From the Files: Latin America's Legendary UFO Cases
[Some of our readers may recall Inexplicata's presence as a column called "Orbis Tertius" in the UK's defunct UFO Matrix magazine. The following article was featured in an issue, and we reprint it here as a useful - and hopefully interesting - summary of classic cases for our newer readers. Some of the material can also be found in earlier Inexplicata entries -- SC]
Latin America’s Legendary UFO Cases
By Scott Corrales
Top ten lists are an unavoidable fact in the modern age, and “top ten” lists of ufology are no exception. But most UFO events elude simple lists, due to the complex nature of the cases themselves. So we shall endeavor to present some of the most intriguing cases emerging from the corner of the world that falls under this column’s purview.
Perhaps the first serious investigation of cases outside the United States was given by Jim and Coral Lorenzen of the now-defunct APRO (Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization). Much of their data was the result of collaboration with Brazilian Dr. Olavo Fontes, who had gained most of it firsthand from actual visits with participants in the events. Among these events were the aforementioned Villas Boas abduction, the Saturn-shaped craft photographed over the island of Trinidade, the saucer that exploded over Ubatuba and other cases with which the reader is probably familiar.
Truckers and Aliens
The strange abduction case of Argentinean truck driver Dionisio Llanca was overshadowed by the more immediate kidnapping of two fishermen in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Though they occurred within weeks of each other, the former case is just another of thousands of bizarre accounts. Or is it?
On Saturday, October 27, 1973, Llanca, a resident of the town of Bahia Blanca (well-known for its UFO-related incidents), had left on his truck to make a routine run. Just barely out of the city limits, in pitch darkness, he found the truck had developed a flat tire. Not having a dispatcher whom he could radio for help, Llanca got on with the business of changing the flat. A light in the distance "like car headlights" appeared to be heading his way. He felt relieved. Perhaps he could take a ride back into the town for help.
But the light was on the horizon rather than on the road. It changed from actinic white to brilliant blue, bathing the darkened countryside in azure light. Llanca was transfixed, and thought of getting closer to the light to find out what it was--until he realized he could not move.
The light emanated from a domed, saucer-shaped craft that came to hover meters away from his vehicle. To his horror he realized that there were beings standing beneath the glowing machine. They stood there, observing his futile shouting.
Next thing Dionisio knew, he was lying face down on wet grass, the sound of passing traffic filling his ears. In a state of total amnesia, Llanca stumbled around until a passing motorist offered him a lift. Seeing that he was visibly unwell, the driver took him to the Bahia Blanca hospital. Llanca recoiled at a doctor trying to examine him, and the services of a hypnotist were called to find out exactly what had happened to him.
Over a period of days, two physicians, Dr. Eladio Santos and Dr. Eduardo Mata, tried to reconstruct the man's memory and pry from him the mind-bending story. Resorting to Pentothal to break past the blockage, Llanca revealed his harrowing story:
After being held motionless by the occupants of the strange craft, he was approached by one of them, a female, who placed a small black device upon his index finger. The device took a sample of his blood and appeared to have a sedative effect, but did not diminish his fear in the least. The beings were described as longhaired, oval-eyed humanoids clad in silver coveralls with gloves and boots. Next, he was taken into the glowing craft on a beam of light. The entities continued performing their tests upon him, conversing with him in perfect Spanish, advising him: "they wished to see if humans could withstand living in their world."
Doctors Santos and Mata proceeded carefully with their sessions, realizing that Llanca was terrified to death of reliving his experience. Probing too deeply could cause the patient to snap.
But it was Llanca who surprised them.
After revealing detailed descriptions of the craft's interior, lighting, texture of the walls and other details, Llanca fell silent. The physicians realized they had struck another--possibly impenetrable--barrier. Then, like an automaton, Llanca recited:" I have a message from the beings in the craft, but I cannot say what it is. No matter what you or other Earth scientists do, there will remain the memory lapse while I was on the ship. I was there for 45 minutes."
The stunned doctors realized that it would not be possible to "unblock" the post-hypnotic command without placing Llanca's mind in jeopardy. They directed their efforts instead to help the man recover from the traumatic ordeal. In the wake of the equally dramatic events at Pascagoula, most investigators ignored Llanca’s case. Pedro Romaniuk, the Argentinean Ufologist, gathered a wealth of data on the case, as did Kevin Randle from APRO.
In the long run, the physicians’ fears came true. In 1976, Llanca was reportedly in Buenos Aires, claiming yet another contact with the “saucermen”, who had come for him in the town of Monte Grande. Little else is known of this event, but the truck driver was reported in various parts of the country after that. It is believed that he was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital in the Patagonian city of Rawson.
Recent developments in the study of electromagnetic radiation have given us new insights on the effect of the various kinds of "rays" emitted from UFOs. Low frequency microwaves can cause irreparable damage to the human nervous system, and other wavelengths can actually be proven beneficial to humans in moderate amounts. Normally, 10 to 30 milligauss of exposure is considered to be acceptable, and it is what we receive from computer terminals, television sets, microwave ovens, and etcetera.
The "benign" rays issued from unidentified flying objects are few and far between when compared to the lethal ones that have been the topic of a dozen studies. The deaths of witnesses on account of exposure to unknown radiation are the discussed in a recent book by Jacques Vallée, in which he recounts alarming unprovoked attacks upon humans in northern Brazil. At the book's core are the attacks by machine-like devices referred to as "chupas" by the natives. Vallée leads us through nightmarish accounts in which the protagonists--who have no exposure to a "space minded" culture--give frank descriptions of injuries inflicted by beam and gas weapons, the deaths of friends and relatives in such attacks, and the aftereffects of such experiences.
V. Maceira, a 73-year-old man living on the outskirts of a rural town in Argentina, was calmly sipping tea one evening when a brilliantly illuminated object appeared out of nowhere in a nearby clearing. He could make out the forms of two beings clearly within the glowing object, and with the rustic courtesy of the gaucho, Maceira proffered his cup of "mate" tea to the new arrivals. His cat, which had just had a litter of kittens, bolted into the darkness away from the unnatural light, forsaking her young.
Events following the apparition of the alien craft proceeded quickly. Maceira saw the beings depart in a flash of light, and immediately began to feel ill, with slight vomiting and incontinence. Strange tendrils of fine, thread-like material streamed from his eyes and his blood cell count dropped. Investigators discovered that fish in an adjacent pond had died of unknown causes. Maceira's cat returned to its kittens, but displaying patches of burnt fur as if from extreme heat. But a totally unforeseen event began to transpire: Maceira began to acquire thoughts foreign to his experience and meager education. He was able to discuss the finer points of history, philosophy, medicine and astronomy with experts come from the capital to see him. To the amazement of his attending physicians, Maceira was growing a new set of teeth!
In the end, Maceira was taken to an undisclosed location to keep him from dying of exhaustion. Investigators, scholars and mere curiosity seekers were bombarding the old man incessantly in hopes of finding out what made him tick.
An Ecuadoran Incident with Ufonauts
The Azogues case is another of close observation of ufonaut activity by humans. On a night in the summer of 1965, an Ecuadoran civil engineer, Hector Crespo, his son Urgenio and a laborer, Francisco López, were approaching the town of Zullengo, halfway between the county seats of Cuenca and Azogues. They saw two shafts of light pointing vertically into the sky behind the bend of the road they were on. Believing it was an accident, the three turned back to offer assistance.
Instead of an overturned car they were faced by a disk-shaped machine projecting two shafts of light into the night sky from a transparent dome at its top. The three men cautiously approached the clearly not manmade device, crawling behind a raised levee to within 30 meters of the disk.
Mr. Crespo was able to notice that a compartment to the interior appeared to be open. A crimson glow poured out from within the craft, and complex instrumentation could be seen within. THe vehicle itself rested on telescoping legs with plate-like landing pads (like the Lunar Excursion Module from the Apollo missions) and gave the impression of tremendous weight.
Most impressive was the fact that they could see the device’s "crew". Three silent humanoid shapes stood ouside the craft, one of them appearing to work on the light beam projector. The other two looked on, and at one point handed their compatriot a tool. The scene riveted the witnesses, scared to death though they were.
The two beings standing idly by turned their attention toward the levee, as if aware of the presence of the humans, but unconcerned. An amber hued light that revolved around the edge of the craft was considered dangerous by the humans and at one point Urgenio Crespo became sick. Returning to the car, fearful of having been exposed to some form of radiation, Mr. Crespo was able to observe the departure of the UFO, which took off "in a flash" after wobbling up to a height. Crespo, with a good knowledge of drafting, produced renderings of what they had witnessed that evening. The creatures had been clad in resplendent silver coveralls with white belts at the waist. The helmets on their heads betrayed no breathing accessories. The headaches and fatigue experienced by the younger Crespo were attributed to fear more than any sort of exposure to harmful radiation.
Their sighting was corroborated by others who had seen a particularly bright object in the dark sky that very same night. One couple reported the object as having landed near their house, providing enough light to see the trees, rocks, creeks and trails of the terrain in astonishing detail.
The Venezuelan Experience
South America's largest producer of crude oil played a prominent part in UFO sightings during the 1960's, although spectacular cases--investigated by distinguished ufologist Francisco D'Amico, founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Investigative Group (GIFE)-- also took place during the years that followed.
In October 1976, a giant UFO with pulsating multicolored lights moved slowly over the community of Plan de Manzano, pausing its immense bulk silently over a drum farm containing highly inflammable liquids. To terrified onlookers, it appeared as if the alien monstrosity was about to land on top of the depot, but it headed off into the night sky at a prodigious speed.
On New Years Day, January 1977, a UFO moved silently across the skies of Barquisimeto, on Venezuela's Caribbean coast, beginning a significant wave of sightings. Two weeks later, on January 23, a circular UFO giving off intense flashes of blue, green, yellow, and red landed in the community of Santa Rosa, in the state of Lara. Witnesses reported seeing the silhouettes of two diminutive humanoid occupants who moved in a robotic, controlled manner. The unknown craft emitted tremendous waves of heat, leaving a twelve-foot wide burn mark on the grass and singeing nearby shrubs and trees. Seven witnesses interviewed by GIFE agreed that the landed vehicle made a slight noise, but closer investigation was impossible due to the intense heat. Armando Loyo, one of the witnesses, declared having taken a flashlight to take a look at the UFO's interior. Before he could come any closer, the vehicle took off once more, nearly blinding him with its intense light. Venezuelan scientists visited the area but refused to issue a statement as to what had transpired that evening.
The summer months of 1977 were punctuated by repeated sightings of UFOs over the village of Duaca, 15 miles south of Barquisimeto. The townspeople mounted their own nocturnal skywatch, setting up "observation posts" on a number of rooftops scattered throughout the village. The number of observation posts enabled seeing UFOs from different angles, thus allowing for comparisons later on. At 9:50 p.m. on August 22, an orange-red vehicle calculated at being some fifty feet in diameter and flying at an altitude of 4000 feet, was sighted over the community and recorded by the members of the GIFE research team. Two more vehicles were seen that same evening.
As dramatic as these skywatches might have been, Venezuela would soon face a less pleasant aspect of the UFO phenomenon: the sudden appearance of unknown craft causing widespread failures of the power grid. Caracas, the nation's capital, and dozens of outlying cities were plunged into darkness on the night of December 31, 1978--almost two years to the day of the initial sighting. The blackout occurred shortly after midnight, prompting the cancellation of all official New Years celebrations. Radio stations had alerted the city to a flurry of UFO sightings which had taken place shortly before the blackout, and the Caracas Power Utility found itself at a loss to explain the probable cause of the power failure, which extended as far as the city of Maracay, fifty miles away from Caracas.
The Central American Power Station
Honduras is a land whose UFO sightings have been picked up by the world's wire services and then forgotten. There can be no doubt, however, that this small country--wedged between Guatemala and Nicaragua--sustained its highest level of UFO activity during the month of October 1978, when it fell prey to the same kind of blackout-producing vehicles that would affect Venezuela later the same year.
On October 14, at 6:10 p.m., a nationwide blackout left communities helpless for twenty minutes as reports of strange objects in the twilit skies flooded radio stations and the newsrooms of Honduran dailies. The advertising manager of one of the latter, Rogelio Bercián, happened to be among the witnesses to the unusual phenomena. At precisely 6:06 p.m., he declared in an article for Tegucigalpa's La Tribuna, he was working on his car on the vantage point of El Picacho hill, when he became aware of a strange object moving from south to north at considerable speed. Fearing it was a conventional airplane, he paid close attention to its maneuvers due to its velocity and the fact that it was headed for a populated area. The object suddenly executed a suicidal figure-eight maneuver, and Bercián then realized he was a looking at a colossal boomerang-shaped object with a brilliant light at its center. As it flew over Tocontin Airport, electrical current died over the city. The newspaper manager saw the streetlights grow dim before blacking out altogether. Other witnesses directly under the flight path of the triangular UFO were able to confirm Bercián's statement.
City officials preferred to find a more down-to-earth explanation for the blackout, and sought an answer from the power utility, the state-owned agency ENEE (National Electric Energy Company). Reports of "unexplained anomalies" at El Cañaveral, a power station quite far from Tegucigalpa, stated that this installation crashed after "a mysterious glow had been seen in the sky."
A hundred miles away from the Honduran capital, other power stations reported similar collapses of the energy grid. Engineers were at a loss to explain how localized blackouts in their areas could have affected the distant capital city. Martin Baide, Public Relations Officer for ENEE, was bold enough to suggest: "I do not personally discard the possibility that technologies greater than man's could be the cause of these anomalies, since we have been unable to offer a satisfactory explanation as to the true reason for the blackouts."
The massive power failure that occurred on October 27, 1978 involved an even greater UFO component. Aida Zúñiga, a secretarial school director in the town of Choluteca, to the south of Tegucigalpa, observed that shortly after six o'clock in the evening on that day, her students became aware of a light-emitting object concealed behind the clouds of a recent rainstorm. The cloud-swathed vehicle was described by one student as being reminiscent of the Mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ms. Zúñiga declared that the object remained stationary, giving off lightning-like flashes just as the lights began to brown out and then disappear entirely throughout Choluteca. The UFO changed color from a yellowish red to a pale shade of pink before disappearing. After it had gone, it was noticed that the drizzle came to an end, and the power came back on line.
Two hours after the uncanny events over Choluteca, a strange vehicle was sighted over Tegucigalpa's La Leona substation. Miguel Herrero, a technician on duty at the substation, was watching television when an explosion among the transformers followed a sudden blue glow. He witnessed a blinding light rising up and away from the transformers. Witnesses on the streets reported seeing a circular red light more or less hovering over the substation. Roberto Aguiar, a cab driver, described the disk as having tendrils that moved around it in a circular motion.
The events of October 1978 may be considered unspectacular in the light of later developments in ufology, such as the rise in encounters with UFO occupants and the abduction epidemic, but it showcased the control that these objects have over our cities, and indeed over our way of life.
Uruguay’s UFO Situation
Sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay boasts a modest UFO history of its own, and a number of noted investigators of the phenomenon brought cases to the attention of ufology worldwide during the Sixties and Seventies. However, a major UFO flap may have taken place as recently as 1994, according to some anonymous documentation forwarded to Mexican ufologist Dr. Rafael Lara Palmeros. These papers provided information (largely from journalistic sources) on a mind-bending cross-section of ufologica, ranging from mere lights in the sky to interaction between humans and UFO occupants.
On March 3, 1994. A considerable number of residents in the town of Rivera, Uruguay confirmed that a UFO had flown over this locality during the early hours of the morning. The witnesses were workers at a refrigeration plant who were on their way to work. The object was moving at a moderate, constant speed and at a height of 500 meters (1600 feet), making circular movements.
The manager of a local radio station saw the object in the sky: According to Ernesto Fagúndez, he was able to distinguish several portholes through which crewmembers could be seen. "They were beings with enormous heads," he said. Later, the object was seen executing an odd maneuver. It allowed itself to dive over a bus that carried passengers on their way to work. Terrified at the imminent collision, the passengers leaped out of the bus and ran for their lives. The object did not collide with the bus and rose skyward, disappearing later. (As an additional detail we can add that Rivera is located on the border between Brazil and Uruguay, some 600 km. (37 mi.) from Montevideo (Note: it was later discovered that this story had originally transpired in 1978 and had been reported in the UFO press of the time).
A giant cigar-shaped UFO was allegedly seen in April 1994 in Rivera, on the Brazilian border. According to witnesses, the object had a length of 50 meters (160 ft.) and emitted bright orange flashes as it flew in a straight line toward the northeast. Suddenly, the intensity of the light diminished, and the object became invisible. Several witnesses claimed having seen 3 subdivisions in the cigar-shaped objects that may have escorted a larger one. According to the witnesses, a total of 4 compartments could be seen in these objects, leading many to believe it could be a "Mothership"
Residents of Florida, Uruguay, reported seeing a UFO flying across the sky during 18 minutes on the night of May 21, 1994. While the object was still visible in the sky, a surprise blackout plunged the city into darkness. According to one witness, journalist Luis del Castillo, it was a spherical object with white, red, and green lights on its sides, which moved off to the west. The official story on the power failure was "a sudden overload of the supply system which overrode safety systems." The manager of the Miguel Castro Ferreira Power Station was unable to come up with an explanation and dismissed it as "a coincidence." In the city of Artigas, some 700 km. from Montevideo, a family claimed having seen small allegedly extraterrestrial beings on at least 3 occasions. That morning, Wilson Eli Da Costa, 17, was in his garden when he noticed small footprints that appeared to have been made by a child. The following day he noticed more footprints. This news was shared with the rest of the family, who decided to keep it a secret. On the following day, Wilson's sister, Marta Elena Ari Da Costa, 16, saw a little man "with a very white complexion" looking into the house.
Later in the summer, five adults and a 10-year-old child in the city of Maldonado, 140 km from Montevideo, had a terrifying experience as they returned from Laguna del Sauce. At the 115 km. mark of the road leading to Punta del Este, the people travelling in the rear of the vehicle noticed "an enormous fireball" rise from a nearby field and head for their bus. They warned the driver, who saw the fiery object, thus initiating an impressive chase for over 5 kilometers. The witnesses stated that the fireball was so bright that it illuminated the entire area as if it were daylight. It moved in an east-west trajectory, following the same route as the bus. It finally broke off its pursuit and disappeared close to a naval base.
Villa Cebollati, a town in Rocha Province located some 250 km. from Montevideo, became the unwilling locale for contact with nonhumans. According to Julio César Cabrera, 45, two beings that were "very beautiful and green in color," appeared on his doorstep.
Cabrera, who was asleep in the early morning hours, was awakened by the sound of a loud horn, which he took to be that of his own car. Upon opening the car's door, a powerful electric discharge riveted him to the ground as a strange, white-faced, green skinned being, with slanted eyes and blonde hair, appeared out of thin air, accompanied by a beautiful female. According to Cabrera, both creatures began measuring his body while he remained paralyzed. Within minutes, the creatures had disappeared amid whitish smoke. No physical harm was inflicted upon the witness, and it appears he enjoyed the green creatures' visit.
On September 13, 1994. Five residents of Paso de las Velas, Florida Department, some 150 km. from Montevideo, claimed to have witnessed the collision of a UFO against the ground. The event took place after a lengthy storm, when the witnesses became aware of a solid rectangular object crossing the sky noiselessly. The orange rectangle suddenly plummeted to the ground, setting off an explosion that was heard for many kilometers around. Large plumes of smoke filled the air, but not traces of the object were found where the explosion took place.
Faced with all this information, the Uruguayan Air Force decided to accept all UFO-related information and investigate each case directly. This initiative was undertaken by the Receiving and Investigating Commission, affiliated to the Uruguayan Air Force, which first created a special file destined to collect all known cases occurring in the country. The new commission is to be headed by Lt.Col. Eduardo Aguirre, who requested the national media to forward any UFO information to his attention.
Colombia’s Andean Saucers
This major Andean republic has certainly provided its share of sightings. The problem -- echoed by many researchers both in the U.S. and in the rest of Latin America -- is that the vast majority of UFO reports come from disreputable journalistic sources that present bogus UFO stories to boost circulations. Such tales are dubbed noticias de verano ("summer tales", nearly identical to the English "junebugs") and are quickly forgotten.
Perhaps the most dramatic case involved a highly unusual "firefighting" UFO, a considerable break from the case histories involving fire-starting saucers. This particular case transpired in 1976 and was researched by Spanish investigator Salvador Freixedo, who was told of the incident by one of the protagonists involved.
Inés de Montaña, a well-known journalist for Bogotá's El Espectador described how an unidentified flying object had saved the hacienda that had been in her family for generations. The country estate, located in Tolima, a valley deep in the Andean range, was besieged by the flames of a nocturnal forest fire that illuminated the night sky with its angry flames, devouring vegetation and croplands. Farmhands ran in search of axes and sand with which to create a firebreak, since there was no water that could be used to extinguish the blaze. Their valiant efforts were in vain, for the dryness of the foliage only made the flames burn with greater intensity.
While the journalist looked on at the advancing line of fire from her bedroom window, a effulgent blue light in the smoke-filled sky caught her attention: it moved slowly and deliberately at a low altitude toward the imperiled area. De Montaña described it as "a helicopter of light".
The strange object appeared to be coming in for a landing, but upon reaching the height of the tallest palm trees, it rose again and departed with the same deliberate slowness which characterized its approach, leaving in its wake a luminous, comet-like tail -- a wave of such intense coldness that it extinguished the forest fire almost immediately, and caused the bemused onlookers to find warmer clothing. The UFO paused for a few seconds, and immediately began to move very slowly across the flames. As it moved, the fire died down as if doused with tons of water." The farmhands who had been doing their best to contain the spreading blaze were awestruck by the miraculous event.
In January 1977, a Boeing 727 airliner belonging to Colombia's Avianca airline, piloted by Gustavo Ferreira, was approaching Ibagué, a community west of Bogotá, when the crew suddenly became aware of a strong white light. Believing that another airliner had strayed into their path, Captain Ferreira promptly radioed the air traffic controllers at Bogota International Airport. They assured him that they had picked up the intruder on their radar and were tracking it.
There was little that the Avianca crew could do as the intense light source made a beeline toward their jet. In a matter of seconds, the mysterious light had stopped in mid-air. Passengers and crew were treated to the sight of an unidentified flying object three times the size of the airliner they were in. Captain Ferreira flashed his landing lights at the vehicle, which responded by changing color from white to red. A second flash of the landing lights prompted the UFO to turn green. Three minutes later, the strange object sped off out of sight. The airport traffic controllers estimated the UFO's speed to be some 20,000 miles an hour at a 99-degree angle before vanishing off their screens.
A flurry of UFO sightings filled the summer months of 1977: on July 6 of that year, residents of the community of El Socorro witnessed the flight of a six UFO "squadron" across the night skies over their town. The UFOs flew fast and low over El Socorro amid heavy rainfall, giving off bursts of red and white light. On July 20, shortly after 4 p.m., attorney Carlos Rangel, who was looking out the window of a doctors' office in downtown Bogotá, saw five UFOs engaging in maneuvers over the city. He promptly drew the attention of the nurses in the office as well as that of people walking on the street. The number of onlookers staring skyward, including those who got out of their cars to take a better look, caused a traffic jam that lasted well over an hour. Bogotá's El Liberal newspaper ran a photo taken by a staff photographer, depicting one of the UFOs in question. The photograph was accompanied by eyewitness testimony.
UFO activity over Colombia hasn't been significant over the past few years, but it could start up again at any given moment.
Chile’s Abduction Scenario
No chronicle of UFO activity in South America would be complete without the ample and dramatic case histories that have emerged from Chile. The clear nights of its vast northern salt deserts have provided an array of memorable sightings, causing some Latin American investigators to vote it "the country most visited by UFOs" during the 1970's.
The all-time Chilean classic case is the hair-raising (and beard growing) experience suffered by army corporal Armando Valdés Garrido. In the bitterly cold early morning hours of April 25, 1977, a military patrol of the Rancagua regiment led by Corporal Valdés and composed of soldiers Julio Rosas, Ivan Rojas, Pedro Rosales, Humberto Rojas, Germán Valle and Raúl Salinas, had decided to camp in a rocky, desolate area in the Andean foothills. a few miles east of the city of Putre.
One of the soldiers, who had been assigned sentry duty, rushed back to the corporal to inform him that a red light was hovering above a nearby peak. Suspecting that contrabandists may be at work, Valdés ordered his platoon to ready weapons and extinguish the campfire--their only source of warmth in the near-zero weather. The soldiers moved out toward the source of the purplish-red light, realizing in a matter of seconds that they weren't dealing with illegal activity or lost mountaineers. The light was moving down the hillside, but not on its surface.
Having complained earlier about the frigid temperature, the soldiers were stunned to discover that it was actually getting warmer as the light grew closer, turning into giant oval-shaped object which bathing them in its purplish-red glow.
The object landed some fifty feet away, swathed in a violet fog that stood out in stark contrast to the surrounding darkness. This was enough to cause panic among the young conscripts, but they found themselves unable to move. Weapon in hand, the corporal ventured forward alone into the unearthly fog, adding later that he felt attracted by something within the luminosity, and was standing no farther than nine feet away from his men when the purplish light engulfed him. The corporal stated for the record that his only recollection of the event was a dreamlike vision of falling down a deep well or chasm. He was also left with a feeling that he would meet again with the strange presence.
The truly amazing part of the story follows: the leaderless platoon witnessed the corporal's unexplained reappearance some fifteen minutes later, when they heard him calling for help. Valdés gave the appearance of having been drugged; his normally clean-shaven face showed dense beard, and his calendar wristwatch indicated that the time was 6:30 a.m. on the 30th of April, when it was still in fact 4:25 a.m. on the 25th. By all indications, the hapless military man had undergone a five-day sojourn in some unknown region of time and space. Hypnotic regression, which would ordinarily have been the procedure of choice in unlocking the "missing time", was expressly forbidden by the Chilean military. Medical specialists agreed that Valdés's panic at the ordeal, as well as the unknown radiation he had been subjected to, could have accelerated the growth of his facial hair, but no explanation was forthcoming about what had happened to his wristwatch.
Argentinean parapsychologist Antonio Las Heras conducted further research into the Valdés Case, as it came to be known, following a television appearance on Santiago's Channel 13, where he formed part of a panel with an aeronautical engineer and an astrophysicist who supported the corporal's claim. A few days prior to Las Heras' arrival in Chile, the Chilean Army had issued a communiqué confirming that Corporal Valdés and his platoon had come face to face with an unidentified phenomenon. The communiqué also added that the protagonists of the case had been forbidden to comment on the incident until military authorities had issued a final verdict. After conducting his own research, Las Heras felt that a solution to the mystery was in hand.
According to the parapsychologist, both the media and amateur investigators alike mistakenly suggested that the corporal had spent five days within a UFO, while only fifteen minutes had elapsed for the terrified onlookers. Las Heras posits that the corporal's digital timepiece "went crazy" upon entering the purple haze, probably as a result of electromagnetic fields emanating from the object. The digital watch was affected for a given period of time, finally stopping at a random time. In short, Valdés disappeared for only fifteen minutes, since his wristwatch had stopped shortly before his disappearance.
Las Heras challenged the theory that a space-time alteration took place, since exactly the opposite to what would be expected of any travel at relativistic speed is what happened: Valdés, the subject of the ordeal, was the one who aged, whereas the onlookers remained the same. According to the theory of relativity, the soldiers should have aged at least fifteen minutes, while the corporal should not have aged at all. On the other hand, Las Heras entirely agreed with the somatic explanation for the sudden growth of the corporal's beard.
A flood of sensationalistic information followed the Valdés Case: it was alleged that the corporal had shouted at the UFO: "Go! In the name of God, leave this place!" as if he were a country bumpkin facing a ghost; the local UFO press claimed that the corporal had been given a "message" by the vehicle's occupants. These, and other details, also proved untrue. Perhaps a 2010 release by Patricio Abuselme Hoffman – “Los centinelas de la noche” (The Night Sentries), covering the entire Valdés Case, will provide some long awaited answers.
After crisscrossing Chilean skies for decades, UFO activity dwindled in later decades down to a few unimportant sightings. According to an article from the EFE news agency, more than 400 confirmed sightings took place in the years before 1990. However, the period running from 1990 through 1994 has remained quiet. Not even the truck drivers who cross the Atacama Desert--the driest in the world, with a unique topography that resembles that of the moon on a starry night--have witnessed any sightings worthy of public attention.
In November 1990, a woman from a small community some 450 kilometers to the north of Santiago was violently awakened by a loud noise while an intense light, as bright as the Sun's, poured into her bedroom. The woman stated that she was filled with dread when she noticed a figure no more than 115 cm. tall standing at the door. It had very large eyes and ears and its skin was illuminated by a strong violet light (perhaps the same "purple haze" that engulfed Armando Valdés Garrido in 1977?).
One of the most spectacular of the cases befell a Chilean who revealed in August 1990 that 12 years earlier, in the middle of the antipodal winter and while traveling in his old car some 1000 km south of Santiago, he had had sexual relations with an extraterrestrial female.
Gaspar H.H., who was 66 years old at the time of his revelation, attained global notoriety when he told a major newspaper in the Chilean capital that he had been inside a spaceship for four hours and managed to establish telepathic communication with its occupants. Later on, he was placed on a bed that adapted to the contour of his body while skin samples were drawn. The ufonauts threw water on him to "decontaminate" him, after which sex with an extraterrestrial woman took place.
On October 8, 1994 a forest ranger in the Torres del Paine National Park, located in the Magallanes region, was allegedly chased by a gigantic UFO that hovered in the sky. The forest ranger, who has spent eighteen years in this particular park, was conducting a routine inspection when an enigmatic, spherical artifact that gave off a powerful beam of light surprised him.
Visibly upset, the ranger began a frantic race back to the Paso de la Muerte Shelter, some 17 kilometers away. He was pursued the entire distance by the object, which emitted "flashes of light". After gaining the shelter's safety, he was able to alert some comrades, who observed the UFO moving away at a high rate of speed. A driver identified as Arturo Cofre corroborated the forest ranger's testimony, stating that he had also witnessed the giant sphere over the so-called Cuernos del Paine. Carmen Salvat, an employee of the Hotel Explora, claimed to have seen a large luminous sphere moving in a northerly direction as it gave out potent red and violet flashes. As a final note, a tourist who wishes to remain anonymous (along with the forest ranger) said that the device managed to land, turning off all its lights before taking to the skies once more.