Wed. Nov 21st, 2018

UFO History: The Nuremberg, Germany UFO Sighting of 1561

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As skeptics, we tend to look for hard evidence to make any case. We look for photos and video that we can dissect and pick apart with modern analytic equipment to test the veracity of any UFO sighting claim. The thing is, rarely are we able to get such evidence.

No one takes out the trash one night and says, “let me set up my high-tech recording devices for a possible UFO encounter tonight”. Since most things happen when we are least prepared for them, that’s leaves us with a big pile of evidence we call circumstantial: the emotions, feelings, and story of a witness.

How Much Evidence Does One Need?

From a legal standpoint, eye witness testimony is a strong enough evidence to send a perpetrator away to jail. Yet for paranormal explanation – it has virtually no weight. Why is that? Are we so skeptical that we don’t believe anyone’s story?

Sure, a witness can be influenced or outright fabricate a testimony forcing us to ask, “what does the witness have to gain?” This question is especially important when considered in the case of UFO sightings. Is there some notoriety or fortune to gain from being able to say, “I saw it as well”?

In the modern climate of UFO research, I fully understand the hesitation to blindly accept eyewitness testimony. We live in a world where the more outrageous the claim, the more likes and clicks a post receives. And the most outrageous of claims are awarded book deals and television appearances to satiate the ever-growing audience for UFO Disclosure.

Ancient & Historical UFO Sightings

But what about UFO sightings from antiquity? When we look at the historical accounts of visitation, things from petroglyphs to oil paintings from the middle ages suggesting an Alien presence, these artistic renditions are eye witness testimony of alien contact.

Should we be as quick to dismiss these accounts as fabrication? These people had no way to record a video or catch a cell phone pic, forcing them to give us an account in what medium they could.

That may be in the form of a passed down story, crude drawings, or in the case below – a woodcut drawing. Is it fair to discredit what evidence they can give us? Their humble, yet sparse, accounts of spectacular sightings in their skies, before technology could verify their testimony, should pass our tests as truthful because there was nothing to gain in fabricating such a story.

Celestial phenomenon over the German city of Nuremberg on April 14, 1561, as printed in an illustrated news notice in the same month.
Celestial phenomenon over the German city of Nuremberg on April 14, 1561, as printed in an illustrated news notice in the same month. | Image Credit: By Deutsch: Hanns Glaser (Druck)English: Hanns Glaser (print) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Nuremberg, Germany UFO Sighting of 1561

One such historical UFO sighting that has always captured my curiosity is the Nuremberg, Germany sighting of 1561. In this mass sighting, witnesses observed a multitude of lights in the sky.

Believers have interpreted the account as a mass observation of an extraterrestrial battle. Skeptics write off the strange lights as – surprise – a naturally occurring optical illusion called a sundog. In this meteorological phenomena, two sunspots flank the sun with a halo appearing to connect them. I would be more willing to accept the sighting as weather phenomena if not for what may have been the first recorded sighting of the mysterious “black triangle“.

Early on the morning of April 4, 1561 the deeply religious residents of Nuremberg, Germany observed hundreds of strange shaped objects appear to battle in the skies above them. They had little mechanical knowledge upon which to draw as they attempted to make sense of what had to have been a fantastic light show.

Witnesses described cylindrical objects throwing spheres back and forth, suggesting weaponry, and explained the event within the framework of knowledge they had to draw upon – celestial visitation. With the religious tenor of the time, it’s easy to understand witnesses believing they saw a first-hand act of God. It must have felt like Armageddon, a battle between good and evil, as angels and perhaps demons battle in the skies above Nuremberg.

But what about that black triangle? The witnesses also reported a triangular spear in the sky which crashed nearby. We have no further records of the crash.

The Basel, Switzerland UFO Sighting of 1566

And then there was a similar sighting just a couple years later on August 7, 1566 in Basel, Switzerland. Red and black spheres were reported this time. Was this just a case of a town saying “me too” we saw something as well? A fabricated story to steal the spotlight from Nuremberg? That’s doubtful. Those witnesses believed they escaped the wrath of God. Who would want to play copycat to such a deeply profound and troubling escape from judgment? Keep in mind, the middle ages were a time of torture, beheadings, and executions just at the suggestion of heresy. So if anything, one would want to keep such an event quiet rather than celebrate a near one-way trip to Hell.

Unfortunately, the only evidence we have to support the Nuremberg sighting is a woodcut engraving that is housed  in ZürichSwitzerland.

Most modern UFO researchers write off the eye witness account as nothing more than a misunderstood weather observation cloaked in the dogma of religious fanaticism. But I think that’s a grave mistake: writing off eye witness testimony so quickly – especially given that the witnesses had little to gain – steals credibility from the little bit of UFO evidence we can investigate. Look at the Roswell UFO Sighting. Newspaper reports the day after, numerous eye witness accounts, and hard evidence in the form of crash debris still isn’t enough to prove something fantastic did indeed happen.

Final Thoughts

So what do you think? Should we lend more credibility to these old UFO sightings? Do they pass our tests for credibility or will nothing suffice until we have a saucer and a body at our feet? Whatever your stance on the German and Swiss sightings I mentioned above, I ask you take this away from this post: not every explanation is simple, and just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic. And remember – not liking the answer doesn’t mean its wrong.


Perry Jones is a critical thinker, paranormal scholar, and lifelong UFO researcher. He is the author of several e-books. You can read more of his work at BlackDiamondSocialClub.

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