The 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg was a mass sighting of celestial phenomena or unidentified flying objects (UFO) above Nuremberg, Germany. The phenomenon has been interpreted by some modern UFO enthusiasts as an aerial battle, possibly of extraterrestrial origin. This view is mostly dismissed by skeptics, some referencing Carl Jung’s mid-twentieth century writings about the subject while others find the phenomenon is likely to be a Sun Dog
Around dawn on April 14, 1561, residents of Nuremberg saw what they described as an aerial battle, followed by the appearance of a large black triangular object and then a large crash outside of the city. According to witnesses, there were hundreds of spheres, cylinders and other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.
A broadsheet news article was printed later that month, describing the event. The broadsheet, illustrated with a woodcut engraving and text by Hans Glaser, measures 26.2 centimetres (10.3 in) by 38.0 centimetres (15.0 in). The document is archived in the prints and drawings collection at the Zentralbibliothek Zürich in Zurich, Switzerland.
The broadsheet describes objects of various shapes including crosses, globes, two lunar crescents, a black spear and tubular objects from which several smaller, round objects emerged and darted around the sky at dawn.
The phenomenon described
The text of the broadsheet can be translated as giving the following description of the event:
- “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.“
- Frank Johnson (Dec 12, 2012). “Nuremburg 1561 UFO “Battle” Debunked”. Ancient Aliens Debunked. Retrieved 26 January2017.
- Dennett, Preston (2008). UFOs and Aliens. Infobase Publishing Company. p. 20. ISBN 978-0791093849.
- Story, Ronald (2012). The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters. Constable & Robinson. ISBN 9781780337036.
- Vallee, Jacques; Aubeck, Chris (2010). Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times. Tarcher. ISBN 1585428205.
- Baker, Robert A.; Nickell, Joe (1992). Missing Pieces. Prometheus Books. p. 184. ISBN 978-0879757298.
- Freer, Neil (1996). Of Heaven and Earth: Essays Presented at the First Sitchin Studies Day. Book Tree. pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-1885395177.
- “Himmelserscheinung über Nürnberg vom 14. April 1561”. NEBIS. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
- Kripal, Jeffrey J. (2011). Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0226453873.
- Colman S. Von Kevicsky, “The Ufo Sighting Over Nuremberg in 1561” Official Ufo January 1976, pp. 36-8, 68. The translation is by Ilse Von Jacobi.
- Colavito, Jason (December 12, 2012). “The UFO Battle over Nuremburg [sic]”. jasoncolavito.com. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
- C.G. Jung, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies Bollingen Series: Princeton University Press, 1978; Passages # 760-3 pp. 95-7.
- Otto Billig, Flying Saucers – Magic in the Skies Schenkman, 1982, pp. 48-55.