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With the War on Terror and various other news issues taking up all of the limelight as of late, one of my old passions, UFO's Real and Imagined, has been at a low heartbeat. This blog is meant to be a small crash cart in an otherwise quiet area of investigation.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

To Coin A Phrase 

June 24th, 1947 marks the day when businessman and civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold changed the face of the UFO phenomenon. And quite unintentionally, to boot.

Arnold was returning to his home after a business trip when he caught word that a missing C-46 marine transport plane had been downed somewhere in the Yakima, Washington area. As a good and generous man, he made a detour to assist with an aerial search.

Flying at about 9,000 feet in the vicinity of Mount Rainier, a flash of light caught Arnold's eye. A formation of nine objects flew erratically north to south in front of his plane. He said the shiny, pie-tin shaped objects moved as a "saucer would if you skipped it across water", and he estimated they were roughly two-thirds the size of a DC-4. The objects also had wings curved, like a crescent moon. By timing their travel between two mountain peaks of known distances, Arnold calculated their speed at over 1500 mph. This, of course, was beyond currently know terrestrial aircraft capabilities, and he felt the sighting must have been connected to the testing of some new military system. The fellow pilots to whom he told his tale agreed.

Curiously, the military was as puzzled and clueless about these new objects as Arnold was!

Arnold tried report his sighting to the FBI in Pendleton, Oregon, but the local office was closed. Eager to get his story out, he described everything to the editor of the East Oregonian newspaper, who in turn flashed the story on the newswires.

Through some perhaps overzealous editing and inattentive reporting, the story told of Kenneth Arnold's "flying saucers", and much to the chagrin of many Ufologists past and present, the term stuck.
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