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1947: A Very Good Year

In July of 1947, something crashed on a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. The rest is classic UFO stuff. So much so that for some, the very word Roswell sends them into seizures of aggravation; arguments about how Roswell's been done to death, the truth will never be found, it's all so contaminated it's beyond any useful investigation at this point, and so on. All that's fine with me, I'll leave the in-fighting and gnashing of teeth to others.

I find Roswell a fascinating story for hundreds of reasons, including the fact that sightings of unusual craft were seen in 1947 before July, before the crash at Roswell. These objects were seen all over the United States, including Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. One reason I find Roswell so fascinating is the black ops/psy ops/MIB like mind games surrounding Kenneth Arnold's sighting of the flying disks he saw; an aspect that is under appreciated by some researchers I believe. A pre-Roswell event: thing crashed in Roswell in July, Arnold saw disks in June while flying over the Cascade mountain range near Mt. Rainier. Connection or not, but definitely interesting.

This isn't at all new information. Stanton Friedman, an expert when it comes to Roswell, has noted numerous times that strange things were seen in the skies prior to whatever it was that crashed at Roswell. Were these events connected; fleets of flying saucers from outer space invading (or visiting, depending on your world view) earth? Or were people across the U.S. suffering from what skeptoids would call "contamination?" -- hysteria, war related anxieties, and mass brain washing, seeing things in the skies that weren't there, or misinterpreting natural phenomena for silvery disks? Or were these possibilities offered as disinformation to cover up military operations? Or hey, even the Trickster present; a bit of each.

I suspect that there isn't any one neat answer to any of this. And while those who bite nails in exasperation over Roswell still being uttered consider Roswell (and Arnold) stale and non-productive episodes to explore, being over sixty years old, they miss the fact that both are very much alive. They're alive because of our interest, including those who lack interest, wanting to put them away forever; they're alive because of the parallels of other UFO sightings up to the present.

From the now defunct Oregon Journal, a few items that appeared in 1947:

06/27/1947 Oregon Journal
Salem Woman Sighted Disks

SALEM, June 27 — (Salem Bureau of the Journal) — Mrs. Dennis Howell, a resident of the veterans' colony in southeast Salem, has come forward with a claim to sighting the mysterious silvery disks sailing along in the sky. Mrs. Howell said that she spotted the disks between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Tuesday but gave no further thought to them until she read the story quoting Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho pilot as having sighted the mysterious objects.

the following

6/27/1947 Oregon Journal
Objects Seen Several Times

Lloyd Kenyon, 26 of 6934 S. E. 45th Avenue, today told the journal he had seen the much discussed piepan objects while over-seas during the war and also while fishing on Johnson Creek less than a year ago.

Kenyon, a former shipfitter in the Navy, reported he first saw the disks while in the Russell Islands in 1943. He was aboard a ship at the time and said several others saw the objects traveling at an unbelievable speed.

"I have also seen the same objects several times while fishing."

Finally, from the following article that appeared July 5, 1947, in The Oregonian on the front page:

Air Liner Crew Confirms Flying Discs Over State

Many Seen During Day Over City

Reports of two to 20 fantastic "flying discs" over the Portland-Vancouver area Friday were confirmed by the crew of a westbound Boise-to-Portland United Airlines plane.

Their report, detailed enough to shake the most incredulous, left them equally shaken.

"No object I know of could disappear so quickly," Capt. E. J. Smith, veteran pilot of the plane, reported in an interview at Portland.

There were other witnesses as well:

Scores of persons in the Portland area Friday reported seeing, "flying discs" or something like them. Most observers agree the objects were moving rapidly, apparently in formation at about 10,000 feet.

The article suggests by including the following that the objects had a mundane explanation:

Coincidentally, the Associated Press and army officers at Fort Lewis, Wash., announced a flight of six bombers and 24 P-80 jet-propelled Shooting Stars were making a holiday demonstration flight at great altitude over Portland about the time the first "discs" were reported.

True or not, it echoes the explanations given in other UFO sighting reports, like the flares/jet fighter exercises excuse with the Phoenix Lights sightings, or the night flying pilots in formation in the Hudson Valley, etc.

Lissy and Ellis, both veterans and civilian pilots, said they saw three discs which remained in sight about 30 seconds. They could not judge speed or height because the objects near Oaks park were traveling at "terrific speed." They heard no sound but said they saw flashes and noted erratic flight including sudden changes of direction.

Capt. K. A. Prehn of the harbor patrol, Harbor Pilot A. T. Austed and Patrolman K. C. Hoffi, who were at the Irving street headquarters of the harbor patrol, said they saw the discs going south over the Globe mills at about 10,000 feet. They seemed to oscillate, weave and turn until sometimes a full disc, sometimes only a crescent was visible.

All three said they were undecided, whether there were three or six discs because of the flashes. Captain Prehn described the sight as a "wobbling hubcap." A regular plane was in the sky at the time, but these were not planes, they agreed.

Harry Hale, production manager of The Oregonian, said he saw a shiny object in the sky just west of Beaverton, while driving toward Portland Friday morning. The object was moving swiftly in a southerly direction, but disappeared suddenly.

As Stanton Friedman has often pointed out, do a search of any newspaper archive in any part of the United States at the time, and you'll find all kinds of reports of unusual flying objects. There is also Project 1947, which is an intensive effort that collects reports of UFO activity from that decade, as well as forwards and backwards -- beyond, in other words:

PROJECT 1947, with its primary focus on the 1947 wave, will also look forward as far as 1965 and back to 1900 for certain selected significant topics in UFO research. The 1900-1946 period will be examined for UFO-like reports.

Given that we had the Contactees in the 1950s-1960s (but really, prior to those decades as well, and continuing to this day,) 1947, Barney and Betty Hill, abductions, triangles, and the latest, -- strange beams of white light hitting streaming down on witnesses -- among the very long list that can be compiled, it seems pessimistic and downright grouchy to use 1947 as a marker of When UFO Things Began, and complain that nothing's been revealed in "over sixty years."