Argentina: The Anthropomorphic Phenomena of Santa Isabel (1972)
Source: Planeta UFO and “Ovnis, Un Desafío a la Ciencia” (Jul-Aug. 1974)
Author: Dr. Oscar A. Galindez
Argentina: The Anthropomorphic Phenomena of Santa Isabel
By Dr. Oscar A. Galindez
Place: Santa Isabel, Cordoba Province, Argentina
Summary: Mr. Teodoro Merlo discovered the presence of a “person” of considerable size and pointed ears in a dressing room of the Ika-Renault Auto Plant. Simultaneously, the lights on the premises turned on and off inexplicably. The entity vanished all of a sudden. Witness experienced aftereffects.
The curious phenomena of Santa Isabel may be considered among the best sequences ever recorded on the sightings of anthropomorphic figures eventually linked to the UFO phenomenon. The magnitude of the events, the plurality of witnesses and the repetition of the sightings conspired against an expeditive evaluation of the incidents. Scientific objectivity demanded a meticulous analysis that would enable a determination of the “veracity index” assigned to such events, even at the risk of delaying their diffusion to the public. After a year of work and personal interviews, we believe that we have gathered a surprising array of background information that authenticate the correlative occurrence – during the last week of September 1972 – of events on edge of common understanding in the Ika-Renault Auto Plant in Santa Isabel, located 7 km. SE of Cordoba, Republic of Argentina.
1st Anthropomorphic Phenomenon
When the manifestations in Santa Isabel became public through the reports of the two protagonists (Messrs. Moreno and Rodriguez) we took upon ourselves the task of contacting some of the managers of the firm in question, in order to interest them in a possible “on site” reconstruction of the events. During these transactions, we became aware of a previous incident that was only known by the factory’s security staff, given the confidential nature given to it by its eventual protagonist. We arranged an interview on 12 October 1972 at the home of Mr. Mario Vidosa, a senior employee with the firm, who lives in the outskirts of AltaGracia (Cordoba).
Eyewitness’s Personal Information
The occasional observer of this first phenomenon was Mr. Teodoro Merlo, 56, an employee at the Ika-Renault plant in Santa Isabel, where he works as a dressing room guard. He has no primary school education, although he engages in painting and sculpture, showing that he is self-taught. He is an introverted person. During the interview, we were surprised by his extremely humble manner and his insistence that his experience not become widely known. Nor did he agree to be photographed. There are no contradictions in his story. He spoke at all times with certainty. He seems a sincere person, with probity, to the extent that questioning the nature of his observation is unnecessary.
2. Circumstances of the Sighting
The phenomenon took place in a section of the auto plant [...] It was 21 September 1972. At 5:40 a.m., Mr. Merlo was heading toward the dressing rooms of the forging section. At 1:40 a.m. he had personally locked the two access doors to plant. If the plant’s technicians report to work at 7:30 a.m., the housekeeping staff (boiler room, cleaning, etc.) arrives at 6:00 a.m. For this reason, the dressing rooms must be set at an early hour.
Prior to entering the site, Mr. Merlo turn out the inside lights from the outside (by means of a button panel beside the door). The light bulbs of the six bathrooms are mercury vapor lamps. The remainder is fluorescent tubes.
His task completed, the protagonist arrived at Door No. 2, which was locked, and quickly headed toward the “A” section, where he left some soap and towels (there are some long washbasins in that area). At that time, he saw that Light No.1 was off, noting that a person was seated on one of the washbasins. He set down the elements in “A” section and headed toward “B” section – some 7 meters distant – to repeat the task, wondering at the same time about the presence of the intruder, especially when there was no one within when he locked the door at 1:40 a.m.
It should be stressed that the dividing walls of the six bathrooms do not quite reach the roof of the premises, since – due to ventilation concerns – they only come within 0.50 meters of it. An analogous situation occurs with the partitions of the shower rooms. This circumstance allowed “B” section to be softly lit by the light from other compartments, even though Light No.1 was inexplicably off.
Mr. Merlo advanced stealthily, and as he walked passed a mirror on the outer wall of the bathrooms, facing the hallway along which he walked, he looked at himself instinctively in one of them, at the same time that he transferred the towels and soaps to his left hand. That slight distraction occurred simultaneously as his confirmation of the following phenomenon: Light No. 2 went out with a dry sound, similar to that of a metallic element striking a window. Light No.1 came on automatically, lighting up “B” section. This circumstance allowed him to certify that the entity had vanished. Startled by this curious manifestation, Mr. Merlo retreated quickly to “A” sector (where Light No.2 had gone out) but was unable to find traces of the intruder. From there, it was possible to see the hallway leading to access door No.2, and he didn’t see anything strange either. He ran back to “B” section to ascertain if the individual was trying to escape through access door No.1, but it was locked. He also tested door No.2. These are the only two entrances to the dressing room, and while there are ventilation ducts large enough to allow a human to go through, these only open and close from within the premises through a complex mechanism. These, of course, were also shut. He carefully checked the various areas of the dressing room, including the interior of the lockers. He found nothing at all.
3. Entity Description
Despite the absence of light in “B” sector, Mr. Merlo could see – at only 3 meters distance – some of the characteristics of the entity, thanks to the light expended by the adjacent bulbs.
The phenomenon’s position was as indicated in the image. Its right hand, nearly forming a straight angle with its back, touched the being’s nasal appendage. The left arm rested at the edge of washbasin, while the entity’s entire anatomy was at the edge of the washbasin. the right leg was outstretched, while the left one was drawn in, with the foot firmly on the floor (bearing in mind that the washbasin is 0.90m from the floor, the intruder’s height must have been considerable to rest its entire foot. Our reconstruction determined that the entity’s average height must have been between 2.40 and 2.50 meters).
Its outfit appeared to be a coverall, dark blue in color, with a matte finish, close-fitting and with tight wrists. Its appearance was massive. He saw neither boots nor belt. The outfit left the hands and face exposed. The fingers were long and thin. The skin was very white, almost like plaster.
The overall impression was of a living being and not a mannequin. Its skull was large and rounded with no hair. The neck was thin and short; the chin was broad and flat; ears were long and pointed, not exceeding the upper part of the head. The eyes were slanted and were horizontally arranged, much larger than those of an Asian person. He noticed spots or undefined shadows at the cheeks. He did not see the nose and mouth very well.
4. Effects Surrounding the Sighting
a) The temperature where the phenomenon occurred was considerably higher than in other sectors;
b) The witness’s eyes blurred, and his eyes began to tear (this effect lasted 3 days);
c) Development of a red spot in the middle part of his nose, with persistent ache (an effect that persisted at the time of our interview);
d) Constant headaches (the same, regarding duration);
e) Pain in the lumbar region (effect lasted 7 or 8 days).
5. Alternatives Subsequent to the Sighting
a) Image reflection phenomenon: Mr. Merlo did not discuss his experience with anyone. He was concerned about the manner in which the person had entered and left the dressing room. Fearful of being accused of neglect in his duties, he chose to keep quiet. He simply made an “identikit” of the image and preserved it with great care.
He returned to his home in Villa Oviedo (AltaGracia) at 3:30 a.m. A few hours later, after 9:10 p.m on that same 21 September, he boarded the bus that would take him back to the Santa Isabel plant. He sat on the third seat to the left, near the window. Some 25 people were aboard the bus.
Above the windshield, in the middle and slightly tilted, was the rear-view mirror through which the driver looked at the passengers. It had an oblong configuration (whose measurements we certified during the episode’s reconstruction) of 0.46 x 0.26 m. The inner lights were all off, except for the watch light, placed on the dashboard. Suddenly, when the vehicle was driving near Los Olivares, Mr. Merlo noticed that the mirror was clearly reflecting a face similar to that of the entity seen in the dressing room, although on this occasion, the features were visible with great clarity (?). Mr. Merlo turned his head, looked back in order to see if there was someone sitting behind him with the same characteristics. He only saw another passenger leaning against the window. The person wore a Basque beret and was dozing away with arms crossed. He did not look at all like the image visible in the mirror.
The particularities of the face reflected in the mirror were identical to those of the phenomenon seen at 5:40 am, but there were other details that he could now make out with greater precision. The mouth, for example, was like that of a dog, with a protruding upper lip. Two brownish spots were visible on both cheeks, with facial and eye movements also being evident. Under each eye could be seen two small dark converging lines, with angles oriented toward the eye socket The eyebrows were arced and thin, as though painted; it did not blink. The triangular nose was spare and in a straight line. After three minutes of observation, the image vanished, hidden by some concentric circles. The mirror once again began reflecting scenes from the inside of the bus, with the driver’s right ear and part of his neck visible, as well as the shoulder, arm and part of the face of the first passenger. None of the passengers appeared to have noticed the phenomenon.
Once the bus reached the Santa Isabel Plant (10:30 p.m.) Mr. Merlo turned to his customary duties, but obsessed by the phenomena he had experienced in such a short time span. He decided – at 5:00 a.m. on 22 September – to file a report with Mr. Romero, Head of the Plant Safety Department, presenting him with the entity’s “identikit” (conveniently enhanced by the latest viewing in the mirror). The event was kept secret and only disclosed to security personnel. However, the eyewitness himself didn’t feel that sufficient importance was given to it, as he was not approached to expand on the report. Dr. Ignacio Castro Igarzábal, the Labor Relations Manager, contacted him on 10 October in order to learn of some of the aspects of the occurrence. But he made no judgments on the event.
b) Lights Not Turning On: At 2:00 a.m. on Monday, 25 September, Mr. Merlo was getting ready to conduct a practical inspection of the forging dressing rooms along with his companion (surnamed Moyano) when they discovered that the lights wouldn’t turn on. Fearful of the unknown, the shut the door again and did not have the courage to go back in. Hours later, however, they repeated the action and saw that the lights turned on with any problems.
c) Stopped Clocks: On Monday, 9 October, Mr. Merlo noticed – to his surprised – that both his wristwatch and the alarm clock on his bedside table in Villa Oviedo read 4:00 a.m., while a wall clock, in an adjacent room, indicated 5:00 a.m. This was definitively the right time. Both clocks had been set using the wall clock as their principal. The eyewitness doesn’t know if these events are related in some way to the anthropomorphic phenomena experienced earlier.
6. Comparative Analysis
When Teodoro Merlo was shown multiple illustrations of anthropomorphic phenomena, particular emphasis was given to the following details:
a) The Villa Santina Case: The entities’ noses and mouths are surprisingly similar to those in the Santa Isabel phenomenon.
b) The Hopkinsville Incident: The ears have no similarity whatsoever to those in the Santa Isabel phenomenon.
7. Attempts at a Parapsychological Interpretation of the Phenomenon
We could not resist the impulse to formulate the hypothesis that the reflected image of the Santa Isabel entity was a phenomenon with paranormal connotations. In this regard, we thought of the feasibility of verifying what is technically known as “Retrocognitive Telepathic Suggestion”. Telepathic suggestion consists in the normal induction of ideas or feelings to another person, which is facilitated by emotions or clouding of conscience, whether on the part of the agent or the percipient, or both at the same time. Cases of alleged apparitions of “the dead” are scientifically explainable as a telepathic projection of the agent’s image, favored by the degree of emotion, or a state of agony, or a state between apparent and real death.
In some episodes (Retrocognitive Telepathic Suggestion) a delayed manifestation of this suggestion takes place, all the while – as Richet notes – “the latency time between the event itself and the monition (perception) is variable. Fr. Myers supposes that because the telepathic impression is immediate (in those cases of apparent retrocognition), but that this impression is latent in the percipient’s spirit, and does not emerge in his conscience until after a certain interval.”
In the Merlo case, we believe that the protagonist’s unconscious captured the features of the Santa Isabel phenomenon. The state of obsession and emotion created by the manifestation made it possible for him to see it again, although projected with the particular details captured by his unconscious (telepathic suggestion is greatly enabled by reflective surfaces, such as mirrors).
(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special Thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO)