Saturday marks the 70th anniversary of Kenneth Arnold's seminal UFO sighting which is credited as start of the modern UFO era and spawned the term 'flying saucer.'
Occurring just days before the infamous Roswell incident, the Arnold event took place on June 24th, 1947, when the private pilot was flying past Mount Rainier in Washington state and purportedly spotted a veritable armada of nine UFOs soaring past his plane.
The baffled Arnold was able to watch the anomalies for quite some time and produced a detailed account of their size and shape.
Clearly impacted by what he had seen, Arnold subsequently shared the story with his friends when he landed at the airport and with a local newspaper the next day.
His standing a reputable businessman as well as his remarkably detailed account of the incident led to his case becoming a headline story around the country and the world.
The overwhelming media coverage of Arnold's experience led to the terms 'flying saucer' as well as 'flying disc' becoming synonymous with the UFO phenomenon and also seemingly spawned a wave of sightings in the weeks and months that followed his encounter.
With it being the first case to gain national attention in America, Arnold's sighting is cited by many historians and researchers as the unofficial start of the modern era of UFO sightings.
In fact, the event is considered so important in some circles that June 24th is one of two dates, alongside July 2nd, which bear the title of 'World UFO Day.'
For his part, in the years after his sighting, Arnold participated in the early days of the burgeoning UFO field as a 'celebrity' of sorts, but eventually moved on to other pursuits.
At a 1977 event reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the case, Arnold expressed dismay that the UFO phenomenon remained a mystery and that mused that the lack of scientific interest in the enigma may be "more fantastic than flying saucers."
Sadly, forty years following that, on the 70th anniversary of Arnold's sighting, we are still no closer to solving the UFO mystery than we were on that fateful day.
Perhaps on some anniversary in the future, the events of June 24, 1947 will take on a different hue, with us looking back on it not as the start of a great unsolved mystery, but as the beginning of some kind of contact that, by then, will have finally happened.
Until then, Coast Insiders dig into our vast archive of UFO-related episodes to both commemorate the 70th anniversary of Arnold's dramatic sighting and celebrate World UFO Day.
Two episodes that you simply must check out are the classic episode dubbed 'The Great UFO Debate' between legendary ufologist Stanton Friedman and SETI's Seth Shostak as well as the outstanding UFO Roundtable featuring Linda Moulton Howe, Grant Cameron, Bruce Maccabee, and Bob Wood.
Not a Coast Insider yet? Sign up today.