In the context of recent discussion of the pre-Arnold era, I'm happy to report that I'm finally in receipt of the Round Robin issue of Feb 1947, which includes the submittal from Ella Young discussed below. I've attached the cover page and the two-page excerpt that includes both her's and an unidentified witness' account of the incident, along with associated commentary by Meade Layne. I made the file small enough to be unobtrusive, contact me off-list for a higher-resolution copy.
This material is intriguing in a number of ways:
(1) The account is legitimately pre-Arnold beyond any reasonable doubt, but also roughly contemporaneous (Young's alleged sighting was ~6 months prior to Arnold's, and the attached was published ~4-5 months prior). Indeed, the proper skeptic would now consider whether Arnold himself may have been 'contaminated' by this account, which I personally find implausible, but I must defer to others more familiar with Arnold and his pre-sighting reading habits/interests.
(2) Noting the title "Space Ships Again?", it's surprising, at least to me, that in the immediate pre-Arnold era, unidentified aerial objects are (routinely?) being associated or conflated with 'space ships', a term that seems to plainly connote extraterrestrial visitation. Here again I must defer to the historians.
(3) While the casual debunker might dismiss Young's account simply on the basis of her personal/intellectual eccentricities (mysticism, druidism, etc), I don't think the latter are of particular relevance here. Even if she were given to frequent 'visions' of extraordinary nature, hallucinatory or not, and we further disregard the testimony of the unknown companion, it must be noted that:
- She considered this specific experience noteworthy enough to record and disseminate via Layne's publication (which, upon examination, was receptive to virtually the entire spectrum of paranormal experiences and phenomena);
- Her account does not seem to describe a supernatural or animistic apparition; indeed, she repeatedly refers to the object as a "machine". The account as a whole is, if anything, remarkably dry and matter-of-fact.
(4) Notwithstanding the confusion regarding Arnold's various and evolving characterizations of the objects he sighted (see Martin Shough's treatise on the Arnold incident), from the outset he described (at least one of) them as "somewhat bat-shaped", "half-moon shaped", and "half a pie-pan with a convex triangle in the rear", all consistent with the drawing he made for the Air Force early on. The similarity to the accounts of Young and her companion is evident, e.g.:
- Ella Young: "It had a bat-like appearance owing to the curve of its wings. There may have been motion at the extreme tip of each wing but I could not be sure."
- Un-named witness: "We thought it was a large airplane but noticed that the wings were larger than usual and that they curved like the wings of a bat or bird. They were wider and broader, also."
I'm now motivated to obtain the Dec 1946 issue of Round Robin, which apparently includes Ella Young's account of two previous sightings, namely, an "extraordinary aircraft" seen in 1927, and "remarkable lights" seen just months previously (Oct 1946). To be honest, I'd be more comfortable with the account under discussion if those previous incidents turn out to be more amenable to prosaic explanation (a result of my instinctive reticence with regard to 'repeaters'). In any case, this is an interesting and possibly significant side-bar to the onset of the flying saucer era... thanks to Martin for identifying Ella Young as the protagonist in Fran's original post. Perhaps yet another distinction will be added to her colorful resume.