Saturday, October 26, 2013

A UFO Battle over Nuremberg or an Atmospheric Phenomenon?

The city of Nuremberg was founded in Medieval times and was once a meeting place of the Imperial Diets (Reichstag) and courts during the time of the Holy Roman Empire.  It's more recently been known as the site where the Nazis held huge conventions known as the Nuremberg rallies.  After the Nazis lost World War II, the city was where Nazi war criminals were brought before an international tribunal to be judged for their crimes.

But Nuremberg is also a city that reportedly had a UFO battle over it on April 4, 1561.  The woodcut below is a report of the battle, complete with an illustration by Hans Glaser.

The "battle" was a mass sighting, reportedly lasting around an hour.  Residents reported seeing cylindrical objects from which red, black, orange, and blue-white disks and globes emerged.  Crosses and tubes were also seen.  Even today, people report seeing "cigar" shaped UFOs and flying saucers (or discs).  A cross shaped object could even be a description of what a modern airplane looks like.  The picture above also depicts a spear shaped object that could almost pass as a silhouette of a Star Destroyer from Star Wars.  So could there have really been a UFO battle over Nuremberg in 1561?

Some skeptics have suggested the event was a hoax, but that's unlikely since there were multiple witnesses.  Others have suggested it was a mass hallucination brought on by ergotism.  While that might not be impossible explanation, I think it's probably unlikely as well.  I find the mass hallucination explanation is typical of a skeptic who doesn't have a better explanation for something, so I don't put a lot of stock in it.

The website explains the "battle" away as nothing more than an atmospheric phenomena known as a "sundog" (also known as a parhelion).  Sundogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds.

In the above image, you can actually see a resemblance between the phenomena and the artwork (but note that the artwork depicted is not from the illustration of the event depicted in the image near the top of the page, but of something else).

I looked over other images and videos in the debunking article linked above, and, if you accept that Glaser took some artistic licensing in depicting the event (I mean, he did draw a face on the sun, so he must have taken some artistic licensing), it could be a plausible explanation.  But what about the objects that crashed?  It was reported that the objects fell to the ground producing a lot of steam (or a big smoke).  Can atmospheric phenomena fall to the ground?  No, not really, but it might look like it's falling to the ground.  Despite the "objects" reportedly falling to the ground, there are not reports of anyone finding any crashed objects.  It's possible they observed another atmospheric phenomena known as "fall streaks."  Like sun dogs, fall streaks are also made with ice crystals.

Fall Streak
In the image above, you see a fall streak that appears to be black and somewhat triangular in shape...could it be an explanation for what the spear shaped object depicted in the top image is?

My guess is atmospheric or celestial phenomena is the most likely explanation for the event.  Although the description of the "objects" could match the description of some modern day UFO sightings, how often do people report space battles of UFOs that last for an hour?  I'm not aware of any, and if there were any today, you'd think someone would have video footage of it.  If people witnessed multiple UFOs crashing, you'd think someone would have probably found them and documented them.  So I think it's more likely the "objects" were not objects at all, but atmospheric phenomena.  The witnesses probably reported what they thought they were seeing because they weren't sure of what they were really seeing.  And Glaser, who illustrated the event, didn't actually witness the event himself; he was only going by what someone else reported to him.

If only we had video footage of the event.  Even if it wasn't a UFO battle, it sounds like it was a pretty awesome sight to see.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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