| To call them ufonauts would evoke unwanted associations with the long-haired, blonde entities of the Adamskian tradition or the Greys that peppered UFO research in the 1990s. In some cases there is no structured craft suggesting an interplanetary origin or even a actinic light that conjures up a paranormal provenance. “Things” appear to unchain a series of events in unsuspecting communities having absolutely no interest in matters involving ufology or even the human space age, now receding into the past as civilization chooses to journey inward.
Time and distance separate us from some of these events in such a
way that it is quite understandable how contemporary researchers would feel more comfortable dismissing them as rumor, journalistic exaggeration or outright hoax. Publishing pictures of lights in the sky is far more satisfying, of course.
Nevertheless, I feel these cases deserve their day in court, despite the inability to put the events — or their witnesses — on the stand.
A very important book was lost among the raging storms of UFO controversy in the abductions-or-nothing mid-90s. A distinguished author, Chile’s Jorge Anfruns, had published Extraterrestres en Chile, a compelling summary of his country’s extensive UFO and high strangeness history, told in an engaging first person style. Anfruns did not shy away from the requisite abduction experiences, which were truly mind-bending, but other cases were just as intriguing. In particular, a 1987 visit by the Chilean author to neighboring Bolivia, high up in the Andean Plateau, where he met up with fellow investigator Pedro Araneda, who brought him up to speed on a series of strange events that took place along the border between their respective nations.
As it so happened, a luminous object descended out of the dark, starry Andean night while members of the Aymara native community slept. Their uneventful hours of rest were broken by the intensity of the unknown light, and by the more disturbing sight of strange people wandering the streets of their village. Not given to confrontation, the locals decided to bar their doors and wait for daylight before taking action.
The morning sun would bring with it the alarming news that the ‘strangers’ had tried to abduct a teenage shepherdess. Her would-be captors were described as tall, robust individuals with long blond hair clad in glowing outfits. The shock was such that the girl died of a heart attack.
Araneda continued with his story. While peaceful, the locals decided that defense against these intruders was of the essence. On successive nights, the unknown characters tried breaking into homes, battering the doors. The locals – who earned their living from mining – had dynamite available and weren’t afraid to use it. Throwing sticks of explosive (“tiros de dinamita”, in the original) convinced the attackers that the village was able and willing to defend itself from these attacks, causing them to withdraw.
The situation went on for more than a week until the Bolivian press and radio began spreading the word about the strange situation. An Aymara delegation went to La Paz, the nation’s capital, to press their case, requesting government involvement in the matter.
It emerged – writes Anfruns in his book – that the Andean natives had long been aware of these lights and entities. Glowing orbs would land on the foothills and the summits, bizarre entities had been seen wandering the dust-choked roads, and there appeared to be seasonality to these events, with the months of April and July being the ones in which sightings and landings were more frequent.
The beings didn’t always share the same morphology. When prompted for a description, Araneda told Anfruns: “[These beings] are completely different from them [the natives], being thin, small, large-headed, helmeted, with large, shiny, black eyes like plums. People know there’s stuff going up there, but Aymaras aren’t given to talking about them.” (Extraterrestres en Chile, p. 81).
Whether the government listened to the native villagers’ plea for assistance isn’t reported. Bolivia has had an extensive history of UFO experiences and the higher echelons of their military probably had a good idea of what it was up against.
Communities elsewhere have been besieged by UFOs, much like the Brazilian community of Colhares, a case described in detail in Jacques Vallée’s Confrontations and in even more detail in Vampiros Extraterrestres Na Amazonia by Daniel Rebisso Giese, books recommended to the interested reader. I will briefly summarize it here: Colhares, near the city of Belem, across from the isle of Marajó, which forms part of the Amazon Delta, found its placid tropical existence shattered by manifestations of still-unexplained, boxlike machines knows as “chupas” firing beams of white light against townspeople. Aside from the corresponding burn, victims of these roving devices would experience lassitude and blackouts. People were afraid to go outdoors after sundown, taking to firing weapons into the air in the vain hope of chasing the intruders away, while the unknown’s mantle of fear enshrouded the community. Unlike the Bolivian situation, the Brazilian military responded in force with Operação Prato (Project Saucer)
Anfruns moves on to an even more disturbing story which can understandably be dismissed as anecdotal, as no names or dates are given due to the highly sensitive nature of the event. It took place “at some point along the Chilean, Bolivian or perhaps Peruvian borders, which I have no intention to recall,” he writes.
A detachment of police officers on horseback – the only way to get around in the mountainous terrain – was proceeding down the gorge known as Quebrada de las Bandurrias (two different ones appear on the map, the northernmost at 28°08′52″S 70°59′52″W, but nowhere near the border. Possibly a third gorge of the same name?). The five riders, as tired and thirsty as their mounts, suddenly became aware of something ‘resembling a silvery house’ farther down the canyon. The lieutenant in charge of the small detachment realized that they must have come across the lair of a notorious band of fur smugglers – dealing in valuable vicuña skins – that operated in the area. He ordered his men to fan out as quietly as possible. One of the policemen dismounted, picked up a rock, and threw it against the silvery structure, causing its occupants to emerge and take up defensive positions. At this point, the lieutenant ordered his men to open fire.
“This,” the author goes on to say, “was the start of the most uneven fight of the century.”
The bullets streaming from the policemens firearms were met with bright beams of cohered light, able to “pierce their targets and split them open like cauliflowers” (p. 105). The patrol’s horses made the easiest targets. One of the long-suffering mounts burst from the inside out. A member of the patrol was felled by another such beam, leaving a devastating wound on his chest. Retreat being the only alternative, the lieutenant and the survivors made their way back to headquarters, reaching it two days later and delivering a full report on the situation. A larger, heavily equipped response force subsequently arrived at the Andean gorge, finding no trace of the silvery “shack”, but ascertaining that traces of horse blood were indeed on the sand. The bodies of the fallen police officers were also gone.
Can we believe such a story? Was a simple but tragic encounter between law enforcement and fur smugglers grotesquely embellished with elements worthy of an old pulp magazine? There’s no way of telling.
There can be no question, however, that law enforcement comes across bizarre situations, even closer to home than they would like. In August 1995, police officer José Collazo became the unwilling protagonist in a highly-dramatic scene involving the enigmatic creature popularly known as the Chupacabras. Collazo spoke at length with Spanish journalist Magdalena del Amo regarding his harrowing experience.
According to Collazo, he and his wife were getting ready for bed at around 11:00 p.m. one night when they suddenly heard the alarm on their car go off. Suspecting a thief, Collazo picked up his service revolver and went out to his carport, where he was confronted by a surrealistic scene: his pet Chow dog was engaged in a losing battle with what he first took to be another dog sinking its fangs into the Chow’s back. According to Collazo, he soon realized that the intruder was not a dog — in fact, not even a creature of this world.
The officer felt himself engulfed in fear for his own life. He aimed his .357 Magnum against the unknown creature and fired a sure shot at it. The creature “rolled up into a ball,” Collazo explained, and bounced off one of the carport walls before disappearing out the back into the warm night air.
During the course of an interview with Spanish journalist Magdalena del Amo, the policeman observed that concern for his car kept him from firing further shots at the intruder. Nonetheless, the creature left patches of thick fur on the carport floor and traces of blood on the wall. It also left a noxious odor which persisted for well over a week, resisting all efforts to eliminate through the use of assorted detergents.