Top ten lists are an unavoidable fact in the modern age, and “top ten” lists of ufology are no exception. But most UFO events elude simple lists, due to the complex nature of the cases themselves. So we shall endeavor to present some of the most intriguing cases emerging from the corner of the world that falls under this column’s purview.
Perhaps the first serious investigation of cases outside the United States was given by Jim and Coral Lorenzen of the now-defunct APRO (Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization). Much of their data was the result of collaboration with Brazilian Dr. Olavo Fontes, who had gained most of it firsthand from actual visits with participants in the events. Among these events were the aforementioned Villas Boas abduction, the Saturn-shaped craft photographed over the island of Trinidade, the saucer that exploded over Ubatuba and other cases with which the reader is probably familiar.
The strange abduction case of Argentinean truck driver Dionisio Llanca was overshadowed by the more immediate kidnapping of two fishermen in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Though they occurred within weeks of each other, the former case is just another of thousands of bizarre accounts. Or is it?
On Saturday, October 27, 1973, Llanca, a resident of the town of Bahia Blanca (well-known for its UFO-related incidents), had left on his truck to make a routine run. Just barely out of the city limits, in pitch darkness, he found the truck had developed a flat tire. Not having a dispatcher whom he could radio for help, Llanca got on with the business of changing the flat. A light in the distance “like car headlights” appeared to be heading his way. He felt relieved. Perhaps he could take a ride back into the town for help. But the light was on the horizon rather than on the road. It changed from actinic white to brilliant blue, bathing the darkened countryside in azure light. Llanca was transfixed, and thought of getting closer to the light to find out what it was–until he realized he could not move.
The light emanated from a domed, saucer-shaped craft that came to hover meters away from his vehicle. To his horror he realized that there were beings standing beneath the glowing machine. They stood there, observing his futile shouting.
Next thing Dionisio knew, he was lying face down on wet grass, the sound of passing traffic filling his ears. In a state of total amnesia, Llanca stumbled around until a passing motorist offered him a lift. Seeing that he was visibly unwell, the driver took him to the Bahia Blanca hospital. Llanca recoiled at a doctor trying to examine him, and the services of a hypnotist were called to find out exactly what had happened to him.
Over a period of days, two physicians, Dr. Eladio Santos and Dr. Eduardo Mata, tried to reconstruct the man’s memory and pry from him the mind-bending story. Resorting to Pentothal to break past the blockage, Llanca revealed his harrowing story:
After being held motionless by the occupants of the strange craft, he was approached by one of them, a female, who placed a small black device upon his index finger. The device took a sample of his blood and appeared to have a sedative effect, but did not diminish his fear in the least. The beings were described as longhaired, oval-eyed humanoids clad in silver coveralls with gloves and boots. Next, he was taken into the glowing craft on a beam of light. The entities continued performing their tests upon him, conversing with him in perfect Spanish, advising him: “they wished to see if humans could withstand living in their world.”
Doctors Santos and Mata proceeded carefully with their sessions, realizing that Llanca was terrified to death of reliving his experience. Probing too deeply could cause the patient to snap.
But it was Llanca who surprised them.
After revealing detailed descriptions of the craft’s interior, lighting, texture of the walls and other details, Llanca fell silent. The physicians realized they had struck another–possibly impenetrable–barrier. Then, like an automaton, Llanca recited:” I have a message from the beings in the craft, but I cannot say what it is. No matter what you or other Earth scientists do, there will remain the memory lapse while I was on the ship. I was there for 45 minutes.”
The stunned doctors realized that it would not be possible to “unblock” the post-hypnotic command without placing Llanca’s mind in jeopardy. They directed their efforts instead to help the man recover from the traumatic ordeal. In the wake of the equally dramatic events at Pascagoula, most investigators ignored Llanca’s case. Pedro Romaniuk, the Argentinean Ufologist, gathered a wealth of data on the case, as did Kevin Randle from APRO.
In the long run, the physicians’ fears came true. In 1976, Llanca was reportedly in Buenos Aires, claiming yet another contact with the “saucermen”, who had come for him in the town of Monte Grande. Little else is known of this event, but the truck driver was reported in various parts of the country after that. It is believed that he was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital in the Patagonian city of Rawson.
Recent developments in the study of electromagnetic radiation have given us new insights on the effect of the various kinds of “rays” emitted from UFOs. Low frequency microwaves can cause irreparable damage to the human nervous system, and other wavelengths can actually be proven beneficial to humans in moderate amounts. Normally, 10 to 30 milligauss of exposure is considered to be acceptable, and it is what we receive from computer terminals, television sets, microwave ovens, and etcetera.
The “benign” rays issued from unidentified flying objects are few and far between when compared to the lethal ones that have been the topic of a dozen studies. The deaths of witnesses on account of exposure to unknown radiation are the discussed in a recent book by Jacques Vallée, in which he recounts alarming unprovoked attacks upon humans in northern Brazil. At the book’s core are the attacks by machine-like devices referred to as “chupas” by the natives. Vallée leads us through nightmarish accounts in which the protagonists–who have no exposure to a “space minded” culture–give frank descriptions of injuries inflicted by beam and gas weapons, the deaths of friends and relatives in such attacks, and the aftereffects of such experiences.
V. Maceira, a 73-year-old man living on the outskirts of a rural town in Argentina, was calmly sipping tea one evening when a brilliantly illuminated object appeared out of nowhere in a nearby clearing. He could make out the forms of two beings clearly within the glowing object, and with the rustic courtesy of the gaucho, Maceira proffered his cup of “mate” tea to the new arrivals. His cat, which had just had a litter of kittens, bolted into the darkness away from the unnatural light, forsaking her young.
Events following the apparition of the alien craft proceeded quickly. Maceira saw the beings depart in a flash of light, and immediately began to feel ill, with slight vomiting and incontinence. Strange tendrils of fine, thread-like material streamed from his eyes and his blood cell count dropped. Investigators discovered that fish in an adjacent pond had died of unknown causes. Maceira’s cat returned to its kittens, but displaying patches of burnt fur as if from extreme heat. But a totally unforeseen event began to transpire: Maceira began to acquire thoughts foreign to his experience and meager education. He was able to discuss the finer points of history, philosophy, medicine and astronomy with experts come from the capital to see him. To the amazement of his attending physicians, Maceira was growing a new set of teeth!
In the end, Maceira was taken to an undisclosed location to keep him from dying of exhaustion. Investigators, scholars and mere curiosity seekers were bombarding the old man incessantly in hopes of finding out what made him tick.
The Azogues case is another of close observation of ufonaut activity by humans. On a night in the summer of 1965, an Ecuadoran civil engineer, Hector Crespo, his son Urgenio and a laborer, Francisco López, were approaching the town of Zullengo, halfway between the county seats of Cuenca and Azogues. They saw two shafts of light pointing vertically into the sky behind the bend of the road they were on. Believing it was an accident, the three turned back to offer assistance.
Instead of an overturned car they were faced by a disk-shaped machine projecting two shafts of light into the night sky from a transparent dome at its top. The three men cautiously approached the clearly not manmade device, crawling behind a raised levee to within 30 meters of the disk.
Mr. Crespo was able to notice that a compartment to the interior appeared to be open. A crimson glow poured out from within the craft, and complex instrumentation could be seen within. THe vehicle itself rested on telescoping legs with plate-like landing pads (like the Lunar Excursion Module from the Apollo missions) and gave the impression of tremendous weight.
Most impressive was the fact that they could see the device’s “crew”. Three silent humanoid shapes stood ouside the craft, one of them appearing to work on the light beam projector. The other two looked on, and at one point handed their compatriot a tool. The scene riveted the witnesses, scared to death though they were.
The two beings standing idly by turned their attention toward the levee, as if aware of the presence of the humans, but unconcerned. An amber hued light that revolved around the edge of the craft was considered dangerous by the humans and at one point Urgenio Crespo became sick. Returning to the car, fearful of having been exposed to some form of radiation, Mr. Crespo was able to observe the departure of the UFO, which took off “in a flash” after wobbling up to a height. Crespo, with a good knowledge of drafting, produced renderings of what they had witnessed that evening. The creatures had been clad in resplendent silver coveralls with white belts at the waist. The helmets on their heads betrayed no breathing accessories. The headaches and fatigue experienced by the younger Crespo were attributed to fear more than any sort of exposure to harmful radiation.
Their sighting was corroborated by others who had seen a particularly bright object in the dark sky that very same night. One couple reported the object as having landed near their house, providing enough light to see the trees, rocks, creeks and trails of the terrain in astonishing detail.
South America’s largest producer of crude oil played a prominent part in UFO sightings during the 1960’s, although spectacular cases–investigated by distinguished ufologist Francisco D’Amico, founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Investigative Group (GIFE)– also took place during the years that followed.
In October 1976, a giant UFO with pulsating multicolored lights moved slowly over the community of Plan de Manzano, pausing its immense bulk silently over a drum farm containing highly inflammable liquids. To terrified onlookers, it appeared as if the alien monstrosity was about to land on top of the depot, but it headed off into the night sky at a prodigious speed.
On New Years Day, January 1977, a UFO moved silently across the skies of Barquisimeto, on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast, beginning a significant wave of sightings. Two weeks later, on January 23, a circular UFO giving off intense flashes of blue, green, yellow, and red landed in the community of Santa Rosa, in the state of Lara. Witnesses reported seeing the silhouettes of two diminutive humanoid occupants who moved in a robotic, controlled manner. The unknown craft emitted tremendous waves of heat, leaving a twelve-foot wide burn mark on the grass and singeing nearby shrubs and trees. Seven witnesses interviewed by GIFE agreed that the landed vehicle made a slight noise, but closer investigation was impossible due to the intense heat. Armando Loyo, one of the witnesses, declared having taken a flashlight to take a look at the UFO’s interior. Before he could come any closer, the vehicle took off once more, nearly blinding him with its intense light. Venezuelan scientists visited the area but refused to issue a statement as to what had transpired that evening.
The summer months of 1977 were punctuated by repeated sightings of UFOs over the village of Duaca, 15 miles south of Barquisimeto. The townspeople mounted their own nocturnal skywatch, setting up “observation posts” on a number of rooftops scattered throughout the village. The number of observation posts enabled seeing UFOs from different angles, thus allowing for comparisons later on. At 9:50 p.m. on August 22, an orange-red vehicle calculated at being some fifty feet in diameter and flying at an altitude of 4000 feet, was sighted over the community and recorded by the members of the GIFE research team. Two more vehicles were seen that same evening.
As dramatic as these skywatches might have been, Venezuela would soon face a less pleasant aspect of the UFO phenomenon: the sudden appearance of unknown craft causing widespread failures of the power grid. Caracas, the nation’s capital, and dozens of outlying cities were plunged into darkness on the night of December 31, 1978–almost two years to the day of the initial sighting. The blackout occurred shortly after midnight, prompting the cancellation of all official New Years celebrations. Radio stations had alerted the city to a flurry of UFO sightings which had taken place shortly before the blackout, and the Caracas Power Utility found itself at a loss to explain the probable cause of the power failure, which extended as far as the city of Maracay, fifty miles away from Caracas.
Honduras is a land whose UFO sightings have been picked up by the world’s wire services and then forgotten. There can be no doubt, however, that this small country–wedged between Guatemala and Nicaragua–sustained its highest level of UFO activity during the month of October 1978, when it fell prey to the same kind of blackout-producing vehicles that would affect Venezuela later the same year.
On October 14, at 6:10 p.m., a nationwide blackout left communities helpless for twenty minutes as reports of strange objects in the twilit skies flooded radio stations and the newsrooms of Honduran dailies. The advertising manager of one of the latter, Rogelio Bercián, happened to be among the witnesses to the unusual phenomena. At precisely 6:06 p.m., he declared in an article for Tegucigalpa’s La Tribuna, he was working on his car on the vantage point of El Picacho hill, when he became aware of a strange object moving from south to north at considerable speed. Fearing it was a conventional airplane, he paid close attention to its maneuvers due to its velocity and the fact that it was headed for a populated area. The object suddenly executed a suicidal figure-eight maneuver, and Bercián then realized he was a looking at a colossal boomerang-shaped object with a brilliant light at its center. As it flew over Tocontin Airport, electrical current died over the city. The newspaper manager saw the streetlights grow dim before blacking out altogether. Other witnesses directly under the flight path of the triangular UFO were able to confirm Bercián’s statement.
City officials preferred to find a more down-to-earth explanation for the blackout, and sought an answer from the power utility, the state-owned agency ENEE (National Electric Energy Company). Reports of “unexplained anomalies” at El Cañaveral, a power station quite far from Tegucigalpa, stated that this installation crashed after “a mysterious glow had been seen in the sky.”
A hundred miles away from the Honduran capital, other power stations reported similar collapses of the energy grid. Engineers were at a loss to explain how localized blackouts in their areas could have affected the distant capital city. Martin Baide, Public Relations Officer for ENEE, was bold enough to suggest: “I do not personally discard the possibility that technologies greater than man’s could be the cause of these anomalies, since we have been unable to offer a satisfactory explanation as to the true reason for the blackouts.”
The massive power failure that occurred on October 27, 1978 involved an even greater UFO component. Aida Zúñiga, a secretarial school director in the town of Choluteca, to the south of Tegucigalpa, observed that shortly after six o’clock in the evening on that day, her students became aware of a light-emitting object concealed behind the clouds of a recent rainstorm. The cloud-swathed vehicle was described by one student as being reminiscent of the Mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ms. Zúñiga declared that the object remained stationary, giving off lightning-like flashes just as the lights began to brown out and then disappear entirely throughout Choluteca. The UFO changed color from a yellowish red to a pale shade of pink before disappearing. After it had gone, it was noticed that the drizzle came to an end, and the power came back on line.
Two hours after the uncanny events over Choluteca, a strange vehicle was sighted over Tegucigalpa’s La Leona substation. Miguel Herrero, a technician on duty at the substation, was watching television when an explosion among the transformers followed a sudden blue glow. He witnessed a blinding light rising up and away from the transformers. Witnesses on the streets reported seeing a circular red light more or less hovering over the substation. Roberto Aguiar, a cab driver, described the disk as having tendrils that moved around it in a circular motion.
The events of October 1978 may be considered unspectacular in the light of later developments in ufology, such as the rise in encounters with UFO occupants and the abduction epidemic, but it showcased the control that these objects have over our cities, and indeed over our way of life.