In a blog post yesterday, Greenewald (whom I presume to be the author of the Black Vault’s articles) said that he received emails from a man who wished to remain anonymous. He had found, so he said, an old book that depicted a flying saucer on its title page. Skeptics dismissed the picture as an illustration of Psalm 84, but he was convinced that it actually shows a flying saucer.
Most of my skeptical friends dismissed this as a religious reference to the shield of God as quoted in Ps 84. But an associate who spoke Latin found a reference in the book that describes the sighting of a UFO in the classical saucer shape. I think this is important since there is a general dismissal of historical illustrations that are easily interpreted as some type of flying craft (Jung notwithstanding).
The same material had been posted the Unexplained Mysteries forum in mid-August and seems to be the origin point for this particular claim.
Take a look at the title page image from the Liber de Coloribus Coeli, published in 1716. The book was written by Johann Caspar Funk (1680-1729), and it is a discussion of weather events and how they affect the color of the sky. The volume was produced in Ulm, a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
What we see in the picture is the Holy Spirit in the form of a shield bearing the image of the sun. Note that the shield is protecting the small bird on the rock from arrow-shaped lightning bolts coming down from a stormy sky. This is not just the artistic whim of the illustrator. We see written next to the shield the motto “Defendor benigne” (“benignly I am protected”), which belongs to the publisher, Daniel Bartholomäi (or Bartholomae or Bartholomaeus) (1674-1761), who used it in his publications as his mark and motto. The motto reinforces the image in referring back to Psalm 84, which it paraphrases, and the bird is either the swallow or the sparrow protected by God in Psalm 84:3: “Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself.”
This image has nothing to do with Johann Funk and is instead the mark of the publisher, who used it on some of his other publications as well, taking the place of the monogram he used elsewhere. (The monogram appears in miniature in the lower right of this image.)
I regret that I don’t know more about Bartholomae to know why he chose that particular Psalm for his logo, but there is no doubt that the image illustrates a biblical text and not a flying saucer. Nevertheless, the picture itself tells us exactly what it is, and it is only the biblical ignorance of ancient astronaut theorists that prevent them from recognizing and understanding symbolism when they see it.
As for the claim that Funk’s text contains a description of a flying saucer, I am unable to confirm it or refute it. The book is hundreds of pages long, and I obviously cannot read the entire thing in hopes of finding a single word or sentence in it. In a quick scan, I found a few references to discs in the sky, but they referred to the appearance of the sun’s disc or the moon’s. But since the author talks of many and varied weather phenomena, including refractions and mirages, there might well be a mention of flying objects in the sky somewhere. The trouble is that the person making the claim—Greenewald’s correspondent—is remembering something someone told him secondhand after leafing through the book “many decades ago,” and there is no way to know whether that memory is accurate without reading every word of the book. If the claimant would like to say where in the book that reference is, I’d be happy to look at it.