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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 1

Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Descriptions

From: Brad Sparks <RB47Expert@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 16:57:27 EST
Fwd Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 12:14:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Descriptions

>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 23:13:18 -0500
>Fwd Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 10:09:15 -0500
>Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Descriptions


>>Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 23:26:34 -0500
>>From: Peter Brookesmith Mendoza <DarkSecretPB@compuserve.com>
>>Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Descriptions
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


>Noting that this is a new location for my web site:


>Under the topic, "The Flying Saucer Genesis", there remains the
>following feature:

>First Radio Interview with Kenneth Arnold; 25 June 1947

>By John Powell

>The following is thought to be (considered to be) the first
>public interview Kenneth Arnold gave regarding his sighting.
>Thanks go to Mike Christol for providing the audiotape. JP.


>The nation, every newscaster, and every newspaper across the
>nation has made headlines out of it, and this afternoon we are
>honored, indeed, to have here in our studio this man, Kenneth
>Arnold, who, we believe, may be able to give us a first-hand
>account and give you the same on what happened.

>Kenneth, first of all if you'll move up here to the microphone
>just a little closer, we'll ask you to just tell in your own
>fashion, as you told us last night in your hotel room, and again
>this morning, what you were doing there and how this entire
>thing started. Go ahead, Kenneth.


James & List,

The date of the Arnold radio interview is in error. It was June
26 not 25, 1947, as you can verify by reading the excerpt
(below) or checking with Pierre Lagrange -- the recording was
undated as I understand it. Arnold first came forward around 12
Noon on June 25 when he found the FBI office closed then went to
the Pendleton East Oregonian office where the history-making
story was taken then put on the AP wire. Arnold was flooded
with press interviews later that afternoon and evening. The
radio broadcast interview refers to speaking to Arnold "last
night in your hotel room, and again this morning," which could
not possibly be the night of the 24th and morning of the 25th
since Arnold had not spoke to the press that early. It was the
evening of the 25th and morning of the 26th, then the radio

BTW, if I understand the upshot of the arguments back and forth
between Peter Brookesmith and Dave Rudiak, it is that
Brookesmith admits he was dead wrong in insisting that Arnold
never described his objects as "saucer" shaped until 3 weeks
after the fact, after the press in the intervening time had
supposedly influenced him or suggested the "saucer" shape to
him. Brookesmith says Rudiak's quotes of early interviews of
Arnold less than 48 hours post-sighting do "indeed dispose of my
hypothesis of a media-influenced feedback loop into Arnold's
perception, and I apologize for wasting everyone's time with

Rudiak is quite correct in quoting very early interviews with
Arnold within days after the event referring to the objects as
"saucer" shaped. However, the Chicago Tribune story was
published on June 26 not the 25th, based on phone interview of
late the 25th (Loren Gross' history misdates it). Jan Aldrich
of Project 1947 informs me there was no Tribune article on the
case at all on the 25th.

I think the argument about discrepancies in Arnold's
descriptions of the objects' shapes is rather nitpicking, when
it is admitted that he had trouble describing something unusual
which took him by surprise and which he had difficulty seeing or
at least discerning detail ("so thin I could barely see them").

Obviously, _overall_ their shape was "round" and "saucer" shaped.
The problem comes with the _exception_ to the overall rule, namely
the cutoff in the back, leading to a more "bat-shaped"
appearance as Arnold said early on. The question is in the mode
of description. Does one stick to the overall appearance
("saucer" shaped) then note the exceptions, or strive to come up
with a supposedly more exact descriptive label ("bat") that may
not in fact be exactly correct either? I can understand Arnold
vacillating between such options as he was hounded by the press.
After all there was no manual of instruction for UFO witnesses
for him to refer to for assistance!

That said, I am nevertheless bothered by the fact that no one
else in the 1947 flap ever saw objects shaped like Arnold's,
with only one possible exception (a suspected hoax apparently).

Brad Sparks

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