a scientific explanation of Arnold's story and the other scattered reports.
The reports from five areas west of the Mississippi river centering about the mysterious disc-like objects roughly agree with the way light is occasionally reflected from a distant airplane, the news service pointed out.
In clear air, the flash of sunlight from airplanes can easily be seen 50 miles. The flash, the news service reported, is round, the shape of the sun. Any other reflection at a great distance is also likely to be round, coming only from a small area on the plane.
As for Arnold -- he flew to Boise to spend the weekend with his wife and children and try, if he could, to forget the hullabaloo provoked by his story of 1200 mile-an-hour speedsters. "All I wanted was an explanation of what I saw," he said ruefully brushing the spots from his eyes.
Source: Boise Idaho Statesman, Idaho - 28 Jun 47
Harassed Saucer-Sighter Would Like to Escape Fuss
PENDLETON. June 28 (UP) -- Kenneth Arnold said today he would like to get on one of his 1200-mile-an-hour "flying saucers," and escape from the furor caused by his story of mysterious aircraft flashing over southern Washington.
"I haven't had a moment of peace since I first told the story," the 32-year-old Boise, Idaho, business man-pilot sighed...
"This whole thing has gotten out of hand," Arnold went on. "I want to talk to the FBI or someone."
"Half the people I see look at me as a combination Einstein, Flash Gordon, and screwball. I wonder what my wife back in Idaho thinks."
WON'T CHANGE MIND
But all the hoopla and hysterics haven't caused Arnold to change his mind or back down. He doesn't care if the experts laugh him off. He said most of his aviator friends tell him that what he saw were probably either one of two things: new planes or guided missiles still in the United States Army air forces' secret category. Some theorized they were experimental equipment of another nation, probably Russia.
"Most people," he said, "tell me I'm right."
But meanwhile, aeronautical experts in Washington and elsewhere were teeing off on Arnold's story with facts and figures straight out of the books.
Their principal point seemed to be that if Arnold's saucers moved as fast as he claimed, they couldn't have been tracked with anything short of radar.
The fastest man has yet flown is 647 miles per hour -- a record set recently by Col. Albert Boyd in a P-80.
Source: Tucson Daily Citizen, Arizona - 28 Jun 47
Flying Disc Tale Stands
BOISE, IDA., June 28. (U.P.) -- Kenneth Arnold, businessman-pilot who made the headlines with his story of sighting strange disk-like flying missiles in southern Washington, was back in his home town of Boise Saturday -- and his story hasn't changed a bit.
"I saw what I saw," he said, "No one can change my mind.
"I'll match my judgment, position, and everything on what I saw with my own eyes. I never suffered from snow-blindness, spots before my eyes, or hallucinations. Physically, I'm 100 percent. I'll submit to any kind of test. I only reported what any pilot would report. I certainly have nothing to gain in a business way with all this hullaballoo."
Arnold resides on a ranch near here. He uses a hayfield for an airport. He sells fire-control equipment.
Arnold said he saw strange "flying saucers" -- nine of them -- near Mt. Rainier while flying to Yakima, Wash., this week.
He said he is more concerned with the fact that neither the FBI nor the Army appears interested in his story.
"If I were running the country," he said, "and someone reported something unusual, I'd certainly want to know more about it."
Source: Las Vegas Daily Optic, New Mexico - 28 Jun 47
Editorial: Why The Jitters?
From widely separated sections of the country sky gazers have reported seeing shooting shiny discs floating through the air from north to south.
Reports of the rambling objects have been printed in the public press and broadcast over radio with the result that much speculation is aroused.
It could be a reflection of other front page stories about unsettled conditions of the universe; about need for armed might; experiments in guided missiles; need for military training; iron curtains and aid for a fight against spread or aggressive Communism that influences much of the conversation on personal speculation about the discs. It seems the layman is distrustful and perhaps apprehensive, because of reports of discs coming out of the far north, he ponders on whether a nation on the other side of the globe is up to something in the way of experiments with guided missiles or some other form of long range weapons.
Veracity of those seeing the discs is not questioned. But the various reports do not agree on shapes, speeds, sound and distances. The discs have been attributed to jet planes and reflections.
Lights in the sky, for the moment at least, should not be allowed to create even a slight case of jitters. It is not good for the individual or for the nation. The discs, should they continue to be seen, will eventually receive scientific explanation and might even be branded as a sky show having nothing to do with other nations, but merely a quirk in the solar system.
1. The original quote by Kenneth Arnold stating "It seemed impossible..." changed in all later news reports to "It seems impossible...".
2. As the purpose of this series is to recreate the experience of reading about the phenomenon as it occurred, inconsistencies and inaccuracies are being left un-noted, but will be revisited in a new multi-part series coming in early 2012.
3. This is an eight-part series, the first six parts being posted between November 12 and December 17, 2011. There will be a two-week break for special Christmas and New Year's Eves' posts, followed by parts seven and eight of this series in the first two weeks of 2012.
4. With the exception of Part Two, as this series continues, each part becomes progressively longer.
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