"They were half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear." "[...]They were silvery and shiny and seemed to be shaped like a pie plate or saucer..."
These historic words date back 68 years to the day, when American aviator Kenneth Arnold made the first widely reported unidentified flying object (UFO) sighting and the phrase "flying saucer" gained widespread public attention.
Since then, this phenomenon has attracted considerable attention and has sparked numerous debates among experts who either believe in extraterrestrial life or reject it.
"Though the Kenneth incident has been accepted as a milestone for the creation of the popular term 'flying saucers', the disc-shaped flying objects have been recorded since the Middle Ages," Haktan Akdoğan, chairman of Sirius UFO Space Sciences Research Center, told Anadolu Agency.
A well-known Turkish ufologist and a vigorous advocate of extraterrestrial intelligent life, Akdoğan established the Sirius UFO Space Sciences Research Center in 1998 to communicate with other UFO research centers in the world and share the latest updates about these mysterious flying objects.
The center's website claims to work with researchers, anthropologists, physicists, pilots and psychologists from around the world, its main objective being to prove that human beings are not alone in the universe.
"UFOs have been in touch with human beings for ages," Akdoğan claims, stating that he had held many closed-door meetings attended by high-ranking military officials who claimed to have been in touch with aliens.
"There are hundreds of recorded photographs and video footage showing the existence of UFOs," he adds.
"Besides the photographs and videos, there have been many UFO sightings in Turkish air space witnessed by Turkish pilots. I can say that Turkey is one of the top five UFO hotspots in the world," Akdoğan says.
The UFO specialist claims that there is a UFO department in the Turkish air force and in the intelligence service, MIT.
"As Sirius, we have been in touch with nearly 20 retired air force pilots who claim to have seen UFOs. There were UFOs that were involved in dogfighting with F-4 [fighter jets]," Akdoğan says.
Recalling the Roswell incident which occurred on July 2, 1947, just a week after the Kenneth sighting, Akdoğan claims that governments hide facts about UFO from the public because they fear that "it would change the current world order".
In the Roswell incident, a flying saucer allegedly wrecked a ranch in the town of Roswell in New Mexico. Rumors throughout the years have run rampant regarding the U.S. government finding aliens in the wreckage and hiding them in Area 51, the U.S. Air Force facility in Nevada.
"The governments should disclose the existence of aliens and UFOs, Akdoğan says. We are not alone in the universe."
However, Kathryn Olmsted, a history professor at University of California (UC) Davis, rebuffs any notion that a flying saucer or aliens were actually in Roswell.
"The strange debris had a mundane origin: it was just the remains of an ordinary weather balloon" she wrote in her book, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, published in 2008.
British weekly The Economist noted in 2014 that, according to the U.S. National UFO Recording Center, most sightings between 2000 and 2014 in America occurred between 5.00 and 11.00 p.m., i.e. drinking hours.
Akdoğan also claims that UFOs had kidnapped people, in Turkey and around the world, to research them, which is a common allegation throughout the years among UFO enthusiasts worldwide.
"They are not just flying in space," he warns. "Many people were taken to the spaceships with light beams while they were sleeping and they were exposed to certain tests."
Akdoğan says that there have been nearly 470 UFO incidents recorded in Turkey so far. "Nearly 120 people were kidnapped in Turkey; some of them had implants or microchips inserted [in their bodies] by the aliens."
"Those people want to remain anonymous now, but we will announce [their identities] very soon," Akdoğan adds.
It was first American podiatric surgeon and ufologist Roger Leir who claimed that he had ripped dozens of extraterrestrial origin implants from alleged abductees.
Leir, who died in 2014, had claimed that the implants were designed "to emit radio signals".
According to Tansel Ak, a professor at the Astronomy and Space Sciences department in Istanbul University, to equate any unidentified flying object to extraterrestrial intelligent life has constituted a prejudice and a deception in people's minds for years.
Like many, Ak believes that the majority -- if not all -- of UFO sightings or incidents are a hoax.
"Most of the mentioned video footage or photographs have been proven so far to be natural events, camera user errors, delusions or, primarily, deceptive acts," Ak says.
Stating that scientists work based on data and repeatable observation, he adds: "The proof must to be clear enough to leave no room for doubt."
"What the science tells us that it is possible that there is life on any other planet or satellite but there has not been any scientific finding proving the existence of extraterrestrial beings or [such beings] visiting Earth so far," Ak says.
"I think there are two possible comments to be made with regards to unidentified flying objects," he says. "First, people lack enough knowledge to define them and, second, certain people are fooling the public with fraudulent images to earn income and reputation."
Ak admits though that the belief that there is extraterrestrial life or that aliens visit Earth can sound attractive regardless of what the science says.
Ak said that the number of incidents of fraudulent sightings is relatively low in Turkey compared to the Western world. "This is because the UFO sector has not become profitable in Turkey yet."
According to Ak, the probability that of UFO visit near Earth is close to zero as the nearest star to the Earth is the Sun, which is about 150 million kilometers away.
"Apart from the Sun, the closest star to our world is four light years away, i.e. 40 trillion kilometers," he adds.
"To travel from one star to another takes hundreds, even thousands of years," he explains. "So I do not think any intelligent creature can afford to make this journey!"