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UFOs - Past, Present, & Future


Chapter 1

Ancient Sightings


by Robert Emenegger


    Is this UFO phenomenon something unique to twentieth century America? Apparently not, for records of the past seem to make continual references to objects seen in the night skies - Biblical visions, phantom ships, with mysterious lights.

    One of the earliest and most often cited records is the story of Ezekiel's wheel. It so intrigued one NASA engineer that he wrote an entire book based on these passages from the Bible. His thesis was built around the great similarity he found between the description of an object seen by Ezekiel and the design of a spacecraft tested by NASA Research Center at Langley Field in the 1960s. The passage is imprecise, but the inferences are there - enough to get a feeling for what Ezekiel may have seen. Let's turn to the first chapter of Ezekiel, in the King James version:


Now it came to pass in the thirteenth year, in the fourth month,
in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives
by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened,
and I saw visions of God....

Out of the midst there came the likeness of of four living creatures....
they had the likeness of a man...

Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon
the Earth by the living creatures....

The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the
color of a beryl: and their appearance and their work was
as it were a wheel...

And when they went, they went upon their four sides:
and they turned not when they went.

As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful;
and their rings were full of eyes round them four.

And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them:
and when the living creatures were lifted up from the Earth,
the wheels were lifted up."


    This account took place nearly six hundred years before Christ; other, similar, accounts appear in earlier writings. The Greeks and Romans also wrote of such things as phantom chariots appearing in the night sky.

    During the reign of Charlemagne, there were many accounts of encounters with "tyrants of the air, and their aerial ships." These accounts so concerned Charlemagne that those reporting such strange phenomena were subject to torture and death.

    The record of one event, written in the late eighth or early in the ninth century in France, was located by historian Dr. Jacques Vallee:


One day, among other instances, it chanced at Lyons that three men
and a woman were seen descending from these aerial ships. The
entire city gathered about them, crying out they were magicians
sent by Charlemagne's enemy to destroy the French harvest.

In vain, the four innocents sought to vindicate themselves, saying
they were their own country folk and had been carried away a short
time since by miraculous men who had shown them unheard-of marvels.
Luckily, the Bishop of Lyons pronounced the incident as false, saying
it was not true these men had fallen from the sky, and what they
[the town folks] said they had seen there was impossible. The people
believed what their good Bishop said rather than their own eyes
and set at liberty the four ambassadors....from the ship.


    During the Middle Ages, similar experiences were recorded around the world. From Bristol, England, in the year 1270 A.D., comes one such account. A spaceship was seen, and it was said that it's occupant scampered down a ladder, and was stoned and asphyxiated in the Earth's atmosphere.

    Along these lines, Jacques Vallee, in his Passport to Magonia, tells us of Drake's and Wilkin's account of a similar incident that took place about 1211 A.D. This Irish story describes the event in some detail:


There happened in the borough of Cloera, one Sunday, while the
people were at Mass, a marvel. In this town is a church dedicated to St.
Kenerus. It befell that an anchor was dropped from the sky, with a rope
attached to it, and one of the flukes caught in the arch above the door.
The people rushed out of the church and saw in the sky a ship with men
on board, floating before the anchor cable, and they saw a man leap
overboard and jump down to the anchor, as if to release it. He looked as
if he were swimming in water. The towns folk rushed up and tried to seize
him; but the Bishop forbade the people to hold the man, "for it might
kill him," he said. The man was freed, and hurried up to the ship, where
the crew cut the rope and the ship sailed out of sight.


    Other accounts similar to this one were recorded in Gervase of Tilbury's Otia Imperialia, as having taken place in Gravesend, Kent, England.

    If we turn to Vallee again, he gives us a short history course on objects in the skies over Japan during the Middle Ages. According to Vallee:


Panics, riots and disruptive social movements were often linked to
celestial apparitions. Numerous examples of such situations can be quoted.
For instance, on September 12, 1271, the famous priest Nichiren was about
to be beheaded at Tatsunokuchi, Kamakura, when there appeared in the sky
an object like a full moon, shiny and bright. Needless to say the officials
panicked and the execution was not carried out.

On August 3, 989, during a period of great social unrest, three round objects
of unusual brilliance were observed; later they joined together. In 1361, a
flying object described as being "shaped like a drum, and about twenty feet
in diameter" emerged from the Inland Sea off Western Japan. On January
2, 1458, a bright object resembling the full moon was seen in the sky, and
this apparition was followed by "curious signs" in Heaven and Earth. People
were "amazed." Two months later, on March 17, 1458, five stars appeared,
circling the Moon. They changed color three times and vanished suddenly. The
rulers were utterly distressed and believed that the sign announced a great
disturbance throughout the land. All the people in Kyoto were expecting disasters
to follow and the emperor himself was very upset. Ten years later, on March 8,
1468, a dark object which made a "sound like a wheel," flew from Mt. Kasuga
toward the west at midnight. The combination of the sound and the darkness
of the flying object is difficult to explain in natural terms.

On January 3, 1569 in the evening, a flaming star appeared in the sky. It was
regarded as a omen of serious changes, announcing the fall of the Chu Dynasty.
Such phenomena continued during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
For instance, in May, 1606, fireballs were continuously reported over Kyoto, and
one night a whirling ball of fire resembling a red wheel hovered near the Nijo
Castle and was observed by many of the samurai. The next morning, the city
was filled with rumors and the people muttered: "This must be a portent."

One noon in September, 1702, the Sun took on a bloody color several days
in succession and cotton-like threads fell down, apparently falling from the
Sun itself - phenomena reminiscent of the 1917 observations in Fatima. Portugal.


    Navy journals are also filled with strange accounts of objects observed.
These brief accounts will give you a sample of what was observed.

    The date was November 12, 1887; the time was near midnight. Aboard the sailing ship Siberian, several people witnessed a huge sphere of fire. It was observed rising out of the ocean. It rose to an altitude of sixteen meters, then flew against the wind and came close to the ship, then "dashed off" toward the southeast.
The sighting lasted for a full five minutes!

    Eight years earlier, persons aboard the ship Vultur recorded a similar incident:

    The date was May 15, 1879. The Vultur was on the Persian Sea. Two very large "wheels" were seen spinning in the air and coming to the surface of the sea. Some estimated the diameter as sixty meters, other as twice that; the speed was about fifty miles an hour. Duration of the sighting was thirty-five minutes. 

    In 1896 and 1897, mysterious airships were reported all across the United States. In Oakland, California, a group of streetcar passengers reported a winged cigar that sent out a stream of bright light.  The sightings spread through Colorado, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and many other states, particularly in the Midwest. ON April 11, 1897, Walter McCann of Rogers Park, a few miles north of Chicago, took a photograph of an airship. The New York Herald, as well as the Chicago Tribune pronounced the plate "genuine and not a fake."

*     *     *

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