Monday, January 14, 2013

Argentina: The Strange Lights of La Tapera

Argentina: The Strange Lights of La Tapera
Gaceta OVNI (Victoria, Argentina) – Winter 1992

Many claimed that strange lights could be seen at Estancia San Carlos, in the region known as La Tapera. It was for this reason that the place was often visited by UFO followers, although access was not allowed, since it was private property, leaving them with no choice but to stop along the side of a rural road leading to Tres Bocas and leading to Route 11, nearly facing La Pepita. Hunters of vizcacha – a rather large rodent, whose meat is a delicacy - also met at this site, given the animal’s nocturnal habits, and which is readily immobilized by shining a beam of light on it. This is why the “vizcacheros” employ powerful beams of light from their pickup trucks to find their prey and render it helpless. Driving through the “estancias” is not allowed without proper authorization, and such nocturnal forays are conducted with special permits or by paying the foreman beforehand.

Since the area is uneven, some visitors think they have seen mysterious flashes coming from under the ground, but these are made by hunters, no less. It was spring ’92 when we agreed to meet up at La Pepita with Silvia Pérez Simondini, her daughter Andrea and a group of friends of Mr. César Bretto, who still traveled to the area with the enormous binoculars he fastened onto a bicycle framework. Our group consisted of Paco Martinez, Carlos Ingaramo, Jorge Pietrafesa, Daniel Torres, Pablo Moche and Daniel Lopez. Once we reached the “estancia” (ranch), Bretto remarked on the sighting of a strange light a few days earlier in the interior of San Carlos, and we decided to spend our watch night at the spot. Fierrito Guzmán and the Vaccarini couple from Paraná also joined us.

We parked the cars along the rural road after covering some four kilometers with wide mud ditches, since recent rains had flooded part of the road. Before arriving, Ms. Simondini gave up on the idea of driving any further, fearing that she’d become stuck in the mud patch. But we pushed on, a total of 10 people in three vehicles.
In broad daylight, and from the same point at which we stopped, it was possible to see a smooth hill under a more elevated horizon, extending several kilometers. The countryside, at that time, was made up of sparse vegetation, groupings of shrubs and short trees here and there, and an Australian water tank with a windmill no more than 600 meters away, facing NNW. The terrain had an even appearance, but there are, in fact, uneven surfaces that place the windmill some 10 meters lower than the rural road’s height. Beyond this we could see small clusters of shrubs. It is possible to see all of this by the light of the sun, but at night, the surface looks like little more than a thick, black strip. Only a few stars could be seen in the sky along with a timid moon, permanently concealed by passing clouds.

Descending from the vehicles, we approached the field’s wire fence among trees five to ten meters distant from each other. Before long, we could make out a distant purplish light, approximately toward the west. Our initial impression suggested a bulb or helmet light, seen at a distance, but its exact location was unknown to us, as this was our first time visiting the site.

Whether or not it came from another ranch, the light remained steadfastly in the same position while some suggested it could be a UFO. There was no choice but to go find the truth, without the foreman’s permission or anyone’s authorization, and amidst such a darkness that it would be odd if anyone ever heard from us again…or not. For communication purposes, Bretto gave us one of his handheld radios, as he would await any developments at La Pepita, accompanied by the main witness of the Victoria case, Ms.Gonzalbez of Basaldúa. Meanwhile, Pablo had another radio that could pick up communications from aircraft flying over the area, employed to certify the nature of a sighting, should one occur. Given that there were airports nearby, it would be feasible to detect an exchange of radio communications, and thus determine if the phenomenon was merely a conventional flight.

Unfortunately, the device could only receive, not transmit, and for this reason it was decided to employ it in a “special” way during the expedition. We decided that we would reach the purple light at any cost, as we could not remain in doubt. Thus, we formed two groups. One would remain at the base – our present location – and the other would go after the alleged UFO. Since communications would be restricted by Pablo’s two-way, we agreed that the explorer group would bring it along. The base would have the transmitter/receiver to advise the explorers of their actual position as they progressed and correct the route taken, if necessary. The second group would reply by means of a previously agreed set of flashlight signals.

So it was that Pablo Moche, Paco Martinez, Carlos Ingaramo, Fierrito Guzman and Daniel Torres would advance across the field while Daniel Lopez, Jorge Pietrafesa and Bretto’s two companions would remain at the base. With everything arranged, the second group moved ahead with two flashlights, the camcorder and the handheld radio, penetrating the dark, mud-covered terrain, completely unexplored by anyone. Those at the base followed the flashlights as they grew distant, finally vanishing from sight. The purple light remained in the same place.

Base unit: “Let’s perform a test…answer yes if you can hear us.” This was followed by three flashes of light aimed skyward – a positive sign.
The explorer group progressed without hindrance, remaining together and in conversation.

Base unit: “You’re off the right of the light. Correct your course slightly to the left.” Three more flashes of light were seen. All was well. Several minutes elapsed.

Base unit: “We cannot see you. Please indicate your position.” There was no response.

Base unit: “If you answered us, we couldn’t see your flashlights. Reply and mark your position.” No response either.

Meanwhile, the explorer group had stopped at the windmill –25 minutes later – on muddy terrain to cross a series of wire fences after going off in the wrong direction. Carlos climbed to the top of the metal structure to find the position of the purple light, which could not be seen from that point.

Since the moonlight was reflected off the surface of the Australian water tank, Carlos assumed that it could have been the purplish light. A distant light, without any point of reference and with ambient humidity, can prove deceiving. They rested after a rather slow and bumpy march.

Base unit: “We can’t see your flashlights. Please reply if you can hear us.”
The base station’s voice could be clearly heard by all through Pablo’s handheld unit. Someone insisted that it was time to make signals. Those at the base were able to see an indistinct flash, an imprecise flashlight signal that did not constitute a definite answer.

Base unit: “Was that a yes?”

The explorer group decided to forge ahead, but Fierrito Guzmán was enveloped by a sensation of fear, and asked that everyone retrace their steps immediately, as he had a bad feeling. Almost not hearing him, the remaining members of the group made ready to go. Seen from the rural road, a light somewhat stronger than a flashlight made an appearance to the right – perhaps a few hundred meters from where the light signal had emanated. This light, similar to a car headlight, seemed to move forward and stop, emitting a sort of reflection before becoming motionless again. Those at the base assumed that it could be a vehicle, maybe a pickup truck. “Hunters,” they thought, or what was worse, they had been found by the ranch’s owner.

Base unit: “There’s a light…can you see it? Have people shown up? Please answer, either yes or no.”

Carlos shouted to the group, asking them to listen. Mutual notice was given about the base station’s observation, and certain confusion ensued. From the top of the windmill, Carlos could see something like a vehicle. “I saw a light that I thought could come from a pickup truck, but I couldn’t see any other light than the white one.”

From the base station, the binoculars could only pick up a not-too-distant light source, unable to make out position lights, headlights or even the outline of a wheeled vehicle that could be more than 400 meters away in the middle of absolute darkness. Trying to identify any source of light, and with growing concern, they asked Carlos to descend from the top of the windmill, calmly at first, and then more forcefully.

Fierrito suddenly burst out, asking that the expedition be halted, for God’s sake, saying it was dangerous. An inexplicable sense of unease permeated through the air.

Base unit: “We can see a light. Is that you?

The woman accompanying the base unit began to weep inexplicably before the message was finished. She leaned against the pickup truck, holding her face in her hands, saying something awful was happening. According to her husband, she had certain sensitive faculties and could perceive that something very odd was taking place. Not a sound could be heard from the base station, not even to theorize about what was taking place in the distance, in the darkness. Only the cool night air whistling cautiously through the branches could be heard.

Shouts and insults were traded among the explorer group’s members. Fierrito issued chaotic pleas, dropping to the ground, begging not go on due to the danger (?). “They can hurt us,” he said.

Carlos – also rather forcefully - asked for calm, asking the group to take deep breaths. Since nothing appeared to change, he and Torres walked some hundred fifty to two hundred meters ahead. The alleged pickup truck was there, quiet. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the light dashed horizontally across the ground at high speed, possibly covering 100 meters in two or three seconds.

“They’re running.”

Concern spread among those at the base station. The woman was adamant about her feelings.

Base unit: “Reply if something’s wrong…are you alone?” A new light came alive, a rather bright orb, followed by another one to the left, near the first that had run along. The former returned to its original position. One, two, three lights were now visible…when suddenly a fourth appeared along the same line. The lights moved chaotically, giving the appearance that the group was separated by hundreds of meters from each other.

The first light became more intense. The explorers became confused by the calls from the base unit: “What’s going on?! Is that you? Please answer!” -- but they could see nothing from there. A flashlight flash was seen from the ground. “It’s the guys”, some thought. But who has those lights? One, two, three, four…five lights!

Base unit: “Please tell us what’s going on! This is turning in a light show!” But there was no reply.

Base unit: “Answer yes or no. Can you see the lights?” Suddenly, the lights began vanishing one after another after a few seconds. Calm returned to the base station, calm returned to the explorer group. A short while later, the two flashlights were visible during the return trip. The explorers reached the rural road, asking why such a fuss was made when neither lights nor pickup trucks were visible to them at any time – the only light coming from their flashlights.
Their second comment was that they had never reached the purple light. We all looked over the wire fence to ascertain its true position, staring at it for a few minutes before it, too, disappeared. It took us a long time to decipher the facts. The explorers swore that they hadn’t seen a thing, except for Carlos, making them think it was likely that there was confusion with their flashlights. That was impossible, said those from the base. All four were in agreement that five lights had been seen and at the distance, the observable flashlight blasts could not compare to the strange manifestations.

As we made ready to leave, a pickup truck went by, evidently armed for nocturnal hunting, and with an upper row of reflectors. Could it have been the culprit? The sense of desperation felt by the woman and Fierrito had occurred at the same time. The reason that made some not want to go any further was also inexplicable, and the possibility that the purple light was caused by moonlight was also unlikely, since the tank – seen by daylight – had a position other than the light, which was toward the left. There was no coincidence…and no explanation. In fact, there wasn’t a safe road that a pickup truck could have followed, especially due to the position of the barbed wire fence that the explorers had crossed.

Both reflectors and headlights would have been clearly visible to direct observation, and more so to the powerful binoculars employed by the Vaccarinis. Therefore, the confusion alternative was unlikely. Add to this the fact that the swift advance and retreat by the first light didn’t fit in, either.

Five unexplained lights, without beams, had been seen between the explorer group and the base group, no more than 400 meters away, and seen only from a single position. Someone or something had been toying with us in a mysterious fashion.

[Translation © 2013, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO]