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Chehalis is Laying Claim to the Term ‘Flying Saucer,’ and Throwing a Party to Celebrate

Listen to “E111 10-1-19 Chehalis is Laying Claim to the Term ‘Flying Saucer,’ and Throwing a Party to Celebrate” on Spreaker.
Article by Molly Gilmore                     September 19, 2019                      (theolympian.com)

• On the weekend of September 21st, the Lewis County Historical Museum in Chehalis, Washington (state) hosted the first annual Flying Saucer Party to commemorate Kenneth Arnold’s famed 1947 sighting of flying saucers over nearby Mt Rainier while piloting a plane from Chehalis to Yakima. The incident gave rise to the term “flying saucer” because he described the objects as saucer shaped.

• In the ’60s and ’70s, Chehalis held events called ‘Krazy Days’ where they tossed flying discs off of the town museum’s gazebo. The townspeople renewed the tradition of the ‘saucer drop’ at the Flying Saucer Party. The saucers have prizes attached for the kids.

• The event featured a talk by Arnold’s granddaughter Shanelle Schanz of Boise, who calls Arnold “the godfather of the UFO field”. Schanz says that her grandfather had no interest in UFOs before he spotted them (on June 24, 1947, just before the Roswell crash a month later). Said Schanz, “His first instinct when he spotted the flying objects was that they were some kind of Russian intelligence aircraft.”

• The event featured other speakers as well, and museum exhibits of local UFO sightings and on the impact UFOs have had on popular culture. The Chehalis Theater screened a pair of films: ‘Mystery Science 3000’ and the 1956 alien-attack flick ‘Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.’ A downtown restaurant hosted live music and an alien costume contest.

• Ever since Kennth Arnold’s “flying saucer” report made international headlines in 1947, Chehalis has loved the flying saucer. There have been plenty of other more recent UFO sightings there, too. The museum’s executive director Jason Mattson remarked, “I’ve been hearing stories from people I wouldn’t have expected who’ve seen things that they can’t explain.”

 

On Saturday, the flying saucers will return to Chehalis.

Kenneth Arnold in 1947

The occasion is the Lewis County Historical Museum’s first Flying Saucer Party. The event commemorates Kenneth Arnold’s famed 1947 sighting of what appeared to be flying saucers.

But the saucers that will take flight Saturday aren’t unidentified flying objects. They’re flying discs that will be tossed from the museum’s gazebo. It’s the return of the saucer drop, a beloved tradition at Chehalis’ Krazy Days during the ’60s and ’70s. The idea now, as then, is that kids can catch the discs, which will have prizes attached.

Though those saucers are the only ones expected to fly on Saturday, there’ll be plenty of other flying-saucer themed goings on, all inspired by the objects Arnold saw above Mount Rainier while piloting a plane from Chehalis to Yakima. The incident gave rise to the term “flying saucer” because he described the objects as saucer shaped.

                       Shanelle Schanz

Chehalis has loved the flying saucer ever since, and there have been more recent UFO sightings there, too, said Jason Mattson, the museum’s executive director.

In fact, more people have been talking about strange things they’ve seen since the museum announced the saucer soiree.

“I’ve been hearing stories from people I wouldn’t have expected who’ve seen things that they can’t explain,” Mattson told The Olympian.

The event will feature a talk by Arnold’s granddaughter Shanelle Schanz of Boise, who’ll talk about her memories of Arnold — whom she calls the godfather of the UFO field — and show some of his documents.

2:59 minute video: ‘The Return of the ‘Saucer Drop’
in Chehalis, WA (Pacific NorthWEIRD YouTube)

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