Bob Shell: Frustrated With ‘Ancient Aliens’

UFO illustration by artist Dean Rosenzweig
Artwork by Dean Rosenzweig, Copyright 2023

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2023


Frustrated With ‘Ancient Aliens’


I don’t watch the History Channel’s ‘Ancient Aliens’ programs very often. But I do occasionally watch when there’s nothing else on and I have nothing better to do.

I’ve spent many years of my long life researching UFOs, which are now being called AAPs, ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.’ That is actually a better term, but UFO is deeply planted in our culture by now.

A couple of weeks ago ‘Ancient Aliens’ had a segment about Kenneth Arnold.  Arnold was the man who ignited the flying saucer craze of the late 1940s and -50s. On Tuesday, June 24, 1947 at 2:57 pm, he was flying his small plane in the vicinity of Mount Rainier in Washington State. He was searching for a U. S. Army Air Force C-46 transport airplane that had gone missing in the area.  He was thirty-two years old, and had flown many such search missions as a member of the Idaho Search and Rescue Flyers out of Boise, Idaho. The AAF was offering a $ 5,000 reward for finding the plane, a significant amount of money in 1947.  Arnold had collected a number of rewards for finding lost planes in the past, and was carefully searching below for the airplane.

It was a cloudless day, ideal flying conditions. As he searched, he saw a flash of light reflected on the side of his airplane by something. As he tried to account for the flash, there was a second one. When he looked in the direction the flash had come from, he saw an amazing sight. From the direction of Mount Baker to his north, a formation of bright, gleaming objects was headed toward him at phenomenal speed. Some of them left the formation, flashed in the sunlight, then returned to the formation.
When he first saw them, they were too far away to make out any detail. But they were coming toward him and he was soon able to count that there were nine of them, flying one behind the other, with a larger one in the middle. They were moving faster than any jet.

When they were close enough for him to see detail, he could see no wings or tail like any conventional aircraft had to have. They glowed with a bright bluish white light.

Using known landmarks, he calculated that the string of objects was at least five miles long. Using his watch, he calculated that they’d flown fifty miles in one minute and forty-two seconds, meaning they were traveling in excess of 1700 miles an hour, around Mach 3. In 1947, no human-built aircraft had broken the sound barrier, Mach 1.

Whatever they were, they vanished over the horizon as he watched. But, they were not saucer shaped! I have seen his drawing made that day. They were shaped like straight sided horseshoes with a truncated point in back.
So, where did the term ‘flying saucer’ come from? Arnold said they “flew like saucers when you make them skip on a lake.” Newspaper reporters created the term ‘flying saucer’ when they reported on Arnold’s sighting.
The U. S. Air Force, which was formed as a separate branch of the military coincidentally in 1947, issued a report on Arnold’s sighting, saying they did not believe a man of his “character and apparent integrity” would write a report that he saw objects “if he did not see them.”
So, why did ‘Ancient Aliens’ say that Arnold said the objects he saw were saucer shaped? I have to put it down to ignorance and sloppy research, or maybe a vested interest in having them saucer shaped to fit their mythology.

And, why didn’t they mention that the Air Force found a second witness, an elderly gold prospector, who’d seen the objects fly over him, and made the significant observation that when the objects flew over him “my compass needle went wild.” This is probably the first report of the now-familiar electromagnetic effects produced by UFOs/AAPs.

Last month,  I again caught one of their ‘new’ programs. They showed my old friend Stan Friedman in a clip without telling anyone that the clip was old. Stan has been dead for some years. They reported on Col. Philip Corso, the man at the Pentagon whose job it was to parcel out bits and pieces of the Roswell wreckage to American firms for reverse engineering, only telling them it was ‘foreign’ technology.  I had a telephone conversation with Col. Corso not long before his death. He insisted that what crashed near Roswell wasn’t a ‘spaceship,’ but a ‘time machine.’ But that, too, doesn’t fit ‘Ancient Aliens’ mythology.

Rather than aliens, Corso thought they were ‘us’ from the future, but the program never told its viewers that.  I would advise people who watch ‘Ancient Aliens’ to take those programs with a large dollop of salt. They’re fun, but not serious reporting.


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 15th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, link here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *