Menxi Bitan: (Part 3) A Mysterious Luminescent Pearl

Tan Mengxi

PureInsight | January 20, 2003

[] Shen Kuo, the renowned scientist from the Northern Song Dynasty, recorded a strange incident in "Volume 21, Collection of Strange Things and Strange Diseases" of his multi-volume masterpiece Menxi Bitan. The description of a giant luminescent "pearl" appearing above various lakes reminds people of the UFOs that are frequently mentioned in modern times. The following is an excerpt from the book:

During the Jiayou Period (1056-1063 AD) of the Northern Song Dynasty, a giant "pearl" appeared over the city of Yangzhou. It was frequently seen at night. It was first seen in the marshlands of Tianchang County, then over Pishe Lake, and finally over Xinkai Lake. Local residents and travelers were able to see it on a regular basis.

A friend of mine happened to have a study overlooking the lake. One night, he suddenly saw the giant "pearl" appearing very close to him. The chamber inside of the "pearl" was slightly opened, with light shining from around the edge of the opening like a line of golden thread. Suddenly, the opening widened and the chamber inside of the "pearl" was revealed. The inside area appeared to him to be half the size of a sleeping mat. Bright light shone out from the chamber. In the center, there was a pearl as big as a fist, giving off a light too bright to look at. The emitted light was like the early morning sun, illuminating the surroundings and casting visible tree shadows for miles around. The sky turned reddish, as if a wildfire was burning. Then all of a sudden, the "pearl" quickly flew away. It looked like a shining sun floating above the surface of the lake.

The light emitted from the pearl was different from the "moon-pearl," which gave off light similar to moonlight. Instead, this pearl gave off a very glorious light similar to sunlight. Cui Boyi, a resident in Gaoyou saw it quite a few times, and wrote the "Ode to the Luminescent Pearl" in its honor. It has not appeared in recent years, and no one knows what became of it. The town of Fanliang is located near where the "pearl" often appeared. When travelers from other places passed through the town by boat, they often docked their boat near the lake for several nights waiting for the "pearl" to appear. The pavilion used to observe the "pearl" had a beautiful name, the "Playful Pearl."

It seems that the phenomenon described above might very well be activities of a UFO.

(Notes: the cities, lakes and towns mentioned in the passage above are all located around the area of today's Gaoyou Lake at the junction of Jiangsu and Anhui Provinces. The region is about 60 km northeast of the city of Yangzhou.)

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