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The Kenneth Arnold sighting, June 24, 1947:

Kenneth Arnold's 1950 pamphlet:

This part of my file about Kenneth Arnold's observation on June 24, 1947, in the USA, is the booklet Arnold wrote, published at his own expense in 1950, and distributed around. It does not tell about his own sighting, it tells of the early days of the flying saucer reports. Arnold can be considered to have been the first ufologist.


The Flying Saucer as I saw it

By Kenneth Arnold

Per copy 50 ¢

Notes about this page:

Some "Skeptics" have used the sketch of the "boomerang-shaped" object on the cover of Arnold's leaflet as one of the clue that allowed to argue that Arnold never said he saw "saucers" or "discs", that he was only referring by these terms that the object he saw on June 24, 1947, had a movement like saucers skipping on water when thrown at the correct angle to the surface of the water. "Skeptics" add that he said the objects he saw were "boomerang-shaped", and thus argue that all the "saucers" or "discs" reported that followed must be discarded, since these shapes resulted from a misinterpretation of Arnold's description in the newspapers.

This is not correct.

First, Arnold made sketches of what he saw that day, and though it was not exactly a "saucer" or "disc" shape, it was in no way like the sketch on his booklet's cover. He sketched what he saw in his own report to the U.S. Army Air Forces, before July 8, 1947 - and in two other reports he made soon after his alleged sighting that included sketches - like this:

Second, there is no reason to claim that the above sketch shows the saucers Arnold saw on June 24, 1947. There is no caption in his pamphlet that says so, nothing even indicates that the sketch refers to any of his own sightings; whereas the "non-boomerang" sketches he made have clear captions indicating they refer to his June 24, sighting. It is obviously not a sketch by Arnold, but a sketch by an artist. úThe fact that Arnold put it on the cover of his pamphlet is not enough to claim that it was one or all of "his" saucers, as the pamphlet is not about his sighting but about other events or alleged events.

Third, Arnold never said he saw "boomerang-shaped" objects after his sighting. He did say many years later that one of the nine objects seemed "boomerang-shaped".

Fourth, though it is true that a number of newspaper articles said Arnold saw "saucer-like" objects and that any reader would think this refers to the shape, certainly not a peculiarity of the movement. But not all report that followed said that what was seen was "discs" or "saucers". Various shapes were reported, and the angle of sight often did not allow deciding of a global shape - objects may have been seen from the side in many case. The funniest is that there were even "boomerang-shaped" objects reported soon after Arnold's June 24 sighting, when "skeptics" say people claimed they saw saucers while they should have reported boomerangs, as "saucer" was an newspapermen invention...

The origin of the "boomerang-shaped" or "bat-shaped" object Arnold showed here is as follows. Counter intelligence Davidson and Brown were the first "military ufologists" s-to speak. They got in touch with Arnold, interviewed him about his sighting, and maintained contact with him. They told him about other sightings, such as the William A. Rhodes "saucers" photographs. They showed Arnold sketches they made of a bunch of sightings they investigated, and one of the objects reported in those sighting was sketched just like the one on Arnold's pamphlet cover. This appeared in FATE magazine in February 1948 in a part of the article dealing with the "Maury Island" aka "Tacoma" affair:

[Caption:] A reproduction of the drawings made for Kenneth Arnold by Davidson
and Brown in Tacoma, the night before their death [i.e July 31, 1947]. They were
drawings of photographs which were considered authentic, Arnold was told.

What happened is that the object on the left on these sketches inspired the sketch Arnold is showing here; which has nothing to do with his own sighting.

Evidence of the above appears in the same Fate magazine article. Near the above sketch was the sketch of the objact Arnold said he saw:

[Caption:] Kenneth Arnold's own drawings of the strange craft he observed
near Mt. Rainier on June 24, 1947, were of the shape given here. He also observed
the crescent-shape shown [to] him while in Tacoma.

And the whole story is told like this by Arnold in his 1952 book "The Coming of the Saucers":

When things settled down I told Brown and Davidson that we had run on to what we felt was some tangible evidence of flying saucers but before we showed it to them we wanted to know how far they had gotten in their investigation. Davidson said that they had found quite a few interesting things. He motioned me over to my bed, took a piece of paper from his pocket and drew a picture. Ii was a disk, almost identical to the one peculiar flying saucer that had been worrying me since my original observation - the one that looked different from the rest and that I had never mentioned to anyone.

As he showed me the drawing, he said, "This is a drawing of one of several photographs we consider to be authentic. We just received it at Hamilton Field."

I turned to Lt. Brown for verification. He nodded his head and stated, "That's right. It came from Phoenix, Arizona [= Rhodes photographs] the other day. We have prints of it at Hamilton field but the original negatives were flown to Washington D.C."

If you ever get down to Hamilton Field we want you to call on us. We will be glad to have the file opened so you can see this picture," Brown continued.

Excitedly I explained why and how I knew the picture was authentic. I told them that I didn't know why I hadn't mentioned it before but I was positive they were on the right track. I explained that it was identical to that one craft that had looked different then the rest. I hadn't been able, I said, to be absolutely positive as to whether it was really different or whether it was from an angle from which I observed it until I saw Captain Davidson's drawing. Was I anxious to see the real photograph! I thought, "I've gor to make a trip to Hamilton Field to see this and hear how it was taken."

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This page was last updated on March 1, 2018.