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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 6

Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

From: Brad Sparks <RB47Expert@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 22:25:24 EST
Fwd Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 23:03:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 22:24:56 -0500
>Fwd Date: Sat, 03 Apr 1999 01:25:12 -0500
>Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description


>In the 'Pendleton, Oregon East Oregonian', on June 26, 1947, Bill
>Bequette reported, "The Boise man, who owns the Great Western
>fire control supply which handled automatic fire fighting
>systems, described the objects as 'flat like a pie pan and
>somewhat bat-shaped'"

>The 'Oregon Journal', June 27, 1947, reported that Arnold, "clung
>stoutly to his story that he saw nine shiny crescent-shaped
>planes or pilotless missiles flying in formation", adding that
>Arnold claimed, "They were half-moon shaped, oval in front and
>convex in the rear".

>Were the unidentified objects which gave birth to 'flying
>saucers' therefore actually 'bat-shaped', 'crescent-shaped' or
>'half-moon shaped'?

>Only the latter description appears to conceivably resemble the
>sketch which Arnold sent to Wright Field in July 1947.

>Did Arnold actually mean quarter-moon, i.e. crescent, shaped?


>How can Arnold originally have described 'bat-like' objects, then
>produced a sketch which doesn't resemble one, yet subsequently
>featured in his book the photograph of a 'model' which shows that
>crescent or definitely 'bat-shaped' object?

>A copy of this photograph can be seen on my web site under
>'Flying Saucers - the Genesis'.

>There's a new location for my web site and it's now at URL:


>We're aware that Arnold later claimed one of the nine objects was
>different from the others and explained he had never got around
>to clarifying that at the time.

Dear James & List,

I think you're being too critical here to the point of splitting
hairs.  Arnold was clearly struggling with describing something
that took him by surprise, in which 8 objects looked different
from the one, and the overall shape was round or saucer-like but
with an exception of deviation in the rear, and it was all at
the limits of his ability to perceive detail ("so thin I could
barely see them," UP, Pendleton, Ore., June 26, 1947).  Thus
there was plenty of opportunity for confusion and incompleteness
with three different shapes to try to describe to newsmen
wanting to hear sound bites:

(1) Overall shape, round or saucer-like.

(2) Exception to the overall shape, the cutoff in the back with
a crescent or a half-moon shape but with a rounded convex point
or tail, somewhat like a bat, or more like "tadpoles" with "a
little sort of peak at the center of their rear-trailing edges"
(1977 Fate Symposium, pp. 21-22), "semi-circular with a shallow
V-shaped trailing edge" (Portland Oregonian, July 10, 1947).

(3) The lone object which was "darker and of a slightly
different shape" (Coming of the Saucers, 1952) and "its wingspan
seemed a little bit wider" (1977 Fate Symp., p. 22).

There is clearly a continuum of shape from a "quarter moon," or
crescent, to a "half moon," and the crescent is generally
similar to the "bat" except for the convexity or rounded point
in the cutoff at the back.  When Arnold said "bat-shaped" no one
seriously believes he meant there were bat FEET shapes sticking
out of the UFO!

All this seems to be legitimate confusion on Arnold's part in
grappling with the unknown and unexpected.  I have more problems
with the flatout contradiction in Arnold's earliest accounts of
known familiar objects that Arnold used daily for years.  Did he
time the flight of the UFO's with a "STOP WATCH" he took out of
his pocket, or by the "CLOCK" on his aircraft instrument panel?
It is either/or.

DIRECT QUOTE:  "I TOOK OUT my WATCH and checked off one minute
and 42 seconds...."  Chicago Tribune, June 26, 1947 (June 25
interview evidently by phone)

REPORTER'S PARAPHRASE:  "By his PLANE'S CLOCK he timed them at
1:42 minutes...."  Pendleton East Oregonian, June 25, 1947 (June
25 interview which broke the story worldwide)

DIRECT QUOTE:  "... I started clocking them on my sweep second
hand CLOCK.... I looked at my WATCH and it showed one minute and
42 seconds."  Kenneth Arnold on KWRC radio interview, June 26,

DIRECT QUOTE:  ".... I clocked them with a STOP WATCH...."  UP
dispatch, Pendleton, Ore., June 26, 1947 (Norman, Okla.,
Transcript, June 26)

DIRECT QUOTE:  "I remember distinctly that my sweep second hand
on my eight day CLOCK, which is located on my INSTRUMENT
PANEL...."  Kenneth Arnold's report to the Army Air Forces, ca.
July 8, 1947

DIRECT QUOTE:  "... I glanced at the sweep second hand of my
INSTRUMENT CLOCK."  Kenneth Arnold, Coming of the Saucers, 1952

DIRECT QUOTE:  "... I was going to clock their speed with my
twenty-four-hour CLOCK, which has a big-sweep second hand.  It's
on my INSTRUMENT PANEL."  Kenneth Arnold, 1977 Fate Symposium
Proceedings (1980) p. 20.

No one can seriously contend he used BOTH a stopwatch AND his
instrument clock at the same time while trying to watch the
bizarre UFO's AND while still flying a plane!!  Especially since
in nearly 40 years of interviews Arnold NEVER says he had used
TWO timepieces at the same time when he clocked the UFO's.  The
reporters did not misquote Arnold on this point as some of the
contradictions are from direct verbatim quotes of Arnold
including a recorded radio interview (see above).  The weight of
evidence indicates Arnold used his instrument panel clock to
time the UFO flight, and the "stop watch" or "watch" he
purportedly took out of his pocket to do the UFO timing was a
complete fiction.  I cannot see how this could be an honest
confusion over familiar objects in everyday use.  Confusion over
the unknown I can understand.

Brad Sparks

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