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The Mysterious 1561 Nuremberg Event ‘UFO Battle’


It was in April 1561 when all residents of Nuremberg, Germany, came out of their houses to investigate mysterious lights and loud sounds. They watched the sky, in awe and fear as they witnessed what appeared to be some kind of air battle—and all of this in broad daylight of the early morning.

The reports of event say it lasted for about an hour, and artist  Hans Glaser  documented this strange event for the German Nuremberg Gazette. Describing the event, he refers to crosses, tubes, wheels, multi-colored objects and globes over the city. Hundreds of them. Objects would disappear in smoke, some even crashing into the ground. The smoke was visible for miles.

This image and description have begged explanation for centuries. What on Earth could explain these phenomena that were seemingly witnessed by many people?

A Natural Event At Nuremberg?

Some would dismiss all of this to the appearance of meteors or  comets, even other natural events, but the uniqueness of the  Nuremberg incident eliminates such interpretations. The detailed description which is given by Glaser doesn’t seem to fit with any naturally occurring causes:

…the dreadful apparition filled the morning sky with cylindrical shapes from which emerged black, red, orange and blue-white spheres that darted about. Between the spheres, there were crosses with the color of blood. This frightful spectacle was witnessed by ‘numerous men and women.’ Afterwards, a black, spear-like object appeared. The author of the Gazette warned that ‘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 avert His wrath, including the well-deserved punishment, on us, so that we may, temporarily here and perpetually there, live as His children.’-  Abstract from the Nuremberg Gazette.

The celestial phenomenon over the German city of Nuremberg on April 14, 1561, as printed in an illustrated news notice in the same month. (Public Domain)

The celestial phenomenon over the German city of Nuremberg on April 14, 1561, as printed in an illustrated news notice in the same month. ( Public Domain )

Cylinders, crosses and a black spear-like object appearing in the sky are something that you would imagine seeing in a modern air-battle – but not something that would take place half a millennium ago!

Multiple Mis-reporting?

A few years later, in 1566, another similar event took place in  Basel, Switzerland, but this time it involved black orbs in a sky skirmish above the city. That event was also recorded at the time in the  city’s gazette .

Another similar  event took place in 1697 in Hamburg, Germany, where the crowd watched two enormous glowing wheels in the sky above the city.

Multiple reports odd phenomena in the skies over major cities my multiple people have to be describing some peculiar event. Unfortunately, there were no cameras available back then to take photos or videos of the events, so newspaper references and drawings are our only evidence. These remain open to the interpretations of many, and also to the various differing descriptions of the eyewitnesses. But nonetheless, something happened in the sky that day.

Very bright sun dogs in Fargo, North Dakota. Also visible are parts of the 22° halo (the arcs passing through each sundog), a sun pillar (the vertical line) and the parhelic circle (the horizontal line). (Public Domain)

Very bright sun dogs in Fargo, North Dakota. Also visible are parts of the 22° halo (the arcs passing through each sundog), a sun pillar (the vertical line) and the parhelic circle (the horizontal line). ( Public Domain )

Sun Dog Explanation

Frank Johnson  has recently made an effort to debunk the Nuremberg event to sky reflections and the  ‘sun dog’  lighting effect produced by the Sun, without offering any explanations for the sounds, the crashed objects or the smoke, and merely hypothesizing that these  particulars could simply be either the imagination of the people or nothing at all.

Another interpretation claims the whole description could be of a ground battle, with the cylinders being cannon and the spheres being the cannon balls.

Is it possible that the entire event never happened and the newspaper reference was just a joke or at least an exaggeration of peoples reporting?  Johnson notes that the broadsheets of the time, “contained the news of the weird or violent, and they had no problem stretching the truth to sell a few copies”.

When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Of course, all have not been eliminated here, but equally a terrestrial explanation is yet to have been found. The reporting of the event so resembles what you would expect from a sky battle of modern times that explanations of a battle between visiting aliens or even some kind of time shifting event remain on the table.

It is up to you to choose what to believe, but use the evidence and take it further, and above all investigate to find the truth.

Top image: The celestial phenomenon over the German city of Nuremberg on April 14, 1561, as printed in an illustrated news notice in the same month. Source:  Public Domain

By John Black



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