In Part I we discussed some UFO-related accounts from ancient Chinese records, going all the way back to mythical flying chariots and a more precise observation in 1277 by the famous medieval poet and scholar Liu Yin. In this second part we’ll discuss some remarkable sightings and close encounters recorded during the Ming dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644. We begin with an interesting report discovered by the Taiwan researcher Kai-Chi Chang, and published in his book From The Record – UFO Sightings in the Ancient Chinese History Books (Taiwan, 1991), which contains a catalog of 741 UFO incidents recorded in China between 139 BC and 1918 AD.
Case Nº 487 from July 24, 1562 is summarized by Chang in the following words: “At dusk, an object dropping down from the northwestern sky of Dinghai County, Zhejiang Province. In the beginning, it looked like an oval-shaped measuring container, which had a pointed top, a yellow and white thicker bottom, and a maroon bracket holding it up. As it came down amidst blazing fire, it quickly grew to dou-sized; then boulder-sized; then as large as many large jugs put together.” (A dou is a 10-liter box-like grain measuring container.)
“The object was glowing extremely bright, which was illuminating the area that people could see tiny hairs. As it was about to crash, it suddenly jumped up in the air, then went up and down several times, and its shadows danced with it. Eyewitnesses from many provinces reported that they all have seen the same thing.” Kai-Chi Chang adds a final comment: “This incident had covered several provinces in a radius of 500 kilometers. This type of detailed UFO report is rare in the Chinese history.”
One of China’s top experts on ancient UFO is Ke Yang, a professor of literature at the University of Lanzhou in Gansu province. In a letter to Shi Bo, one of the founding members of the China UFO Research Organization (CURO), Yang explained how he became involved in his historical UFO research. “I am a teacher and a researcher in the field of popular literature,” wrote Ke Yang. “I was interested only in legends and ancient myths, without a link to UFOs. Nevertheless, I read many books dealing with the UFO problem and, little by little, I developed a passion for this subject. Once I read the descriptions of the shapes and movement of the UFOs, I found strong similarities between the modern cases and what I had read in ancient Chinese books.” This letter, as well as some of Yang’s discoveries, were published in Shi Bo’s book la Chine et les extra-terrestres (China and Extraterrestrials), which was written in French and published by Mercure de France in 1983. Shi Bo is a former Chinese diplomat fluent in French who currently lives in France.
XU FUZUO’S ACCOUNT
One of the cases discovered by Ke Yang is an account written by Xu Fuzuo (or Qiu Fuzuo, 1560-ca. 1629), an important dramatist and linguist from the late Ming period, in his Stories from the Flower Pavilion. It’s not easy to find biographical information in Western languages about this author, although he is mentioned in several books about the history of Chinese theater or the literature of the Ming dynasty. One book, The Tapestry of Popular Songs in 16th- and 17th-Century China by Kathryn Lowry, writes that “the dramatist Xu Fuzuo (style name Yangchu) hailed from Wuxian” and “was very much a Suzhou man.” (The city of Suzhou was the administrative seat for the counties of Wuxian and Changzhou.) She then mentions Fuzuo’s book, Conversations in the Root Pavilion, which includes a discussion “on dialects of different regions.”
Another book, Elite Theatre in Ming China, 1368-1644 by Grant Guangren Shen, summarizes Xu Fuzuo’s four-act opera The Red Pear Flower, in which the main protagonist, scholar Zhao Bochou, is led to believe “that the woman with whom he is intimate is an ogres in disguise… With many elements of a well made play, Red Pear Flower is an effective audience teaser with measured exaggeration of romance, comedy and horror.” Other works by Fuzuo are Notes on the Dawn and A piece of a Coin. As for the book with the close encounter, Stories from the Flower Pavilion, Ke Yang describes it as a book about “diverse facts.” I have translated the text in question from the French translation given by Shi Bo:
“During the second year under the rule of Emperor Jianjing , a teacher called Lü Yu lived in the village of Yujiu. One day when it was raining without stop, this teacher noticed two ships that were navigating over the dense clouds above the ruins in front of his house. In these two ships, which measured over ten fathoms [55 feet], men were moving about, they were 11-feet tall and wore red hats and multicolored clothing. They all had a rod in the hands. The ships were moving very rapidly. That day were visiting the teacher’s house some ten men of letters, who alerted by Lü Yu, left the house and walked up to him to observe the phenomenon. The men with multicolored clothing passed their hand over the mouth of the men of letters; their mouth became immediately black and none of the scholars were able to talk. At that moment they saw a man, escorted by a mandarin, dressed as a retired man of letters, who appeared in one of the ships accompanied by a bonzo. Quite a time later, the ships left, as if pushed by the clouds, and proceeded to descend in a cemetery about one kilometer away. Once the ships departed, the men of letters noticed their mouths returned to normalcy. But five days later, Lü Yu died without known reasons.”
Whether this is a true incident or a fictional story created by the dramatist Fuzuo is hard to tell. Ke Yang cites a few factors, such as providing a date (1523) and a place (Yujiu) which in his opinion makes this case real. He also notes other details—like the paralysis experienced by the witnesses during the close encounter—common to UFO incidents. Even the sudden and unexplained death of the main witness, Lü Yu, could be interpreted as a lethal physiological injury case caused by the flying object’s propulsion system. There are a few unfortunate cases in the UFO literature where this in fact occurred. In the Anolaima Close Encounter of the Third Kind (CE-III) in Colombia on July 4, 1969, for instance, the main witness, Arcesio Bermudez, died of intense radiation sickness about a week after he approached a landed Saturn-shaped UFO in his ranch. Other ten witnesses, including family members and employees, saw the object, but only Bermudez came close to it.
THE JUMPING UFO OF ZHENG ZHONGKUI
Our final case was again uncovered by Ke Yang of Lanzhou University and, significantly, it was presented by the official Chinese government publication Beijing Information in March 1982, which has several editions in foreign languages. The article by Guo Li, “UFOs were already observed in ancient China,” profiled Ke Yang’s historical research, concentrating in particular on one incident taken from the book Er Xin (News) by the 17th century writer Zheng Zhongkui. We have been unable to obtain any biographical information in Western languages about this author, although he is mentioned in passing or in the footnotes in a couple of books dealing with historical events during the late Ming dynasty. Here is the passage from Chapter VII, “Unusual Things,” in Zhongkui’s Er Xin, as transcribed in the 1982 French edition of Beijing Information and in the letter by Ke Yang published in Shi Bo’s book:
“There are two little lakes in front of the residence of Xiong Xiofu. At noon on a summer day of the year Xuwu during the reign of emperor Wan Li (1618), a dark object, round like a ball, rose suddenly over the tree tops and then fell on the lake. It boiled the water upon contact and then in one jump the luminous ball reached the neighboring lake, making a terrifying noise. The water boiled again, becoming yellowish. A while later, the object resurfaced and rose in the sky, passing in front of the gate of Xiong Xiofu. We don’t know where it went.”
Zhongkui mentioned another incident in Chapter VIII, involving “a large, multi-colored luminous ‘monster’ producing a diffuse smoke trail” seen in Hunan province in July 1624. It was described as “an enormous multicolored bird flying from the southeast to the northwest. It spewed fiery flames in all directions. The prefect of the district of Lingxian and certain scholars, not knowing this bird, conducted prayers during seven consecutive days.”
While the second incident could be a fireball or some other astronomical phenomenon, the incident involving the object in the two lakes defies any conventional explanation. A meteorite could have fell on the lake with a roaring noise and even boil the water, but no meteor could then jump into the second lake and later resurface and fly over the terrain. From the few examples that we’ve shown—and there are surely many more in the Chinese records—there can be little doubt that something strange indeed was flying over, landing and even interacting in China during the Ming dynasty.