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Volume 9
Number 7

The REALL News

"It's a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense."
-- James Randi

July 2001
Features Departments

Saucer Expansion

I overlooked a facet of the changing nature of UFO belief when I wrote "A Plastic Phenomenon" a few years ago. The question did not really cross my mind as a wrote it, though I almost certainly heard the idea somewhere that saucers had become larger after the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Even had I thought of it, I would probably have skipped it after some searching. Statistical breakdown of the sizes of flying saucers are not offered in the works one is most likely to consult, specifically the ones you see referenced in my "Plastic Phenomenon" article. The absence of such statistics, I would guess, derives from the general feeling, even among advocates, that size estimates are so highly subjective they are next to worthless.

I changed my mind when I read the results of a study that Ed Stewart made of 1169 newspaper clippings in Canadian newspapers collected from the time of the 1947 wave of flying saucer reports. He recently posted the results on a UFO skeptics site. Though most clippings offered no information about the size of the saucers, 125 of them did. When he sorted them by size there was a surprise, the leading category had the saucers in the size range of 1-3 feet and the next had them even smaller than that. If you include in the tally saucers compared in size to basketballs, baseballs, and golf balls, the fraction of reports described as 3 feet or less comes to three-quarters of the 125, specifically 87 of them.MoreMore

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