This Day in History: China's Otherworldly 'Alien Sky Spiral' of 1981

By Matthew Bossons, July 23, 2021

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Tales from the Chinese Crypt is a regular web column exploring bizarre and creepy stories from across China.

Mulder, Scully, we have another one: An unexplained aerial apparition – specifically, a ‘bright spot’ in the sky that captivated an alleged 10 million people in Sichuan and Yunnan. 

The aerial event occurred at 10.38pm on July 24, 1981, when a bright star-like spot appeared above the Earth’s and began to oscillate, creating a ‘cloud-like’ band of light around it. The entire event lasted six to seven minutes.

The band of light that appeared that cloudless night has been referred to as a ‘sky spiral’ and it has been described as both magnificent and grand (although we imagine terrifying would also be an appropriate term). 

Naturally, you have to ask: Was it aliens?

Conspiracy website Before It’s News quotes Professor Wang Sichao, a planetary astronomer at the Purple Hills Observatory and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as stating the mysterious spiral had an altitude of roughly 650 kilometers and a speed of about 1.6 kilometers per second before disappearing. 

Professor Wang believes that extraterrestrials have the ability to visit earth. But have they? Acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking would likely have disputed this idea. According to Hawking, if aliens visited us, it would be much like the arrival of the first Europeans in America – in other words, not good for the indigenous inhabitants. 

Based on Hawking’s theory, if aliens had visited us in the past, we would likely know about it – like, really know about it (possibly dead from an introduced space disease or working in alien-run slave labor camps). We are going to side with Hawking on this one, meaning we highly doubt aliens were responsible for 1981’s aerial show.

To really debunk the extraterrestrial theory, though, it’s important to look at another famous sky spiral – one that occurred over Norwegian skies in 2009 (pictured below). This particular anomaly has been described as a large spiral emitting a blue spiraling beam. It was seen by hundreds (and potentially thousands) of people. 

Image via Inter-Intelligence Communications

The Norwegian case was eventually exposed as a Russian missile experiment gone awry. It is this conclusion that lends credence to the US Air Force’s deduction that the Chinese sky spiral was the result of a clumsy spy plane. 

While the US Air Force has admitted this is just a hypothesis, it somehow seems more likely than an alien light show. We will file this case in the same folder (the strange but explainable, in an earthly sense, folder) as the mysterious ‘floating city’ seen several years ago in Jiangxi and Guangdong’s Foshan. 

Enjoy this story? Click here for more Tales from the Chinese Crypt, and here for more This Day in History stories.

[Cover image via ListVerse]

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