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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Jun > Jun 8

Re: Dating Arnold

From: Don Ecsedy <don.nul>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 17:55:39 -0400 (EDT)
Archived: Fri, 08 Jun 2012 06:27:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Dating Arnold

>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 14:48:32 +0100
>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.

In his book, Arnold is presenting himself as best he can as he
had been in 1947, but soon after Tacoma, he began to reassess
things, including his relationship with Brown and Davidson,
because even before 1952 he was not of the opinion he (and
Smith) were working with AF intelligence to solve the matter of
the flying saucers as he thought. Instead he found out Brown was
a "counter espionage agent" who reported to Mitchell Field in
New York, not Hamilton A-2 and that his job was to report on
Arnold's saucer-related activity and press contacts. He
suspected Brown was not even an AF Lieutenant, but from "Central
Intelligence". In the book, Major Sander became the repository
of his suspicions - whether he had them at the time or only

He wrote Sander promised in a few weeks he and Smith would be
told the results of the AF investigation of Maury Island and the
crash, but he says he was told nothing. In December 1948,
Brown's widow writes to him that "The War Department has never
given me any kind of statement as to what might have happened
the night Frank was killed". She wrote whatever information she
had, she had to dig up for herself. "I have never thought
Frank's death was an accident", she wrote. This is pouring
gasoline on the fire for Arnold. He had his reasons for his
suspicions unrelated to Palmer or some mental deficiency,
whether "paranoia" or small town 'yokelness'.

Over five years, our recollection becomes a bit hazy on the
details, true. But we also can develop our understanding, given
re-enforcement and information. Arnold got his from people who
were close to the events (including Palmer), some of whom were
as close to it as he was. That is a very different perspective
than we, here in the audience, have.

>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

I agree with you there. Too bad Palmer died before usenet.

The Dahl/Crisman story presents a technical problem for the
writer and editor since we do not know at the beginning, nor
will we know by the last page, whether their story is accurate,
a fabrication built on some actual event, or a pure fabrication.
It is the backstory for an astonishing series of events, some
off-stage, like the anonymous phone calls to reporters, that are
themselves weird or tragic.

Arnold's - to quote William Gibson from Mona Lisa Overdrive -
"world never had so many moving parts and so few labels."



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