I overlooked a facet of the changing nature of UFO belief when I wrote
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.
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.More