Mystery of huge ‘UFO space fight that lit up skies above Germany’ 460 years ago

For thousands of years people have looked to the heavens and asked "are we alone?"

History is littered with examples of strange things happening above our heads – from "fiery discs" being spotted flying above Egypt in 1440BC, to the invention of the term "flying saucers" in 1947 after an American pilot described seeing nine "saucer, disc, or pie-plate" shapes in the skies above Washington.

Recently the Pentagon released an official report into UFOs saying far more data was needed before it could make a ruling on whether or not aliens have been popping to earth to visit our planet.

Had cameras existed in 1561, a celestial mystery could have been solved already after one of the most peculiar UFO sightings in history.

At that most time residents of southern Germany were more concerned with being called a witch than wondering about aliens as hundreds of innocent people were being burned at the stake as religious fervour gripped the nation.

However, on April 14, Nuremberg residents awoke to an amazing sight.

An reported alien battle was taking place right over their heads.

Writings claimed the sky was full of bright lights, spheres, crosses, globes and tubes attacking each other for hours with some "falling to earth in a mass of flames, before burning up on land in a cloud of hellish smoke."

Finally, a massive, black, spear shaped cross appeared which blotted out almost the whole sky, which then fell to earth outside the city in an enormous crash. Presumably some people went to look for it but nothing was ever reported to have been found.

The episode was reported in the local paper – complete with a "picture of the event – a woodcutting made by local painter and illustrator Hans Glaser.

Commentators at the time said the heavenly battle was a sign from God for people to repent their sins.

The episode was largely forgotten for hundreds of years until it was featured in a book as an example of how natural phenomenon can be misinterpreted as UFO sightings.

Cynics believe the "Star Wars" event was actually an example of a "sun dog", an entirely natural phenomena caused by the refraction of sunlight from ice crystals in the atmosphere, which can make it appear as though burst of light are shooting across the sky.

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They have also pointed out the woodcut creator was no stranger to "fake news", having previously reported on episodes such as blood falling from the sky and other "alien" sightings.

And this was not the last time the skies above the town were supposedly an alien battleground. Three years later it was reported celestial knights could be seen fighting each other with fiery swords in the sky. Yet again, this was taken as a sign for Godless people to repent their sins.

Apart from the occasional report of strange things in the sky, it was not until after World War 2 that UFO fever really broke out.

With the advent of rocket technology and Cold War fever gripping the USA, reports flooded in of strange objects in the sky.

One of the most famous UFO mysteries remains the Roswell incident.

In 1949 a rancher came across mysterious wreckage in the New Mexico desert which local papers claimed was the wreckage of a UFO and it was claimed bodies had been removed from it. Soon after there were reports of alien looking "bodies" falling from the sky which were hurriedly collected by the Air Force.

Despite the authorities saying the wreckage was part of a weather balloon, and the dummies were part of a study into improving ways pilots could eject from aircraft, some people still believe the USA government is carrying out a cover up.

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Whatever the truth, it seems unlikely the Nuremberg mystery will remain just that.

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