INEXPLICATA – UFOs IN HISTORY: LATIN AMERICA AND SPAIN

Chapter One: Saucers of the Spanish Main
It’s hard for us to imagine what crossing the Atlantic in a Sixteenth century sailing ship must have been like. Creatures of comfort that we are, the privations and unsanitary conditions of a galleon or caravel would be the stuff of nightmares, and the risk of shipwreck on an unfriendly shore, with scarce hopes of rescue, equally hellish. Yet explorers set up in vessels that were small and fragile—from our perspective-- across the vastness of “the Ocean Sea” to explore and conquer new lands, fuelled by dreams of glory and a good wind at their backs. Our textbooks, revisionist and status-quo alike, agree that islands, landmasses and bodies of water were discovered and named; species of fruit, roots and tubers were sent across the ocean to a land that had never seen them before, and deadly illnesses were exported and imported from the so-called “new world”. Yet mariners and soldiers, whether headed to the mountain-girt glory of Tenochtitlán or the lofty mansions of Macchu-Picchu, encountered phenomena that clearly exceeded their understanding, and even that of the highly educated natives of the new lands they had come to conquer and explore. In an age where literacy was the exclusive province of the clergy and the notary, it was a great boon to posterity that the early explorers, sea captains and navigators, were able to convey their findings in their routine log entries. With a potentially mutinous crew, fearful of monsters and the endless seas around them, Christopher Columbus allegedly kept two sets of logs – an actual one and another that showed different times and positions. Although we may perceive this as trickery on the seaman’s part, it enabled him to allay his crew’s fears until landfall was finally made on Guanhaní (supposedly Watling Island in the Bahamas) on October 12, 1492. But Columbus’s log includes other information that is of great interest to us. On September 15,1492, nearly a month away from his historic landfall, the mariner reported

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a “long tongue of flame” falling into the ocean, noting it thus in his log. This event, seen as an ill omen by the crew, very nearly caused a mutiny. While it is perfectly naturally that a meteorite or bolide could have been the cause of this phenomenon, it cannot be proven. In subsequent weeks, Columbus and one of his men, Pero Gutierrez, witnessed “a light shining at a considerable distance” from the deck of the flagship “Santa María” – a light that reputedly vanished and reappeared several times that evening, bobbing up and down. This light was seen only a few hours before Rodrigo de Triana shouted from the crow’s nest that land – America – was in sight. Years after Columbus’s fateful discovery, an expedition of five hundred men set out from the island of Cuba to conquer Mexico. At their head was Hernán Cortés, a ruthless but educated man who had been a notary. His letters to Emperor Charles V represent some of the first perspectives on Mesoamerica by a European. However, in his expedition was Bernal Díaz del Castillo another man with writing skills, and his chronicle Historia de la Verdadera Conquista de la Nueva España includes the first sighting of a UFO by a European in the new lands that had been subjugated by blood and fire. “The Mexican indians,” writes Castillo, “claimed having seen a sign in the heavens which was green and red, round like a cartwheel; beside this sign was another line, headed toward where the sun rises, and which had come to meet another red line.” Later on, the chronicler himself would see strange activity in the Mexican skies: “This is what I saw, and what was seen by all those who would see it, in the year 1527. There was a sign in the night sky resembling a longsword, [located as if] between the province of Pánuco and city of Texcoco. It did not move from the sky, neither hither nor thither, for more than twenty days.” A comet? Possibly. But comets— frightening harbingers of future mishaps that they were—would still have been identified as such by someone of Castillo’s level of education. At this point it should perhaps be mentioned that Aztec Mexico had undergone a series of unexplained events between 1509 and 1519 – mysterious fires, encounters with strange and frightening creatures, and sightings of UFOs – for at least a decade prior to the arrival of Cortés and his band of adventurers. Nor was this paranormal activity restricted to Mesoamerica: Nicolás de Martinez Arzanz y Vela described the strange recorded a compelling UFO sighting of the colonial era involving “two suns seen in the morning sky”. The following account appears in the chronicle Imperial History of Potosí, an account of the governorship of General Hinojosa, a royal official in charge of the silver wealth of the Potosí Mines of “el alto Perú” as Bolivia was known then. Any official with oversight of the continent’s greatest single source of silver was bound to make enemies, and Hinojosa was no exception. Two of his rivals, Sebastian of Castille and Francisco Girón, conspired to bring him down, and this is how history records the event: “…at the moment when Sebastián and Girón were preparing their troops for the insurrection, there appeared over Porco, threes suns and two moons appeared in the midst of a circular halo, and within the latter two blue and red arcs. On January 13, 1553, 52 days before General Hinojosa was killed at 7 o’clock in the morning, a great circle was perceived in the sky above Porco. it was entirely white, with a thickness of one span. The natural sun was somewhat reddish, almost blood colored, and the two lateral ones were very red and bloody, so that the sheen and the fire blinded onlookers. The two frontal moons (sic) resembled white moons with a reddish cast…the two arcs were blue and red, as they seemed. This prodigy was witnessed for seven consecutive days over the rich summit of Potosí, followed by two other arcs, one of them looking like polished silver, the other

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blood-red and bright as fire. One end of this arc terminated in a sort of spiral ray, the color of blood…these signs were seen [at both] Porco and Potosí, causing the Spaniards to discuss future events. Don Sebastián de Castilla and Francisco Hernández Girón asked the natives what these signs meant…the Indians, amazed, covered their eyes and spit into the air, saying aucca, aucca, mayccan apihuañucca, which means some ill omen, abominable action or hideous ruin…” The Inca oracles were right – the bizarre, moonlike lights had indeed heralded the success of the insurrection and the death of Hinojosa, the royal official. Nearly thirty years later, on Sunday, February 7, 1580, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, an envoy of the Spanish viceroy of Perú, was charged with the mission of exploring the southern coast of modern Chile and attempting an eastward penetration of the Straits of Magellan aboard his vessel, the San Francisco. His own log entry records the following: On this night, at one o’clock, looking south-southwest, we saw a round thing emerge from [the sea] which was as red as fire and shaped like an adarga [a small leather shield] that rose through the skies or was borne by the wind. It tarried above a lofty hill, and being like a tall lance above the hill, it acquired [the shape of] a half moon, between red and white…” Gamboa and his crew watched the phenomenon dispassionately, at no point assigning any supernatural significance to it. Only a few days later, Gamboa and his crew would successfully reach the Straits of Magellan and complete their mission. Many years before Gamboa’s mission, between 1515 and 1516, Juan Díaz de Solís, another Spanish explorer, had sailed down the Atlantic coast of the South American landmass and discovered the River Plate. This landmark discovery aside, Argentinean paranormalist and author Gustavo Fernandez believes that he made an even more important discovery – he discovered strange metal, an alloy of possible non-human manufacture, around the necks of the friendly natives who dwelt along the banks of the Paraná River. Startled by the lightness of these metal “charms”, for want of a better description, and readily identifying them as not being silver or white gold, Solís asked his interpreters to find out where the odd material came from. According to Fernández, he received the reply: Mba e verá guasú – which translates roughly as “collected from the big shiny hut”, which the author interprets as a possible crashed UFO whose remnants were picked up and considered a “gift from the gods”. He further suggests that Yaciretá, an island on the Paraná River famous for its massive hydroelectric dam, features beaches of vitrified sand that could have been the result of some massive explosion at some point in antiquity. UFO sightings during the Colonial Era were not circumscribed to the Latin American viceroyalties. Only nine years after having arrived in Massachusetts Bay at the head of a large number of Puritan settlers, John Winthrop, the colony’s first governor, became unwittingly our country’s first ufologist. With the lives of over nine hundred men and women under his care in a new, unknown country, the strange event that befell one James Everell in 1639 as the settler crossed a river in a boat at ten o’clock at night. According to Winthrop’s Journal, Everell, “a pious, sober and highly considered man”, saw an enormous flaming light in the sky directly above the Muddy River. This light, described as a rectangular shape measuring an estimated 8 to 10 feet across, sped away at a velocity unimaginable by 17th century standards only to return zooming back to the spot it had originally occupied, leaving Everell astounded. The object continued to maneuver above the Muddy River, repeating its earlier behavior of rapid starts and stops ornamented by the occasional zigzag. Everell and the other men aboard the boat lay flat on the bottom of their vessel in terror, “unable to row or punt”.

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According to Governor Winthrop’s chronicle, a curious physical phenomenon was also observed after the intruder had vanished to parts unknown: the boat found itself further upstream than when the object had initially appeared, as if some unsuspected force emanating from the apparition had prevented the Everell’s boat from drifting with the current, in fact pulling it upstream. Five years later, another light would rise above the horizon to trouble the rest of the early colonists: In January 1644, a luminous object described as comparable in size to the full moon was seen by residents of Boston. Another that came in from the east soon accompanied this unexpected light. “One would approach the other,” wrote the governor, “then they would separate and approach again. This they did several times until at last they plunged behind the hill of the island and disappeared.” This early CE-1 also had a curious high strangeness component to it. Apparently, some colonists heard a voice in the night sky that terrified them with the following utterance: “Little one, little one, come, come.” Winthrop records that similar calls were repeated “twenty or more times” from various directions. The witnesses to this phenomenon claimed that it voice appeared to come from a considerable distance away. A week later, the same aerial phenomenon repeated itself and the voices were heard again. The voice booming in the darkness of colonial New England brings to mind another terrible voice mentioned elsewhere—that of Moyohualitohua, the terrifying voice emanating from a nocturnal cloud or object that terrified the subjects of the Aztec Empire in 1492 and which allegedly appears in two ancient codexes. What strange force paraded over the skies of ancient North America, addressing humans below in their own language? We will never know. Viewers of the 1985 production “The Mission” will be familiar with the presence of Jesuit missionaries in what is now the Argentinean province of Misiones, located by the borders of Brazil and Paraguay. Native Guaraní-speaking peoples were trained by the Jesuits in a number of trades and professions. On August 10, 1631, an unnamed member of the Society of Jesus made the following entry: “At the reducción of San Ignació de Ipané, between six and seven o’clock in the afternoon, a luminous sphere of strange grandeur was seen to rise from the east, flying unhurriedly over the town, like a full moon. Toward the east it gave off a great number of sparks, and put forth greater light, which it later dimmed, and the amount of time it takes to recite the Apostle’s Creed, it made a tremendous report, like a thunderclap. Argentinean ufologist Antonio Las Heras, who records this case in his book OVNIS-Los Extraterrestres Entre Nosotros (Buenos Aires: Edad, 1992) suggests that the loud report or explosion conveyed in the Jesuit chronicle represents a perfect description of an object that is breaking the sound barrier – something impossible to describe in a 17th century account. In the year 1816, well toward the end of the Colonial period, as the South American colonies struggled for their independence from Spain, an early newspaper, the Gazeta de Buenos Aires, reported an interesting involving a thoroughly unexplained phenomenon near the town of Rojas, in the province of Buenos Aires, which many have associated to the UFO phenomenon.

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“At three thirty in the afternoon, on a rainless day, a very hard piece of ice was seen to fall out of the skies, with an approximate weight of two pounds, and it split in four. Immediately, toward the south, a tornado accompanied by a sort of tremor was reported, along with a fall of numerous fireballs. These have been blamed for setting fire to pasturelands, the wood of some buildings and enclosures. The fireball headed toward the largest part of the town with the most extraordinary effects. One building next to a cart was left untouched, while horses were seen carried in the wind at a distance of four blocks from their location; a heavyset woman was also spirited out of her house and taken south some two blocks…the phenomenon withdrew then thirteen blocks toward the north…”A super-tornado accompanied by strange effects? A devastating prairie fire similar to the great “Peshtigo Fire” of the 19th century in the United States? Possibly. But it must be noted that during the last century a UFO was seen to cause similar high winds and conflagrations elsewhere in Argentina. In August 1982, the region of Catamarca, in Argentina, was set ablaze by the maneuvers of a fire starting UFO that hurled a gout of flame in an empty field near the city of Londres, an action witnessed by two stunned policemen from the safety of their squad car. Apparently, the strange vehicle had waited for gale-force winds to begin before expelling its fire, causing it to spread voraciously through the vineyards and tree groves of the agricultural region. The story appeared in Buenos Aires' Clarín and La Crónica newspapers. In the late 19th century, Mexico emerged from a turbulent seventy year period of warfare, civil disturbance and foreign occupation to become a well-ordered, prosperous nation under the firm hand of the dictator Porfirio Díaz. In the nearly three decades that Díaz ruled Mexico, his country rubbed shoulders economically with France and Germany, although his centralized policies created unrest and discontent that would eventually lead to the 1911 revolution. Growth was not restricted to industry and finance; the sciences and arts prospered as well. Interest in the supernatural was also to be found, mainly among the well-read leisure classes. The first sociedades espíritas (spiritist lodges) had opened their doors by 1870, and a “spiritist newspaper” had been established in 1868 in the city of Guadalajara by a former general, Refugio Gonzalez. Ironically, Francisco I. Madero, the president elected after Porfirio Díaz, was an avowed spiritist who’d benefitted from the openess of his predecessor’s tenure, who had also been a Freemason. A portrait of Díaz in masonic gear hangs in Alexandria’s National Masonic Temple – proof perhaps of the questing intellectual and metaphysical spirit of the times. Astronomer Morris K. Jessup, whose study of strange crater-like formations in Mexico formed part of his interest in the UFO phenomenon, characterized the final decades of the 19th century as the "Incredible Decade"

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due to the heightened amount of UFO activity world-wide during this point in time. Renowned Mexican Fortean researcher Dr. Rafael A. Lara has carefully chronicled some of the strange phenomena which occurred in Mexico during the same period of time chronicled by Jessup. On March 5, 1871, the state of Oaxaca, was puzzled by the appearance of "a burst of light followed by a clap of thunder." Since it occurred in the early morning hours (11:30 a.m.), the sun should have outshone it, yet it was so readily visible that its size was calculated at two and a half rods long by one rod in diameter. "The frequency with which these incidents have taken place in the past year is truly remarkable," reads the entry in the almanac known as Calendario Galván del Más Antiguo. In the wake of a heavy rainstorm on January 19, 1873, red stains were found both on the grass and rocks in Papantla, Veracruz. This has been attributed to the fact that water raining down was actually red in color. Ten days later, on January 29, there was a shower of mercury over the village of San Ignacio in Sinaloa. Samples of the material, allegedly collected for posterity, were lost in the turmoil of the revolutionary war. Three months later, on March 27, 1873, a meteor passed over the city of Querétaro between 6 and 7 p.m., leaving a glowing wake that issued sparks and roiled into twin clouds which later exploded like a bomb, scattering fiery fragments in every direction. An entry for November 7, 1878 states that for ten days, the town of Tula de Tamaulipas has witnessed "the passage of an infinite number of flies from noon until five o'clock in the evening." According to the almanac, the flies' shape was very strange and they dropped strands of material resembling gossamer. More strange phenomena troubled Mexico as it entered into the 1880's. On September 2, 1881, a brilliant meteor crossed the skies from one end to another, traversing the Veracruz meridian. Its light was greenish and its wake formed a white "head". Green meteors or fireballs would fall in the American Southwest during the 1950's leading many to associate them with the UFO phenomenon. Three different kinds of hailstone fell over Zongolica, Veracruz on May 9, 1883: one shaped like stars, others square, still other rounded like peaches and with a hole in the middle...the hailstorm over Oaxaca was notable for the fall of several chunks of extraordinary shapes, larger than has ever been seen before. José Vasconcelos -- father of the indigenismo movement and author of the landmark La raza cósmica – was one of those landmark figures that the 19th century appeared to produce with ease in every single country. This philosopher and metaphysician, equally at home in Washington D.C. or in Paris, where he spent his exile, retold an unusual experience in his 1935 autobiography Ulises criollo (A Creole Ulysses). Raised in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Vasconcelos attended school in neighboring Eagle Pass, Texas, and the transnational, transcultural atmosphere permeated his work and thoughts. Among his experiences at an early age was an encounter in 1890 with something seemingly out of this world. One morning, while returning from Texas across the Rio Grande, young Vasconcelos and his parents and siblings were startled by the sight of points of light that became larger and wider as they approached, turning into disks with a reddish golden hue. He thought at first that the objects were simply an aftereffect of being blinded by sun, emerging from the dense morning fog. All five witnesses agreed that the disks spun

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and turned into “orbs of light, rising and falling over the plain,” adding: “It made us shout for joy, as those who looked upon a revelation.” On November 9, 1894, the townsfolk of Zacatlán, Puebla were distressed by the appearance of a tremendously large bird that which had been reported elsewhere in the area. The almanac further indicates that "a hurricane blew a multitude of never-seenbefore birds from the unexplored Chilá Mountains, it is not impossible that some monster, such as the one being seen these days, should figure among their number." Following a strong earthquake in the town of Quintero, Chile on November 23, 1822, diarist Maria Graham, would make the following entry in her journal: “The earthquakes diminished in their intensity and frequency during the night and the early hours of the day. Only one was felt before 4 pm, and between this hour and 10 in the morning there were four. The weather was cloudy but pleasant. More news has come in from neighboring towns. Local fishermen and those from the beaches close at hand say that on the evening of the 19th they had seen a light at a great distance over the sea; it moved swiftly toward the coast, split in two, and then vanished. The credulous populace has turned the light to [an apparition] of the Virgin who has come to save the country. A holy woman predicted the catastrophe in Santiago the previous day. People prayed and the city escaped almost completely unharmed. They sent a courier to Valparaíso to spread the alarm, but he arrived to late, despite having worn out two horses to make the journey.” (Graham, M. Diario de Mi Residencia en Chile, Santiago, 1953). The year 1861 would not be particularly kind to South America as a whole. Earthquakes were plentiful that year in Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, with the northern city of Mendoza being among the hardest locations to be hit. The burgeoning community of twelve thousand souls was turned to dust after a mighty earthquake which was followed by a nearly a month’s worth of aftershocks. The population scattered into the hills and desert, seeking shelter where they could, hearts freezing whenever they heard the rumbling noise that came from the ground under their feet. On May 11, 1861, chroniclers reported that a “luminous body” had crossed the skies over Mendoza from north to south, shining and clearly visible despite the brilliance of the sun (the recorded time of the sighting was 11:30 a.m.). “Travelers from the nearby province of San Juan to the north of Mendoza also reported seeing the light in those lands.” The official report also mentions the loud report that accompanied the object. Could there be a prosaic answer to this phenomenon, worthy of notice amid the calamity of the earthquakes and their aftermath? A meteorite burning up in the planet’s atmosphere would be the likeliest choice, but there’s the matter of the object’s luminosity being clearly visible at such an

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early hour. The “loud report” suggests a sort of sonic boom not characteristic of meteorites, but proper to aircraft...or perhaps even spacecraft.

Chapter Two: The Fabulous Fifties
In July 1947, a number of peasants approached the newspaper of the Spanish town of Albacete with an unusual story: in the first days of that month, they had witnessed the transit of a dark object resembling a derby hat over the village of Balazote. The disquieting object was clearly not an airplane, as residents had seen their fill of aviation during the days of the Spanish Civil War a decade earlier. The headline of the Albacete newspaper did not hesitate to ask “Did atomic explosions draw the attention of beings from another world?” – a question that would be debated by ufologists for a number of decades yet. Reports suggested that other communities of the region had also been treated to the sight of the unusual object, and on the evening of July 15 that year, the village of Azpeitia was buzzed by a shiny disk that left a wake in the clear skies over the Basque Country. Eyewitnesses said that as the object appeared to come in for a landing, it suddenly rose into the air once more into the skies, but not before emitting several powerful flashes that allegedly lit the surrounding mountain valleys with sun-like intensity. UFO researcher Iker Jimenez mentions a case 1947 involving a student named Jose Villalobos from the southern Spanish city of Seville, who was headed toward an olive grove in the locality of Montequinto at six o’clock in the evening to sit among the trees and do his homework, aside from seeking relief from the broiling summer heat. Looking up from his books, Villalobos was astonished to see a strange round object surrounded by a metallic ring on the other side of the road from where he sat. The bizarre object was hovering above the olive trees, making a persistent buzzing sound. Eventually the object rose into the air making a “corkscrew-like” counterclockwise motion. Villalobos was apparently unmoved by what he saw and returned to his studies; it was only many years later that he realized he had joined the ranks of UFO witnesses. In the early 1990’s much attention was given to the experiences of Próspera Muñoz, a resident of the southern Spanish province of Murcia considered by many to have been

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her country’s first bona fide abductee. Manuel Carballal, in his book Secuestrados por los Ovnis (Espacio y Tiempo, 1991) mentions that the Muñoz incident occurred in the summer of 1947 when Próspera and her sister Ana whiled away the hot summer days in her family’s country home in Jumilla. One day, Próspera saw something through a window that she took at first to be a car; the object glided silently toward the house, and from its recesses emerged two large-headed beings dressed in white coveralls. The beings politely asked for a glass of water and inquired as to the workings of the calendar, with which they were utterly unfamiliar. The strange visitors departed without incident, but returned several nights later with others of their number; Próspera felt the urge to go outdoors and then boarded the unfamiliar vehicle, where she was subjected to tests and the implantation of a “transmitter” inside her skull. After returning home, she would have no recollection of the event for another thirty years. As the Forties gave way to the Fifties, sightings of strange objects over Spain and France would increase rather than diminish, and worse yet, reports of strange “occupants” would begin to fill newspapers and the first few books and pamphlets circulated on the subject. It was a time of intense social change in a country held in the vise-like grip of an authoritarian government: as Ignacio Cabria notes in his landmark Entre Ovnis, Creyentes y Contactados ( Spain: Cuadernos de Ufologia, 1993): “As information [regarding UFOs] reached us, like some kind of cosmic Marshall Plan, flying saucers began coming to us from the USA along with chewing gum and Walt Disney cartoons...” Despite strict government control of the media, publications like Solidaridad Nacional boldly stated on February, 2 1950 that “Flying Saucers are manned by beings from another planet” while the Fechas newspaper asked: “Is Mars attacking us? The mystery of the flying saucers.” Such headlines were considered sensationalistic, but accurately reflected the interest and concern brought about by the disconcerting lights in the sky. On March 29, 1950, the phenomenon visited Castilian city of Burgos when the air traffic controllers of the city’s airport heard a loud, intensifying whistling sound similar to that of an airplane coming in for a landing, although nothing could be seen. Only a few minutes after 12:00 pm, the traffic controllers would be startled by the appearance of a triangular object approaching the control tower at breakneck speed, flying over it before executing a sharp eastward turn. The startled – and perhaps somewhat shaken – controllers were able to calculate that the triangular intruder was flying at nearly seventeen hundred kilometers an hour, far in excess of the speeds achieved by the fastest jet fighters of the time. This case would be among the most spectacular and best-documented of the “Spanish Wave of 1950”, as described by Antonio Ribera, who would go on to earn the distinction of being Spain’s foremost UFO researcher. Inspired by the pioneering work of French researcher Aimé Michel, Ribera attempted to track UFO activity along the “ortothenic” lines posited by Michel’s work. His early observations in March 1950 suggested that the bulk of the sightings were taking place along a straight-line between Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where an unknown object had been seen hovering over the sea on March 29, Seville and Villafría, the location of the airport in Burgos. “It is interesting to note,” said Ribera in one of his books, El Gran Enigma de los Platillos Voladores, “ that in almost all of these [sightings} the time displacement occurs in the order given. That is to say, from south to north, which appears to indicate that a large mothership could be located at some point over the Atlantic, in the vicinity of the western coast of Africa.” This statement speaks volumes about the thought process, quite generalized at the time, possibly on both sides of the ocean, that the “flying saucers” were scout ships flying out of interplanetary aircraft carriers or motherships.

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By the time the next major burst of UFO activity occurred in Spain in 1954, Ribera’s “ortothenic” map of Spain would be nearly complete. Is it possible that a Mexican miner, far from home and completely ignorant of the phenomena he was witness to, could have beaten Kenneth Arnold to the title of first witness of the modern UFO explosion? An intriguing affidavit, dated July 18, 1957 and featured in the appendix section of Trevor James Constable's They Live in The Sky (New Age Press, 1958), sworn by Pierre Perry, president of Arizona's Copper Mountain Mining Corporation, tells the story of how Mr. Perry was on his way to inspect a certain mineral deposit to the north of Prescott, PA on a broiling hot summer day in 1943. Journeying along with Perry were an anonymous prospector and Isidro Montoya, a Mexican miner. The story that follows should by all accounts be a classic in the annals of ufology: While fording the Agua Fría River on horseback around 5 p.m., Montoya, who was in the lead, shouted: "¡El diablo, el diablo!" (The Devil) "Overhead," states Perry in his affidavit. "a most terrific drama was unfolding that lasted only a few minutes. A military plane was in sight, so where the two large unidentified flying objects that looked like balloons without baskets. They were luminous and bright as the sun. The UFO's stood still as if waiting for the plane to approach, the pounced towards it. At the same time, they projected a violent luminous ray that could be compared with the large beam of a lighthouse." What followed was no less spectacular. The cohered energy beam hit its target and brought it down. The three onlookers saw the pilots eject from the plane, but another beam from the unknown craft caused the parachutes to catch fire and the men plummeted to their deaths. "The two bodies were later found," adds Perry. While unnerved and muttering orisons, Isidro Montoya was by no means a stranger to such visions. After crossing himself, he reportedly told Perry: "El diablo, señor...I have seen the same thing many times, señor..." The affidavit goes on to indicate that a third spherical intruder joined the two existing UFOs and the trio vanished south toward Mexico at breathtaking speed. The men on horseback turned back to notify the authorities, but military vehicles had already been dispatched. Perry's party guided the recovery team to where they had seen the stricken aircraft crash. "Parts were scattered all over the mountainside." It is interesting to note, among the cases of these early days of Mexican ufology, the collision of an experimental V-2 rocket on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez on May 29, 1947. The liberated German projectile was launched from the White Sands Missile Facilty and four seconds into the launch, due to a defective gyroscope, headed southward over El Paso and fell in the Ciudad Juarez cemetery. Ironically, this would prove to be but the first of many rocket launches gone astray into Mexican territory. By 1949, stories about a "flying saucer" collision in Mexico had become widespread. A man named Ray Dimmick told Californian newspapermen that "a shining disk" had collided against a mountain on the outskirts of Mexico City and that he himself had seen the wreckage of a "space craft" some sixty feet across. To add spice to his account,

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Dimmick alleged that the hapless saucer's dwarfish pilot's remains had been collected and preserved for future study. This Mexican crash would go on to become part of the vast corpus of such events collected by other UFO researchers such as Kevin Randle. The 1950's dawned upon a world terrified by the seemingly ubiquitous presence of Communism, the very real possibility of atomic annihilation, and the persistent reports of strange vehicles seen in the skies over the northern hemisphere. On March 3, 1950, a Mexican aviation official engaged in a routine tour of inspection of the airports in the northern regions of the country when he saw a curious yellowish disk suspended at an estimated altitude of15,000 over the city of Chihuahua's airport. A press report indicated that two airplanes--whether military or civilian--tried to intercept the object but were unable to reach it. By mid-March, the saucers were over Mexico City itself. On the 14th, many hundreds of witnesses reported seeing four flying saucers over Mexico's international airport, creating a sensation across the city. Activity reached its peak on March 21, when the El Nacional newspaper reported that an unidentified object was seen so clearly over Mexico City that movie camera operators were allegedly able to capture it on film. Sensational claims continued to emerge, such as the supposed collision of a saucer in the Sierra de Moronesa of Zacatecas--an impact that caused the earth to shake. People from all walks of life were beginning to report strange objects during this period. A professional wrestler known by his stage name, Aguila Blanca ("White Eagle"), was in his hometown of Querétaro one evening in 1956 when he decided to go to the movies. As he walked across a public park toward his destination, he became aware of a strange light hanging motionless in mid-air, which almost immediately descended upon the city to remain suspended at 200 meters over the ground. According to the wrestler, he was able to make out a series of lights resembling portholes around the structure, which he estimated to be some 50 meters in diameter and made of metal. The object remained motionless for approximately 10 minutes before heading away. In 1957, when most ufologists were still debating the wisdom of publishing reports indicating that UFOs could in fact land and leave ground traces, Mexican newspaper El Universal Gráfico published a comprehensive account on the alleged landing of a discoidal object in the community farms of San Juan de Aragón, an event witnessed by farmer Gilberto Espinoza. Although the incident had taken place in November of the preceding year, the newspaper ran its story in January 1958. An early UFO pursuit occurred on December 12, 1957, when a “speeding saucer” intercepted a Douglas DC-3 belonging to Aerolíneas Mexicanas over San Luis Potosí. Passengers aboard the aircraft were apparently petrified with fright as the pilot, Capt. Gilberto Alba, coolly put the DC-3 through a series of evasive maneuvers. If countries could hold an award ceremony for the one of their number that has endured some of the strangest and most terrifying UFO cases, Argentina would certainly emerge the winner or at least the runner-up. The world’s fifth largest country, with a landscape that includes the sub-Arctic conditions of Patagonia and the rainforests of the Gran Chaco, the Andean range and a coastal plain that offers some of the best cattle grazing fields on the planet, has plagued – rather than visited – by UFOs since the earliest days of the phenomenon’s modern stage and well into the colonial and pre-European past. The sightings of strange objects in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s were followed almost immediately by incidents involving occupants at a time when most researchers in the

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U.S. were understandably leery about going as far as suggesting that the strange lights in the sky could be manned. Nor were these visitors the type whose craft landed in France in the 50s, shaking hands and embracing stunned farmers (the Antoine Mazaud case of 1954) –South America’s UFO occupants would prove to be unreasonable and terrifying. The same month that officials at Spain’s Burgos airport were buzzed by an unknown triangular object, and while Mexico’s own air authorities witnessed the disk-shaped craft over Chihuahua, an Argentinean cattleman named Wilfredo Arevalo, not one given to musing about life elsewhere in the universe, was about to step into the pages of the history of the unknown. On Saturday, March 18, 1950, Arevalo had driven out to survey his ranch, Estancia La Blanqueada in Lago Argentino, some thirty kilometers distant from El Calafate, Province of Santa Cruz, with a farmhand to inspect the herd. It was then he noticed an object “shaped like the planet Saturn” issuing a reddish light some 20 meters away from the one of the livestock pens. Even more perplexing was the fact that another similar object hovered at a higher altitude as if keeping watch over its sister ship. The farmhand squealed and promptly hid under the dashboard, leaving Arévalo to stare stunned at the bizarre object that had appeared out of nowhere. Stranger than the object itself, however, was the semi-transparent dome that revealed the presence of four occupants – human looking and wearing grey outfits. At one point, one of the beings noticed Arévalo’s vehicle and the reddish orb rose into the air, vanishing at speed. Both Arévalo and his farmhand – now recovered from the shock – got out of the pickup truck to inspect the area over which the strange device had hovered. The grass was charred and the temperature at the site was warmer than the surrounding area. (Note: there is quite a bit of controversy regarding this case, as the witnesses – Arévalo and his farmhand – were unable to be located by successive generations of researchers). Argentina’s UFO chronicles in the mid-20th century began, as we can see, not just with what have come to be called the CE-1 cases but full-blown CE-III cases – a fact that attracted U.S. researchers Jim and Coral Lorenzen, who were the first to devote ample space to Latin American cases in their writings, even in the world was not ready for the high-strangeness quotient that some of these cases involved. In 1953, for instance, Eberto Villafañe was in the vicinity of Ichigualasto, Cerro del Valle (not far from the Huacañita mica mine) hunting guanacos when he decided to camp out. In the middle of the night he was overwhelmed by a blast of heat and woke up to see “a lovely woman” wearing green coverall. Singed by the heat, the hunter decided not to stick around. Puerto Rico – an eternal UFO hotspot that has blazed into searing, white-hot prominence several times in the 20th century – began its contemporary sequence of UFO cases on June 20, 1947, four days prior to Kenneth Arnold’s history-making encounter over Mount Rainier. Mrs. Maria Ayuso witnessed the passing of a “bright object at high speed over the skies of San Juan” at 5:30 p.m. from Puerta de Tierra in San Juan. Nor was Mrs. Ayuso alone in this – her husband, Dr. Rómulo Ayuso, was driving the family car when his wife suddenly asked him to pull over and look at the strange flying disk in the heavens. “The intense light it gave off,” said Maria Ayuso, was similar to what can be reflected by an aluminum pan held against the sun’s rays.” The newspaper article of this early sighting appeared in the July 10, 1947 issue of San Juan’s El Mundo newspaper. El Mundo’s issue for the previous day, coincidentally, had also carried the story of four witnesses – Americo Paoli, Miguel Orozco, Francisco Rodriguez and Julio Salazar – who reported seeing four luminous discs heading south in the night sky as they stood outside a pharmacy in San Juan at 2:35 am. Paoli, the manager of a taxi stand, noted that the

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objects “appeared to be flying at high speed and in pairs, separated by a short distance,” adding that “they were plate-shaped when tilted in such a way” that he could see their circumference, although they weren’t perfectly round. An attorney and his wife also reported seeing the same intriguing objects, adding that they had a “shiny, straw-like color.” As the sightings continued sporadically into the early 1950s, even newspaper writers themselves were having sightings. Miguel Angel Santin, senior writer for El Mundo, and an unnamed co-worker, were returning to their homes in the Puerto Nuevo sector of the city around ten thirty at night when they saw a luminous object traveling from east to west. “We thought that it couldn’t be a shooting star due to its trajectory, as these tend to fall very quickly. Furthermore, it gave off a greenish cast. The object was at an altitude of some 15 degrees and at an azimuth of some 5 degrees.” By 1952, UFO activity over the Caribbean island was in full swing, with cases being reported from parts of the island’s geography that would become well known in subsequent decades for the volume of reports issuing from them, particularly the waters of the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. On May 13, 1952 at seven o’clock in the evening, Miguel Angel Garcia, a prominent politician, was seated with his family at their residence in the city of Mayaguez, commanding a view of the city and its bay from a considerable elevation. García, his wife, daughter and son-in-law interrupted their conversation to look at two orange disks—one larger than the other-flying high over the Mona Passage. The politician promptly went inside for his field glasses and returned to study the unusual objects. The larger of the disks had “the apparent size of the sun, according to Garcia, and was static while the smaller one maneuvered around, switching positions with each other. García’s daughter Fredita managed to photograph the strange aerial ballet between the orange disks but nothing appeared on the film due to shortcomings in the Verichrome film employed. Other residents of Mayaguez also saw the disks, but believed them to be military devices from the Ramey Strategic Air Command base on the island’s northwestern tip. On August 3rd of that year, guests and staff at San Juan’s Caribe Hilton hotel reportedly saw a pair of saucer-shaped objects flying at a considerable height over the ocean. The staff members – Dominic Tutela and Ramón Rodriguez – said that they had looked out over one the ballroom terraces facing the sea at 7:45 that evening and saw the two discs, flying in a north-northeast direction high above the water. The Hilton experience is not without humor, as one of the guests who shared the sighting with the hotel workers believed the objects to be “giant butterflies with extremely bright bodies,” and had to be reassured that there were no giant butterflies to be found on the island. By the mid-1950s, interest in platillos voladores (sometimes shortened to plativolos) was widespread in many, if not most, Spanish-speaking countries. Hollywood’s contributions to the notion of visitors from another world – and the inevitable bug-eyed monsters – had already graced screens of movie theaters in Madrid, Buenos Aires and Mexico City. It was not uncommon to see the cartoon image of the flying saucer associated with progress and the technological future: business establishments with such names as “los OVNIS” or even “los marcianos” (the Martians) sprouted in many neighborhoods, where ballpoint pens (plumas atómicas – “atomic pens”) were replacing the fountain pen in growing numbers. A nascent body of people interested in knowing more about the phenomenon – ranging from scissors-toting scrapbookers to serious students of the metaphysical – was

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emerging in these countries. Some of them were devoted believers in spiritualist and theosophical doctrines who added belief in “visitors from another planet” as the next logical step in the evolution of the soul; others were academics and less spiritually inclined individuals who saw the possibility of “flying saucers” as being proof that humankind was finally advanced enough to be worthy of notice by infinitely more advanced spacefarers. From the musings and lectures of the metaphysicians emerged the early contactees, those who went beyond listening to the long messages dictated by trance-mediums or automatic writers to claim firsthand experiences with the “space brothers”. There is a certain charm to the early contactee accounts coming out of Latin America, as they contain elements strongly reminiscent of Jules Verne’s novels – portrayals of individuals coming into contact with the advanced technology of an alien race as opposed to a reclusive genius, with the resulting minute descriptions of the technology employed. In Spain, the emerging contactees and scholars of the new phenomenon shared a common origin, at least in Madrid: La Ballena Alegre (the Merry Whale), the basement of the street-level Cafe Lyon. In the smoke-filled recesses of this underground world, playwrights and priests gathered together to listen to the compelling oratory of Fernando Sesma, journalist and true believer, author of a newspaper column on the subject of the otherworldly. Sesma’s esoteric get-togethers would – in the fullness of time – give birth to one of the most spectacular UFO myths ever recorded: the UMMO affair. But in 1955, all eyes were on an alleged “Martian stone” given to Alberto Sanmartin, a hospital orderly, by a humanoid entity that irradiated love and understanding. The orderly bemusedly accepted the stone – crawling with strange glyphs – and watched the humanoid descend into a ravine, board his spacecraft and take off into the night sky. While many called the experience into question, others saw the stone as the first bonafide proof of an alien presence on Earth. Severino Machado, a priest, became Sanmartin’s strongest supporter, devoting hours of study to the mysterious signs on the stone. Father Machado’s long hours of study resulted in a pronouncement: the stone was not from Mars but from Saturn! The glyphs (considered random rubbish by an epigrapher who had examined it earlier) contained the following message: “Message from Saturn to Earth – we are on a round-trip voyage to establish links of friendship with all of Earth. There is a shorter path to reach you by employing the conjunction of a celestial body between Saturn and Earth...” and so forth. The priest and the “Martian stone” would eventually find their way to Sesma’s lectures at The Merry Whale. Machado has the distinction, however, of being the author of one of the first books on “flying saucers” published in Spain: Los Platillos Volantes Ante La Razón y la Ciencia (Madrid, 1955). “I am writing for the astronomer, for the physicist and for the man of science,” says Machado in his book, “in order that they may compare and contrast what I am saying and so that they may ascertain the truth of my words.” But these ruminations on alien visitors weren’t all that was going on in Spain at the time. In the early morning hours of December 6, 1954, a young construction worker named Juan Martínez was cycling his way to work in the town of Rentería amid the bonechilling winter rain. As his bicycle progressed along the road, he noticed a large object moving at high speed down the middle of the road and away toward him, giving off a dull yellowish light. Upon negotiating a curve on the road, he came face to face with a featureless rectangular craft with a single “spotlight” built into its structure. Terrified, Martinez fled the scene. A construction foreman inspecting the site would later find signs

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of flattened vegetation and very large footprints, as well as scattered debris. Months later, a truck driver and other local residents would report seeing a reddish object landing near the location, adjacent to a slate quarry, before taking off again in a vertical direction at high speed. One of the most charming stories of this early period of Iberian sauceriana remains, without a doubt, the encounter between a group of fifteen boys engaged in a pick-up soccer match outside the city of Badajoz in August 1956. Their animated afternoon game was interrupted by a sudden and deafening buzzing sound that came from the sky; all of the players looked up to see a strange object flying directly toward the barren field they used as makeshift soccer pitch. The object -- described as an elongated craft with a transparent cockpit “similar to that of a military aircraft” -- descended to within a few feet of the ground. Half of the players ran off to seek the help of grownups while the other half remained riveted to the spot until their elders arrived. The earthlings allegedly perceived movement within the craft, “greenish silhouettes” that responded with strange gestures to the frantic, friendly waving of the older humans. What could have been a perfect opportunity for a meeting of worlds ended abruptly as the object took to the air, accelerating into the distance. In January 1954, across the ocean from Spain and far from the animated get-togethers in a Madrid speakeasy, a man named Armando Zurbarán was negotiating the dangerous hairpin curves of the road connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. Zurbarán’s only concern at the time was reaching the Pacific port city before sunrise, in order to meet a business associate. He had left Mexico City at 2 A.M., ready to cover the six-hour trip. At some point during the drive, he was overcome by sensation of lethargy that caused him to pull over. Not far ahead on the road, he was able to see a number of men clad in overalls with wide belts gathered around a strange, brilliantly lit object. Before he realized, and having no idea how it happened, he was walking toward the object, escorted by the longhaired men. A slight buzzing sound filled his ears as he entered the saucer. Zurbarán was going down in history as his country's first contactee, and this was his first question to the ship's captain: Why had he been chosen for this honor? The stunned businessman was treated to a review of the smallest details of his life on a screen within the vehicle's wall and a tour of the ship's interior, guided by one of the fair, long-haired crewmen (reminiscent of Adamski's Venusians) who answered each of the puzzled human's questions in detail. The space travelers, he learned, employed an gravity repulsion system to cover the distance between their homeworld and Earth, scanning the space ahead of them with a radar-like device to dispel any objects that may lie in their path. Unlike other contactee stories of the time, Zurbarán's visitors did not claim to originate from any planet in the Solar System, nor did they mention their planet of origin by name. The craft, he learned, had taken off while he was unaware and was now in space. Zurbarán peered out a porthole, hoping for a glimpse of the world seen from above, but could only see a grayish mist until at a distance of 40,000 kilometers, the ship's captain pointed out the planet to him through another porthole. Excited by the vista, the human asked the Captain if he could perhaps be taken to visit their world, but his request was turned down. He was told that perhaps someday such an invitation would be tendered, at the right moment.

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So far, we are faced with typical abductee fare, reading more like the diary of Jules Verne's Professor Arronax when taken aboard Captain Nemo's Nautilus. But Zurbarán's experience departs from others in this respect: he was able to sleep a normal sleep and eat with the UFO's crew. His description of taking a shower in space is particularly memorable: "I shall never be able to forget it. That bathroom was a new and unimaginable experience for me. Standing upright, facing an angle of the wall filled with tiny holes, I was covered in warm air, and as it grew stronger, it became transformed into damp air, impregnating my skin like a warm, wet breeze. When I was completely drenched, I was offered a sort of liquid soap that I rubbed all over myself, from head to toe. Standing once more before the warm air sprinklers, I felt the soap begin to evaporate and my skin become completely clean. The air then ceased to be damp, turning dry and warm instead...becoming colder until agreeably cool." After their meal, the Captain proceeded to regale Zurbarán with his world's philosophy, religion and history: children and the elderly received special consideration, and there was equality between the occupations. The average life span was of some 250 years, and collaboration had replaced competition in the area of commerce...a utopia made possible by a being they termed "The Master" or "Beloved Number Nine", who was at the heart of their religion, and who had ruled them for a span of three thousand earth-years. The spaceship returned Zurbarán to his car by the roadside. Confused but excited by his experience, he continued the balance of his drive to Acapulco, learning upon his arrival that it had only taken him an hour and a half to complete a six-hour journey. A year before Zurbarán’s experience, another experience involving allegations of contact between an unsuspecting human and visitors from space had occurred far from Acapulco. In August 1953, a humble taxi driver named Salvador Villanueva, had been hired by an American couple to drive them from Mexico City to Laredo, Texas (an undertaking that probably deserves a story all to itself). Halfway along the journey, Villanueva’s cab broke down, prompting his passengers to hike back to the nearest town in search of a mechanic or a tow truck. He would never see them again. Alone on the arid roadside, Villanueva was startled by the unexpected arrival of a longhaired man wearing “a kind of aviator outfit” and bearing a helmet under his arm. The man asked him in a gentle voice if there was something wrong with the car. The cabbie was startled by the strange flashing belt worn by his interlocutor and was unable to reply. The stranger donned his helmet and went away. Villanueva put the tire jack back into the trunk and made ready to spend the night in the wilderness; his sleep was eventually interrupted by a tapping on the driver’s side window – the helmeted stranger had brought a companion, dressed in the same “aviator” type gear. A conversation ensued in which the strangers told Villanueva they were from another world, one with a single ocean and not many, like our planet. They offered to show Villanueva their own “automobile”; the taxi driver accepted and soon found himself staring at “a flattened sphere, like a ball with some of the air taken out” with round portholes. The entire craft – as Villanueva would tell researcher Ramiro Garza – resembled “a buoy buried in the ground” more than anything else. Within the strange vessel, Villanueva reported seeing “enormous steering wheels” arrayed in three different rows. There was no visible machinery, only a sort of sofa. The “aviators” sat on either end of the sofa and the taxi driver occupied the middle, looking out at the world through the vessel’s transparent hull (opaque from the outside). The

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vessel took off and the strange men offered Villanueva “a view of his world and their own” before returning him to the roadside—five days later, as he would learn with consternation. The contactee reported feeling in high spirits and filled with optimism, although a series of painful, crippling headaches followed shortly after. Abandoning the damaged car to its fate, Villanueva hitched a ride back to Mexico City, where he underwent medical care for the uncontrollable migraines. In the fullness of time he would write Yo Estuve en el Planeta Venus about his experiences on the second planet from the Sun and the aftermath, stressing that Venus was insect-free and with a flora consisting predominantly of fruit trees, some of them similar to those on Earth; all Venusians had the same shoulder length hair and enviable physiques, but Villanueva was startled by the presence of smaller creatures standing no taller than eighty centimeters. These were not children, but smaller versions of adult Venusians “freshly minted” through “a laboratory process”. The notion of Venus, Venusians and saucers from the second planet would play a major role in popular culture: in 1960, Mexican comedians Viruta and Capulina (Gaspar Henaine) would star in Los Astronautas, a comedy in which X7 and X8 – voluptuous Venusian females true to the space opera tradition – come to Earth in search of husbands and whisk the hapless protagonists off to their homeworld. This was also the period of the first serious books on the phenomenon and of the creation of the early research organizations. Some of these early texts were compilations of U.S. cases, ranging from the Kenneth Arnold sighting to the experiences of Daniel Fry in New Mexico, with lengthy disquisitions on the possibility of life in the universe. Ismael Diego Pérez, a Mexican author, self-published “¿Son los platillos voladores una realidad?” (Are flying saucers real?) in 1955; a year later Hector Espinoza would release Enigma Interplanetario: Los Plativolos y Barcos del Espacio (Interplanetary Engima – Flying Saucers and Vessels from Space), discussing the probable propulsion methods employed by putative spaceships. In Spain, Eduardo Buelta’s Astronaves sobre la Tierra (Spaceships Over the Earth) would appear in 1955 in Barcelona, while the irrepressible Fernando Sesma’s own Los Platillos Volantes Vienen de Otros Mundos (Flying Saucers Come From Other Worlds) would hit the newsstands in Madrid that same year. Ironically, it would be Sesma’s alien-flavored chat sessions that would give rise to BURU, Spain’s first UFO research organization, although some complained that the acronym, if it meant anything all, was a secret that Sesma kept to himself. But the honor of being the first UFO book in Spain, according to Ignacio Cabria, fell upon Manuel Pedrajo, a native of the northern city of Santander, who was fascinated by the Scandinavian “ghost rocket” crisis of 1946 and became an avid collector of news clippings regarding flying saucers. In 1954, he presented his book Los Platillos Voladores y la Evidencia (Flying Saucers and the Evidence) for publication but had it rejected. Undaunted, Pedrajo self-published and his thousand or so copies were sold almost immediately by those interested in reading his conclusions on the “Martian” origin of the flying saucers and the expeditions launched to our big blue marble from the Red Planet. In Argentina, 1956 would witness the creation of the CODOVNI organization (Comisión Observadora de Objetos Voladores No Identificados) by aviation pioneer Ariel Ciro Rietti and Cristián Vogt. Only a year before, Captain Jorge Milberg would translate and write the prologue for Flying Saucers From Outer Space, published by Circulo Aeronautico. The distinction, however, of being the first UFO related book written in Argentina

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corresponds to an earlier author, James Dawson (pseudonym) who wrote ¿Vienen de Otro Mundo los Platos Voladores? in 1953, followed by Origen, Estructura and Destino de los Platos Voladores by Jorge Duclout the same year. Cristián Vogt would pen his own work on flying saucers, El Misterio de los Platos Voladores, in 1956. Interest in the UFO phenomenon at the time was on the rise, perhaps due to saucer activity during the 1954-56 period, mirroring the increase of cases in Europe and the northern part of South America. On December 28, 1954, a troupe of actors driving from the city of San Rafael to Mendoza along Route 143 noticed a bright light near Cerro Guaiqueria – bright enough to cause the driver to pull over in order for all the passengers to get a better look at the phenomenon. One of the women in the car, Maria Luisa G.H. de Amaya, a history professor and gifted concert pianist, claimed having seen two humanoid figures standing beside the bright source of light; the first figure appeared to be scooping something off of the ground to hand to the second one. The unknown craft was described as having the shape of two deep, superimposed bowls joined at their edges, irradiating a bluish light that illuminated the entire object and generated a sort of fog around it. No doors or windows were visible, although all present agreed that its size, roughly similar to that of a bus, was one of the most impressive features. At no time were the onlookers blinded by the light or suffered any physical effects. Moments later, both figures vanished into the light, which rose into the air and faded in an out, as though appearing and disappearing, all the while issuing smoke from its base. The percipients placed the entire duration of their sighting at between thirty minutes to an hour. According to Mrs. Amaya, the emotional impact of seeing this unknown object and its occupants was second only to the birth of her first child. In 1955, witnesses in the Buenos Aires suburb of Caseros reportedly saw a UFO containing white-garbed humanoid occupants, seemingly laughing and even backslapping. When one of the humanoids became aware of the onlookers, he touched one of the instrument panels visible in the object’s “cockpit”, prompting the UFO to disappear, yet again, at breakneck speed. At least four major reports involving flying saucers and occupants emerged from Entre Ríos, Salta and Córdoba. Activity at the halfway point of the 1950s was not circumscribed to Spain, Mexico and Argentina – other countries like oil-rich Venezuela were stepping onto the scene with fascinating cases of their own. Perhaps the best known of these is the now-legendary case involving truck drivers Gustavo González and Juan Ponce on November 28, 1954 near the town of Petare. At two o’clock in the morning, as the two men were on their way to drop off a shipment, they found the road obstructed by a large, luminous sphere that hovered above the pavement. Curious, both men got out of the truck for a better look, only to be confronted by a very unpleasant sight: a three or four foot tall creature, covered in hair, with clawed eyes and glowing eyes. Unafraid of the animal or creature, Gonzalez grabbed it and hoisted it into the air to throw it, but the entity gave the startled driver a push that sent him flying over a dozen feet back. Ponce ran to the aid of his fellow driver, attacking the hairy creature with a knife. But far from stabbing deep into the monster’s vitals, the knife appeared to strike something as hard as rock or metal. At that moment, two other creatures resembling the first emerged from the bushes; the non-humans jumped into their glowing sphere of light, but not before flashing a blinding light at the humans.

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Coral Lorenzen’s “Flying Saucers: Evidence of the Startling Invasion from Outer Space” offers an interesting additional note to this case. One of the physicians who attended Gustavo Gonzalez’s wounds following the otherworldly scuffle reported that he had been a witness to the Petare incident while out on a night call. He had seen the object and the stopped truck, as well as the confrontation, but feared becoming the object of negative publicity and his statements to the Venezuelan authorities regarding this case included a request that his name not be associated with Gonzalez’s and Ponce’s struggle against the unknown assailants. In Spain, one of the most significant cases of the last third of the decade took place in Girona, near the Ter River, in October 1958. José Angelú was driving home from work around seven o’clock in the evening when an unusual sight in the heavens caused him to stop. A powerful source of white light was approaching a copse of pine trees near the road, closing in at high speed. After reaching the dense trees, the flashing light vanished and Angelú believed for a moment that he had witnessed a plane crash. Getting out of his car, the witness ventured into the woods to find the downed aircraft, but never expected to see the sight that hovered in air before him: suspended some twenty feet off the ground was an aluminum-colored oval object with a small transparent dome, issuing a buzzing sound “similar to nozzles issuing a powerful rush of air.” But the good samaritan’s bewilderment would increase exponentially upon realizing that the buzzing object was the least remarkable item – staring at him intently only a short distance away were two large-headed humanoid creatures, dressed in dark suits made of an unfamiliar, leather-like fabric. The encounter lasted an estimated fifteen minutes before the strange creatures entered the object and took off into the night. The files of the late, great researcher Antonio Ribera included a case from the summer of 1958. Three witnesses – Juan Corrons, Francisco de Rojas and Maria Rosa Amadó – were chatting on the rooftop of the Rojas home in downtown Barcelona late in the afternoon. Suddenly, they became aware of a silvery cylindrical object flying slowly in a north-south direction. Reports of such “motherships” would become a staple in Catalonian UFO reports, most notably the Vallés sightings in eastern Barcelona province. “Nearly all of them,” wrote Ribera, “involved large motherships, silver cylinders glowing intensely under the rays of the sun at dawn and at sunset.” On October 24, 1959, one such mothership flew over the eastern Vallés, seen by hundreds of witnesses who described it as a silver cylinder, tilted at a 45-degree angle. Newspapers and radio stations were flooded with mail from witnesses reporting what they had seen and requesting explanations; debunkers had a hard time brushing the sighting off as “weather balloon” activity. On December 16, another “mothership” was reported at daybreak toward the east. Two days later, twin saucers were reported over the same area. These observations would continue well into the first few months of 1960. Argentina’s UFO activity would continue unabated during the final third of the 1950s. In August 1957, less than twenty kilometers from the town of Quilino, Province of Cordoba, a serviceman with the Argentinean Air Force heard a very loud and acute buzzing sound. He got out of his tent to take a look and was startled to see a disk-shaped object coming in for a landing, causing a whirlwind that shook surrounding trees and grass. Frightened, the airman reached for his sidearm but was unable to draw it. “It appeared to be welded to its holster,” he would later say. A voice issued from the unknown craft, assuaging his fear and informing him that “interplanetary visitors already had a base in the region of

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Salta” and would soon make their presence known all over the world. Their avowed mission, it seems, was to discourage humans from misusing atomic energy. Although we have concentrated on the early days of the UFO phenomenon in four countries – Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain – it is almost impossible to end any examination of matters ufological in the 1950s without including the Antonio Villas Boas (AVB) case from Portuguese-speaking Brazil. Many researchers and writers have agreed that were it necessary to sum up ufology in a single case, the one involving the strange experience of this young Brazilian farmer would indisputably be the one to select. Veteran Brazilian ufologist Fernando Cleto reminisces about the surreal days of this most unusual case: "...being a friend of Joao Martins, I already knew enough about the event in his own words. One one occasion, I read letters written by Villas Boas and even managed to see a small model of the "flying saucer" and of one of its occupants--small rustic statuettes whittled out of wood by Villas Boas himself. I also recall that Joao Martins was completely opposed to making this case known to the public, for which reason it was disclosed much later[...]after Dna. Irene Granchi disclosed the case overseas, I published my own opinion in this regard in a Belgian or British magazine--I can't remember which. I made an observation which greatly favored the Villas Boas case." As if the incredible AVB required any further bolstering, Fernando Cleto managed to show that there had indeed been sightings of the same elongated oval vehicle elsewhere in Brazil prior to the date of the events in the AVB case. "I remember," says Cleto, "that a few days prior to October 15, 1957, there was a case in the interior of the State of Goiás. A car was forced off the roadway by a force issuing from a "flying saucer". The driver described something that bore a strong connection to what Villas Boas had seen. He compared the UFO to a helicopter, at first, with the power to exert traction...and to have seen occupants similar to those seen by Villas Boas. There is no doubt that on November 6, 1957, Colonel Ivo Gastaldoni, who was on the way to the hospital to see his newly born daughter, was summoned by his command to see a UFO hovering directly over the Cumbica Air Base. The colonel remarked that the object was high up in the air and well out of the reach of the base's fighters. His overall impression was that it resembled some sort of egg-shaped craft with a helicopter blade spinning over the ovoid fuselage. "The event with the driver before October 15, 1957, when added to the November 6 case," writes Cleto. "coincided with the description given by Villas Boas for his own object and impressed me greatly. It was as if a certain model of UFO carrying a very special crew complement had been operating a given region of Brazil for a given period of time while on a special mission." Ufologist Cleto notes in his memorandum regarding the AVB case that Joao Martins' reluctance to disclose the particulars of the astonishing event was to keep mentally unbalanced individuals from conjuring up similar scenarios. But what exactly happened to Antonio Villas Boas? The deposition taken by investigator Dr. Olavo T. Fontes and subsequently delivered to Brazil's Ministry of the Navy remains the cornerstone of research into the case. It was taken in Fontes' office on February 22, 1958 and witnessed by journalist Martins himself.

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Villas Boas began by stating that he was 23 years old at the time and was a farmer by profession. He lived on a fazenda on the outskirts of Sao Francisco de Sales, Minas Gerais, not far from Sao Paul and came from a large family composed of two brothers and three sisters who all lived in the immediate area. The young farmer explained that it was their custom to work two shifts during the planting season: one at night, which he was responsible for, and another by day that was handled by farmhands. On October 5, 1957, Villas Boas went to bed at 11:00 p.m. following a party at the farmhouse. He shared the room with his younger brother Joao, and they were both witnesses to a strange nocturnal light that lit up the entire room and had its source in one of the animal pens on the farm. It was ten days later--on October 15--that Antonio Villas Boas would have his historic experience. While driving his tractor, he noticed a shining star that increased in brightness as if descending to earth. "In a matter of seconds," he told his interviewers. "it turned into a very shiny oval object headed straight for me. He tried to escape from it by speeding up the tractor, but the object had already landed some 10 to 15 meters ahead of the tractor. "It got closer and I was able to see, for the very first time, that it was a strange device with a slightly rounded shape, encircled by small lights and with a large, enormous red light in front, from which came all the light I could see when it was higher...the machine's shape was now clearly visible. It resembled a large, elongated egg with three spurs in front." AVB added the curious detail that "something appeared to be spinning at high speed on top of the vehicle and gave off a reddish fluorescent light." Seized by terror, Antonio jumped off the tractor in hopes of eluding his pursuers on foot, but the furrowed terrain made a speedy getaway impossible. The next thing he new, someone had seized him by the arm. It was a figure much shorter than he, wearing a "strange outfit" and a helmet. The farmer pushed the figure away and managed to knock it to the ground, but three more similarly-dressed figures turned up, seizing him by his arms and legs, and bore him off to the waiting craft. Villas Boas indicated that he did not go off meekly to face whatever fate was in store for him: he kicked, screamed and hurled insults at the helmeted intruders. Given the narrowness of the vehicle's access stairway, the farmer managed to break away from his captors, but their uncanny strength and superior numbers overpowered him once more. The humanoids dragged him into the craft, where he was stripped naked and subjected to several indignities. His captors drew a blood sample from his chin using a chalice-like device, and after slathering him with a strange liquid that covered his entire body, he was taken to a room--unfurnished but for a couch--were he was left alone for some twenty minutes, by his count. At this point, a mixture of fear, nausea and coldness, coupled to the stench of a strange gas that was pumped into the room, led him to vomit in one of the corners. "After a long time," Villas Boas said, "a noise at the door startled me. I turned in that direction and was shocked to see that it was now open and a woman was entering the room, walking toward me. She was approaching slowly, perhaps amused at the astonishment that must have been visible on my face. My jaw had dropped and with good reason. This woman was completely naked, as was I, and barefoot. She was also pretty; although different from the women I'd known. Her hair was an almost whitish shade of blonde, as if bleached with peroxide, straight and not very abundant, necklength and with the ends curled inward. Her eyes were blue and large, narrower than

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round and slanted outward--like the pencil-painted eyes of those girls who fancy themselves Arabian princesses and make their eyes look slanted; that's what they were like. Only it was a completely natural effect, since there was no paint at all involved." The strange liquid which had been spread over his body, apparently some sort of aphrodisiac, began to work as Antonio felt less tense as the small woman began to caress him, ultimately seducing him. "It sounds incredible," he confessed to Fontes and Martins during the interview, "given the situation I was in. I believe that the liquid they rubbed on me was the cause of it. All I know is that I felt an uncontrollable sexual excitement, which had never happened to me before. I forgot about everything and held the woman, returning her caresses with my own. We ended up on the couch, where we had relations for the first time. It was a normal act and she responded like any woman. Then came a period of more caressing followed by more sexual relations. In the end, she was tired and breathing quickly. I was still excited, but she now refused and tried to get away. When I noticed that, I cooled down too. That was what they wanted from me, a good stallion to improve their stock." The door opened once more and two of the "crewmen" appeared, summoning the woman away. Before leaving, she turned to the farmer and pointed at her belly, then pointing him, and finally at the heavens. Curiously, Villas Boas took this to mean "she would return to take me from where it was she came." After having served as breeding stock, Antonio was unceremoniously led off the vehicle, which took off immediately. Returning to his tractor, Villas Boas learned that the time was now five thirty in the morning. Estimating that it had been around 1:15 a.m. when he was abducted, his entire experience had lasted some four hours and fifteen minutes. "My mother told me shouldn't become involved with those people again. I didn't have the courage to tell my father, since I had already told him about the light that appeared over the pens, and he didn't believe me, telling me that I was seeing things..." Villas Boas concluded. After his traumatic experience, Villas-Boas withdrew from public life to pursue his studies, earning a law degree and becoming a practicing attorney in the city of Formosa, Goias, while running a small business on the side. He died in late 1992 in the city of Uberaba, in Brazil's Triángulo Minero. In June 1993, the late Dr. Walter K. Buhler, president of the Sociedad Brasileira de Estudios Sobre Discos Voadores (SBDEDV), disclosed the fact that between 1962-63, his organization had received an anonymous letter from the U.S., inviting Villas-Boas to visit this country in order to examine a recovered flying saucer in the possession of the American military. This letter was sent to Formosa, state of Goiás by Dr. Buhler. Allegedly, Villas Boas's son advised him that his father had indeed visited to the United States to inspect the object but had kept silent the rest of his life concerning the visit. “There is no truth to the rumor that flying saucers are from Spain, or are piloted by Spaniards.” This statement, made in 1948 by no less than Gen. Charles Spaatz, the U.S. Army Air Force Chief of Staff, could have easily been echoed by one of his military counterparts across the ocean in an effort to reassure the public that the ubiquitous flying objects being reported everywhere at the time (and commanding a fair share of Hollywood budgets) were not from the U.S. or piloted by Americans.

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The fact of the matter is that many sky watchers – civilian and military alike – were wondering exactly what was the provenance of the strange objects filling their skies. In a world emerging from a global conflict and entering the uncertainty of the Cold War, rumors ran rife. Were the objects Nazi holdout weapons being used by what former U.S Defense Secretary Rumsfeld would’ve termed “dead-enders”? Or more unsettling still, the results obtained by technicians from the former Third Reich now at the beck and call of the Soviet regime? To some, perhaps, the possibility of hostile or meddlesome visitors from another star system was more palatable than the first two. The fact that the rest of the planet underwent the same intense UFO activity in the mid20th century is often lost among the cascades of information regarding the Roswell Crash and its ancillary incidents. Nevertheless, Spanish and South American files present the reader with a no less impressive array of cases from that very same period in time. A great deal of UFO scholarship is concentrated on the time period that spans the Truman and Eisenhower administrations – the period known as “The Fifties”, even when its cultural borders do not exactly match the chronological ones. A culture of large cars, fear of juvenile delinquency, terrified by the Red Menace and disquieted by flying saucers. Interestingly enough, the cultural construct of the “The Fifties” does not truly exist beyond the U.S.A and perhaps Canada. The decade of abundance and rock and roll meant little to a Europe slowly emerging from the ravages of a world war; Central and South America went on much the same as they had a decade earlier. No sock-hops there, either. But the presence of “flying saucers” became a common denominator worldwide as a citizenry pushed unwillingly into the Nuclear Age -- and beguiled by the promise of the incipient Space Age -- began to show interest in the strange things happening in the skies overhead. But the mid-20th century was different. Science fiction had already made inroads on the popular imagination and thoughts of venusinos and marcianos –whether courtesy of comic books or Flash Gordon serials dubbed into Spanish – raised the intriguing possibility that sentient beings, either much like ourselves or wholly monstrous, occupied these distant yet somehow familiar orbs. The platillo volador even became commonplace in movies, particularly comedies. World politics served to further rarify the atmosphere, as nuke-toting superpowers glared at each other from opposing hemispheres. Thoughts of benevolent space aliens bent on keeping humanity from annihilation filled the minds of many. Puerto Rico, for instance, had emerged from over half a century of post-colonial mismanagement, natural disasters and starvation to become a self-governing commonwealth under the U.S. flag in 1952. That very same year, the old Borinquen Army Air Field in the island’s northwestern tip welcomed the arrival of the Strategic Air Command’s 72nd Bombardment Wing and its B-36’s, placing the island in harm’s way in the extent of any East-West hostilities. The jitters probably got worse when Statofortresses were stationed at the end of the decade (the reader will allow a brief digression at this point: the Borinquen Air Field was renamed Ramey Air Force Base in honor of Gen. Howard Ramey, a casualty of World War II, and not after Brig. Gen Roger Ramey of the 8th Army Air Force – one of the main players in the Roswell controversy). The wish for a saucer-enforced Pax Intergalactica in those troubled times tinted the messages of the active contactee communities of the period.

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UFO activity over the Puerto Rico was commonplace in 1952. Cases were being reported from one part of the island to another, mentioning specific locations that would become familiar “hot spots” later in the century. The turbulent waters of the Mona Passage, separating Puerto Rico from the island of Hispaniola, were a particularly rich source of sightings. On May 13, 1952 at seven o’clock in the evening, prominent politician Miguel Angel Garcia was spending time with his family at their home in the city of Mayaguez, commanding a view of the city and its bay from a considerable elevation. García, his wife, daughter and son-in-law interrupted their conversation to look at two orange disks—one larger than the other-- flying high over the Mona Passage. The politician promptly went inside for his field glasses and returned to study the unusual objects. The larger of the disks had “the apparent size of the sun, according to Garcia, and was static while the smaller one maneuvered around, switching positions with each other. García’s daughter Fredita managed to photograph the strange aerial ballet between the orange disks but nothing appeared on the film due to shortcomings in the Verichrome film employed. Other residents of Mayaguez also saw the disks, but believed them to be military devices undergoing flight tests out of Ramey AFB – in an age of technical wonders, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable possibility. On August 3rd of that year, guests and staff at San Juan’s Caribe Hilton hotel reportedly saw a pair of saucer-shaped objects flying at a considerable height over the ocean. The staff members – Dominic Tutela and Ramón Rodriguez – said that they had looked out over one the ballroom terraces facing the sea at 7:45 that evening and saw the two discs, flying in a north-northeast direction high above the water. The Hilton experience is not without humor, as one of the guests who shared the sighting with the hotel workers believed the objects to be “giant butterflies with extremely bright bodies,” and had to be reassured that there were no giant butterflies to be found on the island. On August 8th , Robert Daly, a weights-and-measures inspector, reported seeing two disks over San Juan at four thirty in the morning. Naysayers abounded, following the lead of Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg’s rebuttal of the existence of flying saucers. Dr. F. Bueso, chair of Natural Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico, told the press that “all that has been said about flying saucers amounts to lies and tall-tales. It would not be surprising if someone should suddenly report seeing brightly colored macaws singing La Borinqueña (Puerto Rico’s national anthem).” (El Mundo, 09.05.52) Dr. Bueso’s brightly colored macaws may have been practicing their scales even as a new sighting occurred. On October 6, 1952, photographer Frank McFerran and his wife beheld a brilliant light near Mayaguez as they drove along the road in the early evening. The object began changing colors and casting reflections on the sea surface. The McFerrans parked their vehicle at Punta Guanajibo and believed the object to be near the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. After twenty minutes of changing colors, the object vanished, prompting the witnesses to speculate that it had plunged into the ocean. A few days later, reports of strange lights would come from Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior: Jaime Báez, a local merchant, was stunned by an object described as “a flying saucer of considerable size and unexpected brightness.” So bright, in fact, that another witness, schoolteacher Aida Reyes, had to close her eyes, comparing its brilliance with that of the sun.

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Writing in his landmark book Manifiesto Ovni, Sebastián Robiou mentions cases involving multiple witnesses in the suburbs of San Juan. A circular, yellowish orb of light that was believed at first to be a balloon stunned residents of the Santa Rita urbanization with its repeated orbits of their development. The object had the apparent size of a dime, and Robiou provides the witnesses’ names, all living on the same street. The last case of this early Fifties saucer wave over Puerto Rico also occurred over an urban area: a “flying saucer” flew so low over the Floral Park area of Hato Rey that people were able to hear what they took to be its engine, causing confusion. Between seven and eight in the evening on October 23rd, Mr. Buenaventura Quiñones and his wife Sylvia reported a glowing disk that made a buzzing sound similar to that of an electric motor. It would later turn out that their neighbors had seen the same object on previous evenings and at the same time of night. At this point, it is interesting to note that the late Morris K. Jessup, tragic protagonist of the legendary “Varo Papers” incident, published a supplement to his The Case for the UFO which bore the title “The UFO Reporter”. This six-page document mentions a miniflap taking place in Florida, specifically centered around Miami. “South Florida and the neighboring oceanic areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean Region of the Bahamas have long been a theatre of mystery, particularly with regard to such phenomena as have been attributed to UFO in The Case for the UFO,” writes Jessup in his addendum. “When the UFO were plaguing Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1952, there was a veritable rash of UFO phenomena centered around Miami, Florida!” Jessup enumerates thirty-one entries in which objects resembling parallelograms, yellow-orange objects, moon-like phenomena and balls of fire are reported between July and September 1952, with some later dates added in. Entry #25 reads: “There were many reports from Cuba during this period. They are well documented in the Spanishlanguage press of Havana.” Dr. Jessup was not exaggerating, and we shall see some of these cases later on. Another writer of the times, Harold T. Wilkins, was moved to say the following about these years in the pages of his Flying Saucers on the Attack (NY: Ace, 1954): “...some types of the flying saucers follow a curious pattern in flight. These objects rise slowly and vertically from the surface of the earth, then move for a short way in a horizontal line, again rise vertically, and in a series of steps, reach the desired altitude, and finally accelerate in a tremendous burst of speed.” The vertical ascents and rapid accelerations were clearly present in the Caribbean cases. A four-year hiatus ensued after this early wave of sightings in Puerto Rico. Perhaps the unknown objects had learned all there was to know about humanity, or had else despaired from imposing peace upon bellicose mankind. On March 11, 1957 Pan Am Airlines Flight 257 from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico, had a brush with the unknown: at four thirty in the morning, while passengers slept or engaged in quiet conversation with each other, the pilot, Captain Matthew Van Winkle, was forced to make a violent evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with a strange bolide that was heading right toward the airliner. Passengers and flight attendants – except for those who had wisely never unfastened their seatbelts – flew out of their seats and crashed into the

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bulkheads. According to reports, the pilot had seen an object described as having "a shiny greenish core and an outer ring that reflected the inner glow." Frantically executing an evasive maneuver, Van Winkle climbed 1500 feet above the object in a matter of seconds. According to San Juan’s El Mundo newspaper, Van Winkle’s initial impression was that he was seeing the burning exhaust gases of a rocket airplane, followed by a glowing light. Pilots from other airlines two to three hundred miles away, flying the same route toward Puerto Rico, reportedly saw the same object. John Walsh, a pilot with TransCaribbean Airways, very much doubted that “he’d seen a meteorite.” Airplanes had always been a source of curiosity to the unknown objects along the decade, and Captain Van Winkle was hardly an exception. A few months after his experience, a Brazilian pilot would have a similar encounter on the Rio-to-Victoria route: after following the airliner at a distance, a round object emitting light from its upper and lower sections entered a cloud formation, enabling the plane’s passengers and crew to make out “illuminated portholes or windows” on the object’s structure. When the intruder exited the cloud, it no longer showed any lights, vanishing in the general vicinity of Guaraparí. The summer of ’57 would bring more UFO activity to the Caribbean Basin and beyond. On June 4th at around seven o’clock in the morning, a tremendous luminous object crossed the skies over Venezuela, flying over the Sierra de Coro before the eyes of many witnesses as the local airport. An hour later, a deafening explosion caused by a luminous, Sun-sized orb shook the ground near Arapuey, prompting many to wonder if the nuclear holocaust had already begun, engulfing their unimportant mountain hamlets. Venezuela would continue to report significant activity for weeks, ranging from gigantic disks hovering over cement factories, cigarette-shaped craft speeding by at remarkable speeds, and even more explosions of unknown origin (EUOs?) like the ones that shook the city of Carora on June 3-4, 1957, felt over a thousand-kilometer radius. Information has emerged in recent years on Cuba’s UFO sightings in the 1950s. One would think that with all the excitement on the ground in pre-Revolutionary days, few would be inclined to look up. And in fact, the earliest UFO report from the largest island in the Caribbean comes not from terrestrial onlookers but from a pilot: On March 16, 1950, Captain Miguel Murciano of the Compañía de Aviación Cubana reported having timed the progress of an unknown object over Antilla airport on the island’s eastern edge. The strange object, he said, was traveling at extraordinary speeds at an altitude in excess of five thousand feet “covering eight degrees in sixteen minutes” – a measurement aided by a theodolite. According to Captain Murciano, he first saw the object at ten fifteen a.m. during a routine flight from Santiago de Cuba to Antilla. All crewmembers and passengers saw the object due to the excellent visual conditions, agreeing that whatever it was, it wasn’t an airplane. Dr. Sergio Cervera of the Comisión Investigadora de Fenómenos Aéreos (CIFA) compiled a list of significant UFO-related cases in Cuba going as far back as the 1930s. Dr. Cervera’s notes for the year 1952 include a sighting by some fifty witnesses in the village of Candonga, Palma Soriano Municipality, in Oriente Province. A very bright light appeared over the community, remained suspended, and then began zigzagging, engaging in a “cosmic ballet” that mesmerized onlookers for nearly an hour. In 1953, Mr. Waldo Martinez, a former lieutenant in the Cuban army, was driving a military jeep toward a hospital in the city of Trinidad when his vehicle’s engine shut down after taking a hairpin curve. It was then he noticed a powerful green light flying past his jeep,

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landing some 200 meters away. According to the Cervera archives, the object’s lights dimmed as the jeep regained its power and Mr. Martinez and his passengers resumed their journey. This CE-2 included the discovery of a burned circle on the ground, measuring some sixty feet across. Researcher Orestes Girbau mentions an unusual event that took place on July 5, 1959 in the Bay of Matanzas on the island of Cuba. A group of Boy Scouts and their troop leaders had gone out on a hike along the coast, setting out from the Versalles district of the city. The time was nine thirty in the morning under clear, sunny skies. The thirty or so people involved had no idea that they would soon be going down in history as part of one of the Caribbean’s most intriguing cases of that decade. “Unexpectedly,” writes Girbau in Nuestros Foráneos, “shouts were heard from the scoutmasters, saying: look at that! as the entire formation broke ranks and ran toward the beach. Impressed, they watched an object which, according to the first of that number to see it, had emerged from the sea and was balancing gently only a few meters over the surface. The object was oval-shaped, although some insisted it was shaped like a top and yet others described it as a disk. Seconds later, the glowing disk leveled off, parallel with the sea, and rose straight up at an astonishing rate of speed, vanishing into the blue in less than 15 seconds.” Once settled down, the witnesses agreed that the object was metallic in appearance and silver in color. Corroboration for the large group’s experience came from a nearby boat with two fishermen who bemusedly watched the phenomenon. The device, writes Girbau, was wingless and between 20 and 26 feet in diameter, noiseless and lacking any manner of exhaust. On July 6, 1959, the Adelante newspaper ran a headline reading: “Strange Machine in the Bay of Matanzas”, claiming that the exact nature of the object remained unclear “in spite of the investigations conducted...with the inevitable speculation as to whether it was a flying saucer or another of object of the kind that flies through space.” The fishermen who witnessed the Bay of Matanzas incident were not the only ones treated to a UFO sighting. Also in 1959, but with no specific date given, Pablo Rodriguez had been fishing off the Havana coast early in the morning, accompanied by a friend. All of a sudden, the waters near the fishing boat began to bubble intensely as a massive silvery disk emerged from the depths, hanging in mid-air and dripping seawater before taking off at great speed. As if that experience had not been shocking enough, Rodriguez claimed seeing “some figures clad in black, like undersea fishermen” swimming only a few meters from his boat. A USO and CE-3 event, all in one. This Cuban mini-flap continued into the early years of the following decade. In 1960, Henry R. Gallart reported a UFO over the Sierra Maestra late one evening in January as he spoke to a group of soldiers on his property. In mid-discussion, they were interrupted by the arrival of a large fireball that passed silently overhead at less than a thousand feet over their heads. According to Gallart, visibility was optimal in the starry, tropical night. The UFO left a wake of multicolored sparks before vanishing. In early May 1961, Gallart would also be treated to a second sighting over the Texaco Oil Refinery at the edge of the Bay of Santiago, this time at 10:45 a.m. – the object resembled a rugby ball, by his own description (although other texts have described it as a “metallic sphere”) and engaged in a “falling leaf” motion. The sighting was corroborated by other office and field workers at the refinery.

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The 1959-60 saucer wave spilled over into English-speaking Jamaica. The late Antonio Ribera included an interesting early case in his OVNIS en Iberoamerica y España (Barcelona: Plaza y Janés, 1980). On August 12, 1960, writes Ribera, Karl Rhoden, a provisional court clerk reported seeing two brilliant objects resembling inverted “letter Ys” flying single file and around 20 miles an hour over the Halfmoon Hotel. The objects were headed seaward from land, and suddenly the first object, at an estimated ten miles over the ground, increased its speed and vanished. The second object appeared to be engaged in some kind of reconnoitering activity and stayed behind before following suit. Mr. Rhoden told the Daily Gleaner newspaper that he believed the objects not to be terrestrial, but rather mechanical devices. He added that other local residents saw them as well. (Daily Gleaner, 08.16.60) For information on 1950s “saucer activity” over Hispaniola, we must turn again to Sebastián Robiou, who went to great lengths to document activity on the second largest of the Greater Antilles. On November 3, 1957, Santo Domingo’s El Caribe newspaper ran a story concerning the remarkable sighting of four unknown objects “resembling flying saucers” over the city over the Barahona coffee factory. According to journalist Julio Lembert, “the strange and unexpected apparition of the strange devices, which came within 100 meters of the facility, caused tremendous surprise among the factory workers who saw them at 6:30 in the morning yesterday (Nov. 1). According to statements made by Messrs. Amador Ponds and Negro Reyes, the first to see the strange craft, these approached at low altitude and remained motionless when they reached a concrete structure used to dry out the coffee. They remained there for two minutes.” One might be tempted to believe, half-humorously, that alien pilots needed a coffee-break as much a trucker might. But Lembert’s narrative continues: “Eyewitnesses to the odd manifestations say that the objects were round and had a sort of gyrating dome at the in the middle. They flew in tight formation, imitating a “letter Y” (the reader will recall the Jamaican case) and their low altitude enabled the factory workers to get a good look. While we were unable to see any portholes or occupants—they said—we understand that the height of domes would allow a man of normal height to sit within them. In Ponds and Reyes’s opinion, as well as that of other employees, the size of the objects was about six feet in diameter. After remaining over the factory for the indicated period of time, the four objects headed east at dizzying speed, without making the least sound, vanishing from sight in seconds.” El Caribe’s edition for the following day understandably remarks that the unexpected visit from the inquisitive objects has become “the talk of the town” and that locals are suffering from neck strain from looking up at the sky so much. Other workers – whose names are given in the newspaper – stepped forward to add their names to the original witnesses. Weeks later, an “elongated, grayish object with an intense glow in its forward section” was seen after midnight on November 15 in Baní, witnessed by Francisco Fuertes, a deputy Municipal union worker. The object vanished behind a cloud and did not emerge again. UFOs took an interest in the Dominican Republic’s hydroelectric works during this period. A strange blue glow, as bright as a welder’s arc, emerged from an unknown object that flew over the Jimenoa Hydroelectric Plant on November 16 and 17th in the early evening.

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Witnesses Manuel Crune and Luis Padilla described it as resembling a very bright Christmas ornament, moving slowly fron south to north. Activity in the Caribbean Basin may not have been as spectacular as elsewhere on the continent, but these cases provide signs of a progression toward conceivably more important events, such as the landings and close encounters that characterized the ‘60s and ‘70s in the region. No substantial literature emerged at this time beyond newspaper reports and the inevitable denials by officialdom. A number of contactee tracts circulated at the time, colored by doses of Kardecian spiritism, providing dire warnings about the end of the world and of course, the deus ex machina of salvation by the ever-watchful saucerians.

Chapter Three: The Swinging Sixties
A revolution in Cuba in 1959 kicked the door open on the turbulent cultural period in human history known collectively as “the Sixties” – best remembered in the U.S. for miniskirts, rock and roll and Vietnam, but elsewhere in around the planet for the student uprisings in Paris, the leftist revolutionary movements in Latin America and other parts of the Third World. Satellites with names like Telstar and Early Bird handled our television and telephone communications, cosmonauts and astronauts took their first awkward steps beyond the atmosphere, and the decade would end with humanity getting a good look at its fragile homeworld from the vantage point of lunar orbit. The presence of the unidentified flying object phenomenon loomed large in the midst of all these paradigm shifts as sightings – and the rising phenomenon of encounters with putative alien occupants – achieved notoriety in dozens of countries. The phenomenon slowly began shedding its “flying saucer’ moniker to emerge into society with the slightly more respectable appelation of “UFO”, with considerable numbers of magazines, journals and books devoted to its dissemination and study.

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In Latin America, cultural predisposition toward the phenomenon was more than likely fueled by the “space race” and newspaper headlines of one superpower besting the other with increasingly dazzling landmarks in space – the first manned flight, the first space walk, the first successful docking, the first landing of unmanned probes on the Moon, successful flybys of Mars and Venus. If humankind, beset with problems as it was, could dream of touching the surfaces of other worlds, what was so unreasonable about sentient beings from inhabited worlds coming to ours? Science fiction, reaching millions of readers through comic books and newspaper strips (Mexico’s newspapers, for example, reprinted Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon strips as Roldán El Temerario), books and television shows, acted as a lubricant that allowed minds closed by religious or political doctrine to open ajar. Separated by oceans or national borders, the generation that went home from school to watch Perdidos en el Espacio (Lost in Space) and Viaje a las Estrellas (Star Trek) was amenable not only to the possibility of alien visitors, but of ultra-or trans-dimensional entities and time-travelers as well. As early as 1961, Mexico City boasted a rock and roll group called “Los OVNIS”, undisputable proof that awareness of the otherworldly had penetrated the very marrow of pop culture; even more surprisingly, according to Gordon Creighton, a band of cat-burglars masquerading as "Martians", complete with space suits, took advantage of a flurry of UFO activity in Perú wave to engage in armed robbery in 1965. In Spain, the change of decade brought with it a renewal of the imagination. Science fiction, a subject that had never truly earned a foothold except as translations of existing American and British works, blossomed with the works of Tomás Salvador – 1960’s La Nave (the Vessel) dealing with a generation ship on a centuries-spanning mission – and Domingo Santos, author of 1962’s Gabriel, la historia de un robot (Gabriel, a Robot’s Tale), the story of a mechanical who saves the world from an uprising among lunar colonists. This rekindling of speculative literature would lead to the creation of Nueva Dimensión magazine in 1968, which would go on to win awards in the following decade and be one of the longest-lasting publications of its type in the Spanish-speaking world. Mention should also be made at this point that some UFO and paranormal researchers, like Antonio Ribera and Juan Atienza, had also made inroads into the worlds of science fiction, both as authors and translators. Interestingly enough, the success of one particular TV show - "The Invaders", starring Roy Thinness, played a major role in shaping popular opinion about the UFO phenomenon during this period of time in both Latin America and Spain. The exploits of the show's protagonist, David Vincent, an architect who carries the knowledge that Earth is being invaded by aliens, made for interesting programming in a country like Spain, which only had two television stations at the time. Remembering these more innocent times, researcher Angel Rodriguez recalls: “People lived very simply at the time. They were more domestic and enjoyed anything they had intensely. Furthermore, the detail about the show’s aliens having stiff pinky fingers [as detail that enabled the show’s protagonist to distinguish between real humans and their alien counterfeits] was quite startling, as we considered it a highly affected gesture, like people who drank coffee with their pinkies outstretched...”

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So as the world watched Gagarin and Glenn take off into space, its eyes were also riveted by the enigmatic objects that filled some with a sense of elation and others with a sense of dread: on October 6, 1961, a UFO flyby over the Venezuelan town of Santa Rita by Lake Maracaibo bathed the entire community in an eerie luminescence, causing a considerable panic. Terrified fishermen jumped into the waters, hoping to swim to shore and away from the hovering craft. One of them, Bartolomé Romero, drowned in the mad rush to flee from the unknown. While the 1950s had brought a considerable amount of activity by unidentified flying objects, as well as the more sensational contactee lore during the period, it wasn’t until the Sixties that the UFO phenomenon would fully add itself to Mexico’s consciousness, along political activism among the young, the massacre of innocents at Tlatelolco in 1968 and the troubled '68 Olympics -- events which mirrored similar developments in France and in the United States. One of the most impressive photographs of a UFO during this period was the 1965 snapshot taken by Juan David Mateos. According to the photographer's testimony, he was driving along the road from Villa Ahumada to Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, when he saw a dark, oval shaped craft approaching at an altitude of less than twenty meters and a distance of only sixty meters. Mateos stopped the car and clicked away at the unknown object, earning himself a place in saucer history. On July 10 1965, six residents of the city of Chilpancingo, capital of the state of Guerrero, were left spellbound by the maneuvers of two large, glowing objects in the darkened skies over their community--a two-hour performance which would be replayed later that month over Mexico City, where another pair of brilliant objects remained suspended at treetop level before shooting off into the sky. Two students at Mexico City's Instituto Nacional Politécnico would become the protagonists of a still-debated "close encounter of the 3rd kind" which would be among the first of its kind in the country. The brothers Yayo and Payo Rodríguez achieved national prominence when on the morning of August 19, 1965, at eight o'clock in the morning, they claimed having witnessed the landing of a sizeable glowing disk on an open field near the Politécnico's campus. The otherworldly vehicle allegedly charred vegetation as it settled to the ground on its tripodal landing gear. As if the landing of this spaceship, drawn straight from My Favorite Martian, wasn't enough, the Brothers Rodríguez also claimed that a pair of diminutive beings wearing respirators of some kind emerged from the craft and walked up to the terrified students, depositing at their feet a metallic object. The dwarfish "away team" (in Star Trek parlance) returned silently to their conveyance, which took to the air in a matter of seconds. The Rodríguezes delivered the putative extraterrestrial fragment to the campus laboratory, where it was apparently subjected to analysis by investigators. According to an article in Mexico's El Gráfico newspaper (defunct) a few days later, a number of journalists and photographers from different media organizations visited the site, where burn marks were plainly visible and where traces of a curious liquid, characterized as "fuel" (leaded? unleaded?) were found. Despite the good physical evidence, Yayo and Payo were not considered credible witnesses. Even Dr. Santiago García, in his landmark book OVNIS Sobre México, would headline his chapter on the Rodríguez case as "¿de cual fumarían?" ("what kind did they smoke?").

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The age of the great UFO-induced blackouts was about to begin during these troubled years. As a foretaste, perhaps, of what would happen later on across the northeastern U.S., the city of Cuernavaca, some fifty miles south of Mexico City, would suffer three separate power failures on the night of September 23, 1965. The Ultima Hora newspaper indicated that the blackout had been caused by a large luminous flying saucer which crossed the heavens over the city--an inverted soup-bowl device which was seen not only by thousands of citizens but by city mayor Emilio Riva Palacios, who was attending the opening of a film festival with members of his cabinet. The lights went out during the showing, and upon going outside, the city fathers were treated to the sight of the massive object's glow, which reportedly filled all of Cuernavaca valley. But the force behind all these aerial phenomena appeared to be enamored of la capital, Mexico City, with its juxtaposition of massive colonial structures, modern skyscrapers and ancient ruins: it chose the 16th of September, the one hundred fifty-fifth anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain, to manifest half a dozen luminous objects over the city's skies, casting downtown Mexico City into unbreakable gridlock as drivers left their vehicles to take a better look at the phenomenon. Newspapers reported that aviation authorities had received in excess of five thousand telephone calls from people asking if they had also seen platillos voladores. On September 25, a citizenry weary of craning their necks skyward endured another leisurely display of the unknown as a vast luminous body passed overhead, remaining motionless for a while before shooting out of sight at a terrific speed. Only days later, two smaller objects would buzz the gilded dome of Mexico's Palacio de Bellas Artes, a turn of the century structure that dominates La Alameda park. A few dozen people waiting at a bus stop witnessed the early evening sighting; they described the objects as "enormous luminous bodies with intermittent sparkling lights." By this point in time, some of the world's major newspapers had picked up on Mexico's saucer situation. Paris's Le Figaro reprinted an editorial from Italy's Corriere della Sera on the subject: "Mexico City International Airport has officially recorded, of late, some three thousand cases of mysterious apparitions described in detail. At nightfall, people gather on the terraces and balconies of their homes to search the skies...a clamor of voices can occasionally be heard, saying: "There goes one! Can you see it?" Invariably, what follows is this: traffic is paralyzed on neighboring streets, since drivers also want to partake of the spectacle. The roadways grind to a halt, leading to monstrous traffic jams. After a while, witnesses to the event are willing to swear that the presence of platillos voladores causes engines to stall and plunges homes into darkness. Throughout Mexico, the number of blackouts has been inexplicably high..." [At this point, the reader will allow me to insert a personal note. These mysterious blackouts continued well into the Seventies when I lived in Mexico City. My family's apartment overlooked busy Avenida Insurgentes--the artery that sections the city from north to south--and every room had a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to floor window offering an unlimited view of the avenue, the houses and buildings on the other side, and the mountains in the distance. It was not at all uncommon for the light to brown out and then black out completely, leaving people stuck in elevators and snarling traffic for hours at intersections. But the common denominator to all these blackouts, in my eight-yearold mind, was the bright yellow light that could be seen without fail crossing the sky in the horizon. Was it indeed a UFO? Who can say?]

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Spanish ufologist Antonio Ribera, who kept careful tabs on the Mexican scenario, indicates in his book América y los OVNIS (Posada, 1977) that foreign sources as unlikely as Kenya's Mombasa Times were carrying stories about the situation: On October 2, 1965, a fourteen year old girl in the city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, ran away screaming in fright when a flying disk some twenty feet in diameter dropped out the heavens to hover directly over while issuing a soft, whistling sound. The object was surrounded by multicolored lights that appeared to dangle from it. After this daytime apparition, the object was seen over the same city again at night. At 21:00 hours on April 1966, Isidro Hernández, only six years old at the time and a resident of San Luis Potosí, was able to see a perfectly spherical object he described as “a full moon” or “a huge bubble with someone inside it.” According to Luis Andrés Jaspersen, the boy thought it was a witch and didn’t stick around to find out. He cried for his mother, who rushed to his side, only to become a witness to the same phenomenon. The cries of mother and child alerted the rest of the family, who also saw the phenomenon for an estimated two minutes. A discovery of note having nothing to do with saucers occurred in 1966: Harry de la Peña, a geophysical engineer for Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) drove into a section of the northern Mexican desert fifteen kilometers from the town of Ceballos, Durango to check certain facilities in the area. When the tried to raise other members of his team on his car’s two-way radio, there was no answer. Upon returning to camp, technicians ascertained that there was nothing at all wrong with the equipment; when it happened again, De la Peña dismissed it as sheer coincidence. But when it happened for a third time, he decided to solve the matter once and for all, discovering that the area contained pockets in which sending and receiving radio signals was impossible. De la Peña dubbed these pockets “zones of silence” – a name that would subsequently be bestowed upon the entire area located at Vértice de Trino, the spot where the Mexican states of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua meet, some four hundred miles south of the U.S. border. That same year, Carlos Cabrera, a researcher for the Mexico’s Comisión Nacional de Energía Nuclear, carried out a series of tests using 27-megahertz transceivers on the AM band and proved that radio waves are not easily broadcasted in the area. Electromagnetic energy fields of some sort seemingly absorb radio waves With no further significant cases, 1966 gave Mexico a respite from its ufological experiences, but it was to be a brief one. 1967 would

rekindle the frenzied activity of the preceding year.

On Saturday, February 11, 1967, a Guatemalan Aviateca airliner managed to avoid a near-collision with a UFO as the airliner prepared its final approach to Mexico City's

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saucer-plagued airport. The airliner's pilot, Col. Alfredo Castañeda, radioed the tower that a silvery round object, with what appeared to be "a reddish ball" on top of it, had suddenly crossed the airliner's path as it flew over Oaxaca. His co-pilot, the flight attendants and many of the passengers had also been witnesses to the unusual and possibly hazardous phenomenon. Mexico's airport limited itself to saying that the intruder "could not have been a weather balloon." Stories began to circulate on March 30, 1967 regarding the collision of a spindle-shaped object against a hillside near Mezcala, state of Guerrero. A reporter for Ultima Hora indicated that at least a thousand residents of the village of Xochilapa had seen the object plummet earthward and heard the deafening explosion that inevitably followed. Many of the villagers agreed that the heavenly bullet had been roughly cigar-shaped and emitted a blinding light, "making it impossible to be mistaken for a meteorite." An infantry unit of the Mexican Army was allegedly dispatched to collect the object's remains, but nothing else was heard about the event. Between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. on May 7, 1967, the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Veracruz were visited by a veritable celestial armada of UFOs: at least twenty individual blue, yellow and red lights flew in formation over the heads of thousands of bewildered onlookers. The formation was spearheaded by a colossal red saucer and leisurely appeared to be following a northwesterly course. Newspapers in these four states carried the story but no photographs of the formation. A similar occurrence took place on August 6, 1967, when the citizens of Poza Rica, Veracruz, were treated to the sight of several "waves" of unidentified flying objects -- each wave having its own color -as they flew overhead to become lost over the Gulf of Mexico. While the Poza Ricans gawked at the spectacle, Captain Angel Fojo of Aeromexico Flight 145 was facing a similar prospect: at an altitude of twenty thousand feet over the state of Guanajuato, his DC-9 was running into a formation of three glowing disks an estimated 30 miles away from the airliner. Captain Fojo's best estimate was that the speeding objects crossed the horizon in a matter of thirty to forty seconds. The late Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO documented a considerable number of cases occurring in Central and South America in '67, and while Mexico's UFO activity during this particular year was by no means as significant as the "fleets" (to use the Lorenzen's own expression) that were engaged in a show of force over Argentina and Uruguay, APRO's files nonetheless contained a few cases of great interest regarding our southern neighbor. As indicated in their book UFOs Over the Americas (Signet, 1968), APRO's founders were on their way to visit a number of South American locations and took advantage of a layover in Mexico City to meet with their correspondent, Jesús H. Garibay, who briefed them on the most important cases at the time. One of them involved two witnesses (a father and daughter) to the landing and takeoff of a UFO, with the added benefit of the photographs taken of the event. "The principal witness," wrote Coral Lorenzen, "is a mechanical engineer, and the other is his daughter. On May 6, 1967, the two were driving between Durango and Mazatlán. At 11:00 a.m., they spotted a disc-shaped object on the ground off the highway. They stopped the car and took three photos as the object was taking off. The first shows the object at the level of the treetops, partially hidden by a tree. Two parts of its landing gear

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are clearly shown. The second shows the object apparently in flight against the clear sky: no landing gear is visible in this exposure. The third photo showed nothing. APRO is still on the track of this set of photos, and not knowing if the principals want publicity or not, we have decided not to release any names at this time." The remainder of the year and the beginning of the following one would simply be a repetition of sightings until December 30, 1968, when a mountain rescue team on the slopes of the Popocatepetl volcano witnessed the maneuvers of a strange object conducting maneuvers over the summit of the nearby Iztaccíhuatl volcano. The artifact moved deliberately toward the mountain's eastern glaciers before flying toward Puebla, vanishing from sight. The object would come into view once more during its return trip to the mountains at 8:00 p.m. Carlos A. Guzmán of Mexico's CIFEEAAC, happened to be one of the researchers in this early case. His group's findings indicated that the mountain rescue team's sighting was corroborated by a number of reports from the city of Puebla at the time: the newsroom of the city's El Sol de Puebla was swamped with phone calls from all over the city, reporting the maneuvers of "a strange white object, as bright as the planet Venus, flying noiselessly over the city." One witness, Francisco Martínez, claimed to have seen not only the object itself, but the various lights which composed it; Reynaldo Ponce, a student at Puebla's distinguished school of architecture, observed the UFO through a theodolite and was able to make a sketch based on his sighting. The entire report was compiled by APRO correspondent Jesús Hernandez Garibay and forwarded to that organization's Arizonabased headquarters. A year later, on September 18, 1968, Antonio Nieto-- a cab driver plowing the main avenue of the city of Coatepec' -- thought that an otherwise slow night was coming to an end when he pulled over to pick up a fare, or so he thought: his would-be passenger turned out to be a black-clad figure with glowing hands and enormous cat-like eyes that glowed eerily in the taxi's lights as it stood on the curb. The terrified cab driver stepped on the gas and put as much distance as he could between himself and the frightful apparition. As chance would have it, he ran into a fellow cabdriver who had also been hailed by the nightmarish apparition. Leaving one cab behind, both men set off in the other vehicle and went in search of a local journalist, who accompanied them to the spot where the improbable creature had last been seen. Their effort was rewarded by a third encounter with the entity, which now held in its glowing hands a crystal wand that emanated a radiance that hurt the eyes. A staff writer for Mexico City's Excelsior noted that in spite of the ufonauts' vaunted ability to cross space, they encountered the same difficulty as Earthlings when it came to hailing a cab. High Strangeness could also be found in the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. On February 17, 1969, an unknown animal washed up on Veracruzan shores at a location known locally as "El Palmar de Susana" between the fishing communities of Tecolutla and Hautla. The authorities were dumbfounded by their find: the creature's head weighed approximately a ton, measuring 6 feet across and 4 feet from top to bottom. A 9foot long “beak” that projected from the skull startled scientists who at first thought they were dealing with a decomposing whale carcass. The creature's hide was described as "wooly" and resistant to all manner of knives, machetes, axes and saws. Biologists Sergio García, Martín Contreras and Daniel Yutch were entrusted with studying the cryptid

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without reaching any conclusive results. According to Dr. Rafael Lara Palmeros, the University of California purchased the mystery remains, and their final whereabouts are equally enigmatic. The giant cylinders of the late 1950’s had given way to an increasing number of cases involving occupant sightings – encounters between the average citizen, totally unprepared for an event of such a nature – and grotesque characters that did not resemble in the least the eldritch beings of contactee lore. For the remainder of the decade, Spain would be a source for some of the most interesting accounts of human / non-human encounters that can be found in the annals of ufology. One of Spain’s first serious research organizations, the Centro de Estudios Interplanetarios (CEI) under the guidance of Antonio Ribera, Eduardo Buelta and Marius Lleguet, had actually emerged in 1958, but would achieve prominence in the Sixties. Ribera and Buelta believed, at this period of time, that the planet Mars was the point of origin of the UFO phenomenon, while Lleguet advocated an extra-solar origin for the unknown objects. 1961 also marks the appearance of Objetos Desconocidos en el Cielo, a book by Ribera that became the first “ufological bestseller” in the country. In the summer of 1960, Miguel Timermans, a schoolteacher from Prado del Rey (Cadiz) in southern Spain, decided to go on a weekend run on his Lambretta motorcycle to the city of Jerez. It was a clear, beautiful morning and visibility was unlimited. As he drove uphill at some point between Prado del Rey and the town of Arcos, a colossal figure appeared out of nowhere along the roadside. Timermans described it as well over two meters (6.5 ft.) and encased in a "swollen" red one-piece suit. Shocked, the teacher brought his motorcycle to a halt right in the middle of the highway as an overpowering sense of fear washed over him: the giant entity was slowly walking toward him along the edge of the highway. Recalling the event, Timermans remarked that the creature's pressure suit or outfit was composed of "concentric rings" which also reminded him of the Michelin Man. The improbable figure lurched forward robotically, measuring its steps. With the high-strangeness quotient overflowing at this point, Timermans was doubly startled to see another creature walking behind the giant! The second entity was barely over a meter tall and had what appeared to be a glossy black "boot" covering one of the legs of its red outfit. It, too, walked awkwardly as it brought up the rear. The enigmatic figures crossed Timerman's path diagonally and vanished from sight after an encounter that lasted no more than 30 seconds. Kick-starting the Lambretta, the teacher headed for the place where the creatures had last been seen and was unable to find a trace of their presence. The astonishing case would later be reported in Stendek magazine in the 1970s. The mysteries in Spain were not circumscribed to the lonely highways and byways, as we can see from the following case: Captain Charles Wendorf's orders were straightforward enough: fly his B-52 Stratofortress to the Saddle Rock Mid-Air Refueling Area to meet a KC-135 tanker. The clear skies over the Mediterranean coast of Spain made Saddle Rock a particularly suitable refueling site. The giant aircraft, an element of the 68th Bomber Squadron out of North Carolina, was in the middle of a long patrol of the Atlantic Ocean, coming as close

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to the USSR as they dared. But Cold War tension would be the very last factor to affect the B-52's fate. At 10:22 a.m. on January 17, 1966, at an altitude of thirty thousand feet, Captain Wendorf's nuclear-warhead laden Stratofortress sighted the KC-35 some 15 miles ahead in the refueling zone. The B-52 carefully jockeyed into position behind the tanker to connect with its refueling mast--a complex but efficient operation that did not involve any loss in speed on the bomber's part and in which remarkably small amounts of fuel were lost. But something went wrong. An unseen force bumped against the bomber's underside, pushing it upward and causing the KC-135's starboard wing to graze the B-52's cockpit. The bomber's crew felt another terrible jolt as their plane rammed into the tanker's fuselage To observers on the ground witnessing the refueling maneuver, the tanker exploded into a ball of orange flame while both military aircraft disintegrated high above the earth. The long-range bomber's crew managed to jump clear of the explosion and was later rescued by Spanish fishermen after having miraculously survived their high-altitude jump. But four hydrogen bombs now lay at the bottom of the shallow coastal waters, and the efforts to retrieve them before lethal gamma radiation spread throughout the sea made headlines worldwide. Witnesses to the explosion claimed having seen three objects in the sky at the time of the explosion, although only the downed bomber and the disintegrated tanker should have been in the area. Suspicions arose among the Spanish military elements assisting with the rescue efforts that the USAF's frantic search for the missing warheads was, in fact, a thinly veiled excuse for finding the elusive third "airplane" -- the UFO that had caused the destruction of its aircraft and then disappeared without a trace. The USAF had good reasons, perhaps, to worry about a force inimical to its interests somewhere over the Mediterranean: Eight days before the Palomares debacle, a colossal fireball of unknown origin had flown over the Italian cities of Capri and Naples, causing a general blackout. Four years later, in October 1969, two jet fighters would disappear without a trace during NATO exercises held off Crete. The previous year, the French air force had lost two Mystére IV fighter-bombers on routine patrol over Corsica. The result of the military inquest was that both planes were lost due to "undetermined causes” Months after the world (or at least the Mediterranean countries) breathed a sigh of relief following the recovery of the Palomares bomb, a farmer in southern Spain would come across a particularly terrifying humanoid entity reminiscent of the West Virginia “Mothman” – but this time wearing a helmet. Around seven o’clock in the morning on May 16, 1966, Manuel Hernandez was returning from his early duties at his small property on the outskirts of the Andalusian city of Córdoba when his eyes caught a glint of metallic brilliance – an unusual disk-shaped object on the ground, less than two hundred feet from the shoulder of the road. The object made no sound whatsoever and the farmer was completely mystified; curiosity got the better of him and he cautiously approached the three-meter wide object. In retrospect, it is almost certain that Hernandez now wishes he hadn’t. The farmer reportedly saw three short, greenish-gray figures, winged and wearing transparent helmets, suddenly appear out of nowhere and flutter around the landed disk.

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Hernández was unable to make out any features on the small “flying devils” as he termed them and prudently decided to retreat from the scene as far as his legs could take him. He shared the story of his encounter with relatives and was unable to bring himself to even walk past the stretch of road where his bizarre experience had occurred. Unusual events involving earthquakes also formed part of this decade, even when UFOs were not specifically involved. Brazil is not a country readily associated with earthquakes, of all natural disasters, but Pereiro, a small community in the state of Ceará (northeastern Brazil) has repeatedly experienced earthquakes throughout the 20th century produced by the collapse of vast limestone caves that exist under the town, formed by the activity of subterranean water flows. From 1968 onward, seismic events were accompanied by the manifestation of immense greenish-blue bolides twice the size of the moon, described by local residents as being as bright as very large automobile headlights. Other descriptions classified them as being conical in shape and blindingly bright, moving silently over buildings or the countryside. Argentinean UFO researcher Roberto Banchs, writing in Las Evidencias del Fenómeno Ovni (Buenos Aires: Cogtal, 1976) notes that the strange lights of Pereiro were at one point seen on a regular basis and landing in the spiky, inaccessible “caatinga” vegetation that surrounds the area. A reputable eyewitness – a local councilman – was riding his horse at night through the area in July 1968 when he encountered a green light that he first believed to be a truck, only to find it was an object hovering over the treetops. Other reports soon emerged of an enormous solid object accompanied by lesser ones, projecting a beam against the ground “like a giant spotlight”. This prompted representative Ernesto Valente to say: “Many UFOs have appeared over the skies of Ceará in recent months. The government should send observers to conduct an in-depth study to find out if UFOs are indeed related to earthquakes.” According to Banchs, word was received from Pereiro a month later, stating that the manifestations of these luminous objects indeed precede seismic activity by a matter of hours, causing townspeople to remark that “the objects appeared to know when and where the earthquakes were going to come about.” While at first blush the following may appear to have nothing to do with strange lights in the sky, it is connected, in a strange way, with the belief expressed by many theorists on the subject of UFOs that the presences behind the phenomenon feed off the energy released by human suffering – whether as a consequence of war, disaster or other tragedies. If we follow this line of thought, first articulated by Spanish paranormal researcher Salvador Freixedo, could we go as far as to say that these are somehow involved in bringing an end to the unimaginable destruction caused by the seismic activity in exchange for a single life? On May 22, 1960 the Pacific coastline of Chile and Perú was devastated by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks which rank among the strongest ever recorded on instruments: a mind-numbing 9.6 on the modified Richter scale (7.25 on the original). Rivers abandoned their beds, new lakes appeared coastal cities like Valdivia were reduced to rubble, dropping to three meters below sea level in parts, and the hills themselves had shifted, proof of the unimaginably vast forces at work. Five thousand died and two million were left homeless; a tsunami lashed the ruins, causing even further destruction,

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A total of nine separate quakes occurred over the following two weeks as the the rest of the world looked on in horror and amazement. There was no question, in the minds of the terrified population, that they were living through the last days of the world. The Mapuche Indians offered prayers to their traditional deities, sacrificing all of their flocks to appease the anger of their tutelary gods. Ritual fires could be seen all along the coast, morning and evening, as the reek of burned offerings filled the dusty air. Yet the earthquakes continued, unmindful of the sacrifices and orisons of even the most devout. It was then that a local seeress (machi, in the Mapuche tongue) received a revelation: sacrificing dumb beasts would not suffice – it would be necessary to offer the precious gift of a child, as in the long-ago time when the twin serpents Cai Cai and Treng Treng had respectively destroyed and rescued humankind. Treng Treng’s species-saving assistance had been procured at the cost of human sacrifice. According to newspaper reports, the human sacrifice took place at eight o’clock at night on June 5, 1960 near Colliileufú. Most astonishing of all is that the crushing seismic activity ended on the following day. In discussing this case, anthropologist Myriam Rios states : "What occurred was part of their ancestral religion, emerging in exactly the same context. From the Mapuche perspective, it is nothing but the culture expressed in its purest belief-the origin myth." The five people involved in the sacrifice were arrested and two of them eventually imprisoned for murder, although eventually released. The judge who tried the case, far from believing in the supernatural, ruled that the murder had taken place not out of devotion for the gods, but out of fear for the clairvoyant’s supernatural powers.

If a banner or pennant similar to the kind employed to warn people of storm warnings could be designed for UFO flaps, the citizens of Argentina during the Sixties would have clearly welcomed it. The decade opened with a formidable UFO flap that is still studied today, forty odd years after it occurred, and includes some of the most memorable cases to emerge from this country. The first major UFO wave of the decade began in the month of May 1962, as reports of “lights in the sky” gave way to reports of landings and occupant encounters throughout the length of the country, from Cordoba in the north to Neuquén in the far south. On June 13, 1962, so many unidentified objects had been reported over Bahia Blanca on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean that all of the eyewitnesses were rounded up by the authorities for questioning by the police. Within a few nights, also along the ocean’s edge, dozens of residents of Mar del Plata – Argentina’s premiere resort city – reported the maneuvers of an impressive cigar-shaped nave nodriza or mothership as it flew in from the darkness of the South Atlantic at 21:00 hours on June 15. This large object was described as having an apparent size greater than that of the Moon. At 7:20 p.m. on May 22, 1962 a squadron of fighters in the vicinity of Bahía Blanca's Comandante Espora Naval Base, reported the presence of UFOs along its flight path. The interception lasted 35 minutes. Direct eyewitnesses to this incident were Lt. Rodolfo César Galdós and his student, Roberto Wilkinson. This was the first official acknowledgement of the phenomenon and would lead to the Argentinean Navy's

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inception of its first Permanent Commission for the Study of the UFO Phenomenon (COPEFO, in Spanish), headed by a team composed of naval officers and journalists. Not to be outdone, the Argentinean Air Force promptly created its own saucer study group. In the early afternoon of July 19, 1962, well over a hundred workers at the DKW auto plant in Santa Fe followed the progress of another cigar-shaped “mothership” as it made its way toward the northeast at an estimated altitude of a thousand meters, letting off blinding flashes of light as it traveled. The UFOs were growing bolder: A month later, a strange object had landed with impunity in an airfield in the province of Corrientes. A report circulated in Buenos Aires’ La Razón newspaper stated that Luis Harvey, the airfield manager, had been alerted to the landing of an unauthorized flight. Fearing a landing by insurgents or leftist guerrilas, Harvey went out to the runway to confront the problem. But no rickety aircraft filled with bearded milicianos awaited him – a luminous object described as “spherical and spinning on its axis” was now suspended above the tarmac, giving off flashes of blinding green and blue lights. Suddenly, while the airfield manager and his assistants looked on, the object rose vertically into the air and zipped off into the distance. Platillos voladores were a daily occurence and a household word during the 1962 Argentinean wave, with 4 cases in the provinces of Córdoba, San Luis, and La Pampa taking place on the same day, May 13. The month of June of that year recorded major incidents in the towns of Crespo, Pedro Luro and Bajada Grande, while August brought sightings to Pirán, Catriló, Chamba Punta, scattered all over the nation’s geography. The fall of 1962 was no less busy, with incidents in Mar del Plata, Monte Leon, Choele Choel and Tucumán in the far north of the country. It may have seemed to many that an invasion from outer space was underway. Among the most compelling Argentinean cases from the mid-1960s we find the Mar del Plata Case of August 20, 1965, experienced by Eduardo Jacobi and Teresa Acuña, ages 23 and 18 respectively at the time of the event. The event was first mentioned in the La Razón newspaper on August 21, subsequently picked up by author and researcher Roberto Banchs and re-opened by Miguel Angel Gomez Pombo, who managed to interview Eduardo Jacobi in the year 2002. According to Yacobi - who disputes the date given for the case, claiming a September 1966 date for it - he was having supper when his brother told him that word on the street was that the port harbored a "flying saucer base". The witness scoffed at the notion. He and his wife left the house to catch a midnight bus to downtown Mar del Plata. Walking a distance of "five or six rural blocks" to the bus stop, Yacobi says that the few lights on the road suddenly went out, which didn't trouble him at all. At that point he heard a sound coming high above the eucalyptus trees: the source was an object that would eventually descend over an empty field measuring some 15 hectares by his estimate. Exchanging glances with his wife, both realized that they were seeing the same thing, but a difference of opinion occurred - Teresa wanted to stay behind, Eduardo wanted a closer look. She won out, asking him: "If you get taken by a flying saucer, who's going to believe me?" He described the luminous object as being "50 times more potent than a mercury light, but did not cause a burning sensation". Its colors ranged from yellow to red, with intermittent flashes.

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The couple reportedly saw silhouettes within the light, adding that throughout the length of their experience, no other car or person came by the roadside where the event was taking place. No sounds were audible either. The object took off without further incident. (One of the journalistic sources reporting the case turned the silhouettes into “alien occupants standing outside the craft making repairs before boarding it and taking off”). "The lights came back on," Yacobi continued, "and fellows from the La Capital de Balcarce newspaper stopped by. They asked me where we were headed and remarked about the blackout, but I said nothing about the sighting. Ten minutes later, the bus came. I told the driver "you're so late!" and he replied that they were on the road and couldn't get the bus started, adding: "I saw a light,too" and they were some 2 kilometers away more or less. The microbus always ran on time and the lights never used to go out back then. The following day I spoke with reporters from La Capital. They told me that they tried to take photos of what they had seen but their cameras wouldn't work. Another day we went back and found a triangular mark on the field. The reporters were there too. The object was hovering above the ground, it never landed." The unidentified flying - or hovering - object in the Mar del Plata Case was circular in shape and described as "immense", with a sixty meter circumference. The witnesses were standing some hundred meters away from it. Yacobi, an avowed atheist and unbeliever in anything as outlandish as flying saucers, developed a passion for the subject after his brush with the unknown, although he never had another sighting or encounter. A curious item of information emerged during Miguel Angel G. Pombo's interview - the witness stated that he "received a letter from NASA some three or four days later, but threw it out." Apparently it was a form and a request for a drawing of the object he had seen. That same month - August 1965 - the Argentinean Navy's COPEFO study group conceived the notion of following the pesky UFOs by means of a combined effort involving radar and chase planes out of the joint Air Force/Navy Base at Punta Indio. During the one particular incident, radar screens picked up an unexplained echo. A Navy interceptor was scrambled after the radar contact, but the UFO repeatedly managed to elude its pursuer. According to the pilot, the intruder had an "ellipsoid" configuration and an estimated diameter of some twelve meters. At one point, this unexplained object came within two hundred meters of the interceptor. However, in spite of its successes, the Navy's UFO panel ran aground in 1967, possibly due to a statement made by one of its directors supporting the existence of unidentified flying objects. A spokesman, making it clear that the director’s opinions did not reflect the Navy’s official stance on the matter, issued a hasty retraction. Another contrast between the Air and Navy services became evident when the commander in chief of the Argentine Air Force, Brig. Gen. Adolfo Alvarez embraced the existence of "flying saucers" in July 1968, cryptically adding, "Otherwise, I wouldn't be an aviator." No account of the Argentinean UFO situation of the Sixties would be complete without a mention of the “Trancas Incident” of 1963. It has been included in most every book and encyclopedia published since that time, but the most thorough account appears in Los Asombrosos Fenomenos de Trancas by Dr. Oscar A. Galíndez, APRO’s Argentinean correspondent and one of this country’s leading researchers at the time. At seven o’clock in the evening on October 21, 1963, a generator belonging to the Moreno family – owners of the Santa Teresa ranch, the only dwelling for several miles around,

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one mile distant from the village of Trancas, Province of Tucuman – ceased to function properly. Loss of the only power source to run the entire property forced the occupants of the farmhouse to resort to flashlights and candles to go about their activities. The evening’s usual activities curtailed by the outage, the Morenos went to bed at eight o’clock. Around 21:30 hours, while Mrs. Yolié Moreno was in the same room with her sister Yolanda and her young child, Dora Guzmán, a teenaged domestic worker, knocked insistently on the door saying she was frightened, without specifying the cause. Mrs. Moreno dismissed these concerns, but young Dora returned only minutes later, this time saying that she could see “lights at the end of the backyard” whose origin she could not explain. Every time she set foot outdoors, she explained, the surroundings would light up abruptly for a matter of seconds, as though flashes of lightning were occurring on a clear, cold night. Humoring Dora, Yolié and Yolanda went outside and saw nothing; minutes later they were asked to come outside to look at the strange lights for a second time, and were unable to detect anything unusual. When asked for a third time, the domestic begged them not to leave again, as the lights were flashing with certain regularity. It was a this point that they became aware of two “sources of light” joined by a “glowing tube” measuring an estimated one hundred meters. A number of silhouetted figures – forty, by some counts – were moving hurriedly about. The lights and their mysterious connection were a scant 150 meters away from the Moreno farmhouse on the Belgrano Railroad tracks. Suspecting that either a train derailment or a terrorist act was in progress, the sisters went back to their room to get dressed while Dora went for a .38 Colt revolver. Yolié tiptoed past the bedroom of her elderly parents – Antonio and Teresa – to avoid waking them up, but deliberately woke her sister Argentina Moreno, 28, to ask her to look after her son while she went for a closer look. The sisters discussed the ruthlessness of leftwing guerrillas who would doubtless open fire on them if their presence was detected. Interestingly enough, it would be Argentina – characterized as calm and introspective, who would leave her room for a better look of the lights described to her by Yolié. Unexpectedly, the others heard her scream, adding that “there were strange devices near the house” -- cries that shook her parents out of their slumber. With no time to waste, the two older sisters, with a gun-toting Dora taking point, headed for the tracks. Upon reaching the property’s gate, they were surprised to see a faint greenish light. When Yolié shined her flashlight on it (believing it was a pick-up truck belonging to one of the farmhands), six portholes on a disc-shaped object lit up: the bizarre structure was hovering over the ground, barely eight meters from where they stood. The witnesses would later describe the object as measuring “between eight and ten meters in diameter” and having a surface similar to aluminum, with projections resembling rivets. There were no identifying marks on its surface and the portholes burned with a powerful white light that kept them from looking inside. An unlit dome surmounted the disk’s body, which wobbled slightly without spinning on it axis. A sulfurous odor was also present in the air. While the three women looked in amazement at the outlandish and somewhat frightening device, it suddenly let off a gout of flame that toppled the women to the ground, sending them rolling a distance. Stunned and in a panic, Yolié, Yolanda and

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Dora ran for the safety of the house; the first two had seen and felt the intense heat of the fiery outburst, but it was Dora who took the brunt of the flame, suffering second and third degree burns to her face, legs and arms. As this occurred, three more powerful sources of light appeared along the Belgrano tracks, bringing the total of unknown objects to six. A sulfurous fog began to envelop the nearest saucer, whose structural characteristics faded away until only an orange cloud was visible. From one of the windows of the Moreno farmhouse, the terrified occupants could see a “tube of light” measuring an estimated three meters in diameter, issue from the craft and project itself against the house, as though scanning every detail of its architecture. Between the larger object on the railroad tracks and its peripheral craft, enough light was being generated for the Moreno family to clearly see what was going on. Beams of light from the craft projected upon a tractor shed, moving increasingly close to the farmhouse. The solidity of the beams is a remarkable feature of the account, as they were described as “perfectly cylindrical and casting no shadows whatsoever, or emitting any vapor or sound.” Yolié inserted her hand into one of the solid beams of light in the belief that they were jets of water of some sort, held together by unknown means. She suffered no ill effects from doing so. At this point, the elderly Mr. Moreno made ready to go out and face the situation himself. He had been the mayor of Trancas for a number of years and believed that this display of lights had to do with political adversaries who were hoping to settle a score once and for all by eliminating him and his family. His daughters, however, kept him from engaging in any heroics: the solid beams of light were now concentrating upon the farm and its outbuildings at a rate of two beams per unidentified object. Two such beams from one of the objects headed for a henhouse and fell short of actually reaching it. The worst aspects of the “siege” experienced by the Moreno family was beginning: the temperature inside the house was quickly approaching 40°C when it had previously barely reached 16°C, and despite the lateness of the hour and the total lack of electricity, the farmhouse’s interior was lit as bright as day by the beams, which seemed able to pierce through the stone walls. Also at this point, the elder Mrs. Moreno reportedly saw a “silhouette” racing past the windows of one of the rooms, but what later unsure if this was a product of her imagination. While her husband and children dealt with the phenomenon, she had been engaged in prayer. Her devotions perhaps proved helpful. The object nearest to the house redirected its beams of light before retracting them slowly; the intruder carefully glided its way toward the train tracks, where it joined the five other objects. In unison, all six unidentified vehicles flew east at low altitude toward the Sierra de Medina, leaving the horizon bathed in a strange orange light for well over half an hour. The entire ordeal had lasted forty-five life-changing minutes for the Moreno family, whose place in the annals of the unknown had been assured forever. Researchers who looked into the case made some interesting discoveries: a number of white spherules had been found throughout the backyard and the train tracks, seemingly left behind by the unwelcome visitors. A chemical analysis performed by Walter Tell at the University of Tucuman proved revealed their composition to be largely of calcium carbonate with traces of potassium carbonate. The family’s guard dogs did not bark

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before, during or after the incident, and the chickens in the henhouse had also kept their peace throughout the ordeal. Francisco Tropiano, owner of the property nearest the Moreno farmhouse, did not see the objects or their enigmatic beams but had indeed witnessed the preternatural orange glow issuing from behind the Sierra de Medina. Other witnesses, however, had seen much more. José Acosta, the foreman of the Santa Teresa ranch, asked the Morenos why a fire had been set in the fields, adding that he had witnessed a number of objects heading west, but the presence of trees and other obstacles had kept him from seeing the activities on the Belgrano tracks or the siege at the farmhouse. Renée Vera, a physician from the village of Trancas, experienced an auto breakdown on the road to the community, forcing her to walk the remaining distance to the settlement. At around 23:00 hours she reportedly saw a “fleet of 40 or 50 luminous bodies” at low altitude that covered the area with a smell of sulfur, so intense that she nearly passed out on the roadside. When interviewed, Yolié Moreno expressed an opinion that may have been considered startling in the light of the experience that she and her family had been through: at no time did she feel in the presence of a technology that was anything other than human, mainly due to the presence of rivets on the disk-shaped craft nearest to her home. Guillermo Gimenez, who wrote a follow-up on the Trancas incident in 2005 to commemorate the anniversary of the event, reports that Captain Omar Pagani, one of the first officials to report to the scene, noted in his findings that "a glow similar to that produced by a distant city was left at the place in the mountain range where the objects vanished, lasting approximately an hour and a half. I was able to hold in my hands a branch touched by one of these objects, but it was impossible to obtain any results." Giménez, director of Argentina’s Planeta UFO, adds: “I was able to visit this location [Trancas] in the months of July/August 1989 and tour it, thinking back to those events, the experiences that were had, the eyewitness accounts and the important evidence found. Unfortunately the main witnesses of this event were already deceased. All that was left there were the memories of a spectacular UFO case that was still remembered at the time.” Respected Argentinean author Roberto Banchs mentions the July 4, 1968 blackout that darkened the entire sector of Tigre (province of Buenos Aires). During this incident, a number of witnesses reported seeing a UFO. A woman named Isabel Gómez stated that the object "seemed to emit light. It was the only lighted object at the time." A few months later, the city of Chascomús was plunged into darkness. Mrs. Blanca Davis witnessed a UFO measuring some 7 or 8 meters in diameter hanging motionless in the air, directly above the town square. "When we looked toward the west," she reported, "we saw two [more] discs and another one which gave the impression of being ready to land. Suddenly the UFOs headed toward the lagoon area, from which twenty more objects appeared, flying from north to south at fantastic speeds." Banchs reports that electricity was restored the moment the objects disappeared. The impressive and unbelievable amount of UFO activity taking place over Argentina during this period of time generated a considerable quantity of photographic evidence that appeared first in the national press and subsequently in saucer-related publications on the international level. Some of these images are immediately recognizable by even the casual student of ufology (a good example would be the August 5, 1965 photo taken over Buenos

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Aires at 0:300 hours), but a careful study of these images performed by Vicente Juan Ballester Olmos as part of his FOTOCAT project shows that many of them were a succession of lens flare misidentifications or simply photos of astronomical interest. One may theorize at this point that the urge on the part of the newspapers to have some kind of visual material to accompany a factual story was so strong that resorting to such chicanery was seen as fair game. In the Internet age, we see this “for purposes of illustration only” situation repeating itself on many websites. The personalities that had made Madrid’s La Ballena Alegre, such a weird and wonderful place in the 1950s, continued their activities into the new decade under the guidance of Fernando Sesma, perhaps best described as chief instigator and merrymaker. At some point in 1962, Sesma received a phone call from someone or something claiming to be “Saliano” from the distant sphere of Auko. The residents of this planet must have been quite addicted to their own penmanship, as “Saliano” bombarded Sesma with correspondence filled with scrawls and portents. These missives would be read out at the Merry Whale to the delight of believers and non-believers alike. This carefree reading of what was largely contactee claptrap gradually gave way to more serious fare, received not from Auko but from UMMO, a world endowed with the power of space flight but, alas, not the lowercase typeface. The spacefarers from UMMO – located some 14 light-years away from Earth -- described themselves as tall and blonde and would have fit in perfectly with Adamski's Venusians or thel Nordics that became part and parcel of the ufological taxonomy. Often endowed with names like DEI 98, ASOO 3, and IAUDU 3, they represented a civilization that had overcome planetary disharmony and mastered the secret of trekking throughout neighboring solar systems in their wonderful OAWOLEA UEWA OEM, which dull Earthlings could only describe by their shape as "flying saucers." These advanced space travelers were in possession of a science completely undreamed of by human thinkers: their numerical system operated on a base of 12 rather than 10, as does ours; they had discovered that the link between body and soul was a chain of 84 atoms of krypton lodged in the hypothalamus; their physicists had rejected our concept of Euclidean geometry and discovered that the universe was composed of an unsuspected number of dimensions and that matter, energy, and mass were in fact the result of three independent axises known collectively as IBOZOO UU. It was precisely this control of IBOZOO UU which enabled them to leave their homeworld and reach our solar system in some seven or eight months of travel time. Ummite cosmologists spoke of a "multiverse", the WAAMWAAM, and were fascinated by magnetohydrodynamics, which they employed to power the small remote spheres (UULEWA) employed by their agents on Earth. Their society, or UMMOALEWE, was probably the most attractive asset these avowed aliens could offer a Spain that was stultified by the repressive Franco dictatorship: full equality between the sexes, religious free thought, and an apparent lack of hierarchical structure, in spite of having leaders, which could be very young, and were shown great deference. The Ummites also had the kind of gadgetry that would have made James Bond's Q green with envy: ballpoint pens that emitted buzzing sounds for remote communications, metallic spheres which hung suspended in mid-air as if by antigravity, and glowing discs the size of a quarter which could light an entire room. All the information concerning their society, organization, and beliefs was gleaned from endless, erudite "reports" aimed at familiarizing humans with their culture, as well as

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acquainting humans with their perspective on our affairs, such as war, inequality, etc. These reports were allegedly transmitted by means of dictation to a human typist (who was strictly ordered never to attempt contact with the addressees), and then sent to scientists, philosophers, and broad-minded individuals who in the Ummites' criteria, would be able to understand them and put them to good use. Unlike other contactee fare, the Ummites offered neither religious messages nor the hope of imminent salvation from cataclysms that never quite materialized. Belief in the solvency of these communications was bolstered by a series of curious coincidences in which some of the UMMO letters predicting sightings and landings of their spacecraft in the Madrid area apparently coincided with UFO sightings that appeared in the local press: the landings at San José de Valderas and Santa Monica on June 1st, 1967 could only have been produced by the Ummite vehicle collecting its passengers and heading into space. Oddly enough, the Ummites had taken the precaution of notifying three journalists they had befriended in Madrid about this upcoming event. Between thirty and forty people, members of Fernando Sesma's Club de Amigos del Espacio (Space Friends Club) attested to having seen an ad in the newspaper which provided the coordinates and arrival time for the interstellar craft. The lenticular craft, with the famous UMMO emblem on its underside, crossed the skies over Madrid's San José de Valderas sector before making a brief landing at Santa Monica. A number of witnesses claimed to have seen the Ummite vessel rise from behind a line of trees, hover, and fly up vertically at a tremendous rate of speed. There was also physical evidence to bolster the Ummite’s claim: a trio of rectangular imprints arrayed in a triangular formation, and burnt soil in the triangle's center. Yet far more fascinating than these ground effects were the nickel tubes containing long strips of material embossed with the UMMO emblem -- )+( --. Upon analysis, however, the metal tube and the strips proved to be highly unusual but hardly alien: the former was indeed an unusually pure form of nickel, and the latter was a material known as TEDLAR, manufactured by DuPont and used for space-related applications. However, the Ummite landing in Santa Monica was declared a fraud early on, and it is as such in Vicente Juan Ballester-Olmos' Enciclopedia de los encuentros cercanos con OVNIS (Encyclopedia of UFO Close Encounters). Suspicion began to fall upon "professor" Fernando Sesma and his merry band of followers. According to distinguished investigator Antonio Ribera: " [Sesma] has a reputation for being fantasy-prone, given to unfounded speculation with little grounding on reality, such as what has been presented in certain magazines and books." Ribera and fellow investigator Rafael Farriols managed to have Sesma hand over all the "originals" given to him by the Ummites, who no longer interested him because they weren't as spiritual as Saliano from Auko. The “UMMO Affaire”, as it would become known for posterity, reached far beyond Spain as serious researchers in other European countries became recipients of the intriguing correspondence. Aimé Michel and René Fouéré received UMMO microfilms and photographs of a spacecraft identical to the one supposedly seen over San José de Valderas, thus bringing UMMO's existence to the notice of French investigators. The Ummites themselves had revealed that their first landing on Earth had taken place near the village of La Javie in Southern France, where they proceeded to remove samples of hair and bodily secretions from the sleeping occupants of a home close to their landing site. Among the Ummites' "booty" were items as diverse as newspapers, light bulbs, and knickknacks.

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Eminent UFO researcher Jacques Vallée visited La Javie, and in searching through the local police files, discovered that the occupants of the house in question had reported the theft of an electric meter, which happened to be among the articles supposedly pilfered by the itinerant spacefarers. Vallée pursued the phenomenon to Argentina, where a medical establishment dispensing miraculous cures had become UMMO's most tangible manifestation to date. An earlier Vallée book, Messengers of Deception, intimated the possibility of an espionage link with UMMO as part of the Cold War. In 1970, a British company known as UMO Plant Hire Ltd. was exposed as a front for KGB activities. One year later, over a hundred Soviet officials were expelled from the UK under suspicion of espionage, and UMO closed down. In an interview with journalist Linda Strand, Vallée observed that there existed the strong possibility that UMMO was in fact some sort of covert exercise by one of the world's intelligence agencies, possibly aimed at the creation of a cult which would later be put to other uses. He was not alone in his observation: it had already been suggested by certain Spanish investigators that life on UMMO -- an antiseptic society obsessed with personal cleanliness, heavily dependent on gadgetry for every detail of their existence, flitting about in air cars straight out of The Jetsons -- reflected the ideal futuristic society from an American cultural perspective, thus hinting at the possible motive force behind the entire affair. The UMMO phenomenon can lay claim to being the longest-running hoax in ufology. It drove wedges between believers and non-believers -- between those who had received, yet again, the Good News purveyed by the space brothers and those who took a more skeptical approach. Apparently, the scientific jargon that characterized the UMMO reports led many to consider it the real thing. Curiously enough, the very first "sighting" of one of Ummite saucers -- at Aluche in 1966 -- was witnessed by José Luis Jordán Peña, a habitué of the Merry Whale and an engineer by profession, who has since been accused of perpetrating the entire hoax. Material related to the subject of UFOs was becoming readily available during this period of time – exponentially greater than a decade earlier. Magazines sold at the newsstand and available to the unspecialized reader included translations of U.S. and British news items, largely translations from Frank Edwards’s books at the time – Stranger than Strange, Flying Saucers Here and Now (also available as a full translation, Platillos Voladores Aquí y Ahora) - or articles from Flying Saucer Review. Entries on the occult lore were usually translations from France’s Planéte, and Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier were accorded the stature of high priests of the new esoteric revolution. In Spain, the decade’s contributions to literature began marked the appearance of two markedly different UFO books: Antonio Ribera’s Objetos Desconocidos en el Cielo (Barcelona: Argus, 1961) and Fernando Sesma’s Yo, Confidente de los Hombres del Espacio (Madrid: Jirafa, 1965), plus translations of the early works of Aimé Michel. Later in the decade, such titles as Marius Lleget’s Mito y Realidad de los Platillos Voladores (Barcelona: Telstar, 1967) and Sesma’s UMMO, Un Planeta Habitado (Madrid: 1967) would grace bookstores, but the market featured a predominance of translated works from French and English (some of these translated by Antonio Ribera, whose translation credits also included the Spanish version of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). Ribera would retain his undisputed heavyweight title as the decade came to a close with three books of considerable importance: UMMO: Un Caso Perfecto, Los Platillos Voladores en Iberoamérica y España, and Platillos Volantes Ante la Cámara – all of them published in 1969.

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South America, undergoing the period known as the “boom” in the field of literature, was also contributing a wealth of literature to the ufology. Argentinean readers interested in learning more about the phenomenon could read Oscar Uriondo’s Objetos aereos no identificados; un enigma actual (Buenos Aires: 1965), Oscar Galíndez’s Informe Sobre los Objetos Voladores No Identificados (Cordoba: 1968), Pedro Romaniuk’s Naves Extraterrestres, sus Incursiones a la Tierra (Buenso Aires: 1969) or Luis Anglada Font’s La Realidad Ovni a Través de los Siglos (Buenos Aires: 1969). Brazil, a hotbed of sightings throughout the 1960s, produced a considerable amount of UFO literature in Portuguese, such as Paulo Coelho Netto’s A Realidade Dos Discos Voadores (Rio de Janeiro: 1966) and Flavio Pereira’s O Libro Vermelho Dos Discos Voadores (Sao Paulo: 1966). Venezuela’s own contribution to ufology during this period was Platillos Voladores Sobre Venezuela by Horacio G. Ganteaume (1961). As in Spain, many translations of the works of U.S. authors – Donald Keyhoe, Morris K. Jessup and Frank Edwards – were circulated at the time. If it had been possible to look at the postal services of the world through some sort of xray and sorting device, the spectator would have been amazed at the number of UFO bulletins and round robins circulated to subscribers. Mentioning all of them is a task akin to counting the stars in the sky, and it is only thanks to the heroic efforts of Ignacio Cabria in Entre Ufologos, Creyentes y Contactados that we have a thorough list of bulletins and magazines available in Spain at the time. Some of them lasted no more than two issues (as occurs with podcasts almost forty years later!) while others managed to publish weekly for an entire year. Newsstand publications like Algo (1968-75), OVNI (1969) and Ciclope (1969-1970) were often produced on quality paper, lavishly illustrated and contained interesting features and interviews, some of them with personalities not usually associated with ufology, such as Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez discussing his views on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. That they lasted so long indicates the presence of a dedicated readership willing to support them during a period of considerable activity. "In Spain, the Sixties represented Ufology's baby steps in our country," says Angel Rodriguez, a veteran UFO researcher and director of Spain's GEIFO organization. "It was a Spain in which you either became a political activitist against the Regime or wasted your time by immersing yourself in stories that would make you forget the dullness of those times. The man on the street did not know much about ufology, a word that became fashionable in the '70s. Martians and flying saucers were spoken about jokingly and sporadically, but the subject wasn't really in vogue. Saucer buffs weren't well regarded and there was no widespread UFO movement. It was all behind closed doors. "Those were the times," continues Rodríguez, responding to questions posed to him for this monograph, "in which those who concerned themselves with the subject belonged to university circles, although these were more concerned with political activities. Men in Black and such were relegated to a minor role when compared to the agents of the Direccion General de Seguridad, who represented a very real threat. Many supposedly UFO-related gatherings really concealed a more revolutionary agenda. It was the heroic age of our pioneers, namely Antonio Ribera, Manuel Osuna, Ignacio Darnaude, Julio Marvizón, Manuel Filpo, V.J. Ballester Olmos, Pepe Ruesga...the list is very long. As

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Manuel Osuna told me on one occasion, ufology is like a thermometer that rises and falls, referring to the fickle interest of the population." According to Sebastián Robiou’s Manifiesto OVNI (San Juan: Ed. Punto y Coma, 1979) the first reported landing of a UFO occurred in 1963 in western Puerto Rico when an anonymous agricultural engineer from the city of Aguada saw an intense bright light near the surface at eight o’clock in the evening on an unspecified date. The engineer thought that a car had driven off the road and landed upside down, with its headlights pointing upward. Upon getting closer, he realized that it wasn’t a car, but instead “a small object on the ground, about the size of a small vehicle.” Coming within one hundred feet of the strange object, he noticed that it was surmounted by a gyrating red light and a grilled lower section, through which the white light he had originally seen, poured through. After a while, the object lifted itself into the air, remaining motionless dozens of feet off the ground, and then took off horizontally in a northwesterly course, toward the Mona Passage. This would mark the beginning of saucer activity in the new decade, although it would not be a particularly fruitful period for sightings. March 14, 1964 would bring with it the high-altitude transit of a strange object over several Puerto Rican communities at around five thirty p.m. The object was described in an article for the El Mundo newspaper as being rocket-shaped and at an estimated altitude of twenty thousand feet, although neither Roosevelt Roads Navy Base or the Ramey AFB at Punta Borinquen had any explanation for it, and it was ultimately dismissed as “space junk”. A nineteen year old resident of San Juan’s El Condado neighborhood, returning from an early morning mass on December 23, 1966, supposedly took a photo of a “dark blue, opaque object that remained motionless at an elevation of two thousand feet.” Lester Rosas, who took the snapshot --which would subsequently appear in various UFO publications – would go on to allege that he had maintained telepathic contact with the vehicle’s occupants and had even met some of the same “Venusians” who had interacted with George Adamski a decade earlier. Less contactee-flavored reports would emerge later in the last third of the decade. On January 19, 1967, residents of Mayaguez, Aguada and Hormigueros in the island’s western half reported sightings of “luminous bodies crossing the sky and vanishing as though falling into the ocean”. One witness told El Imparcial newspaper that “one of those strange devices almost touched the surface of the sea west of Mayaguez and lit up the Industrial School,” adding that on some occasions, three such objects had merged to form a single one. With regard to the same case, El Mundo reported that at 5:00 a.m that morning, dozens of citizens reported the passing of a strange luminous object flying slowly and in silence. Juan Ruste, one of the witnesses interviewed, said that the vehicle “looked like a square object with some yellow, low-intensity lights.” After Ruste and his family observed the apparition for some three minutes, the object fired an intense, white beam and accelerated into the distance. A similar sighting occurred in February 1967, when students on the rooftop of one of the male dorms at the Interamerican University in San Germán reported seeing an unusual object that made a quick upward turn before losing itself in the firmament. According to Ruben Roig, one of the witnesses, the object had issued a deep, engine-like sound that caused the students to gaze skyward. They all agreed that the object had some sort of “glass capsule” on top of it.

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1967 would also bring the first of many incidents – some of them tragic – involving small private planes and unidentified flying objects. Before noon on April 6, 1967, two Cessna 150 training flights were approximately one mile north of the Tortuguero Lagoon on the northern coast of the island at an altitude of three thousand feet. It was a sunny, clear day with excellent visibility. One of the Cessnas flew directly above and ahead of the other; each of them carried an instructor and a student, maintaining sporadic contact between both planes. At one point, the flight instructor aboard one of the Cessnas radioed his counterpart, saying, “a strange object was tailing him.” The pilot of the second plane, the one flying under the first, made a 180 degree turn to take a look, just as the UFO flew past before the pilot had completed his turn maneuver. The intruder was flying some fifteen hundred feet under both planes and at high speed, making a northward 90-degree turn without slowing down. The event had played out at such speed that the pilot of the second trainer – the one that had turned around to see the unknown object – never got a chance to see it. The description came from the pilot of the first aircraft and his student. The Tortuguero UFO would later be described as being “flat metallic gray or dull white in color and measuring an estimated sixty feet long, three times the size of the Cessna 150.” It lacked any visible features and was noiseless. The one unexplained event in this incident was that the chronometer aboard the Cessna that had made a turn to get a better look suffered “irreparable damage” for no apparent reason. On August 18, 1968, fifteen witnesses reported seeing a disk-shaped UFO with partitions or “windows” that emitted a bright, fluorescent light. The sighting took place at 02:00 hours at Playa Borinquen, outside Ramey AFB, and the witnesses happened to be not locals, but members of the base’s security personnel. The object was about fifteen hundred feet over the sea, lighting the entire area. At one point during the observation, the object expelled a small luminous orb that remained beside the disk-shaped craft and wobbled before taking off at astonishing speed. Moments later, the windowed disk would do the same, leaving the onlookers bewildered. The entire sighting lasted between twelve and fifteen minutes. The year came to an end with the sighting of a humanoid entity on the ground standing next to its hat-shaped vehicle: on December 31, 1968, an uncle and nephew were making their way toward San Juan from the town of Isabella to meet the rest of their relatives at a New Years’ Eve celebration. At 19:30 hours, driving near Vega Baja, their car’s headlights fell on white object they first believed was a damaged car. While the nephew, who was at the wheel, tried to identify the unusual object, he noticed that something was standing beside the object – a humanoid creature standing some five feet tall and whose mouth resembled that of “an elderly toothless person”. Frightened, the driver stepped on the accelerator and sped away, just as his uncle was beginning to notice the object on the ground. Looking back as they sped away, the uncle reported that the white object lit up with a greenish-blue light that shifted to a reddish hue as it began to rise into the air. Some historians say the Vietnam War brought the “iconoclastic Sixties” to an end; others point to a tragic rock concert in Altamont, California. The fact of the matter is that the decade that brought us Woodstock and Laugh-In actually started in the chronological

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mid-Sixties and ran well into the ‘70s. In Latin America, revolutions – some successful, some less so – were the norm, along with student unrest and the first stirrings of a break with the region’s all-compassing catholic culture; ironically, the first signs of this rupture would come about in the shape of Mi Iglesia Duerme, a book written by a Jesuit priest who would go on to become one of the most controversial authors and lecturers in Hispanic ufology: Salvador Freixedo. UFOs were seen – by those interested in the subject, and those of a more metaphysical bent – as proof that “change was in the air.” Believers in extraterrestrials, as stated earlier in this monograph, were convinced that humanity’s tentative steps into space were being welcomed by more advanced space-going civilizations (and a merry prankster made sure that the UMMO correspondence said as much). Disbelievers probably felt that the interest and presence of these bothersome lights in the sky, and their even lessappetizing occupants seen on the ground, meant that the consumption of psychedelics was not limited to the longhaired young. Many organizations and study groups developed during the rush of interest in “flying saucers” in the 1950s had not lasted into the Sixties, but those that succeeded in doing so managed to form serious organizations, turn their mimeographed newsletters into magazines, and their magazines into full-length books. The decade that loomed ahead – even amid reports of skyjackings, communist insurrections, student revolts and urban riots – burned bright with promise.

Chapter Four: Strangeness in the Seventies
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Writers have been advised by tradition to begin their works with a volcanic eruption and to go downward from there. This one begins with an ice cream truck. In 1975, the boys clustering around the ice cream truck which made its nightly rounds through the Sierra Bayamón urbanización would sometimes gather to reminisce about UFO events from earlier years. Somehow, in the warm, starlit tropical evening, safely within reach of concrete homes under good street lighting, the recollections of years past seemed more of a thrill than anything else. “You missed it,” said Papín on one such night. “You should have been here when the Martians showed up.” Not one for distinctions, Papín considered that anything coming from space must certainly be from Mars. He took a prodigious lick out of his ice cream cone. Tuto, who was somewhat older that the rest, took the trouble to point out, “No son marcianos. They aren’t Martians, Papín. Besides, you weren’t outside the night it happened.” The rest of the crowd laughed and nudged one another. At this point, I was dying to hear exactly what it was that had transpired over the quiet streets of Sierra Bayamón. Having recently moved from Mexico, which was experiencing considerable UFO activity at the time, the thought that I now lived at a place where bona fide sightings had taken place was too good to resist. Turning his head to face me, Tuto assumed the storyteller’s mantle. “Around Christmas of ‘72, un OVNI flew right over the main street.” He waved toward the nearby road. “It was orange colored and was right above the palm trees. Everyone came out of their houses to look at it. Some of the older kids were shouting for it to land, but it kept going until it vanished over the hill.” Another wave of the hand, this time pointing to the massive, densely overgrown range that gave the development its name. Everyone was seeing them back then.” The others nodded in agreement, recalling the weird, wonderful flurry of paranormal activity. I merely absorbed the information and tried to imagine the utterly changeless suburb excited about anything whatsoever. The fact of the matter was that the incredible year of 1972 had merely been the prelude to sightings that were taking place even as the boys sat on the sidewalk eating their ice cream. The cases ranged from alleged UFO occupants, bizarre creatures, and the inexplicable mutilation of cattle. They were very much a reality at the time, while the boys’ parents worried about inflation, Governor Hernández Colón’s austerity plans, and the upcoming election year. The young could reminisce about the strange in a way that their elders couldn’t.

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While there were no magazines on the homefront to report what was happening islandwide, the now-defunct Mexican publication Contactos Extraterrestres conveyed the awareness of what was taking place under people’s noses. A radio show, Otros Mundos, kept Sunday-morning listeners aware of the very latest developments in the field, presenting interviews with eyewitnesses and local researchers such as Sebastán Robiou, Noel Rigau and Ralph Sierra. The boys grew up, the ice cream truck stopped coming, the impressive bulk of Sierra Bayamón was quarried out of existence, and island governors came and went. Only the UFOs and their mystery remained a constant, renewing their covenant of wonderment with each successive generation. At the height of the 1972 UFO wave -- the hurricane season months of August, September and October -- sightings occurred largely in the rural areas on the western side of the island, although San Juan itself with its large population played host to a number of unexplained happenings. Most prominent among them was the large luminous disk that flew between two high-rise condominiums at the heart of the city. The glowing disk hovered between the structures for seconds which felt like an eternity to the terrified onlookers before flying off into the distance. Similar shining disks frightened the inhabitants of Ponce, the island’s second-largest city. But big-city lights held no attraction whatsoever for the self-luminous intruders: their preferred spot was the small mountain community of Adjuntas (which acquired quasilegendary status as a UFO playground) in the heart of the island’s coffee-growing region. In October 1972, Roberto Ramos, mayor of Adjuntas, had his own sighting of unidentified aerial vehicles one night in the Barrio Garzas section of his community. A disbeliever of such manifestations, the mayor actually prided himself on his utterly rational approach to anything vaguely inexplicable. But sitting in the front passenger seat of a roofless jeep, along with other passengers, he was left speechless when three disks crossed the firmament right over their car. Ramos would later describe the objects as a trio of light-emitting disks, changing in color and intensity as they crossed the sky. As they flew over him, the mayor had no doubt that he was witnessing no conventional phenomenon. Francisco Soto Borges, a worker living in Aguadilla, reported seeing a fleet of seven discoidal craft, moving in perfect formation, which flew soundlessly over the coastal community in 1968. He was privileged to have a repetition of the same experience in May 1972 during the saucer wave: “I was out on my porch at about nine o’clock at night when I became aware of a large light in the sky that lit up the surrounding area like a helicopter searchlight. I looked up, and only a few hundred feet above us, was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen.” Borges described the UFO as circular and partially concealed by a cloud. “It had an array of blue, red and golden lights that streamed down to my porch, bathing it in light. The display became even more dazzling when a second vehicle appeared next to the first one.” Borges summoned his neighbors to join him in witnessing the aerial display. Far from being afraid of the unknown craft, Borges expressed a belief that they came from a dimension concealed from human eyes, since the vehicles disappeared without having moved from their positions. “We shouldn’t fear the unknown,” he philosophized, “for if these vehicles had any evil intent, they would have destroyed our world long ago. They

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have the intelligence to cross space, come from some other dimension, and build these marvelous artifacts.” William Rosario, Director of Public Relations for the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, was taking photographs of campus buildings for a recruitment publication on the morning of October 24, 1973. Accompanied by another photographer, Miguel González, Rosario had no idea that he was about to become a milestone of UFO research. González suddenly warned Rosario that there was a strange object heading toward them out of the sky at a 45 degree angle. Rosario looked skyward, pointing his 75 mm Rolleiflex at the advancing craft and taking a picture. As the three-tiered UFO peeled off in a northeasterly direction, Rosario pressed the shutter once more. The entire incident lasted no longer than 15 seconds. He would later tell reporters from San Juan’s El Nuevo Día newspaper: “I’d never seen anything like it. The object was round and flew quickly in a rotating motion. It was about the size of two small Piper aircraft, and had three tiers like a cake ... its color was like dark, unpainted aluminum, and shined considerably as it tilted to climb into the air.” In November 1973, a secretary at an employment agency in San Juan received a visit from a strange man who did not appear to be yet another applicant for temporary assignments. The individual sat down at her desk and began discussing the grave ecological and social crisis being experienced on a worldwide level at the time. The secretary noticed that the presumed applicant was dressed in a black suit of a fabric she had never seen before and had long, tapering, “beautifully kept” fingers. The man’s complexion was “porcelain smooth” like that on a mannekin. Mesmerized by the unusual figure, the woman heard him rattle on about the war in the Middle East, the energy crisis, and a shopping list of global concerns, all the while emphasizing that there were “better worlds than Earth”. The secretary’s mysterious interlocutor informed her that with a snap of his fingers he could “make her forget everything,” then rose from the chair and headed for the door, advising her that she would see him again. The secretary, who related her experience to ufologist Sebastián Robiou, was convinced that there was something unhuman and unearthly about the man in black. Even stranger events lay in the future. Perhaps one of the most impressive “multiple witness” sightings on record took place on January 3, 1974, at 8:10 p.m., when ten families totalling over a dozen individuals of various ages reported seeing a slightly flattened, circular object flying low over the Flamingo Terrace development in Bayamón, P.R.. CEOVNI investigator William Santana conducted thorough interviews with the witnesses, who coincided in their description of the object. Only a few weeks prior to the sighting, local children claimed to have encountered a bizarre, monkey-like being in the woods surrounding the development. Whether this creature was linked in any way to the subsequent events was never determined. Four weeks later, corrections officer I. Simonetti was walking back to his home in the Barrio Obrero section of San Juan, when he casually took notice of an object in the sky which he first believed to be a kite. Focusing upon it, he realized that the brass-colored object was swinging in a pendular motion (characteristic of UFOs) before taking off in a northerly direction. Simonetti noticed that people on the street were shouting among themselves and pointing at the sky. One of them, standing on a rooftop, kept shouting in excitement that he had managed to take a photo of the unusual display. Simonetti later obtained copies of his neighbor’s snapshots and forwarded them to CEOVNI: the Barrio

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Obrero photographs depict an object somewhat reminiscent of the black, turreted object captured on film over McMinnville, Oregon in the 1950’s. Other objects visible in the photo (rooftops, palm trees, streetlights) help to determine the object’s altitude. During 1974, Puerto Rico’s southwestern corner became the scene of UFO and religious phenomena as devotees of Our Lady of Sábana Grande claimed that their patroness was performing “miracles”. The following year, members of the CEOVNI group would investigate the relationship between UFOs and the bizarre animal deaths taking place on the western side of the island, striking pay dirt when they interviewed farmers who claimed to have witnessed UFO involvement in the mutilations: Luis Torres, his son José Daniel, and a number of neighbors allegedly saw a flying object that resembled “the lights on a police squad car” crossing the skies on the outskirts of Moca, a small coastal town on the straits separating the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The flying object, described as silver-colored and as large as a house, flew at treetop level and as close as 100 yards from the witnesses. CEOVNI’s researchers could not have imagined that the furor over the Moca Vampire was still in the future. On the evening of Sunday, March 24 1974, CEOVNI members Noel Rigau and William Santana were sitting on the front porch of architect Gabriel Ferrer outlining an upcoming UFO conference when Santana became aware of an intense whitish-blue light, “four times the size of Mars,” moving silently across the night sky and leaving an everincreasing luminous wake in its path. The CEOVNI members scurried around with excitement: Santana ran to his car to secure binoculars while Ferrer headed into the house to summon his family. According to Noel Rigau’s estimate, the object had the shape of a vast cigar, flying at speeds in excess of fifteen hundred miles an hour. The estimated width of its “tail” was some one hundred miles, with an added detail: at least 20 disk-shaped objects were visible within the wake, following the cigar-shaped “mothership” in military formation. Since most UFO researchers seldom get to see the objects they pursue, the CEOVNI members were understandably ecstatic. Corroboration for the sighting came from others who had also seen the “mothership” from other parts of Puerto Rico. Rigau received phone calls from Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, Aguadilla and Maricao. But the happy researchers could not imagine the controversy that was about to ensue. The morning after the spectacular sighting, an official report from the Weather Bureau appeared in a local newspaper, advising the population that what they had seen the night before were merely luminous balloons released by the Bureau as a routine atmospheric test. Rigau and Sebastián Robiou returned the volley with a communiqué of their own: “We ask that the Weather Bureau give prior notice to the citizenry concerning the atmospheric balloon test to be repeated on 30 March at 8:00 p.m. in order that the entire population may enjoy this phenomenal display, which only a few students of ufology were able to witness. We hope the Bureau will comply with our request, and we hope that future tests will be advertised for the enjoyment of the Puerto Rican public.” The press release was teletyped to all media sources, which joined in CEOVNI’s entreaty to the Weather Bureau. Rigau was deluged with telephone calls applauding his initiative, and even received a call from an angry citizen who argued that one of the Weather Bureau’s luminous balloons had apparently made a stop on his property and burnt to cinders a vegetable patch that was about to be harvested. The caller asked Rigau whether

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or not he should sue the Weather Bureau for damages. A flurry of calls were also received by the Weather Bureau itself, where all senior personnel was conspicuously absent, and no explanation about its “supersonic balloons” was forthcoming. The day after, callers to the Weather Bureau regarding the celestial display were given the same tersely-worded message: “We saw nothing, we heard nothing and we said nothing, nor were our balloons responsible for what you saw. That’s all.” 1975’s landmark case was without a doubt the one involving Buenaventura Bello and his family, who resided in the Los Angeles development within sight of San Juan International Airport (now Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport). In the morning hours of April 6, 1975, Mr Bello woke up to discover that the pet geese in his backyard were completely silent -- highly uncharacteristic, since the animals normally honked until having been fed. Checking on his animals, Bello was shocked and terrified to discover that the birds had all been slain and laid out in a perfect circle. The dead animals’ owner wasted no time in calling the police. The local police’s perfunctory investigation on the scene was followed by the arrival of a white unmarked van whose occupants were clad in white decontamination gear. The decontamination crew headed for Bello’s backyard carrying sophisticated equipment and what appeared to be Geiger counters. Once their furtive task was completed, the whiteoutfitted characters instructed the police to deny access to the backyard to anyone, even members of the Bello family. A number of police cars soon converged on the street outside the family’s home. The parade of mysterious characters was far from over. Two individuals, allegedly sent by an official agency, collected one of the dead geese for analysis. Members of CEOVNI obtained copies of this report, which showed that the goose had been slain by a strange puncture mark that pierced deep into its vitals (shades of 1995’s Chupacabras) and drained its blood. Buenaventura Bello and his family were advised by unidentified civilians to move out of their home as soon as possible, advising him that there could be something in the backyard which could prove seriously detrimental to his well-being and that of his family. A fortnight later, when Bello moved to another house, he was bemused when the household dog died, a victim of a fast-spreading cancer that may have been a consequence of an exposure to radiation. Much has been written about the significant developments which have taken place in Puerto Rico over recent years, attracting the attention of UFO researchers from the four corners of the earth including an episode of FOX TV’s The X Files series and assorted European and Japanese documentaries. While the bulk of this study has been centered around the alleged subterranean/submarine base at Laguna Cartagena on the island’s southwestern corner, another section of the island continues to demand the attention of every researcher: the Caribbean National Rainforest, better known by the name of one of its most prominent mountain peaks, El Yunque. El Yunque certainly fits Coleridge’s description of Xanadu, “a savage place, holy and enchanted”: the cloud-enshrouded peak can easily be seen from as far away as the city of San Juan, and closer inspection reveals an ocean of unspoiled green as lush as that of any jungle. El Yunque was revered by the ancient Taino Indians as the dwelling place of one of their deities, and there is proof that the Mayas traveled as far as Puerto Rico to

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venerate this spectacular place. Similarly, thousands of tourists from around the world visit this truly unique landmark every year. However, El Yunque has a dark side which involves human disappearances. An undetermined number of hapless visitors have vanished since Taino days without any satisfactory explanation of their disappearance having ever been made. Many of these have been linked in recent times to the inordinate amount of UFO activity that takes place on the island. The only confirmation we can possibly have that nonhuman forces are involved in these happenings comes from the likeliest source: the ones that got away. An 8 year old girl from Caguas, María Esther Figueroa, would have the sad distinction of being the first child to disappear in El Yunque under mysterious circumstances. Having vanished from the sight of her teachers during a school bus trip to the rainforest in 1965, it wasn’t until recently that a former classmate “remembered” that the hapless María Ester had been forcibly abducted by two men in blue coveralls. The classmate was threatened by the two men that she too would be taken unless she kept her silence. Eight years later, a 7-year old boy, José Alemar, disappeared while in the company of his parents. Little José was walking behind his parents as they strolled down one of the rainforest paths. In 1974, in the wake of a dramatic UFO flap which included cattle mutilations, strange creatures and Marian apparitions, an hour-long documentary was aired on Puerto Rican television recounting highlights of the incredible events. One of the documentary’s segments involved the curious story of a group of young people who had found themselves besieged by thoroughly bizarre creatures during a visit to the rainforest. On the night of October 20 1973, nine campers -- students led by three adults -- had gone to El Yunque hoping to “contact” UFOs and their occupants. They made camp high up on a mountain trail, preparing to spend a night that would turn out to be the longest in their lives. Mr Heriberto Ramos, the group’s official leader, stated that at one point during their ascent along the trail, they met three persons heading downward. There was nothing “alien” about the trio aside from the fact that they all dressed exactly alike and with similar features. One of the group members, who had stayed behind, took a photo of both the other group members and the three mysterious walkers, but only a patch of mist appeared on the developed film where the trio stood. At a given moment that night, thoroughly convinced that an otherwise uneventful vigil lay ahead, the campers were surrounded by five or six vaguely humanoid figures which darted about the thick vegetation with claw-like hands and elongated ears. Some of the “monsters” blocked the precipice-flanked trail that constituted the only way down from the mountain and back to the safety of their vehicles. From a prudent distance, one of the creatures regarded Ramos intently. Upon noticing this, the latter tried walking cautiously toward the eldritch being, hoping to show that his group’s intentions were amicable. Ramos stood less than ten feet away from the creature, and was able to describe it as having a triangular head, and “extraordinary” eyes. Amazingly, he managed to touch the strange being, which did not stir. Its skin felt neither cold nor rubbery. Almost simultaneously, one of the students lit a large, powerful flashlight in the direction where the contact was taking place, flooding the area with light.

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The clawed creature reacted by racing away from the scene, literally tearing a path right through the dense vegetation, which led to a 100 foot drop, giving the startled Ramos reason to think he had frightened the being into jumping. To the man’s amazement, it reappeared instantly at the side of its fellows, which were still blocking the downward path. For endless hours until the sky began to lighten, the besieged campers were surrounded by the beings, who remained in constant motion around them. Terror had led one of the students to bang himself repeatedly on the head with a flashlight, hoping to escape the situation by passing out. Seized by an inexplicable urge, another camper expressed a desire to take a walk in the woods. Fearing for his mental state, one of his companions offered to walk with him. Before they’d taken more than a dozen steps, they found what could only be described as a glimmering, polychromatic “egg” lying on the ground. While entranced by the curious flashing object, neither one felt brave enough to touch it. Later that night, they would see it in the claws of one of the nonhuman besiegers. Was it “bait” of some sort, its pulsating colors designed to mesmerize prey? At sunrise, the campers made a mad dash for the cars they’d left parked at the bottom of the mountain. Not a trace of the alien intruders remained aside from their footprints, which were much larger than a human’s and appeared to have been made by very heavy creatures, in comparison to the smaller footprints left by the humans. Their valor rekindled by the morning light, the campers made plaster-of-paris casts of the prints and photographed them. These materials were stolen by unknown parties months after the incident, including valuable infrared prints. Many more UFO-related encounters would take place in the years that followed, and others would not have the luck of the nine campers. A small boy vanished without a trace in 1975 -- only to establish a telepathic link with his grieving father. According to the account, which appeared in an issue of the defunct SAGA UFO REPORT, the father heard the missing child’s voice calling to him one night after the disappearance. The man felt that he was either being driven insane by his grief or that someone was playing a prank on him. One night, he felt a compelling urge to get into his car and drive to El Yunque, back to the site where the boy had vanished. Through some form of telepathic link, the boy told him that he was “safe and comfortable on another planet.” His captors were taking good care of him, and were preparing him “for a future generation.” The following appeared in a privately circulated paper entitled Abductions in El Yunque Are Aliens Responsible? by Hermes Rivera (1989). “About ten years ago, some 15 children disappeared in El Yunque while on a school trip. The teacher responsible for the kids committed suicide because the students were never found. A search team from the U.S., sent to the mountain to try and find the missing youths, ran into a short humanoid creature wandering around the bushes. As soon as the creature realized it had been seen, it ran and disappeared. The search was fruitless: no trace of the creature or of the missing children was ever found. The involvement of Tupamaro revolutionaries was suspected, since they had long before threatened to kidnap children all over the U.S. and Latin America to sell them for money [...]. Two Italian kids, about 9 years of age, were also reported missing between 1976 and 1978. Their case was put on hold because of their father’s involvement with the Mafia. The Colón brothers, who used to live on the

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road that leads to the top of El Yunque where the first UFO landed, were also reported missing without a trace about 25 years ago.” Not even well-trained and armed soldiers are immune to whatever force is behind the disappearances. In March 1976, two Marines stationed at the Roosevelt Roads naval facility vanished in El Yunque. While not one satisfactory explanation for the strange activities that take place in the rainforest has been put forth, the fact remains that a vast menagerie of creatures reportedly has the tenancy of El Yunque -- ranging from the claw-handed entities seen in 1973 to the large-headed Greys and hairy, Bigfoot-like creatures sighted in more recent times. The increasing volume of UFO sightings over the rainforest has created a de facto belief in an alien base lurking somewhere in the forest (more on this later). Many of the vehicles sighted are seen hovering above Pico del Este, one of the rainforest’s peaks which houses a JSS (Joint Surveillance System) radar and communications site attached to the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base. UFOs have emerged from the mountainside, hurtling skyward at dizzying speeds to the startled eyes of a growing number of witnesses which includes forestry service workers. In 1987, one such vehicle allegedly crashed into the rainforest, prompting sudden military “training exercises” which were construed as efforts to recover the downed UFO. It is further alleged that this crash left a huge bald patch in the jungle, which has been fenced off due to high levels of radiation. Humans have often populated mysterious or poorly explored places with exotic and downright bizarre creatures, and this is obviously the case with El Yunque, but can so many reports of encounters with non-human entities be dismissed as “folklore”? What are we to say when “folklore” walks out of the hills and into a residential neighborhood? One of the most significant “high strangeness” events of the Seventies was without a doubt the appearance of the so-called “Garadiávolos” in 1974. Largely forgotten since then, mention of these controversial creatures was made during 1995 at the heat of the Chupacabras scare. Alfredo García Garamendi, a Spanish citizen who had resided in Puerto Rico for decades, received a certain degree of notoriety when he claimed to have captured a species of “fish” unknown to modern zoology. The amphibian creature, with its uncannily anthropomorphic characteristics, had a solid skeletal structure unlike that of a fish, which is cartilaginous, a tubular tail, long appendages resembling legs, a clearly defined, evil-looking “face”, complete with eyes, nose, mouth and teeth. The places where the arms would have been were occupied by rigid fins. The thoroughly weird creature was sent to the attention of Dr. Máximo Cerame Vivas, Puerto Rico’s most eminent marine biologist, who referred it in turn to William Eger, a professor of ichthyology at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico. In a letter to Garamendi dated March 28, 1972, Eger opined: “I believe it to be a type of Chimera fish which is quite primitive and related to the sharks and rays but belonging to a separate taxonomic group of fishes. Inspection of your photographs, however, reveals some rather strange, unique characteristics which are not expected to be found in the above mentioned Chimera (rat fish) group of fishes ...”

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Garamendi wrote a book about his discovery, alleging a possible extraterrestrial origin to these creatures. He added that the “Garadiávolos”, as he called them, were extremely fierce and hard to capture. To make matters worse, the specimens he had captured in a mangrove lagoon north of Fajardo, P.R. (Laguna de Aguas Prietas), would decompose into a sort of protoplasmic slime. However, before this happened, technicians had already successfully X-rayed the specimen, determining that it indeed belonged to an unknown species. A smaller (or younger) specimen of this unusual creature was captured soon after and was promptly dissected. It was later shown off on local television programs and articles about it appeared in domestic and foreign publications. In the light of accusations that his creatures were merely the tourist souvenirs known as “Jenny Hanivers” (falsified mermaids or sea creatures made in seaside communities), Garamendi steadfastly maintained that they were extraterrestrial amphibians dumped by an alien race into Aguas Prietas lagoon to see how they would thrive. Photos of alleged specimens standing on uva playera trees were included in the text. He challenged the skeptics, saying: “Anyone with the slightest experience could unmask a fraud, since the incisions and cuts performed on the dead rays do not heal after desiccating them and remain uncovered. On the other hand, while the Garadiávolos are endowed with two horns surmounting their heads, the facsimiles only have a spatulate frontal lobe or two enormous ears lacking any ear canal whatsoever, nor do they have nasal passages.” The Garadiávolos controversy became a back-burner issue in the late ‘70s, later becoming only a vague memory among the population. Researchers have observed that there was a “refractory period” of approximately nine years, running from 1975 up to the crash/retrieval incident of 1984. Sebastián Robiou, author of the landmark Manifiesto Ovni, and a handful of CEOVNI members were the only active researchers during these lean years between outbursts of UFO/paranormal activity. Events of little relevance to ufologists occurred during this time span, but one year stands out among the rest. A UFO appeared over a Baptist church in Gurabo, P.R., during the funeral of Rev. Antonio Roque on April 18, 1976. Photographer Andrés González had the surprise of his life when, upon developing the roll of film in his darkroom, he came upon the photo of a mysterious, lozenge-shaped object hovering at a distance over the heads of parishioners as they stood outside. The exposure was subjected to analysis and no manipulation could be detected. 1977 brought even stranger cases to a society that had largely forgotten about UFOs and gotten on with its life. The space-minded concentrated on the launching of the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes or on the landing tests of the space shuttle Enterprise. The sciencefiction minded found relief in Star Wars. Yet while we persisted in our pastimes, high strangeness events developed all over the island like the proverbial mushrooms after a rainstorm. Hermes Rivera, a photographer and UFO researcher, was seven years old at the time of some of these manifestations. In November 1977, He was privileged to witness a UFO event over busy Loiza Street in the heart of San Juan’s Santurce district: “It was about 9:30 p.m. and I was with my mother and father at the time. We had just come back from visiting my grandmother, when we decided to stop at the local drug store to get some

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things. I remained in the car with my mother while my father went to get the things they needed. I was talking to my mother when all of a sudden we noticed the cars on Loíza Street brake to a halt, and people staring at the sky. We then proceeded to do the same, and there it was: a circular object with lights of all colors, floating in mid-air, some 2000 feet off the ground. It was the most amazing aircraft we had ever seen: round, large, with an antenna-type thing protruding from its top and making no sound whatsoever. Whatever it was, it sure wasn’t a helicopter and definitely not an airplane. It was beautiful and scary. In fact, I panicked when I saw it, and tried to hide under the seat. My mother kept asking, “did you see that, did you see it!?” I kept crying, saying: “Yes, make it go, make it go away. It’s scaring me, mom.” “My dad then came out of the drug store along with other people that were inside. They all stared at it, and suddenly, without warning, it vanished as if it was never there. Amazing, unbelievable, but all true. That was my UFO experience. I remember it today as if it were yesterday. I cannot and never will forget what I saw. There’s life out there, watching us and studying us. Our government is hiding the truth and we deserve to know.” August 26, 1977 should have been a routine day at work for Nancy Barbosa, a secretary at a commercial endeavor located at Caribbean Towers, a high-rise office building overlooking the scenic Condado Lagoon. At around 9:15 a.m., as she went about her duties, she became aware of an unusual sound, as if someone were fooling around with a radio dial in the conference room adjoining the suite’s reception area. Barbosa rose from her desk to see what was the matter. Two little men, standing some three feet tall, stood in the office she had presumed to be empty. The creatures were studying a large map of Puerto Rico on a wall in the conference room. This early morning crisis proved to be just too much for the secretary: she started to scream. Startled by Barbosa’s screaming, the diminutive creatures ran to the end of the conference room and leaped onto a chair, using it to squeeze their way out of an open window. Abraham Almodovar, a customer who had been sitting in the reception area before the incident occurred, ran into the conference room in response to the screams. He arrived just in time to see the humanoids making themselves scarce. “I was able to get a good look at them,” he said later, “but I wasn’t brave enough to come any closer, since I almost died of fright. I felt a terrible sensation around my heart, since I’d never seen a similar sight in my life. I reached the [conference] room just as the secretary dashed out into the hallway. She told me: “go in there and see what I’ve just seen.” Almodovar was later able to give a reasonably good description of the dwarfish intruders although he wasn’t able to make out their faces. They had very long arms and short legs, with large, flattened heads, and ears ending in antennae. The creatures’ skin was scaly, like that of a fish. The most curious detail is that the pint-sized trespassers wore outfits resembling “a combination one-piece bathing suit and T-shirt” with what appeared to be a design on the back. It should cause us no surprise to learn that Nancy Barbosa never returned to her job at Caribbean Towers. Another foursome of three-foot tall, slight non-human creatures (also wearing “bathing costumes”) was reported a week after the events in San Juan by two women in Medianía

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Alta, Loiza Municipality (east of the city). Olga Fuentes and her unnamed friend were talking on the steps leading up to her house when they became aware of a saucer-shaped object hovering over a nearby palm tree. Fuentes and her companion described the vehicle as having blinking green and blue lights and small window-slits. Running to tell their respective families and friends about their experience, they were surprised to hear a neighbor exclaiming that she had seen four little men in her back yard. These cases involving diminutive creatures are not exclusive to Puerto Rico. Since the early days of ufology, and going even farther back in history, accounts of diminutive intelligent beings have played a crucial role is shaping our perception of the phenomenon. The sizes of these creatures range from a scant twelve inches to a not-sosmall four feet in height. They occupy a special position within the study of the unknown, since they straddle the divide that separates folklore from contemporary approaches to enigmatic creatures: every culture on earth has a tradition which involves small beings that can be either good or malicious, intelligent or brutish. That accounts of such creatures occur in our highly technological twentieth century, and in relation to the UFO phenomenon, constitutes an enigma in itself. The brownies, pixies, gnomes and dwarves have their equivalents in the Mexican ikhals, chaneques and aluches. It is extremely odd to find such a variety of names to describe creatures that supposedly do not exist. Sunday, May 31, 1985 turned out to be an ordinary day for the children of the Argentine locality of Saenz Peña in the province of Chaco -- a chance to play with friends in the antipodal fall before facing another school day. The carefree youngsters would have this day firmly embedded in their recollections forever: as they played outside an abandoned house with their friends, a small black figure, measuring approximately three feet (80 cm) in height, appeared out of nowhere, with clear intentions of capturing one of the younger children present, a five year-old named Marcelo Esquivel. What happened next was predictable: Alarum omnes. Screaming children scattered as badly shaken parents initiated a fruitless search for the homunculus. The sheriff (comisario) of Saenz Peña, Rubén Linares, undertook a formal investigation of the subject based on the complaints filed by a number of parents. The officer of the law only managed to turn up a curious detail -- the abandoned home, located on 26th Street between 5th and 7th avenues in the 1ro de Mayo neighborhood -- had once belonged to a family surnamed Carbajal who were reputedly practitioners of black magic. The case would have probably been considered a dead end at that point, had it not been for recurrent apparitions of the same enigmatic black dwarf throughout the community. Carlos Silva, 13, a ninth grader at a local high school, was testing out his air rifle in the company of friends at around 2 p.m. on June 2, 1985, when the group became aware of a singularly unusual little being staring at them from the lower branches of a tree. Thinking at first that it was the pet monkey owned by a woman in the neighborhood, the boys came closer hoping to recover it and return it to its owner. According to Silva “upon coming closer, we realized we were wrong. We stood there, petrified with fright, exchanging stares with the creature for no longer than a minute. It suddenly vanished. It was then that we reacted and ran away.” Silva’s description of the dwarf was corroborated by his fellows: it was no taller than a meter (3.28 ft), was entirely black, hairy and dirty-looking. The oddity had enormous

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eyes, much larger than a human’s. The boys added that it lacked the muzzle of an ape, having instead a mouth with long, protruding fangs. “Furthermore,” added Silva, “monkeys sit differently on tree limbs, holding on and never dangling their feet. This one was resting on the branch, as if waiting for something.” At this point we may feel tempted to dismiss the experience of Silva and his buddies, or indeed the incident involving the younger children, as fabrications or childish hysteria (in 1974, a mild episode of this sort swept throughout Colegio Carnegie in Mexico City, where the children feared making use of the restrooms on account of a belief that “el destripador de Boston” -- The Boston Ripper -- was lurking in the dark hallway leading to the facilities). However, sightings of the black dwarf would soon be noticed by adults as well. On Thursday, June 4, 1985, a group of soccer fans visited a local bar to celebrate their team’s victory. Upon leaving the establishment at closing time (around two o’clock in the morning), one of the enthusiasts, Hector Maidana, 22, was shocked at seeing a small black figure standing on a streetcorner at the intersection of 7 and 26th streets. “I had always been told to do nothing at all when confronted by sights like this one.” Maidana explained to a journalist from the “Norte” newspaper. He remained motionless and watched the small creature cross the empty street and disappear behind a car parked close to the abandoned Carbajal residence. The startled witness professed having been reasonably sober at the time, and wondered at first if it was a child, only to realize later that no parent would let their children out at such a late hour. Eyewitness accounts continued piling up. At 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5, a teenager named Fabián Oviedo was re-entering his home after having left the outhouse at the very end of the property when he became aware of a “small man, all in black” sitting on a dirt pile in a neighboring backyard with its back toward him. Oviedo sprinted back into the house and was too scared to even mention the sighting to his family. A local woman who refused to be identified recalled having seen a similar creature thirteen years earlier in a most curious circumstance: she was on her way to play a lottery number when she became aware of a man and woman being followed by what she took to be a child. The man tossed a cigarette behind him as he walked, completely unaware of the presence behind him. The small creature eagerly picked up the discarded cigarette and put it in its mouth. It turned around, walked across a wide, deep ditch as if no obstacle existed, and headed toward the intersection of 7th and 26th streets. The dwarf continued appearing in the area before the eyes of startled townspeople until the current owners of the abandoned Carbajal house decided to demolish the decrepit structure, an action which apparently brought the sightings to an end, since no further mention of the dwarf was ever made. The strange happenings at Saenz Peña were thoroughly investigated by Jesús Roberto Rovere and Jorge París of the defunct ONIFE organization. Maria Luz Bernal, a Mexican journalist researching magical practices in her country, came across a faith healer known as “cuate Chagala” in the region of Mexico known as Los Tuxtlas. Chagala informed the journalist that he had obtained his healing powers at the age of twelve while fishing for mojarras at a lagoon near his village. His deceased grandfather, who had drowned in the lagoon in years past, allegedly appeared before him to grant him special powers that would turn him into a healer. Chagala believed that his grandfather had been turned into a chaneque, a water gnome/elemental, having been

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lured to a watery death by similar creatures. When prompted by the reporter, the faith healer explained that when these water gnomes appear at night, their purpose is to ensnare the intended victim to drown them and turn them into water gnomes. When they appear by day, however, they do so to confer “gifts” upon unsuspecting mortals. Perhaps UFOs and their occupants feel a curious attraction toward the Caribbean Towers building. Oscar Hernández and William Santana of CENOVNI researched a very curious case that took place on September 1st, 1980 and was witnessed by a wealthy dowager from her apartment on the building’s sixth floor. The elderly witness was getting ready for bed when she became aware of a strange luminous phenomenon in the sky which was reflected upon the ocean behind the convention center on Ashford Ave. in San Juan’s tourist zone. Reaching for her binoculars, the woman was able to see that the clouds had parted to reveal what she described as a “hole” filled with an amber and pink light. She could see a platform upon which humanoid figures could be seen milling about as if conducting activities. After five or six minutes, the clouds covered the “hole” from left to right, and the phenomenon came to an end. This highly unusual case reminded the CENOVNI investigators of certain events recounted in the Bible. But researchers were surprised to run into a similar description on the other side of the island as fisherman from Cabo Rojo, Jorge Acosta, informed them of a paranormal event that he and other soldiers had experienced during the Korean War. According to Acosta, they had seen an “explosion” of lights and colors open up in the sky, creating an aperture through which a strange object emerged, leaving a trail of smoke as it flew off at high speed. The bemused soldiers then watched the hole close in upon itself. On March 17, 1977, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico created a “Special Committee”, composed of five members of the House of Representatives, namely Antonio Faz, Luis Muñoz Arjona, Freddy Valentín, Roberto Rodríguez and Jaime Soldevila, hoped to investigate all matters pertaining to the presence of UFOs on the island. It was rumored that this committee’s inception was the result of a hair-raising experience involving a number of prominent politicians who had been returning from Mona Island (between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico) and who found themselves escorted by one or more UFOs. “The Puerto Rican people,” read House Resolution 151, “has the right to know the truth about this matter. Therefore, the House of Representatives must echo the wishes of the citizenry and research all matters concerning the activities of UFOs over Puerto Rico, which have caused considerable disquiet to the Isle of Enchantment.” The measure received the immediate endorsement of UFO research groups like CEOVNI and others, as well as letters from distinguished researchers overseas, including luminaries such as Argentina’s Fabio Zerpa, Spain’s Antonio Ribera, France’s Henri Durant, and Stateside investigators L.W. Perrine, Jim and Coral Lorenzen, and Dr. J.A. Hynek. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the special committee soon became the target of partisan attacks: the leaders of opposition political parties derided the effort as wasteful and foolish; the congressmen who formed part of the Special Committee were insulted and called gullible. The entire project ground

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On November 30, 1979, Radamés Torres and his wife Tita were enjoying a quiet evening of prime time programming on television at their beach house on El Combate beach in Cabo Rojo. At one point, the couple’s attention was drawn away from their TV set by a strange light visible outside the window. The luminous object was about the size of a full moon and had the yellowish cast of an electric light bulb. Mr and Mrs Torres observed the light for fifteen minutes, determining that it was suspended approximately a hundred feet over the sea and some six hundred feet away from their position. At one point, the light began issuing a variety of colors, and Mr Torres was able to determine that there appeared to be “smoke” or a “haze” around the object. The celestial phenomenon slowly descended to the water’s surface, floating on the waves and projecting its luminescence like a lighthouse. Mrs Torres asked her husband to join her in concentrating upon the object and trying to “summon” it toward them. In spite of their efforts, the light remained unmoved. Mildly disappointed, the Torreses returned to their TV watching. Less than twenty minutes later, Mr Torres was startled by the arrival of a second brilliant light -- so bright that it forced the couple to shield their eyes from it. Mr Torres ran out of the bungalow to see what this new source of illumination could prove to be. Radamés Torres could safely claim having never witnessed a similar sight in his life. The bemused human looked upon the waves in amazement as a rectangular slab with a powerful searchlight at its rear approached the beach at a distance of some hundred and fifty feet from his position. The small sea-going platform was apparently helmed by a small man, standing less than three feet tall, clad in a form-fitting platinum-white suit which covered its entire head. Mrs Torres, who had by this time joined her husband with a pair of binoculars, was able to make out additional details such as gloves and boots upon the figure’s extremities. The platform or landing craft was entirely noiseless, betraying no means of propulsion whatsoever. As it closed the distance between them, Mr Torres could not refrain from exclaiming: “Tita, I think it’s the guys from the flying saucer!” Seemingly endowed with above average hearing, the platform’s helmsman turned away from the humans. The powerful light was also extinguished. Meanwhile, the light which had remained out at sea changed colors and began to pulsate. The Torreses saw it flash a beam of light at a seaside shack employed by local fishermen to clean their catch as the platform made a swift return back to its mothership. After watching the unfolding events a little longer, the Torreses re-entered their beach house. Investigator Freddie Badillo Jaraviz, who interviewed Radamés and Tita Torres, noted that both people appeared to be very serious about their experience, and that their standing in the community was vouchsafed by many other local residents. Unbeknownst to the Torreses, a similar experience had been reported in September 1977 but north of Cabo Rojo, in Mayagüez Bay. While there is no clear proof that this event was clearly “extraterrestrial” or even ufological in nature, it certainly fits comfortably within the uncomfortable boundaries of “high strangeness.” There were, perhaps, better things to do in the Seventies than look at the sky. After all, Man had already been to the Moon twice – to the elation of billions – but the near-loss of

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Apollo 13 tempered the excitement with a reminder that space was the ultimate hostile environment. There were more pressing situations to be addressed on Earth, and particularly at the street level, as student uprisings in the Western nations alternated with free festivals, singing songs with a decidedly political descant to them. Mexico entered the new decade reeling from the brutal suppression of activism at Tlatelolco in 1968 – weeks before the Olympic Games slated for that year – and a government in transition. The same upheaval in music, politics and consciousness was to be found there, and in such a state of affairs, no one was surprised that “los marcianos” – the Martians, everyday parlance for the concept of “space aliens” – had taken an interest in terrestrial matters, whether to lend a hand or laugh at foolish humanity. The intense UFO activity of the mid-to-late Sixties carried into this new decade as well, with the generalized belief that human space activity had attracted the notice of spacefaring civilizations, perhaps unmindful of the fact that the same had been said about nuclear activity in the ‘50s. Were these putative aliens worried that the noisy neighbors with their atomic firecrackers now threatened to bring disturbance to their worlds? While these and other affairs entertained the thoughts of people in the big cities, UFO activity was taking place far from the sodium lamps, the urban sprawl and the nightlife. On 18 February 1971, frantic calls from local residents were received at the newsroom at the “El Siglo” newspaper in the northern Mexican city of Torreón. At 22:00 hours a “flying saucer” had become visible to the southwest of the city, appearing at first as a bright spot in the skies and later increasing in size, changing color from yellow to pink and leaving a wake that remained in the sky for several minutes before the intruder vanished. The newspaper sent out reporters to interview the witnesses, and while most agreed on what they had seen, they were equally certain that they had not seen a meteorite, bolide or anything similar, as these did not initially appear to be small, then larger, and leave luminous wakes that remained for several minutes. To the south of Torreón and on the same day – 18 February 1971 – residents of the Charcas region of San Luis Potosí also advised the local authorities that a platillo volador had flown over the mining facilities that have made the state a major source of ores since colonial times. Local peasants said that the object flew at fantastic speeds, slowing down only to circle some of the mountaintops. The UFOs speed and intense white glow made it impossible for viewers to make out details. According to a wire from the AEE news agency, “hundreds of people poured out of their homes to view the strange phenomenon.” Journalist and UFO researcher Santiago García interviewed Andrés Barraza, a mechanic who had been among the witnesses of a significant sighting on 29 January 1971. Barraza said that objects involved in the multiple object sighting “had a strange glow to them, and their speed was around 200 kilometers an hour.” When asked how he could be so sure of their speed, he replied that as a mechanic, he was a keen observer of the speeds of a car or any object in motion. García would go on to acquire a measure of renown for his investigations of the “Zone of Silence” near the town of Ceballos, Durango, and eventually had sightings of his own in this largely inhospitable region. In November 1972, while looking into other UFO cases in northern Mexico, he boarded a rickety rural bus to reach the village of Jimulco in the state of Coahuila.

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The driver obligingly dropped the journalist off at the roadside patch that he wanted to investigate (an alleged landing site) and García set off across the rocky desert terrain. “I hadn’t quite covered two hundred meters,” he wrote, “when three luminous disks measuring five meters in diameter emerged from behind a stand of trees. The objects appeared to spin on their own axises, all the while emitting very high-pitched sounds.” The three unknown devices may have been as startled by the human’s appearance as he was by theirs. They rose vertically to a height and then flew off from the outskirts of Jimulco at what García describes as “frightening” rate of speed, which he placed at four hundred kilometers an hour. What he found most astonishing from this encounter with the unknown had nothing to do with the objects, but rather with the fact that he had forgotten to bring along his camera, “my inseparable companion in research,” as he described it. Fearing that people would choose not to believe him if the told his story, he later discovered that there had been other witness to the trio of unknown objects. As it turned out, elections were in full swing for the office of the mayor of Jimulco, and a delegation of politicians and advisers, including the candidate for office, the state governor and other grandees, had seen the phenomenon from their campaign bus. Pedro Rojas, a county official, was part of the delegation and later told García that the politicians had all seen the three objects. Rojas himself had never paid much attention to the UFO phenomenon, but the sighting on 16 November 1972 certainly stirred his interest. Anomalous activity would spread to the neighboring state of Chihuahua – Mexico’s largest – in the months following the events in Coahuila. On 15 August 1973, the Heraldo de la Tarde newspaper featured a UFO report received from Rogelio Yapor, an employee with the social security office in Ciudad Cuahutémoc. Mr. Yapor was driving along the road toward Ciudad Cuauhtémoc with his family when he noticed a very large luminous object (with estimated diameter of fifty meters – in excess of 160 feet) hovering not too high up in the sky. Yapor described the object as a “flying saucer” that appeared to play a game of hide-andseek among the clouds, descending and rising abruptly with “the same speed as a jet.” These maneuvers persisted for an estimated forty-five minutes – the time it took for the witness to cover the forty kilometer distance to his destination. “Suddenly, the saucer took off at an amazing speed toward the mountains, becoming the size of a star and then vanishing altogether.” The staff at the Heraldo de la Tarde’s newsroom would have probably dismissed it as otra de marcianos – just another Martian story – but the fact that Yapor had placed a very expensive long distance call to their office made them suspect that the eyewitness was telling the truth. The sightings showed no signs of abating, as reports now emerged from the city of Monterrey. On 7 September 1973, the El Norte de Monterrey noted that many citizens were phoning in reports of strange objects, unsure of their terrestrial or extraterrestrial provenance. “Some speak of such phenomena, seemingly strange, as merely objects produced by Man, and which only appear strange when seen in the dark. Others speak of UFOs.” Antonio Cantú was among these witnesses. From his home in the El Roble district, he was able to see a luminous object hanging motionless over the peaks of Cerro de las Mitras, an impressive geological formation

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(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerro_de_las_Mitras). The object would remain suspended over the mountain before shooting off at high speed – and immediately after, the air in his neighborhood would become filled with fog or fumes that were attributed to the unknown device’s takeoff or landing. Fortunately, Mr. Cantú was not alone in his statements. From another residential district – Colonia San José – Mr. José Lara had also seen a strange object land on the summit of Cerro de las Mitras in the evening. “It was a bright object, emitting a very powerful beam of light, remaining motionless until it set off at considerable speed.” Other witnesses reported in person to the newsroom of El Norte to inform the staff of the anomalous events playing out on the summit. Alberto Taboada, driving at night along the road linking Monterrey with Laredo, Texas, was near the town of Sabinas Hidalgo when his car became awash in an intense, unearthly light. Rather than pulling over, he continued his journey into Sabinas, reaching a filling station owned by Mario Ancira. Both men were able to share the sighting of numerous objects flying in a north to south direction, heading to Monterrey. Of further interest is the fact that both men observed the objects “falling to the ground” after covering a certain distance. Taboada continued his journey, and was able to see objects falling the vicinity of Cerro Mamulique. The reader will allow me a personal note: Due to visa restrictions applicable to U.S. citizens living in Mexico at the time, my family had to make a twice-yearly journey to Laredo, Texas to get our visas stamped on the U.S. side in order to remain within the Mexico. The seventeen-hour journey was always in the dark, and afforded spectacular views of the countryside and night skies over the desert. The eerie quality of this nocturnal landscape – especially when the bus stopped in the middle of nowhere to pick up or drop off passengers – was never more intense than around El Mamulique. While I never saw any of these lights at the time, I did get to see a reddish-violet bolt of dry lightning vaporize a tree in the distance. A photo of the area as it appears today can be seen at http://img25.echo.cx/img25/3853/1272788img5oo.jpg The lights in the sky were not always inclined to play nice, to judge by some of the journalistic reports available from the time. In May 1973, Manuel Ruelas and Martín Antonio Luque from the vicinity of El Aguajito in the state of Sinaloa, were chased by a “flying saucer” as they made their way at three o’clock in the morning on a mule-drawn wagon, returning from a fish market. Upon reaching a wilderness known as El Vallado, both men saw a flying object hurtling toward them out of the darkness, casting an intense yellow glow that lit up an area greater than two meters around it. According to their story, the object approached them to the point that they were completely engulfed in its light, flying away and then returning to continue its game. Ruelas and Luque lost their nerve and jumped out of the wagon, running into the brush and abandoning their cargo of fish – and the mule -- to its fate. Vidal Cota, a magistrate from the town of Higuera de Zaragoza, reported to the scene of the UFO “harassment” and found the tracks left by the two peasants as they ran for cover, and fish that had fallen to the ground after they fled. No word on the mule, though. Although no date is given for the next and most impressive events, it was featured in the El Sol de Sinaloa newspaper and occurred with days of the May 9, 1973 event involving the peasants and the cartload of fish. Aaron Irizar, 22 at the time, was a business major

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at the Universtity of Sinaloa who had experienced an encounter with the unknown while in the company of a friend. His story was given short shrift at first, due to his age, his status as a college student, and the chance that he might have been smoking drugs. Irizar’s story involved a sighting of a disk-shaped UFO at approximately nine o’clock in the evening on a Sunday night, specifically near the intersection of Rosales and Xicotencatll streets in Las Quintas. The student added that a varied number of people – men and women of all ages, even children – had seen the arrival of a brilliant light, flying as low as three hundred meters in the air. “You’ll surely think I’m crazy, but I saw it. It was a flying saucer. Well, like the kind one sees drawn in the comic books. It was oval with a bright red dome and a squarish box underneath it.” The glowing visitor hovered over the crowd for a few minutes before vanishing altogether. Irizar added that the warm evening became even hotter when the object stopped over the assembled crowd. “I cannot describe the emotions I felt, “ he said. “I was stunned, and was even frightened when I saw some of the women kneeling in the middle of street, saying that it was the end of the world. I also saw a child pass out on account of the panic and a young man become hysterical.” Five residents of the city of San Luis Potosí witnessed the maneuvers of an orange-red UFO flying over the city late at night in January 1975. Their description of this phenomenon characterizes the physical description given of most UFOs seen over this part of the country: the object resembled a ball, giving off an intense shine that resembled fire, as if the object were ablaze. Two such fireballs were seen by Jesús Aguiar in Baja California: while the young shepherd looked after some burros on a ranch called El Guayabo, he noticed two fieryred balls heading toward him nearly at tree-top level, maneuvering as if to avoid hitting the trees. Aguiar added that an intense burning smell filled the air after the objects went past him. On February 29, 1976 a family on its way to inspect a recent snowfall (a rare occurrence in Mexico due to the high elevations) at a location close to the community of El Chico in the state of Hidalgo. Parking their car by the roadside, the group entered the woods, heading toward an area used for picnics in warmer weather. At around 8:30 a.m., one of the children shouted that a strange object was suspended in mid-air. Having brought along photographic equipment to take snapshots of the elusive snow, the boy's father swung his camera heavenward to take an impressive sequence of photographs, just as the saucer-shaped craft began to exhibit the classic "swinging" motion that has characterized these vehicles. The photographs remain one of the most important documents ever collected on the UFO phenomenon. Activity of this nature has always been common in this part of Mexico, perhaps owing to the fact that a number of large active mining endeavors in the region. The connection between UFOs and mines has also been observed in Puerto Rico, where the test pits dug for copper near the town of Adjuntas attract their interest.

Chapter Five
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Enigmas of the Eighties
Perhaps some phenomenon of an unknown nature – stellar radiation, an odd alignment of plants, something unimaginable to the human mind – caused UFO activity to dwindle from its outrageous highs in the 1970s. Media events like Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind had turned peoples’ eyes skyward, for sure, and perhaps more

UFO reports turned out to be IFOs after all.

Averse though I am to making personal notes, I must say at this point that it was the sudden generalized interest in the phenomenon as a result of the CE3K blitz that quelled my own interest at the time. Suddenly everyone knew of a case, or a landing or had a relative who somehow, somewhere had a brush with the unknown. By the end of 1978 I had packed away most of my UFO books and magazines and roundfiled all of my scrapbooks and transcriptions of brief mentions of the phenomenon on television. By 1981, Saga’s UFO Report had folded and everything seemed to go into a deep sleep, prompting many to wonder – the Reaganauts of the brightly colored, MTV-fueled Eighties – if the signs and portents of the previous decade had been real at all. All this in spite of the fact that the ominous Cash-Landrum incident in Texas and the U.K.’s Rendelsham Forest affair had both occurred in December 1980. The situation had not gone unnoticed by brighter minds, either. In his editorial “A Ufology for the 1980s” (International UFO Reporter, March / April 1985) Jerome Clark wrote: “For one thing, since 1947 there has never been a period that has seen so little UFO activity […]. It remains to be seen whether the absence of significant UFO activity is a fluke or whether it marks a return to things as they were before 1947, when UFOs were so rarely sighted that society at large didn’t even have a name for them. Now, of course, the firm place UFOs occupy in popular culture will assure the survival of flyingsaucer mythology for some time to come, even in the relative absence of sightings.” The fact that his words are being transcribed in 2013 are a tribute to Clark’s prescience. The intense UFO flap over Wythesville lay in the unseen future, the rise of the abduction

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phenomenon, and the resurgence of world interest in ufology in the late 80s and throughout the 90s was completely unguessed-at. Proof of the worldwide character of this slowdown in UFO activity and interest can also be seen in the words of Guillermo Roncorconi, editor of Argentina’s fine UFO PRESS journal. Writing in the mid-80s, he notes: “It is apparent that diffusion of the subject of UFOs (in both its specialized and popular manifestations) is not in its finest hour. The disappearance of popularizers (in general terms) can be seen not only in our own country, and this phenomenon has allowed us to reflect on the reasons behind the “impasse” from the broad perspective of many researchers around the world. Every month w receive news about some foreign magazine or another no longer being published. At times, the release schedules of these magazines have entered into a seemingly endless hiatus. In other instances, the disappearance took place right before the editor of the hour – not satisfied with appealing once more for financial support from subscriber renewals – regretted the lack of cooperation by ufologists themselves, who had not only ceased reporting their activities but stated that they were carrying out no new activity. On many occasions, in rare bouts of sincerity, they would admit to not even being interested in pursuing further activity….” Prestigious magazines and journals that had been the workhorses of UFO journalism in the Spanish language – Stendek, Contactos Extraterrestres and Mundo Desconocido – vanished from the newsstands between 1981 and 1982 due to the dearth of matters involving the unknown. “In 1981,” writes Ignacio Cabria García, “research groups found themselves in the midst of a drought that took place not only in Spain, but all the Western nations. In early 1982, it seemed that UFOs had vanished from the skies, and some wondered if the phenomenon had gone extinct […]. UFO research had entered a ‘dark age’ and a mass defection from the ranks of ufology had begun. Some of those who had participated most actively in the development of ufology were sneaking out the back door, demoralized by the general rollback of interest in the subject, the lack of means and the absence of substantial theoretical gains achieved in so many years of devotion. Thos who had entered the field with a passion, secretly hoping to witness humanity’s giant step in achieving contact with an alien civilization could not help but to feel dejected by the phenomenon’s disappearance, especially when in 1979, a level of euphoria had been attained that led many to believe that unraveling the UFO mystery was at hand.” In Puerto Rico, the Eighties kicked off with a strange case that received some coverage in the local press due to its protagonists’ importance: in 1980, a young pilot, José Pagán, disappeared in mysterious circumstances somewhere over the Mona Passage as he returned with a friend from a visit to the Dominican Republic. Pagán, who is still officially listing as “missing”, was the son of a high-ranking officer in the police force. At around 8:00 p.m. on June 28th of that year, the twin-engine Eurocoupe emitted a frantic Mayday directed at the air traffic control center of San Juan’s international airport. The small plane was being stalked by an unidentified object that appeared to be blocking their progress. The distress call was received by the captain of a Spanish airliner (Iberia Flight 966) whose jet had just taken off from Santo Domingo, who relayed their message to the San Juan tower. At one point during the exchange, a loud metallic sound interrupted the transmission, and Pagán and his passenger were never heard from again. The aftermath of what could ordinarily be dismissed as a common but unfortunate aviation accident was even stranger. Months later, his mother saw José Antonio in a vision one afternoon: he was wearing a metallic green uniform with black metal boots,

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and told her that he had joined the “extraterrestrials” in their mission and was quite safe and very happy with his new life. The reader can draw his or her own conclusions. Airports played as important a role in these sightings during the early Eighties as the pilots that used them. On November 6, 1980, over a dozen spectators (including airport personnel and police officers from the nearby station) at Fajardo Regional Airport witnessed the slow, ponderous approach of a wedge-shaped UFO that could have easily been the size of an ocean-going vessel. The unidentified object, studded with blue, white and orange lights along the length of its lead-colored fuselage, passed over the city of Fajardo at 5:30 a.m. causing consternation among local residents who happened to be awake at that early hour. The wedge-shaped craft flew over the airport, descending on the runway within twenty feet or less of the surface. Its silent descent was witnessed in stunned silence by those at the airport. Only José Cordero, a police officer, steeled himself and headed out to the tarmac, challenging whoever was inside the object to come out and show him some ID. He then asked if they were in distress or in need of any assistance. Receiving no response, Cordero backed off. Pedro Maldonado, a Port Authority supervisor, attempted to establish radio communications with the hovering object to no avail. Eventually, the object made a sudden jump to a higher altitude and resumed its course. The slow-moving vehicle passed over the tall smokestack of the Fajardo sugar mill and then changed its course to a southbound heading vanishing from sight. Just as the falling of a few pebbles often signals an impending avalanche, the appearance of bizarre nonhuman creatures early in the decade foreshadowed the events which would follow well into the Eighties. One of these episodes posed happened within the confines of the San Juan Metropolitan Area rather than in the countryside, and remains one of the best documented cases of the time. In the small hours of March 3, 1980, something decidedly unusual happened in the backyard of the Cruz Rodríguez family. The home, located in the Buen Consejo sector of Rio Piedras, became the scene of a still-unexplained alien encounter. At 3:30 a.m., Vivian Cruz, 16, was stirred from a deep sleep by the barking of the family’s two watchdogs. She also heard the sound of zinc plates out in the backyard being moved around. Fearing that a burglar may be trying to break into the house, Vivian decided to go take a look. She was greatly surprised to find five individuals standing on her family’s property, but she was even more surprised by their appearance. “They were strange,” Vivian told members of CEOVNI. “They looked like people, but different. Two of them were taller than the other three, about five and a half feet tall. The other three were tiny, about three feet tall. The tall ones were slender and looked like us; they wore tight-fitting dark clothes, like a scuba diver’s outfit. Their ears were very long and pointed, and these parts,” she gestured to her face, “were greyish. We also noted that their hands were very large and that there was some sort of webbing between the fingers, like a duck. The creatures had lights on their chests and around their waists.” The smaller of the five creatures in the backyard were just short of nightmarish. “The little ones had a more normal-looking body, although their arms appeared to hang loosely and to fall forward, which made them look hunchbacked, although they weren’t.” Fear was soon replaced by fascination as Vivian woke her younger brother, José Celso, to share the bizarre event with her. The creatures appeared intent on finding something in

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the backyard, moving the zinc plates aside to look at the soil. The Cruzes also noticed that the chickens and one goat that occupied the patio were also a source of interest to the nonhuman creatures. Curiously, the animals did not appear to be in the least bit concerned about the strange beings. At one point, one of the tall beings noticed a broken side view mirror lying on the ground; after examining it with great interest for a few minutes, placed it carefully where he had found it. One of the smaller creatures developed an interest for a water container reserved for a duck kept in one of the cages, and appeared to take a drink from it. At no moment did the quintet of nonhumans make a sound. “What’s really strange,” Vivian Cruz told the CEOVNI team, “was that there was a metal plate next to the broken side view mirror which we used to cover a hole in the chicken cage. The following morning, when we decided to take a closer look at the site, we noticed that the silhouette of a hand had become etched onto the metal plate ... the plate was so hot that we had to wait until one o’clock in the afternoon before we could touch it. We also noticed strange wet spots caused by some sort of liquid where the creatures were standing.” At one point, the creature whom Vivian and José Celso took to be the “leader” of the group turned to look at the human youngsters. Its face was greyish and elongated with a pointed chin. The head was pear-shaped and surmounted by a crested helmet; the large, heavy-lidded eyes appeared to glow in the dark “like those of a dog.” The observers added that the creatures did not appear to walk, but to move around by a series of small hops. At this point, José Celso complained of feeling unnaturally tired, as if something was forcing him to go back to sleep. Vivian Cruz estimated that the sighting lasted approximately half an hour and would probably have gone on for longer, if a car had not driven past the house at the time. The creatures appeared startled and moved out of the backyard toward an empty lot bordering 65th Infantry Highway. When questioned by the CEOVNI team about why she hadn’t called her parents to inform them of the strange event, Vivian noted that the house was divided in such a way that she would have had to go out to the backyard to re-enter the house in order to reach her parents’ bedroom. Although she did not think that anything would have happened had she come closer to the creatures, prudence won out in the end. Corroboration for such an experience is almost always lacking, given the lateness of the hour and the fact that people very seldom wake up for such things (in a recent Spanish case, a man whose home was being surveyed by a UFO drove halfway across town to get his brother out of bed in order to have a witness, and the brother refused to wake up). CEOVNI lucked out on this occasion, finding not one but two witnesses to corroborate Vivian and José Celso Cruz’s sighting, but as fate would happen, both men were mute! Through the good offices of José Rodríguez, who interpreted for the mute eyewitness, CEOVNI managed to secure confirmation. Luciano Rivera, 48, and his unnamed mute friend had gone out on the town and ended up parking their car next to the Centro de Servicios Múltiples building on a service road on 65th Infantry Highway. Mr Rivera told the ufologists through his interpreter that although he and his passenger had imbibed a few glasses of sangría, they weren’t tipsy -- only tired. The men turned the engine out and proceeded to take a nap within the vehicle. When Mr Rivera woke up and was about to take another drink of sangría, he noticed that there was a structure resembling a flying saucer about forty feet away from their car, resting on three metallic struts. The object

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was described as a saucer surmounted by a large metallic dome which projected a dark orange light. An antenna projected from the dome, giving off bright flashes of white light. Rivera promptly nudged his companion to waken him; the other man was clearly consternated by the sight. When they started the car to get out of the area, fearful that one of the flashes of light issued by the antenna would strike them, they noticed five figures walking clumsily along a slope (which unbeknownst to Rivera, led to the Cruz Rodríguez property). The figures floated along the ground and along the sidewalk, ultimately entering the landed vehicle by means of a ladder projecting from its underside. The saucer retracted its struts and rose off the ground, shooting off eastward into the night sky. Rivera’s description of the awkward creatures matched the one given by Vivian and José Celso Cruz, except that he managed to see that the creatures’ noses and lips appeared to be considerably larger than those of a human. One of the taller creatures appeared to be a female, according to Rivera. CEOVNI’s report summarized that the Rio Piedras incident was unique in that four individuals had independently witnessed the humanoids more or less at the same time. The witnesses did not know one another and did not get to meet until much later, when neighbors told the teenagers that Luciano Rivera had returned home claiming to have seen a UFO. Character references for Vivian and her brother were highly positive, and the ufologists managed to keep the piece of zinc upon which the nonhuman’s hand had become etched. Spanish ufologist Antonio Ribera, who had an opportunity to read CEOVNI’s report, noted that the torpor or sleepiness felt by the younger Cruz during the incident was typical of numerous close encounter cases, such as France’s Valensole case, in which the sole percipient, Maurice Massé, was afflicted by overpowering somnolence after his encounter with two humanoids in an open field. On May 31 1987, at approximately 1:55 p.m., the town of Cabo Rojo on Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast was rocked by an explosion and an earthquake at a reported depth of some 80,000 feet. Witnesses reported seeing plumes of bluish smoke emerging from cracks in the ground along with a series of aftershocks. Seismographs soon issued conflicting reports: originally, the tremor’s epicenter was under Laguna Cartagena -- a coastal lagoon -- at a depth of 8000 feet. Later, it was moved out to sea, somewhere in the Mona Passage. The earthquake had a most unusual aftermath: those living in the immediate area of Laguna Cartagena were evacuated by military personnel while figures garbed in decontamination gear conducted a thorough survey of the area, including samples of earth, water and vegetable matter. Soon after this most unusual event, the UFO sightings in the Laguna Cartagena would achieve island-wide notoriety. The explosions and venting of odd fumes would not be limited to the island’s southwestern corner: Mr & Mrs Marcial Cruz reported a series of powerful underground detonations taking place beneath El Yunque after the 1987 events. This unusual subterranean activity was confirmed by their friends and neighbors. As recently as October 1994, several such explosions had taken place. It has been theorized by many investigators (and this author among them) that the U.S. army was waging a secret war against the nonhuman occupants of an alien base located beneath Laguna Cartagena or slightly offshore and underwater, using for that purpose technology developed under the

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code name “Project Excalibur”. In the light of the increase of UFO activity in the area, this theory still holds, but we can examine the other no less ominous propositions which could suggest some sort of military involvement. The fishermen of this coastal community have undergone an amazing number of experiences with unidentified flying objects ever since activity started up once more during the late 1980’s. Researchers Jaime Franco, Jorge Martín and Argentina’s Guillermo Aldunati, who happened to be on the island for a series of lectures, looked into the claims of these individuals. Ramón Vázquez, one of the fishermen interviewed, informed the researchers that in 1987, he and his friends were fishing at a location known as El Manguillo, near the Peña Blanca sector, at around half past midnight. As they performed their work, a round “thing”, described as very large and bright, plummeted from the starry skies into the ocean about a mile away from the fishermen’s position. According to Vázquez, the object hit the surface with a loud booming sound, sending up sheets of water. He told the researchers that the “thing” remained “lit”, issuing a blinding yellowish light reminiscent of a welding arc. When asked to be more specific in describing the object, the fisherman estimated its diameter as between 400 or 500 feet, flat on top but convex underneath. Vázquez speculated that if what he and his friends saw that night in 1987 had been a bolide or a meteor, it would not have glowed in the way that it did. Furthermore, the fishermen were considerably upset by the event, heading for shore as quickly as possible, leaving their nets behind. Inocencio Cataquet, another of the local fishermen, related an incredible episode he had experienced in July 1989. The professional skin-diver and snorkeler had been one of the few people alive to have actually touched a sunken UFO. “... I was alone, fishing in the deep, when around 5:30 in the afternoon I became aware of an enormous, really shiny thing moving underwater ... ¡Ay,caramba! I swear to you that it was some two hundred feet in diameter.” Cataquet told the assembled UFO investigators. “The thing came along and remained under water some five hundred feet away from me, then it turned itself off. You could only see a slightly dark form at the bottom. It made me think, so I grabbed my flippers, my mask and snorkel, and went in for a closer look. It was some 25 feet deep, and when I went down, I realized it was round. It was flat on the bottom and curved on top. I descended even more, and got right over it. I touched it and felt that its surface was not metallic, but porous, like touching sand or cement, and it had an ashy grey color. When I touched it, I noticed that the thing was sort of absorbing water, sucking it from the top, which was full of tiny little holes. You could feel the suction on your hand.” Cataquet’s experience didn’t end there. “I went up for some more air and went down again. This time, I swam under it, some three feet from the sand at the bottom, and I felt it expelling water from underneath, as if expelling the water it was sucking in from the top. I could see fish swimming around me and it, when suddenly the thing lit up for a minute. I was scared, but I stayed. Then, almost a minute later, it lit up and made a nasty squealing sound, as if you were stuck inside a bell and you could hear the sharp vibration. The fish took off ... I don’t know why I thought they were telling me something, telling me to get out.”

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“The water started heating up,” Cataquet continued, “and I headed for the shore. After I’d gotten out of the water, I turned and saw the thing moving away really fast under water. After a while, I looked toward the horizon and saw this tiny little point of light rise from the water and head straight up, vanishing in the sky.” José Luis Pacheco, a UFO researcher from western Puerto Rico, chronicled the fall to earth of a large luminous object on July 30th, 1988. The event was of such magnitude that it prompted a massive search by the authorities. At nine o’clock that evening, residents of Villas de Mayagüez saw a UFO drop out of the night sky and plummet to the ground, causing a tremendous explosion. The locals called the authorities immediately, and police officers reported to the scene accompanied by elements of the Civil Defense and EMT personnel, believing that an airplane had crashed. The police cordoned off the area as a strong smell of burning wafted through the air, but in spite of the co-ordinated efforts, there was no object to recover, and the search was called off that very same evening. Yet residents of Villas de Mayagüez were adamant that they had seen something. Rosie Venegas, one of the witnesses, told Pacheco that she had seen a whitish ball of light descending gradually from the sky until it touched the ground, emitting flashes “like an exploding object.” Ms Venegas added that she wasn’t at all frightened by the event, but that her young niece had hidden out of sheer fright. Could the rescue teams have “recovered” something and been ordered to keep quiet? This seems to be the likeliest answer to the Mayagüez crash, as corroborated by another witness known only as “Sonia”: “When the rescue teams arrived, it was already past 11:00 p.m. They went into the woods and did their thing without letting anyone else get through. Then one of them said something ... I don’t know what ... but they all came running out of the woods, and when I asked them what had happened, they wouldn’t say, but they were real nervous.” Sonia told Pacheco: “They returned the following day, summoned a paramedic, and went back into the woods. I think they were hiding something, because when they came back, they wouldn’t tell us what happened the night before.” Southwestern Puerto Rico presents a completely different environment from the lush, green northern coast: its dryness and largely Mediterranean vegetation remind the casual traveler of Israel or Spain. The region also contains vast salt flats and shallow lagoons, such as Laguna Rincón and its marshy environs, two large unnamed lagoons near Bahía Sucia, and Laguna Cartagena. The abandoned tracks of the Puerto Rico Transport Company, a railroad system used to transports sugarcane products from the different centrales, run less than a mile away from Laguna Cartagena’s shores. The fertile Lajas Valley -- discussed in the next chapter -- is another prominent regional feature. The incident on May 31, 1987 kicked off the series of events that thrust Laguna Cartagena into worldwide prominence. The day following the event, rural residents saw what appeared to be a military helicopter hovering above the lagoon, lowering what appeared to be sensitive equipment into the water. This unknown instrumentation package proved to be of great interest to someone else. On the evening of June 3, 1987, at 10:30 p.m., a cylindrical object resembling a giant hotwater tank with red and blue “navigation” lights on either end emerged from the

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Caribbean and positioned itself directly over the lagoon, to the consternation of onlookers. The silent UFO repeated its maneuver at the same time of night on June 4th and 5th. Unidentified flying objects in myriad configurations would become, from then on, a staple of southwestern Puerto Rico. In October 1988, a witness living in nearby La Parguera, globally famous for the microscopic marine life that causes its bay to become “phosphorescent” on moonlit nights, reportedly saw a gigantic UFO “as large as a 727” airliner, studded with lights, hang silently in mid-air before sinking quietly into the nearby swampland. Melvin Rosado, a resident of Lajas, saw something even more disturbing on one of the hills that comprise the coastal range known as Sierra Bermeja. From his home overlooking the hills, he witnessed an event that falls squarely within the confines of “high strangeness”: he claims to have seen a structure resembling an elevator emerge from the ground, and that four humanoids stepped out of it. The humanoids were escorted by a small hairy hominid which Rosado described as “moving like a robot” which would follow indications given by one of its “handlers.” The witness added that the metallic elevator box appeared to become transparent at one point, as if shielded by a “cloaking device.” As spectacular (and admittedly questionable) as these events might have been, none could compare to the celestial phenomenon that played itself out in the night sky over the town of Betances and over the Sierra Bermeja region. Well over 100 witnesses on the evening of December 28, 1988 were treated to the sight of Navy jets, allegedly F-14’s, maneuvering around a mammoth triangular UFO shaped like a guitar plectrum and with blinking lights. Wilson Sosa, who would emerge as an unofficial spokesman for the assembled witnesses (see next chapter), claimed that shortly after 7:35 p.m., intrigued by the noisy military craft, he stepped out to his front porch with a pair of binoculars to take a look. The triangular UFO was being harassed by the fighters, which dove and spun around the massive structure as if trying to force it to turn around or follow a particular trajectory. One of the interceptors placed itself directly in the behemoth’s flight path, causing it to turn around with amazing ease for an object of its dimensions. It remained stationary, suspended in mid-air. The F-14 Tomcat bringing up the rear flew directly toward the stationary vehicle. What happened next is unclear, but there is unanimity among the witnesses that the whine of the fighter’s engines was extinguished after closing in on the floating UFO. Whether it collided and disintegrated, or whether it was absorbed or “captured” by the UFO is unclear. The second interceptor vanished as well. The colossus then proceeded to split in two (a manoeuvre reminiscent of the “saucer separation” in Star Trek) and each half took off in a different direction, one toward the southeast and another toward the northeast. It later turned out that a similar incident had transpired in the town of San Germán (home to the InterAmerican University) at 8:59 p.m. on November 16, 1988. The townspeople witnessed a delta-wing UFO “suck in” an F-14 fighter while driving away another interceptor with red fireballs (plasma?). The fighters were allegedly of the BCF37 squadron stationed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Since that time, unidentified objects were seen flying alongside military craft as if being escorted somewhere. Interceptors with their full complement of missiles have been flying over civilian locations, and U.S. military personnel are active around the sites of UFO landings.

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Official denial concerning abnormal activity around Laguna Cartagena did not delay in arriving. Aníbal Román, Civil Defense Director for the Mayagüez Region, took to the airwaves to assure the population that neither UFOs nor strange lights were being seen in the southwestern corner of the island. A vast effort was undertaken to demonstrate that the “cause” of the lights seen in Laguna Cartagena was attributable to lights of the Candelaria neighborhood of Cabo Rojo reflecting upon the lagoon’s waters. On October 2, 1991, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) left hundreds of homes without electricity for thirty minutes. Ramón Montalvo, an engineer at the PREPA plant in San Germán, claimed that the unusual lights vanished from the darkened sky “the minute the power was cut off.” Lt. Rafael Rodríguez of the Lajas police argued that the blackout proved the lights believed to be UFOs were merely the reflections on the lagoon’s surface. The authorities went to the extreme of placing a series of large reflectors on the crest of Mt. Candelaria. The experiment failed miserably -- no such reflection was seen, despite official claims. Any individual armed with a map could have told that the lights of the Candelaria neighborhood (20 miles away) could not possibly account for the situation being experienced on an almost daily basis by the residents of the Lajas Valley. A biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fred Shaffner, stated that the effort’s real aim was to discourage legions of curiosity seekers from visiting the lagoon area en masse and worsening the environmental condition of the area. Laguna Cartagena’s prominence as a place of mystery remained undisputed well into the early Nineties. As the intensity of the UFO events increased, more witnesses stepped forward, some of them claiming to have witnessed anomalous activity over the lagoon as far back as the 1950’s. Other witnesses added curious details to the strange situation, such as how sizeable squares of the bullrushes that fill the lagoon would move around and change position against the prevailing wind patterns and water currents within the lagoon. Another event of major importance occurred on April 28, 1992, on the scale of the 1988 events involving the hostilities between military aircraft and unidentified craft. The credibility of the witnesses in this event was unimpeachable: the director of the Lajas Civil Defense, Freddie Cruz, and his relatives, openly admitted having been onlookers to this event. According to Mr Cruz, he and almost a dozen relatives present heard the roar of a jet engine around 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Casually looking upward, he was astonished to see a jet fighter in pursuit of a saucer-shaped object. He described the disk as round, metallic-looking and silvery. The interceptor would close in on the UFO only to have it take off rapidly in another direction -- a frustrating game for the fighter pilot. At one point, as it seemed to the assembled witnesses, which included Cruz’s wife, nephews and guests, the UFO split into two separate saucers just as the jet fighter was finally moving in for the kill. The twin saucers took off in different directions. The interceptor flew in circles before heading after the saucer that went eastward. Mr Cruz, in his capacity as a Civil Defense director, provides support for Department of Justice personnel who pursue illegal immigrants arriving by boat on the islands southern shores under cover of darkness. On one such nocturnal stake out, Cruz and his Civil Defense staff witnessed the descent from the sky of a “star” which eventually proved to

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be a large oval UFO that came to within 30 feet of the sea before shooting upward again into the night sky. In an exclusive interview appearing in the June 1992 issue of ¡Enigma! Freddie Cruz openly admitted that the Civil Defense’s behavior with regard to the Laguna Cartagena had been “shameful”, and that the ridiculing of witnesses by higher-ups had been wrongheaded. He revealed that the Civil Defense did, in fact, keep an eye on the goingson at Cartagena, and that strange artifacts were indeed maneuvering in its vicinity. Cruz claims to have witnessed the evolutions of unidentified objects in mid-air that would plummet into the lagoon late at night. Cruz told Japanese UFO filmmaker Jun Ichi Yaoi that the existence of UFOs in Laguna Cartagena was undeniable, and that he was weary of seeing upstanding members of his community scorned due to the content of what they were reporting. Sightings of unidentified flying objects emerging from Laguna Cartagena never petered out -- the media simply lost interest in the story and local residents became grudgingly accustomed to sharing their beautiful corner of the island with what they perceived to be unsightly but harmless non-human presences. Activity had also dwindled in Mexico, a steady source of UFO and humanoid reports over the decades. But fascinating cases still emerged. Jorge Moreno of Yucatan’s SIPSE wrote in 2013 about an Eighties incident that had recently come to his attention – incidents in the jungle locale of Cobá in the state of Quintana Roo, long before the area became the tourist mecca that it is today. “Raul Robles shares two experiences he shared a few years ago,” says Moreno, “which I found striking, as they were similar to other sighting reports in the municipality of Chemax, Yucatan, and on the road leading to Cobá, Quintana Roo, which could result in the witnesses having seen the same thing. “Well, I would like to share my experience with you. I visited Cobá, Quintana Roo in 1980 and in 1983 I had two USO (unidentified submarine object) sightings, one within a 100 meters distance and another at five hundred meters. At the time, this little town only had a few palapas (shacks) and I came to work at a hotel facing a lagoon, 500 meters from the Cobá ruins -- covering ninety four square kilometers and four lagoons – and which are very famous today. “The first sighting occurred in the lagoon facing the hotel at around midnight. It was witnessed by a local resident, who was the hotel watchman, and yours truly, since we were checking the surrounding area.” “What happened was that a very bright light emerged from the lagoon, very quickly, and the waters rose into the air, as though it were raining. We just stood there looking, startled and not saying a word. Once we recovered from our fright, we said “no one’s going to believe us” and that’s how it was. But it was unforgettable for us. I told my girlfriend at the time – who is now my wife – about the event and she said I was a fool and insane, to keep my feet on the ground because such things did not exist.” “In a matter of seconds, the water fell down like rain.” “She didn’t believe in any of this, and well, it upset me greatly that she should doubt me, and time went by. So at the end of 1983 we went out of the hotel I worked at around one in the morning (we had a child by then, too) and there were no lights in the town. Only

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the hotel had a generator. Imagine our surprise, as we left, to find a light covering a good portion of the pyramids. “The light looked like when you’re going into a city, and you can only see the glow, but very powerful. I thought I saw it between the two pyramids where we find the one called “El Observatorio” (the observatory). We were stunned, and I asked her, are you seeing what I’m seeing? Weakly, she replied yes. And we stayed like that for around ten minutes until we saw how the light withdrew, becoming smaller, and then it shot off into the sky at a high speed, vanishing into infinity, until we could no longer see it. “I asked my wife again if she had seen it, and she replied yes with a certain amount of fear in her speech. Then I said: “Now you believe me?” “Yes”, she answered. It should be noted that a few similar cases were reported in the municipality of Chemax, bordering Cobá, around the same time. I had the chance to interview some people a few weeks ago who said there hadn’t been any recent UFO reports, but that in the early ‘80s it was common to see “spaceships” flying over the wilderness, including at low altitude, heading toward Cobá. Some of them would vanish quickly into the air, speeding off vertically. In 1980, Luis Ramírez Reyes, one of Mexico's foremost UFO writers, had an experience of this nature during a stay at his friend Dr. Paco Medina's country house in Moyotepec, Morelos state. He had originally accepted the invitation to the country retreat to investigate a tree on the property which had allegedly been zapped by a passing UFO for no apparent reason. Upon reaching the site, Ramírez was able to confirm the unusual damage to the tree. Since the hour was late, both he and his host turned in for the night. It was to prove one of the most frightening nights in the ufologist's life. As he drifted off to sleep, a heavy weight dropped beside him in the guest room bed. Ramírez awoke with a start, thinking a snake may have dropped onto the bed from the rafters. Frozen in place, he managed to extend a hand to feel what it was had fallen into the bed. To his complete astonishment, the bed was empty. The following day, he had the opportunity to speak with the children who performed housekeeping duties for his host, and was startled when they calmly told him that he had been visited by dwarves. "They are like children, but we call them chaneques here," he was informed. "They play with us when we sweep and mop the house." Unwilling to be the victim of childish pranks, the investigator subjected the youngsters to a cross-examination in Dr. Medina's . They indicated that the entities would chase the children around whenever they arrived; allegedly out of fear of being harmed by adult humans, the entities remained invisible, but could be clearly seen by young humans, who described them as being large-headed, bald, slender, and for modesty's sake, clad in "cloth shorts". Ramírez's host later informed him that both he and his family had been subjected to the nocturnal antics of these chaneques more than once, to the extent that his wife refused to return to the country house. The creatures could be persuaded to desist by asking them to do so "using kind words." This experience convinced Ramírez of the interdimensional origin of these and other similar entities, which in spite of their playfulness can be outright frightening.

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While the descriptions of the creatures given by the young housekeepers of the Medina estate may be troubling, it must be observed that beings with similar descriptions and wearing similar items of clothing have been reported in a number of cases in Puerto Rico and in the Canary Islands. While traveling throughout Mexico, paranormal researcher Salvador Freixedo was able to document a similar belief. Interviewing peasant women, he learned that they were terribly afraid of the little creatures -- chaneques --who played restlessly every night in the water basin located on the rear of their property. The dwarves considered it a great sport to rattle the family's pots and pans, placed in the basin to be washed by the children. The women added that the creatures would appear and disappear through the culvert that fed the water basin. Perhaps one of the most unusual stories involving the actions of diminutive creatures in our times involves the series of bizarre events taking place in the ever-mysterious Canary Islands, off western coast of Africa. It was here, on the island of Tenerife, in a town with the ominous name of La Matanza ("the slaying") that diminutive, dark olive-green colored beings were reported in many occasions by visitors to the area, with the added riddle of the seeming complicity among local humans to "keep the lid" such stories. Nonetheless, locals and visitors alike agree that the dwarves are very real, and are known as "los diablillos" (the imps). Appearing after dark at a beautiful country retreat known as Finca del Duque, it was at first believed that the short-statured creatures were attracted by the activities of couples using this remote area as a lovers' lane. Further cases have shown that any human presence after sundown produces the appearance of the "diablillos." Dr. Rafael A. Lara, director of Mexico's Centro de Estudios de Fenómenos Paranormales (CEFP), includes in his organization's newsletter the 1980s experiences of Adriana Martínez, a woman who has experienced meddling in her life by forces purportedly linked with the UFO phenomenon. Ms. Martínez's experiences began when she was only a teenager and a large ball of glowing red light would materialize in her bedroom at night. Due to her strict Catholic upbringing, she knew that such displays were associated with unwholesome forces. The "fireballs", as she termed them, seemed to herald the awakening of her own psychic abilities, and the distressing phenomenon disappeared as she became older. Years later, now living in McAllen, Texas, a friend tol her to run outside to see a UFO, although she wasn't in the least bit curious about such things. Complying with the request, she saw the strange glowing light, and soon afterward began to experience auditive comunication with an alleged entity that claimed to be "her father." A luminous being appearing in a dream told her that she would get to see this paternal figure if she went to a location in a small Mexican town--Tepoztlán, now a center of "New Age" interest -- where a UFO display would be staged for her benefit. On September 7 1983, at 10 o'clock at night, a light started to appear. In Ms. Martínez's own words: "I leaped to the hotel window: above the hill there was a hamburger-shaped UFO, perfectly motionless, and it remained so for two hours. The power was going on and off all over the town. I later thought to make a triangle shape with my hands to communicate with the UFO, and they responded, since three red lights on the UFO assumed a triangular shape momentarily while green, yellow, and red navigation lights

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flew around the craft. Sounds like dull explosions could be heard coming from within the UFO while its lights became brighter. I went to the bathroom and told my friend that they were going to send her a light, and that she should not be frightened. A bright beam issued from the UFO aimed directly at the hotel window, right next to my friend. It was so powerful that all the lights went out in Tepoztlán." The entity with whom she had engaged in mental communication began to make demands upon her, such as that she must divorce her then husband or become a widow, informing her that he had no qualms about eliminating anyone that stood in its path. While Ms. Martínez considered what to do, her husband had a terrible accident on the highway. Allegedly, the entity asked her if that demonstration of his power sufficed or if further proof was necessary. Bitterly, she now believes that "contact is mere manipulation toward an end known only to them. They have given me no help whatsoever, and what they have done for me, according to them, has been very unpleasant." She adds: "I see that many contactees allow themselves to be manipulated without ever knowing where they're going or allow themselves to be dazzled by small manifestations...of course, once the contactee is "hooked", there is no escape, and you accept your fate by hook or crook. I have rebelled terribly, but there is no escape but to fulfill their plans." In 1980, a young TV and radio technician named Orlando Calizaya was abducted by a UFO while taking a break from work. As he bicycled his way to the town of Capachos, he suddenly noticed that his small transistor radio went dead. Upon getting off the bike, Calizaya was struck with an orange-colored beam that left him paralyzed. Calizaya subsequently remembered that "a Christ-like voice" addressed him reassuringly, saying that no harm would be done to him. The stunned technician and his bike were raised up by the light into a spaceship "like those seen in films." Not one to give up without a struggle, Calizaya tried to resist and somehow escape from his captors, who proved to be three-eyed, large-eared humanoids, who wished to know "the role oxygen played in the human body." The unsightly ufonauts wore lilac-hued tunics and green trousers. The young Bolivian became his country's first space traveler, if his account is to be believed, having spent 5 days on the alien's homeworld--a sojourn of which he had not the least recollection. Calizaya found himself once more back in Bolivia at the very same spot from where he was forcibly abducted. A group of highway workers picked him up and took him to a medical center. The aftermath of the experience left the 23 year-old technician with a nervous disorder, unable to work, and turned his once gregarious nature into a furtive one. Dr. Ruben Martínez, the attending physician, diagnosed his patient as being "in a state of psychomotor excitation". Fernando Martínez (an alias given him by researcher Manuel Carballal), an electrician from the city of La Coruña in northwestern Spain never believed that a weekend of motor crossing on his freshly overhauled dirt bike would have ended in an abduction experience. Sometime in late October 1986, Fernando drove his bike out to an abandoned stone quarry near the locale of Culleredo. At around 9 p.m., he suddenly became aware of a "star moving in the sky." The light became larger and larger until it became the size of a full moon. The astonished electrician noticed that the spehere disgorged a number of

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smaller, orange-colored triangular craft -- one of which initiated a rapid descent toward the abandoned quarry. Realizing his predicament in a flash, Fernando tried to kickstart his dirt bike in vain, even though it had been running perfectly earlier. The UFO was now a large object, some 30 feet wide, hovering over the surface. In the face of the phenomenon, the electrician got off the dirt bike and sat on the ground, waiting to see what would happen next. Fernando remembers a powerful beam of light emanating from the orange triangle, and two beings descending along the trail of light. The creatures were small and largeheaded. They approached Fernando silentely, guiding him toward the base of the hovering triangle. The human claims to have not felt any fear at the time, and that no effort at communication was made by his captors. The next thing he realized was that he stood in a large chamber in which a third being, identical to the other two, came out to meet him, projecting reassuring telepathic messages. He remembers being placed in a horizontal position and feeling pain in one of his arms. His first conscious memory was that of lying on the gravel of the quarry in Culleredo. The dirt bike now worked perfectly, and the confused electrician made his way home. Two hours of his life were inexplicably unnacounted for. Fernando Martínez's UFO experience had unfortunate consequences in his earthly experience: a Spanish magazine published his story, causing his employer to dismiss him. But he may be considered fortunate indeed in comparison to the experiencer of another Spanish case: In 1989, researcher Manuel Carballal met "Mariví" and her husband at a UFO conference in the city of Castellón, on Spain's Mediterranean coast. Mariví was afflicted by large-headed "bedroom visitors" who abducted her straight out of her bed while her husband was unmanned by the strange intruders -- an experience wellknown to stateside abduction researchers, whose works the couple claimed to have never read. Once aboard what she considered to be a spacecraft, Mariví was made to comply with her captors' wishes by sheer physical violence. In her case, the large-headed Greys were merely robots of some sort at the service of tall, blonde humanoids who despite their charismatic presence were by no means angelic. In her interview with Carballal, the abductee stated that she couldn't take much more of these experiences, and was resigned to the fact that "she would die young."

Chapter Six:
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How does a giant emerge from a deep sleep? One can imagine the sand and pebbles of ages falling from its eyes as the eyelids flutter open, creaking sounds from long unused joints, and a veritable landfall of debris as it rises to a seated position and slowly looks around, surveying the landscape… The sudden explosion of interest in matters ufological in the 1990s in the Spanishspeaking world would take many volumes to cover adequately, as the torrent of information – coming through old-fashioned mail exchanges and the newfangled toy called the Internet – was truly overwhelming. We have chosen to present a selection of contributions from the Samizdat newsletter, which predated the release of INEXPLICATA and the creation of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology, to give readers a more comprehensive idea of the scope of thought and reportage available at the time. It is also an opportunity for some of the finest researchers to speak in their own voices within the pages of this monograph. Voices of the Millennium: The INEXPLICATA Interview Contributors to the Inexplicata Journal provide their own opinions on the state of Ufology and the experiences that thrust them into the field. Participating in this interview are Contributing Editor Lucy Guzman (LG) from Puerto Rico; Contributing Editor Manuel Carballal (MC) from Spain; researcher Andrea Pérez Simondini (APS) from Argentina, "Desclasificado" editor Javier Garcia Blanco (JGB) from Spain; Luis Eduardo Pacheco, editor of "Informe Alfa" (LEP) from Argentina; Inexplicata Contributing Editor Willie Durand Urbina (WDU) from Puerto Rico and Josep Guijarro (JB), editor of "Karma-7" magazine Q:Can you recall when you first became interested in paranormal phenomena? For example, was there any reading or image that acted as a "trigger" of sorts? Do you think young people should become interested in these matters? LG:As a child, I became aware of the paranormal (I was some 8 to 10 years old) when I noticed that if I wished someone harm, within 24 hours, something would happen to that person. When I realized what my mind was able to do, I begged God for forgiveness and swore that I'd never wish anyone harm again. I later noticed that things I told my friends would turn out to be true. I later began having experiences which I termed "ghostly", and

Nomads of the Nineties

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which due to ignorance and lack of knowledge would terrify me to death. As teenager I was moved to investigate what was happening and why they happened without ever finding an answer to my questions. It wasn't until 1972, when I had a missing time experience (2 hours) and months later, after seeing a UFO, I truly felt the urge to find a response to the phenomena I was encountering. That's when I began to read, research and I continue doing it. I think there's no end to it. Regarding my opinion as to whether young people should be interested in these matters, I will answer that today it appears to be something innate in them, since they are not only interested in it, but find it commonplace. I see no reason why they shouldn't be interested and want to study them, but it depends on their age at the time that this interest is spurred. They should be guided by an adult, preferably by their parents. MC:I don't recall the precise moment, although I do remember wolfing down novels on vampires, extraterrestrials and strange beings at ages 12 and 13. I also recall that the first "occult" book I read was Formulario de Alta Magia by P.V. Piov --I must have been 14 at the time--but I had been interested in the supernatural and miraculous much earlier. Perhaps that's why I leaned toward the priesthood and studied theology. I now consider myself an agnostic, but I don't reject my theological background, which has helped me to understand the realm of belief with greater tolerance. I think it's wonderful that the young should feel restless and rebellious toward orthodox dogma. It is thanks to these rebels against orthodoxy that science has progressed, but I believe that the paranormal realm holds too many hazards for immature minds--regardless of age--and I know of too many suicides and crimes due to occult beliefs. APS:I recall that I started taking an interest in paranormal phenomena when I was small. I would have been 11 years old. One day, while home alone with my two younger brothers, I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and heard a noise on the kitchen table. It was a crucifix that my mother had hanging on the wall above the table. The situation wasn't unusual until the moment we noticed the nail from which the crucifix was hanging was in its place; in other words, it hadn't broken or fallen out. The question my brother and I asked ourselves was that the only way that the crucifix could have come off was if it had been removed. And I can attest to the fact that this could not be, since only my brothers and I were home that time. It was always a source of mystery to me. That was my "trigger" experience. I find it positive that the young should become interested, since these mysteries are there for all generations to look into, and the young perhaps retain that modicum of objectivity that one may lose as one gets older. JGB:I don't remember the exact moment that anomalous phenomena drew my attention, but I can tell you that I was still a child. Here in Spain a there was a program directed and hosted by Dr. Fernando Jiménez del Oso which dealt with these subjects. From there, I went on to read and collect all material that fell into my hands. I think its fantastic that young people should become interested in these matters. The future of ufology and parapsychology is in their hands. LEP:I was interested in anything having to do with space since childhood, and of course, it was a matter of time before I asked my father what a "flying saucer" was. I must have been 7 years old and had heard the term on a TV show in my native Uruguay. It was around 1978 when I got closest to the subject. During that year there was a massive UFO flap in Argentina, to which my parents had emigrated in 1975. Sightings were being reported on a daily basis in the mass media, press, etc. That era has a certain "magic" for me, since we appeared to be living alongside the UFO phenomenon at every second. I'll never forget it, despite not having had any direct experiences.

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WDU:I was a few hours away from undergoing surgery for a brain tumor which was causing me constant headache. In those anguished moments I was visited by a "spirit guide" who engaged me in a dialog regarding the operation. It told me to pray to heal myself from this condition. During prayer, I underwent a paranormal experience within myself--I felt that something broke away from my body and my temperature was raised above 40 degrees. I managed to see myself free of the condition, although I was completely drained of energy. A CAT scan would later show that there was no trace of the tumor. Following this experience I had two experiences with UFOs. I think its very healthy for the young to become interested in the paranormal, since during the course of their lives they may encounter certain events or experiences they will not be able to explain. They will require an understanding as to how these phenomena appear, and the best way of doing so is through reading and analyzing the nature of the universe and all that is in it. JG:The fact is that my connection with strange phenomena was insidious, progressive and surprising. I say "surprising" because there isn't a family background of unusual phenomena. It was a neighbor who lent me the first books on the subject: "Not of this Earth" by Peter Kolosimo and "Without a Trace" by Charles Berlitz. In fact, the Bermuda Triangle was one of my favorite subjects for years until I discovered the critical versions and wisened up. It's important that the young should become interested in these subjects-youth wants to change the world, the established order, curiosity overcomes all obstacles and heeding some strange impulse, youth is able to leave no stone unturned to learn the truth. Q:Can we speak in terms of a predominant personality type among investigators and researchers, or are we pretty much a "mixed bag"? LG:The only similarity I've noticed is the attempt to find an answer to these phenomena. Beyond that, I haven't noticed any common patterns. MC:I think that active minds and non-conformists are drawn to the world of mystery, but others, such as mediocre or ambitious individuals are attracted by it, as are mere swindlers, who find the paranormal as an easy means of sating their egos or pockets. On the other hand, before defining a profile for "investigators" we should perhaps define the term used so flexibly by all manner of individuals involved with the field: Philip Klass, Giorgio Bongiovani, Hilary Evans and Salvador Freixedo, and even myself (and I know all of these friends and enemies personally) call ourselves "investigators", and I thin that the opinions, work methods and even human qualities of each have very little in common. That's why I'll return the question to you, Scott: what the hell do you call an investigator? APS:As with all activities, I think that there are always dominant personalities and others that are less so. I think it's a matter of the interactions that one may develop within a given group, in this case, the paranormal realm. One will be the leader, another will be passive, another will go against the system...in short, different responses in action. JGB:Well, maybe we're all a little nuts (laughs). But from the researchers that I know, I can say that what we share in common is that we carry this matter deep within us. It consumes all of our time and effort, and we greatly enjoy what we do. LEP:I think that were a mixed group, but with the passing of time, become polarized or

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aligned with a more or less clearly defined pattern which marks the three predominant trends in the field: the "believer", the one who "steps back and analyzes", and the "skeptic." WDU:There are many paranormal researchers who concentrate on a single aspect of the wide world of the paranormal. Some of them specialize in communication with extradimensional entities, while others choose to decipher the future. But I believe that the most important thing is to somehow harmonize with the energies emanating from the universe. JG:I'd say we're a coloful lot. I'm not aware of a more varied and ornery "fauna" that those who are attracted to UFO and paranormal research. This is made even more serious by the fact that these subjects are employed to preach peace, love and brotherhood...It's also true of the field that friends are truer FRIENDS than in any other. Q:Could you share with us the names of the researchers who have inspired you? Do you consider yourself as part of a give school of thought? LG:No researcher has served as an inspiration to me, nor do I agree 100% with any of them. Not even with myself. I don't belong to any "school" of thought...I'm a free thinker. MC:I always recommend reading a book by Freixedo and another by [South American contactee] Sixto Paz; hearing a presentation by Ballester Olmos and another by J.J. Benitez; reading a report written by CSICOP and another by SPR, because only b knowing these juxtaposed points of view can we be free to make informed choices. I admit that I feel a special fondness for the work of John Keel, Jacques Vallée or Hilary Evans, but I also admire Freixedo's boldness, Siragusa's irreverence, Randi's cynicism, Benítez's romanticism, W. Smith's methodology, Von Kevicksky's experience, Hynek's education and above all, Andreas Faber Kaiser's honesty. I don't share any of their opinions fully, but I feel that whether actively or passively, they all have a contribution to make to our knowledge of the paranormal. If there's any school of thought that can collect them all, that would be my school. APS:I can't answer this question accurately, because I think it wouldn't be fair toward many people. But I'll give you an approximation. I feel respect for researchers like Jorge Anfruns Dumon, Antonio Huneeus, Stanton Friedman, Adhemar Gevaerd, my friend Rodrigo Fuenzalida, for all researchers in Chile, for my friends Carlos Iurchuk, Alex Chionnetti, and Oscar Mendoza, for the people conducting research in the Province of La Pampa, where my friend Mario Quique is making great efforts, for Claudeir Covo...I don't know, the list feels infinite. On the other hand, I can tell you that my greatest inspiration is my mother, Silvia Pérez Simondini, because she taught me that one should never give in and this belief, applied to the UFO phenomenon, I feel will allow us to earn a small space in the immense UFO community. My school of thought is, as I tend to call it emotionally, rationalism. I think that he or she who researches phenomena that aren't covered by science must have the disposition of the true scientist, which is, that a hypothesis ceases to be one when the facts give you elements to approve it or reject it. My best base are the laws that science set forth by convention but not by demonstration. JGB:Well...I've always said that J.J. Benítez is to blame for my being mixed up in the world of UFO research...or rather, his books are. The minute one of his books fell into my hands, I wolfed them down one after another. In spite of this, I don't share all of his hypotheses. I currently think my line of thought is closer to that of Jacques Vallée and his interdimensional hypothesis. The books of John Keel also influenced my perceptions on the

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UFO phenomenon. I don't like boxing myself into a given "school of thought", but given my country's ufological situation, perhaps I should be counted among those who believe in the non-human origin of ufology. LEP:I've grown up, ufologically speaking, with the "greats" of the field--from Keyhoe and Benítez to Hynek-- and in my country for a while I had deep respect for the pioneering work done by Fabio Zerpa and his "Cuarta Dimensión" magazine. I say this with a certain amount of sadness, since it has reincarnated into a publication called "Punto Azul" which along with its editor, are a pale shadow of what they once meant for national ufology. Through the pages of that magazine I was exposed to the writings of Alejandro Vignati; the unforgettable columns of Norberto Comte and his "Anthology of the Fantastic"; and it gave me the opportunity to meet an exceptional human being: Dr. Candido Victor del Prado--biologist, author, esotericist--and an all-out "rebel" whose attitude taught me the value of reason in the world of the paranormal. WDU:The researcher who has influenced me the most, and has taught me to have a wider perspective on paranormal phenomena has been Jacques Vallée. I believe that he remains the one who has created the proper guidelines to follow in dealing with paranormal phenomena. Many researchers have considered his theories when conducting their own investigations. JG:Well, it all depends on the time frame...at first it was Antonio Ribera, who is a great teacher and whose books constitute a Bible for anyone wishing to delve into ufology. Some have thought that I may be his heir (I imagine that's because, like he, I've taken a great interest in abduction phenomena), but I don't feel this to be the case, since there are many nuances which make us different. I'm an avowed follower of Jacques Vallée, whose way of viewing ufology is revlolutionary and in step with science rather than mysticism. I've also felt influenced by the adventures of J.J. Benítez--and who hasn't? . Combine these three researchers and you get Josep Guijarro. Q:If you had to take three books on the paranormal with you to a desert island, which would these be, and why? LG:I really don't have a favorite author. Perhaps [a book] by Laura Tuan and others of subjects like telepathy, precognitions, premonitions, oneiromancy and UFO/ET subjects. MC:The Bible, because while I don't consider myself christian, nor devout, my deepest unconscious is the offspring of a given age and culture, and no other field has promoted the paranormal more than religion has. The other two would be some of my own books, since I've always tried to gather the best of other authors and if possible, to enrich their findings with my own contributions. Besides, logically, I think no one can be closer to what is subjectively true than myself. If I thought otherwise, I'd be either a cultist or an imbecile. APS:1) The Bermuda Triangle (for sure); 2) Florencio Balsda's La Raza Roja (an early 20th century Argentinean researcher; 3) a book on Spontaneous Combustion. JGB:Juan José Benítez's La Quinta Columna, which is in my opinion one of the best field research books on encounters with humanoids; Vallée's Passport to Magonia, since the hypotheses stated in this book changed (or expanded) my view of the UFO phenomenon; Salvador Freixedo's La Granja Humana. In my opinion, and while I don't share all of Salvador's ideas, this book portrays a disquieting aspect of the UFO phenomenon: are we being manipulated at will by the intelligence(s) behind the phenomenon?

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LEP:I'd sooner have a good survival manual! (laughs). But if I had to choose, I'd certainly lean toward one of Vallée's "classic" works, or Antonio Ribera, or the early days of Juan José Benítez (before the Caballo de Troya books were released). These were authors who, with the passing of time since I first read them, have acquired their true stature. WDU:If I were to find myself alone on a desert island, my three favorite books would be the following in order of importance: Apparitions by G.N.M. Tyrell; Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind by C.D.B. Bryan; and Electric UFOs by Albert Budden. JG:Confrontations by Jacques Vallée; Light Years by Gary Kinder, and my book Infiltrados. The first because it is a primer for anyone who conceives ufology as a scientific discipline detached from superstition. The second because it is a magnificent investigative work on one of the most important events in the contactee phenomenon and does objectivity justice. And ultimately, rooting for the home team, I'd include my book Infiltrados among them because its pages feature wonderful years of memories and experiences that I would always want to remember on a desert island. Q:In regard to the UFO phenomenon, do you think there are marked differences between the cases you've investigated in your country and the ones in the U.S.A.? LG:Yes and no. Yes, because many of the cases which have occurred here have also taken place in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. No, because despite [Puerto Rico's] small size-it's maximum length is of 111 miles by 39 miles wide--and such a high population density-3,522,037 inhabitants according to the 1990 census-- not only have large numbers of sightings and encounters with alien races been reported, we also have an infinity of "alleged" UFO contactees. If we compare the island's population to its size, I could say that we are perhaps [one of the places] with the highest percentage of UFO sightings and "contactees". MC:Absolutely. The cases are very similar, as are the cases I have been able to research in Africa and Asia, aside from a good part of Latin America. Only the witness and the researcher change. The witness subjects his/her experience to a perceptive selection process according to his or her cultural education, belief system and even language. The researcher, on the other hand, usually belongs to a given school and has widely diverging techniques and research methods. We can't compare a French ufologist from the Psycho-Social school with an American conspiracy theorist, or an expert in African tribal legend. All three experts would focus the same UFO event from different perspectives, and I therefore suppose that their conclusions for one given case would be very different. APS:There are no marked differences as regards the phenomenology, but there are massive differences regarding the case histories. I think that there's a great consumerism in your country as far as UFOs are concerned, which fortunately has not occurred in Argentina as of yet. This allows us researchers to have a greater degree of truthfulness in witness experiences and in the specialist's opinions. For example, when we collect evidence from an alleged UFO landing and take it to a university to be studied, no researcher in said academic environment ventures an opinion regarding an alleged UFO event. I think this might make any scientific verdict all the more conclusive. JGB:Personally, I've tried to concentrate on close encounter cases in Spain. At first blush,

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the phenomenon behaves in a similar way all over the globe. Perhaps the greatest difference between the U.S. and Spanish cases is the way that certain cases in the U.S. are treated by some researchers. Perhaps there's an excess of sensationalism in certain events. LG:As I've always said, I'm not a researcher. I'm an enthusiast for the subject with a grain of sand to contribute to it. From that perspective and analyzing the Argentinean cases, recent years have shown a tendency toward incorporating "elements" and "patterns" which were uncharacteristic of these lands. It would seem that, on the one hand, the globalization of the culture and the popularization of the subject in the media have brought along a baggage of things that have served to modify popular perception on the phenomenon, "modelling" a uniform pattern in the popular unconscious. I think that this is one of the most interesting aspects of modern ufology as a mass sociological phenomenon. A brief analysis would be impossible. WDU:The differences between Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. as regards UFO activity are clearly marked. Number one is that the military government of the United States is much more involved in many of the events which have occurred in Puerto Rico. There is currently a UFO flowchart here in Puerto Rico involving over 15 Federal agencies, and these are mentioned when an sighting takes place on the island. JG:The differences are remarkaable. Basically because the UFO phenomenon isn't a terrific business for anyone here in Spain, while the contrary occurs in the United States. It's harder to study ufology here due to the lack of resources, but it's also easier to remain independent. Q:In your opinion, are there typical traits common to UFO witnesses or abductees worldwide? Could we speak in terms of a "regional mindset" among witnesses stemming from language, culture, etc.? LG:Globally speaking, there are several characteristic traits among witnesses, abductees and contactees. They come in all types...regarding their mindset and mental level, these factors do play a part, since they witness the phenomenon differently. MC:At one time I published a study on 100 abduction cases, and I've only been able to follow a dozen or so of them over the years. I still wouldn't venture an opinion on the abduction phenomenon, but as with all of the UFO phenomenon, I think that traditional ufology's focus hinges on an flawed premise. APS:We've asked ourselves that question thousands of times. I think that if a cultural pattern does indeed exist, then it is a global one and therefore, no regional patterns can be found. I think this is one of the great mysteries to be unveiled. JGB:A country's culture and customs weigh heavily on the way in which a possible sighting or UFO encounter is retold. However, all witnesses appear to describe similar creatures and artifacts. On the other hand, the witnesses belong to all types of social, economic and cultural strata. The UFO phenomenon doesn't discriminate among its witnesses. LEP:As I said my preceding reply, an "archetype" has been created in recent years about the UFO phenomenon, which all cultures and countries are gradually assimilating. The subject of abductions is clearly the most visible exponent. A few years ago, the abduction of humans by ufonauts with seemingly physical experimentation purposes took place on a wholly "physical" level. The victim was usually in a lonely place where he/she was often forcibly taken into a UFO and examined (Villas-Boas, Betty Hill, Franzetta, etc.). A particular detail

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is the diversity of humanoid phenotypes involved in these experiences. The exact opposite occurs today, where the abduction phenomenon acquires a more dreamlike than physical nature, and most cases involve a single type of being, thus giving us an entirely new generation of ufonauts born in the shadow of Eighties conspiracy thinking, which modified the "shell" or external aspect of ufology. Thus, today we are abducted by "Greys", "Reptoids", "Rigelians", etc. as opposed to beings with a more "astronautical" and this friendly appearance. I believe that the influence of this subculture in regard to the creation of new ufological images and icons that are subsequently assimilated by potential witnesses is clearly evident. WDU:I've met persons that have had UFO experiences and who never cultivated or mentally formulated a desire to have such an experience. I don't believe that their intellectual formation or their religion played a role in this. Specifically, they were simply in the right place at the right time to undergo the experience. Other persons have had encounters with these objects and appear predisposed to have all kinds of paranormal experiences, since they come from families in which spiritualism in practiced. Furthermore, many of them live in areas rich with folkloric traditions and abnormal events. JG:Naturally. UFOs are a universal phenomenon, regardless of the existence of ufologists who collect UFO cases or witnesses willing to describe their experiences. Q:As you know, ufology in the U.S. is divided between believers in the ET hypothesis and believers in more rational explanations. Do you get such marked divisions in your country? LG:Yes, there is a difference, but not as marked as in the U.S.. I wouldn't characterize Puerto Rican ufologists as "believers in a hypothesis" but rather searchers of a serious, scientific and objective answer. MC:Absolutely. [the divisions] are ferocious and border on irrational hatred. In my humble opinion, these ego-wars constitute a universal malaise in ufology. APS:Yes, definitely. But I'll also add that there's a third line of belief, which is the one that I subscribe to: the rational posture within the extraterrestrial hypothesis. A good position to be in, I think. JGB:We could say so...although in Spain, the defenders of the non-human origin of the phenomenon could be divided in turn into those who believe that it has an ET source and those who lean toward a multidimensional hypothesis or others. In this regard, the Spanish landscape is somewhat peculiar. The existence of denial groups such as ARP or "rational" ufologists such as those belonging to Fundación Anomalía have created a peculiar division. Simply stated, we could say that researchers have divided themselves among those who believe in an anomalous origin and the naysayers and believers in the psycho-social hypothesis. However, it's much more complicated than that. LEP:It occurs, although timidly. As opposed to other scenarios, belief in the ETH is predominant in Argentina. New voices have emerged lately in the ufological community which tend to modify said approach and draw attention to other alternative origins, but the influence of the extraterrestrial scenario as a possible origin is still strong. WDU:The division between the theory that postulates the interplanetary or interstellar

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origin of these creatures is very sharp. There are few of us who hold the belief that these entities are interdimensional and that the psyche plays a very important role in these experiences. JG:Yes. What's more, the most radical standpoints can be found in Spain. You can start the spectrum with the most recalcitrant skeptics (debunkers) of the A.R.P. organization, followed by the rational ufology of the Fundación Anomalía. The midpoint would be occupied by the Third Generation ufologists (Sierra, Carballal, Cardeñosa and myself), and the "believer" end of the spectrum would include the pro-J.J. Benítez, [Antonio] Ribera sector. Finally, you'd have the ET Contact extremist groups such as Aztlan, etc. It's worth noting that the ufological "center" takes other hypotheses into consideration--from interdimensionalism to the psychosocial hypothesis--leading it to fan out considerably. Q:It's almost impossible not to bring up Roswell. What's your take on it? LG:I don't doubt that it did occur, but I think there's been a lot of cover-ups and disinformation. MC:Years ago, I made the decision not to voice my opinion on cases that I hadn't researched myself, and while I've studied other "UFO crash" cases in depth, and have indirect references to Roswell through my work on the Secret Services' (Spain's CESID in particular) involvement with the paranormal, I haven't formed an opinion...yet. APS:I think that Roswell is the mystery of the century because of all its details. I don't think we will ever know what really happened and we'll never know what didn't happen. I think it ought to remain in an "investigative black hole", much like we deal with "legislative black holes" in the legislature. I reached this conclusion when I spoke with Stanton Friedman. I think the eyewitness accounts have been exhausted... JGB:I truly believe that something important happened at Roswell. Did a UFO crash there? I honestly doubt it. Nevertheless, I think that something very special occurred there and that U.S. authorities have tried to conceal it. Regarding the controversial affair of the alien autopsy film, I'm convinced it's a fraud. LEP:It's an example of how a myth can survive itself. The image that most readily comes to my mind when I realize that there are still those who believe in a non-terrestrial origin to this case is that of someone desperately giving CPR to a skeleton. I often wonder how contemporary ufology would be without Roswell. The amounts of time, effort and money that would have been saved...To me, the end of the case came about with the publication of Kent Jeffrey's Anatomy of a Myth. After reading it with an open mind, there's little that can be done to keep the case alive without behaving like a fool. WDU:The Roswell case is the most sensational UFO event that has taken place in the U.S., but it is an event that has been transformed with each successive retelling over the past 40 years and to which no one, like we researchers, attributes much credibility. Perhaps part of this event may be somehow linked to extraterrestrial evidence. JG:All my investigations regarding this phenomenon lead me to believe that an incident with enormous repercussions took place there in 1947. I don't know if it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft, but it was something with tremendous significance for humanity's progress.

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Q:Do you think that governments are able to "keep secrets", regarding animal mutilations, aliens, etc.? LG:It's been proven that they have been able to, and their creation of false reports has also been proven. Their reasons for doing so is only known to them. I cannot applaud disinformation; however, I can comprehend the need for a sort of cover up on grounds of national or global security. MC:I consider this to be another error in focus. Governments don't hide anything, since at least in democratic societies, the change every couple of days. The keeper of the secrets and holders of control are the highest military echelons, and other types of para-governmental agencies. Information is power, and those who hold the information have the power. APS:I definitely think they can't. I'm going to tell you what I've always told my mother. As you know, I serve in the Argentinean Congress as an active member of a political party. I play a role in the decision making process for substantial matters. Oftentimes, these decisions affect certain sectors of the population negatively or positively. But these decisions are implemented and the average person never hears of the details that led to the implementation. This leads me to think: I, Andrea Pérez Simondini, a minor player within this immense structure, am able today to do the things I mentioned to you earlier, I cannot imagine [that this would not be the case] at the very top of the system's pyramid. Am I making sense here? JGB:Governments all over the world conceal information on strange events. However, I doubt that they're in contact with alien civilization or that they know the true origin of the UFO phenomenon. In Spain, at least, all they have is a wealth of reports on sightings, landings, etc..I don't think they know more about the phenomenon than we do. One thing's for sure: they hide information that would be of great assistance and interest regarding certain events. LEP:I think they can, but not to the extent that conspiracy theories would have us believe. Obviously, any power mechanism or structure must possess means upon which to act to avoid a certain subject or another from becoming known. But said mechanisms always have an axis on which they pivot--a human being. And there lies the weakest link of the chain. There is always someone willing to talk, to retell what he or she knows, what they saw, etc. This does not imply believing in those who claim having seen something but can't prove it. My opinion is that I don't think there is as broad a conspiracy around UFOs as many believe and would like us to believe. The belief that we only ever see what "Big Brother" would like us to see is rooted in a number of things: First, the contradictory nature of the phenomenon itself. It's behavior is thoroughly irrational but still shows a certain logic or a vaguely "outlined" plan. Second, our own ignorance of the phenomenon. We know more about what the phenomenon ISN'T than about what it IS. This leads us to having fertile soil for any theory-the wilder the better--without any need for corroboration. Third, generalized and global mistrust by the governed toward their government, political leaders and military men. If we combine these three ingredients we have the basic recipe for any conspiracy theory. As for the alleged conspiracy of silence by the military toward the UFO phenomenon, we may have an inkling of what's going on if we step into the boots of anyone in uniform. I don't think its a matter of concealing human advances in extraterrestrial technology, nor dark power pacts with a dying alien race, nor anything similar. It has to do with the inability

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of those who control the most sophisticated technological means on the planet to admit the existence of "something" about whose origin they haven't the least idea, much less its intentions. To say: "We haven't a clue as to what it is," is tantamount to saying: "We are defenseless...", which is inconceivable to their rigid and omnipotent mental framework. WDU:Puerto Rico is, today, the most active site for UFO activity in the entire world, and the place in which the most animal mutilations have occurred. The government is involved in a struggle against a growing number of events in which no scientific explanations can be found for animal mutilation. UFO researchers are responsible for educating the public on the phenomenon, which has astonished and disturbed the Puerto Rican people. The government has exposed itself to ridicule by trying to find rational explanations for the situation, but when witnesses to these events explain that they have seen military personnel at the site in which military helicopters were seen a day earlier, many people are now able to forecast when cattle mutilations are about to occur at the site. We believe that the government is concealing something, or that it plays an active role in the events. JG:I haven't the least doubt. Mi personal research confirms (at the level of Spain) what most ufologists worldwide have maintained. Q:In the U.S., we can safely say that abductions represent ufology's greatest concern. Do researchers in your country hold this opinion? LG:I think there's a concern in my country over abductions, but there is greater concern over their ultimate causes and effects. MC:In Spain, the fact that we've become the second country in the world (after the U.S.) to have authorized a declassification (albeit a questionable one) of a portion of the Ministry of Defense's UFO files, has displaced all ufological attention in that direction, eclipsing all other facets of the phenomenon. APS:I think we're not as wrapped up in the abduction topic because we don't have cases in the same amount and forcefulness. Our emphasis is on videos and photo evidence. JGB:Abduction research gained importance here in Spain some years ago. Certain researchers like Josep Guijarro and Javier Sierra concentrated on this subject for a while. However, Spanish researchers have concentrated on all aspects of the phenomenon. Perhaps over the past years (due to international ufology's interest) the subject of abductions is closer than ever, but the other aspects of the UFO phenomenon have never been neglected. LEP:No. Or at least not until a short time ago. Obviously, the media's influence has caused the subject of abductions to become fashionable and set trends, but I think that abductions have been secondary in Argentinean ufological history. WDU:Puerto Rico has experienced dramatic events involving abductions. Six year-old children tell us about what they have undergone in their experiences with strange entities; people who remained quiet for years now discuss their abduction experiences. We believe that after the cattle mutilations phenomenon, abductions occupy the next most prominent place, since there is so much to be investigated: the site where the witness lives, his or her family history, hypnotic regressions, etc. these factors alone lead us to give it importance due to the level of high strangeness.

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JG:Yes, for a period of time. However, I've changed my mind about it, given that the massive broadcasting of abduction cases has managed to taint the seriousness of ufological research, and its enormous impact remains a blow against it. Might we dealing here with a weapon created by certain interests to discredit the UFO subject? Q:Would you be so bold as to tell us what's the greatest problem facing paranormal research at the turn of this century? Likewise, what changes would you like to see implemented by 21st century researchers? LG:I don't see any reason why the change of centuries should affect research itself. Regarding the changes I'd like to see, I think I'm already beginning to see them...the uniting of researchers on a global, non-profit basis. MC:The researchers' education and means. We endeavor to revolutionize Newtonian physics and the entire scientific paradigm; we speculate on the existence of other intelligent, non-human life forms, the survival of consciousness after death with the mind's nonsensory capacities...and we investigate using a tape recorder, a photo camera and a notebook. Until the universities and scientific hierarchies commit themselves, we will be fighting the Goliath of mystery using David's paltry slingshot. APS:I think the greatest problem has to be lack of training among researchers and the final acceptance of a method [of research]. We aren't giving playing the scientists' game by developing investigative techniques. This will make us seem more credible to our own selves. In order to convince others, we will have to convince ourselves first. JGB:The greatest problem would have to be "official science's" lack of interest in researching these phenomena. Ufology and parapsychology need the help of scientists in various fields. Perhaps, when science decides to take a serious look on these subjects, we'll begin to make progress in the study of both disciplines. Meanwhile, all of us researchers must limit ourselves practically to the task of popularization. In the 21st century, researchers must be more critical, have scientific training and pursue field research, which is indispensable, in my mind. LEP:I don't think that they are different from the problems it has experienced in the past 20 years. I think the Internet is something we'll have to pay attention to. It is an absolutely revolutionary means, but it is the ideal place to generate all manner of rumors which undermine the phenomenon's seriousness and the trust of those approaching the subject for the first time. WDU:The world is currently facing a struggle between good and evil, which is manifesting itself through events that lead us to believe that we're facing entities that are somehow trying to involve themselves in the destiny of our lives. I don't believe they have the best intentions in mind. They disguise themselves as angels, small, large-headed beings, beings of light, and myriad other forms to penetrate our minds and control our actions. I would like to see paranormal researchers in the coming century accept the fact that there are new avenues of exploration, new revelations and theories, and that they can discard old concepts that will lead them nowhere. JG:It's hard to foretell. The most immediate concern it to see how the phenomenon transforms itself after the sudden structural, social and scientific changes we are about to

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experience in the new millenium. Q:INEXPLICATA's readers are just dying to know if you've ever witnessed any paranormal event yourself, whether it be ghosts, strange creatures, UFOs... LG:Yes, some of them pleasant and other less so. But I usually don't mix research with my own experience. It's hard for me to be objective when I've had personal experiences; but when I set out to investigate a case, I prepare myself mentally to insure that my own experiences do not influence the investigation. I also have the help of my husband, Ing. Orlando Plá, who while believing in the possibility that we are not alone in this beautiful universe, is skeptical and always keeps me alert, so that I'll never cease being objective and looking at the UFO/ET phenomenon through a scientific, serious outlook. MC:In the 15 years I've devoted to intensely studying the paranormal, I've had the chance to experience 3 or 4 paranormal experiences (in the UFO, shamanic and parapsychological fields) that I haven't been able to explain. APS:Yes, I have seen [such things]. My father retired from a multinational corporation here in Argentina called Perez Companc, an oil company involved in the privatization of energy sources. My father was in charge of developing an assessment of SEGBA, the former power utility. Its warehouses had been used during the military dictatorship as a prison camp, according to reports from thousands of witnesses. During stock rotations at the warehouses, [people] could hear screams and [something like] electric discharges. When my father told me about this, we staked out the area, and what we saw and experienced, to my mind, was straight out of a Sightings episode. We saw [something like] greenish-blue bolts of energy coming from the roof, followed by terrifying screens. It was truly hairraising. Subsequent research with people who'd been kidnapped there identified the screams as those of a pregnant woman. JGB:Unfortunately, I've never seen a UFO, nor have I ever witnessed a paranormal phenomenon. I have participated in several "spirit recording" sessions which have produced some rather interesting results, though. LEP:None. My paranormal life has less excitement than a Teletubbies episode (laughs). WDU:When I was small--10 years old at least--I was visiting some neighbors and people close to my family. While spending time together, I was asked to look out for the family's elderly mother as she warmed herself in the sun. While standing beside her and looking at the horizon, I was able to observe something strange that moved like a cigar-shaped cloud moving at high speed. The other clouds remained still, while small saucers resembling "Mexican hats" moved around the larger one. This was an utter astonishment to me. At my age, I was unable to understand why they didn't look more like airplanes! After many years, I discussed my experiences with a relative, who kindly gave me a book entitled Platillos Voladores de Otros Mundos, which finally opened my understanding to these matters. It was a translation of Major Donald E. Keyhoe's famous 1953 book (Henry Holt Eds.). I guard it jealously in my library! JG:Yes, I feel quite fortunate. I've witnessed and experienced healings with psychic surgeons, seen two UFOs and if that weren't enough, I witnessed a small being while researching a UFO abduction case. Q:In closing, do you have any thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

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LG:Thousands of thoughts...and many more thousands of words of advice...but if I could summarize them, I'd tell them to improve themselves spiritually, to try to become better human beings every day when it comes to respect and love, and to care for our beautiful planet and Universe. MC:I think that in spite of all the unpleasantness involved with research, in spite of the enormous amount of work and money to be invested in each study, in spite of the fear, lack of understanding, rage and intolerance you must go through by being a scientific heretic and a religious heterodox, in spite of the shameless, miserable and despicable human beings who call themselves "researchers", "contactees", "mediums", "skeptics" and other epigraphs of paranormal wildlife...that which underlies paranormal phenomena is truly worthwhile. In fact, and this is only a personal opinion, but I'm unable to conceive of any aspect of human knowledge that is more important, transcendent or fascinating than researching anomalous phenomena. APS:Yes, I'd like to share with you what I tell my friends and colleagues. There is nothing more inspiring that to find an answer to something that has no answers. One day, someone will think, "I searched all my life for something that would prove my faith, and now I feel that I've found it." JGB:I would only ask them to never lose their interest in mysteries, and a word of advice: learn to differentiate between reliable information and that which tends toward sensationalism. LEP:Only to remind them that as occurs with television, the viewers are ultimately the ones in charge. Therefore, if people who are interested in this subject demand greater seriousness in the treatment of the subject and stop paying attention to the science-fiction rigmarole of the "pseudoresearchers" or "mediumistic ufologists", we'll sooner or later achieve a worthier condition for the subject that interests us so much. WDU:To quote from Arthur C. Clarke's Voices in the Sky: "The stars speak to each other an infinity of languages...someday we may join that cosmic conversation. JG:I would only ask them to research and thoroughly compare their information. The Internet has often proven itself to be an effective means of communication, but it's also a double-edged blade where half-truths and rumors circulate. It is high time to remind ourselves of William Moore's dictum about every time that someone repeats unverified information they are in fact contributing to the disinformation process. Q:Thanks for participating in our interview! LG:The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for the invitation. MC:Thank you, and I hope my answers didn't put you to sleep! JG:On the contrary, it's been a pleasure.

Never Mind the Saucers: UFOs Identified!

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by Manuel Carballal Spanish defense minister Eduardo Serra will find himself having to reply before Congress to a question placed by deputy Willy Meier, a member of the Defense Committee: what was the true nature and purpose of the device that crashed in Barbate (Cádiz) a few years ago, and whose existence has been denied by the Defense Ministry? In 1997, the residents of Barbate (Cádiz) were startled by the collision of a strange object. One of the witnesses did not delay in taking photographs showing the debris of what has been identified as a U.S. spyplane, along with two helicopters from the military base at Rota and U.S. troops collecting the remains. Meyer suspects that the Rota base is employed to store sensitive espionage devices, such as a sophisticated telephone detection system and small unmanned drone spyplanes. The first time that Meyer addressed the government in regard to the artifact that collided in Andalucía and was later collected by the Americans, Defense thoroughly denied it. But now the deputy has photographic proof of what he believes to be a violation of national airspace. Strange incidents have occured over the past years in other parts of the country, but have otherwise been relegated to the shadowy borderlands of the saucer mythos. Mysterious lights in the sky, unknown radar traces, enigmatic objects that crash and are retrieved by military men...it seems like a storyline for the X-Files, but the source behind these events is much more solid than that: there is no need to invoke little green men from space. Meyer's questions in Parliament coincide with a political storm that has been brewing in Italy as the consequence of an aviation accident which took place almost 20 years ago: at 10:00 pm on the night of July 27, 1980, a DC-9 flying between Bologna and Palemo crashed and killed 81 passengers aboard it what would become known as the Ustica Tragedy. At the time, some Italian publications attributed the collision to the DC-9's proximity to a UFO prior to crashing, and even that the airliner exploded in mid air. The Italian military denied everything, insisting that it had merely been an accident. But special judge Rosario Priore has recently brought generals Lambarto Bartolucci, the former Air Force Chief of Staff; Franco Ferri, the former Assistant Chief of Staff of the Defense Ministry; Corrado Mellillo, former Section Chief of the Air Force, and Zeno Tascio, former head of Intelligence for the Italian Air Force on the grounds of bearing false witness-all of them stand accused of lying about the Ustica Tragedy. Only a few weeks ago, several German publications printed the hitherto most solid theory about the accident: the UFO sighted by the witnesses to the event was in fact a missile. As shown in the hearings initiated by Priore, the remains of a Libyan MIG fighter were discovered a few weeks following the accident. For 20 years, UFO stories successfully distracted the public over the real cause of the accident: a military mistake. Martians in Galicia In 1994, hundreds of Galicians witnessed an object flying over Porriño, Vigo and Bueu until it impacted against the island of Ons (Pontevedra). "It looked like a giant suppository", "an iron cylinder spitting fire from behind", claimed the eyewitnesses. Portuguese civil aviation reports now clarify the mistery--the object was a missile launched from Portugal which penetrated Spanish airspace. This has not been the only instance. On a number of

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occasions, Galician sailors have seen bizarre objects in the sky and have collected the remains of metallic artificats in their fishing nets. From the diplomatic and political perspective, it would have been much more serious for the press to publish that a Portuguese missile had flown over several Spanish towns only scant miles from the Galician shore, rather than stating that Galician fishermen are seeing Martians. This has been the screen behind which the Defense Ministry has concealed numerous military experiments in our country. That same year, also in Galicia, a more serious incident took place. A luminous object seen by hundreds on the morning of January 18th collided Mt. Cando (La Coruña) leaving a spectacular creater measuring over 100 meters in diameter. Astrophysicists from the University of Santiago de Compostela headed to the site in search of what they thought was a meteorite, but when they reached the location could not find any traces of the object that had caused the crater. Residents of nearby towns claimed having seen policemen, members of the Guardia Civil and soldiers in the area. Jose Antonio Tormé, the owner of the property on which the UFO had collided, was located and confirmed that there had indeed been soldiers and policemen in the vicinity. And with good reason: the object had crashed not far from the Spanish military radar facility for the northwestern region. Santiago University astrophysicists have suggested in the prestigious journal Nature that the object was a secret military artifact. Incredible thought it may seem, this is hardly an isolated event. On other occasions, as occured that same year in La Coruña and previously in Seville, strange aeronautical devices fell to earth, unleashing a UFO psychosis: the one in Seville crossed the skies over Cádiz and Huelva before striking the ground near El Coronil. According to eyewitnesses interviewed in the area, U.S. soldiers from Rota quickly appeared in helicopters and all-terrain vehicles to collect the remains of a weather balloon, it would seem. Deputy Willy Meyer also has recent evidence of this incident. Psychological Warfare This is hardly the first time that matters relating to airspace violations reach Congress. In 1979, Socialist parliamentarian Enrique Múgica asked questions pursuant to the unidentified flying object seen in Manises (Valencia). With the PSOE [Spain's socialist party--Ed.] in power at the time, Popular part deputies like Gabriel Elorriagia queried the Government three times on the matter of UFOs in the national airspace. But a deathly silence envelops the most serious cases. A few months ago, the chiefs of the La Virgen del Camino (León) air base accepted responsability for the fire that devastated hundreds of acres in the mountains of León. Apparently, an error in calculation had been made during the trials of a new flying device and it crashed to the ground, setting the wilderness on fire. These accidents, while serious, are not as disquieting as the use made of the extraterrestrial myth by the secret services. Many people confess to believing that we are being visited by alien spacecraft. Movies and television have familiarized us with the concept of alien visitations. In fact many cults hold the ET mythos as central to their beliefs. These beliefs represent excellent tools to be used by the Intelligence establishment. Spain's CESID, according to Defense Ministry sources, may have been involved in the

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creation of a psychosocial experiment involving alien contact in Spain's most important case: the UMMO affair. Hundreds of people were lead to believe, both domestically and abroad, that an alien civilization had infiltrated our world. In the U.S. and France, the secret services have conducted similar psychological experiments since the 1960's, not only covering their aeronautical experiments behind the UFO smokescreen, but promoting the belief in extraterrestrials among small groups in order to study their reactions. This summer, France has unveiled the COMETA Report, prepared by a team of scientists and military men for prime minister Jospin. The report features accusations by the French against the U.S. for deliberately concealing UFO information to camouflage its developments in military technology. UFOs, Personality and the "Visitor Experience" by Dr. Rafael A. Lara Palmeros In UFO research, the "visitor experience" is a central theme in normal people who report UFO phenomena, and has been reported in a variety of forms over the centuries. Following the experience, there are behavioral changes and alterations in the perception and interpretation of unusual events. The "visitor experience" is a more intese variant of the "sense of presence", a phenomenon frequently reported by normal people (approximately 30% out of 500 adults who have been evaluated in neuroscience laboratories over the past 15 years have reported such experiences. The presence is felt most frequently in the early morning hours, if the person is asleep, and he/she will awaken suddenly, often feeling a sense of fear or immobility. These experiences are thought to be correlated with mesiobasal (amygdaloid-hypnocampal) portions of the temporal lobes. These areas of the brain are associated, inter alia, with the experience of meaningfulness, the sense of self and its relationship to space-time (with its religious or "cosmic" association), fear, dreams, the experience of movement (such as spinning or floating), smell, and the retrieval and storage of memory. Consequently, there should be--and there are--references to a sense of presence, feelings of spinning or floating, or vibrations, dreamlike sequences and fear (or irritability). Given that an important part of the temporal lobe receives visual information from the edges of the visual field, flickering sensations can occur in upper peripheral vision. If the neural substrate of the "visitor experience" is characterized by transient electrochemical fluctuations withing the temporal lobe structure, then: a) the phenomenological nautre of these experiences should reflect temporal lobe functions, and b) people with personality profiles that are strongly correlated with temporal lobe lability should be prone to having these experiences. Both of these observations have been substantiated by clinical evidence. That either endogenous or exogenous (surgical) stimulation of deep temporal lobe structures--such as the hippocampus and especially the amygdala, can evoke specific pheonmenological patterns, is well established. Patients with partial complex or limbic (temporal lobe) epilepsy frequently report such symptoms as a sense of a presence; depersonalization (feelings of unreality or out-of-the-body experiences); hearing and/or knowning from "internal stources", vestibular sensations, anxiety or panic. Females may have erotic experiences. Visual phenomena vary from shadows, entities or colors in the peripheral field to complex animated sequences

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dominated by substantial fantasy elements that are not always simple reiterations of personal experience. Most importantly, the percipient is frequently convinces the what he or she has perceived is real; although details may not be clear, the person is sure that something profound has occurred. Typial behaviors betweens seizures included a widening of affect; multiple references to psi phenomena; the conviction that one has communed with an entity or god and has been chosen for a special destiny; hypergraphia--obsession with themes such as the nature of the universe--and the desire to proselytize. Invariably tehre is amnesia and a history of time loss. Affective disorders and alterations in sexual behavior are common. There is now evidence of a continuum of temporal lability or sensitivity. People who display complex partial epilepsy without convulsions occuply the extreme portion of this continuum. One prototypic account of "visitor experience" offers ample support to the temporal lobe factor: Whitley Streiber's Communion, a classic UFO abduction report. The experience was associated with the predominant metaphor of the sense of a presence, swirling or vortical sensations, internal vibrations, floating sensations, alterations in perception, frank psi phenomena and a deep sense of meaning. The person developed the conviction that he was chosen, and the desire emerged to deliver the cosmic message to mankind. The experinece was invariably considered to be "real". Streiber's description of fundamentally aversive sensatiosn (associated with intense smells, hypervigilance and anal sphincter images) should reflect anomalous activity within the anterior parahippocampal gyrus, with special involvement of the amygdaloid complex and the adjacent uncus. One of the most common features of the UFO experience is the encoutner with small humanoids who often have large heads, thus resembling a human foetus. There is evidence that these experiences are adult modifications of perinatal memories. It has been established that the foetus has the cerebral capacity to detect and consolidate the experience. On the other hand, severe trauma, such as early sexual abuse, could be equally effective because of the consquent repression of unpleasant memories serving as source material for the experience. The importance of the temporal lobe factor is strongly suggested by the moderate intercorrelations in patient populations between temporal lobe epilepsy, multiple personality disorders and early child abuse. Strange Lights Over Patagonia by Luis E. Pacheco A strange white luminescence was observed on Monday, September 30th, 1998 over the entire Patagonian region. The brilliant aura of light which remained visible in the sky for over twenty minutes gave witnesses enough time to take photos, but none of them managed to photograph the strange phenomenon they'd witnessed.

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In San Martín and Junín de los Andes, a perfectly circular, luminous form slowly traversed the night skies, causing bewilderment among the population. The sighting occurred at approximately 21:00 hours. The sky was completely clear and lit with the characteristic luminosity provided by the waxing moon. A luminous circle suddenly appeared from the south; its size was estimated at 8 to 10 times larger than the full moon. At first sight, the circumference had the appearance of being gaseous and slightly opaque; its edges appeared brighter than its center, through which starlight could be perceived as it crossed the sky. The object travelled at low speed and its trajectory did not coincide with that of the wind that was blowing from the southeast toward the northeast at that time of night. The phenomenon's inclination with regard to the mountainous horizon of this southern region was of some 45 degrees, and after the first ten minutes of movement at an even speed, the brilliance of the edges of the object dimmed until it barely became visible 40 minutes after the initial sighting. The phenomenon was seen best by residents of the suburbs of San Martín de los Andes due to the absence of electric lighting. The fact that the direction of its travel did not coincide with that of the prevailing winds helps to discard any suggestions of a mass of clouds. "It wasn't smoke, because it would have dissolved immediately. This thing appeared to have its own [kind] of density and a hole in its middle through which the stars could be seen as it went over us," indicated a resident of the Los Radales neighborhood, who witnessed these effects during the first 10 minutes of the sighting. In Junín de los Andes, news of the sighting was transmitted by local radio station FM Quasar, and eyewitness accounts were broadcast shortly after. "I saw it for some ten minutes over Cerro de La Cruz, and it drew my attention, because had it been a cloud, it would have changed shape and not remained perfectly circular," stated a teacher who witnessed the event from the vicinity of Parque Industrial. Ana Hall was not only among the many residents of San Martín and Junín de los Andes who followed the event, but she also took hold of her photo camera and took repeated snapshots of the phenomenon in the hopes of capturing the event on film. But no image could be seen after the film was developed. The same brilliant white image passed over the rural region of Villa Regina and Roca that night. It was later possible to determine that the ring was formed by two circles: a larger outer one and a smaller inner one which gave off white light and was perfectly silent. The object was seen here at around 21:35 hours and lazily flew over the area for 20 minutes until it rose into the night sky and vanished altogether. Numerous witnesses in the rural area of Regina, Chinchinales and Valle Azul indicated having seen the phenomenon. One woman stated that the object was originally flying at a low altitude and disappeared from sight upon gaining altitude. According to Carla Pérez: "it was around 21:35 when I saw it over the river. It seemed to fly at a very low altitude, because when I looked at the object, it could see it halfway over the tree line. It later rose into the sky and vanished." Seen By Students Leaving School SAN ANTONIO OESTE. On Monday night, shortly before 22:00 hours, students majoring in Fishing Production were returning home after late classes at the Instituto de Biologia Marina y Pesquera Almirante Storni were startled to see a luminous circle that appeared over the Municipal Museum and vanished over the research center's building. One student described the phenomenon stating that "the circle moved slowly; it was transparent at its center and white at the edges. When it flew directly over us it stopped and then vanished." The group of witnesses, consisting of ten students and an instructor,

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were unable to confirm the nature of the phenomenon. The object had already disappeared from view by the time members of the Instituto appeared with photographic equipment. This case has many points of contact with another two famous cases in Argentinean ufology, one of them which has been christened "The Night of the Twin Moons" and which occurred on June 14, 1980. This case created (and still creates) a considerable controversy among researchers, some of whom argued that the object appeared to move intelligently and followed a trajectory that brought it close to a number of military airfields, and those who believed that the object was merely an upper atmosphere experiment conducted by NASA. The present case has many of the same characteristics as the earlier one, particularly in its "clouded" appearance. An additional detail can be found in the fact that the witnesses agree that it moved contrary to the prevailing wind, which would be the case if we were dealing with a luminous phenomenon in the upper atmosphere. In my opinion, a very important detail to keep in mind, is the testimony of two people on America TV who observed the phenomenon as it passed over Santa Rosa, with the apparent loss of power to the engine of one witnesses' car. While it is clearly possible that both events have no connection, the phenomenon of the "sudden" stoppage of machinery or automobiles in the presence of UFOs is a very common pattern of behavior within the phenomenon. Enough About the Chupacabras Already! by Magdalena del Amo-Freixedo Publication in February of this year [1997] of a considerable article in this magazine [ENIGMAS] on the activities of the Chupacabras opened a motherlode of reports in a variety of media, including some newspapers having nationwide circulation. Without going much further, this past September 16th, Diario 16 published a news item that read this: "Portugal. A number of animals have been slain by a chupacabras. Some twenty sheep were attached and 9 of them were slaughtered by a mysterious chupacabras in the village of Touloes in la Beira Baja, a region bordering Spain. All of the animals appeared with a single puncture mark on the right side of their throats, with their capillaries sectioned, and completely drained of blood..." We found Fernando Soares Espinheiro in his farm at Monte Fidalgo, not far from the village of Touloes. He very kindly retold the story of what had happened to his flock and even showed us some photographs in which the strange wounds are visible. Some of the sheep had been eaten by predators, but the strange puncture marks on the neck were clearly evident. The animals were partially or totally exsanguinated. Those which survived despite their wounds had lost considerable amounts of blood and were very weak; they were kept isolated in an open paddock and no longer went out to the pastures. We asked Espinheiro about the cause of these killings, and these were his words on the matter: "I don't know what it could be, but I don't think it was a wolf, as the biologist Sarmento explained. In the first place, there are no wolves in this part of the country. There have never been wolves. In fact, sheep sleep in the field without shepherds or watchdogs. On the other hand, I understand this is not how wolves operate. Wolves tear

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at the flesh and eat it. Whatever this thing is, it only sucks blood. It leaves the meat intact." We had originally thought about skipping this cases since it had already received considerable coverage in a number of media outlets, including this magazine. However, certain items of information expressed in a nationwide specialized publication, as well as some conclusions considered definitive, contrasted diametrically with our own data on the subject and our conclusions. This leads us to discuss the subject without any wish to engage in polemics. In the first place, we are making reference to the words of the employees at Monte Fidalgo. In hard-to-understand Portuguese, which is an arduous task despite one's knowledge of it, the workers never referred to a wolf as the cause of the deaths. "This is nothing I'd ever seen before. This thing's a critter that wasn't around these parts before...The critter makes a hole in their necks and sucks their blood through it. It leaves the meat alone. When the vet came and opened the animal where the hole was, the meat looked like hamburger...this is one strange critter." These were the words of Domingo Nogueira. Another employee added that the holes appeared to have been made by a kind of hole puncher. Domingo Afonso Cayado, another of the affected cattle owners, found two of his sheep dead. Many hours had already elapsed and the kind of wound could not be seen: vultures, which are abundant in this part of the country, left little more than skin and bones, Domingo's farm is separated from Monte Fidalgo by an unpaved road. His dead animals appeared close to Espinheiro's farm. Domingo's opinion on the facts was much more conservative, having held the rank of corporal in the Guardia Civil for many years. His military background keeps him from considering any explanation which escape ordinary logic. "This is not a wolf zone. However, that doesn't mean that a hungry one can't turn up now and then. Furthermore, what else could it be? It can't be a chupacabras because there have never been chupacabras in this part of the world, nor any of those weird animals you find in the Americas." His thought process caused us to smile and we could not help but tell him: "There aren't any over there either, at least not officially." I am making this digression to clarify that contrary to what certain media outlets reported, Chupacabras activity in the Caribbean and in other Latin American locations is ongoing. However, there is complete and utter censorship on the subject in Mexico. The subject was silenced within twenty-four hours and no further reports were issued. A few days ago we received a letter from Ing. Marco A. Reynoso of the Fundación Cosmos in Monterrey, Mexico, which contained the following comments: "...the Chupacabras presents a latent danger to human beings. The result of autopsies performed by the Fundación's doctors show that the perforations in the thorax become progressively deeper until they strike the heart, destroying it along with other vital organs such as the liver and the lungs. Blood, and even some organs, on occasion, are completely extracted through puncture holes ranging from 1 to 1.5 centimeters...in 70% of the cases, there have been UFO sightings that very same night or on previous nights, but we have still been unable to find a direct relationship between both phenomena." Censorship in Puerto Rico does not operate to such extremes. In spite of this, some television channels were threatened with the loss of their broadcasting licenses due to "alarming the population unnecessarily." The results of blood and genetic analyses made on a Chupacabras hair sample is alarming. The report reads: "The results of the analysis

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lead us to infer that given the inability to match the sample's characteristics with those of any known organism, the organism from which it emanated could be the product of highly sophisticated genetic manipulation, an organism that is alien to our environment, or perhaps an animal species hitherto unknown to mankind. Other preliminary analyses of subclassifications and genetic material are inconclusive, but the results obtained to date indicate that the sample studied originates from an organism unknown to modern science." A Portuguese television channel presented a report comparing the incidents with those that had transpired in America. The possibility that the Chupacabras had crossed the Atlantic Ocean versus the handiwork of some conventional animal alarmed cattlemen in this and other parts of Portugal. Due to this, following the lead of other countries that had experienced similar problems, the Chamber of Agriculture wished to establish that the sheep deaths had been caused by a wolf. The Chamber's representative, Alvaro Lopes, said so publicly over the local Gazeta do Interior newspaper while criticizing the yellow journalism of the report issued by television. In spite of this, we know that Lopes was mystified by the wounds on the dead cattle and professed not knowing what manner of animal could have inflicted them. This comment was made to a person who for obvious reasons must remain anonymous. Sarmento, on the other hand, stated that a wolf was to blame, but not an ordinary wolf -- rather, one having extraordinary intelligence and experience. What is most intriguing of these deaths are the puncture marks found on the throat. Some people offer ridiculous solutions in their urge to unravel the mystery. On September 10th, the local Povo da Beira newspaper published the following news item: "Toothless Wolf Kills Nine Sheep--Mystery Unraveled in la Raia. In Toloues, Indanha-a-Nova, people were frightened by the mysterious deaths of sheep with puncture marks on their throats...veterinarians were at first puzzled because it transpired in the region in which sheep were afflicted with minuscule wounds still large enough to cause their deaths. In the end, the mysterious slayer of 28 wolves, allegedly the Chupacabras, was nothing more than an aging wolf that came down from the hills in search of food. The results of the study undertaken by biologists and veterinarians led to the conclusion that the culprit was an elderly wolf with a single fang." Such a conclusion strikes us a irresponsible, particularly with the knowledge of how the Chupacabras has behaved in other countries. The Puerto Rican Chupacabras, for instance, produces a sort of elongated proboscis from its mouth -- a rigid tongue -- with which it makes the incisions. This detail was of double interest to us. Besides, a few days earlier, Madrid's El Mundo had also published a news item with similar details: "One hundred sheep turn up dead in Vizcaya with puncture marks on their necks. Cattlemen believe that the culprit is a psychopath accompanied by an animal having a single fang." We decided to pay the location a visit, making our first stop at Valle de Las Encartaciones in the county of Balmaseda. In all honesty, given the delicate sociopolitical situation that exists in said community, our hopes of finding something worthwhile were slim. However, we must highlight the kindness with which we were welcomed as well as the quality of the information we were given. We were allowed to inspect police files, see the affidavits with the copies of dead animal photographs, and we were also given the phone numbers and addresses of the affected parties. With regard to the wounds on the dead animals, policeman Fernando Gardiazábal, who had been in charge of handling the complaints filed by the affected parties, told us that the wounds did not appear to have been caused by a wolf or wolves. The detail of the pointed instrument as the cause of the wounds again emerges, as we can see by one person's testimony. "Several animals had some bones and vertebrae shattered by some prodding tool that was stuck into their necks." José Luis Ribacoba also lost some sheep

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recently, telling us with a certain degree of astonishment: "The wounds, aside from being very strange, keep the animals from healing from them. I don't know what's the matter. Years ago, a wolf would show up and start killing. It would even tear off a few kilos of flesh from a heifer or a horse's hindquarters. Upon finding these animals, they were usually very weak, but we'd cut the skin, heal them with a medication called permanganate and a concoction made of wolfsbane, and the wound would heal immediately in spite of its severity and the animal would continue living as happy as anything. However, these modern wounds are much smaller and won't heal." As to our question of what, in his opinion, was the cause of these deaths, he replied: "I don't know. It's very strange, of course, something we'd never seen before, but I have no idea what it is...and the Ertzaintza [Basque police force--Ed.] still hasn't told me anything. They say that they're investigating, but I'm not sure if they're just saying so to put us at ease or if they're really doing something." Ricardo Fernández, another resident of Balmaseda, has been left practically sheepless. Thirty of his animals have turned up dead of the same mysterious circumstances in a single night near the Angostura region. He believes the culprit is a feral dog with a killer instinct. "People abandon their dogs when they go on vacation and the dogs take to the wilderness, becoming feral." Manuel Trasviña and Felix Diego have also seen their flocks decrease over the past months. The regions of Espaldaseca, Urbaliza, Ilso, Angostura, Antuñano and Tromosamos are a few of the scenarios in which the strange sheep deaths occurred. Farther south, the sylvan peace of the Urbasa mountain ranges was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a mysterious killer beast. José Vedayo, a cattleman from Olazagutía, found one his foals dead: the animal presented wounds both on the throat and on its shanks. We decided to visit this mountainous area, which we had only seen in films. A local cattleman told us that there had never been any wolves in the area. "Sheep have always slept in the open and nothing has ever happened." Ana María Ormazábal and her sons Roberto and Juan María Olazarán were of the same opinion. However, they are certain that wolves are involved, not because they are native to the region but because someone released them there. "The area in which they operate is clearly defined. Someone must've released the wolves there because if they'd come from somewhere else there would be a trace, which isn't the case here. Someone must've released them here." What is most curious is that these wolves slay their victims, drink their blood and leave their meat intact. Roberto claims having seen in the darkness two impressive sets of eyes not far from the flock. For this reason, he has no doubt that wolves are involved, but what if another "impossible" creature were the culprit? Whatever it is, this entity has caused a great effect upon the region. "The animals," Ana María told us, "don't act like they did before. They come home at nightfall because they're afraid. Before, they would sleep in the wilderness and range very far away. They're also giving less milk than before." Juan María managed to get permission to form a posse and exterminate any wolves that come into the area. A tough job, since they are forbidden to use shotguns. They can only arm themselves with clubs. Miranda de Arga and Falces are two other locations in which dead animals have been found. Jose Luis Izu's herd suffered 27 losses in three separate occasions during 1994.

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We spoke to him and he gave us the details: "Sheep would turn up dead with one or two wounds on their necks. It did suck blood out of some but only killed the others by biting their throats. It's an animal with a killer instinct." In spite of not having experienced any wolf attacks before he is certain that a wolf was responsible for his losses. We asked him to justify his certainty and asked him if a wild dog or other creature could be involved. These were his words: "The animal that killed the sheep was very smart, much more so than any wild dog. It attacked only when it knew there was no one around, when the cattlemen had gone away. It was also very elusive. If we noticed it was there and went after it, it would flee without us even being able to see it...had it been a dog we would have caught it without any problem, as we had in the past." He replied the following when asked if he had seen the wolf or "thing" that killed his animals: "Once at around 8:30 at night I noticed the sheep were scared. I went and called them and they scattered to the sides. There was some kind of black shape in the middle which I couldn't see very well due to the nightfall. At first I thought it was a black sheep that had been left behind. I called it and went toward it--whatever it was ran off at top speed, jumping over the crags in a way that no dog would be able to do." This is a highly interesting detail. In both Puerto Rico and Mexico, many witnesses claimed having seen "a shape", a "shadowy form," or "an image" during the attacks -something that was both seen and not seen, and vanished at high speed. When José Luis told us his case, we found it familiar. Although he hadn't seen anything, he figured it was a wolf. After all, what else could it have been? "We think the people from Forestry Services released a pair of wolves equipped with microchips to control them. They probably released them to see if they could live without attacking the flocks, and if that was successful, they would release more of them. The fact is that after the attacks, a number of helicopters which must have belonged to the Guardia Civil flew over the Peralta mountain range. They were almost surely controlling them and took them away." While all of this is happening today, it isn't the first time that cattlemen in this region have faced a similar problem. In 1986, the herds of Aragon's Cinco Villas area endured the attacks of a dangerous assailant. The Diario de Navarra reported: "The strange animal attacking sheep in Navarra's Ribera Alta is apparently very large, agile and runs at high speed. No one has been able to identify it, which is the reason why speculation as to its nature is ongoing." As in other cases we have looked into, there are ready-made opinions. Some believe that wolves are involved; others insist upon feral dogs. Some witnesses claim that a large cat is involved. The manager of Grupo Lanar, Enrique Malo, stated that it is "a smart, quick animal that does not attack humans". It was also speculated that the cause of the animal deaths could be a pair of pumas with their cubs. The rumor was based upon the discovery of some very large prints, some of them the size of a human hand, next to the smaller ones. According to declarations made by Grupo Lanar's manager on the behavior patterns of these animals, "the puma is an animal who smells things five kilometers away. It doesn't attack cattle when humans are near. It normally enters and exits the way it came with extraordinary speed, managing to clear fences two meters tall in a single jump." Something that calls the attention of local residents is the wide sphere of operation of the creature. It leads them to believe that the father is possibly in one area and the mother and her cubs in another. Nor can they explain the provenance of these pumas. However, popular imagination is so fertile that an explanation to the mystery was soon found. According to some, the animals were escapees from a circus which had visited the town

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of Fraga. Others believe the culprit to be "the German", a very strange man who trains hunting dogs at his farm in Carbonera. Someone claims having seen puma cubs there during a fire on this property. However, when interrogated by the Guardia Civil on the matter, "the German" refused having owned any such animals. Some friends of ours visited "the German" in recent days and found him to be a very normal person and not in the least bit weird. The problem was solved shortly after: neither feral dogs nor "the German"'s pumas were involved. An enormous 52 kilogram wolf was shot to death by elements of the Guardia Civil participating in a posse organized by the locals of Biota. The "terrible beast" was displayed in the town square. The news item in Diario de Navarra is a gem and reminds us of those children's stories in which the Big Bad Wolf plays the heavy: "Once in the town square, it was hung by its rear legs. Its outstretched body made it seem larger. A puddle of blood could be seen gathering beneath its head on the ground. It aroused the curiosity of all the townspeople and many others came from all around Cinco Villas to witness the display." Quite correctly, Biota's veterinarian, Fernando Labena, wondered if that particular wolf could have been the cause of all the carnage in the area in spite of its size and weight. "It's a large wolf, but my personal opinion is that it is not the only cause of the problem." In fact, it wasn't. The problem continues unabated without anyone knowing who is behind these killings. Popular rumor and fantasy get the better of people, who are always looking for an known enemy to fight. However, when talking to them face-to-face, they are aware that something else may be at play here. "Something's been dumped here that wasn't around before," said an experienced farmer. Many of them now speak in terms of "that critter" when retelling their hapless stories. In summarizing the characteristics of this elusive predator, we could say the following: -- It acts at night when farm animals are alone. -- It kills for sport, leaving flesh intact and only sucking blood. -- It is very agile and fast. No one has seen it clearly. It can run and jump at high speeds. -- It has a wide radius of operations. It may strike at locations distant from each other in a single night. -- It leaves one or two holes in the animal's neck. -- Tissue surrounding the puncture (under the skin) appears to have been ground. -- Wounds seem to have been inflicted by a punching tool or awl. -- Dead animals are completely or partially exsanguinated. -- Wounded animals heal with difficulty and many of them die. -- They have been heard to make strange growls. -- It is speculated that the animal has only one tooth. In spite of all the bears, the wolves, the feral dogs and a menagerie of other predators as a cause of the deaths, there is always an unexplained angle, which is the one that interests us. This part remains in the unexplained file today as it did yesterday. To conclude that the strange deaths are the work of humans who conduct secret experiments in tropical jungles and in the Iberian mountains seems a paltry explanation to us. To believe that this is the definitive solution shows a certain lack of panoramic vision and of the ability to fit certain pieces of the puzzle which can only be put into their places by moving backward in time and analyzing similar events which took place in distant ages. The cattle farmers of today, just like those of an earlier age, are exposed to having the "evil beast", which is perhaps interdimensional, continue to act with impunity in the face of human impotence.

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Puerto Rico: A UFO Free-For-All (Excerpt from Flashpoint: High Strangeness in Puerto Rico By Scott Corrales) DATE: July 6, 1990 TIME: 05:30 hrs. PLACE: Fajardo, P.R. Guillermo Cardé, a Rio Piedras executive and an enthusiastic sports fisherman, was on his boat off the shore of Palominos Isle in Fajardo cutting bait with a fellow fisherman when both men became aware that the sea off the sailboat’s stern was bubbling and heaving. This previously unseen phenomenon startled the onlookers, who were completely blown away by what transpired seconds later. A strange object erupted from the water. It took to the air and hung motionless to the left of Cardé’s sailboat, dripping water off its sides. Cardé urged his companion to take a photo of the object, but when he did so, the object zoomed skyward in a northeasterly direction. Upon developing the roll of film, it transpired that they had indeed captured a blurry image of the saucer-shaped craft against the clouds of a Caribbean dawn. DATE: December 11, 1990 TIME: 03:20 hrs. PLACE: Hormigueros, P.R. William López [pseudonym], a complete disbeliever in the subject of UFOs, was in for the shock of his life as a result of his UFO abduction experience. López, a government employee, had returned to his second home (he lives in San Juan) in the town of Hormigueros in western Puerto Rico feeling exhausted after a gruelling day. He thought he heard noises in the bedroom, but a thorough search convinced him that nothing was amiss. Upon getting in bed and turning on a small electric fan beside him, he was astonished when the device began spinning at an inordinately fast speed. Fearing the fan would burn out, he turned it off and tried to fall asleep. “No sooner did I put my head on the pillow,” he said, “I felt this sensation of electricity pour through my body. I felt paralyzed and couldn’t move. That’s when I saw that thing.” López saw a small, bony hand with three fingers come at him from behind the bed, over his head, which started to touch his chest. The disembodied hand somehow got “into” his stomach and began touching him from within. The helpless López could do nothing but watch. When the hand withdrew and disappeared, López bemusedly staggered toward a window, hearing strange sounds. Upon looking outside, he saw four or five diminutive creatures of a kind he’d never seen before. He described them as having “large, eggshaped heads on skinny necks, with really skinny long arms that went past their knees. Their eyes were black and wide, slightly oriental ...” In a daze, William jumped back onto the bed, and was gripped by the same electrifying sensation as before. To add to his distress, the five creatures that had only just been standing outside his patio window were now within the room, touching and examining his body. The creatures touched every organ within his body from the inside.

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The diminutive beings inserted a small silver tube, an eighth of an inch thick by his reckoning, into his penis, causing him to feel a slight tickling sensation. He fell into a deep sleep, and woke up later the next day. DATE: April 6, 1991 TIME: None PLACE: Lares, P.R. Residents of Lares’ Barrio Pezuelas armed themselves with sticks and boards as they set out to find the culprit of the animal mutilations which have been taking place in that region since March 27, 1991. These animal mutilations, which have been attributed to a mysterious “vampire”-like creature reminiscent of the infamous Moca Vampire, began its depredations on March 27, 1991. The Department of Natural Resources investigated a case in which a pig was drained of blood and later buried. Roman Morales, a functionary for this agency, claimed that the suspicious death could have easily been caused by a large dog such as a Doberman Pinscher. DATE: June 1991 TIME: 22:24 hrs. PLACE: Outskirts of La Parguera, P.R. In June 1991, Carla and her husband Julio (surnames have not been revealed) were driving on a country road in the vicinity of La Parguera, famous for its phosphorescent bay and a recurring UFO sighting location, when their car inexplicably stalled. Unable to repair the problem, they decided to stay in the car overnight with their three children until daybreak. At 10:24 p.m., a great light, changing colors from blue to red, came into view and hovered over their car. They then realized it was an enormous saucer-shaped vehicle. Before they could react, a strange alien being was peering at them through the windshield. Julio began kicking the windshield from within, telling the creature to go away. Both he and his wife were admonished by a metallic voice: “Don’t be aggressive. It’s no use.” It wasn’t long before they were engulfed by a feeling of passivity. The Grey alien opened the door mentally and told them to step out of the car. They wanted, it said, to examine the children, particularly Carla’s 7-month-old baby. Among the many “prophecies” the aliens gave the couple, the foremost was that their children would hold crucial positions in what will be the island’s future government. The beings also stated that P.R. is honeycombed with UFO bases, and that the U.S. government is aware of the fact. Carla and Julio were subjected to experiments aboard the craft, which plunged into Laguna Cartagena, beneath which the couple was able to see well-lit alien installations. The five abductees were returned to their car and were consciously able to see the departure of the alien vehicle. They drove back to San Juan in shock. Julio returned to the area with his daughter, and had an encounter in the canefields with a blond, Nordictype alien. “I have a grave message for you.” said the humanlike alien. “You committed a serious error in listening to what the small beings [the Greys] told you. They are what you would call demons. They are breaking out of their place of captivity and their aim is to overwhelm your planet. We will not allow this.” DATE: June 1991

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TIME: 10:30 p.m. PLACE: San Germán, P.R. The eyewitness, Nilda Vega, was waiting up late for her son to return from a baseball game. Deciding to go outside her home to await his arrival, she felt a sudden urge to look up toward the top of her single-storey home. To her surprise, Mrs Vega saw two objects resembling eggs: one of them silvery, luminous and luminous, the other perfectly black. A blinding orange beam issued from the posterior of the coruscant egg, aimed at the dark one. A little man, large headed, with enormous protruding black eyes and wearing a tight-fitting outfit, walked along the beam of light toward the dark egg. Upon reaching it, both eggs and the little man disappeared. Mrs Vega was deeply disturbed by the sighting, and refused to go out even to her porch out of fear of “seeing something like it again.” DATE: July 5, 1991 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Outskirts of Bayamón, P.R. Few of us can imagine that vacationing with relatives could entail anything more than pleasantries and barbecues. Felix and Amy Rivera never factored a close encounter with a UFO into their holiday in Puerto Rico. On July 5, 1991, returning home from seeing friends in Bayamón at night, the couple drove along a road through the heart of the Los Millones sector of that municipality. They suddenly noticed a series of white lights approaching the edge of the road, and were seized with the fear that they might be about to witness the crash of a small passenger airplane against the stretch of road ahead of them. Felix stepped on the accelerator in an attempt to beat the falling object. According to Amy Rivera, the lights increased their brightness as the vehicle approached the ground, but the “airplane” made no noise whatsoever. “When we looked through our car’s windows, we saw that it was in fact a large craft with small portholes.” The Riveras speculate that the “intelligences” aboard the light-studded disk must have been aware of their approach, for they quickly retracted the beams of white light, withdrawing them slowly into the vehicle. The beams changed from white to swirling patterns of blue, orange and yellow. DATE: July 27, 1991 TIME: 10:00 p.m.. PLACE: Boquerón, P.R. Linda Bassat had chosen to spend a long holiday weekend at the Villa Taína complex, in Boquerón, with almost 20 family members. At around ten p.m., the younger family members entered the apartment in which they were all staying to inform the adults that “an enormous light” was suspended in the sky outside. Running outside with a nephew, Mrs Bassat realized that the light was in fact a luminous, discoidal UFO, suspended above the building. According to Bassat, she felt

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“tremendous joy” at the sight and ran to a large cement platform to have a better look, even as her relatives shouted at her to come back. She told her relatives not to fear the vehicle, and then turned to the UFO and “spoke” to it, saying: “Come closer, so we can see you.” The craft complied and descended slightly. The disk proceeded to disgorge two smaller craft, resembling two basketballs. The small vehicles stationed themselves at opposite ends of a streetlight, absorbing its energy (causing the lamp post to grow dim) and returning the consumed power back to the “mothership” in the form of a large phosphorescent beam of light. The most astonishing fact about Mrs Bassat’s experience is that the energy transfer maneuver she witnessed would go on until almost three o’clock in the morning. Other guests at the Villa Taína complex shouted at the Bassats to keep quiet, but no one else came out to see the spectacle. Throughout the experience, Mrs Bassat gave the impression of being engaged in some sort of telepathic link with the saucer, informing her relatives of what its next move would be. DATE: August 27, 1991 TIME: Unknown PLACE: San Lorenzo, P.R. The strange abduction of a man whose name has never been made public (he was given the pseudonym “J.L.” in ¡Enigma!) could well be remembered as one of the most significant UFO-related events of “The Roaring Nineties”. According to the testimony appearing in the island media, J.L. who lives in San Lorenzo, was on his way to the city of Ponce to visit his brother. Having gone to the city of Caguas to take a carro público, it became too late to go to Ponce and he instead returned home, stopping for a beer at a local establishment and then walking back to his house in Barrio Quebrada. Pausing in an empty lot to relieve himself, J.L. suddenly became aware of a large circular shadow covering him and felt himself pulled abruptly upward. He then realized he was within a large vehicle sitting on what he described as a soft easychair made of a brass-like substance. Everything in the chamber he now occupied was seemingly made of the same substance. J.L. told Edwin Plaza that he soon met his captors, four or five short creatures “whose noggins, their heads, were big. So were their eyes. Their eyes were greenish and bulged a little, with little orange or red points (pupils) inside.” The creatures attempted to communicate with J.L. by means of telepathy, but he did not understand. Another creature, whose description matches that of the “tall Greys” described in abductee literature, successfully communicated with J.L., assuring him that no harm would come to him, urging him to don a special garment that would protect him against the “speed at which they were going to travel.” J.L. was allegedly taken to a place where “everything seemed to be made of brass” and where he saw aliens, humans and five grounded flying saucers. The aliens told him that they were interested in the Puerto Rico’s water, which was of great importance to them. The areas of Adjuntas and Lares contained water of the purity they were after. His captors informed him that they were also breeding with humans. He told Plaza: “They said they want to become related to us, to live with us, to come and go like migrants on

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Earth. They want to make peace with us and live with us. What’s more, they told me they’re mixing with us (interbreeding) and that more and more kids looking like them will be born. They’re doing this so we can’t get them out of here, since they don’t want to leave. They said that by the time we realize what’s going on, we’ll be so mixed up that we won’t be able to reject them and kick them out. You can’t abandon your own kids, can you, now?” The interviewers were able to ascertain that J.L. was a humble individual with a fifthgrade education, incapable of a fabrication along these lines. Perhaps the most important part of this alleged abduction is that J.L. was returned to Earth not in his native municipality but in Adjuntas (hours away). Two horse owners from Adjuntas, surprised at the restlessness of their mounts, saw a whirlwind not too far from their position. They heard desperate cries for help. They found J.L., who asked to be taken to a church. He was visibly frightened. The Adjuntas horsemen said that any thoughts that J.L. might be a madman or disturbed person were dispelled by the fact that he appeared out of nowhere in the field they had been standing in for a considerable time. J.L was eventually taken to the local police station. It was determined that he was neither drunk nor insane. DATE: August 1991 TIME: 11:30 hrs. PLACE: Lajas, P.R. Ulises Díaz, a resident of La Parguera, was racing his dirt bike in a sparsely populated region of Lajas Valley when he fell into a puddle. The dirt bike stalled, and while the young BMXer tried to start it, he suddenly became aware of a creature standing next to one of the irrigation ditches used to water the valley. Díaz, who encountered the creature in broad daylight, told investigators that it was largeheaded, black-eyed, and a colorless shade of transparent white, like the skin on a salamander. Human and creature exchanged stares, neither one making a move. Díaz became frightened all of a sudden and tried to kick-start the dirt bike; this startled the creature, which ran into the irrigation ditch, vanishing under the water lilies. The dirt bike started and Díaz got out of the area. DATE: October 1991 TIME: 7:30 p.m. PLACE: San Juan, P.R. Delia V., a housewife with two children, had no idea that her interest in yoga would turn her into an abductee when she and a friend visited a yoga temple to practice meditative techniques. At 7:30 p.m., Delia decided to withdraw from the meditation circle and go to bed early. Once in bed, she felt a hand covering her face, and was unable to see who her potential assailant was due to the darkness in the bedroom. It was then that she became aware of the fact that she was flying in mid-air toward a given point in space: buildings, streets and automobiles remained far below Delia as she drifted upward, but far from feeling elated at the sight, she was paralyzed by fear. The next thing she recalled was being back in bed at the yoga temple at five o’clock in the morning, feeling sick to her stomach and racked by excruciating pain. Stumbling out of her room, she told the meditation instructor what had happened, and he advised her to

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simply return to sleep, which she did. Reawakening at noon, not only did she feel physically better -- her entire outlook on life had been changed, by her own admission. During the following months, some physical changes had also come about as a consequence of that unusual night: her menstrual cycle now ran every 50 days or so, and her stomach became slightly enlarged. A subsequent experience revealed the UFO connection to her experiences: shortly after seeing a brilliant craft in the sky, she found herself standing in a metallic chamber occupied by a dozen or so very small, non-human beings clad in grey. Delia remembers lying on a bed, screaming and crying, telling one of the bizarre figures that she could not give normal birth to the child she was carrying because her other children had been born by caesarean section. “When I woke up,” Delia says. “I saw one of the extraterrestrials with a child in his arms. When I saw this child something deep inside me told me he was my child, but I also remember being afraid. I remember telling one of the extraterrestrials that I considered this child strange, because he was half human and half extraterrestrial.” Delia was then given the child to hold, and was told by the creatures that it could not live among humans because it could not eat human food. DATE: October 1991 TIME: 04:00 hrs. (approx.) PLACE: Vega Baja, P.R. In October 1991, a resident of Vega Baja on the island’s northern shore allegedly ran into a UFO that was about to land on a farm in that municipality. The anonymous witness was at a friend’s bachelor party when he and nine companions saw an enormous lighted vehicle about to come in for a landing. According to the witness, it was about 4:00 in the morning and the merrymaking group were making use of a swimming pool at the house where the celebration took place. “It was then that I noticed this humongous thing coming in for a landing.” The terrified party-goers got out of the swimming pool screaming, as those within the house came out to see the blazing light show. The vehicle stopped short of touching the ground, and emitted a powerful green beam against the surface. Two minutes later, its unimaginable mission accomplished, the vehicle rose into the air and shot off into the distance. According to the witness, it left a purplish glow in its wake. DATE: November 1991 TIME: 21:00 hrs. PLACE: Carolina, P.R. Israel Encarnación was on his way to a nearby convenience store, walking along a densely wooded road when he heard a sound of rustling leaves to his left. Fearing a mugger at first, he was stunned to see two creatures he described as “the strangest he’d seen in his life.” He described them as large-headed midgets, “little men with children’s bodies” wearing tight-fitting silvery costumes which sparkled in the darkness. The most prominent feature about these creatures, one not reported in any other case, was that they had “long, donkey-like ears.” The creatures appeared to be engaged in collecting seeds and leaves, placing them into a pot they carried with them. They hadn’t noticed the human’s presence until Encarnación

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made a noise. The startled creatures jumped and ran through the underbrush just as Encarnación broke into a run toward the convenience store. He refused to return home along the road unless the store owner accompanied him. DATE: November 11, 1991 TIME: 23:30 hrs. PLACE: Outskirts of Ponce, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez On Monday, November 11, 1991, residents of the El Tuque and Las Cucharas sections of Ponce notified authorities that a UFO was “entering and leaving the sea” about a mile away from their homes. Amador Piazza, a restaurateur, was among the numerous witnesses to see the nocturnal evolutions of the odd vehicle, whose maneuvers went from approximately 11:30 p.m. to well past midnight. “Its evolutions impressed us greatly.” Piazza observed. He and others had previously witnessed the landing of a colossal triangular UFO on a hill close to State Highway 2 in the Las Cucharas section. DATE: January 25, 1992 TIME: 21:00 hrs. PLACE: Carolina, P.R. At around 9 p.m., while children played outside and adults conversed in the living room of the Febres residence, one of the children, Israel (age 7) looked up to the sky only to behold a circular object that emitted flashes of various colors. He attracted his playmates’ attention to the sight and they all began shouting in unison, causing Mrs Celia Febres and her relatives to come outside to ascertain the cause of the excitement. According to Mrs Febres, the children shouted that “a saucer” was outside. She confirms that to her astonishment, a circular object that was both frightening and a wonderment was floating in the air at 100 feet over their heads. The object had protuberances which issued an array of multicolored lights, and the saucer itself was noiseless but for a buzzing sound reminiscent of an electrical transformer. It eventually tilted and flew off in a southerly direction, vanishing behind a nearby hillside. DATE: February 12, 1992 TIME: 01:30 hrs. PLACE: Arecibo, P.R. Residents of Las Brisas along Rte. 129, which links Arecibo to Lares, were panicked by the sudden appearance of an unidentified flying object that flew over their community. The object was described as having a bluish white glow like that of a welding arc, which penetrated every window in every home along the road. Allegedly, every television set in each house turned on by itself with the volume at full blast. While most residents expressed that they had been too scared to go outside to investigate the source of the supernatural radiance, some claim that the object was stationed over a nearby dairy farm.

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A local attorney, Carmen Teresa Lugo, allegedly heard footsteps in her back yard and a number of voices speaking in a strange garbled manner, which she described as a “speeded-up record.” Lugo added that she was too anxious to dare look out the window, but was almost certain that “whatever” was out there “was going to take her.” DATE: February 20, 1992 TIME: 06:35 hrs. PLACE: Cataño, P.R. Nothing attracts a UFO researcher’s attention like a multiple-witness sighting. In the early hours of the morning on this otherwise ordinary Thursday, a considerable number of people at the Peruchín Cepeda sports field watched spellbound as a massive UFO descended slowly over the field and remained suspended in mid-air. The event caused a considerable traffic jam along the heavily transited Rte. 165 (Avenida del Caño). Paquito Cancel, a drive-time announcer on WIAC-AM, was swamped with phone calls from witnesses to the uncanny event. The Cataño police department, however, denied that anything whatsoever had transpired. DATE: July 3, 1992 TIME: 03:00 hrs. (approx.) PLACE: Guajataca, P.R. On July 3, 1992, Raymond Cruz Fernández, a security guard at a store, saw a UFO touch the ground in the Guajataca sector of Western Puerto Rico. The unidentified flying object emitted flashes of orange, green and red. “It was around three in the morning and I was chatting with an elderly gentleman who always keeps me company until dawn, when something made the hairs on my arms stand on end. I unholstered my sidearm and proceeded to check the store I was guarding, since I felt something seriously wrong was afoot.” The guard was still doing his rounds when he heard the voice of his friend Don Pellot calling to him: “Raymond, look at what’s up in the sky.” Fernández noticed that his friend was pointing to an object the size of a quarter high in the dark sky. The alleged UFO remained in place, “perfectly still,” according to the watchman. After a while, it began to grow in size as if coming closer to the position occupied by the two onlookers. “Let’s get out of here before that thing takes us both,” urged Pellot, but Fernández refused to leave. The strange object didn’t fly off -- it merely dimmed like the phosphor dot on a black and white TV set, according to the witness. Fernández couldn’t compare it to any man-made object within his experience. DATE: August 20, 1992 TIME: 7:30 p.m. PLACE: Mayagüez, P.R. On August 20th, 1992 residents of the Mayagüez Terrace development ran out of their homes in response to the shouts of students from the nearby university, who were reacting to the sight of a spherical UFO crossing the skies in the general direction of

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Cerro Las Mesas. The orange-hued sphere materialized after having apparently been the cause of a blackout which affected a considerable part of the city for a few minutes. At around 7:30 p.m. on that date, Felix Ortiz, a business major at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico was playing cards outdoors with his friends when he noticed the strange celestial object. He described the object as basketball-shaped, orange in color, and much larger than any weather balloon he’d ever seen. There is a tradition of UFO spotting at the Mayagüez campus. In 1973, during la gran oleada, “the great wave” William Rosario, then Director of Public Relations at the university, managed to take a spectacular photograph of a three-tiered UFO that flew over one of the campus buildings. The object executed a forty-five degree turn and zoomed off into the heights. DATE: September 2, 1992 TIME: None given PLACE: Lajas, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez Although the authorities had done their level best to discourage people from even coming close to Laguna Cartagena, believing that doing so would cause UFO reports, strange luminous craft continued emerging from the lagoon’s waters. Residents of the Los Llanos sector of Lajas claimed seeing a formation of “buzzing” objects which moved in the air over the lagoon. According to one witness, “we knew they weren’t airplanes because they flew in a zig-zag pattern, buzzing like a great swarm of bees.” Residents of Cabo Rojo were treated to a sighting of four similar objects flying out over the sea toward the Dominican Republic. “This place is becoming a UFOport,” grumbled one of the locals. DATE: September 8, 1992 TIME: 12:30 hrs. PLACE: Mayagüez, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez This case has the curious distinction of not having taken place in Puerto Rico but in the Central American republic of Costa Rica. The witness in question, “María” belonged to a group of some 20 Puerto Rican tourists who had visited the Irazú volcano in that country. During an interview, “María” claimed that she was in the vicinity of the Irazú volcano taking in the natural beauty of the landscape when she became aware of something moving amid the foliage. She looked toward the place where she spotted the movement without alerting other tourists, and realized that something was hiding in the bushes -- a creature some 4 feet tall with an oversized head, slanted eyes and pointed ears. Aiming her camera at the half-concealed entity, “María” managed to take a partial photograph of it, shouting at her companions that something was lurking in the trees. “María” turned over her copy of the photograph to journalist J.V. Rodríguez, who confirmed that the photograph indeed showed a very strange creature hiding behind the foliage.

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[UFO activity remained unabated in Costa Rica. In the summer of 1996, this author received a communication from a woman who had visited the country in hopes of seeing the Poas volcano. Her group was informed that the trip to the volcano had been cancelled on account of “intense UFO activity over the crater” and that the lodge they would have stayed in had been closed down -- the staff had quit, terrified and/or traumatized by what they had seen]. DATE: November 1992 TIME: 18:30 to 2O:00 hrs. PLACE: Municipality of Adjuntas, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez The intensity of the anomalous activity around the mountain town of Adjuntas decreased for several months before re-intensifying around the month of November 1992. Giant luminous objects were seen by numerous witnesses landing on a hill known as El Gigante (The Giant) in the Las Minas sector of the municipality. Police officers were among the witnesses to the colossal UFO that landed gently on El Gigante. One of the officers told a local radio reporter, Edwin Plaza, that the UFO staged its appearance between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 p.m., flooding the entire hillside with a powerful beam of white light. “That thing had a set of lights beneath it, and a white ray of light issued from its bottom, lighting up the hill.” Despite its tremendous size, the vehicle made no sound whatsoever. Some of the witnesses originally thought that it was a helicopter conducting a search of the Adjuntas hillsides for some reason or another. This belief was rapidly dispelled when they noticed that the “helicopter” was in fact a circular vehicle. El Gigante contains an agricultural school dedicated to researching improved methods of raising cattle. DATE: December 1992 TIME: None given PLACE: Adjuntas, P.R. The average citizen will good-naturedly accept any story concerning sightings of UFOs, landings of UFOs, and will even lend a sympathetic ear to abductee experiences. But suspension of disbelief wears thin when the claimants allege having engaged in carnal knowledge with aliens. Such was the case of Ernesto Cabán, a senior citizen from Adjuntas, who told radio announcer Maelo Vargas that he had had sex in the privacy of his own home with a tall, fair and blue-eyed alien female who descended from a large UFO which emitted rays of different colors. According to Cabán, he had grown accustomed to UFO activity over Adjuntas so the celestial display did not disturb him one bit, until he noticed that the circular craft had landed on a nearby hillside, and that 3 occupants were heading toward his modest home off Route 10. The alien threesome -- two tall, Nordic-looking males and one female -- communicated their wishes to Cabán in what he described as “funny-sounding Spanish”. They wanted him to engage in sexual activity with the female as part of an experiment taking place on their homeworld. Cabán acceded to the tall aliens’ request, reiterating that at no moment

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was he pressured or forced into the act. After an unspecified length of time, the tall blond male ufonauts returned for their colleague. Although Cabán insisted that he tried to keep the situation as quiet as possible, the story spread like wildfire all over the mountainous municipality. DATE: December 1992 TIME: 20:10 p.m. PLACE: San Juan, P.R. Nicasio Concepción claimed having seen a UFO hovering above the still waters of the Caño Martín Peña -- a salt water river connecting San Juan Bay with the large San José Lagoon. The object was circular, with a circumference estimated at about 150 feet. The entire craft gave the impression of being made of stainless steel. Concepción observed that he was looking at the maneuvers of a helicopter of a tourist helicopter in the night sky when he realized that a strange “spaceship” was crossing the heavens at the same time. DATE: December 14, 1992 TIME: 05:40 hrs. PLACE: Cabo Rojo, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez A trio of unidentified flying objects was seen to emerge from the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea by residents of Cabo Rojo’s Barrio Joyuda. Víctor Rivera was driving along a seaside highway when he noticed a luminous object apparently emerging from the sea. He got the impression that the object must have emerged from the sea, since it was soon followed by two more (!). Rivera added that the objects were strongly reminiscent of shooting stars, but they appeared to be following a given trajectory. When it was suggested to him that he had possibly witnessed the launching of missiles by a submarine, Rivera replied that he wouldn’t know, having never seen such maneuvers. DATE: March 19, 1993 TIME: 21:40 hrs. PLACE: Guánica, P.R. Surprise reigned in Guánica’s Barrio La Luna section when what was described as a gargantuan UFO crossed the skies only to land gently in a nearby state forest. This landing was witnessed by three boys, mentioned in the newspapers only as Hector, Raúl and Luis. They promptly drew the attention of other locals to the array of multicolored lights that had come out of the sky. One of the children indicated that the object looked “like the lights at a disco.” The UFO allegedly remained suspended for a number of minutes over a section of forest that contains a water storage tank. In spite of its size and the brilliance of its lights, the object made no sound whatsoever.

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As it rose, the UFO aimed its multicolored beams at the treetops, lighting up the entire area in a manner that had never been seen before. DATE: March 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Cabo Rojo, P.R. SOURCE: Manuel Carballal Amid all the UFO activity taking place in Puerto Rico, the story of a police unit running over an alleged extraterrestrial should cause no consternation. However, the reader must be aware that no independent confirmation for this story is available. On a tropical dawn in March 1993, police officers Enrique S. and Wilfredo Padilla were reporting to the scene of a crime near the salt dunes in Cabo Rojo, P.R. when both men saw an anthropomorphic figure run across the road, right in front of their car. Swerving to avoid a fatal collision, the squad car wrecked against a palm tree and one of the two officers was gravely injured. Even more unusual is the fact that the officers wrote a report on their experience and mentioned the supposed alien for the record. DATE: March 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Cabo Rojo, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez Lydia G., a resident from the coastal town of Cabo Rojo in southwestern Puerto Rico, barely avoided being taken on a sojourn by an elongated, cone-shaped UFO, according to newspaper reports. In an article by Julio Víctor Ramírez which appeared in the San Juan El Vocero on August 16, 1993, the housewife was taking care of domestic concerns on an unspecified day in the month of March, when she noticed a brilliant cone of light descending from space, stopping short of the ground at scant meters away from her home. The conical structure turned out to be what can best be described as a “tender” from a colossal UFO which hung motionless far above the house. Compelled to move toward the unnatural light, Lydia retained enough presence of mind to begin screaming at the top of her lungs. “As soon as she began to scream, the object took off quickly without making any sound whatsoever,” stated a relative, who is with the State Police. DATE: May 21, 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Boquerón, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez Two women from the town of Boquerón, on the edge of the UFO-frequented Mona Passage, allegedly witnessed a blue beam of light that produced a diminutive alien being. Milagros García Ramos, who has had other extraterrestrial contact experiences, indicated during the course of an interview with investigator J.V. Ramírez that after the sharp beam of light appeared, she experienced a strong migraine and an intense wave of heat overcame her. “There was a flash of lightning in the sky, followed by the blue beam. I think it came from a circular craft stationed over a nearby hill.” As if the beam and heat

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hadn’t been enough, Milagros saw a small “Grey” alien descend from the night sky along the beam, which deposited it gently onto the ground, after which it ran into the dense vegetation. DATE: June 11, 1993 TIME: 20:15 hrs. PLACE: Guánica, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez On June 11, 1993, a giant UFO was seen at approximately 8:15 p.m. by drivers travelling along Route 116 in the Santa Juanita section of the Caribbean town of Guánica. Housewife Aida Torres, who also witnessed the huge craft, believes that it traveled at a height of some 700 feet. “I think that was its altitude, judging by the height of the FM radio station tower in Cabo Rojo”, observed Ms Torres, who could still not get over the sheer size of the object and its red, green and yellow lights. The circular vehicle hovered over Santa Juanita for a few minutes before disappearing silently. Investigators are trying to establish any connection between the sudden reappearance of the barrage blimp operated by Federal authorities near Laguna Cartagena and the return of UFOs to southern P.R. after a pause of several weeks. DATE: July 19, 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Yauco, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez The appearance of a strange individual known only as “Joel” has proved disquieting for the residents of the coffee-growing municipality of Yauco. “Joel” claims to be an extraterrestrial and wanders around the local hills, issuing dire predictions about the future. According to this enigmatic character, the island of Cuba, the southern tip of Florida and northeastern Puerto Rico will be gravely affected by dramatic “earth changes” -- floods and earthquakes -- that will increase on a yearly basis until they reach a critical point on May 6, 2003. Local adolescents from the Cerrote and Almacigo sectors of Yauco have approached this strange figure and listened to its vision of their future. They say that the “extraterrestrial” has based its predictions on a series of eclipses that will take place in November 1993, November 1999 and May 2003, and that the western, northern and southeastern reaches of the island will be racked by tremendous floods that will leave large portions of land permanently submerged. Cuba and southern Florida will suffer a similar fate. DATE: July 24, 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Rio Piedras, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez Sammy Acevedo, a popular radio disk jockey who goes by the monicker of “Happy” on his radio show on X-100 FM, claims to have seen the nocturnal maneuvers of an unidentified flying object on the 24th of July, 1993. Ironically, “Happy” has become well

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known for his radio parodies of the numerous UFO sightings which have taken place on the island over the past years. The disk jockey qualified his sighting as “a unique experience” in his life. “I had never seen any of that, but on Saturday I realized that those things are real,” he stated. Acevedo’s sighting took place while he was inside a phone booth near the old El Comandante racetrack. The entire event lasted 8 to 10 seconds -- all it took the metallic object emitting a pale yellow glow to move across his line of sight, soundlessly. “I don’t think the object was round. Rather, it was wide in the middle and narrow at its sides.” When asked about the possibility that it may have been a advertising helicopter, Acevedo stressed that it was completely silent. DATE: October 1993 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Lajas, P.R. Around mid-October 1993, residents of Lajas’ Barrio Palmarejo, Olivares and Cuesta Blanca sectors reported sightings and landings of unidentified flying objects in their community. In one case, the strange object left visible marks upon the terrain at a local farm. Fear of ridicule kept most of the eyewitnesses from allowing the press to reveal their names, but their experiences were just as compelling: one witness allegedly saw “an inverted pie pan” land at a farm in Palmarejo, rising into the air as silently as when it touched the surface. Another witness informed that a low-flying UFO “making a buzzing sound like a swarm of bees” (a classic sound known to students of ufology), approached Monte del Estado in Maricao State Forest, a notorious “window” for UFO sightings, disgorging a smaller craft. DATE: November 11, 1993 TIME: None given PLACE: Trujillo Alto, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez College administrator Rafael Rivera described his UFO sighting on the night of November 11th as “an unforgettable experience.” Rivera and his wife and son witnessed the spectacular descent of an unidentified flying object to an altitude of approximately one hundred and fifty feet over the Trujillo Alto Expressway (one of San Juan’s major arteries). It wasn’t to be the Rivera family’s only experience, either. On November 19th, they pulled off the road near the Pamayoán School to behold a massive, glowing saucer hovering slowly over some farms in the Trujillo Alto area. “I couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” Rivera explained to Julio Víctor Ramírez. “The UFO flew right over our car and in a matter of no time at all had already put a great distance between itself and us. My wife said: “Rafy, we’ve just seen a UFO!”. Rivera was unsure if there were any other witnesses to the spectacular display. DATE: March 12, 1994 TIME: 03:00 hrs. PLACE: Trujillo Alto, P.R.

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The UFO phenomenon as it manifests itself in Puerto Rico shows a certain preference for expressways and major auto routes. Triangular and circular objects have been seen crossing the skies with impunity at all hours of the day, causing a flurry of phone calls to radio stations and the occasional back-pages newspaper mention. This was the case with reports of a large UFO in the shape of an elongated triangle which crossed the skies over metropolitan San Juan following a northwesterly course. A resident of Bayamón, P.R. identifying himself only as “Andrés” claimed to have witnessed an even closer encounter. After visiting his girlfriend in Caguas, “Andrés” headed home to Bayamón on the expressway. Upon reaching the Fort Buchanan toll gate, he and other drivers were stunned to see a large triangular UFO projecting beams of light in every direction, hovering in the sky over the headquarters of the Cadierno corporation. “Andrés” claims the object appeared to have a steely color, with blueilluminated portholes. DATE: May 2, 1994 TIME: 02:45 hrs. PLACE: Cabo Rojo, P.R. Municipal worker Roberto Ferrer is still amazed by his recent UFO sighting, which came about on May 2 1994, at 2:45 a.m. “My coworkers were flabbergasted,” Ferrer told journalist Julio Víctor Ramírez. The sighting occurred on Rte. 100, on the outskirts of Cabo Rojo. The massive UFO was described as having an intense blue color and emitting a sound reminiscent of humming bees (buzzing sounds have long since been associated with the phenomenon). The unidentified object was moving northward at such velocity that it left a bluish-white streak in its wake. Ferrer is quite certain that he did not see any of the traditional explanations given for the phenomenon: a helicopter nor any other manmade flying machine. His four coworkers shared the sighting, but he has not received their authorization to reveal their names publicly. “When I reached the job site, they were already staring up at the sky. I realized then that they were seeing what I was seeing.” This is not Ferrer’s first sighting. He told Ramírez that more than a year and a half ago, he had had a very close encounter in nearby Boquerón, where a diamond-shaped vehicle hovered directly over his truck. He did not report his very first sighting to avoid becoming the subject of his friends’ derision. DATE: August 29, 1994 TIME: 01:20 hrs. PLACE: Barranquitas, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez The mountainous districts of Aibonito and Barranquitas, nestled within the Cordillera Central which constitutes Puerto Rico’s “backbone,” were treated to the sight of an object giving off bright flashes of multicolored light as it moved slowly toward the mountains surrounding Aibonito. Residents of the La Tiza and Palo Hincado sectors of Barranquitas were roused from sleep by the lights and the subsequent arrival of the police.

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According to one resident of La Tiza, the flying disk resembled “the top of a merry-goround.” Frightened by the unusual sight, he promptly summoned his neighbors. A resident of Palo Hincado added that the object had too many lights of different colors to have been a manmade aircraft like an airplane or helicopter. The sightings prompted phone calls to Radio Prócer, which aired them during its regular broadcasts. Radio announcer Freddy Miranda informed the press that calls such as these were becoming routine at the station, since the number of UFO sightings in the island’s central districts remained constant. DATE: November 23, 1994 TIME: 7:30 p.m. PLACE: Añasco, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez “It crossed the skies silently, leaving a trail of light similar to a fluorescent lamp,” was the description of the UFO given by residents of the Dagüey suburb of this community, who saw it on November 23, 1994 at 7:30 p.m. In one witness’ version, the “boomerang” shaped UFO vanished rapidly, heading southward from the North. The object emitted a bright light and flew at a low altitude, which enabled the witness and three relatives to see it clearly. “At first I thought I was seeing white pigeons flying in formation, but I later realized it was something none of us had seen before,” said the witness, a government employee. This Añasco resident spoke about the incident to the author, but refused to be identified for obvious reasons. “I don’t want my sanity questioned, but my immediate family and other neighbors saw the thing.” Objects of unknown provenance with a “boomerang” shape have been sighted in New Mexico, Florida and Chile. In the Añasco incident, the craft was much larger than an airplane and made no sound whatsoever, in spite of flying at an altitude which enabled the witness to see it clearly. DATE: November 27, 1994 TIME: 5:00 p.m. PLACE: Mayagüez, P.R. SOURCE: Julio Víctor Ramírez A UFO described as having a triangular shape crossed the heavens at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 27, 1994, as witnessed by a resident of Mayaguez’s Jardines Housing. She was “astonished” by the sight. Aracelis Valentín explained that the UFO, which was “shiny and metallic,” moved south from a northwesterly direction. “I was there with my 2-year old son, when I saw an object resembling a stingray,” Aracelis averred during an interview with the author. The nurse pointed out that the UFO was very large and clearly visible in the clear skies. As in other UFO cases, the craft allegedly sighted by Mrs Valentín made no sound whatsoever. She insisted that it could not have been an airplane, helicopter, or balloon,

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since the object in question was incredibly bright and moved at a breathtaking rate of speed. According to the nurse, who professed not to be a believer in flying saucer stories, the object flew at low altitude, a fact that enabled her to define its shape. “The phenomenon frightened me considerably,” she added. DATE: Unknown TIME: Unknown PLACE: San Juan, P.R. Willie Durand Urbina, director of the Puerto Rican Research Group, recently drew attention to a very unusual landslide that wiped out a fair-sized section of De Diego Highway, a six-lane thruway that is one of the main arteries of the city of San Juan. The landslide, which took place almost two years ago, was no small affair: an ocean of mud and debris caused the destruction of power lines and phone booths, and stripped the tarmac off the roadway. Mr Urbina singled out the testimony of Esteban Dominguez, a department store manager in the Plaza Carolina Mall as proof that something very unusual had occurred during the incident -- apparently a UFO had played a role in the avalanche. A brilliant light hung motionless over the wall of sedimented debris which was later to engulf the road. The light could have been produced by the breaking of the 115,000 volt transmission towers, but Mr Domínguez’s states that he and his family “witnessed a shiny, buzzing, circular vehicle, some 100 feet across”, attempting to land on the unsteady surface. As if realizing the nature of the terrain, the object struggled to regain altitude, emitting a bright flash. A loud report followed, and the entire wall of mud came crashing down. Mr Domínguez added that what he saw still made him very nervous and emotionally upset. “But we saw the craft over the hill when the incident occurred.” DATE: November 18, 1995 TIME: 19:00 hrs. PLACE: Barranquitas, P.R. Radio announcer José Raúl Arriaga had taken so many phone calls from eyewitnesses of UFO activity over the preceding twenty months that to say that such cases no longer moved him would be an understatement. However, his interest was about to be rekindled as the control boards at Radio Prócer went crazy during his turn at the mike. The cause: a UFO was hovering over the station’s transmitter. Arriaga stated that at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 18th, he became aware that all the needles on the station’s control boards had gone haywire. At the same time, he heard a clamor of voices outside the studio. Upon checking to see what the reason for the commotion could be, he noticed a glow in the night sky and what appeared to be an oval shaped vehicle in mid-air, orbiting Radio Prócer’s antenna. “Whatever that thing was,” Arriaga told the press later on, “it was spinning around the station’s transmitter. I think that’s what caused the boards to distort. After a few more

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spins, the vehicle took off in the direction of Barrio Helechal. We were showered with phone calls soon after from people who, like me, had been witnesses to the situation.” DATE: April 16, 1996 TIME: 22:45 hrs. PLACE: Hormigueros, P.R. Residents of this small town southeast of Mayagüez alerted the media to a weird UFO sighting in which an object of uncertain geometry disgorged smaller circular saucers. Perhaps what makes this case even more peculiar is that the eyewitness, Fabiana Cintrón, had a camcorder on the ready to capture the event. Cintrón claims that she was testing her equipment when she caught the UFO event on video. She had come to Hormigueros from New York to visit relatives, only to find herself the protagonist of a sighting. Cintrón turned the videotape over to journalist J.V. Rodríguez: the tape shows a brilliant light that converts into six luminous circles. According to the eyewitness, the phenomenon repeated itself the following day as well. Curiously, the camcorder didn’t survive the ordeal. It never functioned again after having filmed the incident. DATE: October 5, 1996 TIME: Unknown PLACE: Orocovis, P.R. SOURCE: Hermes Rivera Barely recovered from the rain-induced devastation of hurricane Hortense, Orocovis had to deal with the reappearance of a creature which seemed to have faded back into the twilight world. Two policemen from Orocovis allegedly encountered the notorious Chupacabras while performing their rounds of the small mountain community. But this time, the dreaded predator had company. Eyewitness reports from residents of Barrio Saltos Cabra indicated that small grey-green humanoids were also seen in the area. Similar stories have aired over WKAQ-AM: locals have phoned newscaster Arnaldo García to inform him of the presence of “Grey aliens” in the La Choricera sector. The attendance of such creatures is undoubtedly linked to UFO reports a week earlier alleging that a craft had landed somewhere in the area.

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