Life’s little Mysteries has reported that 64 years ago, on June 24, 1947, the UFO phenomenon was born when amateur pilot named Kenneth Arnold saw an extraordinary chain of nine objects shoot across the sky, glinting in the sun as they traveled.

Arnold was flying a small plane near Mount Rainier in Washington state when he spied the 45 to 50-foot wide, crescent shaped objects. They flew between two mountains spaced 50-miles apart in less than 2-minutes,  implying an astonishing speed of 1,700 miles per hour, or three times faster than any manned aircraft of the era.

When the objects faded into the distance, Arnold flew to Yakima, landed and immediately told the airport staff of the unidentified flying objects he had spotted. The next day, he was interviewed by reporters, and the story spread like wildfire across the nation. UFO investigator and Author, Robert Sheaffer, remembered how most folks believed that the UFOs were piloted by curious Martians or perhaps other visors from OUT OF THIS WORLD:

“At that time there was still some thought that Mars or perhaps Venus might have a habitable surface. People thought these UFOs were Martians who had come to keep an eye on us now that we had nuclear weapons.”

Ufologist, Martin Kottmeyer, noted how the Arnold sightings began a worldwide flying saucer frenzy:

“(Arnold’s sighting was) such a sensation that it made front page news across the nation. Soon everyone was looking for these new aircraft which according to the papers were saucer-like in shape. Within weeks hundreds of reports of these flying saucers were made across the nation. While people presumably thought they were seeing the same things that Arnold saw, the irony that nobody at the time realized. Kenneth Arnold hadn’t reported seeing flying saucers.”

The term flying sauce is in and of itself a misnomer as Arnold merely described the flat, crescent shaped “vehicles” he had seen as flying erratically, “like a saucer if you skip it across the water.” Nonetheless, a reporter named Bill Bequette of the United Press interpreted Arnold’s statement to mean that the objects he saw were round discs.

Though he didn’t see flying saucers, most of Arnold’s contemporaries believed that he really had seen something odd that day. The Army report on the sighting states:

“(If) Mr. Arnold could write a report of such a character and did not see the objects he was in the wrong business and should be engaged in writing Buck Rogers fiction.”

While skeptics suggest that he might well have been doing nothing more than writing fiction, the millions of sightings and thousands of photos from across the globe that have followed Arnold’s initial report almost 65 years ago seem to indicate otherwise.