Before people ever uttered the words, “UFO” or “flying saucer,” it is was unclear what to actually call the odd, unidentified things that occurred in the air. An assortment of reports was made throughout the years that centered on strange events that no one had a clear explanation for. Spanning from the middle of the 19th to the early part of the 20th century, this article touches upon some of the notable documentation associated with UFO activity.
One of the first modern reports during the 19th century came from Copiapo, Chile, where many believe that the first modern documentation of an unexplainable sighting was undertaken by investigators in July of 1868. Ten years later, a local farmer by the name of John Martin reported to the Denison Daily News in January of 1878 that he had spotted a flying object in the sky. He described the item as being large, dark, and shaped like a circle, where he claimed the sight was much similar to that of a flying balloon.
In 1882, an astronomer associated with the Greenwich Royal Observatory, Edward Walter Maunder, is said to have given details regarding an odd visitor from above, so to speak. His descriptions included words, such as “disc-shaped,” “torpedo-shaped,” or “spindle-shaped.” While some dismissed the claims as a meteor fireball, Maunder was sure that the features were much different. Years passed and some of Maunder’s writings surfaced where he described what he saw as (at the time) the latest in Zeppelin dirigible construction. He was not the only person to see this occurrence, a handful of other European astronomers also caught sight of the same strange object.
In 1904, while on the USS Supply, three crew members stationed 300 miles from the city of San Francisco submitted a report that spoke of three brightly colored egg-shaped objects that seemed to fly in the air. The red circular sightings were seen beneath a cloud layer, which changed its course and soared higher than surrounding clouds. The objects then continued a path that took them out of sight within 2 to 3 minutes. One crew member stated that the largest of the three objects looked like it was the size of six suns.
On 1926, a man named Nicholas Roerich was traveling throughout the Humboldt Mountain located in the Kokonor region of Tibet. Others were with Roerich as an unexplainable object was spotted high within the sky. The object was so high that it hovered above an eagle that had initially caught their eye. Descriptions included that it was something large and shiny that reflected the sun. Others saw it as a giant oval-shaped item that possessed a high amount of speed. Roerich was unclear as to what the object was, but from reading his diary, many have interpreted that he may have sighted a UFO.
More and more sightings are mentioned throughout history, as balls of light appeared during the Second World War that were both seem by Europeans and Japanese witnesses. Unidentified aircraft were noted by the United States Army, in 1942, as in the sky objects appeared that also made a blip on radar. In 1946, more than 2000 reports of unidentified aircraft came to light throughout the Scandinavian nations that included a few cases about Italy, Greece, France, and Portugal.