UFO
Are UFOs really out there?Puerto Rico UFOs

Every couple of days you'll see a story online about a UFO that's been seen hovering over some city before darting off into the sky.

The majority of cases we'll dismiss as untrue created by a middle-aged man in his basement in a desperate bid to gain some attention. Some, however, we'll see and it might just pique our interest.

No solid evidence has been shown to us, though, maybe you could say that that's because of government cover ups to save the public from going into panic, but the reality is that it's because there probably is no hard proof.

So while we, the public who seemingly yearn for a higher or more intelligent being than us, wait for the next CGI UFO video to appear on YouTube, others are out in the field, investigating what the British government does not.

In 2012, the Ministry of Defence stated that it would no longer be investigating UFO reports because there was no evidence that they posed a "potential threat to the United Kingdom."

For those that do investigate the strange objects in the sky, though, it's not as exciting as you may think. "It's nothing like the X-Files," John Wickham, chairman of the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), told IBTimes UK. "Some people think it is, believe it or not." I know I'm guilty of that...

It would be easy to think that Wickham is eager to prove the existence of extraterrestrial beings that come and monitor our mundane lives, but it's quite the opposite. He is quick to emphasise that he and his team take logical steps to turn these UFOs into IFOs.

"Most of the time things can be identified, providing they've been reported to us within a short space of time from viewing the object," he said. "If it was, for example, a light seen over the sea, we might contact the RNLI to see if they released any flares at that particular time, we may ring up the local TV or radio station to find out if there are any similar reports, we'll ask the police too, astronomical societies, and sometimes it has been reported and sometimes these objects can be identified so they become identified flying objects."

However: "Sometimes we can answer those questions, sometimes we can't."

On the other side of the pond in the US is Kathleen Marden, an UFOlogist whose relatives were some of the first to claim that they had been taken in a seemingly long line of US abductions.

UFO
A classic image of a UFO (CIA)

Marden's aunt and uncle, Betty and Barney Hill, were said to have been taken to an alien's spaceship on 19 September, 1961, when they were driving on a hillside in New Hampshire on their way home from a holiday at Niagara Falls.

Marden, like many, believes her relatives and points to their credibility. "My aunt was a social worker for the state of New Hampshire. My uncle and aunt were very involved in the civil rights movement. He was appointed to the US civil rights commission state advisory," she told IBTimes UK.

As a result, Marden has dedicated her professional life to investigating extraterrestrial phenomenon. Nonetheless, sceptics and non-believers stand in her way of her pursuit of what she believes is the truth, whether because of fear or because it's something we won't be able fathom. "I believe that people from around the world have been enculturated to not take this seriously because governments don't take it seriously," she added.

"It certainly seems technologically advanced societies have more difficulty accepting the reality of this.

"I think that for some people, the idea of this kind of visitation is so emotionally undesirable to them they would prefer to put on blinders and not to study this or to look at the evidence or accept it as a real phenomena.

"We really do not have a good grasp on this given our current scientific paradigms. This is part of what makes it so difficult because apparently there is a technology that is being used that is far beyond what we can understand or study. And it seems almost like magic to us. For example, the idea that there might be an interdimensional part of this, that these crafts seem to appear and disappear in a second."

Wickham and BUFORA are seemingly not such strong believers, though, and are always quick to look for the most logical explanation. He added: "We don't disbelieve people but we don't believe them either because we've got to remain unbiased. We are a research organisation so we just want some proof, but what is proof? They can't prove they have and we can't prove they haven't.

"Mostly it's people in their sleep where sometimes you've got people between asleep and awake where you hallucinate more and we can hear sounds and see lights and you can have sleep paralysis just at that moment. They've dreamed about seeing aliens and because they were still technically awake but couldn't move, people link things together that are actually unrelated."

Is the truth really out there?

Roswell UFO Museum
A display at the Roswell UFO MuseumCGP Grey

Your average Joe is now able to muster up a CGI video of a 'UFO' circling over a random village. This, unsurprisingly, does not bode well with Wickham. "Those people do waste our time and we are a voluntary organisation after all and we don't earn any money whatsoever. We're just trying to give the decent members of the public answers to what they've seen.

"For whatever reason there are some people out there who just like wasting people's time because they've got nothing else better to do. They lead a shallow life and they want a bit of attention."

However, that doesn't make him a non-believer and he applies the same logic to analysing the possibility of life out there: "We know for a fact that some of these billions of planets out there have some of the same gasses and elements that are abundant on earth, therefore, they could sustain some form of life.

"Life doesn't have to be carbon electrical entities like what we are here – it could be bacteria, it could be vegetation. Therefore, it is quite logical that these billions of planets that contain some of the same elements on earth could sustain some form of life."

Analysing the Big Bang theory, Wickham added: "Imagine you have a watermelon with the skin on and you smash it with a hammer, the green skin will go in all directions, not just on to one part of the melon so it seems to be logical that life doesn't just exist on this one planet."

Marden is on the same wavelength. Although she believes that aliens are out there, she considers the possibility that they are far superior to us to the point that we aren't ready and are viewed as uncivilised.

Nonetheless, Marden said: "I suspect extraterrestrials will not make contact until we have advanced technologically and in our own behaviour. We killed about 200 million of our own kind during the 20th century in wars. Imagine what we would be thinking if we found life on another planet and the inhabitants were treating themselves or each other in this manner? I think we would consider them to be malevolent or very primitive and I think probably they are very concerned about our behaviour because we're developing the technology that might take us out to them.

"Basing this upon human reaction, they certainly would not want us out there taking our brand of friendship to them."

However, Marden isn't giving up: "It doesn't' become frustrating because I'm always seeking new forms of understanding and moving beyond the nuts and bolts to really understand this phenomenon and what it entails. And if we can't understand it in terms of our current scientific paradigms let's look to theoretical physics."