This Day in History (24-Jun-1947) – Kenneth Arnold makes the first widely reported UFO sighting near Mount Rainier, Washington

There have been UFO sightings ever since man roamed the Earth. There exist many paintings of centuries past that depict unusual flying objects in the sky. Folklore of many early peoples are filled with stories of strange objects flying through the skies. However, most Ufologists credit pilot Kenneth Arnold’s UFO sighting of 1947 as the beginning of the modern UFO age.

On June 24, 1947, businessman Arnold was using his plane to help search for a missing aircraft. He was flying over the Cascade mountains. As he scanned the landscape below him, he would notice some flashes in his eyes, like reflecting sunlight. Arnold soon found the source of the flashes – a series of fast moving objects. He described them as silvery and shiny. The most startling aspect of the object was a lack of a tail. The objects appeared to be shaped like a pie plate. This description almost certainly meant that the objects had a raised top, or cupola on them. This description very closely fit that of the large UFO photographed during The Battle of Los Angeles

The stunned pilot was seeing something that he had never seen before in his many years of flying. He estimated the objects’ altitude as between 9,500 and 10,000 feet. He began to clock their flight from Mt. Ranier to Mt. Adams. This information would be used to estimate the objects’ speed at 1,200 mph, an unbelievable speed for the era.

Although the term saucer was used in a 1930 UFO report in Texas, it was meant to show the relative size of the object from arm’s length. Arnold told a newspaper reporter that the objects moved “like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water.” Arnold was indicating how the objects bounced across the atmosphere, not the shape of the object, Yet, newspaper reporter Bill Bequette’s report on the AP news wire used the term “flying saucer” to describe the objects’ shape. A phrase was coined.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_June

http://ufos.about.com/od/bestufocasefiles/p/arnold.htm

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