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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 5

Re: Once More The Term 'Flying Saucers'

From: David Rudiak <drudiak.nul>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2007 13:22:44 -0700
Archived: Fri, 05 Oct 2007 16:35:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Once More The Term 'Flying Saucers'

>From: Greg Boone <Evolbaby.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 18:23:29 EDT
>Subject: Once More The Term 'Flying Saucers'

>Once again the gnawing problem about the term Flying Saucers
>is bothering me.

>If memory serves, Kenneth Arnold report didn't say he saw Flying
>Saucers, he said something to the effect that the objects he
>saw moved like when one skips saucers on water.

>I buy this because a close friend of mine, a witness to a
>daylight multiple sighting said the objects moved that way.

>So if the term Flying Saucers was an error made by the press,
>why do we have reports and pics of saucer shaped aircraft?

Several years after the fact Arnold insisted that he had been
misquoted and had only referred to the motion as like saucers
skipping off water, but the historical record conflicts with
Arnold's memory of what he said.

Arnold was quoted in multiple interviews immediately afterwards
referring to the _shape_ of the objects as like a saucer, like a
disc, like a pie pan, half-moon shaped, round in front but
chopped in back, thin and flat, etc.

In contrast, the motion he generally described as weaving like
the tail of a Chinese kite or like fish flipping in the sun.

These descriptions includes a still surviving recorded interview
2 days after his sighting and his own written report plus a
drawing he made about 3 weeks later to Army Air Force
intelligence, so no chance that these represents misquotes.

The shape and motion descriptions are summarized in a Wikipedia
article on Arnold (I mostly wrote the relevant section):


There are more complete quotes from old Updates' posts of mine,
but unfortunately the Net archive is currently inaccessible.

Lots of UFO histories get it wrong, going by Arnold's later
claim of what he said rather than the numerous statements he
made immediately afterwards that conflict with his memory.
Arnold in 1947 may very well have said that the motion resembled
saucers skipping on water, but he also referred to the shape as

When you think about it, why would he refer to "saucers"
skipping on water?  Most of us have probably skipped flat stones
on water, but has anybody ever taken an actual saucer out of the
cupboard and skipped it?  If they weren't actually saucer-
shaped, I think he more likely would have compared the motion to
stones skipping on water rather than saucers.

What I suspect he said at one point was something like, "They
looked something like saucers, rounded in front and thin and
flat, and also flew like a saucer would if skipped on water."
For some reason, this later got truncated in his mind to only
the latter motion description, which he thought got exaggerated
by the press.

David Rudiak

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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