Thursday, June 7, 2012

UFO Over Jerusalem: Red Sky or Big Lie?

In September, Ancient Aliens will be debunked. Here's the trailer:

And here's some details to one of the claims that will be looked at.

Bill Birnes Ph.D claims:
During the crusades, over Jerusalem over Turkey, at certain places in battles. There are images captured in texts about a strange cloud in the sky that glowed red.

To start with, Dr. Birnes doesn’t give us much to go on here. He probably does have a specific case and situation in mind, but due to the editing that History Channel is notorious for we don’t get to know what he’s talking about.

The most likely scenario being suggest is one recorded by Ekkehard of Aura, the abbot of a monastery. Ekkehard recorded many events in his life, and one of them was an event of red clouds in the sky.

From "Jerusalem Journey" Ekkehard Aura
“After the sign in the sun that had been foretold was seen, many portents appeared in the sky as well as on the earth and excited not a few who were previously indifferent to the Crusade. We thought that some of these signs could be usefully inserted here: to give all of them would be very tedious. About the fifth of October we saw a comet in the south, its tail extending sideways like a sword. In the third year after these events, on February 24, we saw another star in the east changing its position by leaps and bounds after a long interval.
We and many witnesses attest to have seen blood-red clouds rising from the west as well as the east and rushing together in the center of the sky, as well as brilliant fires from the north in the middle of the night, and frequently even sparks flying through the air.
Not many years before, a priest of venerable life by the name of Siger one day at about three in the afternoon saw two knights charging against each other in the sky and fighting for a long time. The one who was carrying a good-sized cross with which he struck the other turned out the victor.
At the same time the priest G. (now a monk with us, paying the humble service of a proud man to Christ for the sins of our first parents) was walking in the woods with two companions about noon. He saw a sword of marvelous length, arising from an unknown source, borne off into the heavens in a whirlwind. Until the distance hid it, he heard its din and saw its steel. Others who kept watch feeding horses reported that they saw the likeness of a city in the air and that they beheld various crowds hurrying to it from different places both on horseback and on foot.
Some showed the sign of the cross stamped by divine influence on their foreheads or clothes or on some part of their body, and by that mark they believed themselves to be ordained for the army of God. Others who were converted by a sudden change of heart or instructed by a vision in the night sold their manors and household possessions and sewed the sign of mortification on their clothes. In the midst of all of this, more people than can be believed ran to the churches in crowds, and the priests blessed and handed out swords, clubs, and pilgrim wallets in a new ritual.
Why should I report that at that time a woman, pregnant for two years, gave birth to a son already speaking when her womb finally opened? Why should I speak of the infant born with two members in all parts, or of another with two heads, or of the lambs with two heads, or of the foals who at birth put forth the large teeth which are commonly called "equine," and which nature grants only to three-year-olds?”
Same text as above

And here’s a new translation of the above, with commentary by Matthew King the author.

In addition to the sign in the sun that has previously been discussed148 and the many other signs that appeared in the sky and on land, exciting many previously sluggish bodies to this army, I have set forth here a most useful compilation of these omens, since truly explaining all the omens would take a very long time.149 I saw around October 7th a comet standing fixed in the southern sky, its brilliance stretching out like the broad side of a sword.150 Truly after 3 years I saw another star on February 24th, changing its location a great distance with a long leap to the East. I also confirmed red clouds, surging from the West and East, and running together mutually towards the center of the sky. Furthermore, in the middle of the night dazzling fires surged from the North,151 and I saw a little star falling across the sky, along with many other witnesses. Not long before these years a certain priest of a venerable life, by the name of Siggerius, at nearly the 3rd hour of the day, saw two horsemen charging in the sky, who were striving eagerly to fight for a long time. The one who bore the cross was not ordinary. He seemed to cut down the other and emerged victorious over the other horseman. During this same time, the priest Gaius, who now is under the monastic profession with us and has paid in full to Christ a debt of a sheep in exchange for the first born of an ass, while strolling in the forest during a certain midday hour with two companions, saw that a sword of miraculous length was being brought down from on high by an approaching whirlwind. It was lifted from there up to an unknown place, and was hidden from sight because of its altitude. Then, he discerned a crashing sound with his ears as if he saw the

(148 Ekkehard mentioned this sign in his Chronicon Universale during the year 1096. Geoergius Heinricus Pertz, eds. Monumenta Germaniae Historica: SS (Hanover: University of Neudruck Press, 1925), 208.
149 More than any other crusade writer of the early 12th century, Ekkehard is entrenched in eschatological omens. Since he is writing after the success of the First Crusade, he likely sees the capture of Jerusalem as a prerequisite for the commencement of the End of Days. These omens also confirm to Ekkehard that the crusade is indeed a divine endeavor supported by God.
150 The presence of this comet was also confirmed by the anonymous author of the Annalista Saxo, who saw it on October 7th, 1096. MGH, SS, VI, 367.
151 This could be a description of the Aurora Borealis.)

metal with his eyes. Others, who were keeping watch over a pasture of horses, reported that they saw a spectacle in the sky of a city, where they saw diverse mobs of horsemen and foot soldiers hastening in different directions. Some of them even showed the sign of the cross imprinted on their foreheads, garments, or another location on the body. Because of this brand itself, they believed that they were ordained to the same army of the Lord. Likewise, it pleased others, who were either stimulated by a sudden change of mind or instructed by a nocturnal vision, to dissolve their lands and familial property, and to sew the sign of mortification onto their clothing. And in all of these places, beyond what could be believed, when the people were running to the churches in crowds, the priestly blessing, given in accordance with the new rite, dispersed the sword with sticks and reliquaries. Why should I tell you about a certain woman at that time who was pregnant for two full years and finally when her uterus was ripped open, gave birth to a son who could speak, a little infant who was two-limbed throughout, and another one with two heads, and also some lambs who were born with two heads, and even the young of female horses, who brought forth in the midst of birth, larger teeth that they commonly call equine teeth, which nature gives only to three year old pack horses.”

Well, what’s going on here? Ekkehard is clearly describing natural occurrences and even admits as much when describing the comet. Where it gets colorful is when he sees fire from the north. That on the surface could be sold as a UFO by the ancient aliens crowd, but King postulated that it was merely the northern lights. What of the red clouds then?

It very well could have been a meteorite.

“I saw another star on February 24th, changing its location a great distance with a long leap to the East. I also confirmed red clouds, surging from the West and East”

A long leap to the east could be suggesting that the object had come from the west, then streaked across the sky to the west. If this were the case, the red clouds in the west could be from the object burning up upon entry. The clouds in the east, from its impact with earth. This would also easily explain why the clouds appeared to be joining together as they were both from the same event. Alternately, the object could have broken up on entry with part landing in the east and a smaller part burning up completely on a westbound trajectory.

The city in the sky is indeed a little harder to explain. One key thing to consider though is that in the city that was seen, the witnesses reported that they saw horsemen. If these were aliens or a UFO, why would there be men on horses? Furthermore, there are no details insinuating that the city might be an ET craft. All descriptions of this event sound like a mdieval city, not a space craft. Many UFOs reported now are easily reported as discs, spheres, rectangles, triangles and so on, there have been no cases of a UFO looking like a city, even when they are exceptionally large.

This vision of an army and city in the sky can be seen in one of two ways. Firstly, the real astronomical phenomena were embellished and mixed with religious propaganda to recruit soldiers for the crusades. Secondly, they really did see something but it was neither God nor alien, but perhaps a lying spirit.

Regarding the vision as propaganda. What better way would there be to recruit siege fodder than with a “divine revelation”? Unfortunately, many people have been misled into disaster by following an alleged vision from God. To be sure, the use of alleged spiritual visions was not unheard of in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It happened as far back as Biblical times, and it happens now.

In Miri Rubin’s "Gentile Tales" numerous examples of impressive and sometimes outlandish visions from the middle ages are presented. They have an obvious feeling of propaganda and were used for the purpose of enforcing Church doctrine and converting Jews. In short, anti-semitism was reinforced with “heavenly visions.” Here are a few examples.

On page 9 of Gentile Tales, there is a story from the twelfth-century range (Ekkehard was eleventh century) which tells of a Jewish boy receiving a vision of the virgin Mary while attending service and receiving the Communion Host. Another tale on the same page tells the story of a Jewish boy who went to a Catholic service and received Communion. As a result, his Jewish father threw him into a fire. Miraculously, of course, Mary saved him from being burnt and the story ends with the wicked father’s death. The story of the Jewish boy, his wicked father and Mary’s timely rescue took on many variations and spread widely.

Later on in Gentile Tales, on page 36, another strange tale is told. Some Jews allegedly wanted a Communion host wafer so badly that they held up a priest for one. The priest claimed that he no longer had one, but that it was instead in his soul and heart. They then killed him and ripped his heart out, but immediately a boy was said to have appeared from his heart. A boy that claimed to be Jesus Christ. After a brief sermon, the boy went back into the priest’s heart and raised him from the dead.

Those are just two examples of divine encounters used by the Church of its day to turn average people against Jews and into the arms of the Church. If they did this for such a small thing as excluding Jews and strengthening their hold on people, it should at least be considered that the same was done for recruiting soldiers.

The second possibility is that the city in the sky (and the other stories presented) did indeed really happen, but as mentioned before were not UFOs. Remember they saw horses and a city. Rather than aliens, any beings seen by these crusaders would likely have been demonic imposters. They have a motive to mislead and destroy humanity, and what better way than to enlist them in a religious war? This is highly possible, as we are not told that anyone tested the spirits.

1 John 4 gives Christians the key to discerning if a spiritual encounter is truly from God or not.

1Jo 4:1 KJV - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jo 4:2 KJV - Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jo 4:3 KJV - And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Furthermore, 1 Timothy 4:1 warns us that seducing spirits would lead people astray and 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 reinforces that. While 2 Thessalonians definitely speaks of the end days, it could be applied to many other situations as well.

1Ti 4:1 KJV - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 KJV - Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

2Th 2:9 KJV - [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 KJV - And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 KJV - And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 KJV - That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The red clouds in the sky can be easily attributed to a crashing meteorite, comets and the Northern Lights, some of which Ekkehard clearly identified. These were given a greater spiritual significance and possible embellishment, potentially for recruiting purposes.

The city in the sky was clearly described as a city and was filled with horsemen. This is nowhere near close to any modern UFO sighting. Even extremely large UFOs (sometimes up to 1 mile in size) are never described as a city but as a large object, usually a disc. This city in the sky was either 1) made up, again to recruit troops for the crusades or 2) was a spiritual vision provided by demonic spirits.

In either situation, there are more plausible explanations that do not necessitate alien visitors, and involve a more likely candidate, human deception for personal gain.

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