It was Tuesday, June 24th, 1947. Boise businessman Kenneth Arnold was flying near Mt. Rainier in Washington State, looking for a downed Marine Corps transport plane. Arnold, an experienced pilot, saw something in the fading sunlight that he had never seen before.
At an altitude of 9,200 feet he spotted a chain of objects weaving in the air, one after another. For a moment, he thought it might be a formation of geese--but at that altitude? Then he saw the sun reflect from the objects, suggesting that they might be metal.
The nine objects didn't seem to be airplanes, though. They had no wings; no tail fins. A drawing Arnold made of one object looks like the shape a windshield wiper would leave arcing through raindrops. That shape caught the imagination of the country. Other reports came in from across the nation--reports of "flying saucers."
The term "flying saucers" came from that sighting of unidentified flying objects. The modern age of UFOs began on that evening in 1947 when Boisean Kenneth Arnold, looking for a downed aircraft, saw something strange, instead.
The sighting gave Arnold a degree of fame he never sought. He became something of a celebrity among UFO buffs, and was the featured speaker when the first International UFO Congress met in 1977. He died a few years later, never certain of what he saw, but certain he saw something.