Macabre Grimoire Chapter 23 Strange Skies Past and Present
Hosts Ari Show, Robert Mehling, and Travis Nye
Produced by Robert Mehling
Voice Over by Dave Holly
Opening Theme Enhance Your Starry Night by Mouthful of Bees
The 1561 Nuremberg Celestial Phenomenon
The 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg was a mass sighting of celestial phenomena or unidentified flying objects (UFO) above Nuremberg, Germany. The phenomenon has been interpreted by some modern UFO enthusiasts as an aerial battle of extraterrestrial origin.
According to author Jason Colavito, the woodcut broadsheet became known in modern culture after being published in Carl Jung’s 1958 book Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, a book which analyzed the archetypal meaning of UFOs. More recently, the event has been classified as a UFO sighting by many, and even named the “UFO Battle over Nuremberg” by a few enthusiasts.
The text of the broadsheet can be translated as giving the following description of the event:
“In the morning of April 14, 1561, at daybreak, between 4 and 5 a.m., a dreadful apparition occurred on the sun, and then this was seen in Nuremberg in the city, before the gates and in the country – by many men and women. At first there appeared in the middle of the sun two blood-red semi-circular arcs, just like the moon in its last quarter. And in the sun, above and below and on both sides, the color was blood, there stood a round ball of partly dull, partly black ferrous color. Likewise there stood on both sides and as a torus about the sun such blood-red ones and other balls in large number, about three in a line and four in a square, also some alone. In between these globes there were visible a few blood-red crosses, between which there were blood-red strips, becoming thicker to the rear and in the front malleable like the rods of reed-grass, which were intermingled, among them two big rods, one on the right, the other to the left, and within the small and big rods there were three, also four and more globes. These all started to fight among themselves, so that the globes, which were first in the sun, flew out to the ones standing on both sides, thereafter, the globes standing outside the sun, in the small and large rods, flew into the sun. Besides the globes flew back and forth among themselves and fought vehemently with each other for over an hour. And when the conflict in and again out of the sun was most intense, they became fatigued to such an extent that they all, as said above, fell from the sun down upon the earth ‘as if they all burned’ and they then wasted away on the earth with immense smoke. After all this there was something like a black spear, very long and thick, sighted; the shaft pointed to the east, the point pointed west. Whatever such signs mean, God alone knows. Although we have seen, shortly one after another, many kinds of signs on the heaven, which are sent to us by the almighty God, to bring us to repentance, we still are, unfortunately, so ungrateful that we despise such high signs and miracles of God. Or we speak of them with ridicule and discard them to the wind, in order that God may send us a frightening punishment on account of our ungratefulness. After all, 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 may avert His wrath, including the well-deserved punishment, on us, so that we may temporarily here and perpetually there, live as his children. For it, may God grant us his help, Amen. By Hanns Glaser, letter-painter of Nurnberg.”
Otto Billig made an effort to provide a historical context for the apparition in his comments. He notes Nuremberg was one of the most prestigious cities of the late Middle Ages, a “Free and Imperial City” known for its wealth and nobility. It tried to maintain a neutrality during the furious warring between Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation, but when one Protestant prince was rebuffed when he insisted on financial tributes to fund his battles, the city was besieged and its trade cut off. Though ultimately successful in defending itself, the rebuilding of fortifications in Nuremberg necessitated a new round of taxation and the city suffered hard times in its aftermath. On Good Friday, 1554 another siege happened and one broadsheet publisher described mock suns that prognosticate God’s will wanted confession of sinful ways – i.e. the victims brought it on themselves. Another sky apparition followed in July of knights fighting each other with fiery swords, thus warning a coming Day of Judgment. Very similar apparitions of knights fighting in the skies were frequently reported during the Thirty Years’ War. Many similar broadsheets of wondrous signs exist in German and Swiss archives and Nuremberg seems the focus of a number of them, presumably because of the hardships and conflicts of the ex-prosperous. Such conditions typically accentuate apocalyptic thought.
“1561 Celestial Phenomenon Over Nuremberg”. 2019. En.Wikipedia.Org. Accessed March 12 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1561_celestial_phenomenon_over_Nuremberg
Colman S. Von Kevicsky, “The Ufo Sighting Over Nuremberg in 1561” Official Ufo January 1976, pp. 36–38, 68. The translation is by Ilse Von Jacobi.
Otto Billig, Flying Saucers – Magic in the Skies Schenkman, 1982, pp. 48–55.
As the first known object of its type, ʻOumuamua presented a unique case for the International Astronomical Union, which assigns designations for astronomical objects. Originally classified as comet, it was later reclassified as asteroid, due to the absence of a coma. Once it was unambiguously identified as coming from outside the Solar System, a new designation was created: I, for Interstellar object. ʻOumuamua, as the first object so identified.
The name comes from Hawaiian ʻoumuamua, meaning ‘scout’ (from ʻou, meaning ‘reach out for’, and mua, reduplicated for emphasis, meaning ‘first, in advance of’), and reflects the way this object is like a scout or messenger sent from the distant past to reach out to humanity. It roughly translates to “first distant messenger”.
By mid-November, astronomers were certain that it was an interstellar object. Based on observations spanning 34 days, ʻOumuamua’s orbital eccentricity is 1.20, the highest ever observed. An eccentricity exceeding 1.0 means an object exceeds the Sun’s escape velocity, is not bound to the Solar System and may escape to interstellar space. ʻOumuamua’s eccentricity is so high that it could not have been obtained through an encounter with any of the planets in the Solar System. Even undiscovered planets in the Solar System, if any should exist, could not account for ʻOumuamua’s trajectory nor boost its speed to the observed value. For these reasons, ʻOumuamua can only be of interstellar origin.
So in addition to being an interstellar object Oumuamua seems to have made an unexpected course correction as it left.
In the case of an interstellar asteroid, a number of physical explanations that lead to a different orbit than what we naively predicted would make a lot of sense.
- Dark matter could be present, but that’s unlikely to be the culprit, since that would cause an acceleration towards the Sun.
- Volatile material could be heated and out gassing from the surface, but that’s also unlikely, since it showed no sign of a comet-like tail.
- It could be due to uneven heating of the object itself by the Sun, which has been the culprit of “anomalous acceleration” in the past, such as for the Pioneer satellites.
- Or, as the authors propose, it could be due to the solar radiation pressure, pushing against the object itself and causing it to accelerate faster-than-expected due to gravity alone.
Of these potential explanations, the first is no good, the second is unlikely, but either the third or fourth could easily solve the mystery.
We’ve never had a close encounter with an interstellar object before; ʻOumuamua is the first one we’ve ever detected, imaged, and tracked. It is far beyond our telescopic capabilities now, being too small and too far away to track further. In other words, we’ll never know what its mass was, and we’ll never obtain better measurements of it than what’s already been recorded. All we can do now, based on the data we have, is speculate and try to reconstruct what might have happened.
“ʻoumuamua”. 2019. En.Wikipedia.Org. Accessed March 27 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CA%BBOumuamua
“‘Aliens’ Is Not A Scientific Explanation For Interstellar Asteroid ʻoumuamua”. 2019. Forbes.Com. Accessed March 27 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2018/11/08/aliens-is-not-a-scientific-explanation-for-interstellar-asteroid-%CA%BBoumuamua/#653f8b673719