Monday, October 06, 2008

The Roswell clue that everyone overlooks


Kenneth Arnold’s June 24th 1947 sighting of nine objects near Mount Rainer spurred media to take Arnold’s description of the objects' movement – like a saucer skimmed over water (which itself was a strange way to describe aeronautical movement) – eventually coining the term “flying saucer.” But the term “flying saucer” wasn’t in common use for some period until well after June 24th, 1947.

Strange flying objects seen in the period just before the (in)famous Roswell incident of July 1947, just two weeks after Arnold’s sighting, were described, almost invariably, as disks or discs.

(See NICAP but disregard Ted Bloecher’s and Ed Ruppelt’s anachronistic use of “flying saucers” or “UFOs” in the NICAP rundown, as those terms are wrongfully inserted backward into the flying disk history.)

Even most accounts of the Roswell episode referred to a “flying disk.”


And even an FBI memo referred to a “flying disk.”

The alleged William Blanchard/Walter Haut press release had described the recovery of a crashed “flying disk” but the newspaper account – in the July 8th edition of The Roswell Daily Record -- referred, in its headline (above), to a captured “flying saucer” [sic].

Further, the newspaper account went on to report the following:

“The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer…

Major Marcel and a detail from his department went to the ranch and recovered the disk, it was stated…

The intelligence office stated that no details of the saucer's construction or its appearance had been revealed.”

The question to ask is this: Why did the newspaper and Jesse Marcel, as quoted, use the term “flying saucer”?

The term wasn’t indigenous, as we’ve noted, to media or the common parlance.

It may have been, however, part of the military argot, but Jesse Marcel and/or the newspaper wouldn’t know that.

Therefore, Marcel use of term could only have came from sources privy to the military jargon, and he passed the term on, in his quotes, to the newspaper.

This means that someone, high up in the military establishment who communicated with Major Marcel used the term, because it applied to what was recovered in one or two places near Roswell that July.

Flying saucer was the newly minted term for flying objects that the military had deemed material and real, and possibly extraterrestrial.

And the crashed disk(s) near Roswell fit the description.


Blogger Cullan Hudson said...

Is that to say a couple of weeks is insufficient time for the term to have caught on with the media? Seems to me, this is an early example of the term finally catching on. That's how these things spread, right?

October 07, 2008  
Blogger RRRGroup said...

Two things, Cullan,

This was 1947 so media accounts of "flying saucers" were scant, and appeared in few newspaper stories during that two week interval between Arnold's sighting and the Roswell incident.

The other point is that Marcel used the term "saucer' rather than "disk" which was the nomenclature used in the Haut press release. Why?

Your observation applies today, but seems overly optimistic for the slow-moving 1940s.


October 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are underestimating the capabilities of the 1940s news media. The term "flying saucer" was in fact coined by an Associated Press writer in writing his story on the Arnold sighting. AP teletype machines were in use at most major newspapers and radio stations of the era so the term "flying saucer" was spread nationwide in a matter of hours.

There is absolutely nothing unusual about the fact that that term was used by the newspaper or even by Marcel. Marcel was in military-media relations so he certainly would have come into contact with reporters who used the term. He could have easily picked it up from them.

October 07, 2008  
Blogger RRRGroup said...


The "flying saucer" headline, and Marcel's quotes in the paper are out of context for the 1947 period.

The terminology being used all over the Roswell episode, at the time, was "flying disk."

That "saucer" was used by Marcel rather than "disk" is intriguing since the press release (as we keep noting) used the term "flying disk,"

Flying saucer was a code phrase used by the military for objects that seemed to be alien (or extraterrestrial).

It separated certain sightings from the usual sightings of disk-like objects, and gave a special cachet to some unidentified craft.

Flying saucer was a red flag, as it were.

While the AP and UP wires were ubiquitous in news rooms (radio and the print press), military men and women and the general public didn't have access to them.

Moreover, the newspapers in the Roswell area didn't contain any stories, before the July 8th issue cited, that used the term "flying saucer."

So, the use by Marcel (and consequently the paper) is unique, and interesting -- to some of us anyway.


October 07, 2008  
Blogger Unexplained said...

A quick check at reveals that newspapers were frequently referring to "flying saucers" before the Roswell Daily Record article of 07/08/47.

06/27/47 (2 times)
06/28/47 (1 time)
06/29/47 (1 time)
06/30/47 (11 times)
07/01/47 (1 time)
07/02/47 (0 times)
07/03/47 (2 times)
07/04/47 (1 time)
07/05/47 (28 times)
07/06/47 (15 times)
07/07/47 (52 times)

October 08, 2008  
Blogger RRRGroup said...

Thanks, Unexplained,

But let me try to clarify, again, our point.

Newspapers in the vicinity of Roswell did not use the term "flying saucers" (or even "flying disks") before the Haut press release.

But let's assume that The Daily Record picked up on that term, from other newspapers (for their headline), for the sake of your argument.

That still doesn't explain Marcel's use of the term when his own commander and/or Haut used the term "flying disk" in the infamous press release.

And all other communications at the time also referred to a "flying disk."

Even david Rudiak's imaginative analysis of the Ramey telegram shows the term "flying disk" as the argot of the day.

What we're saying is that the use of the term "flying saucer" meant more to the military than the term "flying disk" which had a more prosaic meaning.

See Navy accounts of UFOs for the time period and compare that to their use of "flying disks" for their prototypes, including the "flying flapjack" plane.

The Navy and all other military constucts used "flying saucer" for interplanetary-imagined craft and flying disks or disk-like objects for other sightings of a mundane nature.

We're just saying that Marcel's use of the term "saucer" was a clue to what he found and very likely what his superiors had in their possession.

It wasn't a disk, or a balloon, but a "nuts and bolts" airfoil that didn't originate on Earth.

(That's just a supposition on our part, of course, since no one has ever come forth with proof of anything otherworldly.)


October 08, 2008  
Blogger borky said...

Actually, I suspect you're onto something, here.

There's a tendency amongst all groups - especially ones involving regimented memberships, (such as the military or the police) - to resort to jargonese.

This encourages group cohesion but, aboveall, facilitates communicational exclusivity between members.

For Major Marcel to use "saucer" instead of his superiors' "disk" clearly suggests he was hinting at something.

Even if, say, your possible version wasn't correct, his use of "saucer" would surely signal to some of his more astute/paranoid colleagues he was breaking rank and wanted them to take less notice of the later official "disk" communique and more notice of the earlier newspaper "saucer" headline and report.

October 10, 2008  

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