Monday, July 16, 2018

The History of “Flying Saucers”

Seventy years and counting, the UFO phenomenon is as mysterious as ever!

By Kyle Mizokami from Popular Mechanics

Today (July 2nd) is World UFO Day, when UFO enthusiasts around the world celebrate that strange phenomenon and remind the public that many mysteries remain unsolved. A whole 71 years after the sighting that kicked off the worldwide UFO craze, we are still no closer to determining what exactly causes hundreds of thousands of people to believe they have been witnesses to flying saucers.

On June 24th 1947, civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying his private airplane over the Pacific Northwest when he suddenly realized he was not alone in the skies. Near Mt. Rainier, Washington Arnold spotted “nine objects, glowing bright bluish-white” flying nearby. Eight of the objects were roughly disc-shaped, while the ninth larger object resembled a crescent. The nine objects were flying in a v-shaped formation.

Arnold estimated the craft were flying somewhere around 1,200 miles an hour and that he was witnessing a military exercise. He also compared their motion to a “saucer if you skipped it across water.” The objects obviously did not resemble any known aircraft and at the time there were no aircraft capable of flying in formation at Mach 1.5—Chuck Yeager would break the sound barrier only two months later.

The press misconstrued the “saucer” comment, applying it to their physical description, and the term flying saucer was born. Obviously, since the objects were beyond the ability of humans, newly minted UFO experts declared the objects had to be from space and evidence of life on other planets. Though in strict terms, a UFO is merely a mysterious flying craft and so is not inherently tied to the idea of visiting aliens.

"Could other stars harbor other forms of life, and could they be more advanced than ours?" If there are aliens, UFO thinkers speculated, it would stand to reason that at least some of them are millennia more advanced than we are, leaping across the universe in the blink of an eye.

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