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On June 24,1947, Kenneth Arnold claimed that he'd seen nine "crescent shaped" aircraft flying erratically at incredible speeds near Mount Rainier. He said they reminded him of saucers skimming over water. An editor of the Eastern Oregonian reported that Arnold saw "round" objects. Other reports noted "disc-shaped" objects. Within a few weeks, there were hundreds of reports nationwide of sightings of flying "saucers."
The fact that so many UFO and alien
sightings conform to rather standard depictions is taken by some as evidence that the
observers are not mistaken. They must be seeing the same things. It is more likely that
they see what they see because of their expectations, which are based on stereotypes
created largely by the mass media. In this respect, and maybe some others as well, UFO an
alien sightings might be compared to Santa Claus sightings.
See also alien abduction, area 51, autokinetic effect, cattle mutilation, crop circle, men in black, Roswell, sleep paralysis, and UFO.