1947: The Beginning of an Era
By Keith Rowell, MLSc
“I came away from reading these news stories with the conviction that these people really thought they were seeing intelligently guided, solid, real aircraft of unknown origin. None of this will-o-the-wisp stuff for them! They were there and they had real experiences in the very beginning. I think we should all examine their words very carefully.”
“Many people are aware that there are earlier reports of UFOs from the turn-of-the-century in America, the World War II “foo fighters” and the Swedish “ghost rockets” of 1946, but the Summer of 1947 is when flying saucers or UFOs first came into everyone’s consciousness in a big way. This is when Kenneth Arnold had his big sighting. His story was picked up by Associated Press news reporters and their stories soon went out all over the nation and even around the world.
It is always good to study the history of things. This helps us clear away misconceptions that may have developed over the years. I typed up these stories and sent them onto the Internet because it seemed to me that the debunkers were spreading misinformation based on a real ignorance of the very early history of UFOs. But, indeed, my little exercise of typing in about 40 stories from June 26 to July 9, 1947, helped educate me a little bit more too. I came away from reading these news stories with the conviction that these people really thought they were seeing intelligently guided, solid, real aircraft of unknown origin. None of this will-o-the-wisp stuff for them! They were there and they had real experiences in the very beginning. I think we should all examine their words very carefully. For this brief article, I have summarized the following information from the news stories.
- The usual sighting consists of silvery, sold discs, sometimes in formation, traveling at variable speeds - sometimes faster than the fastest plane of the day, sometimes slower than the prevailing winds - lasting seconds to minutes. Many sightings had multiple witnesses. Almost all witnesses are convinced they have seen intelligently controlled craft. Sighters include former military and current airline pilots, attorneys, business people, housewives, teenagers, hunters - you name it.
- The wave of reports starts west of the Mississippi from Oklahoma City and Mt. Rainier first, then all over the west. Then by July 4 and beyond, sightings spread to the entire nation.
- Reports of saucers seen before Arnold’s June 24 sighting surface from other people, one is a Navy man (Kenyon) seen aboard a ship while on duty with other seamen in 1943.
- On July 4, two independent groups, one of sixty and another with one-hundred picnickers in Idaho report saucers in the sky.
- By the end of the two weeks, over forty states have sighting reports.
- The National Guard of Washington and Oregon are concerned enough to send up patrols of search planes with gun camera film sent in from Washington, D.C.
- The nation is told by Major General Roger M. Ramey in Fort Worth that a weather balloon crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and the captured saucer story is false. (The Oregonian failed to pick up the official press release from Roswell Army Air Force.)
- The most credible explanation offered is secret U.S. experimental craft or “guided missiles.” We know today that these are not the solution to the mystery.
- One “landed” and one “exploding” saucer story already make their appearance in these first couple of weeks.
- Official military response is mostly to deny they are responsible for the saucers and also that they know nothing more than what reporters and the public know. But all the responses taken together are contradictory.
- The phenomenon is treated as a genuine mystery by all concerned, though some initial stories have a ridiculing tone. The tone turns more serious in the second week.
- Many of the “explanations” of today were already offered within these first two weeks. © By Keith Rowell 1995
This article is published with the expressed permission of Keith Rowell for publication on The Alien Jigsaw: alienjigsaw.com