Argentina: The 1963 Trancas Case Revisited
Keith Bastianini's "Night of the Saucers" depicts the mind-bending experiences of the Moreno family.
Source: Contexto (San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina)
Date: Thursday, June 2 2001
Argentina: The 1963 Trancas CE-2 / CE-3 Revisited
The best known episode of an alleged UFO landing and occupant manifestation in Argentina took place in Trancas, Tucumán, 48 years ago.
The event was among the most important in the history of unidentified flying objects. It is an episode that has been considered as “an unassailable case and irrefutable proof” within the voluminous and strange pages of ufology. It has also been considered one of the most exceptional events of the history of the UFO problem due to the abundance and quality of the eyewitnesses, the prolonged viewing of the event, and the discovery of physical residue in the area, constituting “the most powerful evidence” in favor of the unusual phenomenon. Since then, the Trancas Case became a “super-classic case of global ufology”, according to the Mexican website www.perspectivas.com.mx.
On Monday, October 31, 1963, two young women – Argentina, 28 and Jolié, 21 – along with their small children Victoria, Nancy and Guillermo, came in from Rosario, where they lived, to San Miguel de Tucumán, traveling from there to the “Santa Teresa” ranch in Villa de Trancas, where they would meet with parents – Antonio, 72, and Teresa, 63 – and their other sister, Yolanda, 30.
A reason for this visit was that their husbands, both Army officers, had to take part in military maneuvers scheduled for that time period, and would be leaving from Tucumán to Salta the following morning, going by Trancas.
They had an early dinner and exhausted by the trip, everyone went to sleep in their respective rooms. At around 21:00 hours, Dora Guzmán, 15, a domestic worker living in the back of the house, appeared repeatedly, stating that she could see lights on the railroad embankment, located 200 meters in front of the ranch.
The parents were asleep, Argentina was reading and Jolié paid the matter no importance, since she had to feed four-month-old Guillermo. Yolanda, meanwhile, thought it might be a passenger bus.
Finally, Dora prevailed upon the sisters to check out the “strange lights” she was seeing. It was a set of five lights, a hundred meters distant from each other or less, three in front and three slightly farther behind to the north (northeast). They blinked on and off with a certain intermittent quality, shedding beams of light in various directions, even lighting up the farm (the farmhouse and the henhouse).
They had no discernible shape, looking like sources of light. The frightened women suspected that it could be a railroad accident (it was common for trains to run into cattle) or it could be a team of workers repairing the tracks, as they could see some human silhouettes moving around the sources of light some 500 meters or more to the north.
The fear level increased when Yolanda noted the possibility that they might be guerrillas engaged in an act of sabotage (by pulling up the tracks or planting bombs), bearing in mind the rural guerilla warfare of Taco Ralo in southern Tucumán in late 1962. Moreover, the women’s’ husbands were scheduled to pass over those tracks in a matter of hours aboard a military train, and they were alone with their sick father and unprotected minor children.
Searching for another explanation, one of the sisters remembered reading that flying saucers had been seen in various parts of the world, and particularly the case involving truck driver [Eugenio] Douglas (who had seen a device with several entities only days earlier, in Monte Maíz, and had been burned by a thin beam of light). She suggested the possibility that such vehicles could be involved.
They decided to go out to get a better look. Seeing a dim greenish light, they thought it might be a pickup truck driven by one of the farmhands and went to the gate.
They suddenly found themselves bathed in a light emanating from a source eight meters distant. In an instant, they noticed that there was a vehicle measuring some 8 x 3 meters, with a turret and large rivets on its surface. They were so shocked that Yolanda lost her footing, tripped and in seconds they were inside the home once more.
The 15-year-old servant girl came in, screaming that she had been burned, but Argentina and Yolanda ascertained that she was merely frightened. At this point the entire household was awake. The father, in the grip of a nervous condition, tried to go out, but was held back by his daughters.
The doors were bolted shut. The family looked out at the phenomenon through half-shuttered windows. One of the young women believed that the beams of light were piercing the walls, but another insisted that they were only coming through the cracks. The same one believed that the beams were extending and retracting at will, but it turned out that they only did so at floor level on certain occasions.
The situation was desperate. The mother prayed, the servant wept, the sisters screamed and ran from one room to another, following the alternatives. The witnesses noted that the atmosphere within the house became heavy and overly warm. The nearest object (“F”) made a noise similar to machinery in operation, but they could only see a thick and growing mist surrounding it, as well as some lights that gave the appearance of six windows. They were unable to tell if the object was suspended over the ground or resting upon it (the allegedly flattened vegetables were subsequently found there).
Forty minutes elapsed until object “F” – the one that appeared to direct the activities – moved eastward and the others did the same, vanishing toward the Sierras de Medinas, some 20-25 kilometers distant.
[The sisters] later ran to the neighboring homes to inform them about what had happened, but few neighbors saw anything. Francisco Tropiano, a bordering neighbor, managed to see the eastern end of the site, facing his own farm, brightly lit after 22:00 hours.
No one slept that night in the Moreno household. In the morning, Jolié went to the train station to send a telegram to her brother Antonio, who lived in San Miguel de Tucumán at the time of the incident. By the time he received the message – due to the procedure – many other people had heard about it. Even journalists, who did not delay in appearing. Police intervention was subsequently requested. Minutes were drawn up, and the site was placed under custody for a few days without further developments. The Chemical Engineering Institute at the University of Tucumán was asked to analyze the dusty white residue found at the site where the lights had been seen. It turned out to be calcium carbonate with potassium carbonate impurities.
The La Gaceta newspaper provided ample coverage on the event, and continued to report on it for many days later.
Journalist Arturo Alvarez Sosas remembers: “Along with then news director Ventura Murga and photographer Ernesto González, we went to Trancas to chronicle the experiences of the Moreno family. At the time we didn’t know that the phenomenon would unleash such an accumulation of stories and that the movies would finally make all nations of Earth aware of a “close encounter of the third kind” as described by Dr. J. Allen Hynek.”
Jolié Moreno also notes: “My mother was desperate and my sisters were running around. My son was asleep in his little bed, perspiring in such a way that...outside were those lights, lighting everything up, moving intelligently and those figures...it was like Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which was authorized base on the information that existed on this case. I authorized it.”
(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)