FORMER US President Thomas Jefferson may have been sent the earliest recorded written observation of a UFO, according to a letter from 1813.
A tavern keeper in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a friend visiting from Baltimore believe they saw a UFO in the sky.
The two men, barkeeper Edward Hansford and Baltimore’s John Clarke, describe in their letter to President Jefferson how they saw a meteor-like object in the sky.
However, this object in the sky began to change shape, first taking on the form of a turtle “which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke.”
The UFO then apparently “assumed the shape of a human skeleton” which ascended and descended quickly, according to the mail which was reprinted in 2010 in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.
The letter reads: ““We the subscribers most earnestly solicit, that your honour will give us your opinion on the following extraordinary phenomenon.
“We saw in the South a Ball of fire full as large as the sun at Maridian which was frequently obscured within the space of ten minutes by a smoke emitted from its own body, but ultimately retained its brilliancy, and form during that period, but with apparent agitation.
“It then assumed the form of a Turtle which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke.
“It then assumed the shape of a human skeleton which was frequently obscured by a like smoke and as frequently descended and ascended—It then assumed the form of a Scotch Highlander arrayed for battle and extremely agitated, and ultimately passed to the West and disappeared in its own smoke.”
It is unclear whether President Jefferson ever responded, but according to the website Monticello, it “is perhaps the earliest recorded observation of a UFO.”