First UFO Sighting Documented – Earliest Alien Sightings

First UFO Sighting Documented - Earliest Alien Sightings

I’m pretty excited to have been chosen to write this article as it is a brilliant subject and one we love to cover here at This article will be covering the ​first UFO sighting documented in America.

Kenneth Arnold was the man who witnessed one of the earliest alien sightings on record back in June 24, 1947. Who would have known that this sighting would lead to an absolute explosion in interest and a snowball effect that would never lose pace…..

The First UFO Sighting Documented

So this is the precise date the world stood up and noticed the possibility of life somewhere else in the universe – June 24th, 1947. All of the earliest alien sightings originate from this point!

Kenneth Arnold was a an amateur pilot that lived in Idaho, USA. He often took trips in his CallAir A-2 across the skies of America and this day was no different!

He was making his way to an airshow in Oregan but he had taken a little detour to follow up a mystery that had surfaced on the news recently.

A marine transport plane had been reported to have gone down somewhere in the area he was flying so he thought he would check things out for himself.

There was apparently a $5000 reward for anyone who came across the location of this marine plane, so why not?

Kenneth Arnold

Kenneth Arnold

Without any warning – the first documented UFO sighting was born! Arnold was confronted with a bright flash of light that had a blue tinge to it.

He immediately freaked out thinking the flash was from another plane – was he flying to close to this plane?

He quickly scanned the area and spotted a passenger jet but this vessel was over ten miles away…it couldn’t of caused this extreme flash so close to him!

He relaxed back into his seat and put it down to the sun playing tricks on him. Without warning – the flashes returned!

This time he counted at least nine full flashes in rapid succession…….

Five Miles Long

So this was the first UFO sighting documented? Did Kenneth Arnold witness one of the earliest alien sightings recorded?

Many years later Arnold claimed that the flashing airborne objects stretched out over a distance of 4 to 5 miles. They remained horizontal in formation but every now and again one of them would flip and perform a fast banking technique.

He reported that the line of craft moved in unison so he at once put it down to the military testing new fighter planes.

One of the earliest alien sightings recorded?

He turned to follow the strange crafts to try and find out more about them but realized their speed was basically off the chart.

He did a few rough calculations against landmarks and determined the UFO’s were clocking up speeds of 1,700 miles per hour.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this was faster than any human aircraft was capable of at the time!


This was the first documented UFO sighting so Kenneth Arnold was obviously a little worried by what he had seen.

He would tell friends and colleagues that the sighting always filled him with an ‘eerie feeling’ whenever he thought back to it!

first UFO sighting documented

At 4 p.m. that day Kenneth Arnold landed his plane in Yakima, Washington. He instantly went about telling his friends and staff at the airstrip what he had encountered way up in skies and they took great interest in his tale – after all this was one of the earliest alien reports so it was news to everyone!

The story did not take long to develop into the first public UFO sighting. Reporters somehow got wind of the story and there was huge interest in what had actually happened.

The interviews that followed between Arnold and the reporters created the ‘flying saucer’ tagline. In one of his interviews Kenneth Arnold had told reporters the objects had a saucer or disk shape to them.

The funny thing is that Arnold later claimed the reporter that published the ‘flying saucer’ term had completely misquoted him. There was evidence that the editor of the paper and the reporter in question had come up with the term themselves!

The Aftermath

Kenneth Arnold would later claim that he had not had a moments peace since he told the story to friends and workers at Yakima, Washington.

The story gathered pace and because of the ‘Chinese Whispers’ effect that happens naturally in life it’s hard to tell which part of this first UFO sighting documented is true.

Was this one of earliest alien sightings recorded? Well we’ll never really know but one thing is for sure – the whole idea of UFO’s and alien life was introduced to Americans that day in June, 1947.

If you have any thought or opinions on the first UFO sighting documented then please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. We welcome all opinions but we do not tolerate spam! Thanks 🙂


  1. UFO sighing have really captured the imagination and wondering of several generations of earthlings. My son just returned from training in San Diego and we drove through the Nevada desert on our way home. We went through several sleepy little towns built around marketing the theories surrounding Area 51 and other UFO sightings. The memorabilia was 50+ years old and still packed in the visitors.

    • That’s a pretty awesome area to be driving through Wendy – steeped in UFO history. I’m very jealous of you actually!

      It’s mad that the US government still claim that Area 51 is nothing more than a simple military testing base for flight…even after all the whistle blowers came forward!

  2. Hi Chris,

    This is absolutely fascinating! 

    I had no idea the first UFO sighting was that far back or that the encounter was that close. It’s interesting that the whole concept of the flying saucer was fabricated by the press, as the real encounter sounds far more interesting. Do you know if Kenneth Arnold made decent money to make up for the infamy?

    • Hi Nate, 

      No I’m not really sure about that side of things, but that’s an excellent question. Hopefully one of the visitors to this article will know the answer and take the time to post it here in the comment section! 

  3. Wow!! What a great story! I had no idea about all this! Thank you for explaining all of this in details. I shall translate it into French for my dad. He is soooo interested in this topic but he does not speak English. He himself claims to have personally seen 3 UFOs in his life, once when he was in the playground of the Lycée Français in Marrakesh when he was 8 or 9 years old (around 1951-1952) with many other pupils and some school staff. 

    Thank you for writing about this topic! 


    • Hi Nathalie,

      Wow – three UFO encounters in his life!!! He’s a lucky man (and I’m pretty jealous!). Hope he enjoys the article (and thank you for translating for him!). 

  4. Very interesting article! The topic about aliens, UFO and extra-terrestrial stuff has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I have been hearing stories and reading articles about UFO’s and how these are real and not just figments of  peoples’ imagination. And who doesn’t know about the “flying saucer?” My high school classmates always joked about it.

    I believe this fascination on aliens and UFO’s is what inspired TV and movie producers to come up with sci-fi (science fiction) dramas and series. What do you think? By the way, there’s this very popular notion that people who get to witness UFO’s or ETs are likely to lose their minds, how true is this? Perhaps, Kenneth Arnold was perceived to have lost his sanity after telling his friends and co-workers about the earliest UFO and alien sightings. 

    • Hi Alice, 

      That’s a really interesting angle there – about people losing their minds after seeing UFO’s or aliens. I’ve made a note of it and I think I’ll use the subject as an upcoming article in the future! 

  5. A pretty interesting read about aliens. Whether they exist or not has all probably been in theory and no particular real proof has been seen. All we hear are stories about a person that saw one thing or the other related to aliens. Though I do not dismiss the fact that we might not be alone in this universe but we need to see actual concrete proof that there are others that exist outside of earth.

    • Well Jay – a lot of people would suggest that there is already a lot of proof out there! (remember Roswell and Area 51?)

  6. Hey there,

    as a person who is very passioante and curious about UFO and everything that surrounds it or is related to, I am always on the look for new valuable information, experiences and sightnings. Therefore, I am very happy that I’ve stumbled across Your article which I found to be very informative and engaging. As far as first UFO sighting goes, I definitely did not expect it to be wtinessed and documented in such early years of 40’s! But the thing which stood out for me the most and caught most of my attention was the actual appearence of UFO in this sighting, which was very unusual and mysterious. I can only imagine what a terrifying, and utterly amazing epexrience it was to witness super bright (like You’ve said- ”bright flash of light”) flying objects with blue tinge to them streching out for 4 or 5 miles. It’s really fascinating what their (UFO’s) technology is capable of and how advanced they are in comparison to us, especially when You consider how fast their aircrafts move! Basically, they are capable of moving with the speed of light as far as we are concerned. Thanks for this captivating article, I really enjoyed it! Keep up the great work

    • Hi there Evald – I think we’ve met before on this site, haven’t we?

      Great to hear from you once again, and great to hear that you enjoyed another article here! 🙂

  7. I have seen similar UFOs in movies before now but had no idea about the documentation of the first UFO sighting that was documented. This shared experience and encounter has caused for us a revolutionary turn around in America and the world at large. The ‘flying saucer’ term by the editor of the paper and the reporter wasn’t a bad idea anyways. 🙂

  8. Hi! Thank you very much for this very interesting post! Flying saucer has been a term used by all of us as kids. And as it intrigued us back then, so it continues to do so now. But it’s quite interesting that the term originated from a reporter misquoting Arnold. But as adults we now are inclined to use the term UFO than flying saucer. 🙂

    Reading Arnold’s encounter, I have always been interested in the distance involved in the encounter. From what I have researched, 500 ft seems to be the border line most accept to classify near encounters from far away encounters. I think this distance plays an important roll in this unique experience.

    • Hi Henry, 

      I don’t really know about the borderline distance for sightings, but what you’ve mentioned here (500 ft) does seem realistic! 

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