Life of the Virgin Mary, medieval tapestry from Tournai, Belgium. (Notre Dame Basilica Beaune / Public Domain)


Did ancient artists leave us clear signs of otherworldly interference in our lives and in our culture?

Art can be considered a record of history, culture, and science as it reveals man in his many aspects, offering a more complete insight and a unique viewpoint. Since the beginning of man, humans have always felt a need to reproduce celestial events, first on the walls of caves and then on canvas. It is not the case that history, art, archaeology, and anthropology were rewritten in art, but these interpretations should be viewed in light of new elements whose existence had not previously been suspected.

Much has been written about the representation of strange objects placed in the sky in works of art from the Renaissance period, but little has been written about some ancient tapestries of the medieval period—and what has been discussed is controversial because it challenges the orthodox perspective.

Mysterious Medieval Tapestries

In eastern France, Cote d’Or department, in the little town of Beaune, (the wine capital of Burgundy), there is the Notre Dame Basilica . The original building was constructed about 1120-1149. Inside, besides frescos of the 15th century, there is a library that houses a set of tapestries from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

Among them, the eyes of an attentive observer are struck by “The Life of the Virgin Mary” and “Magnificat”, two medieval tapestries which are part of a group of five of important moments in the Virgin Mary’s life.

Life of the Virgin Mary, medieval tapestry from Tournai, Belgium. (Notre Dame Basilica Beaune / Public Domain )

In both of these tapestries there is one unidentified flying object ‘flitting’ across the sky in the background. Even in “Magnificat”, made in 1330, this black object is depicted in the typical way of many UFO sightings.

Magnificat, 15th medieval tapestry from Tournai, Belgium, object circled in upper right corner. (Notre Dame Basilica Beaune / Public Domain)

Magnificat, 15 th medieval tapestry from Tournai, Belgium, object circled in upper right corner. (Notre Dame Basilica Beaune / Public Domain )

But there are many who state they are priest hats. But logic asks why include floating and lonely ecclesiastic hats in the sky?

Therefore, it is reasonable to wonder, considering the historical period, whether personal experiences or popular stories could have influenced an artist to include an odd event in the depths of a sacred image, hoping in this way to increase a halo of mysticality.

There are discs or UFOs which cannot be mistaken for ‘priest hats’ – given they do not fly in ‘religious skies’. A good example is the tapestry “ Summer Triumph ”, depicting allegoric and symbolic images of the season.

This tapestry certainly was part of a series that originally depicted the four seasons. It is not known if any of the other tapestries have survived. This tapestry, (perhaps created in Bruges), is located at the Bayerisches National Museum in Munich, Germany, which unfortunately has little information about it. They do know it was brought to the museum in 1971 by an art dealer. There was no information about the workshop, the designer, the patron, or the circumstances of its production.

The date 1538 is woven into the border on both the right and the left sides of the tapestry. In the upper border, there is an inscription in old Latin saying: “REX GOSCI SIVE GUTSCMIN”. This translates as “King Gosci of Gutscmin”. If this is a hint to the patron who ordered the tapestry to be made, nobody knows for sure.

As usual, almost hidden in the background, there are some black discs or UFOs in the blue sky.

Summers Triumph on display at the Bayerisches National Museum in Munich, Germany. (Hurley / Public Domain)

Summers Triumph on display at the Bayerisches National Museum in Munich, Germany. (Hurley / Public Domain )

Dr. Birgitt Borkopp from the Bayerisches Museum, in a letter sent to the author, states that “As the style of the tapestry is rather unusual,  even for its period, I would doubt if this is the right object to illustrate the history of art, but of course this is your decision entirely.”

Of course, she wasn’t aware that the link between UFOs and history in art is discussed in many books and articles.  It is interesting to note strange or unusual art generally is not considered with curiosity by the ‘experts’ and they seem to prefer to ignore them.

The Tapestry of the Two Crusaders

An interesting example that displays ‘knowledge ahead of its time’ is what was written about the images of the two crusaders in the ” Annales Laurissenses ” (books about historical and religious events), composed in the beginning of the 8th century.

In 776, during one of the innumerable raids of the Saxons in Frank territory, an odd event happened. While Charlemagne, in a rare moment, was resting from battle and devoting himself to the cause of the Holy Church, the Saxons left their lands with a great army and invaded the Franks.

They reached the chapel at Frisdilar, founded by Saint Bonifacio, preacher and martyr who had predicted the chapel would never be burned. The Saxons surrounded the chapel, entered it and started to set it alight. But at the very last moment, two men dressed in white appeared in the sky. They were seen by the Christians who had taken refuge in the castle and by the pagans who were outside.

The two men were said to have protected the chapel from the fire. The pagans were not able to set fire to it, neither inside nor outside, and this terrified them so much they ran away – even though no one was pursuing them.

But one crusader remained during the hasty escape and was found dead, in flames, in front of the chapel. His dead body was positioned prone on his knees and elbows, with his mouth covered by his hands, showing what seemed to be clear signs of death from asphyxia.

The fire was there and was witnessed. It did not cause any damage to the chapel, but it killed the crusader who remained while the others escaped. This event could be interpreted in a variety of ways and it could be irrelevant if it had not been followed, after a short time, by another strange event.

It was the year 776, and it happened during the siege of the Sigiburg castle. The Saxons besieged and surrounded the Franks but in this circumstance the French garrison snuck out and suddenly attacked the Saxons from the rear. The Saxons were unprotected in that direction, since they were intent on the attack of the castle. In the midst of battle, something appeared in the sky.

Ruin of Hohensyburg castle, on the site of the Sigiburg. (Erich Ferdinand/CC BY 2.0)

Ruin of Hohensyburg castle, on the site of the Sigiburg. (Erich Ferdinand/ CC BY 2.0 )

Witnesses saw in the air two flaming shields, one after another. These appeared to hover over the top of the church as though spectral knights were bringing them into battle. Because of this miracle, it seemed the Franks were protected by the sky, and because of the assault the French had launched at their rear, the Saxons became so frightened that they all turned and ran.

For this last event, apart the chronicle of the text, there is pictorial documentation depicting two crusaders. In the miniature it shows the crusader with his arms up and clearly depicts an object in the sky, shaped like a sphere, with little circles like portholes around it. It is interesting to note the representation of light or energy emitting from the object seems to convey movement.

These tapestries of two crusaders dates from the 12th century. (RayLovesRomania / YouTube)

These tapestries of two crusaders dates from the 12th century. (RayLovesRomania / YouTube)

But it is only when observing the image [above, on the left] that it is possible to understand the attempt of the artist to portray the image in artistic perspective – but in those historical times, the concept of artistic perspective did not exist yet. Images were represented only in one dimension, flatly.

Observing the other image [above, right], the one of the crusader with the crown on his head (maybe a noble leader or even Charlemagne, though the chronicles tell us he was not present at this event) riding the horse and pointing to the object in the sky , it is possible to determine that the object inside the burst of light cannot be anything but an unidentified flying object – as we can confirm from the witness tales and from graphic documentation in circulation.

The Mysterious Objects Depicted in the Urbinate Bible

Another unusual flying object is found in a beautiful miniature from the Renaissance period, in the Urbinate Bible. This manuscript is kept in the Vatican museum; it is the most famous document relating to the Holy Scriptures.

The Urbinate Bible (or Urbino Bible) is divided into two books, the Old and New Testament . Hugo de Cominellis (or Hugues de Cominellis de Mazieres) has been identified as the scribe of these volumes which were commissioned by Frederico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. It was written at the studio of Vespasiano da Bisticci, the renowned Florentine bookseller, who was the primary provider of manuscripts for the Urbino library. The manuscript is a transcription of the canonical text of the Vulgate – a famous text translated by Saint Girolamo from Ebraic and Aramaic in 390 AD.

A number of different artists, panel painters, fresco painters, and miniature painters worked together in decorating these volumes. The Urbinate Bible is a rare example of artistic collaboration in Florence at the end of the 15th century.

Among the beautiful images in this Bible is the subject of this text – Saint Geremia’s Contemplation. The image is a perfect example of how mystic representation, the anomalous factor, and daily reality are brought together.

Medieval tapestry - Saint Geremia’s Contemplation. (Hurley / Public Domain)

Medieval tapestry – Saint Geremia’s Contemplation. (Hurley / Public Domain )

We have the mountains, the surrounding countryside, the town, and the men and horses as examples of objective reality. We also have the divine mystic element falling into classic patterns of religious iconography. What interests us in this painting is the unusual object in the top right.

It is a round body emitting blazing rays. From the flames surrounding the object we witness a straight yellow beam of light (laser?). There are no perfectly straight lines in nature. In this example, the object is clearly out of the religious context. Straight beams originating from flying objects are no strangers to Ufology.

Medieval tapestry - Saint Geremia’s Contemplation - close up of the right hand top corner. (Hurley / Public Domain)

Medieval tapestry – Saint Geremia’s Contemplation – close up of the right hand top corner. (Hurley / Public Domain )

For this miniature, any analysis cannot state for certain whether the artist had seen or heard something in reality, but one thing is apparent, he wanted to tell us something…

It’s not likely that today someone seeing a flying object at a distance to witness advanced characteristics such as shape, movement, controllability, or luminosity, would think, as the Saxons did, that it’s a sign we are protected by God or by gods. Thanks to our technical knowledge, we might immediately think it is some secret military aircraft or even extraterrestrial. Also, the Franks, although ignorant of aerial technology, didn’t think of it as a simple celestial phenomenon but as something more particular: “as though knights were bringing them into battle”. This presupposes the idea that the two discs were driven by ‘knights’ who seemed to want to take part in the battle.

Was there the deliberate intention to alter the result of that battle? Or was it just by chance the two flaming discs appeared in that moment? After all, these two events as quoted in the chronicles influenced the result of two different assaults/aggressions by the Saxons, (called pagans in that period). Thus, it seems right to wonder if the battles during which these sightings occurred were so critical for the still forming empire of Charlemagne, promoter of Christianity.

How important was it that the Saxons were driven away? How important was it that Charlemagne won? And if the Saxons had won, what kind of civilization would we have today?

Could our civilization, and by consequence, the present/actual social-political structure have been ‘driven’ in its development since remote times ? And why?

Top image: Medieval tapestry in Ecouen Castle, Ecouen, France. Source: photogolfer / Adobe Stock.

By Daniela Giordano



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