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

Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

From: David Rudiak <DRudiak@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 00:49:26 EST
Fwd Date: Thu, 01 Apr 1999 15:58:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

>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 Description

>Regarding assertions that Arnold would never conceivably have
>described the objects as flying "like a saucer would if you
>skipped it across the water"..

Uhhh, who ever said that? I said that description never
appeared in the 1947 media and wasn't raised until years later
in Arnold's book in which he claimed that he described the
motion that way. However, Arnold clearly did use the term
"saucer-like" to describe the shape on several different
occasions in 1947. He also used "disk" and "pie-plate" and
"pie-pan" and other adjectives like "thin" and "flat" and
"rounded" in front. He drew a picture in a letter he wrote to
air intelligence on July 12.

As to motion, what did make it into the 1947 press was Arnold's
repeated descriptions of how they weaved and dipped together in
single file, "like the tail of a kite." He also described them
flipping and flashing in the sun like fish. But nothing about
skimming or skipping motion. Maybe he said it, but you don't see

How many times do we have to go over this until you British
skeptics get it?

>In Bruce Maccabee's detailed commentary 'The Complete Sighting
>Report of Kenneth Arnold, with Comments and Analysis', also
>available on my web site with Bruce's permission, Bruce notes
>that Arnold later wrote in 'The Coming of the Saucers':

Yeah, already quoted from in my original post that started this
thread. Another thing I've noticed skeptics doing a lot is
ignoring the actual content of the posts they criticize. E.g.,
Brookesmith originally did that as well to arrive at the absurd
conclusion that Arnold didn't use terms like "saucer-like"
until he had been influenced by the press reporting of his
sighting. However, if he had bothered to thoroughly read my
original post, there were two very early cited quotes of
Arnold's in which he used the term "saucer" to describe the
shape. The newspapers picked up the description from him, not
the other way around.

>"They didn't fly like any aircraft I had ever seen before. In
>the first place their echelon formation was backward from that
>practiced by our Air Force. The elevation of the first craft was
>greater than that of the last. They flew in a definite formation
>but erratically. As I described them at the time their flight
>was like speed boats on rough water or similar to the tail of a
>Chinese kite that I once saw blowing in the wind. Or maybe it
>would be best to describe their flight characteristics as very
>similar to a formation of geese, in a rather diagonal chain-like
>line, as if they were linked together. As I put it to newsmen in
>Pendleton, Oregon, they flew like a saucer would if you skipped
>it across the water".

>Which seems to be Arnold's acknowledgement that he did indeed
>attribute this exact characteristic to the objects.

Like I said, if you Brit skeptics would bother to read, I had
that exact quote in my original post. But to repeat, for about
the 100th time, you don't see that description anywhere in the
1947 media, not even in Arnold's surviving radio interview.
Instead he said:

"They looked something like a pie plate that was cut in half
with a sort of a convex triangle in the rear."

And as to motion, Arnold had the following comments:

 " I noticed to the left of me a chain which looked to me like
the tail of a Chinese kite, kind of weaving and going at a
terrific speed across the face of Mt. Rainier. I, at first,
thought they were geese because it flew like geese, but it was
going so fast that I immediately changed my mind and decided it
was a bunch of new jet planes in formation."

"And, they seemed to flip and flash in the sun, just like a

"I could see them only plainly when they seemed to tip their

"They didn't fly in a conventional formation that's taught in
our army, they seemed to kind of weave in and out right above
the mountaintops, and I would say that they even went down into
the canyons in several instances, oh, probably a hundred feet"

That's Arnold speaking for himself. Nothing there about motion
like saucers skipping on water.

>'Saucer -shaped', alas, they were not.

And here come the British semantic thought police again. A good
proper saucer is always round, and any departure from that
cannot be allowed.

Hey, my mother's set of fancy chinaware has a set of squarish
"saucers" -- no kidding. The archetype may be perfectly
circular, but they don't have to be.

The fact of the matter is, whether you Brit skeptics like it or
not, Arnold _did_ use the terms "saucer-like" and "disk-like" to
describe the shape, meaning it had attributes similar to a
proper English saucer: thin, flat rounded -- all terms he also
used. He was using metaphor to describe an unfamiliar flying
object, trying to make it understandable to others. He pointed
out repeatedly when he elaborated that they weren't fully
rounded in the back, but overall they resembled familiar objects
like saucers, disks, pie-pans, etc., thin, flat, mostly rounded,
etc., etc., etc., etc.

For folks from the the country that invented the English
language, you and Brookesmith have an amazing inability to
comprehend simple English. Sorry, but over here in the Colonies
we are amazed at how dense you guys appear to be.

>Perhaps, as I'm sure you may concur, the most obvious question
>is; realising that Arnold's pivotal 'UFO' sighting was in fact
>of objects which "looked something like a pie plate that was
>cut in half with a sort of a convex triangle in the rear",

To which he also used descriptions such as "shaped like a
saucer, "saucer- like," and "like a big, flat disk," whether you
guys like it or not.

>and these were indeed the genesis of what came to be called
>'flying saucers'.. can anyone point us in the direction of a
>comparative observation to what Kenneth Arnold actually

In 1947, James Rhodes photos over Phoenix on July 7 show similar
shapes: rounded in front, but not in back. The FBI & A.F.
intelligence confiscated the negatives later that month and they
haven't been seen since. Rhodes photos do, however, show up in
later A.F. UFO intelligence reports. The photos we apparently
treated as genuine, though background checks repeated brought up
Rhodes eccentricity.

In Seattle on July 4, Coast Guardsman Frank Ryman, took a photo
of an unknown object, which when blown up showed a slightly oval
shape with something like a small bite taken out of one end.

On the ground in the Cascades, just after Arnold lost sight of
his objects, Fred Johnson, a prospector, reported seeing six
objects: "They were round, but with tails..." In his original
letter he wrote:

"I can say [I] am a prospector and was in the Mt Adams district
on June 24th the day Kenneth Arnold of Boise Idaho claims he saw
a formation of flying disc [sic]. And i saw the same flying
objects at about the same time. Having a telescope with me at
the time i can assure you there are real ...they were Round
about 30 foot in diameter tapering sharply to a point in the
head and in an oval shape.  with a bright top surface. I did not
hear any noise as you would from a plane. But there was an
object in the tail end looked like a big hand of a clock
shifting from side to side like a big magnet. There speed was
far as i know seemed to be greater than anything I ever saw.
Last view I got of the objects they were standing on edge
Banking in a cloud."

Through his telescope, Johnson claimed to have seen detail
Arnold could not have seen from a distance. They were round or
oval-shaped, but tapered to a point in front and had some sort
of oscillating tail. Unfortunately, nobody had Johnson draw a
picture or try to clarify his rather muddied descriptions. But
he was obviously describing something that wasn't perfectly
circular, but which he thought still fit into the category of
"flying disc."

A Project Sign summary of April 23, 1948, described Johnson's
reported shape succinctly as "disc -- appeared to have tail."
(Incident #68). (Johnson's report was repeated as Incident #74
with this description: "Tapered sharply to a point in the front

Arnold's sightings, Incident #17, was described as "Mirror
bright; approximately circular, no tail"

Incident #23, Boise, Idaho, June 30, 1947, was described as
"Bright and silvery; half circle."

Portland Oregon, July 4, Incidents #5-#9, all policemen except
for #9 (harbor pilot captain): 1 to 5 objects traveling in
single file:

Incident #5: 5 objects, "dipped up and down in oscillating
motion; round"

Incident #6: 3 objects, "following each other; whitish-brown;

Incident #7: 1 object, "aluminum; disc"

Incidents #8 & 8a: 3 objects, "straight line formation; last
disc fluttered very rapidly in side-way arc; white; disc"

Incident #9: didn't state number; "discs would oscillate and
sometimes a full disc would be visible, then a half moon shape,
then nothing at all; like a shiny chromium hubcap; disc."

The Portland Oregon Journal reported the Portland incidents
thusly on July 5:

"First to report in were Patrolman Walty Lissy and Robert
Ellis... Both World War II veterans and civilian pilots, they
sighted three of the objects within 30 seconds traveling at
great height and speed.... They reported they heard no engine
noises but saw flashes. The objects seemed erratic and changed
direction of flight..." [Incidents #8 & 8a]

"Patrolman Earl Patterson.... A former air corps veteran, he
said he object was unlike any plane he had ever seen. He thought
it appeared to be radio- controlled because the disk could
change direction at a 90-degree angle without difficulty... The
craft seemed to be aluminum or eggshell white and didn't flash
or reflect light." [Incident #7]

"Members of the harbor patrol ...stepped out when they heard the
all car alert, Capt. K. A. Prehn, Harbor Pilot A. T. Austed, and
Patrolman K. C. Hoff all saw the objects and said they appeared
to be going south ... at terrific speed. Capt. Prehn said the
flashes kept them from ascertaining whether there were three or
six. 'The disks would oscillate and sometimes we would see a
full disk, then a half-moon shape, then nothing at all,' he
reported. The objects looked more like a shiny chromium hub cap
off a car which wobbled, disappeared and reappeared. There was a
plane in the sky at the time but all were emphatic that the
disks were not planes." [Incident #9 and #5,6?]

The various descriptions of erratic fluttering, dipping,
oscillating motions of multiple objects traveling in single file
are strikingly similar to Arnold's. Note also the report of how
they could vary in appearance from full disks, to half moon
shape, to disappearing, apparently when viewed edge on. This is
also very similar to Arnold's descriptions. Incident #23 from
Boise also reported a half-moon shape.

Here's a few more.

Muroc Air Field, Calif, June 8:

Incident #2: 1 object; "Aluminum colored surface; thin metallic
object, unconventional shape."

Incident #1c,: 2 objects; "Silvery; saucer-shaped."

Incident #1d: 3 objects; "Reflected the sun's rays; disc."

Incident #1e,, June 8: 3 objects; "Silvery; disc."

Incident #4, Rogers Dry Lake: 1 object; "White aluminum;
distinct oval outline; two projections on upper surface..."

Incidents #21 & #43, Des Moines and Clarion, Iowa, June 29: 18
objects, "Dirty white; between circle and oval -- inverted

Incident #29, Bakersfield, Calif., June 23 (pilot Richard
Rankins' sighting): 10 objects, "Almost round"

Incident #22, Spokane, Wash., June 21: Several objects; "Shiny
silvery; slim body."

Incident #82, Oklahoma City, May 17, 1947: 1 object, "Frosty
white; round and flat."

Incident #89, near Kansas City, Kan., July 7, 1947, pilot
sighting: 1 object; "Silvery; round, disc shaped object."

Incident #98, Houston, TX, Nov 2, 1947: 1 object; "Bright light;
almost round, or perhaps oval or saucer-shaped."

For more modern sightings describing Arnold-like shapes (rounded
in front, coming to convex point in back), look at the following
side by side comparison, from none other than James Easton
himself (or his evil twin) only last week:

>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 20:07:34 -0500
>Fwd Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 21:17:40 -0500
>Subject: Re: New Jersey Sighting & Mysterious Research

J: Long Valley, New Jersey - August 21, 1982, 10:20 p.m.
K: South of San Francisco - September, l974, approx. 9:30 p.m.

>J: It was shaped like a stingray, with wide, rounded wings and a
>bobbed backend.

>K: It had a stingray shape (it was shaped like a stingray fish).
>It was round in front, it had protrusions on each side (like
>small wings) and came to a rounded point in the back.

To which I must add, shades of Kenneth Arnold.

David Rudiak

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