The concept of “flying saucers” as alien ships has become an integral part of our culture. A substantial flat vessel image and the “green men” are the main characters in books and films about extraterrestrial invaders’ invaders and alien abductions. At the same time, just a few decades ago, the “flying saucer” did not cause any associations in people, if not for some events in post-war America.
An incident in the Cascade Range
On June 24, 1947, American businessman Kenneth Arnold flew in his plane over the Cascade Range, a mountain range in the northwestern United States. He noticed nine flying objects in the air. “For about three minutes, I watched a chain of objects moving like saucers through the water, like thrown flat stones, stretched for at least five miles and maneuvered between high mountain peaks. They were flat, like pans, and, like a mirror, reflected the sun’s rays, ”he said later.
Reports of “unidentified flying objects” (UFOs) and even photographs of strange flying vehicles have appeared before. So, for example, the artist of the newspaper “The San Francisco Call” portrayed a UFO at the end of the 19th century:
The airship was widespread at that time, and therefore the imagination of contemporaries could draw something similar. Of course, someone could see an artificial airship. Still, it seemed to him that this object was strange and unusual due to the weather conditions. Someone even mistook atmospheric phenomena for UFOs. And some of the journalists could invent and spread fables.
One way or another, it is easy to see how the images of the UFOs themselves changed with the change in human technology. With the advent of powerful aircraft engines and rocket technology, especially during World War II, reports of “fireballs,” “ghost missiles,” and other similar objects increased.
In 1947, after an incident in the Cascade Range, newspapers seized on a beautiful phrase by Arnold, who compared UFOs to saucers. This is how “flying saucers” appeared. Although the detailed description did not resemble the plate we are used to, the fantasy took its toll. Even Arnold himself called his book about the event simply – “Flying saucers.”
Interest in the UFO topic in the first years after the war was massive. The development of military technologies and espionage activities due to the outbreak of confrontation with the Soviet Union forced government organizations to hide some new projects and experiments. It is not surprising that ordinary people mistook classified military aircraft or satellites for alien “saucers.”
In 1952, an event that has not yet been solved to this day agitated American society. For two weeks, several flying objects were periodically observed over Washington, the United States capital. Then, when military aircraft approached them, they accelerated and disappeared. The multitude of repetitive messages caused real panic, including in the media.
The military hastened to calm the population down. During a special press conference, Air Force Major General John Samford said that the objects observed over the capital are not solid bodies – they could be trails from meteors or some visual effects from the inversion of air currents.
It is unknown whether the American authorities were hiding the facts of any espionage activities of the USSR or their actions. However, something else is interesting: there are no explicit images of “flying saucers” left, but in the public consciousness, it was a round flat saucer that ousted any other ideas about the same UFOs over Washington. This is because so strong was the bright and accurate image released to the masses.
In 1947, apart from the incident in the Cascade Range, there was another notable incident. In the US state of New Mexico, near the city of Roswell, an aircraft crashed, which was then described as a “flying disc.”
However, according to one version, it was an ordinary weather balloon. Some newspapers began to publish with headlines where the description contained the combination “flying saucer,” but the incident then – in 1947 – was hushed up and somehow quickly forgotten.
Two or three decades later, history got a second wind. Eyewitnesses suddenly began to recall the details of the incident, according to which the object looked exactly like a “flying saucer,” some dead bodies were found at the crash site. All the debris and bodies of unknown creatures were quickly taken away by the military.
Naturally, it is not easy to figure out rumors, tangible evidence, and outright fiction. Over time, inventions and hoaxes became more and more. In the 1990s, the famous pseudo-documentary video about the autopsy of an alien found during an incident even appeared. The beautiful myth of the crash of a flying saucer became so popular that a museum was opened in Roswell.
Many do not even think that the bodies were found (if there was such a fact!) It could have been dummies on parachutes that were dropped by the local military during tests conducted in the desert – this was the explanation given by the authorities. And the description of a flying object in the form of a disk does not necessarily imply the familiar shape of a “flying saucer.”