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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Jun > Jun 9

Re: Dating Arnold

From: Don Ecsedy <don.nul>
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2012 13:37:52 -0400 (EDT)
Archived: Sat, 09 Jun 2012 15:09:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Dating Arnold

>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2012 13:11:39 -0600
>Subject: Re: Dating Arnold

>>From: Martin Shough<parcellular.nul>
>>Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2012 17:22:33 +0100
>>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


>>>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.

>Martin, Jerry, Don (Ecsedy & Ledger), List,

>I've enjoyed your thoughtful comments on this thread, which I've
>been unable to find time to revisit. Consolidating my replies to

>Using Martin's convention (X = author of The Positively True
>Story of Kenneth Arnold), I acknowledge he and Don Ecsedy's
>point that most of X's case rests on the date discrepancy. If a
>one-day shift in the start date of the Coming Of The Saucers
>account effectively squared things up with the more
>contemporaneous reports of Arnold/Smith et al, I wouldn't have
>given any of this much further thought. In my opinion the newer
>material, even after such re-synchronization, clearly contains,
>shall we say, some colorful embellishments.

What are the embellishments?

There are a number of time-wasters in TCOTS. The event in Tacoma
on the 29th is the interview of Dahl in Arnold's hotel room.
I've thought it a way to avoid pages of third person exposition
of the backstory. There's another reason for it. It establishes
Dahl's personality and character. Arnold describes him as so
physically imposing that he is regretting having been arrogant
on the phone with him. But it turns out Dahl is a whiner, and
"superstitious", meaning, I think, emotional and irrational. He
may look like a real man, a manly man, but he is not. He's been,
as the saying goes, "unmanned" by the experience. Is there any
development of this character trait later on in terms of
narrative value or embellishment? Not really. Dahl's
characterization is consistent, and that's about it. Maybe a
draft of the story was more Dahl-centric.  There are the time-
wasters of the scenes at Dahl's secretary's house. Maybe they
were relevant in a Dahl-centric draft.

Then there are the time-wasters of just hanging around and
waiting for something to happen, like towards the end when Smith
and Arnold hang out in the hotel room expecting AF Intelligence
to contact them. Or Arnold waiting for Smith to return from his
mysterious absence. That's an interesting scene because Arnold
gets a bit "unmanned", himself, when Smith fails to return at
the stated time. Arnold nearly cries in relief when Smith shows

Palmer could write a better narrative than TCOTS, which
indicates he did not have a free hand to change Arnold's
contribution as he pleased ("Look, Ken. Do you want the reader
to turn to page two or not?", the editor said)

There is one time-waster that is important: Major Sander.
Arnold's presentation of his relationship with AF Intelligence
is the subject of the scenes. It's those glances between Arnold
and Smith over the head of, behind the back of, Major Sander
that seem to be the 'reveal' of TCOTS. Arnold, writing in 1952,
presents himself in Tacoma as confident in the AF investigators,
glad and relieved to have Brown and Davidson on the job,
believing himself (and Smith) to be in collaboration with them
to solve the saucer mystery -- in other words, the cluelessly
naive Arnold. At the end, those knowing glances tell a different
story. Maybe that's what Arnold intended, his point.

My complaint about "X" is not that he didn't attempt to
synchronize the accounts or do any analysis, but his attitude
towards Arnold (and Smith, somewhat) in the Commnents. There is
a comment related to the slag dump story, regarding Arnold's
description of how the various pieces of debris felt in his
hands, "X" comments by wondering whether such a thing was a game
(I guess like 20 Questions) in the Arnold family (I am not going
to go back and find the exact language). It's a bit of gloating

Ok. I don't expect everyone to have a brain-cell archiving data
about the Wurzburg School of experimental psychology and the
work of Karl Marbe re 'imageless thought'. Arnold references a
classic experiment. What I do expect from a researcher is some
hesitation, a bit of uncertainty, due to their appreciation that
they just can't know everything.

>However, having given thought to the comments here regarding
>Palmer, the pulp-fiction character of his product, and Arnold's
>own personality, I must concede that I'm probably setting the
>bar a little high. Clearly, Coming Of The Saucers was not meant
>to be a documentary so much as a dramatization, and I don't
>really see this having any substantive bearing on the
>credibility of Arnold's original account of the Mt. Rainier
>incident. The subtle 'evolution' of the latter with time (via
>Arnold himself, not through the filter of Palmer) is of more
>significance to me in that regard, but as has been discussed
>here previously, even that has plausible mitigating factors.

>I'm curious to know how Listers in general gauge the
>significance of the Arnold case to the entire 'flying saucer'
>paradigm (not necessarily the UFO phenomenon per se). Consider
>that, if the Arnold sighting is debunked, there would seem to be
>two possible conclusions: either (1) Arnold somehow presciently
>fabricated or hallucinated a phenomenon that would shortly
>thereafter become manifest as an objective physical phenomenon
>world-wide; or, (2) post-Arnold sightings of flying saucers are
>collectively bunk (copycats/hoaxes, mass hysteria, delusions,
>misidentifications, etc).

The only reason I can think of why Arnold would invent or
"embellish" the Mt Ranier sighting would be to have a good story
to tell the guys in the hanger. For that purpose, supersonic
speed would be the embellishment. His audience would be
expecting such speeds, and sooner than later. Arnold's story
would be a bit of rumor that they'd already achieved it believe
it or not.

But the reason we have 'saucer' isn't that, but the turbulence
of the objects as they sped along. If someone knows of anything,
either scientific, speculative, or fictional that might have
influenced Arnold's description of this, I'd appreciate a
citation. I don't believe he just made it up. As an
embellishment, it doesn't serve any purpose. It wouldn't make
his sighting any more believable to his audience. Quite the
opposite, perhaps.

>Which is quite a pickle. Hence my own opinion that quite a bit
>stands or falls with the Arnold case, at least with regard to
>the classic 'flying saucer'. Substantially more so IMO than
>with, say, Roswell, which attracts vastly more study and

I don't know. The AF was as fussed about the saucers as was
Arnold, and before Arnold. Arnold's story went viral in the
press, and from that point on, if there was any "mass hysteria"
about the saucers, it was in the AF. Such publicity was the last
thing they wanted since it messed up the good reports with
hoaxers, copycats, and the fertile imaginations of theosophists,
Forteans, and science fantasy fans. The "good reports" being, of
course, from people just like themselves...AF pilots and
officers, and their scientific consultants.

I believe it wouldn't have mattered what story got on the wires
first, the AAF, the CIC, would have been on it like a lamprey.
So would have the FBI. Keyhoe - the origins of ufology didn't
need Arnold, but did need Project Saucer. That's where the
'agency' is in the Flying Saucer Wave of 1947. It's also why
'conspiracy' suggests itself so readily.




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