SOURCE: La Nacion Latina
Colombia: UFO's "Stalk" Palermo
Several reports from local residents reveal the presence of lights and unidentified objects in space. The alleged UFOs appear to sympathize with certain politicians and campaigning seasons. The photo of the municipal representative ratifies other accounts from peasants and villagers. Disbelief is widespread among residents.
Agitation has seized the municipality of Palermo, a quiet community some 20 km from Neiva, due to sightings of lights and objects that fly and appear over the fields. And with good reason. For some fifteen years, back when the sightings occurred in the district of Ot�s, Campoalegre, the glances of these alleged objects from beyond the Earth appear to have concentrated themselves on Palermo, where they have given rise to surprise, admiration, fear and stories that range from absolute belief to the most forceful skepticism.
Some say that the UFOs have political sympathies, because they are mostly seen when elections are taking place or the day prior to voting; strange movements of lights and devices have even been recorded on cameras, such as the 2004 case when Javier Urazan accompanied a seismic research team and found a small object recorded on one of his photos whose nature they could not determine. The same occurred with the representative a eight days ago.
To Juan Alberto Bernal, 37, a resident of Palermo who has devoted a considerable part of his life to promotional ads, the subject merely represents another reality in his life, as he has been a witness to it. "It would be very selfish to believe that in such a wide universe, a small planet like ours is the only one harboring life. Fifteen years ago I saw three strange objects with lights on Cerro El Bach�. One crossed, the other descended and they zig-zagged around. I wasn't the only witness. At the time, which was also an electoral season, Sixto Francisco Cerquera, Neiva's former mayor, also saw them and can attest to it," said Bernal.
On the Campaign Trail
The fore mer Neivan official acknowledges that around that time he was campaigning for a seat in the Huila assembly, and in fact he observed the phenomenon with his wife Fabiola Ara�jo, who was with him.
"It was getting dark and we were coming in from a rural area. As we approached the town, my wife and I saw a light in the sky, but we thought it was a plane; then we stopped the car to see what it was. The fact of the matter is that it wasn't a plan, because when we pulled over, the light remained still. When we moved the car, the light followed our movements. That night, the lights had gone out in our town, and when the object stopped over the town church before vanishing, the light was restored to the town immediately. It was mysterious, but real," says the attorney and former political leader.
Juan Alberto Bernal recalls that peasant witnessed the landing of a vehicle on the property of Juan Antonio Carrera Mejia, former mayor of Palermo and current candidate for mayor of Neiva. Three shining men descended from the object; the occupants and their vehicle later vanished into the vastness of the sky.
"The peasant said that those were things of God and that the three characters who came down were angels sent to Earth, but they returned to heaven," remarks Bernal.
Regarding this story, Carrera Mejia said that six years ago, at La Laguna, his farm, peasants witnessed this phenomenon, which subsequently became magnified. "That was the story. I didn't worry much about it, but I would lie if I told you that I don't believe in these things. There must be something beyond our Earth in such a large universe," said Carrera.
The Official Speaks
Community headman William Percy Gonzalez said that the photo delivered to and published by La Nacion, showing an alleged UFO, is not a fraud and certainly was not a means of drawing attention to the fact that he is running in next year's elections to reach the town's foremost political position.
"The document is there for anyone who wants to inspect it. At no time where we hunting for strange objects. We were merely doing field work when a strange object was picked up on a photo. Even the person we were visiting, Don Alirio Rivera Manchola, in Alto Pijao, came around later and had no knowledge of the event, and we showed him the image. His reaction was one of considerable nervousness and he developed goosebumps, because that same night he'd heard a tremendous explosion in the air, and that a very large boulder had broken off from higher up the mountain."
He notes that he isn't very interested in making this highly curious case known, arguing that people know him well in the mountain municipalities 54 trails due to the job he has been doing as community headman.
Faiber Urazan, a Palermo resident who had accompanied a seismic exploration team for an oil company, recalls that they were involved in the Upar 2D seismic project and that several photographs were taken.
"That day, several photos of the landscape were taken from the El Vergel trail, and in one of them -- upon downloading to a computer -- there appears an object that was not seen in plain sight. That was one evidence. With all the talk going around, we associated with what was being rumored. Just like there's life on Earth, so it must be in other galaxies," said Urazan.
But one of the most touching stories was experienced two years go by nine people, who in the company of their children, went camping to El Pail�n to spend the night somewhere different and share stories with their friends and loved ones -- a sort of spiritual retreat in the country.
Everything was going normally and after dinner and prayer, around 11:30 pm, a light appeared in the sky.
"Toward the side of the cordillera we saw a light changing colors. It gave off shades of brilliant blue and red, growing and shrinking. All of us who were present there saw the phenomenon. We hadn't had a drop to drink, so there was no thought of a hallucination. It is said that there are three extraterrestrial bases in this area. One of them in the La Tatacoa Desert, another in Cerro Pacandu and in this cordillera. They say they come here for a metal that can be found in that mountain," explained Sandra Liliana Manchoa, a businesswoman who participated in the excursion.
Leydy Patricia Trujillo, an occupational health student at Neiva's Universidad Surcolombiana, also participated in the camping excursion and agrees with what she saw that evening. "When we went out for a walk, we saw something like a small star that began to grow and issued bright flashes in a single place, changing size constantly. We were scared. I was very nervous and couldn't sleep out of fear, and that's how I was until 4 a.m.. Every time I woke up I would see the same thing. We think it was a UFO, there's no other explanation, she said.
The fact is that UFOs appear to have been stalking Palermo for many years and each of the eyewitness accounts lends credibility to the presence of extraterrestrials over the town, which is protected by Santa Rosalia, its patroness.
(Translation (c) 2006, Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology (IHU). Special thanks to Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo, Miami UFO Center)