UFO Conjectures

Monday, June 30, 2014

Those 1561/1566 Woodcuttings are “Editorial Cartoons” – not UFO depictions

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While reading the June 19th edition of The London Review of Books, about John Donne’s sermons and poetry [circa 1600], in a review by Blair  Worden, I was drawn to  references of the religious turmoil of the times….the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in particular.

I recalled that UFO aficionados and Ancient Alien theorists posited that these woodcuts from 1561 and 1566…
…portrayed a clash of UFOs over the skies of Nuremberg, Germany and Basel, Switzerland.

But that’s not the case at all.

(See http://www.ufoevidence.org/cases/case486.htm for the ufological take)

The woodcuts, by Hans Glaser, a publisher, and article by “reporter” Samuel Coccius, were, in fact, examples of Middle Age editorializing, metaphorical depictions of the religious disputes between the Roman Catholic Church and Martin Luther’s new Protestant church.

The Council of Trent was meeting [1545 to 1563] in Italy and the whole European region was filled with religious strife.

The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trento (Trent) and Bologna, northern Italy, was one of the Catholic Church's most important ecumenical councils. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.

 In 1565, however, a year or so after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Triudentum, Trento's Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570.[Wikipedia]

The “newspapers” of the period dealt with the turmoil in striking, new ways (as the Gutenberg printer, invented 100 years earlier) allowed.

But, as the Donne piece I read, made clear, discourse about church and state, was still circumspect as various punishments were often brought to bear on those who were cavalier about the mores of the Church – Catholic and Protestant both.

But, just as early [Neanderthalian] cave art and Roman graffiti provided depiction of dicey events…

...Glaser and Coccius presented, by allegorical renderings, what was happening in society.

Note that the iconic renderings have significant religious meaning(s): crosses, a Cathedral, and Eucharistic vessels.

And in the Nuremberg woodcut, it’s a Church that has been destroyed by fire or explosion – the right, lower-corner of the woodcut.

No, the alleged UFO “wars” depicted in the 1561 and 1566 woodcuttings and articles have nothing to do with UFOs.

They are brilliant “editorial cartoons” telling readers what was going on with their religions while skirting excommunicative punishments or worse.



  • Rich:

    Your interpretation makes a whole lot more sense to me than the UFO interpretation.

    By Blogger Larry, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • Thank you, Larry...

    It's a conjecture, as usual, but I think it has some merit.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • I had an acquaintance who based her master's thesis on the subversive nature within the origin's of nursery rhymes, and your thesis falls into roughly the same territory and does have merit.
    A provocative post.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • Grazie, Bruce...

    I suspect I may hear from the UFO/ET crowd with another view of my suggestion.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • Its inevitable in the give and take of theories. That being said, it has merit simply by avoiding the usual ruts by being original and not a carbon copy of the usual retreads and recycled glut of conspiracy theories.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • And in the Nuremberg woodcut, it’s a Church that has been destroyed by fire or explosion – the right, lower-corner of the woodcut.

    Please Rich, stay with us ! ^^
    Her is a better explanation:

    Well, that's ufology, after all...



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • I saw the "debunked" feature when I was writing up my piece, Gilles.

    And I discarded the Menzelian explanation of weird atmospherics.

    It's not a better explanation.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, June 30, 2014  

  • I see Rich, it is a Church that has been destroyed by fire or explosion, with some strange symboles to make it "joli".

    It is awesome how UFO is a modern myth reading you ;) I say it without mokeries, just facts.

    Boris Vian prefaced its Novel L’écume des jours by:
    [cette histoire] est entièrement vraie, puisque je l'ai imaginée d'un bout à l'autre
    Something like:
    This story is entirely true as I imagined from one end to the other.


    Have a good modern myth, my friend.


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, July 01, 2014  

  • Gilles...

    You seem to want to believe the woodcuts show a real UFO event, n'est ce pas?

    What continues to ccncern me about your "skepticism" about everything is your cavalier stance.

    For instance showing the debunker YouTube video that resorts to atmospherics, is similar to what Donald Menzel tried with his books.

    I discarded his "explanations" as I discard yours -- the Venus explanation for the 1896-1897 Airship wave, for example.

    That kind of faux scrutiny is glib or facile and you leave a bad taste in the mouth of those who want something of substance, something creative and footnoted.

    UFO believers get attention because they offer UFO explanations that, while mythical, have fictive cachet.

    Skeptical rejoinders don't excite intellectually.

    Being cute, as your replies are, go by the wayside here.

    You make fun but offer nothing of substance to kill UFO conjectures.

    If you think Roswell and my woodcut thesis are modern myths, give me and others some background on mythmaking and what myths mean.

    Don't use the internet but, rather, some tomes that deal with the matter judiciously and with erudition.

    Come on Gilles, provide something other than the old shopworn retort that UFOs are unusual atmospheric phenomena.

    Menzel failed with that one, as you fail with it here, mon ami.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, July 01, 2014  

  • to kill UFO conjectures
    There is something to kill?
    It's a myth! A modern Religion/Religiosity ;)

    Yes, "I" (I mean Skeptics) have explained the 1896/97 UFO wave, Roswell, the famous Hessdalen picture & vidéo and so more your best evidences!
    Sorry for that, Modern Myth believer...

    Amitiés à toi, Rich.


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, July 01, 2014  

  • Rich,

    The "skeptics" have a "preferred mythologic" explanation for those things which are deemed "inexplicable"... their mythology is allegedly called "science". Mass hysteria, religious or political belief, or the actual inexplicable are unacceptable because they conflict with their chosen myth.... for everything **MUST** be explained "scientifically". If a "scientific explanation" cannot be found, then their "myth" will be unmasked as not "the answer to rule them all". The "Myth of Skeptics" is "There is *nothing* unexplained. We already know everything and only idiots believe that Science does not know everything already".

    When Larry was [unfairly] castigated here the other day by zoamchomsky, it was because Larry dared to show that there is a weakness to the "religion of Skepticism". Now while it may be said that "skepticism" has a strong hand in regards to dealing with the "inexplicable"-- they claim all that is required is to place the burden of "extraordinary proof" on those that proclaim "extraordinary events". That's one way to look at Science... unfortunately that is an incomplete understanding of how science works.

    Predicting, proving, and explaining hopefully with the best line of reasoning that is the way Science works. If there is something unexplained it means that there are gaps in our knowledge. So when a grad student points out that based on the current math model of the "Standard Model" the universe should have collapsed an billionth of a second after the big bang. That too is science.

    If that is the case then why did the governments of France, the UK and Switzerland with external contributions from the USA, India, Russia, Canada and Japan spend billions to the build the Hadron super-collider? Why look for the Higgs which is a bit of nothing that no one has ever seen nor will they ever encounter in normal every day life? Why? Because making the unexplained "known" is the purpose of Science.

    So while Gilles or zoamchomsky may spout having all of the answers based on "Science" their "myth" fails. Why? Simply because Skepticism has failed to explain all cases. Even the deservedly maligned "Condon Report" lists something like 4% of its cases as "unexplained". Let's put that 4% number in a different perspective.

    It has been estimated that there are 8.8 *billion* habitable planets in the milky way... 4% of 8.8 billion is 352 *million* but let's take an even more interesting number-- the number of possible universes in the multiverse-- [note: I am using a scientific definition found here: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/415747/physicists-calculate-number-of-universes-in-the-multiverse/ ] which is 10^160 -- 4 % of that number is 4 * 10 ^ 158...

    Now imagine that there is at least one intelligent species in each of those universes-- now imagine that .0.000000001% of those species have the ability to manipulate "the stuff of the multi-verse"... guess what? You still have 4 * 10 ^ 149 species that might show up as "unexplained phenomenon".

    Where are they? The burden of proof is not on me to prove those species exist-- for a scientist the burden is to prove they cannot exist as described... The burden of proof is now on the Skeptics-- Why spend billions on a little piece of nothing but refuse to look at that 4% and realize that the observed events show there is a "gap" in our understanding of the universe which in turn means the "inexplicable" is something to be investigated.

    I don't care about "dead horses" like Roswell... what about the ones that really cannot be explained away like the RB-47?

    Skeptics *cannot* show that there are no unexplained events. "Skeptics" fail to live up to their alleged *scientific* billing and seem to be just a different kind of "believer".

    By Blogger Joel Crook, at Wednesday, July 02, 2014  

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