UFO Conjecture(s)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kenneth Arnold and the pelicans

arnold.jpg

Bona fide UFO researcher Jerome Clark coined an epithet for those who are skeptical about certain UFO sightings that ufologists deem authentic: pelicanists

clark.jpg

Mr. Clark’s coinage comes about because one ufologist (James Easton) had the temerity to suggest Kenneth Arnold’s famous flying saucer sighting of June 24th, 1947 was of pelicans.

(Mr. Clark and other ufologists think Arnold actually saw alien spaceships. We’ve suggested elsewhere that Arnold saw a bevy of Navy test airplanes flying out of Whidbey Air Base in Washington State.)

Here is a drawing that Arnold made of his sighting:

kenarnol.jpg

Here is Fate magazine’s rendition of the Arnold sighting:

fate.jpg

And here is a later version of what Arnold says he saw – we don’t know why Arnold altered his observation):

arnoldufo.jpg

And here are some pictures of pelicans in flight:

pelicans2.jpg

pelicans4.jpg

pelicans5.jpg

pelicans6.jpg

pelicans7.jpg

pelicans9.jpg

pelicans12.jpg

pelicans13.jpg

pelicans14.jpg

And here is a map of pelican migration patterns:

migration.jpg

Also, Mount Rainier (in the Cascades) is subject to temperature inversions, especially between the winter thaw and summer season (June).

mt-rainer.jpg

Temperature changes at various mountain altitudes causes inversions (when he warm air bumps up against pockets of colder air), distorting observations through those inversions.

Here are two photos of Mount Rainier in June, with weather fronts that evoke inversions:

June-rainier.jpg

June-rainier2.jpg

So while Jerry Clark, whom we respect and admire, has created a bon mot for the UFO skeptic – a barb that lesser UFO lights often employ – in the Arnold case, the suggestion that he (Arnold) saw a flock of pelicans, and mistook them for supersonic aircraft of alien design is not out of the question.