Sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay boasts a modest UFO history of its own, and a number of noted investigators of the phenomenon brought cases to the attention of ufology worldwide during the Sixties and Seventies. However, a major UFO flap may have taken place as recently as 1994, according to some anonymous documentation forwarded to Mexican ufologist Dr. Rafael Lara Palmeros. These papers provided information (largely from journalistic sources) on a mind-bending cross-section of ufologica, ranging from mere lights in the sky to interaction between humans and UFO occupants.
On March 3, 1994. A considerable number of residents in the town of Rivera, Uruguay confirmed that a UFO had flown over this locality during the early hours of the morning. The witnesses were workers at a refrigeration plant who were on their way to work. The object was moving at a moderate, constant speed and at a height of 500 meters (1600 feet), making circular movements.
The manager of a local radio station saw the object in the sky: According to Ernesto Fagúndez, he was able to distinguish several portholes through which crewmembers could be seen. “They were beings with enormous heads,” he said. Later, the object was seen executing an odd maneuver. It allowed itself to dive over a bus that carried passengers on their way to work. Terrified at the imminent collision, the passengers leaped out of the bus and ran for their lives. The object did not collide with the bus and rose skyward, disappearing later. (As an additional detail we can add that Rivera is located on the border between Brazil and Uruguay, some 600 km. (37 mi.) from Montevideo (Note: it was later discovered that this story had originally transpired in 1978 and had been reported in the UFO press of the time).
A giant cigar-shaped UFO was allegedly seen in April 1994 in Rivera, on the Brazilian border. According to witnesses, the object had a length of 50 meters (160 ft.) and emitted bright orange flashes as it flew in a straight line toward the northeast. Suddenly, the intensity of the light diminished, and the object became invisible. Several witnesses claimed having seen 3 subdivisions in the cigar-shaped objects that may have escorted a larger one. According to the witnesses, a total of 4 compartments could be seen in these objects, leading many to believe it could be a “Mothership”
Residents of Florida, Uruguay, reported seeing a UFO flying across the sky during 18 minutes on the night of May 21, 1994. While the object was still visible in the sky, a surprise blackout plunged the city into darkness. According to one witness, journalist Luis del Castillo, it was a spherical object with white, red, and green lights on its sides, which moved off to the west. The official story on the power failure was “a sudden overload of the supply system which overrode safety systems.” The manager of the Miguel Castro Ferreira Power Station was unable to come up with an explanation and dismissed it as “a coincidence.” In the city of Artigas, some 700 km. from Montevideo, a family claimed having seen small allegedly extraterrestrial beings on at least 3 occasions. That morning, Wilson Eli Da Costa, 17, was in his garden when he noticed small footprints that appeared to have been made by a child. The following day he noticed more footprints. This news was shared with the rest of the family, who decided to keep it a secret. On the following day, Wilson’s sister, Marta Elena Ari Da Costa, 16, saw a little man “with a very white complexion” looking into the house.
Later in the summer, five adults and a 10-year-old child in the city of Maldonado, 140 km from Montevideo, had a terrifying experience as they returned from Laguna del Sauce. At the 115 km. mark of the road leading to Punta del Este, the people travelling in the rear of the vehicle noticed “an enormous fireball” rise from a nearby field and head for their bus. They warned the driver, who saw the fiery object, thus initiating an impressive chase for over 5 kilometers. The witnesses stated that the fireball was so bright that it illuminated the entire area as if it were daylight. It moved in an east-west trajectory, following the same route as the bus. It finally broke off its pursuit and disappeared close to a naval base.
Villa Cebollati, a town in Rocha Province located some 250 km. from Montevideo, became the unwilling locale for contact with nonhumans. According to Julio César Cabrera, 45, two beings that were “very beautiful and green in color,” appeared on his doorstep.
Cabrera, who was asleep in the early morning hours, was awakened by the sound of a loud horn, which he took to be that of his own car. Upon opening the car’s door, a powerful electric discharge riveted him to the ground as a strange, white-faced, green skinned being, with slanted eyes and blonde hair, appeared out of thin air, accompanied by a beautiful female. According to Cabrera, both creatures began measuring his body while he remained paralyzed. Within minutes, the creatures had disappeared amid whitish smoke. No physical harm was inflicted upon the witness, and it appears he enjoyed the green creatures’ visit.
On September 13, 1994. Five residents of Paso de las Velas, Florida Department, some 150 km. from Montevideo, claimed to have witnessed the collision of a UFO against the ground. The event took place after a lengthy storm, when the witnesses became aware of a solid rectangular object crossing the sky noiselessly. The orange rectangle suddenly plummeted to the ground, setting off an explosion that was heard for many kilometers around. Large plumes of smoke filled the air, but not traces of the object were found where the explosion took place.
Faced with all this information, the Uruguayan Air Force decided to accept all UFO-related information and investigate each case directly. This initiative was undertaken by the Receiving and Investigating Commission, affiliated to the Uruguayan Air Force, which first created a special file destined to collect all known cases occurring in the country. The new commission is to be headed by Lt.Col. Eduardo Aguirre, who requested the national media to forward any UFO information to his attention.
This major Andean republic has certainly provided its share of sightings. The problem — echoed by many researchers both in the U.S. and in the rest of Latin America — is that the vast majority of UFO reports come from disreputable journalistic sources that present bogus UFO stories to boost circulations. Such tales are dubbed noticias de verano (“summer tales”, nearly identical to the English “junebugs”) and are quickly forgotten.
Perhaps the most dramatic case involved a highly unusual “firefighting” UFO, a considerable break from the case histories involving fire-starting saucers. This particular case transpired in 1976 and was researched by Spanish investigator Salvador Freixedo, who was told of the incident by one of the protagonists involved.
Inés de Montaña, a well-known journalist for Bogotá’s El Espectador described how an unidentified flying object had saved the hacienda that had been in her family for generations. The country estate, located in Tolima, a valley deep in the Andean range, was besieged by the flames of a nocturnal forest fire that illuminated the night sky with its angry flames, devouring vegetation and croplands. Farmhands ran in search of axes and sand with which to create a firebreak, since there was no water that could be used to extinguish the blaze. Their valiant efforts were in vain, for the dryness of the foliage only made the flames burn with greater intensity.
While the journalist looked on at the advancing line of fire from her bedroom window, a effulgent blue light in the smoke-filled sky caught her attention: it moved slowly and deliberately at a low altitude toward the imperiled area. De Montaña described it as “a helicopter of light”.
The strange object appeared to be coming in for a landing, but upon reaching the height of the tallest palm trees, it rose again and departed with the same deliberate slowness which characterized its approach, leaving in its wake a luminous, comet-like tail — a wave of such intense coldness that it extinguished the forest fire almost immediately, and caused the bemused onlookers to find warmer clothing. The UFO paused for a few seconds, and immediately began to move very slowly across the flames. As it moved, the fire died down as if doused with tons of water.” The farmhands who had been doing their best to contain the spreading blaze were awestruck by the miraculous event.
In January 1977, a Boeing 727 airliner belonging to Colombia’s Avianca airline, piloted by Gustavo Ferreira, was approaching Ibagué, a community west of Bogotá, when the crew suddenly became aware of a strong white light. Believing that another airliner had strayed into their path, Captain Ferreira promptly radioed the air traffic controllers at Bogota International Airport. They assured him that they had picked up the intruder on their radar and were tracking it.
There was little that the Avianca crew could do as the intense light source made a beeline toward their jet. In a matter of seconds, the mysterious light had stopped in mid-air. Passengers and crew were treated to the sight of an unidentified flying object three times the size of the airliner they were in. Captain Ferreira flashed his landing lights at the vehicle, which responded by changing color from white to red. A second flash of the landing lights prompted the UFO to turn green. Three minutes later, the strange object sped off out of sight. The airport traffic controllers estimated the UFO’s speed to be some 20,000 miles an hour at a 99-degree angle before vanishing off their screens.
A flurry of UFO sightings filled the summer months of 1977: on July 6 of that year, residents of the community of El Socorro witnessed the flight of a six UFO “squadron” across the night skies over their town. The UFOs flew fast and low over El Socorro amid heavy rainfall, giving off bursts of red and white light. On July 20, shortly after 4 p.m., attorney Carlos Rangel, who was looking out the window of a doctors’ office in downtown Bogotá, saw five UFOs engaging in maneuvers over the city. He promptly drew the attention of the nurses in the office as well as that of people walking on the street. The number of onlookers staring skyward, including those who got out of their cars to take a better look, caused a traffic jam that lasted well over an hour. Bogotá’s El Liberal newspaper ran a photo taken by a staff photographer, depicting one of the UFOs in question. The photograph was accompanied by eyewitness testimony.
UFO activity over Colombia hasn’t been significant over the past few years, but it could start up again at any given moment.
No chronicle of UFO activity in South America would be complete without the ample and dramatic case histories that have emerged from Chile. The clear nights of its vast northern salt deserts have provided an array of memorable sightings, causing some Latin American investigators to vote it “the country most visited by UFOs” during the 1970’s.
The all-time Chilean classic case is the hair-raising (and beard growing) experience suffered by army corporal Armando Valdés Garrido. In the bitterly cold early morning hours of April 25, 1977, a military patrol of the Rancagua regiment led by Corporal Valdés and composed of soldiers Julio Rosas, Ivan Rojas, Pedro Rosales, Humberto Rojas, Germán Valle and Raúl Salinas, had decided to camp in a rocky, desolate area in the Andean foothills. a few miles east of the city of Putre.
One of the soldiers, who had been assigned sentry duty, rushed back to the corporal to inform him that a red light was hovering above a nearby peak. Suspecting that contrabandists may be at work, Valdés ordered his platoon to ready weapons and extinguish the campfire–their only source of warmth in the near-zero weather. The soldiers moved out toward the source of the purplish-red light, realizing in a matter of seconds that they weren’t dealing with illegal activity or lost mountaineers. The light was moving down the hillside, but not on its surface.
Having complained earlier about the frigid temperature, the soldiers were stunned to discover that it was actually getting warmer as the light grew closer, turning into giant oval-shaped object which bathing them in its purplish-red glow.
The object landed some fifty feet away, swathed in a violet fog that stood out in stark contrast to the surrounding darkness. This was enough to cause panic among the young conscripts, but they found themselves unable to move. Weapon in hand, the corporal ventured forward alone into the unearthly fog, adding later that he felt attracted by something within the luminosity, and was standing no farther than nine feet away from his men when the purplish light engulfed him. The corporal stated for the record that his only recollection of the event was a dreamlike vision of falling down a deep well or chasm. He was also left with a feeling that he would meet again with the strange presence.
The truly amazing part of the story follows: the leaderless platoon witnessed the corporal’s unexplained reappearance some fifteen minutes later, when they heard him calling for help. Valdés gave the appearance of having been drugged; his normally clean-shaven face showed dense beard, and his calendar wristwatch indicated that the time was 6:30 a.m. on the 30th of April, when it was still in fact 4:25 a.m. on the 25th. By all indications, the hapless military man had undergone a five-day sojourn in some unknown region of time and space. Hypnotic regression, which would ordinarily have been the procedure of choice in unlocking the “missing time”, was expressly forbidden by the Chilean military. Medical specialists agreed that Valdés’s panic at the ordeal, as well as the unknown radiation he had been subjected to, could have accelerated the growth of his facial hair, but no explanation was forthcoming about what had happened to his wristwatch.
Argentinean parapsychologist Antonio Las Heras conducted further research into the Valdés Case, as it came to be known, following a television appearance on Santiago’s Channel 13, where he formed part of a panel with an aeronautical engineer and an astrophysicist who supported the corporal’s claim. A few days prior to Las Heras’ arrival in Chile, the Chilean Army had issued a communiqué confirming that Corporal Valdés and his platoon had come face to face with an unidentified phenomenon. The communiqué also added that the protagonists of the case had been forbidden to comment on the incident until military authorities had issued a final verdict. After conducting his own research, Las Heras felt that a solution to the mystery was in hand.
According to the parapsychologist, both the media and amateur investigators alike mistakenly suggested that the corporal had spent five days within a UFO, while only fifteen minutes had elapsed for the terrified onlookers. Las Heras posits that the corporal’s digital timepiece “went crazy” upon entering the purple haze, probably as a result of electromagnetic fields emanating from the object. The digital watch was affected for a given period of time, finally stopping at a random time. In short, Valdés disappeared for only fifteen minutes, since his wristwatch had stopped shortly before his disappearance.
Las Heras challenged the theory that a space-time alteration took place, since exactly the opposite to what would be expected of any travel at relativistic speed is what happened: Valdés, the subject of the ordeal, was the one who aged, whereas the onlookers remained the same. According to the theory of relativity, the soldiers should have aged at least fifteen minutes, while the corporal should not have aged at all. On the other hand, Las Heras entirely agreed with the somatic explanation for the sudden growth of the corporal’s beard.
A flood of sensationalistic information followed the Valdés Case: it was alleged that the corporal had shouted at the UFO: “Go! In the name of God, leave this place!” as if he were a country bumpkin facing a ghost; the local UFO press claimed that the corporal had been given a “message” by the vehicle’s occupants. These, and other details, also proved untrue. Perhaps a 2010 release by Patricio Abuselme Hoffman – “Los centinelas de la noche” (The Night Sentries), covering the entire Valdés Case, will provide some long awaited answers.
After crisscrossing Chilean skies for decades, UFO activity dwindled in later decades down to a few unimportant sightings. According to an article from the EFE news agency, more than 400 confirmed sightings took place in the years before 1990. However, the period running from 1990 through 1994 has remained quiet. Not even the truck drivers who cross the Atacama Desert–the driest in the world, with a unique topography that resembles that of the moon on a starry night–have witnessed any sightings worthy of public attention.
In November 1990, a woman from a small community some 450 kilometers to the north of Santiago was violently awakened by a loud noise while an intense light, as bright as the Sun’s, poured into her bedroom. The woman stated that she was filled with dread when she noticed a figure no more than 115 cm. tall standing at the door. It had very large eyes and ears and its skin was illuminated by a strong violet light (perhaps the same “purple haze” that engulfed Armando Valdés Garrido in 1977?).
One of the most spectacular of the cases befell a Chilean who revealed in August 1990 that 12 years earlier, in the middle of the antipodal winter and while traveling in his old car some 1000 km south of Santiago, he had had sexual relations with an extraterrestrial female.
Gaspar H.H., who was 66 years old at the time of his revelation, attained global notoriety when he told a major newspaper in the Chilean capital that he had been inside a spaceship for four hours and managed to establish telepathic communication with its occupants. Later on, he was placed on a bed that adapted to the contour of his body while skin samples were drawn. The ufonauts threw water on him to “decontaminate” him, after which sex with an extraterrestrial woman took place.
On October 8, 1994 a forest ranger in the Torres del Paine National Park, located in the Magallanes region, was allegedly chased by a gigantic UFO that hovered in the sky. The forest ranger, who has spent eighteen years in this particular park, was conducting a routine inspection when an enigmatic, spherical artifact that gave off a powerful beam of light surprised him.
Visibly upset, the ranger began a frantic race back to the Paso de la Muerte Shelter, some 17 kilometers away. He was pursued the entire distance by the object, which emitted “flashes of light”. After gaining the shelter’s safety, he was able to alert some comrades, who observed the UFO moving away at a high rate of speed. A driver identified as Arturo Cofre corroborated the forest ranger’s testimony, stating that he had also witnessed the giant sphere over the so-called Cuernos del Paine. Carmen Salvat, an employee of the Hotel Explora, claimed to have seen a large luminous sphere moving in a northerly direction as it gave out potent red and violet flashes. As a final note, a tourist who wishes to remain anonymous (along with the forest ranger) said that the device managed to land, turning off all its lights before taking to the skies once more.