Nuremburg 1561 UFO “Battle” Debunked


4a0333ba72469If ever there was proof of visitation by ancient astronauts, one of the best and most convincing pieces of evidence would have to be the epic Nuremburg “space battle” of April 4,1561, recorded on April 14, 1561 (some sources say 1566, but the date on the woodcut in Roman numerals seems to read 1561). Especially since almost all retellings of the story mainly focus on the picture and a loose summary of the events that occurred that day, with an emphasis on UFO battles and crashed ships. And good luck finding anything else besides that.

Just about everywhere you read it, the story goes like so. Residents woke up early one April morning and saw the spectacle in the above woodcut, which clearly looks like the final space battle from Return of the Jedi complete with X-Wings, explosions and Darth Vader’s star destroyer. Making this even more convincing is that some of the objects are said to have fought for a while, and some crashed as seen in the lower right hand corner. Orbs and crosses fighting. Tubes and a giant arrow. Crashing ships. Has to be a space battle.

Depicting an aurora on 28.12.1560

Depicting an aurora on 28.12.1560

While it is tempting to dismiss this whole event as a hoax, and some have, or poo-poo it away as a mass hallucination due to ergotism, there are a few facts that make that very hard to do. Mainly the fact that Hans Glaser, the artist who did this woodcut, was a real person, who really did do woodcuts and this woodcut is actually from the time and place that it says it is and is depicting a real event that witnesses saw. For all intents and purposes, it seems like a legitimate case.

You can read all about it here with the help of Google translator or Babelfish and here. You can also see a pretty comprehensive gallery of Hans Glaser’s work here.  I encourage people to understand the genre of the 15th century woodcut, or “broadsheet”, which was the early predecessor of today’s newspaper, actually it is more accurate to say they were the predecessors to today’s Enquirer because they contained the news of the weird or violent, and they had no problem stretching the truth to sell a few copies, and nearly a quarter of them are astronomical phenomenon like auroras which are interpreted as signs from God, which I’m sure made them sell more copies.

Unfortunately, despite being very convincing proof of aliens at first glance, and after a superficial perusal of the facts (which is all I and many ever do) seemingly confirming a space oddity, the most likely explanation is rather mundane.  The best possible explanation for the Nuremberg 1561 UFO Battle is merely several atmospheric phenomena, most notably a “sundog” or “parhelion,” which kicked the whole thing off.

 

The sun dog on the right was interpreted as an omen omen of God's revenge on King Gustav Vasa

The sun dog on the right (Vädersolstavlan) was interpreted as an omen of God’s revenge on King Gustav Vasa

Sun dogs are weird looking enough to make it seem that something really odd is going on in the sky. But a sundog is basically Earth’s atmosphere or ice in the upper parts of the sky acting as a prism or reflective device and making the light from the sun or moon do whacky and sometimes zany things, and Nuremberg had perfect conditions for this to occur.  Sundogs and the phenomenon that often occurs with them were also seen with religious significance back in olden tymes.

In fact one of the first sundog sightings we know of was depicted in a famous painting called Vädersolstavlan, and it was interpreted as an omen of God’s forthcoming revenge on King Gustav Vasa for his having introduced Protestantism during the 1520s

Very often these wood cuts, some of which are obviously depicting sundogs, are interpreted as messages from God (often because of the “crosses” in the middle of the sun) God is said to be telling them to do all kinds of things, in fact the Nuremburg woodcut which we are talking about today  was interpreted as meaning that they should go to war with the Turks.

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A sun dog interpreted with religious significance in a woodcut because of the “cross” in the middle.

Looking at the description of the event, modern pictures/videos and other old depictions of similar events, you’ll soon see that a sundog really is a more plausible explanation than the Galactic Empire paying a visit.

So what I will do is go point by point through the translated description of these events on the woodcut itself (see appendix at the bottom of the page for the full translation of the text.)

First the sun showed and was seen with two bloodcolored, halfround strokes like the diminishing moon right through the sun,

halfround strokes

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 and in the sun, above, under and on both sides stood bloodcolored and partly blueish or ironcolored, also blackcolored round orbs.

xlarge_e47f370a0cd946d636b8da8aa2ba90d4Here is a photo of a sun dog, with a halo and a red orb. If there’s one red orb, perhaps in other events there could be more than one, and depending how light refracts (remember sundogs are like prisms) there could be multiple colors depending upon how light refracts through the clouds.

 

 

 

The same on both sides and in circled plates around the sun – there were such bloodcolored and the other orbs in great numbers, standing three in a row, sometimes four in a quadruple, also alot as singles. And between such orbs alot of bloodcolored crosses have been seen, and between such crosses and orbs were bloodcolored strips, thick behind ["streyme hinden dick"] and to the front a bit smoother than … [ ? "hocken rho[?]“].

 “Circled plates” may be referring to halos. So it seems there’s halos and multiple orbs in groups and separate. Here’s one sun halo that looks vaguely plate-like, with links to other sun halos. Below are some videos showing a halo with multiple orbs. Some of the orbs in the second video take on a little bit of a cross-like shape with the light flaring that may or may not be due to lens issues. Most of the orbs on film are the usual sun-colored kind, but recall that the Nuremberg event was between about 4 and 5 AM, when the clouds and sun could have been a reddish and orange, perhaps lending to other colors not seen in pictures or video. Note in the videos the orbs are connected via rod-shaped light beams.

comp2

Video of a Chinese sundog with reddish and slight rainbow orbs

Here are some strange shapes. Note tube or rod-like shapes that are actually part of a reflective arc. Some of these shapes are obvious in the woodcut. You can see that these rods and such can be found in the above pics in various ways, connecting orbs or as part of halos. My personal theory is that the “rods” mentioned in Nuremberg were actually incomplete or broken up arcs of halos.

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Mixed in between together with others stood two big tubes, one to the right and the other to the left [hand's side], in those little and big tubes were three, four and more orbs.

dfbdfdvdvA sun, halo, two half orbs, rod shapes, etc. Note the dramatic addition of a hand and a plant, demonstrating artistic license is being taken in some the art depicting these events, suggesting that Glaser’s depiction may not be exactly what witnesses saw.

Here is a photo of some strange shapes in the sky, some of which look very similar to Nuremberg. Note that some of these could be seen as tubes or rods, especially if they were incomplete and there are still orbs present.

 

This alltogether began to fight ["streyten"], the orbs first in the sun moved towards the ones standing at both sides, so the ones, which were outside, moved together with the orbs out of the small and large tubes into the sun.

Also the tubes moved towards each other like the orbs and everything fought and battled ["gestritten und gefochten"] with each other nearly one hour long. And after the battle, which moved for a while into and again out of the sun from one side to the other most violently, exhausted itself by each other

The shapes fought, but we’re not given much detail about what this fight consisted of. Were there lasers? Light flashes? Or did the objects just chase and run into each other? The woodcut does not say. This alleged fighting can possibly be explained by this video describing how different shapes are achieved, seemingly based on where the sun is in the sky. Note that the multiple suns (sundogs) appear at the beginning, then give way to other aspects, like tubes just like was explained in the woodcut. The “fighting” could be as simple as one shape moving slightly and changing shape as the sun moves, and appearing to push other shapes out of the way.

So it can be seen that many of the shapes described in the Nuremberg UFO Battle can occur naturally. Every single one of them. The cross shapes, multiple orbs, half orbs, colored orbs and rods. It’s also important to note, that Hans Glaser depicted these shapes all happening simultaneously due to his one-page limit, when the description claims that this all happened over the space of an hour and somewhat sequentially. A fact which no other source (especially pro-UFO sources) mentions. First there was some weird stuff with the sun, then orbs and rods, then all of that disappeared and was followed by the giant black spear. Also, the shapes in the woodcut are shown all jumbled together and randomly strewn about, though nothing in the narrative says this was the case. Glaser was not a witness, so he would have no clue whether things were all jumbled (as depicted) or more uniform and geometric (as what happens in nature) and he’s doing his best to depict what was seen by others (at least one, possibly many witnesses, who perhaps exaggerated what they saw and had a different vantage point) over the course of an extended period of time, and that means everything gets thrown together.

tgrAnd that is a key thing to note. This woodcut is not a photograph, and it seems many (I once thought it was as good as one myself) try to use it as though it was as authoritative as a photo, and even photographs are suspect these days. Glaser was making an artistic representation of what witnesses saw. We have no indication or proof that he witnessed it, and like a police sketch of a criminal described by a witness, the details are not completely accurate, and quite possibly full of error. Recall that the UNAbomber’s police sketch looked pretty much nothing like the man they actually caught, tried and convicted.

But even if what Glaser depicted, an alleged battle in the sky between these shapes, is even close to what was actually seen, it still is not proof of alien ships. Fighting or otherwise. A great example of why is another artistic depiction of another event seen in the sky, also depicted by Herr Glaser. A number of people reported seeing knights fighting each other in the sky late at night, and yet no one is claiming this is proof of aliens in any way and certainly no one is claiming this actually happened as literally as depicted. That’s because these knights fighting in the sky were likely another natural event. One source (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1976JHA…..7..145G) suggests that these knights was actually an aurora borealis. For one reason or another, the witness or Glaser probably embellished what was seen or reported. For one reason or another, one or both parties attached religious significance to this aurora, perhaps via a shared societal pareidolia. In fact pereidolia (attaching religious significance to normal events) can explain a lot of the unusual stories of that day. And pereidolia is still common today, just ask someone who’s seen the face of Jesus in a tortilla, or Mary in a piece of toast.

dsvsdHere’s the picture of knights fighting in the sky, suggested to be actually the northern lights, reported by a variety of common and upperclass folks. The text also mentions the Apostle Paul, angels as well as God and Jesus Christ, meaning that they thought there was something more to it than auroras for some reason or another. Again if anyone wants to take a stab at reading and translating, have fun. It’s also important to note that Glaser is again, depicting in art what someone (or many somoeones) said they saw. We have no way of knowing whether the witness(es) said “I saw knights fighting in the sky” or “I saw clouds and lights in the sky, and they kind of moved around. I don’t how to describe it, maybe it was like, you know, how knights kind of move when they fight.”

Moving back to the space battle.

With most of the shapes in the Nuremberg 1561 Battle explained as natural, there are still a couple things unexplained, the large black spear and the alleged crash. First, the crash.

everything (as drawn above) fell from the sun and the sky down to the earth like burning alltogether and vanished ["vergangen"] down on the earth gradually [? "allgemach"] in a big smoke.

Something that sets this sighting apart from many others is the fact that there was a crash. Or was there? The most obvious question here is if there was a crash, where is the wreckage? Where are the bodies? Why does the woodcut (or any other source) not mention finding anything where these things supposedly crashed? Why does Nuremberg make very little of this event to this day? If real alien spaceships had crashed 500 years ago, the world would be a lot more technologically advanced than we are now just from reverse engineering the ships. Starting from Germany. Nuremberg would likely have been impressed enough to erect a memorial of some sort and would probably be the capitol of the world based on technological superiority. Or at least one would expect more mention than just a single woodcut. Yet, there is no evidence of any of that. This woodcut article is all that exists for proof of anything happening that day. There’s no wreckage. No alien bodies. No technology was harvested from crashed UFOs. In short, there is no physical evidence of anything that crashed.

Fall Streak

Fall Streak

One possible explanation for this seeming smoky fall to the ground and disappearance could be as simple as what’s known as “fall streaks.” Fall streaks often accompany cirrus clouds and are made up of ice crystals. The same ice crystals that cause sundogs, because wouldn’t you know it, cirrus clouds are one of the chief ingredients in the creation of a sundog.

“Many cirrus clouds produce hair-like filaments, similar to the virga produced in liquid–water clouds, called fall streaks, and they are made of heavier ice crystals that fall from the clouds. The sizes and shapes of fall streaks are determined by the wind shear.”

 

After such events something like a black spear, the shaft from sunrise [east] and the head towards sundawn [west], has been seen with big thickness and length.

This could be a number of things associated with sunrises/sets and or fallstreaks. It could be referring to a crepuscular ray, or a shadow caused by the fallstreak.

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So how is it that a few uncommon, but otherwise normal weather events can capture the attention of a population enough to be printed news and a “sign from God” in a time when printing was fairly new, and then capture the attention of ancient astronaut theorists 500 years later?

1605aIt’s probably due to the fact that the media always has and probably will always do two things to achieve their end goal, which is to make money. The first thing that almost all media does is to find a sensational story, or make it sensational. The more unbelievable, the more people will want to know about it, which hopefully leads to more sales. These 16th century woodcuts served the same role. It probably didn’t help that all of these woodcuts were only one page, because the publishers more or less thought common folk were too stupid to read more than a page or so. Having only one page to tell a story probably meant it better be a good one.

Though the reformation had already occurred, it was still only about 50 years old, and in all likelihood the Catholic Church still held a good deal of clout. The media of the day seemingly played on this given fact and the general uneducated, superstitious state of the average person to remain in the Church’s good favor when they wrote stories. That’s probably why so many stories were of the “sign from God” category. Since the printer was required to have a license, staying in the Pope’s good graces would probably be a good idea. If the common people could be made to believe that a weird or uncommon natural phenomena was an omen or a sign from God, the Church would benefit, and the media of the day could keep their job.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see that the Nuremberg 1561 event was not a battle between alien spaceships, but rather a series of weather events given greater significance than they deserved due to a reasonably superstitious atmosphere, a sensationalist/biased media and a consumer public hungry for outrageous stories.

Appendix:

Full Translation:

translation by “Stapledon”

“In the year 1561 on the 14th day of April in the morning between … [difficult special time phrase] … and … [difficult special time phrase], that is in the morning between 4 and 5 on the little clock, a very horrible vision showed at the sun when she rised and was seen at Nuremberg in the town and in front of the gate and at the countryside by alot of male and female persons. First the sun showed and was seen with two bloodcolored, halfround strokes like the diminishing moon right through the sun, and in the sun, above, under and on both sides stood bloodcolored and partly blueish or ironcolored, also blackcolored round orbs. The same on both sides and in circled plates around the sun – there were such bloodcolored and the other orbs in great numbers, standing three in a row, sometimes four in a quadruple, also alot as singles. And between such orbs alot of bloodcolored crosses have been seen, and between such crosses and orbs were bloodcolored strips, thick behind ["streyme hinden dick"] and to the front a bit smoother than … [ ? "hocken rho[?]“]. Mixed in between together with others stood two big tubes, one to the right and the other to the left [hand's side], in those little and big tubes were three, four and more orbs. This alltogether began to fight ["streyten"], the orbs first in the sun moved towards the ones standing at both sides, so the ones, which were outside, moved together with the orbs out of the small and large tubes into the sun.

Also the tubes moved towards each other like the orbs and everything fought and battled ["gestritten und gefochten"] with each other nearly one hour long. And after the battle, which moved for a while into and again out of the sun from one side to the other most violently, exhausted itself by each other, everything (as drawn above) fell from the sun and the sky down to the earth like burning alltogether and vanished ["vergangen"] down on the earth gradually [? "allgemach"] in a big smoke. After such events something like a black spear, the shaft from sunrise [east] and the head towards sundawn [west], has been seen with big thickness and length.

[It follows a lengthy phrasal standard passage from a typical christian viewpoint of that time, about warning signs of Godfather, the sin of the non-believers and the awaited day of judgement etc. Not very related to the event as such, but there is a hint by Hans Glaser, that the "signs" in the sky were significant in quality and numbers in the recent time.]”

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/paranormal/the-ufo-battle-of-nuremberg-1561-t21213.html

(Author’s note:  Based on my rudimentary German (yes, I at least admit I’m not an expert in languages) and ability to quasi-read calligraphy, this translation appears to be reasonably accurate. Stapledon’s last paragraph omits the specific details mentioning God, but does mention in summary that there was a religious worldview interpreting the event. If anyone is bored enough and can read the calligraphy well, please share it and a translation in the comments.)

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