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Kenneth Arnold's sighting

Post-Arnold prank in the Press:

The article below was published in the newspaper The Abilene Reporter-News, Abilene, Texas, USA, page 1, July 7, 1947.


Abilene Flier Reports to City News Desk He Saw A Man on a Flying Disc

Reporter-News Staff

A man who styled himself as Jim Johnson telephoned the Reporter-News late Sunday with the startling information that he had spotted three "flying saucers" in the vicinity of Eagle Mountain Lake, near Fort Worth. On the "leading edge" of one of the silvery objects, he reported, was a man with "a flowing beard and a cooked pipe."

The city news was wary.

"A man?" he was asked.

"Yeah," the other end of the wire replied.

"Smoking a pipe?"


"H-m-mm," said the City Desk, sensing a phony.

"I was flying southwest," the voice on the wire explained, "when - swish - three of the flying saucers zoomed past. I saw a man on the leading edge of one of them."

The city news desk was still skeptical. Here was an entirely new development. A man had never before been reported seen on or near a "flying saucer."

There were more insistent questions. Who is calling? What is the address? An instructor at the airport here? Oh, a student...

Finally, with a burst of laughter, the man on the wire broke down.

"Oh, well," the voice said, "It would have been a good joke."

The City Desk laughed, too. In fact, more in relief that from any other cause.

"I thought," said the voice, still chuckling, "that with conditions with Russia as they are today, I would make the man look like a Russian. It would have been a good hoax."

Well, and so it would. But old newsmen have a way of "smelling out" the authentic and that which is not.

But, admittedly, it was a good gag.

Happy landings, Jim Johnson, whoever you are. And may no "flying saucers" get caught in your prop.

To: Kenneth Arnold or Newspapers 1940-1949.

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