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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 8

Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 10:52:13 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 19:26:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47Expert@aol.com>
>Date: Sat, 3 Apr 1999 22:25:24 EST
>Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's Saucer-like Description
>To: updates@globalserve.net

Brad, responding to James Easton

>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:

It's essential to remember that Arnold was looking at a highly
specular object - it was reflective and mirror-like. As I
pointed out in another message, this would tend, first of all,
to make a lens shaped object appear thinner (due to reflection
of the sky by the upper surface, and would also make the bottom
center appear to bulge, as shown in the sketch.

>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.

Ultimately, the important account is the written account for the
Air Force records. As far as I know, that is the most complete
account of the sighting, it is not filtered through someone
else's notes or editor, and it is from a date at least "some
days" prior to July 12 when he corresponded with the AF
regarding it - placing it close to the date of the sighting,
though after the interviews in question.

I am also a little wary of putting too much onto a radio
interview. Arnold was not a broadcaster, and even in normal
conversation one can easily get caught up in an incorrect
sentence or two - broadcasts, where the speaker is tense and
focused on the unusual environment, and where time pressure may
prevent him from realizing he has misspoken, or from correcting
it even if it is realized, are not the most accurate sources for
information about an event such as this.

In any event, the major concern must be that in telling the
story again and again, small distortions eventually crept in in
subsequent years. The written account is consistent with regard
to the time element, certainly, and was composed under no
pressure of the sort that obtains in an interview:

"I remember distinctly that my sweep second hand on my eight day
clock, which is located on my instrument panel..."

"As the last unit of this formation passed the southernmost high
snow-covered crest of Mt Adams, I looked at my sweep second

The account is also consistent on the shape, includes a sketch,
and has no mention of the "bat" shape, which I must, therefore
consider at least possibly a confabulation of later years.

Personally, I have no reason to dispute that account as the best
and final word on the subject. There is no reason to expect
memory to improve over the years, though its accuracy, as shown
by Haines (1980) also does not fall off as rapidly as one might

Mark Cashman, creator of The Temporal Doorway at
- Original digital art, writing, and UFO research -

UFO cases, analysis, classification systems, and more...

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