UFOs are not a modern-day phenomenon. Sightings around the globe have been the substance of legend, as well as documented historical record, for thousands of years.
"A large round silver thing like a disk flew slowly over them and excited the greatest terror." - From a report written by monks at the Byland Abbey in Yorkshire, England circa 1290 AD
Historical record states that several "wonderfully constructed aerial ships" appeared over Lyons, France between 830 and 833 AD. These ships were witnessed by hundreds of people.
UFOs were frequently seen over England and France in the 8th and 9th centuries. Charlemagne, Emperor of France, called them the "evil spirits of the air."
Alexander the Great reported witnessing UFOs observing one of his battles from the air.
The following passage was translated from Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to the 15th century BC ...
"A circle of fire coming in the sky, noiseless, one rod long with its body and one rod wide. After some days these things became more numerous, shining more than the brightness of the sun."
Part of the annals of Thutmose III, who reigned around 1504 - 1450 B.C., records what appears to be a fleet of flying craft. They were described as "a circle of fire that was coming in the sky...It had no head, the breath of its mouth had a foul odor. Its body one rod long and one rod wide. It had no voice." Following this sighting, many others followed as the papyrus goes on.
The prophet, Ezekiel, describes an encounter similar with that of UFOs and extraterrestrial beings in Ezekiel 1-3 in the Bible. Although his description can be interpreted as a UFO sighting or even an alien abduction, those who believe this are clearly taking it out of context. The Bible makes many references to similar events, which does not remotely resemble any modern or ancient UFO encounters. The four beings, which Ezekiel describes, are the cherubim and seraphim, mentioned later on in Revelations, and other books.
Julius Obsequies, who is believed to have lived in the 4th century AD, wrote a book entitled, Prodigorium liber. This book describes several reports of UFO-like phenomena. Here are a few of them:
"Things like ships were seen in the sky over Italy..." "At Arpi, a round shield was seen in the sky."
"At Capua, the sky was all on fire, and one saw figures like ships..."
"...there fell in different places...a thing like a flaming torch, and it came suddenly from the sky. Towards sunset, a round object like a globe, or round circular shield took its path in the sky, from west to east."
"...a globe of fire, of golden color, fell to earth, gyrating. It then seemed to increase in size, rose from the earth, and ascended into the sky, where it obscured the disc of the sun, with its brilliance. It revolved towards the eastern quadrant of the sky."
On October 27, 1180, a flying "earthenware vessel" was seen moving northeast from a mountain in Kii province, then suddenly changed it's direction and disappeared over the horizon.
12th Century: William of Newburgh describes a silvery, flat, shiny disc-like object, which appeared near an abbey, frightening those who saw it.
A priest was spared his life on September 12, 1271, in Japan when a shiny, bright object appeared in the sky, causing the executioners to panic. In 1361, a 20-foot in diameter "flying drum" was seen in western Japan. On March 8, 1468, a dark object flew toward the west from Mt. Kasuga at midnight.
On November 4, 1322 A.D., a "pillar of fire" was seen over the sky in Uxbridge, England. It was the "size of a small boat" and emitted bright red flames from the front and beams of light.
In November and December 1387, a "fire in the sky, like a burning revolving wheel..." was seen in Leicester and Northamptonshire, England. The objects "emitted fire from above, and others in the shape of long, fiery beams".
On November 1, 1461, a large "fiery iron rod" was seen in the sky over Arras, France.
On December 16, 1742, a member of the Royal Society in London saw a strange object in the sky while on his way home. He described the large, bright object as moving slowly and having a flame coming out the back. It had a frame on one end, "like bars of iron".
On September 19, 1799, a "beautiful ball blazing with white light,..." was seen at 8:30 P.M. in England. It made no sound, and red sparks flew from it. On November 12, a "large red pillar of fire" was seen in the sky going south in Hereford, England. ?lashes of extremely vivid electrical sort·preceded it. Other objects were seen between 5 and 6 A.M. leaving luminous trails behind them. On November 19, a ball of fire passed in the sky over Huncoates and Lincolnshire.
On September 7, 1820, during a lunar eclipse, "strange objects were seen moving in straight lines...Their movements showed a military precision".
On March 22, 1870, Captain F. W. Banner of the British ship Lady of the Lake, saw a circular "cloud" with a "semi-circle divided into four parts, and a central shaft running from the center of the circle and extending far outward and curving backward..." It moved against the wind and was visible until it became dark.
On January 24, 1878, a dark, disk-shaped object sailed across the sky at great speed. A Texas farmer named John Martin saw it.
Giant luminous wheels were sighted several times in the Persian Gulf by the crew of the Vulture on May 15, 1879; the British Patna; and the S.S. Kilwa on April 10, 1901. Similar objects were seen in the China Sea by a British steamer in 1906, and a Danish captain in 1909. These objects were described as rotating wheels, which could go underwater.
UFO sightings increased greatly over Canada and the US in 1896 and 1897. In April of 1897, 10,000 residents of Kansas City, Missouri saw a large black ship hover over head, flash green-blue and white lights, then moved straight up into space rapidly. Many other UFO sightings were reported, describing cigar-shaped, metallic craft with wings, propellers, fins, or search lights. Bright lights were seen during the night.