Hello Strangers: The Mid-70s Humanoid Wave
By Scott Corrales © 2016
Following an event like 1973’s “year of the humanoids” could be a tough act, especially when that year came to a close with the excitement and disappointment over comet Kohoutek, billed as “the greatest stellar display in millennia”. 1974, however would bring its own compelling cases, some of which remain little known even to this day.
The activity which had set the mainland U.S. into a ufological convulsion would soon start manifesting itself in one of its dependencies – the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, a self-governing commonwealth under the U.S. flag.
On January 3, 1974, at 8:10 p.m., when ten families totaling over a dozen individuals of various ages reported seeing a slightly flattened, circular object flying low over the Flamingo Terrace development in Bayamón, P.R.. CEOVNI investigator William Santana conducted thorough interviews with the witnesses, who coincided in their description of the object. Only a few weeks prior to the sighting, local children claimed to have encountered a bizarre, monkey-like being in the woods surrounding the development. Whether this creature was linked in any way to the subsequent events was never determined.
The flurry of strange events on the island would also cattle mutilations, strange creatures and Marian apparitions. An hour-long television documentary – Platillos Voladores Sobre Puerto Rico: Documento Confidencial
(Flying Saucers Over Puerto Rico: Confidential Document) - produced by Jorge Marquina aired on Puerto Rican television, recounting the highlights of these incredible events. One of the documentary’s segments involved the curious story of a group of young people who had found themselves besieged by thoroughly bizarre creatures during a visit to the rainforest.
Nine campers -- students led by three adults -- had gone to El Yunque, the island’s mountain rainforest, on October 20, 1973 hoping to “contact” UFOs and their occupants. They made camp high up on a mountain trail, preparing to spend a night that would turn out to be the longest in their lives.
The group’s official leader, Heriberto Ramos, stated that at one point during their ascent along the trail, they met three persons heading downward. There was nothing “alien” about the trio aside from the fact that they all dressed exactly alike and with similar features. One of the group members, who had stayed behind, took a photo of both the other group members and the three mysterious walkers, but only a patch of mist appeared on the developed film where the trio stood.
At a given moment that evening, thoroughly convinced that an otherwise uneventful vigil lay ahead, the campers were surrounded by five or six vaguely humanoid figures which darted about the thick vegetation with claw-like hands and elongated ears. Some of the “monsters” blocked the precipice-flanked trail that constituted the only way down from the mountain and back to the safety of their vehicles.
From a prudent distance, one of the creatures regarded Ramos intently. Upon noticing this, the latter tried walking cautiously toward the eldritch being, hoping to show that his group’s intentions were amicable. Ramos stood less than ten feet away from the creature, and was able to describe it as having a triangular head, and “extraordinary” eyes. Amazingly, he managed to touch the strange being, which did not stir. Its skin felt neither cold nor rubbery. Almost simultaneously, one of the students lit a large, powerful flashlight in the direction where the contact was taking place, flooding the area with light.
The clawed creature reacted by racing away from the scene, literally tearing a path right through the dense vegetation, which led to a 100 foot drop, giving the startled Ramos reason to think he had frightened the being into jumping. To the man’s amazement, it reappeared instantly at the side of its fellows, which were still blocking the downward path.
At sunrise, the campers made a mad dash for the cars they’d left parked at the bottom of the mountain. Not a trace of the alien intruders remained aside from their footprints, which were much larger than a human’s and appeared to have been made by very heavy creatures, in comparison to the smaller footprints left by the humans. Their valor rekindled by the morning light, the campers made plaster-of-paris casts of the prints and photographed them. These materials were stolen by unknown parties months after the incident, including valuable infrared prints.
Creatures and Volcanos
Four thousand miles away from tropical, UFO-besieged Puerto Rico, a strange case was playing out in Chile.
The story involved a teenager of native stock who went by the name of Lucio Quevedo, and whose story would be made known in later years by researcher Jorge Anfruns. The young man showed particular talent in the plastic and visual arts, and lived in a kind of dormitory reserved for poor youngsters of promise on the outskirts of the city of Putre.
One evening in June 1974 when his chores were done, Lucio headed for the room in the door for a well- deserved rest. Suddenly, he saw someone standing at the doorway leading into the refectory. Fearing that it could be an escapee from the country’s political detention centers (Chile had been under martial law since August 1973) he thought it would best to challenge the figure and if necessary, summon the instructors living on the premises for help.
Lucio found that the refectory was bathed in a strange light that did not issue from any of the fixtures in the room. Stranger still, the “person” was standing on one of the chairs. Fully in control of any fear he must have felt, the teenager challenged the visitor, demanding to know his intentions. The strange visitor jumped off the chair and told to rest assured that “nothing bad would happen to him.”
The young man would subsequently describe the entity as a rather tall, hunched and slender male figure clad in a dark, shiny suit that gave off a purplish cast (like a black light bulb) with short, platinum blond hair and a gaunt face “like that of a corpse”. It wore a wide belt from which hung a number of “orbs and rhombuses”. The uncanny visitor reached for one of these, held it out to Lucio, and asked him to see his own reflection. The boy did so, only to be blinded by a flash of light.
Badly frightened, the teenager returned to bed, but was unable to sleep. His roommates would later find that he was unable to breathe and was rigid, with a stiffness of the neck muscles that led some of the residential instructors to believe he had meningitis. A physician would later determine that Lucio appeared to suffer from a “kind of influenza that affected his nervous system.”
Stranger still was his sudden recovery hours later, which astonished his peers. The situation would enter the realm of high strangeness when one of students came in to advise the teachers that Lucio had “jumped headfirst out of one of the dorm’s windows” to the ground, a ten foot drop. Teachers and students engaged in a search for the missing Lucio, wandering through ravines and gullies. He was finally found, but under strange circumstances, “surrounded by little people with luminous objects in their hands.”
Lucio’s illness had returned, unresponsive and apparently in a state of shock. When his shoes were removed, it was found that they were full of a kind of gravel that was volcanic in nature – a type of soil found at the Taapaca Volcano, many hours away on muleback. Even more disturbing was that the youth’s fingers presented signs of having been pierced by a triangular object, leaving both hands red and swollen. A doctor determined that a considerable amount of blood had been removed from the hapless teen, leaving him nearly anemic.
No explanation was readily available, and the mystery only grew when Lucio recovered days later and was able to tell his story. A voice, he said, had urged him to get dressed and go outside, since he was needed. He jumped out the window, he said, held aloft by two small, very realistic entities in white, who held him aloft. The diminutive figures bore him away to the slopes of the Taapaca, where Lucio felt the need to leave “footprints on the soil, in case someone came looking for him.”
He had been brought to an enclosure filled with work stations, buttons, “crystals with little levers” and other glowing lights of many colors. The entities had transported here to instruct him on how to build something that would be beneficial to humanity as a whole. He was forced to drink a liquid in a chalice from a material similar to glass, and told he would not have to go anywhere to secure materials to build the device. The teenager had only hazy memories of the trip back to the dorm area, only remembering beautiful structures and glass domes in a ravine, suggesting cities.
A subsequent visit by state policemen to the area – which could only be reached with great difficulty – found the footprints that Lucio had purportedly left on the ashen slopes of the Taapaca Volcano, as well as other prints, left by the “luminous platforms” that the diminutive, large headed creatures used as conveyances.
Although the case made it to the local tabloid press, nothing further was ever said about the young man who lived through a harrowing high-strangeness episode. His description of the cadaver-like features of the tall entity that appeared in the dorm is oddly reminiscent of two other cases in which entities are described as looking “undead”: The first of these is the so-called “Freddy Miller” incident (Dominican Republic, 11 Sep 1973) in which the witness described the non-human figure as The witness remarked that his alien interlocutor had a having “a disgusting grayish-yellow skin tone that he found repulsive, spoke in a thick, deliberate voice and was virtually hairless. The entity's body was covered by a form-fitting green coverall without zippers or pockets.” The witness, a traveling salesman, was convinced that the creature was dead, yet alive.
The other case occurred in November 1974 on the outskirts of Huesca, Spain. It involved a couple who stopped their car to have a bizarre conversation with a pointy-faced, all-too-human ufonaut, who asked if they could lend him a wrench to perform repairs above his craft. Identifying itself as “Dr. Flor, from Barcelona”, the entity also gave the alarmed human couple the impression of being a corpse.
Return of the “Michelin Men”
Humanoid figures connected to the UFO phenomenon and described as “Michelin Men” occupy a category of their own within the phenomenon. Slow moving and featureless, their bulbous, ringed outward appearance resembling Bibendum
, the representative logo of the Michelin tire company since the early 20th century, these entities have been reported all around the world in cases that would always prompt a smile due to the inevitable comparison with the joyful tire “pitchman”. Some of the earliest encounters with these beings - although it has been said that they could be artificial - go back to the 1950s (specifically the Dinan, France, episode of 1955 in Flying Saucer Review
, a defunct Spanish UFO journal, presented a case involving similar beings: In the summer of 1960, Miguel Timermans, a schoolteacher from Prado del Rey (Cadiz) in southern Spain, decided to go on a weekend run on his Lambretta motorcycle to the city of Jerez. It was a clear, beautiful morning and visibility was unlimited. As he drove uphill at some point between Prado del Rey and the town of Arcos, a colossal figure appeared out of nowhere along the roadside. Timermans described it as well over two meters (6.5 ft.) and encased in a "swollen" red one-piece suit. Shocked, the teacher brought his motorcycle to a halt right in the middle of the highway as an overpowering sense of fear washed over him: the giant entity was slowly walking toward him along the edge of the highway.
Recalling the event, Timermans remarked that the creature's pressure suit or outfit was composed of "concentric rings" which also reminded him of the Michelin Man. The bizarre figure lurched forward, robotically, measuring its steps.
Timermans was doubly startled to see another creature walking behind the giant! The second entity was barely over a meter tall and had what appeared to be a glossy black "boot" covering one of the legs of its red outfit. It, too, walked awkwardly as it brought up the rear. The enigmatic figures crossed Timerman's path diagonally and vanished from sight after an encounter that lasted no more than 30 seconds. Kick-starting the Lambretta, the teacher headed for the place where the creatures had last been seen and was unable to find a trace of their presence.
The November 1974 issue of the French UFO publication Lumiéres dans la Nuit
featured a fascinating Belgian case whose detail closely resemble those of the Spanish and Argentinean events.
On January 7, 1974, a 31 year old Belgian man known only as "Monsieur X" was driving his car between the towns of Comines and Warneton on the border between France and Belgium. The time was shortly before 9 p.m. on a clear, damp winter night when "Monsieur X" 's vehicle, which had been functioning flawlessly, suddenly sputtered to a halt as the headlights went out. As the vehicle coasted to a halt on the otherwise empty roadway, the driver became aware of an object some 300 feet away in a field bordering the road. At first he took it to be a stack of hay, but almost immediately noticed that the "haystack" was propped up on three struts. The witness would later go on to say that the object had the basin-shape of a W.W.I soldier's helmet.
Fascinated by the yellowish-white light issuing from the distant vehicle, "Monsieur X" was unaware of two figures walking toward his vehicle in the moonlit darkness. At first he took them to be a farmer and his son, attracted, perhaps by the singular object in the field. Casting a second look, he realized his mistake.
The two beings could not have been less farmer-like: striding toward the car with stiff, deliberate paces, the shorter of the two resembled Bibendum, the Michelin Man, only with rings not as clearly delineated as those on the famous corporate image. The being's circular helmet concealed a featureless pear-shaped face with dark sockets; its taller companion had a similarly grotesque visage but did not resemble its counterpart.
Given their deliberate movements and the brightness of the moonlight, "Monsieur X" was able to make out a number of interesting details, such as the fact that the short "Michelin Man"-like figure appeared armed with a triangular weapon in its hand and that both figures had heavy, pointed boots.
The two entities came to within thirteen feet of the car before stopping. "Monsieur X" claimed to have felt a "shock" to the base of his skull followed by a low-pitched sound that became increasingly louder. But there would be no thrilling contact scenario here -- for no reason, the tall and short being made a sudden about face in near-military fashion and headed back to the landed vehicle at a much faster pace than before.
In 1975, they staged an appearance in the distant island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, a French dependency. After hearing a painful, ear-splitting sound within his head, the witness allegedly saw a hat-shaped object in a nearby field, issuing a buzzing noise. Out of this structure emerged a small entity “looking like the Michelin Man”, clumsily walking along the ground and digging for soil samples. A companion soon joined the improbable figure in the activity, although the witness noted that neither figure was attempting to save samples in bags they had ostensibly brought along for the purpose. The creatures eventually boarded their hat-shaped conveyance and took off. Subsequent police investigations found strange marks on the ground.
"Michelin Man"-type ufonauts were also to play a role two years later in the Goodland, Kansas UFO event, a CE-3 that reportedly took place on June 20, 1976. The couple involved in the case, identified only as “Joe” and “Carol”, were traveling along the western edge of Kansas (location sometimes given as Colby and not Goodland) when they were abducted and subjected to physical examinations. The case, reported to CUFOS, is the first that shows these strange entities interacting with humans.