Monday, November 09, 2009

Chile: A History of Chilean Ufology

The IIEE-Chile has informed us about a new book that summarizes Chile’s extensive UFO history: Historia de la Ufología en Chile, written by Juan Guillermo Prado and the late Luis Altamirano. While the book has just appeared, and although no translation is in the works, it is nonetheless interesting to share the following interview conducted by IIEE-Chile with Juan Guillermo Prado regarding his new project:

Q: What is the main reason for compiling an Historia de la Ufologia en Chile, when many people believe that this discipline is already ossified?
Prado: Astonishing events related to this discipline have occurred throughout Chilean history. Hitherto unexplained events, such as the aerial battle described by the Jesuit missionary Alonso Ovalle in his “Historica Relacion del Reino de Chile”, or the emergence of a strange flying object from the waters of the Straits of Magellan, as described by Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa. There are countless unexplained events that can be encapsulated into what is known as ufology.

Q: Please share your thoughts and your current stance toward “unidentified flying objects”.

Prado: Ufologists are largely to blame for the state of disrepute in which Ufology finds itself. They see a strange light, or a piece of paper flying around, and mistake it for a UFO.

Q: The book presents extraordinary historical events at the very dawn of our country. In your opinion, you believe that the ancient chroniclers mistakenly interpreted these events and were influenced by the superstitions or religious beliefs of the time.

Prado: The ancient chroniclers described what they saw. What superstition or belief could have influenced their accounts? Furthermore, in those days, the Inquisition could have taken measures had it been shown they were lying.

Q: Out of the phenomena in your book, compiled by researcher Luis Altamirano, which had the greatest impact and aroused your curiosity?

Prado: Just a note. I compiled the time period that runs from Pre-History to the Republic. Luis Altamirano only worked from the appearance of “La Aurora de Chile” up to our times. But much of the background information he provided had already appeared in earlier books of mine on the subject. I think what shocked me the most was the description of the aerial battle and subsequent appearance of a monster that was clearly not natural, and wiped out everything in its path.

Q: What do you foresee for Chilean ufology in the future?

Prado: As occurs with other areas of knowledge, it will have high points and others similar to the current ones. There will always be interest in the subject. We will have to see what phenomena may occur in the future.

[Questions posed to the late Luis Altamirano on the subject of contemporary ufology:]

Altamirano: There is a media-driven ufology, in which television and the few minutes of fame that can be gleaned are the most important thing. In the end, the cases do not matter at all, only the person presenting them. Contemporary ufology is full of actors.
Q: What became of the projected collective of Chilean ufologists?

Altamirano: The project was good, but only for one person. He wanted to appear on TV, in the press and logically, sell his books. A real shame.

(Translation (c) 2009, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Raul Núñez and IIEE-Chile)