Flying saucer is the term commonly used to describe unidentified flying objects (UFOs), particularly those alleged to be alien spacecraft. The term originates in a claimed sighting of a UFO by Kenneth Arnold on June 24 1947, near Mount Rainier, Washington.
The nine objects Kenneth Arnold said he saw were not saucer-shaped. Drawings showed something more resembling a flying wing style aircraft. However, he described their movement as a kind of skipping, like a saucer skimmed over water. Press reports picked up the “like a saucer” phrase, and reported it as a “flying saucer”.
George Adamski contributed to the popularity of this term with his books, such as “Flying Saucers Have Landed” (1953), despite that particular book being based on fiction, but presented as fact.
The number of different shapes, sizes and configurations of claimed UFOs has been large, with detailed descriptions of chevrons, equilateral triangles, spheres, domes, diamonds, shapeless black masses, eggs and cylinders being prevalent. Skeptics argue this diversity of shapes, size and configurations points to a socio-psychological explanation. Professed experiencers and believers reply that the volume of highly detailed sightings reported by witnesses from commercial airline pilots to United States presidents possesses strong consistency and cannot be explained away as mundane phenomena (weather balloons, aircraft, venus), arguing for the non-conventional interpretation.
Skeptics say there are indeed genuine sightings of strange flying objects which are usually logically explained, that no physical evidence of an alien spacecraft has ever been produced, and that many claims have been disproven as fraudulent.
Believers and conspiracy theorists in their turn argue that the subject is prejudiced by ridicule and stigma, that an extremely large body of undisproven evidence also exists, including photography, motion video, and multiple independently corroborated sworn affadavits. They also contend regarding physical evidence that it exists abundantly but is swiftly and sometimes clumsily suppressed by governmental entities, not always uniform, with a strong agenda to insulate a population they regard as psychologically not yet prepared for the social, theological, and security implications of such a reality.