From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul> Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012 17:22:33 +0100 Archived: Sun, 03 Jun 2012 07:42:21 -0400 Subject: Re: Dating Arnold >From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul> >To: post.nul >Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 10:29:18 -0600 >Subject: Dating Arnold [was: Flying Saucers - The Greatest Lie Ever Told] >If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend the ten-part >series "The Positively True Story of Kenneth Arnold" at >saturdaynightuforia.com, >http://tinyurl.com/cgtlk9b >which goes into great detail about this and other >'inconsistencies', including outright fabrications, in the >Coming of the Saucers version of Arnold's involvement in Maury >Island affair. And while I suspect most or all of these were due >to Ray Palmer, I have distinct unease with Arnold's apparent >complicity in their publication. Thanks, Mike. But after my first reading I would say (whilst reserving the right to adapt my opinion on the basis of further thought!) I'm not too impressed with this. I was drawn in by the pleasure of re-reading much interesting background in one place with evocative period photos, and had high hopes for it. I was initially intrigued by what the author was trying to do, and interested to see what he could do with the July 29/30 date anomaly etc. But after a few sections I started to get a sense of the ballistic arc of the thing and where it was carefully aimed to come down. I ended up finding the result analytically petty, lacking judgment and proportion, and insincere. This anonymous person - let's call "him" X - gives us no clue as to his identity or background which deprives us of the ability to perceive his motivation in 3D, but I can smell an agenda. In my opinion (at the moment) the date error is not dramatically material. I disagree both with X and with Don Ecsedy. I doubt that it signifies much. There are "internal" inconsistencies between the 1947 Smith/FBI record and Arnold's narrative, yes, but I don't perceive the "significance" that X claims to see, and neither do I see the heavy hand of Ray Palmer on Arnold's narrative, planting fabricated tales in it the way X suggests. A few points: X implies that Arnold's retelling of Dahl's story is suspect because the narrative Arnold places in quotes is too grammatically and idiomatically polished to be a verbatim record of Dahl's exact words. The implication is that Arnold is deceiving us. This is ludicrous, in that only an idiot could have imagined that by using quotes around these twelve wordy paragraphs in 1952 Arnold was claiming perfect recall of Dahl's words in a Tacoma hotel room in 1947. The account is plainly intended as no more than a reconstruction or evocation of what was said. The critic here shoots himself in the foot, a victim of his own over-literal pedantry. X argues that Dave Johnson "encouraged" Arnold to get involved with Ray Palmer and go to Tacoma. I don't see this. Arnold says he asked Johnson's opinion about Palmer's offer of expenses. Johnson said he couldn't see why Arnold shouldn't go to Tacoma but the only way to find out if Palmer was serious was to take him up on it and see if he did send any money. The fact that Dave Johnson telegraphed Hamilton Field on July 29 on his own account advising a check on Palmer and Venture Press is fascinating. X says it is evidence that "Johnson wasn't quite as sanguine about the matter as Arnold believed". This misrepresents Arnold, who wrote that when Palmer's $200 actually arrived the "hard headed" Johnson was surprised and "just couldn't believe an unknown party would be tossing money around that way". Hardly "encouraging". This is in fact exactly the suspicion that Johnson telegraphed to Lt Brown, that Palmer's freedom with $200 seemed "out of scale" for the nature of the business. Nothing strange or inconsistent here. But X tells the story in such a way as to imply that Arnold is at fault. [Begin Quote] Arnold would write of his experience five years later in the book The Coming of the Saucers - published and in fact co- written by Raymond Palmer. It is from that book that the story of Johnson's encouragement for Arnold to go to Tacoma is told. Yet, Johnson's behind the scenes activities - revealed decades later in a declassified FBI report - would seem to be inconsistent with such advice. And as it turns out, it would be just the first of many inconsistencies and discrepancies to come in the story of that time as later told by Arnold. [End Quote] X exhibits some tell-tale pseudo-sceptic tics, such as constantly buttressing the argument in-hand with promises of how much stronger the next arguments are going to get, advertising punch-lines that never quite materialise, and dropping in observations that he hopes will seem damaging with that butter- wouldn't-melt mannerism that begins "Curiously, . . ." or using phrases like "EQUALLY OPAQUE in the events leading up to Arnold's departure for Tacoma is Arnold's motivation...." to plant the thought that Arnold was not merely falling short of his duty by omitting to include the results of a total psychiatric evaluation and brain scan in his 79 page story but could be hiding some motivation that is murky or even scurrilous. X focuses on the date discrepancy as a big thing because, he points out, if Arnold really arrived on the 30th not the 29th then everything which he describes as happening on the 30th really happened on the 31st, and so on. Most consequences of this are of the "so what?" variety. There are numerous examples of what he calls "internal" inconsistencies among the small daily details variously recalled by Smith for the FBI and by Arnold for his book five years later - several things in Arnold's account of the meetings and comings and goings in the hotel room that Smith (or Smith's interviewer at least) does not mention, differences regarding the sequence of events and who was in the room or not in the room when so-and-so arrived, which reporter phoned on which day and who picked up the phone, etc etc - but says "the most glaring discrepancy" is the date, referring again to the 29/30 July confusion. This is true in the sense that most of the material discrepancies he lists come down in the end to this same issue. X suggests that the content of the claimed anonymous letter to Harold Dahl that Arnold says he forgot to mention to Brown- Davidson is a coded insert referring to the "Shaver mystery" therefore proving the account to be corrupted by the scheming hand of Ray Palmer. But he forgets that he has earlier spent several paragraphs explaining to us that Dahl's associate Crisman (he of the shadowy past and suspect associations, whom Arnold says he and Smith both sussed as a liar and peculiar and fishy and a controlling influence ) was probably none other than the author of the original "Shaver" correspondence to Ray Palmer in the first place. So one doesn't have to look far to imagine who may have fed Dahl this stuff. X is trying to set this up as evidence that Palmer has inserted fabrications into Arnold's story to further his own publishing interests, or even that Arnold and Palmer colluded to make this up in furtherance of those interests. The latter is certainly implied constructively, inasmuch as X knows as well as his readers do that Arnold never resiled from this account and would thus have been passively condoning the lie that X claims to have detected. But I think X is off-beam and trying to sell us a conspiracy theory. It seems quite likely to me that Palmer may have "helped" Arnold polish his narrative and knock his notes into shape, especially in this part of the book, but I see no convincing evidence of systematic deception with any particular purpose. I think that dates and times and sequences of phone calls and meetings etc were probably reconstructed very roughly from Arnold's memory (I know of no evidence that he kept an exact daily diary in Tacoma) and finessed a bit with help from Palmer in order to make a flowing story, which does differ in details from the account that the FBI got from Capt Smith in 1947. But the essence and flavour of what happened and the cast of characters are not in much doubt, despite this (nor are the FBI documents immune from errors). The main point to come out of all this is the one Dion Ecsidy brought up here. Most things come back to this question of why Arnold recalled flying to Tacoma on July 29 instead of July 30. I think that Don perhaps suspects some sort of cover-up of a missing day that Arnold really did spend in Tacoma? If there are other reasons to suspect this it would be interesting to hear about them, but for my money, at the moment, this is probably just a meaningless error. Arnold's 1952 book says July 29. And a 1948 official report contains the July 29 date. When we then find that Arnold himself used the July 29 date in a telegram of August 31, 1947 it seem at first sight like impressive early corroboration. OK, but of course this document could simply be the source of a perpetuated systematic error. Could Arnold have written down the wrong date a month after the event? It's possible. If he did then whatever sources or notes or memories he was using to reconstruct the affair 5 years later for Ray Palmer would be contaminated by this early error. The occurrence of the same date in the document "Analysis of FLYOB Incidents in US" would be more impressive were it not that the context of this reference seems confused and may suggest that some info from the files has been improperly digested by the writer. Martin Shough Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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