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March 18, 2012 — Curt Sutherly


Paranormal Adept
Good episode as usual. For what its worth, Fred Crisman was a lot younger than described, at least according to Wikipedia. They give his dates as 1919 to 1975.

Listeners may be interested in hearing Kenneth Arnold himself being interviewed.



There was a comment a few minutes in regarding Maury Island, which the guest said had become a peninsula though it had been an island. Gene replied, "But there's no global warming." This is completely inaccurate.

Maury Island is a "peninsula" to Vashon Island and always has been, at least in recent times. Both are in Puget Sound, a body of salt water that has had no appreciable change in sea level for hundreds of years. If, indeed, "global warming" were to raise the sea level, Maury Island would no longer be a peninsula and would be a true island, the opposite of the implication here. If, it had been an island and is now a peninsula, that would represent a LOWERING of the sea level.

I lived on Vashon Island for several years and have been on Maury many times. I almost bought a solar house therefore $85K. Wish I had.


Paranormal Adept
The show was a good discussion of the Kenneth Arnold sighting and aftermath. It is interesting how he first thought of the military project as an explanation. Martians had been in the publics' mind for many years, and both the War of the Worlds book and radio show were examples of capitalizing on an existing interest. The first article I've seen connecting extraterrestrials to flying saucers was in this July 9, 1947 satirical piece by Hal Boyle.

Regarding the Maury Island incident, it is bizarre and fascinating that Arnold got sucked into it. Strange to think how immediately hoaxes were attached to the Flying Saucer mystery.


Paranormal Adept
Some of the best stuff still deals with events from this formative age of ufology and I thought Sutherly did a great job of keeping the mystery alive in this interview. Turns out Arnold's life had been upended even more by his sighting than is generally realized.


Skilled Investigator
It's a good interview and a strong case (Kenneth Arnold's), but personally I don't understand why so much attention is focused on th eoldest of cases instead of the newer ones. I think the case of The Reed family is a very compelling and interesting recent case. Though it did take place over something like a 30 yr period, it went on up til 2009 (maybe still is to this day, not sure) , anyway here is a link if interested.
The Reed Family's Alien Nightmare » Metro Pulse


Skilled Investigator
I'm not quite as impressed as others here. It sounded like Sutherly hadn't prepared all that well for the interview, and his mispronunciation of some place names in Washington makes me think he did his research from a distance. That said, the story about Arnold and Maury Island is interesting nevertheless.


Skilled Investigator
It was an interesting and informative interview. The Arnold sighting and Maury Island incident are always fascinating. At times Maury Island is indeed X-filish, surreal, and creepy. It is complicated and strange in the extreme, making it sound like more than a simple hoax by Dahl and Chrisman.

Sutherly didn't know a few important things about Arnold. Kenneth Arnold was indeed being recognized by the public and it was causing him problems. (Sutherly wasn't sure about this.) Arnold was definitely giving disc-like or saucer-like descriptions for the shape of the objects he saw from the beginning (he wasn't just describing the motion). And he (and many others) were already speculating about the possible extra-terrestrial origins of the objects right from the beginning. (Sutherly thought this didn't come about until at least a year later when others began writing about it.)

An AP story on June 27, 1947, only 3 days after the sighting (and only a day after the story went nationwide), had Arnold providing an unnerving account of a run-in he had with a near-hysterical woman in a Pendleton cafe. Screaming, there's the man who saw the "men from Mars", she ran from the cafe saying she wanted to be with her children while there was still time. Arnold commented that people were looking at him like some combination of Flash Gordon, Einstein and screwball and he'd had enough. He wanted to talk to somebody in the government who would take him seriously. Arnold was certainly being recognized by he public, and it was bothering him with their reaction. Also note the "men from Mars" and "Flash Gordon" references here. Some segment of the public was definitely thinking in terms of "space ships" with regards to the saucers.

On July 7, two articles came out with Arnold again bringing up the subject of extraterrestrial origins, one of the articles stating that was his personal opinion. One AP article said some of his fan mail thought the discs were "visitations from another planet" (others expressed Biblical prophesy and doomsday theories). In an interview in the Chicago Times, he said the objects were making such abrupt turns that no human pilot could survive them. So he hoped they were the work of the U.S. Army and they would have to be remote-controlled if they were. If not, then he thought they were from another world. He again said some people he had heard from also thought they were from another planet. People were disturbed and Arnold said the government should tell what it knew since the objects didn't seem to be doing any harm.

Three years later Arnold stated the same opinion in an interview with journalist Edward R. Murrow: He hoped they were some military project, but if they weren't, then he thought they were ET, but it was nothing to freak out over.

United Airline pilot captain E. J. Smith, who had his sighting July 4, was also interviewed in the Chicago Times article and gave the opinion they were a secret U.S. project. Arnold only said he hoped they were such U.S. project, but it was apparent he had serious doubts about this. Sutherly also said Arnold thought they might be Russian. I have never read anything, at least from the 1947 period, where Arnold ever expressed this as a possibility. Despite Sutherly's speculation, there has never been any evidence that some U.S. project was causing Arnold's, Smith's, or anybody else's sightings, so there was no reason to invent flying saucers as a cover story. Nor would Maury Island need to be staged to cover up such a secret project.

However, after the Roswell incident the next day, there was some effort from some military quarters to promote the idea that maybe they were a secret project. At Fort Worth, Gen. Ramey's intelligence officer, Col. Alfred Kalberer, was telling the Lion's Club there exactly that. (Ramey the day before had debunked Roswell as a weather balloon). Back on June 29 and 30, Ramey and Kalberer were also debunking the idea that the saucers were "planes from Mars." Over in Alamogordo July 9, a balloon demonstration was held to debunk Roswell and the flying saucers. Here too it was stated the sightings in the Pacific Northwest were probably the result of some secret Navy project.

Most interesting is the press release put out from the Pentagon the morning of July 8, just before the Roswell incident broke, denying that the saucers were a secret U.S. project, a bacteriological weapon from Russia, or "space ships." Reading the papers, there was definitely some public anxiety over what these things might represent, which included some serious speculation about ET origins, including from Arnold himself.

Of those expressing an opinion the following month in a Gallup poll, only 1% thought they were Russian, 3% weather balloons, 10% a hoax, and 15% a secret U.S. project. 33% gave no opinion, and 29% thought they were mass hysteria or had some simple, mundane explanation like optical illusion. 9% gave a scattering of miscellaneous opinions like Biblical end of the world. ET opinion was probably hidden in there (it was certainly in the newspapers), but not recorded in this poll. Not much has changed since then in theories of UFO origin. (Even interdimensional origins and Biblical demons were raised back then.)

I mainly wanted to clear up the misconception that Arnold never considered the ETH until a year or two afterward. That was not the case. He was thinking it from the very beginning. I also came across a Chicago Tribune article from 1977 where Arnold was the main speaker at the International UFO Congress there and said he wasn't surprised UFOs were still around. He said he knew from the beginning that they were here to stay. That again suggests he always treated them as absolutely real and probably not human in origin.


Paranormal Adept
One of my gripes against the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is that the aliens got here well in advance of their flying saucers. People were talking about "men from Mars" many decades before Kenneth Arnold's (first) sighting. Imagination and speculation were the first things to link extraterrestrials to flying saucers, and other than colorful stories, that's still all we've got.


Skilled Investigator
One of my gripes against the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is that the aliens got here well in advance of their flying saucers. People were talking about "men from Mars" many decades before Kenneth Arnold's (first) sighting. Imagination and speculation were the first things to link extraterrestrials to flying saucers, and other than colorful stories, that's still all we've got.
Strange craft flying in our sky beyond the capabilities of our own technology. If they are real, and we can't make them, who does? The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is a logical conclusion to the question of "Who makes them?" Just because Sci Fi was discussing "men from Mars" before Arnold, isn't some sort of strike against the validity of the ETH. People were having UFO sightings long before Arnold.

The conclusion of two AF intelligence studies right after Arnold was they were real, not imaginary. The conclusion of the U.S.'s first official saucer investigation, Project Sign, in the summer of 1948 was that they were real and likely ET. The Swedish military concluded the same same thing about the "ghost rockets" of 1946 and the saucer wave of 1947. The green fireballs of 1948+ were concluded to be real, with no explanation ever provided, but according to Ruppelt, the scientists at Los Alamos who had seen them thought they were ET probes. It wasn't just the dumb public jumping to the conclusion of "men from Mars."

The evidence goes well beyond "colorful stories." The militaries of the world have been chasing them with interceptors for 60+ not because of "colorful stories." but because they show up on radar, often intruding into sensitive areas, such as various nuke facilities or military bases. There is other physical evidence that they are very real: EM emissions of various kinds with physical effects such as power blackouts, engine stallings, radio interference, compass interference, photos/videos/movies, landing traces, physiological effects on plans, animals, and humans, and so on. Can hallucinations cause these physical effects and records?

UFO documents from various agencies indicate high classifications attached to UFOs. E.g., during the green fireballs in 1949, one FBI document summarizing a briefing by military intellgence stated that the subject of the fireballs and flying saucers was classified top secret. Would just "colorful stories" be classified like this? Declassified documents show militaries and intelligence agencies treating UFOs with dead seriousness

The very term "unidentified flying object" was defined by the USAF in 1953, when USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Nathan Twining issued AF Reg. 200-2 (Twining and the Wright-Patterson engineering/intelligence people he headed in 1947 were one group declaring UFOs absolutely real). UFOs were defined as flying objects that because of their unusual appearance and/or flight characteristics could not be identified even after scrutiny by their experts. Twining wasn't concerned about "colorful stories" from the public, but hard-core cases that baffled the AF's best analysts. 200-2 also stated that UFOs were to be studied because of their "technical aspects" and potential threat to national security. Military people were forbidden from discussing true, serious UFO cases with the public, only permitted to say they were being studied. Again, does this sound like Twining and the USAF were only investigating "colorful stories"?

My point is let's not grossly oversimplify, saying the only evidence for UFO existence and the ETH is gullible people imagining things, or "colorful stories."


Paranormal Adept
drudiak, thank you for your reply. Before conceding the argument, I'd like to restate that the ET notion was already in play well beyond just science fiction. Here's a link to an old newspaper for one such example.
Has Mars National Anthem on Record, Scientist Says.
Strange craft flying in our sky beyond the capabilities of our own technology. If they are real, and we can't make them, who does? The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is a logical conclusion to the question of "Who makes them?"
We're making a leap of faith just to conclude that the UFOs are manufactured "strange craft". The ET hypothesis was more attractive when it was thought that Mars or Venus might be capable of hosting neighbors piloting space vehicles. If the realities of life in this solar system were better understood at the time, maybe another solution would have developed instead. As it is, many people have grown up with the belief in the ET hypothesis, and it is ingrained like religion. Sadly, many never even consider other possibilities. There are other valid ideas out there about who or what the visitors are, and they have just as much evidence to support them.

The point I'm trying to make is that pre-determined doctrine and mythology shouldn't be distracting us from trying to find real answers.


Paranormal Adept
Sometimes the ETH is contrasted with a prosaic, deflationary explaining away. But someone can believe that some UFOs are from "others" without specifically thinking they are from other planets far away in space. There are other alternatives including inter-dimensional (parallel worlds) and crypto-terrestrial (some hidden region of earth).

For myself, I consider the crypto-terrestrial idea somewhat unlikely. I just don't think there could be a hidden civilization living right here in this reality. I'm inclined to think that some of them are inter-dimensional because of the way they vanish into thin air, change shape, etc. But merely on the basis of the size of the universe it also seems plausible to me that some UFOs are from other worlds in outer space. I have faith I guess that some means of traveling vast distances within a reasonable span of time is possible in principle and has been discovered by somebody.


Paranormal Novice
It did seem that Sutherly had done his research at a distance. Nonetheless, his presentation and commentary was intelligent, balanced and informative. I certainly enjoyed listening to him.

I do agree with the point made by "Sentry," that when Arnold had his encounter we knew much less about Mars and Venus and could therefore more easily imagine them to be inhabited. That said I believe the extraterrestrial hypothesis remains a very real possibility.

I am 61 years old. I was raised by my great-grandmother. She was born before the Wright brothers flew and was alive when the first astronauts landed on the moon (although she refused to believe it really happened). All that happened within her 85 year life span. So it is not hard to belive that a civilization(s) thousand or even millions of years in advance of ours could have discovered the means for superliminal and or interdimensional travel—and they could have discovered us? Maybe we are their creation.

The physicists themselves can't agree what reality is. They can't agree if we are living in 4, 6, 11 or even more dimensions. Some of them swear there are an infinite number of multiple universes. Others argue there is only one. In the end the mysteries abound and remain. Who and what we really are and where we came from remains speculative. No one has definitive answers, not the Dali Lama, not the Pope and not even Stephen Hawking.

Gene Steinberg

Forum Super Hero
Staff member
This was a hard investigation to do, since there's nothing on scene to investigate. Other than phone calls and snail mails to some of the participants, assuming they were still alive, what was he to do? What Palmer and Arnold said is basically on the record already.


Paranormal Novice
I meant no criticism of Mr. Sutherly for his having researched the Kenneth Arnold story from a distance. As you (Gene) point out there is nothing left on the scene and few if any of the original participants are living. In fact it was impressive that Mr. Sutherly was able to reference an actual phone interview he had done with Kenneth Arnold.


Paranormal Maven
I don't understand why so much attention is focused on the oldest of cases instead of the newer ones.
This is the one thing more than any other that irritates me about the UFO "expert" community.

I also agree with NTS that he screwed up several Washington state place names. You'd think his research would have turned up the correct pronunciation.