Artists rendering of a UFO over the Pyramids at Giza. Shutterstock.

Here Are 3 Puzzling Accounts of UFO Sightings in Antiquity

UFO Sightings are not something exclusive to modern society. In fact, thousands of years ago, people saw and described seeing things in the sky that are today a perfect description of UFOs.


UFOs are a global Phenomenon. All around th world, no matter the country we look at, people have reported seeing strange things in the sky.

Whether it be lights, mysterious shapes, or objects that appear to be suspended in the sky, UFO sightings are part of our everyday life.


And although it may come as a surprise to many, thousands of years ago, people saw in the skies the same things we see today.

Of course, back then, people interpreted these sightings differently.

Some saw UFOs as omens, signs, or even gods.

Today, with our technological advancement and understanding, we see Unidentified Flying Objects with ‘different eyes’ than our ancestor’s thousands of years ago.

To us, UFOs are not signs of the gods. They are not omens that bring good or bad luck. They are not signs from the heavens.

But despite this, they affect our lives more than we’ve ever imagined.

Today, UFO sightings have moved on from being a simple conspiracy to being considered a serious subject worthy of scientific study.

Evidence of that is the numerous declassified documents that have been released in the past few years.

In addition to that, several videos posted by the military suggest Navy Pilots have encountered UFOs daily.

UFOs are real, and there is no denying anymore.


But are all UFOs the result of alleged alien visitations? Or are they something entirely else?

If we ask that question today, you’d probably get an answer like: “UFOs are probably highly classified military technology.”

And that is entirely possible.

However, there’s one thing we need to remember when answering the above: UFOs have been seen and described thousands of years ago.

1440 BC, Egypt

According to an ancient document dubbed the Tulli Papyrus, pharaoh Thutmose III’s scribes reported seeing “fiery disks” floating over the skies. They were not ordinary meteors, but they actually moved and hovered in the sky.

This document, somewhat disputed, is perhaps the most impressive description of ancient UFO sightings.

The story surrounding the ancient document suggests that the former director of the Egyptian Museum at the Vatican, Professor Alberto Tulli possessed among his papers what many UFO experts argue is “the earliest known record of a fleet of flying saucers written on papyrus long, long, ago in ancient Egypt.”

Although the ancient papyrus was damaged and contained several gaps, Prince Boris de Rachewiltz successfully translated it and declared that the papyrus “was part of Thutmose III’s Annals.”

The following is a translation of the papyrus:

In the year 22, in the third month of winter, in the sixth hour of the day, the scribes of the House of Life noticed a circle of fire that was coming from the sky […] From the mouth it emitted a foul breath. It had no head. Its body was one rod long and one rod wide.¹ It had no voice. And from that the hearts of the scribes became confused and they threw themselves down on their bellies […] then they reported the thing to the Pharaoh […] His Majesty ordered […] has been examined […] and he was meditating on what had happened, that it was recorded in the scrolls of the House of the Life. Now after some days had passed, these things became more and more numerous in the skies. Their splendor exceeded that of the sun and extended to the limits of the four angles of the sky […] High and wide in the sky was the position from which these fire circles came and went. The army of the Pharaoh looked on with him in their midst. It was after supper. Then these fire circles ascended higher into the sky and they headed toward the south. Fish and birds then fell from the sky. A marvel never before known since the foundation of their land […] And Pharaoh caused incense to be brought to make peace with Earth² […] and what happened was ordered to be written in the Annals of the House of Life so that it be remembered for all time forward.

1. One rod, or “rod of cord,” equals 100 cubits.
2. I.e., the altar sacred to Amon-Ra.

Nuremberg 1561

In 1561, the residents of the city of Nuremberg witnessed a Mass ufo sighting above the city’s skies.

A news article published in April of 1561 clearly describes what today is interpreted as a mass ufo sighting.


The broadsheet news article, now at the Zentralbibliothek Zürich in Switzerland, reveals that the city residents described seeing what can be interpreted as an aerial battle, followed by a massive black, triangular appearance craft over the sky. 

The news article from 1561 describes a massive crash just outside the city. The broadsheet explains that the witnesses saw hundreds of spheres, cylinders (saucers?), and other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.

The mass UFO sighting described in a news paper dating back to April 14, 1561. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.
The mass UFO sighting is described in a newspaper dating back to April 14, 1561. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

Here’s the translation of the original news article broadsheet published in 1561:

“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.”

Basel 1566

Curiously, just 5 years after the mass UFO sighting over Nuremberg, in 1566, people living in Basel, modern-day Switzerland, reported a similar mass sighting. A newspaper broadsheet from 1566 describes what is interpreted as a celestial body, where numerous ‘objects’ fought between each other in the sky.

The broadsheet mentions several red and black spheres in Basel’s sky, sighted just before the rising sun.

The translated text of the broadsheet gives  the following description of the alleged mass UFO sighting:

It happened in 1566 three times, on 27 and 28 of July, and on August 7, against the sunrise and sunset; we saw strange shapes in the sky above Basel.

During the year 1566, on the 27th of July, after the sun had shone warm on the clear, bright skies, and then around 9 pm, it suddenly took a different shape and color. First, the sun lost all its radiance and luster, and it was no bigger than the full moon, and finally it seemed to weep tears of blood and the air behind him went dark. And he was seen by all the people of the city and countryside. In much the same way also the moon, which has already been almost full and has shone through the night, assuming an almost blood-red color in the sky. The next day, Sunday, the sun rose at about six o’clock and slept with the same appearance it had when it was lying before. He lit the houses, streets and around as if everything was blood-red and fiery. At the dawn of August 7, we saw large black spheres coming and going with great speed and precipitation before the sun and chattered as if they led a fight. Many of them were fiery red and, soon crumbled and then extinguished.

Of course, the three above-mentioned sightings are just a few of the many other UFO reports recorded in ancient times.

If we take a look at Classic Antiquity, we will find several other reports.

For example, in 218 BC, Titus Livius, a Roman historian, reported: “phantom ships had been seen gleaming in the sky.”

According to Pliny the Elder, another sighting took place in 76 BC. It was described as a “spark descended from a star and grew in size as it descended to Earth until its size appeared to be similar to that of the Moon.”

The alleged spark then ascended back into the sky and transformed into a bright light.

Plutarch described how in 74 BC, as the Roman army was about to battle Mithridates VI of Pontus, “the sky burst asunder, and a huge, flame-like body was seen to fall between the two armies.

In shape, it was almost like a wine-jar, and in color, like molten silver.”

The shape of the alleged UFO was similar to that of a wine jar, and both armies saw the silvery object.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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