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HISTORY

Kenneth Arnold Sighting
near Mt. Rainier, WA USA 

Kenneth Arnold sighting as first reported by the Associated Press - the origins of the term "flying saucer" originated from Arnold's depiction of the objects as "saucers"

PENDELTON, Ore., June 25 (AP) -- Nine bright saucer-like objects flying at "incredible speed" at 10,000 feet altitude were reported here today by Kenneth Arnold, a 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 P.M. They were flying between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, in Washington state, he said, and appeared to weave in and out of formation. Arnold said he clocked and estimated their speed at 1,200 miles an hour.

Transcript of Ed Murrow-Kenneth Arnold Telephone Conversation
Many of our readers will remember Edward R. Murrow, the popular, cigarette-smoking news commentator of the 1940's and 1950's who gave the news a dramatic touch in his own distinctive style. Almost three years after the famous June 24, 1947 sighting in the Cascades of the state of Washington, Mr. Murrow engaged the pilot/witness Kenneth Arnold in a conversation about his historic experience.
> Click here to go

Another Failed Explanation for the Kenneth Arnold Sighting  
by Dr. Bruce Maccabee 
In the Skeptics UFO Newsletter (SKUFON), #46 of July 1997 Philip Klass has proposed, in conjunction with Keay Davidson, a new explanation for the flying saucer sighting by Kenneth Arnold. One wonders why it took 50 years for this explanation to be proposed. Mr. Klass has been writing articles and books purporting to explain UFO sightings for at least the last 30 years, yet he has not previously "explained" the Arnold sighting. (His first book, UFOs Identified, was published in 1968.) Also, one wonders why a new explanation is necessary because there are several already. (Isn't that enough for one little sighting?)
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SKEPTICAL VIEW

Were Kenneth Arnold's UFOs Actually Meteor-Fireballs?
by Philip J. Klass
Recent research by San Francisco Examiner science writer Keay Davidson -- sparked by a conversation with SUN's editor -- suggests that the stream of 'Unidentified Flying Objects' reported 50 years ago by private pilot Kenneth Arnold -- which triggered the UFO era -- may have been glowing meteor-fireball fragments. Davidson learned from a recent book on meteors (Rocks from Space) authored by O. Richard Norton, that the number of meteorite falls reaches a Peak around 3 p.m. Arnold's sighting occurred around 3 p.m. In the northern hemisphere, the greatest number of meteorite entries reported over 160 years (1900 to 1960) occur during the mouth of June. Arnold's historic sighting occurred on the 24th of June, 1947.
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Kenneth Arnold, 'Flying Saucers' and Undulating Flight
by James Easton
What I might now be able to add is significant evidence in support of the premise that Arnold may not have recognised the nine unidentified objects he witnessed was a rare Pacific North- west sighting of American White Pelicans - I'm a supporter of conclusions the explanation can't be sustained as aircraft, meteors, or any other bird species!
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Foo Fighters

Although reports of sightings, which were eventually termed "UFOs," can be traced far back into history, students of the subject have arbitrarily placed the beginning of the modern era in the mid-1940s with the appearance of UFOs over both the European and Pacific Theaters of War. These UFOs were called by many names, all of which revealed a lack of understanding of their nature and source. To the Allies, they were "kraut fireballs" or "foo fighters," with the latter term surviving. It is believed that the Germans and Japanese saw them also...  Pilots and their air crews reported that the "odd things" flew in formation with their airplanes, "played tag" with them, and generally behaved as if they were under intelligent control. At no time were they said to have displayed aggressive behavior.
from UFO Briefing Document, Don Berliner

> 1944-45: "Foo Fighters" Over Europe and Asia, UFO Briefing Document, Don Berliner

 

Notes
Ancient Times
Modern Times