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Hans Glaser was a journalist of sorts in 16th century Germany. He depicted a wondrous and perplexing event that occurred in the early morning hours of April 14, 1561, in the city of Nuremberg. His woodcut shows a sky full of strange objects, smoke arising from the ground where some objects seem to have crashed.
It was accompanied by a description (translated in full below) that speaks of rods and globular objects flying back and forth overhead, fighting vehemently. “Immense smoke” rose from the ground where the objects fell. Many of the objects were red, but there was also a “round ball of partly dull, partly black ferrous color,” and “something like a black spear, very long and thick, sighted; the shaft pointed to the east, the point pointed west.”
He said the scene was observed by many of the residents of Nuremberg. Glaser didn’t know what to make of it, except to say it could be a sign from God.
Even in medieval times, the skeptics left their mark on UFO accounts. Glaser wrote “Although we have seen, shortly one after another, many kinds of signs on the heaven, which are sent to us by the almighty God, to bring us to repentance, we still are, unfortunately, so ungrateful that we despise such high signs and miracles of God. Or we speak of them with ridicule and discard them to the wind, in order that God may send us a frightening punishment on account of our ungratefulness.”
Modern skeptics have explained the account as figurative instead of literal or as describing a solar phenomenon, perhaps a sun dog (pictured below).
“Personally, it looks more like ‘Battle of the Gum Drops and Pez Dispensers’ to me,” wrote blogger Michael Heiser.
Here is a full translation done by Ilse Von Jacobi from the book “The UFO Sighting Over Nuremberg in 1561,” as cited by Wikipedia:
In the morning of April 14, 1561, at daybreak, between 4 and 5 a.m., a dreadful apparition occurred on the sun, and then this was seen in Nuremberg in the city, before the gates and in the country – by many men and women. At first there appeared in the middle of the sun two blood-red semi-circular arcs, just like the moon in its last quarter. And in the sun, above and below and on both sides, the color was blood, there stood a round ball of partly dull, partly black ferrous color. Likewise there stood on both sides and as a torus about the sun such blood-red ones and other balls in large number, about three in a line and four in a square, also some alone. In between these globes there were visible a few blood-red crosses, between which there were blood-red strips, becoming thicker to the rear and in the front malleable like the rods of reed-grass, which were intermingled, among them two big rods, one on the right, the other to the left, and within the small and big rods there were three, also four and more globes.
These all started to fight among themselves, so that the globes, which were first in the sun, flew out to the ones standing on both sides, thereafter, the globes standing outside the sun, in the small and large rods, flew into the sun. Besides the globes flew back and forth among themselves and fought vehemently with each other for over an hour. And when the conflict in and again out of the sun was most intense, they became fatigued to such an extent that they all, as said above, fell from the sun down upon the earth ‘as if they all burned’ and they then wasted away on the earth with immense smoke. After all this there was something like a black spear, very long and thick, sighted; the shaft pointed to the east, the point pointed west.
Whatever such signs mean, God alone knows. Although we have seen, shortly one after another, many kinds of signs on the heaven, which are sent to us by the almighty God, to bring us to repentance, we still are, unfortunately, so ungrateful that we despise such high signs and miracles of God. Or we speak of them with ridicule and discard them to the wind, in order that God may send us a frightening punishment on account of our ungratefulness. After all, the God-fearing will by no means discard these signs, but will take it to heart as a warning of their merciful Father in heaven, will mend their lives and faithfully beg God, that He may avert His wrath, including the well-deserved punishment, on us, so that we may temporarily here and perpetually there, live as his children. For it, may God grant us his help, Amen.
By Hanns Glaser, letter-painter of Nurnberg.