The name Kenneth Arnold is familiar to anyone who is fascinated with UFO experiences. He is the Idaho licensed pilot who was flying his small private aircraft on the day of June 24, 1947 over Mt. Rainier, Washington and saw several objects flying about twenty or so miles away from him. He didn’t automatically think “UFO”… he was more concerned about why military aircraft would be flying overhead. Getting a better look at them, he saw that they were shaped like discs. He says that he originally went to the FBI to report the incident but their offices weren’t open that day. Instead he went to the local paper and told what he had seen. When he described the objects as being shaped like “saucers” the concept of the “flying saucer” was born. After that the number of UFO sightings skyrocketed. Many were most likely something explainable or flat out fakes, however the question remains… could they all have been?
A case that happened just a couple of weeks later stands out in nearly everyone’s mind as one of the biggest conspiracy theories to date… the Roswell incident. In July of 1947, it is believed that spacecraft crashed between the towns of Roswell and Corona New Mexico. Witnesses found debris in the area that looked nothing like they had ever seen before. The military of course gave an “official” explanation of debris from top secret surveillance equipment, however many continue to believe that more was going on behind the scenes… going so far as to say that bodies of otherworldly beings were pulled out of the wreckage. It continues to be a subject of hot controversy to this day.
After 1947, the cases of UFO sightings greatly increased from before. Kenneth Arnold’s story, along with whatever happened in Roswell sparked a slew of calls from everywhere of strange objects in the sky. There have been several well known personalities that have UFO experiences attached to them. “America’s favorite uncle,” Walter Cronkite, even had a tale to tell about witnessing a disc shaped object when he was observing a test missile in the 1950’s. The incident was explained away as a “test drill”, although according to Bill Knell, a UFO researcher who Cronkite spoke with, the explanation seemed to have been quickly manufactured. Former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter was also said to have witnessed a UFO in October of 1969, in Leary Georgia. He was preparing to give a speech for a club, when he looked out into the skies and saw a brightly lit object that seemed to hover and change colors as he gazed at it. According to May Pang, John Lennon’s one time girlfriend, they witnessed a UFO one August evening in 1974… again, a brightly lit object that seemed to move slowly past them from above.