Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Argentina: Saucers, Researchers and Cash Register Tape

Source: Diario Dia a Dia
Date: 10/11/2009

Argentina: Saucers, Researchers and Cash Register Tape
By Juan Manuel González

With 66 sightings recorded in 2008, Calamuchita seeks to wrest the Punillas’s sceptre as the capital of Ufology

Capilla del Monte’s UFO empire is under attack. The national capital of UFO sightings is not under siege from intergalactic spaceships, but rather, an uprising in the valley of Calamuchita, which is claiming pride of place in the UFO world.

This is a silent conflict. And like all conflicts, it conceals economic motives: the thousands of ufologists who lodge, eat and make purchases in the communities of both locations, attracted by the phenomenon.

While Calamuchita is featured on any self-respecting ufologist’s map – stemming from sightings of alien spacecraft for decades – there was a true boom last year. Martha Núñez, a resident of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and known as “the UFO Huntress”, began photographing alleged flying saucers with her digital camera. These records were analyzed and systematized by researcher Luis Burgos, who published them on the Internet, unleashing the incipient wave of visitors (terrestrial ones) to the communities of the picturesque valley.

The pilgrimage does not yet compare to the one at Capilla del Monte, where some 100,000 people, many of them from abroad, ascend Mount Uritorco every year. It is worth remembering that until the UFO phenomenon exploded, only 400 climbers a year ascended the mythic peak.

A New UFO Paradise? Cristina Torres, Secretary of Tourism at Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, makes it clear that the arrival of the ufologists isn’t an “invasion”. “In recent months there were random remarks made be people who have arrived to research the subject, and who have gathered at eateries. But we cannot describe it as a tourist movement,” explains the bureaucrat from the other side (of the telephone)

“Capilla del Monte claims almost exclusive rights over (UFOs), but the sky belongs to no one and it must be shared in peace,” she remarks, unlike ufologist Martha Nuñez, who claims that “people from all over the world have come to Santa Rosa” following the trail of the flying saucers. In 2008, the organization of which she is a member – Fundación Argentina de Ovnilogía – registered 66 ET cases in Calamuchita.

“Everyone wants to set up their own concession stand. A lot of money changes hands, like what happens with Our Lady of Salta,” Nuñez points out, explaining the financial motivations of the incipient conflict.

Adding mystery to the phenomenon, Nuñez points out that only a few days ago, she and her followers found mutilated cows in the fields surrounding Calamuchita. “One of them was alive, in spite of having been mutilated.” She quickly explains: “We are unsure as to how this relates to extraterrestrials, and we don’t know because no one has a direct line to these characters. But these things happen.

Susi Hoffman of the UFO Museum in Villa General Belgrano, acknowledges the increasing presence of foreigners. “Before leaving, some of them let us know telepathically that they are aliens,” she says in a German accent, convinced that extraterrestrials are “spiritual evolutions”.

From the ends of the Valley of Punilla, Jorge Suarez, director of Centro de Informes OVNI, claims that reports of an alleged wave of spaceships near Santa Rosa de Calamuchita “generated a beneficial tourist rebound” while stressing a difference he deems essential: “The number of witnesses in Capilla is overwhelming, and there is evidence that something exists.”

Suarez likewise cautions that “the difference” between Calamuchita and north of Punilla resides in that the number of UFO cases “recorded” at Uritorco is 90 cases a month, some 1080 a year. “Many more than the number documented at Santa Rosa de Calamuchita.”

Suarez, the Secretary of Tourism for that municipality in 1986 – when the famous imprint on Cerro El Pajarillo was discovered – abandoned his job to devote himself to ufology. He acknowledges “commercial and tourist interests are the dark side of Capilla del Monte. There are unsavory people here who say unsavory things. I hope the same doesn’t happen over at Santa Rosa.”

“It is frivolous and clumsy to approach this (the number of alleged ET vessels) like a football match: it is not necessary to resort to quantity in order to know that there is exceptional activity throughout the world,” Suarez remarks, explaining that the “skeptical press” tends to latch on to the UFO phenomenon for sheer fun, which favors “the delusions and excessive self-importance” of the pseudo-researchers.

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