The "New" UFO's: Where It All Began
The first thing I noticed was a series of flashes like a mirror was reflecting sunlight in my eyes. The flashes were coming from objects that were silvery and shiny and travelling incredibly fast. They seemed to be shaped like a pie plate and moved like a saucer would if you skipped it across water.
These were the words of veteran pilot Kenneth Arnold, whose bizarre UFO encounter occurred during a search for the wreckage of a military transport believed down in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Arnold estimated the strange, silvery objects, nine in all, were flying at an altitude of 10,000 feet and travelling at speeds approaching 1200 miles an hour.
The date was June 24, 1947, eight days before the famed UFO crash at Roswell , New Mexico . Although events purported to be UFO sightings and/or encounters date back to Biblical times, Arnold 's 1947 sighting marks the official "coming of age" of Ufology. He recounted his incredible UFO experience first for the Chicago Daily Tribune. While he described the mysterious flying craft as crescent shaped, the fact that he depicted their motion saucer-like fired the imaginations of both the media and the public, who immediately became attached to the image, hence the term "flying saucer."
In fact, Arnold himself apparently acceded to the public concept. In his book, written in 1952, was titled "The Coming of the Saucers". Although the U.S. military was reluctant to acknowledge Arnold 's UFO encounter, it was forced to relax its stand following the spectacular Roswell crash on the night of July 2, 1947. Grudgingly, the military began accepting UFO reports from "credible" observers, receiving 850 during a one month period. Many of these, along with Kenneth Arnold's memorable account, would be incorporates subsequently in the U.S. Air Force's definitive UFO research effort, Project Blue Book.