|Pelicans flying in formation
"This young reporter from Pendleton, Ore., asked me how they flew and I said they flew very erratically, they flipped and flashed, like if you took a saucer and threw it across the water. So from that, everybody wrongly assumed they were round instead of crescent shaped."
So Arnold saw crescent shaped UFOs - it's strange therefore, how many people, following his sighting began to see round, saucer shaped, craft - and for a while this became the norm.
Anyhow, in a new book How UFOs Conquered The World the author, David Clarke, tells of how in 1997 a Scottish ufologist, James Easton, suggested these 'saucers' seen by Arnold may not have been alien forces from another planet but rather large pelicans, indigenous to the area.
In the book he writes:
"Being predominately white with black wingtips, these birds [pelicans] have highly reflective bodies that appear to sparkle or flash when spotted in the far distance. And they weren't flying that fast, because they were much closer than Arnold thought and much smaller than flying saucers."
I traced an interview from 1982, where Arnold described his sighting once more:
"They were all individual but they were following each other and the formation had a funny diagonal line, like geese or the tail of a Chinese kite. Some would gain on the others, some would lose a bit. But they were going someplace. They weren't interested in me."
"It wasn't an optical illusion. I'm positive any pilot in the same place would have observed the same thing. As far as I'm concerned. I just told things the way they were."
A year following his initial sighting Arnold saw a group of about 24 UFOs when landing his plane at LaGrande, Ore., "... clustered together like a bunch of blackbirds, going fast, little ones only three feet in diameter."
Arnold also said in an interview:
"We've gone to the moon and that's just a stepping stone to other planets. If there is life out there, maybe there are people or life as we recognise it and maybe they'd make the journey here.
"Then there might be two worlds connecting the living and the dead. Maybe you continue living when you die. I can't envision myself on the steps of God, playing a harp with 10 million other souls ... maybe it has something to do with that."
He went on to say about UFOs:
"This type of craft has been seen for hundreds of years so to accuse me of being the discoverer of flying saucers isn't right at all. I just happened to report something substantial enough to be called the modern entry of the fact that we weren't alone."
Whether we believe in UFOs is up to us. I've never seen one myself but have spoken to people who are sure they have - regular normal people. Can they all be misguided, mistaking bird formations and so on for space craft?
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