Flying saucers, men in black, and Roswell - it all started in Washington state

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From the free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

Seventy years ago this week, the modern phenomenon of unidentified flying objects was born on the sunny afternoon of June 24, 1947, near Mt. Rainier, when pilot Kenneth Arnold espied nine shiny objects skimming the crest of the Cascades "like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water."

News of Arnold's encounter made national headlines and soon everybody was seeing flying saucers.

Two weeks later, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published the first purported photo of a mystery disk, which was snapped as the object flew over Lake City. Then, on July 9, the U.S. Army issued and promptly retracted news that it had recovered the wreckage of a crashed saucer near Roswell, New Mexico.

Amid mounting hysteria, two Tacoma log salvagers approached Amazing Stories magazine with their account of a "giant flying donut" that supposedly had exploded over Maury Island on June 21, 1947. They said they had slag-like fragments to prove it, but a mysterious "man in a black suit" had spoiled their photographs. The army dispatched two investigators, who died in a plane crash while returning to their base, thus planting the seeds for all the conspiracy theories to come.


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