Argentina: The 1972 Dugour-Berlingieri Abduction
Argentina: The 1972 Dugour-Berlingieri Abduction
By Oscar A. Uriondo
From “Gaceta OVNI” 1101
Translated by S. Corrales, IHU
The details of this case – involving two high-level officials with a prominent Argentinean banking institution – were made known by this author over two decades ago in a specialized Spanish publication. Nonetheless, we found it interesting to republish it now, but from a different perspective, according to the knowledge on the UFO phenomenon that has been accepted since then and which provide us with a more sophisticated view of the case.
Let us recall, then, that on an unspecified day in May 1972, Messrs. Ivo Dugour and Nestor Berlingeri, who at the time were managers of the Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, headquartered in Capital Federal, headed from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata along National Highway 2. These trips to the interior of the country were done frequently due to banking activities.
We learned of this case through Mr. Ruben Luzuriaga, a colleague and friend of the aforementioned parties. It was thanks to their intercession that we managed to speak with the parties, overcoming their initial reticence about discussing an event that was perhaps too fantastic for conventional understanding. Thus, we were able to interview them separately and collect their respective versions of the shared experience.
They had left Mar del Plata around 12:30 a.m. after a frugal repast during which no alcohol was consumed. Berlingeri was driving the car – a Ford Falcon – while Dugour nodded off in the passenger’s seat.
Suddenly, after some 30 minutes of driving time, the driver stated that he was overcome with sleep, pulled over and parked. Before falling asleep, Berlingeri closed the windows and lowered the safety locks on both doors. He turned off the engine and tucked the keys into his pants’ pocket. After this, Dugour remembers nothing more.
He was suddenly awakened by his companion’s screams, saying: “The engine’s off!” He then saw that the car was coasting slowly down the middle of the road. They tested the lights, which operated normally. Then, recalling that his friend had placed the keys in his pocket, reminded him. [Berlingeri] was then able to start the car.
It was only then that both men realized that the car had been traveling at a speed of some 20-30 kmh without the engine running. The fact was much more surprising by the fact that no parking brake had been applied – they were in a perfectly flat area with no noticeable grade. When they reached [the town] of Dolores, an excited Berlingeri told what had just happened to a gas station attendant. To the contrary, Dugour was extremely calm and sleepy.
After setting in motion once more, this time with Dugour doing the driving, this witness started to feel a very strange and unpleasant sensation in his head: a tingling similar to that of a leg that has fallen asleep. He remained that way for a long time, and was forced to drive very slowly.
His story coincides with that of Dugour until the moment in which he pulls over to the curb and parks the car. On the other hand, he does not remember closing the windows or safety locks, or even putting the keys away.
He fell asleep instantly and when he woke up, found himself holding the steering wheel with both hands as the Ford Falcon moved down the highway, which was utterly deserted at that time. Berlingeri figures that they slept about two hours, judging by the time it took them to reach Dolores. Neither Berlingeri nor Dugour have been able to specify the place where they parked, perhaps because they were too confused to have a precise idea of their location. They only believe that they may have been parked some 30 km from Maipú. Nor were they able to judge the distance covered by the car during the period in which they were asleep. It is interesting to note that the sleepiness that overcame the witnesses was very intense and unusual, as both men are accustomed to such nocturnal journeys.
Finally, at no point did Dugour or Berlingeri see unexplained luminous phenomena or strange noises. It should be noted that the narrated incident, at first blush, does not show any clear links to the UFO phenomenon in its broadest and most familiar manifestations to the media and the public at large.
There is no valid reason to question the truthfulness of both protagonists in this strange case. At no time did they try to publicize their experience; on the contrary, it was not made known to any media outlet. Only a few people – friends of the parties involved—ever got to hear about it. Even the witnesses were reluctant to discuss the episode with colleagues for obvious reasons.
Whether the experience can be explained as dream-like or hallucinatory experience, it is highly improbable that this would occur to two people simultaneously, and in a coinciding and even complementary manner.
The hierarchy of credibility of Messrs. Dugour and Berlingeri seems unquestionable due to the aforementioned circumstances, and the direct contact that the author had with them.
In the initial article in which this case was made known, we suggested that the production of unusual effects tied to the incident could have been related to some kind of force field, exercised deliberately or as an involuntary effect of the UFO’s propulsion system (bearing in mind that none were seen in this case). However, we now believe that this explanation is decidedly lacking and skirts the main problem. If the autonomous motion of the car suggests the action of some external force, the anomalous core persists: What happened during the two hours in which both men were asleep? What caused both men to fall into a deep sleep, so quickly and without a reasonable explanation?
We believe that the answer to such questions leads to a serious consideration of a less common and surprising possibility: that Dugour and Berlingeri had an abduction experience.
The author did not invoke such a hypothesis at the time, but the subject of abductions was not as widespread then as it is today, when it has achieved abusive (and obsessive) levels. Remember that up to the 1980s, the matter of abductions had gone overlooked and with the exception of the Villas Boas case -- made known by Flying Saucer Review in October 1964, and the [Betty and Barney] Hill case, published by Fuller, J.C. in The Interrupted Journey, 1966 – was almost ignored at the popular level.
In honor to the truth, it is not possible to slant the existence of certain data suggesting on the one hand the similarity of the reactions of the witnesses with physiological effects that are customarily tied to UFO manifestations, such as: temporary loss of consciousness, lethargy, tingling in the head and unspecified organic malaise. On the other hand, they bolster the hypothesis of a true abduction experience.
For example, during classic abduction events, the initial moment tends to come about during a car trip along empty roads between midnight and 5 a.m. The Dugour-Berlingeri case shares these same strictures. The amnesia that often affects abduction experiencers – the so-called “missing time” – also befell the protagonists of the incident under consideration. The atypical aspect would be the absence of any light stimulus.
Finally, did an abduction really take place? Available data only allows us to sketch out this hypothesis. Unfortunately, the possibility did not exist at the time to recover the “missing time” episode through hypnosis, as is done in current research. Therefore, if that was the right approach to secure a reliable answer, we will never know for certain what happened to Dugour and Berlingeri in the two hours of their fantastic interrupted journey.