Pendleton, Ore., June 27—(U.P.)—Kenneth Arnold said Friday he would like to get on one of his 1,200-mile-an-hour "Flying Saucers" and escape from the furore caused by his story of mysterious aircraft flashing over southern Washington.
"I haven't has a moment of peace since I first told the story," the 32-year-old Boise, Idaho, businessman pilot sighed.
He said a preacher called him from Texas and informed him that the strange objects Arnold claimed to have seen batting through the ozone actually were harbingers of doomsday.
Arnold said he didn't get the preacher's name during their phone conversation, but the minister said he was getting his clocks "ready for the end of this world."
That was unnerving, according Arnold, but it wasn't half as disconcerting as the episode in a Pendleton cafe.
Arnold said a woman rushed in, took one look at him and then dashed out shrieking "there's the man who saw the men from Mars." She rushed out of the eating place "sobbing that she would have to do something for the children," Arnold added with a shudder.
Arnold, a representative of a fire control equipment firm, startled the country Thursday by reporting he had seen nine shiny round objects skimming through the air in formation between Mt. Rainier, Wash., and Mt. Adams. Arnold said he was able to clock them with the stop watch on his own plane's instrument panel. He said they were spinning off a neat 1,200 m. p. h.
"This whole thing has gotten out of hand," Arnold went on. "I want to talk to the FBI or someone.
"Half the people I see look at me as a combination Einstein, Flash Gordon and Screwball. I wonder what my wife back Idaho thinks."
But all the hoopla and hysterics haven't caused Arnold to change his mind or back down. He doesn't care if the experts laugh him off. He said most of his aviator friends tell him that what he saw were probably either one of two things: New planes or guided missiles still in the U. S. Army Air forces' secret category. Some theorized they were experimental equipment of another nation, probably Russia.
"Most people," he said, "tell me I'm right."
But meanwhile, aeronautical experts in Washington and elsewhere were teeing off on Arnold's story with facts and figures straight out of the books.
Their principal point seemed to be that if Arnold's saucers moved as fast as he claimed, they couldn't have been tracked with anything short of radar.
The fastest man has yet flown 647 miles per hour—a record set recently by Col. Albert Boyd in a P-80.