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Kenneth Arnold’s iconic “flying saucer” sighting was a hoax?

Saturday, January 13, 2018 14:42
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I’m slogging through Bruce Maccabee’s Three Minutes in June, Bruce’s “proof” that Ken Arnold’s 1947 sighting of nine flying saucers near Mt. Rainier was of extraterrestrial craft.
My slogging has nothing to do with Bruce’s concise, readable text. I’m also “reviewing” two other books for online blogs: The First Artists: In Search of the World’s Oldest Art by Michel Lorblanchet and Paul Bahn [Thames & Hudson Ltd, London, 2017] and God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction by Dan Barker [Sterling, NY, 2016/2017]
Mr. Maccabee’s work was written, as I noted here the other day, to show that Ken Arnold’s iconic sighting showed that we (humans) are not alone in the universe and the nine objects he saw in June 1947 were space ships from off the Earth.
I’m midway through the book and admire Bruce’s step-by-step exegesis of the 1947 observation. However….
What hit me at Page 40 was this:
“In Arnold’s book, he wrote that after this sighting, he considered continuing the search for the downed C-46, but somehow the $5,000 (reward) didn’t seem important. I wanted to get on to Yakima and tell some of the boys (other pilots) what I had seen.”
Then this on Page 42:
(Arnold’s letter, to the FBI) “When I landed at Yakima, Washington Airport I described what I had seen to my very good friend Al Baxter, who listened very patiently and was very courteous but in a joking way didn’t believe me.” [Italics by Bruce]
Bruce continues:
“The discussion of his sighting presumably would have ended in Yakima if it hadn’t been for the fact that someone at the airport contacted the press to report that some new, high speed aircraft had been sighted.” [Bold italics, mine]
Now, who could have contacted the press? Not Arnold’s friend Baxter I presume.
You see, Arnold was hoping to obtain $5,000 for spotting a missing airplane, but when that wasn’t in the cards, he spotted James Easton’s pelicans and made up a story about the nine objects, hoping to cash in on a tale.
How he would do that is open to debate, surely, but Arnold was not above seeking publicity after his sighting, as we all know from the Ray Palmer association. Why not from the outset of his (non-productive) sighting of a downed airplane and the subsequent wished for reward?
The Easton Pelican explanation was that Arnold saw a flock of pelicans flying (back) from their winter sojourn and that was what Arnold saw.
Now the pelican “theory” has been lambasted by almost everyone in the UFO community, even though it has coherence, as I (and a few others) see it.
Jerome Clark touted the term “pelicanist” for those who resort to obtuse explanations for UFO sightings, the word rampant among UFO Updaters when that site was extant.
Robert Sheaffer provides juicy commentary on the Pelican theory:
While I can barely imagine Ken Arnold mistaking white pelicans for strange, advanced aircraft, I can see how he might find an observation of a flock of birds grist for a tale that might bring him publicity and a little dough.
But, I’m not finished reading Bruce’s book so his “proof” of Arnold’s alien aircraft may allow me to drop the hoax epithet in my title to this blog post.
We’ll see.
RR – The UFO Iconoclast(s)


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