Shen Kuo - Stories on the Bank of a Stream of Dreams - The bright pearl in the lake
Type of Spiritual Experience
described in Wonders In The Sky - Unexplained Aerial Objects From Antiquity To Modern Times - and Their Impact on Human Culture, History, and Beliefs - Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck
Shi Bo, La Chine et les Extraterrestres, op.cit., 26.
The case is also mentioned by Paul Dong in China's Major Mysteries: Paranormal Phenomena and the Unexplained in the People's Republic of China (China Books, 2000), 69-71. Dong quotes from an article in Peking's Guang Ming Daily of February 18th 1979, "Could It Be That a Visitor from Outer Space Visited China Long Long Ago?" written by Professor Zhang Longqiao of the Chinese department of Peking Teachers College.
The actual account comes from the book "Meng Qi Bi Tan" ("Essays of the Meng Hall") by Shen Kua of the Song Dynasty (960-1127).
A description of the experience
Sheng Gua, a Chinese scholar of the Song Dynasty, recorded an interesting sighting in Chapter 369 of his Stories on the Bank of a Stream of Dreams: Circa 1059, Fanliang, China
"In the middle of the reign of emperor Jia You [1056-1063], at Yangzhou, in the Jiangsu province, an enormous pearl was seen especially in gloomy weather. At first it appeared in the marsh of the Tianchang district, passed by the lake of Bishe and disappeared finally in the Xinkai lake. The inhabitants of that region and travelers saw it frequently over a period of ten years. I have a friend who lives on the edge of the lake.
One evening, he looked through the window and saw the luminous pearl near his house. He half-opened his door and the light entered, illuminating the room with its brightness. The pearl was round, with a gold-colored ring around it. Suddenly, it enlarged considerably and became bigger than a table. In its centre, the luminary was white and silvery, and the intensity was such that it could not be looked at straight on. "
The light it emitted even reached trees that were some 5 kilometers away and as a result these cast their shadow on the ground; the faraway sky was all alight. Finally, the round luminous object began to move at a breathtaking speed and landed on the water between the waves, like a rising sun.
As the pearl often made its appearance in the town of Fanliang in Yangzhou, the inhabitants, who had seen it frequently, built a wayside pavilion and named it "The Pearl Pavilion." Inquisitive people often came from afar by boat, waiting for a chance to see the unpredictable pearl.