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The “flying saucer” entered the cultural conversation in 1947 thanks to a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold. (Advance Local archive)

Flying his small, private plane near Mount Rainier on a bright June day in 1947, Kenneth Arnold couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“Nine shiny objects, like fish flipping in the sun, in formation, undulating along at 1,382 miles an hour,” the 32-year-old businessman later wrote.

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