Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Denison UFO Case of 1878, Term Flying Saucer Coined, Daytime Sighting

UFO, Denison Texas - 1878

Flag of city of Denison
I suppose it is only fitting that one of the first publicly recorded UFO cases in the United States comes from Denison Texas, the birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower. He is one of the few President to have been knowledgeable about the U.S. UFO program. It was speculated and rumored that he met twice with an alien race in the mid 1950's

Map of Denison a few years after the sighting
The Denison case has stood the test of time nothing has ever emerged that puts John Martin's character into question.This sighting occurred in 1878, six years after Denison was founded in 1872. There has been some speculation that the John Martin in question was from the Dallas area, but it was the Denison Daily News (now out of business) that ran this story on page 1. Some debunkers have tried to say that this sighting nothing more than a "balloon," but speed and the movement of the object and a careful reading of the story make this assessment unlikely. 
Confusion on "Flying Saucer Term"

It is common belief the the term "flying saucer" came into wide use in June of 1947, when Kenneth Arnold saw objects in the sky as he searched for a missing plane over the Mt. Ranier chain. At a press conference, a newspaper reporter took Arnold's description of the objects skipping over the skies like a saucer over water, and coined the phrase for an article. This was actually a misquote. 

Before the Wright Brothers:

In reality the term was used as early as 1878, in Denison, Texas, by farmer John Martin. Martin was outside of Denison on a hunting trip on January 2, when he was shocked to see an unknown object flying over his head. This was unheard of at the time, being years before the Wright Brothers first flight. The object that Martin saw was actually "round," but he used the common term "saucer" to describe what the object looked like at arm's length.

A Fantastic Sighting:

Martin had first seen the object in the distance, but it grew larger and larger as it came closer to him. The object appeared to be moving fast, but he had nothing to compare it with, except a balloon or a kite. The object was of a dark color, or possibly it was lit from behind, causing it to appear dark to Martin. He would report his fantastic sighting to local authorities.

Denison Daily News:

The local newspaper, the Denison Daily News reported his sighting in an article on January 25, 1878, titled, "A Strange Phenomenon." The newspaper reporter, unfamiliar with this type of report, used Martin's startling account almost verbatim.
From John Martin:

"From Mr. John Martin, a farmer who lives some six miles south of this city, we learn the following strange story: Tuesday morning while out hunting, his attention was directed to a dark object high up in the southern sky. The peculiar shape and velocity with which the object seemed to approach riveted his attention and he strained his eyes to discover its character."

A Wonderful Speed:

"When first noticed, it appeared to be about the size of an orange, which continued to grow in size. After gazing at it for some time Mr. Martin became blind from long looking and left off viewing it for a time in order to rest his eyes. On resuming his view, the object was almost overhead and had increased considerably in size, and appeared to be going through space at wonderful speed."

Deserves Attention of Scientists:

"When directly over him it was about the size of a large saucer and was evidently at great height. Mr. Martin thought it resembled, as well as he could judge, a balloon. It went as rapidly as it had come and was soon lost to sight in the heavenly skies. Mr. Martin is a gentleman of undoubted veracity and this strange occurrence, if it was not a balloon, deserves the attention of our scientists."

Historical Significance:

Martin's sighting is of great historical significance, but there are problems with any report made so long ago. He was the only witness, and there is nothing known of his character or reliability. Yet, on the other hand, we have no reason to not believe his report. What would he have gained from making such a fantastic claim.

Source about.com
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