Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects), or UAPs (Unidentified Aerial/Anomalous Phenomenon), are a popular topic of society now, from whistleblowers like David Grusch to the drama of various factions on UFO Twitter (X). The phenomenon is also not without its skeptics. Many skeptics take two approaches to debunking UFOs:

  1. Attribute modern sightings by highly credible witnesses, such as military pilots, to prosaic explanations such as spy balloons, drones, or weather phenomenon. Although such explanations cannot fully explain why trained observers would not be able to distinguish amongst these various items and something truly anomalous, they often do dissuade a portion of the population from giving any credence to the UFO topic.
  2. Mock those that connect the UFO phenomenon to religious, spiritual, Biblical, or ancient evidence as loony zealots. This method is used for ancient connections because there the prosaic explanations such as weather balloons are not applicable for ancient aerial anomalies.

It is here, within the realm of ancient UFO and alien encounters, that this article will focus on a few such terrifying incidents.

Sister Mary (Late 1800s)

In her book Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture (2014), Diana Pasulka details the harrowing encounter of a young nun named Sister Mary of St. Peter. Sister Mary reported seeing a luminous ball of light, described as the ‘Great Flash’, during her prayers in the Carmelite convent in Tours, France. This incident is commonly associated with the devotion known as the Golden Arrow or Reparation Prayer. For this, Sister Mary said the ball of light represented the wrath of God and the need for repentance. The Mother Superior sat with Sister Mary one night to see the ball of light for herself, and like previous nights, it indeed did appear! She deduced the flame must be a soul from purgatory in need of prayers, and the next day she instructed the members of the convent to pray for the ‘soul’.

Her encounter and following revelations had a focus on atonement, devotion, and seeking forgiveness through prayer. Sister Mary’s experiences are considered mystical or spiritual encounters by many. While often viewed as divine religious happenings, Diana Pasulka points out that her encounter is one of many examples of events that bear uncanny commonalities with the modern-day UFO phenomenon. Sister Mary’s event is strikingly like other reports of ‘balls of light’ that people in the United States have experienced in recent times.

Ezekiel’s wheel (Old Testament, Bible)

Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

(Ezekiel Chapter)

Ezekiel's Wheel is a mystical and enigmatic vision described in the biblical Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:4-28). In this passage, the prophet Ezekiel recounts a surreal and elaborate sighting in the sky, portraying a celestial phenomenon often referred to as a "wheel within a wheel." The description involves a complex arrangement of intersecting wheels adorned with eyes and accompanied by radiant lights, creating an otherworldly image. Interpretations of Ezekiel's Wheel vary widely, with some suggesting it as a divine vision, while others explore the possibility of extraterrestrial encounters or symbolic representations of profound spiritual insights. The passage has intrigued theologians, scholars, and UFO enthusiasts alike, contributing to its enduring fascination and frequent references in discussions about ancient mysteries.

The flying scroll (Old Testament, Bible)

I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll. He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll, 30 feet long* and 15 feet wide*.” And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land...” The Lord Almighty declares, “I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will…destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.”

(Zechariah 5: 1 – 4)

Here again is a Biblical description of ancient people’s encounter with an Unidentified Flying Object. Interestingly, this flying scroll, or roll in other versions, has a remarkably similar shape to modern descriptions of flying ‘cigar-shaped’ UFOs. There are also those who compare this anomalous encounter in Zechariah to modern-day missiles, many of which have a similar shape and size. Not only that, but the Bible tells us this flying curse had one or more specific targets (thieves, etc), making the missile comparison even more intriguing.

Betty and Barney Hill (1961)

While not quite an ancient encounter, this alien abduction case is terrifying nonetheless. The Hills were driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire when they observed a bright, erratic light in the night sky that seemed to follow their car. As they continued their journey, the couple reported experiencing a period of missing time and disorientation. Under hypnosis conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon, the Hills separately recalled a harrowing account of being taken aboard a spacecraft by non-human entities.

Betty and Barney described beings with grayish skin, large eyes, and a distinct lack of human features. The couple claimed to have undergone medical examinations, during which skin and hair samples were taken. The beings communicated with them telepathically, revealing a star map that Betty later drew and referred to as the "star map of Zeta Reticuli."

The Betty and Barney Hill abduction gained widespread attention, and their story became a cultural touchstone for those interested in UFO phenomena. The case remains a subject of debate and fascination within the UFO community. Betty Hill continued to share her account throughout her life, and the incident has had a lasting impact on popular culture and the study of alleged alien encounters.


The exploration of ancient alien encounters sparks intrigue and speculation, often blurring the lines between mythology, religious texts, and potential extraterrestrial interactions. The enduring fascination with these incidents reveals a human curiosity about the unknown and a desire to understand our place in the cosmos. For a full appreciation, one must open their mind to the possiblity that ancient people described their experiences with literal events in the terms and language they had access to. These ancient tales continue to captivate the imagination, reminding us of the enduring mystery surrounding the possibility of extraterrestrial influences throughout human history. Not only that, but the legitimate examples of modern encounters with UFOs and non-human intelligences are far too numerous to ignore.

In the upcoming podcast special, "Ancient Aliens Spotlight" on the All Things Unexplained, hosts and CJ Dearinger, joined by former British Defence UFO Investigator Nick Pope, will delve into the scholarly exploration of ancient alien encounters. This discussion aims to transcend sensationalism by examining topics such as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs), government coverups, and remote viewing. Leveraging Pope's expertise, the conversation seeks to provide a nuanced understanding of historical interactions with extraterrestrial entities, challenging prevailing narratives and fostering a more informed perspective on these enigmatic occurrences.