UFOs, Aliens, Men in Black and A Flock of Seagullsby Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Oct. 20, 2010, under Extraterrestrials, Life, Paranormal, UFOs
Last night, I heard one of my favourite songs by the 80′s band A Flock of Seagulls. It was “Space Age Love Song” from the band’s concept album about alien abduction. The song sparked random thoughts in my mind about the band, UFOs, Men in Black and aliens until I fell asleep.
This morning, I went outside and something caught my eye. I saw a flock of birds in the sky. Even with the far distance between me and the flock, I know that they were birds. There is no way that I could mistake birds for a UFO.
So, I started thinking about Kenneth Arnold. It is widely accepted that Arnold’s 1947 UFO sighting is where the term “flying saucer” or “flying disc” originated. The term ‘UFO’ wouldn’t actually come until much later. Arnold’s sighting took place about two weeks before the famous Roswell incident. The case is noteworthy not only because of the origination of the term ‘flying saucer’, but for many different reasons.
Arnold, for those who don’t know, was an experienced pilot who was flying near Mount Rainier,WA on June 24, 1947. It was a business trip from Chehalis to Yakima, but he had taken a detour to try to locate a crashed C-46 transport plane. The detour was worth it for the $5,000 reward that was offered for the downed plane.
After searching for the plane for a while and not seeing anything, he decided to continue on to his original business destination. Then, he saw something.
Near Mineral, WA, he saw a bright flashing light. He looked around, afraid that he might be too close to another plane. He only saw another plane about 15 miles behind him. About 30 seconds later, he saw a series of bright flashes flying in a long chain. He first thought that they could be a flock of geese, but ruled it out. He thought that it could be a fleet of a new kind of jet, but they didn’t look like jets to him.
Arnold took the opportunity to gauge the speed of the objects. He calculated the speed at 1,700 miles an hour, but rounded it 1,200 miles per hour, due to the impossible speeds.
At the same time, a prospector named Fred Johnson seemed to have seen the same thing as Arnold. Johnson reported the sighting, which became the very first unexplained UFO report in Air Force files. The exact same objects were reported in other cities and towns in Washington around the same time Arnold saw them, with multiple witnesses – sixteen total.
Strangely, several hundred sightings of the same objects were reported in the following days from Phoenix to Tulsa in the United States, and also from around the world. One particular sighting in Idaho on July 4th would receive even more coverage than Arnold’s. Keep in mind that this was still 3 days before the Roswell incident.
There was initially support for Arnold’s sighting, evidenced by the following statement:
“It is the present opinion of the interviewer that Mr. Arnold actually saw what he stated he saw. It is difficult to believe that a man of [his] character and apparent integrity would state that he saw objects and write up a report to the extent that he did if he did not see them.”
The Air Force would eventually conclude that Mr. Arnold had seen a mirage.
That brought to mind the insistence of people who “know what they saw” when an official explanation conflicts with what they believe they saw.
In Arnold’s case, there have been many speculations about what Arnold saw. The speculations continue to this day, despite the multiple collaborative witnesses (in different locations) who did not even know each other. Some say Arnold saw a flock of birds, specifically pelicans. Others speculated clouds, droplets of water on his window, or meteors.
A more recent speculation about the Arnold case piqued my interest. In a blog post from 2008, Richard Carrier had a theory:
Then I realized what it was. A flock of seagulls. About half a mile away. By matching them to the hills, I had grossly misperceived their distance, and consequently I was measuring their speed against the hills, which they were in fact nowhere near. My brain didn’t recognize them as birds, so instead it did its best, and saw only ovoid spinning objects. I am quite certain that’s exactly what I saw–which means my brain was misinterpreting the data and creating in my mind a completely inaccurate model of what the objects actually looked like. Once I realized they were birds, their proper shape and motion resolved in my mind’s eye and I could see them as seagulls plain as day.
It is very interesting how the mind works, I have to agree. We can take the random shapes of clouds, for example, and our mind associates them with familiar things. At times, it can take our minds a little longer to associate something we see with something familiar.
The post I am writing today, started with hearing a song from 1983 by A Flock of Seagulls, from a concept album about alien abduction. The band actually took their name from the lyrics of another band: The Stranglers. The Stranglers had also released an alien concept album called The Gospel According to the Meninblack. That album, released in 1978, dealt with a connection between religion and extraterrestrials.
Partial lyrics from Toiler on the Sea by The Stranglers from which A Flock of Seagulls took their name:
And when we reached the land
We went aground on the rocks
Became a wreck in the sand
Became a home for a flock
We ventured overland
Fought with the aliens
The young ones used their hands
Pointed the way to a flock
A flock of seagulls
A flock of Seagulls
A flock of seagulls
Strange how the mind works, that I made a connection, in my mind, between Kenneth Arnold and A Flock of Seagulls. Whether it is generally accepted that I have made a valid case for this connection is really up to the individual reader. To some, this post is nothing but unrelated random thoughts that make no sense.
I do have a point, though.
While I saw a flock of birds this morning, I have no proof to present to you that prove that they were actually birds that I saw. It is just what is generally accepted about what I saw. I can argue with you that I know what I saw. Similarly, whether it is sky divers in El Paso, or balloons in New York, it is generally accepted that these explanations officially represent what was seen. This is despite some insisting that they know what they saw. They saw something else.
In Kenneth Arnold’s case, he knew what he saw, and it wasn’t a flock of seagulls, he would say. He and many others know that they saw on that day. To be fair, I suppose the same respect should be given to others who also recently say that they know what they saw, despite it not being generally accepted.
What is generally accepted, however, is that this is a great song by A Flock of Seagulls from a concept album about alien abduction from start to finish. It’ s the same one I heard last night. Play it in honor of Kenneth Arnold, who knew what he saw, despite what he saw not being generally accepted.