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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Jun > Jun 7

Re: Dating Arnold

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 14:48:32 +0100
Archived: Thu, 07 Jun 2012 13:18:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Dating Arnold

>From: Don Ecsedy <don.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2012 14:34:22 -0400 (EDT)
>Subject: Re: Dating Arnold

>>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2012 14:41:20 -0600
>>Subject: Re: Dating Arnold


>>I have snipped off the details of your debate with the author,
>>in which you make valid points that dismiss some of the more
>>nit-picky issues. On the whole, however, it seems evident that
>>various incidents, indeed entire sequences of events (meetings,
>>phone calls, travels, etc.) described in The Coming of the
>>Saucers were simply fabricated.

>I agree with Martin Shough that a fair amount of that is a big
>"so what?", and agree with you that not all of it is a "so
>what?". Also, simply because the FBI or the AF have a different
>account doesn't mean theirs is true, and Arnold's false.

That's correct. For another example, Frank Brown's confidential
CIC memorandum on his interview with Arnold manages to get the
date of Arnold's sighting wrong twice in one paragraph, and not
just the day of the month - which he gives as the 25th instead
of the 24th - but even the month of the year, giving it as July
25, a date which still lay in the future at the time writing.
And this was only 4 days after his July 12 interview with


>I'm less interested in questioning Arnold's character than in
>figuring out which parts of the story in the book were made up
>out of the whole cloth by Palmer. I don't think Palmer did so
>for some nefarious purpose, but to make the story more
>suspenseful, mysterious. He doesn't seem to have realized at the
>time how mysterious it already was, and would become. He was
>trying to engage the reader and make the sale. I guess I have a
>less negative opinion of Palmer than is common around here. At
>least, I think I understand his motives. They seem harmless.

Again I think this is correct. I really doubt that there is
anything like as much invention in Palmer's editorial input as
some people suppose.  Even in the Tacoma section Arnold's
'first-person' narrative reads to me almost entirely like
Arnold's own natural voice, with plenty of disingenuous
'evidence against interest' that to my ear rings true. Yes,
certain sequences of events in Tacoma may have got shifted and
shuffled by a combination of Arnold's 5-year-old memory and
Palmer's editorial polishing. It seems plausible to me that
Arnold may have provided a less-than-perfectly coherent sketch
of that mess of events in Tacoma and Palmer did his best to
knock it into narrative shape, in doing which it would be not
unnatural for him as publisher to select the more "interesting"
of two possible interpretations. But this strikes me as
essentially innocent and inconsequential, and like Don I have a
more sympathetic feeling about Palmer than many do.

Look at his Aug 5 letter to Arnold (in the FBI file) asking
Arnold not to back off: Where an exploitative cynic or a
profiteering fanatic attempting to embroil Arnold in his schemes
could easily have taken the opportunity to feed Arnold's
paranoia, instead Palmer rather reasonably reassures Arnold that
the deaths of Brown and Davidson were a chance accident, nothing
at all to do with Maury Island anyway, and if there was really
anything sinister going on "I'm afraid I'd have been a corpse
long ago!".

You can argue that he was just being very cunning now and
playing things down just to keep an antsy Arnold on-side. But in
the same letter you find the same diffidence in his query about
Arnold's La Grande sighting, when he asks blandly if anything
came out on Arnold's photo of those "those 'ducks' or whatever
they were" - no attempt to stoke up mystery. All quite
pragmatic, really.

And for those who see Palmer only as a self-serving, Dero-
obsessed pulp fiction promoter it's an interesting reality-check
to re-read his own overview of the UFO story in part two of the
Coming of the Saucers. It's a flawed product of its time and
makes a believer's case, not a dispassionate analyst's - but
let's be honest, there are many far more unbalanced offerings on
the shelves than this!

Martin Shough

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



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