Argentina: Disc With Strange Figures at Coronel Pringles (1954)
Source: Planeta UFO and Marcianitos Verdes
Argentina: Disc With Strange Figures at Coronel Pringles (1954)
By Robert Banchs
The news corresponds to the end of a year that was rich in reports on strange manifestations of “flying saucers” and their landings on European soil, in particular. It heralded a rise in sightings worldwide.
On 5 December 1954, Buenos Aires’s “La Razón” newspaper reported – with glaring errors – that “Mr. Enrique Aguirre Zabala, employed at a shop in this city, and who is on vacation on a property that a brother of his owns on the outskirts of Coronel Pringles (Province of Buenos Aires), left the home yesterday at 6 to do some groceries, and saw a luminous disk in space that changed shape as it approached, becoming a “cigar-shaped” structure. When the strange object came within 80 meters of Aguirre, he tried to approach it, but was kept from doing so by the strength of the light it put out, and which blinded him. He says, however, that ‘using his hands as a screen, I advanced until I was perfectly able to see the strange device was half a meter over the ground, and that a strange figure could be seen moving within the disk.’ Aguirre added that it resembled a ‘large-headed dwarf.’ Shortly after there was a sudden, vivid flash of light and the disk rose into the air, vanishing toward to north.”
Coronel Pringles is a locality in the southeastern reaches of the Province of Buenos Aires, largely flat with small mountain ranges from the Ventania group. Its temperate, Pampean and sub-humid climate characterize it as an agricultural area.
A quick consultation with the Post Office and the Township led us to a store called “Los Corrales”, to the northeast and bordering with the urban waste water treatment facility, near the cemetery. It was there that we found Américo Rodolfo Aguirrezabala, who admitted to being the sole witness of the case in question. It became evident that the newspaper article suffered from errors, causing us to entreat him to give us a detailed description of the event, bearing in mind that many aspects had been forgotten and that had never been investigated in the intervening years.
Américo R. Aguirrezabala was 32 years old at the time. On the morning of 4 December 1954, between 6 and 7 o’clock, he headed from the Los Corrales store (located on current Route 51, Km. 29) where he lived with his brother Pedro to the farm belonging to his other sibling, Asencio, 1000 meters distant to the northeast on the same road, which at the time – it is said – was a dirt track. Heading out alone on a pleasant morning, he saw a “round” aeroform some 200 meters away and in front of a tree covered hill. It was pale red in color, some 20-30 meters in diameter, suspended at an estimated height of 15 meters over the ground. It was completely silent and transparent. “I’ve lucked out!” exclaimed Américo Aguirrezabala, having overcome his initial fear and glad to see a flying saucer, much spoken-of at the time. It glowed softly, although “since the Sun was on that side – located to the front and over the object – it did bother me a little,” says the witness, who kept walking toward the farm and getting closer to the phenomenon, which remained suspended in the air. Its transparency allowed him to see movement in what appeared to be its interior, like human silhouettes waking to and fro. They were three figures, two of which were in constant movement, but he was unable to make out any other details.
“When I got closer I saw them. I got nearer and saw people. Then I wondered: ‘what might this be?’ because I always say that I’ve got an enthusiasm for these things, but no, no…it was at that time that it appeared.”
However, the sighting of the “occupants” lasted barely some seconds and was at a distance of 70 meters. The occupants seemed indifferent to the startled onlooker. It was at that time that the phenomenon suddenly vanished, giving the impression of “rising over the trees, toward the right, taking off to the south-southwest. The sun was already rising.” The disappearance of the phenomenon was nearly instantaneous and imperceptible. “It vanished, it vanished as if by magic!” he said, captured by our tape recorder.
The total duration of the sighting was a few minutes, an estimation based on the 130 meters covered by the witness. Américo Aguirrezabala tell us what he was thinking at that minute: “I stopped there, wondering, wondering what it could be, what it might not be. I thought about what I’d read regarding flying saucers, and that this was one of them. And I wondered: “Why did they come here, if they don’t want to speak to us? That’s what it was, and I always say the same. My life didn’t change after this. No, not at all. It stayed the same. Nor did it affect me physically, nor did I have similar experiences after that. My wife did. One morning, she saw some green dwarves with hats of the same color, in the cornfield behind our house,” added Aguirrezabala enthusiastically.
He continued with his story, saying that he stopped to see if there were traces of the unusual presence: “There was nothing scorched at all. I saw the plants and all looked normal.” No alterations of the environment were noticed either, only the apparition of the phenomenon described. “Then I headed onward to the farm,” he says, “and I told my brother, and since he was nearby, toward the back and close to the woodland, he saw nothing. Neither did my other brother, Pedro, who was back in the store. Later it became the talk of the town, but at the store. Some said: ‘you’re a windbag, buddy, why the hell would you see flying saucers.” So, I don’t know if that was a saucer, but the thing was there, hanging [in the air] and nothing more…and as far as what was there, all I saw was the silhouettes walking back and forth, nothing more. No eyes or ears. I can’t tell you anything else. After it happened, it was over and I forgot about it.”
His statement ends with an effort to set the journalistic version straight: “It was the rage at the moment. That’s what prompted the paper to make it known. It was a news story that I had read about at the time, because I always bought La Razón. What I don’t know is who told me about it, although it could have come up from the conversations that used to come about in my store…”
Considerations on the Case
In this incident from Saturday, 4 December 1954, we have a witness who makes a clear effort to recall a sighting that took place a long time ago, without the existence of circumstances that would prompt his memory. However, the tenacity of his memory has been bolstered by the interest and the feelings set in motion by the sight of an unusual event, such as the one described by Américo Aguirrezabala.
Bearing these factors in mind, we have proceeded to collect the most essential aspects of the eyewitness account, and come up with a sort of explanation in the measures that the information provided it will allow it.
In this regard, the early hour of the sighting should be pointed out: between 6 and 7 o’ clock, according to Aguirrezabala, and “6 in the morning” according to the journalistic version. At that time, the sun rose at 5:40 a.m., precisely in the same direction in which the alleged UFO was seen.
It has not escaped us, either, that this phenomenon presented a vision similar to that of the sun: that is to say, circular, with a similar angular size, and a color frequently seen on the horizon.
On the other hand, the differences noted are: its transparent appearance (an inconsistency?), soft glow, movement on its surface, and sudden disappearance.
If we try to reconcile both characteristics, we must refer to certain optical phenomena known as parhelia (sun dogs), through which we may understand the causes for their manifestation. In studying these phenomena, scientists noted long ago that they appear when the Sun (or the Moon) are covered by a bright white veil – a layer of high stratiform cirrus clouds. These clouds float at an altitude of six to eight kilometers and are made up by tiny ice crystals, rising and descending along air currents, reflecting by like a mirror, or else refract the solar rays that fall on them like a glass prism. It often happens that the sky seems to be completely clear, but many small ice crystals float in the atmosphere without forming a cloud. This often happens when the weather is cold and clear at that altitude.
Generally, “the sundog” comes about when the Sun is not very high over the horizon, causing a large halo that goes unseen. Sundogs tend to disappear unexpectedly, or suddenly, according the movement of the sun over the horizon, the air currents and the hexahedral ice crystals floating vertically. Sundogs are not a strange phenomenon in certain parts of the world, and they are often as bright as the Sun itself (1).
In the Province of Buenos Aires (where the incident under discussion took place), there are several journalistic reports involving parhelia. Around that time, on 25 April 1949 in Bernal (2) and on 28 February 1950 in Mar del Plata (3) just to mention a few. More recently, in February 1987 and in a space of 20 days, eight cases were recorded in San Nicolas, and similar ones in Monte Hermoso and Pigue (4).
As for the silhouettes moving within it, seen diffusely for a few seconds, we believe that the witness likely saw – influenced by the worldwide saucer flap – and convinced that he was seeing a “genuine” flying saucer, he did not hesitate to attribute any movement in the optical image to the presence of unknown entities.
(1) Mezentsev, Vladimir, Los enigmas del cielo y de la tierra, Ediciones Suramérica, Bogotá, junio 1971, Págs. 40, 41 y 46.
(2) La Razón, Buenos Aires, 10 March 1950.
(3) Ibíd..., 1 March 1950.
(4) La Opinión Austral, Río Gallegos (SC); and Crónica, Buenos Aires, 19 February 1987.
This article originally appeared in Los Identificados: Casuística ovni con ocupantes en Argentina, N° III, Buenos Aires, July 1993, Pages 23-25.
[Translation © 2015, S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO, Roberto E. Banch, Marcianitos Verdes.]