US pilot Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of peculiar flying objects sparked the UFO craze
THE late 1940s through to the ’50s was the golden era of the UFO. It was a time when Cold War paranoia was just kicking in but, instead of fearing Soviet infiltration, people began seeing strange things in the skies. It was also when the terms “flying saucer” and “UFO” were coined and popularised, fuelling the public imagination.
But this alien spaceship craze can be traced largely to an incident that happened 70 years ago
Kenneth Arnold saw something in the skies on June 24, 1947, that caused millions of people to wonder if we were not alone in the universe. Arnold was born in Sebeka, Minnesota, in 1915,
Arnold had logged thousands of hours of flight time before his alien encounter. It happened in June 1947, while on a business trip in the state of Washington. He had taken off from Chehalis and was helping out with the search for a lost military transport plane. While flying over the Cascade Mountains, near Mt Rainier, he was startled by a flash of light.
“I observed a chain of nine peculiar looking aircraft flying from north to south” near Mt Rainier, he later said. It was about 3pm and Arnold watched the aircraft for two or three minutes.
When he landed at Yakima he told a friend who didn’t believe him.
The story soon got around and Arnold was sought out by reporters who asked for an account of what he saw.