Monday, June 27, 2011

64 Years Ago The Flying Saucer (UFO) Era Begins

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Me from Mars Sky Whizzer Seen - San Antonio Light 6-26-1947
By Frank Warren
The UFO Chronicles
© 6-26-11

     After serving his country (fighting in the jungles of New Guinea and receiving a Bronze Star) during WWII, then cub-reporter Bill Bequette would not only begin his decades long career as a journalist–he would forever be joined at the hip with what is deemed as modern-day-Ufology.

On June 25th, 1947 he (and Nolan Skiff) would pen the very first article that would precede a wave of like reports of sightings of mystery craft flying all over the United States (and elsewhere):

Impossible! Maybe, But Seein'
Is Believin', Says Flier

By Bill Bequette
The Eastern Oregonian

Kenneth Arnold, with the fire control at Boise and who was flying in southern Washington yesterday afternoon in search of a missing marine plane, stopped here en route to Boise today with an unusual story -- which he doesn't expect people to believe but which he declared was true.

He said he sighted nine saucer-like [emphasis added] aircraft flying in formation at 3. p.m. yesterday, extremely bright -- as if they were nickel plated -- and flying at an immense rate of speed. He estimated they were at an altitude between 9,500 and 10,000 feet and clocked them from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Adams, arriving at the amazing speed of about 1200 miles an hour. "It seemed impossible," he said, "but there it is -- I must believe my eyes."

He landed at Yakima somewhat later and inquired there, but learned nothing. Talking about it to a man from Ukiah in Pendleton this morning whose name he did not get, he was amazed to learn that the man had sighted the same aerial objects yesterday afternoon from the mountains in the Ukiah section!

He said that in flight they appeared to weave in an (sic) out in formation.
William C. Bequette had a very long, distinguished career as the editor of the Tri-City Herald and only recently passed away (April 24th 2011) at the ripe old age of 93. He was known for his “pursuit of accuracy, relevance and brevity” and “would not tolerate slack or superficial reporting.”

Nevertheless, back in the beginning–it was those two words, “saucer-like” that would stick–spawning the term, “Flying Saucer” which would forever be instilled into the American lexicon.

Over the years and even to this day, Ufologists debate the birth of the term, which would later, be re-named (by the Air Force) to “UFO” (1952). In my view (based on my own research) technically neither Arnold nor Bequette initially, labeled the craft Flying Saucers; as Bequette would later recount in an interview (IUR 1998), "Arnold was describing the craft’s movement, e.g., moving like a saucer, if you skipped it across the water.”

As the days passed, Flying Saucers, Flying Discs would become predominate tags for the mysterious craft in the print & radio media and Arnold would employ both.

Although I don’t know the name of the first reporter to use it (Flying Saucers), Bequette did feed the story into the AP wire and the next day, versions of it were on the front pages of newspapers from coast-to-coast.

One in particular, which might be first example (of the term Flying Saucers) is shown below, as written by UP (author unknown), and published in the Oakland Tribune.

Experts Scoff at the Tale of 'Flying Saucers' Oakland Ribune 6-26-1947

40 years after the fact, Bill Bequette stated:
" . . . I feel some embarrassment over the original UFO story. My embarrassment is because I failed to recognize what a big story Mr. Arnold brought into the office that day."
In Bill’s defense he was in good company then, and even now 64 years later; although the phenomenon is still prevalent, and continues to mystify us–there are some who still fail to see its magnitude.


  1. you were stating that 64 yrs ago the (era)began of the ufo.actually the (era)of the ufo has been going on for thousands of years,researching the must be with every milleniem people may say it is a (new era)beginning.?

  2. Hi Catherine,

    Thanks for taking time to make comment.

    Forgive me for not inserting "modern day."



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