Mar 11, 2020 I Nick Redfern

A Classic UFO Encounter: Military & FBI Interest

Back in late 2013, Micah Hanks wrote a feature here with the title of:“Arnold’s Flying Saucers: Were They Saucers at All? He stated: “Despite the popularity this subject would garner in those golden years after the War, perhaps there is no early UFO incident that has proven to be quite as influential as that of Kenneth Arnold, a civilian pilot who spotted an entire fleet of strange aircraft while flying over Washington state in June of 1947. The strange craft that Arnold observed would spark a flame that grew like wildfire, eventually forming the modern UFO phenomenon, and at the center of it all was the curious staple that became known as the flying saucer.” Arnold's encounter took place near to Mt. Rainier and, in no time at all, resulted in the birth of the UFO phenomenon. Of course, there are numerous theories for what Arnold encountered: alien spacecraft, top secret of the U.S. military and even a flock of geese. Whatever the truth, for many Arnold's experience is still perceived today as one of the most important UFOs cases of the 20th century.

It was said for a long time that the biggest problem with Arnold's encounter was that it lacked any kind of corroboration. That may not have been the case, though. It's now time to introduce you to a man named Fred Johnson, a prospector who just might have been in the right place - and at the right time - to see exactly what Arnold sighted. Both the military and the FBI took an interest in what Johnson had to say, as the following documentation - from the FBI - demonstrates: "Fred Johnson reported without consulting any records that on June 24, 1947, while prospecting at a point in the Cascade Mountains approximately five thousand feet from sea level, during the afternoon he noticed a reflection, looked up, and saw a disc proceeding in a southeasterly direction. Immediately upon sighting this object he placed his telescope to his eye and observed the disc for approximately forty-five to sixty seconds."

Johnson "remarked that it is possible for him to pick up an object at a distance of ten miles with his telescope. At the time the disc was sighted by Mr. Johnson it was banking in the sun, and he observed five or six similar objects but only concentrated on one. He related that they did not fly in any particular formation and that he would estimate their height to be about one thousand feet from where he was standing. He said the object was about thirty feet in diameter and appeared to have a tail. It made no noise. According to Johnson he remained in the vicinity of the Cascades for several days and then returned to Portland and noted an article in the local paper which stated in effect that a man in Boise, Idaho, had sighted a similar object but that authorities had disclaimed any knowledge of such an object. He said he communicated with the Army for the sole purpose of attempting to add credence to the story furnished by the man in Boise."

The FBI concluded: "Johnson also related that on the occasion of his sighting the objects on June 24, 1947 he had in his possession a combination compass and watch. He noted particularly that immediately before he sighted the disc the compass acted very peculiar, the hand waving from one side to the other, but that this condition corrected itself immediately after the discs had passed out of sight. Informant appeared to be a very reliable individual who advised that he had been a prospector in the states of Montana, Washington and Oregon for the past forty years."

We may never for sure if Fred Johnson encountered the very same craft that Kenneth Arnold did. At the very least, however, it's a fascinating and thought-provoking story.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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