Home In English The Kenneth Arnold UFO Incident: The Birth of Modern Ufology

The Kenneth Arnold UFO Incident: The Birth of Modern Ufology


UFOs, or Unidentified Flying Objects, have captivated the public imagination for decades. The concept of extraterrestrial life and the possibility of alien visitations to Earth has been a popular topic of discussion and speculation. However, the modern era of UFO sightings can be traced back to one seminal moment in history: the Kenneth Arnold UFO incident.

On June 24th, Kenneth Arnold set out on a search in Washington state. He was searching for the site of an accident where an aircraft crashed to the ground with naval infantry on board. The accident might have occurred near Mount Rainier. He approached the mountain from the south and continuously looked at the ground, searching for the wreckage.

After a fruitless search, he turned south and then took the direction of the mountain again. The weather was great, the sky was clear, and flying was a clear pleasure. The atmosphere was so calm that the pilot could comfortably lean back in his seat. There was a DC-4 aircraft nearby, but its distance was not disturbing. After two to three minutes of calm flight, a dazzling light suddenly appeared in front of him. He could not determine where the light came from, but when he looked to the left, he saw nine objects in the direction of the mountain, traveling from north to south. Because they were approaching the mountain at high speed, Kenneth Arnold thought they were fighter jets. At certain intervals, the objects slightly changed direction, which could be seen by the way the sunlight was reflected at different angles. However, they were too far away to determine their shape.

When he got closer to Mount Rainier, he could observe the shape of the vehicles. What was striking was that they had no wings or tails. Meanwhile, the objects continued to move towards the south side of the mountain, at an altitude high enough to keep an eye on them. They moved in chains and diagonally as if invisibly bound together. They maintained their course until they reached the summit of the mountain. Here they had to go around them, changing direction slightly. Kenneth estimated the distance between them and the objects to be between 30 and 60 km and estimated their size to be two-thirds that of a DC-4 aircraft. Once the vehicles had reached the snowy mountain peaks, Kenneth estimated their speed, which was about 2800 km/h. The problem was, however, that these parameters were subjective, so there was the possibility of human error. The Air Force could therefore rely on the account of one man.

On a Sunday morning at nine o’clock, Lucy Floyd’s phone rang. At the time, she worked as an aerospace technician. She was asked to go to the Air Technical Intelligence Center to analyze Kenneth Arnold’s report. She received a rather unpleasant phone call: Lucy Floyd did not want to go to the center, but due to the pressure from the Pentagon and the media, she had no choice.

National security concerns also arose as nobody could really tell what they were dealing with. However, the Air Technical Intelligence Center seemed to be the best option for handling the case. The military commanders, however, had headaches with the case, especially because they were impatient and this made it difficult to work together with the technicians and administrators.

The Kenneth Arnold UFO incident quickly became a national sensation and was widely reported in the media. Arnold’s testimony was considered credible due to his background as a private pilot and his reputation as a reliable witness. The unique appearance of the objects he described, disk-shaped and moving at incredible speeds, further added to the excitement and speculation surrounding the incident.

This is when the flying saucer term was formed and the modern era of UFO sightings began. The Air Force tried with all its efforts to answer the questions and did so with sincere dedication.

The report was sent to several research teams, who concluded that it could have been an optical illusion. Only the clear air and sky could have produced the reflection. The pilot’s heightened state of excitement based on what he saw could have also contributed to the overvaluation of what he saw. Kenneth Arnold and those who already believed in aliens never accepted the explanation from the Air Force and the scientists. Numerous books have been published on the theory that aliens were in the airspace, yet many still argue that UFO believers are only daydreaming and living in a fantasy world.

Unfortunately, there was no explanation found for Kenneth Arnold’s case, but there was another case that received more satisfactory answers. In 1948, W.J. Young, a commander in the Marines, reported several times that he saw strange reflections in the Willamette Valley, but natural reflections were typical for the eastern plains of Washington and Oregon. These reflections could easily be confused with flying saucers. On one occasion, on a clear summer day in the Willamette Valley, the constantly present fog appeared thicker than usual.

The commander could have been flying between 500 and 2000 meters when bright disks appeared near the aeroplane. Some disks disappeared and then others appeared from time to time. Young concluded that these light phenomena were reflections of the sun’s light on the roofs of the farmhouses. Since the fog was thick, it was difficult to see the roofs of the houses clearly, so this explanation seemed obvious. In this case, it is well seen that the observer himself gives an explanation for the events. Although every UFO case could be easily explained this way.

As news of the sightings spread, more people began to come forward with their own reports of UFO sightings. Many of these reports described similar disk-shaped objects traveling at high speeds, leading to the widespread belief that the objects sighted by Arnold were of extraterrestrial origin. This wave of public interest in the phenomenon of UFO sightings led to the formation of UFO investigation groups, as well as the US military becoming involved in the investigation of UFO sightings.

The Kenneth Arnold UFO incident marked the beginning of the modern era of UFO sightings and sparked a wave of interest in the phenomenon. Arnold’s credible testimony, combined with the unique appearance of the objects, helped to bring the topic of UFO sightings into the public consciousness. The incident was widely reported in the media, leading to numerous similar reports from people all over the country.

In the years following the Kenneth Arnold UFO incident, the topic of UFOs became a subject of intense public fascination and speculation. Numerous books, articles, and documentaries were produced, fueling the public’s interest in the subject. The US military became involved in investigating UFO sightings, conducting extensive studies and analysis in an effort to determine the origin of the objects. While some of the sightings were explained as natural phenomena, such as weather balloons or aircraft, many remained unexplained, leading to the speculation that they could be of extraterrestrial origin.

Despite the numerous reports and investigations, the true nature of the objects sighted by Kenneth Arnold and others remains unknown. The continued investigation and discussion of UFO sightings is an important part of our quest to understand our place in the universe and what might be out there waiting for us to discover. Whether the objects are of natural or extraterrestrial origin, the Kenneth Arnold UFO incident will always be remembered as a seminal moment in the history of UFOlogy and the beginning of the modern era of UFO sightings.

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