Japan is no stranger to eerie tales and hearsay. The country has a rich and at times incredibly creepy mythology (if you don't believe us, look up "Harionago") that can steer the imagination to some pretty crazy places. One of those stories concerns the Hollow Ship, otherwise known as the Utsuro bune. Essentially one of the first modern accounts of a UFO from Japan, the Hollow Ship stories are strange and often baffling.
On February 22, 1803, a strange round ship resembling a flying saucer mysteriously came to a Japanese shore. A non-Japanese woman who couldn't speak their language came out of the boat, tried to communicate with the locals who discovered her, then cast off again.
Who was this woman? Where did she come from? And why was she in a ship of such a strange design? All good questions... and nobody really has a good answer. But there are many theories and accounts, some of which are downright bizarre.
According to some accounts, the ship was metallic. Many thought it was constructed from iron and glass, which is pretty strange for 1803. It was shaped like a "rice cooking pot," had four windows, and was covered in black paint. The windows also apparently had bars that were clogged with tree resin.
Of course, this account is just trying to describe the boat in terms people could understand. The ship could have been made from very different materials, but there would be no way the people of the time would have known about them.
So, this woman who was inside the ship has a pretty strange description. She was said to have pale pink skin with red hair and eyebrows. Some say she had white-frosted red hair, as if she had extensions covered in white powder. One thing is for certain: she wasn't from the immediate area of Japan.
Given the strange make of her ship and her strange physical description, many believe that the woman was an alien. Rather than being a UFO, her ship would be referred to as a USO, or Unidentified Submerged Object. Perhaps her ship was an escape pod of some kind? Is the big ship still out there somewhere in a crash site at the bottom of the ocean?
Adding fuel to the whole USO debate is the fact that the Hollow Ship was said to be covered in bizarre symbols. While it could easily have been the characters of another language such as English, it may not be that simple. Some renderings of the symbols look more like something you'd see on the X-Files, which makes you wonder--could the woman be an alien after all?