Tuesday, September 01, 2009

1999: Dr. Lara vs. Mexico's Foam Rubber Alien

Not all "alien babies" are infants. In this article from Issue # 3 of INEXPLICATA, Dr. Rafael A. Lara Palmeros, Director of Research for Mexico's now-defunct CEFP organization and co-founder of the Institute of Hispanic Ufology, describes the furor caused by the discovery of a foam-rubber doll that was immediately given extraterrestrial significance, although looking back at the event, it was a nine-day wonder. Fortunately.

Lest readers think that this is a move toward skepticism or naysaying, separating the wheat from the chaff is of utmost importance in this field, and we have always endevored to do so. Dr. Lara's report represents one such early effort:

[Editor's Note: Dr. Lara has very kindly allowed us to reprint the text of his personal letter to our office. It is a vivid example of the pitfalls of UFO research outside the U.S. and the inescapable problem of "popular delusions and the madness of crowds"]

"I am writing to inform you about what transpired here a few months ago.

"Since April of this year (1999), persistent rumors made the rounds regarding the fact that a worker at the IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social--the hospital at which I work) had discovered a being with uncommon characteristics. One Sunday during the month of June, this person, whose name is Jesús Rivas, reported to said hospital bearing with him the "entity" in question, causing an uproar among physicians, nurses, staff, etc.. The man had brought the alleged creature to the Emergency Room in order to have it "examined". The commotion was such that I was called in along with biologist Arturo del Moral, another person named Daniel Monge and even TV Azteca to have the situation aired over television.

"Fortunately, I wasn't home at the time and it wasn't until the following day (Monday) that I received the news. Personally, I believed absolutely nothing about what I was being told. Three weeks went by until Don Jesús appeared with the "extraterrestrial" in the department in which I work. We spoke for a while about how his son had found the being in a coffee plantation not far from his house and took it. Without any hesitation on his part, he said it was an "extraterrestrial" and further added that the "being" had so much energy within it that it was "able to engage in telepathic communication...". Furthermore, strange sounds could be heard in the house.

"Upon examining it, I found myself looking at a crude foam rubber doll, made of the same material employed in making balls, certain types of gloves, etc.. Out of sheer courtesy I refused to tell him that it was phoney, but I did make it clear that it was terrestrial and manmade. In spite of this, the collective psychosis gripped the hospital in such a way that many "rationalist" physicians who had always held critical views of the UFO phenomenon suddenly involved themselves in the event, claiming that the doll moved, had a light in its chest (sic), was endowed with an aura, and so forth.

"We still don't know who "blew the whistle", as we say in Mexico, but on the last Monday in June, National Security and Mexico's Interpol agents descended upon the hospital, interviewing hospital director Dr. Joel Vela Sáenz and the medical assistant director, Dr. Rubén Torres. Finally they interviewed the chief of personnel, Dr. Roberto Hernández. After long, gruelling interviews with these physicians, the agents went out looking for Jesús Rivas, apprehending him and forcibly removing him to the Centro de Inteligencia del Estado de Veracruz (CIEV), where he was subjected to interrogation. I reported to said center to tell them that they were dealing with nothing more than a foam rubber doll, pure and simple. This apparently settled the situation, but on subsequent days, I found people with cellular phones monitoring my arrival and departure from the hospital; my phone calls were being intercepted and above all, correspondence was being monitored. It was for this reason that my mail to a number of places was so unreasonably delayed.

"Subsequently [a UFO TV personality] visited Jalapa and...headed for Mr. Rivas's house. The latter claimed that he was offered money and the opportunity to have the entity "analyzed" to determine its origin. The analyses took place and my original explanation was confirmed. It was nothing more than a paltry foam rubber doll. Even so, the public insisted on its strangeness and that's when contradictory information appeared on the Internet. What is most humorous about the case is that a doll having the same exact characteristics and called "Teocelo" was found near Jalapa, and there was the possibility that other similar ones might appear in other places. At one point, reporters for the Política newspaper interviewed me, elaborating on the points discussed earlier in this letter. This led to controversy and bad feelings among Mr. Rivas's family. The reporters still consider this case to be "open" (open, but to what?).

In short, I am sending you some documentation on the case as well as photos of the corpus delicti. Your comments on this are always welcome.

[It is worth noting that Dr. Lara's correspondence is apparently still under surveillance: his envelope arrived in the U.S. opened with a sharp instrument on two sides and the photographs had been removed--Ed.]

From "POLITICA", Thursday, July 8, 1999
Close Encounter of the Third Kind in Colonia Higueras
by Alberto Morales/Gisela Uscanga

An image. Its size: approximately 8 centimeters. Color: brown; Eyes: large; Arms: long. Inert. The story told hereabouts is that it has a wound on its skull which possibly brought about what we Earthlings call "death".

Politica was in touch with a cybernaut yesterday who showed us a number of graphic images. Distrustful and sullen, she didn't say much about the origin of the photos--what we do know is that there are two versions of how the alien was found. We are only telling the reader what is said here without making any claims for its authenticity. Here they are:

1) On the side of a football field located in Colonia Higueras, a man who was playing ball on the site noticed something amid the grass when he went to collect the ball. He picked it up, looked at it, then threw it back. But one spectator of the game was well aware of his gestures and of the object he dropped to the ground: the problem is that when it hit the ground, some sparks flew off it. The spectator went straight to the player, demanding to know what it was. The player riposted that he could have it, if he wanted it. The strange object that drew the fan's attention proved to be a sort of doll, almost the size of a hand.

2) A girl found the alien in a milpa (maize field) and took it to her father, who is only 17 years old. The girl's grandfather has been the one to face the media during this event.

What's being said about this creature is that it communicated telepathically. The alien claimed to be an "android" from the planet "Andromeda", who had come to Earth to carry out a mission which was now over. Being the only female among the crew, her companions decided to leave her behind...for unknown reasons. The person who had the "android" in his possession says that whenever he woke up, objects in the house had been inexplicably rearranged. He claims to having neither heard nor seen anything at all.

[A UFO television personality]contacted the creature's keeper upon learning of the phenomenon. He requested permission to take the being to conduct tests, and was refused. On the other hand, a specialist working at IMSS Clinic 11 took some photos of the "critter" which are circulating throughout the city.

Thus, so that the story won't end too soon, it is rumored that another unidentified being will be found in Xalapa 2000."