Lake City resident takes first published photograph of a so-called flying saucer on July 4, 1947.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 2/08/1999
  • Essay 871
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On the afternoon of July 4, 1947, Frank Ryman, an off-duty U.S. Coast Guard Yeoman, snaps the first photograph of an alleged "flying saucer" from the yard of his home in Lake City, north of Seattle.

The photo showed a small bright disc against a dark sky and was published by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the following morning.

The photo made front page news amid a rash of UFO sightings triggered by press reports of Kenneth Arnold's encounter with nine flying "saucer-like" objects over the Cascades on June 24, 1947. Analysts later concluded that Ryman had photographed a weather balloon.

Sources: Kenneth Arnold and Ray Palmer, The Coming of the Saucers (Boise, ID, and Amherst, WI: Kenneth Arnold and Ray Palmer, 1952); Walt Crowley, "They Came From Way Out Here," Seattle Weekly, June 25, 1997; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 5, 1947, p. 1.

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