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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.


Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

Edgar Sievers, author of "Flying Saucer Uber Sudafrika", reportedly heard after his book was published in 1955 from old farmer from Greytown, Natal, South Africa, who told him that one evening in September, probably 1914, he was walking back home when he encountered a landed "German aircraft" similar to those he had been reading about in the newspapers. The object rested on the grasslands not far from him. Nearby, he saw two of the "German spies" with a pail taking water from a brook.

This report was then published in several other ufology sources.

But there actually were German spies flying planes there at the time.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001409
Date of event: September 1914
Earliest report of event: After 1955, before 1962
Delay of report: 5 or 6 decades.
Witness reported via: Contacted local ufologist.
First alleged record by: Local ufologist Edgar Sievers.
First certain record by: Ufology artcile Gordon Creighton.
First alleged record type: Local ufologist.
First certain record type: Ufology article.
This file created on: March 4, 2013
This file last updated on: March 4, 2013
Country of event: South Africa
State/Department: KwaZulu-Natal
Type of location: Meadow.
Lighting conditions: Not reported.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: Not reported.
UFO/Entity Relation: Certain
Witnesses numbers: 1
Witnesses ages: Not reported. Adult or aged.
Witnesses types: Not reported. Man, farmer.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Human
Entities height: Not reported
Entities outfit type: Not reported.
Entities outfit color: Not reported.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Not reported. German spies.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: None reported.
Entities actions: Came out of German plane, took water from a brook.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed.
Witness(es) feelings: Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation: Plane, like he saw in the newspapers, piloted by German spies.
Explanation category: Probable airplane. Not UFO-related.
Explanation certainty: Medium.



In a review of the book "Flying Saucer Uber Sudafrika", by Edgar Sievers, in German, Gordon Creighton says (scan below):

When Edgar Sievers's book was published in 1955 quite a number of people got in touch with him and confirmed they have seen the craft.

An old farmer from Greytown, Natal, described how, when walking home one September evening across the veld, he had come across one of the "German aircraft" that the papers had been talking about. It was on the Veld, quite close to him, and near by, were two of the "German spies" with a pail getting water from a brook.


The authors say that Edgar Sievers, author of Flying Saucer Uber Sudafrika, interviewed an old farmer from Greytown, Natal, who said that one evening in September 1914, he had encountered a landed "German aircraft" similar to those he had been reading about in the papers. The object rested on the grasslands not far from him. Nearby he saw two "German spies" with a pail taking water from a stream.


Albert Rosales indicates that in Greytown, South Africa, on September 1914, in the evening, "A farmer encountered a machine resembling a biplane while walking home across the veldt. Nearby were 2 pilots paling water from a stream. There were few, if any, viable planes in the country at the time."

Albert Rosales indicates that the source is "FSR Vol. 8 # 3.".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that in September 1914, in the evening in Greytown, South Africa, there was a "Close encounter with a an unidentified craft and its occupants. An unidentifiable object and its occupants were observed at close range in the veldt."

They note that is is an ambiguous location as there are more than one place with this name.

The sources are indicated as "Webb, David, HUMCAT: Catalogue of Humanoid Reports", "Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073)", "Rogerson, Peter, World-Wide Catalog of Type 1 Reports".

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that in September 1914 at "20:00" in Greytown, South Africa, "A farmer encountered a machine resembling a biplane while walking home across the veldt. Nearby were 2 pilots paling water from a stream. There were few, if any, viable planes in the country at the time."

The source indication is a broken link.


The ufologist says that in September 1914 in the evening, in "Greytoen", Natal, South Africa, a farmer encountered a machine resembling a biplane while walking home across the veldt. Nearby were two pilots pailing water from a stream. There were few or any viable planes in South Africa at this time.

He indicates that the sources are Gordon Creighton in FSR 8, 3 p21 citing Edgar Sievers and Keel 1971 p121.

Points to consider:

Officially, the South African Aviation Corps was established on January 29, 1915, but the Department of Defence in Pretoria said that in December 1913 Compton Paterson, British aircraft designer, flying instructor and owner of the Paterson Aviation Syndicate School in Kimberley, certified that seven of his Government candidates had flown the Paterson biplane unaided, and were thus able to qualify for the FAI Certificate.

When training had begun in August, there were two training aircraft for ten candidates, but one of them was wrecked in a crash. It was rebuilt, or rebuilt with use of another wreck, with the tail at the back this time. Training took place on the first South African aerodrome at Alexanderfontein, Limpopo Province, actually a bit distant from Greytown.

The Compton Paterson biplane was a pusher aircraft with a 50 hp Gnome engine, at that time the most favored type of engine for aircraft manufactured in Britain and on the Continent. The plane itself was similar in design to the Farman, although not of the same quality and airworthiness.

In January 1914, Defence Headquarters purchased the Paterson Aviation Syndicate School including the two Paterson aircraft and all spare parts. A replica of the Paterson No 2 biplane is at the South African Air Force Museum, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Patterson_No2_Biplane-Replica-001.jpg

In German East South Africa, we have Bruno Büchner flying a Pfalz biplane over East Africa in 1914, Leutnant Alexander von Scheele, an army pilot who was appointed to command the new Schutztruppe air force, Willy Trück, an Aviatik factory pilot, and the Austro-Hungarian Paul Fiedler. When the war started and until until May 1915, they flew many sorties over South African lines, gaining valuable information and photographs on enemy troop movements, and dropping bombs on enemy positions.

We also had Franz Oster with his privately-purchased Rumpler Taube monoplane. After July 1914 there were two military Rumpler Taube monoplanes in Tsintao, flown by Gunter Plüschow and Friedrich Müllerskowski. We had a Rumpler Taube monoplane and a Jeannin monoplane in Cameroon in 1914. We had Oberleutnant Erich Henneberger, who crashed in November 1914, Leutnant-zur-See Gunther Plüschow, based in Tsintao.

Then we have Edgar Sievers himself, cited in [gc1], stating that the first airplane id South Africa was a French airplane flown by an Alsatian, Albert Kimmerling, in 1909, and that four other men flew planes in 1910 and 1911. He adds that in 1914 in German West South Africa, when the war burst out, there were three operational planes. This actually makes the "German spies" interpretation quite sensible!

So, is it possible that the farmer spotted one of these planes, or even that the "German spies" were actually German spies??

I cannot tell for sure.

But I am convinced that whatever the explanation is, this sighting has very probably nothing to do with UFOs or aliens or UFO occupants.

I may also note that "1914" is not a bulletproof year, as Gordon Creighton, the earliest available source, does not give it explicitly as the year of that sighting, giving only "September" and merely discussing the 1914 reports of "German spy planes" based on Siever's book. The place also is in doubt, the famer is said to be from Greytown but the place of the sighting may not be Greytown if he moved to Greytown later.

Note: as the farmer contacted Sievers after he had read the book, it is safe to guess that his report is not in the book. I include the book in the references below for information only, not because the sighting should appear in it.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:


Probable airplane. Not UFO-related.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:


Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 4, 2013 Creation, [gc1], [cf1], [ar1], [ud1], [ud2], [pr1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 4, 2013 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 4, 2013