An image of the 19th century Japanese folk tale thelivingmoon.com

There are many stories and theories that suggest that aliens have been secretly visiting Earth for centuries now. But this particular Japanese folk tale, set in the early 1800s, continues to inspire UFO believers.

The story, reportedly written in 1825, plays out as follows: (via io9.com)

Japanese sailors happened to notice, floating in the ocean, a very strange vessel. It was circular, but what caught their attention was that it seemed to have a lid that covered the top of the ship, and glass windows. When they got it to shore, out came a very beautiful woman with bright red hair, holding a very mysterious box. She wouldn't let anyone touch it. They couldn't ask her about it, because she didn't speak their language. All the materials comprising her ship, her clothes, and her box, were completely unknown to them.

The villagers, aghast at the hussy in their midst, pushed her and her vessel into the sea again.

This myth about the strange-looking vessel made with foreign materials has become an enduring favourite of ufologists. It has given them reason to believe that possibly, a flying saucer crashed in the sea, and washed up on land. Maybe aliens were trying to blend in by matching our technology, sending flying saucers when we could fly and sailing saucers when all we could do was sail. When people argue, the UFO believers point to the unnatural substances of the woman's clothes and ship.

They argue that, although people weren't as savvy in those days as we are today, they were not naive or dumb. They would have recognized most kinds of materials and vessels commonly found in this world. This utterly foreign being might have crash-landed, or might have been on a scouting ship.

Well, so there you go - another folk tale linking to the possible existence of aliens. What are your views on this? Tell us in the comments section below.