Arnold saw nine strange objects in the sky. At first he thought he was seeing a flock of birds, but he quickly realized that was impossible. The objects had shiny surfaces that sparkled in the sunlight. It also seemed unlikely that they were planes. Although the objects occasionally darted and flipped, they didn’t appear to have pilots.
What made the whole thing even crazier was that, according to Arnold’s calculations, the objects were traveling at 1,200 miles per hour or faster. At that speed, you could cross five football fields in about one second! Knowing that nothing flew that fast, Arnold was puzzled. If only he had a camera with him, he thought.
After he landed, Arnold told other people what he had seen. On June 25, a newspaper ran a front-page article about Arnold’s experience. The article said the flying objects Arnold saw were “saucer-like.” (Saucers are small, round plates.)
The story was quickly shared by other newspapers, and it sparked a frenzy. What had Arnold seen? Could it have been a weapon, or maybe something more unusual? Was it aliens?
Americans became obsessed. Within a month, they reported seeing more than 850 unidentified flying objects—or UFOs.