Monday, June 01, 2009

Argentina: "Invasores" (Invaders) - Alejandro Agostinelli's New Book

Source: Los Andes On-Line
Date: May 31, 2009

Argentina: “Invasores” (Invaders) - Alejandro Agostinelli’s New Book
By Mariana Guzzante

Journalist Alejandro Agostinelli has published a book that reopens the legendary UFO case that bewildered Mendoza in 1968. It is being displayed today in our province. This documentary history is a review of Argentinean sightings that involve Chupacabras, little green dwarves and spiritism. There is a revival of alien culture: “V” is returning to television, and the Star Trek remake is on top of the box office. The invaders are among us once more.

It isn’t hard to picture Alejandro Agostinelli – an interesting journalist, a tracker of mysteries – scouring through the X-Files of this part of the world.

His book is somewhere between the pleasure of the chronicle and the flashback of an archive. That’s how this project should have started. Editorial Sudamericana has recently published it under the name “Invasores”, and that’s how it ended. Over 300 pages written with the perfect excuse of narrating Argentina’s most startling extraterrestrial sightings, including the famous case involving “little green men” that caused an uproar in local ufology in ’68.

A journalist may delight in sleuthing across the paranormal landscape; for he protagonists of these events – the contactees – it is an exhumation of an extreme experience.

For that reason, both Agostinelli and the voices of the protagonists of the close encounter that shook the region in the late ‘60s will be here tonight, journalist Miguel Titiro among them.

A Contactee Event In the Heartland

A couple vanishes in Chascomús and appears instantaneously in Mexico, as though written in the script for the movie “Jumper”. Two employees of the Casino de Mendoza encounter little green men and have a telepathic experience with them; a team of Buenos Aires spiritists makes contact with an “engineer” from Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter. A woman named Silvia Perez founds the “Museo del Ovni” in Victoria, Entre Rios.

The stories told in “Invasores” appear to avoid falling into ufological fervor, but nonetheless insert a disquieting description: “true stories”, as stated on the cover. You mean they’re real? “Yes,” says the author, “because these are documented stories. The reader may enjoy the recollections and experiences of their protagonists while having solid historical data at hand. None of the stories is unreal. All of these have appeared in the press, in newscasts and eventually in books on the subject.”

Thus, with several first-person accounts that are sheer narrative gold, Agostinelli chose 11 invasions. What will be the outcome of reading this book, now that the subject of aliens feels slightly retro? “No idea, that’s another mystery,” says the author. It may be, perhaps, a fine opportunity for taking out the folding chair and watching the skies again.

Che Ovni

It is clear that this is a work charged with comparative paranoia, hallucination and longing.

Furthermore, these accounts include the Chupacabras, [the subterranean city of] Erks, tours of Mount Uritorco and strange abductions like that of Zulma Fayad. There is even a translation of “Martin Fierro” (Argentina’s national epic – ed.) into “Varkulets”, an unusual alien lingo. And a constant appears. Unlike other countries, which point to Mars or Venus as the alien homeland, Argentineans connect more closely with visitors from Ganymede, one of the Jovian satellites.

“UFOs, the stories woven around them, and their effect upon culture. Those are the subjects to which I devoted the greatest time and passion throughout my life, “ Agostinelli says frankly.

And how did you come to choose the cases? How did you know that these were the stories, and not others?

”These were the ones that had the greatest impact on me while I studied the subject of UFOs. Furthermore, by having worked on TV documentaries, I have a rather visual training. I know which stories are the most attractive, involving and suggestive. My criteria for selection were double. Moreover, all of the stories had to reveal unknown aspects in the lives of their protagonists. On the other hand, each story should be worthy of a motion picture. If for any reason (a lack of information, the inability to access direct witnesses, that sort of thing) they didn’t click, they went right back to the inkwell.”

It’s hard not to ask which case affected you the most.

“There are two open-ended adventures that contain the hardest mysteries to digest. One of them is the so-called Vidal Case, which began with a news item published in June 1968. It told the story of a couple driving along the road from Chascomus, Province of Buenos Aires, when they drove into a fog bank and lost consciousness. Later, the couple and their car reappeared in Mexico City. In this case I learned that the motion picture “Che Ovni” had been shot almost a year earlier. This film, directed by Anibal Uset, starts with a couple teleported by a flying saucer from Buenos Aires to Madrid, car and all. It opened two months after the Vidal Case. This couple was never found and it’s unlikely they ever existed. But as with all legends, the controversy endures. Anibal uset cannot categorically prove that he created the case to promote his movie. In any event, my book contains hints that support his claim. It is followed, no doubt by the Mendozan question involving the Casino workers.

How did you trace the route to be followed?

“Like I said, once I chose the stories, I arranged them in a more or less chronological order. At other times, I added stories according to geographic proximity. I went to Mendoza in an effort to locate Juan Carlos Peccinetti and Fernando Villegas, the Casino workers, but also other possible protagonists of what appears to have been a prank, based on a clue I was given in Mar del Plata.
Then I visited Chile, where I interviewed physicist and mathematician Pablo Kittl Duclout, the nephew of brothers Jorge and Napy Duclout, who is the only surviving relative of the first Argentinean contactees.

“In the early Fifties, Jorge and Napy were spiritists. During their séances, a spirit they identified as a “talented engineer” would talk to them about life on Ganymede, the planet Jupiter’s largest satellite. I was delighted to find out who was the engineer who contacted them, but I won’t tell you. That’s the end of the story and it would ruin it. The first trip involved climbing to the roof of the Kavanagh Building, where they were summoned to appear by the commander of a saucer that was supposed to arrive from Jupiter. I also visited Santa Rosa, because La Pampa is the homeland of the wave of cattle mutilations that unleashed in 2002, and the city of Victoria, Entre Rios, where Siliva Pérez Simondini’s Museo OVNI operates.”

The fact is that Alejandro found the Earthlings to be infinitely more complex and fascinating than the aliens.

Parenthesis one: “Aníbal Uset was the first Argentinean filmmaker who toured the world to shoot a comedy based on the extraterrestrial rumors of the Sixties, and even more with Martin Rappalini, who was a the time a young writer accused of “concealing the truth” about the legendary marital abduction. These stories merited another chapter.
El Muñeco Mateyko, Pipo Mancera, Javier Portales, Cuchuflito, Jorge Sobral, Marcela López Rey, Erika Wallner and Perla Caron starred in the movie version of the story. A relic? Yes indeed. The odyssey had a musty smell to it until I learned that Catherine Fulop had starred in a Nineties remake of the movie. In Spain, she was also convinced that she’d been transported by aliens.”

Parenthesis two: Pablo Kittl Duclout, the physicist from the Andean foothills, informed the researcher to the fascinating destiny that awaited his uncles, the protagonists of the first announced UFO sighting from the rooftop of the Kavanagh Bulding in 1954). Apparently, an advanced spirit had revealed to them the existence of a higher technology. “Those disclosures were so extraordinary that they inspired Napy to film Argentina’s first 3D motion picture, “Buenos Aires en Relieve (1954),” notes Alejandro.

Three: “I also visited the nursing home where Martha Green now lives. A lovely old lady who was whisked away from Earth in the 1950s by Enis, her interdimensional lover, while her husband, a military man in the Perón regime, was embattled by the Aramburu dictatorship.”

How distant is “Invasores” from ufology?

“I wouldn’t say “light years away” because that would be a wisecrack. But I don’t think that I could’ve written a book like this while I was an ufologist. Or when I was a militant skeptic. I believe that the right distance is having realized that the protagonists were the people I was interviewing. And I chose the first person to take over my own subjective approach.

What about Fabio Zerpa?

Zerpa is convinced that the ones that appear in his stories are aliens. I’m convinced of the existence of human beings, and some of them claim having had experiences involving extraterrestrials.

So, do you or don’t you believe in alien life?

It’s not whether I believe or don’t. It may exist. But in that case, I imagine them as being too smart. To the extent that I doubt they’d bother visiting Earth. Perhaps, if they read “Invasores” they’ll find we’re a very interesting species.

(Translation (c) 2009, Scott Corrales IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)