Spain: A UFO Over Valladolid (1965)
Source: El Norte de Castilla (Spain)
Spain: A UFO Over Valladolid (1965)
The object appeared in the evening of 16 September 1965 and vanished at high speed after floating around for four hours. Its true nature is still a matter of debate.
“My dear Father Machado, I was able to see a flying saucer for the first time in my life. We saw it last night at 18:45 in the evening, when the brother orderly came to notify me that there was a flying saucer over the school.”
The letter, dated Valladolid, 18 September 1965, two days after the incredible event, was signed by Father Antonio Felices, one of the most renowned figures in the research of UFO-related phenomena. What happened 50 years ago is still a matter of debate and controversy in numerous forums devoted to the subject. It was the lead in El Norte de Castilla on 17 September 1965, telling how thousands of residents of Valladolid were able to witness – for 4 hours, no less – the manifestation of a luminous object that remained fixed in the sky. While some took the streets and ascended terraces to view it, others did not have the least doubt that it was “an unequivocal flying saucer sighing.”
It happened in the afternoon, around five thirty in the afternoon, and was visible in other localities of the province of Valladolid and Palencia, until “little by little, the mysterious object reduced its size and luminosity until it became indistinguishable from the first stars of the evening,” according to the dean of the national press, who immediately began receiving calls from readers “requesting information on the possible nature of the device.”
Its nature remains a mystery to this very day. It is for this reason that the Valladolid event appears in all chronicles of UFO events in Spain. In fact, several publications have provided in depth information on the specifics surrounding the manifestation of that flying object over our city, ranging from magazines like Semana and Año/Cero to monographs and journalistic collaborations by personalities with considerable media access, such as Nacho Ares or Iker Jimenez.
All agree in describing the apparition in the sky as a gigantic, triangular device, which was also visible in other corners of Castille, and mention the no less relevant detail that renowned aviator Heliodor Carrión, who was flying over Torresillas in his private plane at the time, heard the nervous chatter originating at the Villanubla air base: “We have spotted a shining triangular object between the communities of Villanueva de los Infantes and Tudela de Duero.”
Carrión took down the information, remained at the prescribed altitude of 22.3 kilometers, and headed toward the mysterious flying object. His story, which appears in Iker Jiménez’s book Encuentros, cannot be missed: “I placed myself under the object. It was whitish and appeared to oscillate slowly, like a pendulum, sometimes spinning on its own axis. I subsequently noticed the presence of a DC-8, possibly flying the Lisbon to Paris route, flying quite close to the triangle. It was incredible (…). That thing was three times the size of an airliner.”
There were other important witnesses, such as Teófilo Alvarez and Francisco Rodríguez, instructors at the Seminary, who saw it while the traveled toward La Trapa (Dueñas) on their motorbikes, along with numerous residents of Duero and Boecillo, and above all, the aforementioned Antonio Felices, a Dominican friar who had been with the Arcas Reales school of Valladolid since 1959. Along with this companion, Severino Machado, he was well-known for his interest in the subject.
Felices, an internationally known figure in UFO studies, described the situation to Father Machado in the aforementioned letter – the characteristics of the object sighted: “I was able to ascertain that there was a flying saucer over the School, with the [apparent] size of a desktop telephone. It was very bright tone of white. In the meantime, the other religious came out and were able to see it clearly.”
The first thing he did was to head for the laboratory along with another young priest to set up the four-inch telescope. “We managed to set up the telescope at 7:20. What a show awaited us. After setting up the telescope and focusing it, we were able to see an enormous object, possibly one kilometer in length, having a triangular shape, with a large elongated dome in its middle. It had fins on the tips of the base of the triangle and it shook slightly (…). It was evident that it was a metallic object that was at a considerable height over the school. It is quite possible that it was at an altitude of some 50 kilometers (164,000 feet).”
Felices, who attached a “hasty sketch” of the drawing to his letter, returned to the subject in an interview granted to the ABC newspaper in January 1969, and again in 1999, this time on a local radio program: “It was a relatively enormous thing. It was the color of metal, of weaponry, and had an enormous underbelly. It oscillated a little bit, as if floating in mid-air,” he recalled.
According to what was said in the letter addressed to Father Machado, the object remained floating in the sky until eight o’clock and five minutes in the evening, when it “began to gain altitude and vanished completely from sight.” The most curious fact is that according to the Dominican friar, “tiny points of light would occasionally emerge from the object, going off in all directions.”
Speculations about this event did not delay. While El Norte de Castilla suggested the possibility that it could be “an artificial satellite of unknown characteristics” or “a large stratospheric balloon of the kind normally covered in aluminum sheeting”, meteorologist Vicente Oliver Narbona was inclined to believe, in this very same newspaper, in a “very small mother of pearl cloud,” the name given to clouds appearing in the Ozone Layer and which are seldom seen in our latitudes.” The metallic sheen of these clouds would be due to reflected sunlight, according to Oliver Narbona.
This hypothesis has been dismissed in several forums. Others, such as the Misterios del Aire forum administered by Juan Carlos Victorio, speak in terms of a weather balloon that was dragged by the wind from France to Valladolid. Support for this theory is based on the fact that a weather balloon was found in the community of Sierra de la Atalaya (Almería) with instructions in French, preceded by sightings in Sabiñánigo (Huesca), Baza and Elche.
There is no dearth of hypotheses and theories. If Antonio Felices admitted in 1969 to the ABC newspaper that they thought at the time about “the automated Proton IV space station, with a weight of 30 tons, which had just been put into orbit by Russia,” others spoke of a Northrop space prototype that would later be used by NASA. Not to mention, of course, those who directly believed the object was an extraterrestrial vehicle.
So in February 1981, during a round table gathering held in Palencia about the UFO phenomenon, Mariano Fernández, a member of the Seminario de Astronomía, also a witness to the event, claimed having seen the flying object “in the sky, fixed over the hillside” and that it returned three days later over Villajimena, a community of the municipality of Monzón de Campos. According to subsequent studies, there was no question: they were two vehicles measuring one kilometer in length, at an altitude of 70 kilometers, accompanied by other smaller objects that entered and exited them, which could have been support craft. “Two of these ships, fireballs, flew between the hills and the river,” noted Fernandez, to whom the most rational interpretation of the sighting involves”residents from other galaxies, who were studying our farmlands.”
Note: Padre Felices mentions a Proton booster launching a 30-ton platform into orbit for the USSR, the two launches of the UR-500 8K82 - 16 July and 2 November 1965. The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, however, states: "On July 16, 1965 took place the first launch of the rocket UR-500 in two-level version with the scientific space station “Proton-1” the name of which later became the name of the carrier rocket."
Note: Readers of INEXPLICATA may find this case familiar, as it was featured in an extract from Antonio Ribera's El Gran Enigma de los Platillos Voladores on March 2015 at http://inexplicata.blogspot.com/2015/03/spain-early-triangular-ufo-sighting.html
[Translation © 2015 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Enrique Berzal (Norte de Castilla) and Guillermo Giménez (Planeta UFO)]