Whether you believe in them or not, today is the anniversary of the day back in 1947 when the “flying saucers” phenomenon began.
People had certainly spotted strange things in the sky before. But it was a pilot flying his private plane near Washington State’s Mt. Rainier that gave the unidentified flying objects such a catchy name.
As described in Historylink.org:
“While flying in his private airplane near Mount Rainier en route from Chehalis, Washington, to his home in Boise, Idaho, Kenneth Arnold was startled by a bright light shortly before 3 p.m., on June 24, 1947. He looked north and saw nine gleaming objects racing southward along the crest of the Cascades. They were roughly circular in form — except for one crescent-shaped object — measured about 50 feet across, and appeared metallic. He watched them for approximately two minutes until they disappeared over Oregon.”
During a refueling stop in eastern Oregon, Arnold described his experience to the local newspaper editor, saying that the vehicles flew in and out of the mountain peaks at incredible speeds and in an undulating formation “like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water.”
Stories like that,with details like that, are too juicy to ignore. The report got picked up by newspapers around the country – and around the world – and from then on, unidentified flying objects have become known as “flying saucers.”
If you’re interested in some modern-day stories about aliens at some airports, please see my recent Aliens, UFOs and Crop circles at the airport post, which links to my USATODAY.com column about some of these episodes.