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<   No. 2420   2009-09-11   >

Comic #2420

1 Caption: Mars, 1947:
1 Martian 1: Make a recon flight over Mt Rainier in Washington.
2 Martian 2: What if a human sees us?
3 Martian 1: Fly erratically. Skip across the sky like saucers skipping across a lake. Nobody will believe their eyes.
4 Martian 2: So... you want our flying saucers to behave like... flying saucers?
4 Martian 3: Brilliant!

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The modern UFO age began in June 1947, when pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing unusual flying objects near Mt Rainier in Washington. He described them as saucer shaped and as skipping "like saucers" across a lake. Arnold's actual statements varied slightly over time, but the early reports got into the newspapers and fired the imaginations of readers and writers alike, so that very quickly people all over the USA were talking about "flying saucers".

2023-03-26 Rerun commentary: I taught a critical thinking class with kids not long ago on the topic of unidentified flying objects. A little research into Kenneth Arnold's famous sighting showed that within days of his report being published in newspapers across the USA, dozens of other people came forward to the press to say that they had also seen similar flying objects, many of them in the same region of Washington. One of them even said they saw exactly the same number of objects as Arnold, on the same day. Interestingly not one of these people who had claimed to have seen something unusual enough to report to newspapers did so until after they had seen Arnold's report.

And then over the northern summer of 1947, there were hundreds of "flying saucer" sightings all across the USA, whereas the year before there had been none. They occurred in every state of the USA. But somehow they stopped at the borders - there were a couple in Canada very close to the US border (where people might have seen US newspapers) and none in Mexico, where US newspapers wouldn't have been circulated.

Draw your own conclusions.

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