The Press: The Saucer-Eyed Dragons

Ko-Ko: Well, a nice mess you've got us into, with your nodding head . . .

Pooh-Bah: Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

— The Mikado

In June 1947, a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold told reporters a wonderful yarn. While flying alone over Washington's Mount Rainier, he said, he had spotted nine round, shiny, mysterious objects. flipping and flashing along in the sky "like saucers." Since then U.S. newspapers and magazines have credulously — or jokingly— printed hundreds of other stories about flying saucers, usually based on "reports of eyewitnesses." The witnesses generally seemed...

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