Tuesday, December 09, 2008

From the Vault: The Varginha Case-A South American Roswell?

[A recent search for older material kicked up Dr. Rafael Lara's excellent analysis of the 1995 Varghina Case. While 13 years separate us from the case, it is certainly worth remembering those still-unexplained events in Brazil. Read on! - SC]

The Varginha Case: A South American Roswell?
By Dr. Rafael A. Lara

It all appears to have started on September 16, 1995 when a strange object hurtled to the ground on the Bacaba estate, belonging to professor Amauri Barbosa Ribeiro, head of the Civil Engineering and Architecture Department of the Federal University at Teresina. A newspaper belonging to Brazil's GLOBO television network reported that a number of individuals had witnessed the descent and collision of an object somewhere in the wilderness of Maranhao state. According to noted "meteorite hunter" Wilson Carvalho, there were no traces of a metal artifact anywhere, leading him to believe that the "meteorite" could be several meters under ground.

Among the first to reach the scene was Pablo Villarrubia Mauso, a correspondent for Spain's Año Cero magazine, who immediately contacted the chief of the research team, Nei José de la Costa, a student of physics in the Federal University at Piauí (1), who had interviewed numerous witnesses describing a tremenodus lights crashing against the surface. These witnesses declared that the object's luminosity was such that "a needle could be found on the floor" at that nighttime hour. The local peasantry spoke of a loud noise that some identified as thunder and caused others to believe that an aircraft accident had taken place.

According to Amauri Barbosa, the crater was excavated to a depth of 18 meters without having found traces of any object whatsoever. However, the excavation uncovered 2 subterranean tunnels, 18 and 12 meters long respectively. Researcher Sergio Alves with the Paraíba Center for UFO Studies opined that the malfunctioning UFO entered Earth's orbit and fused into a metallic clump impossible to identify.

It appeared that something was about to happen.

On January 20, 1996, Eurico de Freitas and his wife, residents of the Numa hacienda, some ten kilometers away from Varginha, witnessed a bizarre submarine-shaped celestial object flying over the farm and terrifying the animals. At 15:30 hours on the same day, in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Varginha (Minas Gerais state), threeyoung women, Valquiria and Liliana da Silva, along with Katia Javier, ages 14,16 and 22 respectively, stumbled upon a strange creature ("a horrible inhuman thing," in their own words), crouched on the ground with its hands between its legs. A short distance away, they clearly saw a figure with large red eyes, greasy brown skin, long arms and legs and enormous feet (2). The most impressive details made reference to an enormous, completely hairless head covered in varicose-like veins that were also present along the neck and the rest of the body. The top of the creature's skull apparently presented three protuberances no greater than 5 cm. in length (3,4). Ubirajara Rodríguez, a Brazilian researcher, considers this case to be legitimate and that the creature discovered in Varginha's Barrio Santa Ana is an extraterrestrial. This investigator believes said creature was captured by members of the town's fire brigade and transported in a wooden box, covered with a white dropcloth, to the Escuela de Sargentos de Armas (School of Sergeants at Arms) located in Tres Corazons (Minas Gerais) (5). This fact was corroborated by bricklayer Henrique José de Souza, who witnessed the showy and highly unusual display of activity at the local firehouse on the evening of January 20th, "they appeared to be ready for a rescue operation more than anything else..."

The army was also involved: an officer interviewed on the Fantástico program, his voice distorted to conceal his identity, described his purported involvement in transferring the alleged ET to the hospital where the examination took place. The unidentified officer's description of the creature matched the one given by the other witnesses, but what exactly happened at Varginha's Humanitas Hospital? According to researchers, the alien underwent a general exam followed by surgery. Adilson Usier, the hospital's director, stated that he had never heard of such a thing and that it was ludicrous to think that an extraterrestrial had been admitted to the hospital (6). Nonetheless, there are persistent rumors that two badly injured ("machucados", in Portuguese) extraterrestrials had been found and had subsequently been transferred to the University of Sao Paulo, where they would have been attended by a trauma specialist identified only as "Rogerio," who denied any involvement in the affair, but allegedly told a reporter from the Gazeta de Varginha newspaper "I don't know what it is. It could be a natural aberration of a kind I've never seen before." (6). The director of Humanitas Hospital blames the confusion on the exhumation, at the family's request of a 110 kg. individual, an operation which caused agitation among the hospital staff.

As is the case with any UFO incident in any country, the military was clearly involved, and over 60 Brazilian ufologists indicate that the army is responsible for the capture and concealment of at least two extraterrestrials, according to some accounts: on January 23, at 0400 hours, three troop transports took the Tres Corazones Military School, where the cargo was delivered to another military unit, probably the "Escuela Preparatoria de Cadetes" (Cadet Preparatory School), according to investigator Rodríguez. The entire operation , according to Rodríguez, was directed by Lieutentant Colonel Olimpio Wanderley Santos. The army, however, vehemently denies this allegation. High-ranking officers: Col. Luis Cesario de Silveira Leite, spokesman for the Eastern Army Command; General Sergio Pedro Coehlo, commandant of the ESA; Olimpio Wanderley Santos himself, and others have discarded the researcher's allegations.

In May 1996, all of Brazil's UFO research organizations issued a manifesto requesting the intervention of government agencies to investigate the case (5). An undeniable aspect of this uproar is the sudden popularity of the residents of Varginha and its sudden economic turnaround as a result of the appearance of alleged aliens. Local businesses proudly display stylized images of the aliens along with a number of spaceship images. According to area merchants, sales increased considerably in recent months.

The latest information received indicates that both Ubirajara Rodríguez and Vitorio Pacaccine are in contact with fourteen Brailizian military men who keep them abreast of developments in the strictest anonymity. There are reports of unidentified individuals who are trying to sell a video of the alleged capture of the extraterrestrials. The asking price? between ten and thirty thousand dollars. (7).


It is notable that the alleged meteorite which struck the Bacaba estate fell in the Prnarama region, made famous in the late 1970s and in the early 1980's by the investigative efforts of a number of UFO investigators--foremost among them Jacques Vallée--concerning the aggressive UFO incidents in the area (cases included burns, amputations and even the deaths of witnesses). It would appear that the Varginha incident boasts a series of occurences that could easily fit into the "Roswell Syndrome," complete with its economic repercussions. It was originally stated that one alien was found, then two. Will we wind up having three, four or more in the future? A most significant detail can be found in the statements made by premier Brazilian ufologist Irene Granchi, who delcared that the creature "might not be an extraterrestrial but an intraterrestrial (!!), since southern Minas Gerais is considered by the Sociedad de Eubiosis de Brasil as an entrance to the inner earth, particularly the region stretching from Sao Lourenço to Sao Tomé..." (4). Does this bear any relation whatsoever to the presence of tunnels found on the Bacaba farmstead? From a personal perspective, I do not share such a point of view. The case is real enough, but all that matters now is to pursue the investigation to its ultimate conclusion, wherever it may lie.


(1) Villarrubia, Pablo. ¿OVNI o Meteorito? Año Cero magazine pp. 6-7. April 1996.
(2) "Alienígena é capturado em Minas Gerais e as autoridades negam" Revista UFO, pp. 16-19. April 1996.
(3) "O retrato do extraterrestre". Jornal do Brasil (newspaper). February 2, 1996. p.3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(4) Villarubia, Pablo. "Capturado un extraño ser". Año Cero magazine pp. 14-18. May 1996.
(5) "O caso do ET de Varginha" Isto E (journal). May 22, 1996. pp.124-129. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(6) "Contatos imediatos em Varginha". Jornal do Brasil (newspaper). February 2, 1996. p.4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(7) Villarrubia, Pablo. "El vídeo más buscado" Año Cero magazine p. 14. August 1996.

(Translation (c) 2008, S. Corrales, IHU)