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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 15

Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 12:44:30 -0800
Fwd Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 20:03:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

>  Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 21:52:21 -0500
>  From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>  Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony
>  To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

>  In "Resolving Arnold - Part 2: Guess Again", Kottmeyer summarises
>  the debate:

>  "The absence of a large population of corroborative witnesses
>  near Mount Rainier seems sufficient grounds for wondering if the
>  event was much more localized than Arnold surmised.

>  [...]

>  What of distances closer than Mount Rainier's vicinity? It has
>  been pointed out that Arnold spoke of the objects having "swerved
>  in and out of the high mountain peaks." This would seem to put a
>  lower limit to the distance if one could first determine which
>  peaks they swung around and if they were broad enough to have a
>  transit time to regard the observation as secure. Arnold was
>  slightly more specific in later recountings of the event. In The
>  Coming of the Saucers he said they momentarily disappeared
>  "behind a jagged peak that juts out from Mount Rainier proper."
>  In his memoir for the First International UFO Congress he says,
>  "When they turned length-wise or flat-wise to me they were very
>  thin and they actually disappeared from sight behind a projection
>  on Mount Rainier in the snowfield."26 These are not exactly the
>  same thing, but they give a fair indication of what to look for
>  on the geological survey maps.

>  Arnold estimated the crafts were at an altitude of 9,200 feet
>  plus or minus 1,000. The task at hand is thus to locate some
>  feature extending above the 8,200 foot level. This yields a neat
>  little surprise. There are no such peaks between Mount Rainier
>  and Mount Adams. The closest thing I could find was Pyramid Peak
>  which stands only 6,937 feet tall in front of Mount Rainier's
>  base. There is a sharp little projection called Little Tacoma
>  which sticks out around the 10,000 foot level, but it is on the
>  wrong side of the mountain to be seen from Arnold's flight path.
>  It would be badly stretching things to suggest he got either his
>  position or altitude that far wrong.

Unfortunately for Kottmeyer, the original account only states the

"I observed the chain of these objects _passing_ (italics mine)
another high, snow covered ridge in between Mt. Ranier and Mt.
Adams... I could quite accurately determine their pathway due to
the fact that there were several high peaks that were a little
this side of them as well as higher peaks on the other side of
their pathway... As the last unit of this formation _passed_
(italics mine) the southernnmost high snow-covered crest of Mt.
Adams... by the time they reached Mt. Adams, they were out of
range of my vision as far as determining shape or form...I am
making a drawing... as to the shape I observed these objects to
be as they _passed_ [italics mine] the snow covered ridges as
well as Mt. Ranier."

The ONLY passage where Arnold discusses the occultation of a
feature by the objects is "Very shortly they approached Mt.
Ranier, and I observed their outline against the snow quite

In short, there is no basis in the original account for the
assumption that the objects passed in front of or behind any
feature other than the snowfields of Mt. Ranier.

>  The main reason I would give any credence to the misidentified
>  flock of geese scenario, is Arnold's own initial observations. If
>  it flies like a flock of geese, quite distinctive, then maybe it
>  was.

Actually, the characteristic referred to was that they followed
each other in a close knit chain which _appeared_ to be weaving
back and forth in response to the features below. One must also
keep in mind the "depressed horizon" of the aviator, as mentioned
earlier, whch would allow this conclusion without the objects
necessarily flying behind or in front of any specific feature.

>  Alternatively, what else would have the characteristics of a
>  flock of geese in flight?

>  Basically, why couldn't it have been.

This is again the error of taking a single characteristic of a
sighting and attempting to build an explanation on it.

Unexplained by the "goose" hypothesis is

1) The shape and length / thickness ratio
2) The specular reflections
3) The weaving (geese sometimes chain in formation,
but they do not weave to follow one another in a strongly
connected fashionl they frequently break formation, and
there is some level of chaos in their spacing)

>  A question which Kottmeyer asks; if the objects were travelling
>  at the speed Arnold indicates, how can we account for the
>  apparent lack of a "sonic boom"?

This is a standard characteristic of almost every UFO. I am
surprised that this is a question that you consider compelling.

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -
Author of SF novels available at...

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