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Kenneth Arnold's sighting

Kenneth Arnold sighting reports in the Press:

The article below was published in the newspaper The Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, on page 1, on July 8, 1947.


Dr Finner Blames Saucers on 'Post-War Nerves' or --

Flying Saucer Editor

You can blame the "flying saucers" on "post-war nerves" or some dark, new deviltry of the Russians, according to Dr Paul Finner, professor of psychology at Florida State University.

Dr Finner inclines toward the first diagnosis and says that if it is true Americans, as usual, will come out of the thing unharmed but perhaps feeling a little sheepish and disgusted with themselves.

Could Be Serious

If the bold, bad men of the Kremlin are trying out something new in the way of weapons then the result for Americans and the world may eventually be more serious than funny.

"With few facts at hand, said the scholar Finner, "I would hesitate to offer a definite opinion about these strange saucers, discs, or whatever they are that people over the country have claimed they saw during the past few days. However, I think it is simply a mass hallucination caused by tortured and abnormal subjective mental processes in the wake of the ordeal of war.

"My guess is that nobody has seen anything, call them saucers, discs, or what you will. Also I think we'll all get over it in a few days and the whole thing will have been forgotten.

"You see, people are tired psycho-physically as a result of the late war and the dislocations, worries, losses and maladjustment which always follow great physical and mental upheavals. So, in this state of distraction somebody thought he or she saw a flying saucer, and said so. Then they suffered hallucinations, brought on by the suggestion in the first person's experience. Then the thing became widespread until the discs are being reported daily over the country. That is nothing new. We have had similar experiences time and again. They always follow periods of mass mental excitement and great physical strain.

People Are Tired

"Our people are weary and tied, just as are people all over the world as a result of the great war. At such times the subjective mental processes are teetering and wavering somewhere this side of irrationality. Somebody thinks he sees something strange and unusual. The report gets about and then a wave of mass hallucination follows. That is just what is going on."

"Of course it is popular now to blame everything and anything on the Russians at this sad time in our relations with the Soviet," went on the doctor. "But with scientific development what it is in this atomic age it could be that the Russians are trying out some strange, new weapon and having a high time over our jittery reaction. That is just an outside chance, and I doubt if the theory will prove to have basis in fact."

There's nothing in the whole tragic-comic episode to get too worried about, Dr Finner thinks. "It is simply one of those strange 'growing-pain', experiences which man has to endure ever so often in his long, tortuous ascent up the road of civilization."

"No, I wouldn't be too worried about that," said the doctor when asked about the basic honesty of people who, acting on a suggestion of some other persons experience, comes up with a fancy yarn about a saucer.

Honest But Mistaken

"They are sincere, and that is the tragic part of this comedy, they really believe it. And those people are not basically dishonest. They wouldn't really try to cheat you in a business transaction at all. In the case of the saucers, they are simply mistaken: they just haven't seen anything, but are the victims of this post-war mental maladjustment.

"I think everything will be all right shortly. Let's just don't go out craning our necks and looking for 'flying saucers'.

"There are more important and worthwhile things to do here in Tallahassee, and all over our war-weary, mentally sick, but great and promising country."

While the "flying saucers" have been reported over Tampa, Clearwater, St Petersburg and other Florida communities within the past two or three days none has yet been sighted over legally dry Leon county.

To: Kenneth Arnold or Newspapers 1940-1949.

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