Details: Ufologists are generally aware of the 1500’s reports of flying saucer-like activity in Nuremberg, Germany made famous by Carl Jung’s 1961 book Flying Saucers. Jung reprinted two previously unreported broadsheet wood cuttings showing crosses, tubes shooting out balls of light, and other objects fighting in the sky over Nuremberg in 1554 and 1561. The pictures often turn up in UFO shows and books on ancient aliens. However, what is not commonly known is that there are numerous other similar reports and broadsheets depicting aerial displays that have never been made public.
In the late 1980’s, while working on the book People of the Web, I began going through reams of ancient broadsheets from the 1500s and 1600s. About a dozen caught my attention with one of the most curious from 1591. I did not include them in the book because I had not yet had all of the reports translated.
A “broadsheet” was essentially the newspaper of the day and was a large woodcutting used to make printed sheets. At the bottom of the illustration was an explanation and description of the events depicted in the woodcutting.
The Germany broadsheets are accompanied by a text composed of archaic German printed in a flourished style making it difficult to decipher. While I can read German this archaic style was too much for me to decode so I contracted with the Chairman of the German Department at the then Memphis State University to translate the report. He was totally mystified by what was in the report and the picture (shown above), and for this article only some of the translation is included.
The most striking image in the picture should be obvious to those interested in UFOs. In the bottom left side is an object sitting on the ground that looks precisely like a flying saucer—portals and all. The people depicted in the picture are looking at the sky and pointing at the odd object. The German Professor was completely befuddled by the object and had no guess at all about what it could be. In case skeptics might assert that the picture is a fake, a poster of the cut is available here and a larger image is available here.
The event took place on the nights of September 7-8, 1591 in Augsburg, Germany and the famous Georg Kress wrote the report and carved the illustration. The text relates that “between 7 and 8 o’clock at night, a very extraordinary, wonderful, very long and frightening ray appeared, having its origin from the North and coming down very low towards the earth. Its tips were divided into two parts and was visible for a very long time at 9 o’clock it disappeared.” The bulk of the written commentary attributes the sighting to God and calls for the community to not tempt God. Nowhere in the written report does it directly refer to the saucer-like object sitting on the ground.
This poster is usually printed with a thin white edge border.