In just two years, there have been a staggering 85 UFO sightings in the state of New York alone, with 27 of them coming from some of Manhattan’s tallest skyscrapers.
Washington’s National UFO Reporting Center recently released the report, which also specified 24 sightings in Brooklyn, as well as 20 in Queens, with a “group of about seven UFOs, with a leader to the side, and a cluster to its north.”
The National Reporting Center focuses on exploring the truth behind the numerous sightings that are regularly made around the globe. The report stated that an object was seen “rotating like a drill as it was also moving off axis and in a line towards the east.”
“It only takes one or two regular witnesses, UFO investigators, groups or promoters to highlight UFO activity in one particular area,” UFO Investigations Manual writer Nigel Watson said.
“Another area might have just as many UFO sightings, but if there are no active ufologists there and/or a local media that ignores such stories, then they will never get any attention.”
However, Watson admitted that there were potential holes in this study. “Even then expert witnesses, like pilots, can be mistaken and it is notoriously difficult to separate knowns (e.g. misidentified stars, aircraft, rockets etc) from unknowns,” he said.
“Large data bases tend to be riddled with a wide variety of errors due to these problems and only give an accurate guide to levels of UFO reporting rather than UFO activity.”
Since the first official sighting of aliens came in 1905, there have been over 100,000 sightings of alien activity and UFOs. Researchers are working tirelessly around the clock to find answers.
In February last year, it was revealed that more people were reporting sightings of spaceships and UFOs than ever before. By the 90s, the rate rose considerably from 10,000 to 45,000 per year.
40 Creative Features Inside the World’s Most Epic Medieval Castles
Medieval castles were highly defensible structures that could stand against invading forces whenever necessary. But what are the features and innovations that made a castle so successful and desirable? Let us take you on a tour of the past!
Narrow Arrowslits for Archers
With castles often already built on high ground, higher walls helped make them even more impenetrable. Archers functioned as the castle’s eyes in the sky, and arrowslits protected those archers from retribution.
The narrow arrowslits allowed the archers to fire on the forces below with a lower risk than being out in the open.
Strategic Spiral Staircases
There’s one common feature that unites spiral staircases throughout nearly all medieval castles: they are all constructed in a clockwise direction. This helps soldiers defend against the enemy who might be attempting to fight on the staircase.
The orientation of the stairs would hinder the right-handed soldier, giving the defenders of the castle an extra edge during fighting. If even the stairs of the castle have been built to assist, soldiers could appreciate the extra ally in the battle.
When a large force of enemy soldiers are threatening a castle, the residents within would do whatever they could to defend their home. Machicolations were just one of many defensive features a castle boasted. These handy devices jutted out from the upper part of a wall and were the perfect way to drop hot oil, large rocks, or other projectiles down below to unsuspecting enemies.
Machicolations provided a downward-facing window of sorts for soldiers and common people alike to keep their castle safe.
Imagine your surprise as an enemy invader as you start chipping away at a wall — and continue to try and try, to no avail, to ever make your way through to breach the castle. That’s the mission of taluses. Also called batters, these walls are thicker at the bottom than they are at the top, providing ideal defense against invading ground forces.
As the enemy tries to breach the thickest part of the wall, soldiers at the top of the wall can use the weapons and features at their disposal to send them backward.
Chemin de Rondes High Ground
Nearly all castles boast high walls to keep out invaders. But those walls needed space for soldiers to help defend them, and that’s how chemin de rondes were born. The chemin de rondes is the walkway portion of the wall, allowing for soldiers to patrol, observe, and fight.
These walkways can be protected by a number of features, including crenellations. With plenty of defense, soldiers could easily maneuver to protect themselves while defending their home and those within it.
Crenellations in Formation
Though it may be your first time reading the word crenellation, this castle feature is about as common as they come. In fact, many children drawing castles from their imagination often draw crenellations in their interpretation of where their favorite princes and princesses live.
In reality, crenellations were vital protection for the soldiers stationed along the top of the wall of a castle. These jutting structures were perfect to hide behind to protect soldiers from a volley of arrows from an opposing force.
Bastions of Strength
Castles often tempted enemies because there were so many nooks and crannies that could possibly be breached. And, once the castle was theirs, enemies could control the territory around it. However, castle designers and engineers covered all their bases when it came to defenses, and bastions were no different.
Bastions are usually towers that are specially strengthened to defend against outer attacks. They help defend the rest of the castle walls from attack or breach.
Perfectly Murky Moat
Moats that were wide and deep helped to guard castles from invading forces — particularly those who would seek to tunnel under a castle’s outer walls. Having water present in a protective moat was an ideal flood threat to potential tunnels, forcing invaders to think of other ways to breach the walls.
The moat also served as a repository for fish when there wasn’t fighting — and as a collection for drainage for hygiene facilities high within the castle walls.
Greatly Guarded Gatehouse
The most vulnerable part of the castle was the entrance — where everyone entered and exited the castle. The highest and thickest walls could only go so far when it came to protecting royal residents and everyone else who lived in the castle. There still had to be a way for people to come and go.
Gatehouses were built around such passageways to ensure that there were enhanced defensive measures to bolster the vulnerability of the entrance. Gatehouses had thick walls and plenty of defensive measures.
Out of the Way Oubliette
It wasn’t a good idea in medieval times to get on the bad side of a royal — or anyone else living in a castle with an oubliette. That’s because an oubliette was the perfect way to dispose of an enemy. This dungeon-like space was essentially a hole in the ground — dark, dank, and out of the way.
Generally, people were forced into an oubliette to be forgotten about forever. It wasn’t a cozy space — and wash much grimmer than a dungeon.
Relief of a Garderobe
What did castle residents do without working plumbing and running water? They relieved themselves with a garderobe. This facility was used for hygiene, and was located on the outside of a castle. Castle residents would conduct their routine toilette there. The bottom portion of the garderobe was open, and waste would flow down below to the moat.
While perhaps unsavory to consider today, the garderobe was perfectly positioned to make crossing a moat even more formidable for an enemy to consider.
Bossed Stones Buffer
Bossed stones in a castle is a perfect example of utilizing the strengths of the land around to make the structure even more difficult to invade. Essentially, bossed stones are unfinished rocks upon which a castle is built. The effect is stunning, appearing like a castle is emerging magically from a rocky mountainside.
However beautiful, bossed stones are highly strategic. They can absorb the force from catapulted stones more easily than traditional castle structures, making them an excellent defense.
Hourdes for Hiding
If a formidable enemy was mounting an attack, the castle may have had time to erect hourdes on the outer walls of the structure. These temporary structures were often made from wood and offered another point for soldiers to defend the castle. As an extra surface, the castle could pack more soldiers in to defend the walls from a breach.
Soldiers inside a hourde could act as lookouts while also lobbing weapons down at the opposing forces in an attempt to drive them back away from the walls.
Drawn in By a Drawbridge
In medieval times, it wasn’t enough to have a lock on a door. Since the entrance of a castle was its most vulnerable point, it needed an easily defendable design to keep everyone within safe from the enemy. A drawbridge is a door that, when opened, acts as a bridge across the water-filled moat. Residents and friendly visitors can easily cross.
When pulled up, however, the drawbridge offers no safe passage. Invaders must cross the murky moat or find some other way inside the castle walls.
Bartizan on High
A bartizan is a defensive powerhouse located high up on castle walls. Commonly classified as a type of tower, a bartizan is the perfect way for soldiers to remain on the lookout for invading forces. Arrowslits could allow archers a fine vantage point, while the cylindrical structure itself provides plenty of room and protection during attacks and defensive maneuvers.
This structure could also feature machicolations, making it the ultimate defense point of a castle during an attack.
Lively, Bustling Donjon
Anything worth doing in a castle most likely took place in a donjon. Many modern people may recognize the donjon by its alternate name — the keep, which is used in many popular books, movies, and television shows. Most often, the donjon consisted of a tower with multiple rooms.
At the very top of the tower was often the solar chamber — a fine place for the royal residents to seclude themselves and relax. On the lower levels, you could often find the kitchen, the great hall, storage rooms, and more.
A Portcullis with a View
If an enemy breached the drawbridge while it was still down, there was still one line of defense before they reached the interior of the castle: a portcullis. The portcullis is a gate with formidable spikes that would crash down, keeping an enemy out. Depending on the castle, a pair of portcullises could be designed to shut at the same time, trapping the enemy between them.
Since the portcullis features a lattice-like shape, defenders of the castle could easily dispatch of the enemy without risk to themselves.
Bailey All Around
If the donjon was the center of activity in the castle, the bailey was the wall that tried to contain everything going on around there. A bailey is a square-shaped wall that generally was built around the donjon. In a way, it held in the spillover from the tumult and activity of the donjon.
Peripheral staff and workers could utilize the space within the bailey to conduct their essential work. This included craftspeople like basket weavers or even storage areas for food, equipment, or animals.
Hidden Halls and Chambers
Every castle has its secrets. Hidden halls, passageways, and rooms were the norm in many different castles. Each of them served a particular purpose. Sometimes, secluded and secret rooms were needed for various practices. Other times, secret passages were used to move around the castle without being discovered.
This was useful for soldiers during invasions — and for royal residents to take cover from attackers. If a person knew their way around these secret paths and rooms, they could essentially vanish from sight.
Ravelin Points of Defense
In a castle, there are plenty of walls both inside and out used to protect what lay inside from those on the outside who might seek to take it. Another example of such defenses is the ravelin. Ravelins were segments of walls shaped with three points. These triangular defense structures were generally located outside and away from the castle, often functioning as the first point of defense against invaders.
They also tempted opposing forces to advance, effectively trapping them and exposing them to attacks from the inner castle walls.
Barbican as Barriers
A castle is only as secure as its weakest link. Castle engineers and designers knew that they had to fill in the gaps of protection wherever necessary. It would be their heads if their design failed, after all. A barbican is a short section of wall specifically designed to shore up weak points in a castle’s defenses.
Examples of vulnerable areas could include a gate, portal, window, or wall. The barbican would offer added protection and oversight for defenders of the castle to pinpoint the enemy.
Great Hall Gatherings
Just as we modern humans may gather for parties in dining rooms or event halls, the great hall in a medieval castle was the perfect spot for a shindig. This room was likely one of the largest and finest in the entire castle. It was used for entertaining, celebrations, and special events.
In these times, parties included sumptuous banquets with the finest food and entertainment. The great hall was used to impress guests and conduct gatherings with great success.
Staffing the Stables
Castles essentially functioned as self-contained cities. They contained everything that the residents within needed to function, survive, and thrive. This included fully stocked stables. Horses were indispensable tools during medieval times, serving as essential transportation for everyone who knew how to ride or drive a wagon.
They were also crucial during battle, taking soldiers into the heat of the action and out again unscathed. Horses needed a place for feeding and rest, and the stables provided that within the protection of the castle walls.
Tough Turrets and Towers
Turrets and towers are perhaps some of the most recognizable features of medieval castles. Designers and engineers discovered that rounded turrets were even harder to breach than squares, creating the shape and look that is so common in medieval-era castles on view today. Turrets and towers are more than a pleasing aesthetic choice for a castle.
They serve as highly strategic structures that allow soldiers to defend the walls from invading enemies. These structures are both beautiful and useful.
Curtain Wall Call
In a castle, a curtain wall brought the curtain down on invading forces hoping to knock it down. That’s because curtain walls were filled with gravel and other rubble, and could be as many as 24 feet thick and 30 feet high at some points.
A curtain wall was also high, providing ample support and security for the castle within. This daunting defense kept the enemy at bay while reassuring everyone inside the castle that they were safe.
Open-Air Inner Courtyard
Where could residents of the castle get a little fresh air without leaving the safety of the outer walls? The inner courtyard was the perfect place for everyday life to continue without interruption — and within the castle’s protection. The open-air courtyard hosted everything from formal events to normal chores and goings-on at the castle.
It was in use by everyone from workers in the castle to the royal residents. Everyone needed a little sunshine from time to time.
Private Entrance Postern
Sometimes, a person needs to slip in and out of a place relatively undetected. A postern helped make that possible in a castle. A postern is a secret entrance that can take a person in and out of the castle without using the main entrance with the drawbridge.
Only privileged people living in the castle knew about the postern — including its location. That made it a secure way to sneakily enter and exit the castle without revealing how or where a person did so.
A Mound of a Motte
Taking the higher ground is advantageous in battle and in life. That’s why some castles are built on a motte — an earthen mound. In some cases, the motte that is used is naturally occurring — a hill in the landscape. In others, workers heap dirt in a strategic spot to make their own motte wherever it suited them.
This elevated the castle and gave it better defenses against opposing forces. Coupled with additional defensive structures, taking a castle with a motte would truly be a challenge.
Barracks Ready for Battle
It took a lot of people to keep a castle — and the royals who resided there — safe from harm. Medieval castles needed to make the space to house these soldiers, which is where barracks came into play. These long structures were where soldiers slept and took shelter when they weren’t training or fighting.
People who worked in the castle may have also stayed in the barracks, which could have also played host to the space they needed to complete their tasks.
Fully Stocked Storeroom
Attacking forces often had to employ siege tactics when attempting to overrun a castle. The castle’s thick walls and ample defenses were not enough for the residents to successfully wait out that siege, however. That’s where the storeroom came into play. The storeroom needed to be fully stocked with food, equipment, and other supplies — enough to outlast a siege.
The storeroom was also needed to supply everyone who lived and worked at the castle with what they needed to survive throughout the year.
Enclosed by an Enceinte
An enceinte functioned as the first line of defense for many early castles. This feature is designed as a tall and thick wall that encloses the whole of the castle. As the castle’s outermost defensive measure, an enceinte was designed to be daunting to invading forces — offering very few weaknesses to breach.
Castles that feature an enceinte often don’t have a keep, so the greatest emphasis is placed on a strong defensive outer wall. The best offense is a good defense when it comes to an enceinte.
Myth of the Dungeon
Unlike movies and books would have us believe, a majority of medieval castles did not actually have a dungeon. Oubliettes were a more popular method of housing royal enemies and required much less space and maintenance. As time progressed, however, more and more dungeons were created to house prisoners.
However, they would not often be located in the castle proper. There simply wasn’t room — or desire — to waste precious available space on criminals inside castle walls.
Redirecting from the Dam
Water to fill the moat has to come from somewhere, and the dam made it possible. Many royal dams were designed to impress viewers with its majesty. Function met aesthetics in these structures, which would effectively redirect water flowing from nearby natural sources to keep the moat filled properly.
Without a dam, protective moats would run the risk of drying up, offering enemy forces an opportune opening to attack the castle that is down on its defenses.
Sally Forth, Sally Port
Just like secret passages and chambers were crucial for trusted individuals to know to move around the castle undercover, the sally port was highly strategic during a battle — or at other essential times. The sally port is a secret door that allowed passage through the castle’s defenses.
It could allow soldiers out from behind the walls to counterattack sieging forces in a surprise move. It also offers more clandestine movement for those who require it than the raising and lowering of the drawbridge.
Useful Outer Courtyard
The outer courtyard essentially functioned as spillover space to the necessary ins and outs of life in a castle. So many people with numerous tasks and duties needed their space, and the outer courtyard granted that to them.
In medieval times, the outer courtyard could host noisy battalions of soldiers training for their next battle. They could also serve as a staging area for farmers to take care of and feed their livestock during the day.
Secluded Solar Chambers
Solar chambers were to medieval castles as penthouses are to modern high-rise buildings. Often located at the top of the donjon, the solar chamber was the finest accommodation to be had in the castle. Richly decorated and comfortably proportioned, the solar chamber would be where the royals would stay while in residence at the castle.
Since space was at a premium in the castle, having a room apart from everyone else was an additional luxury afforded only to the individuals in charge.
Going to the Chapel
With a chapel located on the premises, there was no need for royal residents to leave the safety of their castle walls to attend religious services. A castle chapel was an essential addition to medieval castles, especially since religion was so important to everyday life at the time.
This structure was used for regular church services, special prayer sessions, rituals and celebrations, and more. Chapels also served as refuges during battle, particularly for noncombatants like women and children.
Embracing the Embrasure
While arrowslits helped defend archers from attacks outside the castle walls, these features limited those same archers’ views of the battle below. The embrasure sought to eliminate that weakness, acting as a cylinder that rotated to boost archers’ abilities from the air.
Embrasures helped archers see the battlefield better without sacrificing the protection that arrowslits already afforded them. These features also allowed space to store extra arrows, bows, and other necessary items they may have required.
Wishing Wells and Cisterns
Water is life both now and in medieval times. Even with all the defenses and security a castle offered, without access to clean drinking water, the residents’ health would quickly go downhill. Properly digging a well that was easily accessible within the castle was a process that could take years. However, once finished, the well would provide water for all of the residents — an essential function to keep life going as planned in the castle.
An alternative or supplementary water source to the well was the cistern, which stored rainwater.
What’s Cooking in the Kitchen
There was likely no place busier and livelier in a medieval castle than the kitchen. If the donjon is the heart of the castle, the kitchen is the structure’s stomach. A bustling staff would prepare and cook everything the castle’s royal residents needed on a daily basis. This also includes catering to celebratory banquets and other special events throughout the year.
The lord and lady of the castle could expect delicious meats, fresh bread, and more from the hearths and ovens of the kitchen.