Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mexico: Sixty UFOs Over Tula During Equinox

Date: 03.24.11

Mexico: Sixty UFOs Over Tula During Equinox

News Item from the Plaza Juarez newspaper
21 March 2011
By Verónica Monroy

Sixty UFOs Appeared as Witnesses Drew Energy

Tula de Allende, Hidalgo – Unidentified flying objects formed shapes in the sky and disappeared later, having been visible from Cerro El Magoni yesterday before noon, as thousands of visitors who were “drawing energy” from the archaeological area.

Some of the visitors at summit of Pyramid B, where the “Atlante” statues are located, noted that they held their hands aloft, looking skyward to draw down energy, when they found themselves concentrating – as they turned toward Cerro El Magoni -- on a series of unidentified flying objects that spun rapidly in a single direction.

They noted that they could not exactly specify the number of the objects, but that they could be over 50 or 60, and that the phenomenon occurred five minutes before noon, as the sun beat down upon them.

Witnesses remarked that the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) employees, located at various points of the site, advised each other via walkie-talkie of the shapes being seen, urging those with cameras to record the image. But inexplicably, some cameras and cellphones were jammed. [The witnesses] stressed that the objects rose in seconds to form a sort of square shape, followed by a triangle and another square, before immediately heading south, forming a letter “S” and then vanishing altogether.

Following the sighting, visitors concentrated at various points of the archaeological site, such as Pyramid A and B, as well as the dancers, testified to the event as “a gift from the Spring Equinox.”

Regarding the phenomenon, INAH staff stated that they had indeed witnessed the sighting over the center of Cerro El Magoni, but that there exists no precedent, in their opinion. The study of phenomena of this sort must not be dismissed out of hand and must undoubtedly be taken into consideration by researchers, so that they will pay more attention to the sky. A similar event was reported last year, and must therefore be taken seriously.

It should be noted that out of 25,000 visitors to the Archaeological Zone during the three-day holiday period, hoping to charge themselves with energy, around 2,500 were present at the time that the UFOs appeared. Most of them said they were impressed by the phenomenon they saw in the sky.

Regarding the visitors’ behavior, archaeologist Luis Manuel Gamboa said is was good, which allowed all activities performed inside the Tula Archaeological Zone to be carried out with success.

A UFO in Guamúchil, Sinaloa (Mexico)
News item from the newspaper
21 March 2011
By Javier Carvajal

UFOs Over Guamúchil

All sorts have taken place in Guamúchil, but nothing like what happened yesterday morning and which shall be remembered as the day that UFOs turned up.

Many local residents allegedly witnessed the strange phenomenon of the lights that illuminated the night sky.

Francisco Javier Martínez was among them. He claims that upon leaving his house around 12:30 a.m., waiting up for one of his sons who’d gone off to a party, he was surprised to see spheres of light when he glanced up at the sky.

“I was home, waiting for my son to return from a party. It was around 12 midnight when I heard a noise, and went out the door to the back yard. When I looked at the sky, I saw a very large round light, like a saucer, surrounded by many smaller lights,” he said. Martínez, a municipal security agent, explained that the lesser lights were orange and the large one was white. They were all hanging in the air.

“They stayed there for a bit, and suddenly the lights began to fly off quickly, with the larger one moving away more slowly until it disappeared,” he noted.

“I believe they were extraterrestrials in spaceships. What else could they be? They weren’t normal airplanes or helicopters. They were lights of very strange color that vanished in an instant.”

Someone else who will never forget this day is a local mechanic who refused to give his name, fearful of being laughed at.

At around 21:30 hours, this person left his home in the Las Torres subdivision on his way to Los Achires, where he would meet a friend to discuss business matters. “On the return trip, at around 12:20, I was driving along when upon leaving the subdivision, on a section of dirt road with a curve, I saw a bunch of lights in the sky. One of them larger, surrounded by the rest.”

The mechanic noted that there were around 21 lights suspended in mid-air. They later dispersed at high speed.

To many, UFOs are mere fantasy. But those who saw them will always remember the day they appeared in Guamúchil.

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Ana Luisa Cid)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

APRO Bulletins Now Available On-Line

INEXPLICATA would like to thank OpenMinds ( for making available the old APRO Bulletins to readers both new and old. Jim and Coral Lorenzen's Aerial Phenomena Research Organization was the first to feature a network of correspondents throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas and Spain, offering its readers a glimpse of the nascent UFO phenomenon's manifestations in those countries.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enigmas in Empty Places: Haunted Deserts

Enigmas in Empty Places: Haunted Deserts
By Scott Corrales

One does not immediately associate the concept of deserts with Brazil - our mental images of the South American giant immediately take us to the jungle greenery of the Amazon or to the bright pleasures of Rio de Janeiro. However, the South American superpower extensive coastal deserts—complete with sand dunes—in the northern region of Maranhao, once known to be the wealthiest part of this Portuguese possession (so wealthy, in fact, that a Portuguese monarch was willing to abdicate his crown as long he was able to keep control over Maranhao). Located between the Mangueira and Parnaíba deserts, the vast sand dunes are contained within the Lencois Maranhenses National Park and aerial photography shows the sand encroaching on the surrounding vegetation, like a stain of white ink on a green tablecloth. This is not surprising, as the Maranhao dunes stand a staggering thirty meters talls and are a source of humidity that attracts all manner of wildlife to it.

The sand dunes of Maranhao are also the home of highly unusual paranormal phenomena. In 1997, researchers Pablo Villarubia and Carlos Alberto Martins crossed the desert to visit remote communities and interview locals about their brushes with the unknown. The people who somehow wrest a living out of this harsh land speak freely of a recurrent luminous phenomenon known as the caburé or even more picturesquely as “the phantom Jeep”. Unlike tales involving phantom cars like the terrifying Haitian zobop, the ghost Jeep of the Maranhao dunes is seen where no vehicles usually drive; some claim having been blinded by the intense blueness of its headlights, which can illuminate the surroundings like daylight. One man interviewed by Villarubia and Martins was out deer-hunting when the ethereal vehicle made a beeline toward him, scaring him out of his wits and making him beleive that he was about to be run over in the wilderness. Unable to move, he saw the phantom Jeep vanish into thin air before it struck him. The "phantom Jeep" may also have a Mexican cousin: the carro de Banda reported in Durango's Zone of Silence since the 1920s.

However, the caburé isn’t the only light in the Maranhao. Carlos Araújo, born and raised in the area, told researchers that he was hunting deer among the scrub when he came across a cigar-shaped light suspended in the air, looking like “the burning tip of a cigarette” and less than a hundred meters from where he stood in the darnkess. Calling out to the object, thinking it might belong to a fellow hunter, the cigar shaped light did something completely unexpected: it changed shape, elongating up, down and sideways into the shape of a cross. Believing that it was a sign of God, Araújo dropped to his knees in fervent prayer as the cross turned to the same blue color associated with the phantom Jeep’s headlights.

Yet these experiences are hardly new. As far back as the 1930’s, ethnographers were collecting stories in the area about strange goings-on that were quickly filed under “folklore”. Author José Carvalho reported that fishermen along the Mangueiras River were used to seeing objects best described as brightly lit phantom boats that caused riverboat captains to panic and veer off course before a collision could occur.

But lights aside, the area contains even more compelling mysteries, such as the abandoned city of Tutóia, believed by 19th century archeologist Ludwig Schwennhagen to be a Phoenician fortified trading post in the manner of similar trading posts found along the Red Sea during the Hellenistic Age. It was believed that further proof of the Phoenician presence in northwestern Brazil could perhaps be found not in this desert-girt city but in the swamps and bogs along the shores of the Pinaré River.

Salt Deserts of the South

In February 2001, residents of the northern Chilean town of Calama—located in the vicinity of the country’s northern salt deserts—claimed having seen a “caravan of UFOs” in the Salar de Atacama, one of the driest spots on Earth. A strange silvery sphere had been causing a great deal of consternation among locals, but it wasn’t until February 24 at 8:30 pm that Adolfo Trigo, a young resident of the outlying village of San Rafael, claimed having seen a UFO taking off from one of the village’s quarters. The object, he would later tell the Diario de Calama newspaper, was a “fish-tailed cylinder with a phosphorescent green front, an electric blue middle and a violet-hued tail.”

Trigo was spellbound as the multicolored object made a full turn in the air before rising into the night sky at full speed. But what makes Trigo’s account unique is that he did not see the object lose itself among the stars, as is often described in UFO sightings, but rather “disappear into a doorway in the sky.”

Others would become witnesses to this latest desert mystery. Weeks later, Gustavo Glade would become a witness to UFO while traveling by truck along Cuesta El Diablo on the southernmost reaches of the Atacama Desert. The driver, accompanied by five other passengers, was able to see a sequence of bright rectangular lights that appeared to be flying in tandem. It looked, in his own words, “like seeing a train riding through space”, a description corroborated by the others aboard his vehicle. However, the same peculiarity as in the Trigo sighting was noticed: the heavenly convoy did not fly away or shoot up into space—it seemed to enter into a cloud or “dimensional doorway” through which it vanished completely. Glade’s sighting lasted a total of eighteen to twenty seconds and the objects involved were no mroe than a dozen, flying in an upward direction, which discarded the suggested possibility that the driver and his passengers had seen a meteor.

The UFO phenomenon’s interest in Chile is mirrored by the U.S. military’s interest in both the country and the phenomenon. According to journalist Cristián Riffo (, a Col. Hubert Brandon prepared a dossier on the anomalous activity in this country in 1965. This Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) dossier documents UFO sightings and encounters reported by trained professionals, including the Septemebr 1965 encounter between a LAN Chile airliner piloted by Marcelo Cisternas over the city of Arica, in which a zig-zagging object buzzed the aircraft for a number of minutes.

Months before the Trigo and Glade sightings, researcher Jaime Ferrer of the Calama UFO Center managed to collect a compelling account from the desert community of Chiu-Chiu which took place in October 2000. A man named Gonzalo, owner of a hard candy factory in the area and who distributed his product personally to the local towns, told Ferrer the following story: he had been driving some forty kilometers along the road when he saw a bright light the size of the full moon which appeared to be coming in for a landing. However, the bright object was actually suspended in mid-air. Gonzalo pulled his delivery van over , turned off the headlights and lowered the driver side window for a better look. To his astonishment, the object “exploded” and vanished, scattering three lights—red, yellow and blue-- in separate directions. What truly astonished him, he told Ferrer, was that no sooner had the lights scattered, he could hear a helicopter taking off in the darkness, although he couldn’t see it. The helo kicked up a dust storm and Gonzalo noticed “ a powerful ultraviolet light” aimed at the ground. Three wheeled vehicles, which he took to be Jeeps or 4x4s followed the helicopter’s beam and lost themselves in the desert – proof that the Chilean military is as interested in UFOs as it ever was, despite strenuous protestations that it keeps no files on the phenomenon?

Why Chile? Why the Atacama Desert with its thousand year-old mummies and vestiges of the earliest civilizations in South America? Archaeologist Juan Schobinger has written in his Prehistory in the Americas (NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000) that Chile faces one of the richest seas in the world and is backed by one of its most forbidding deserts. The dryness of the salt desert, where rainfall is measured in inches per century, made it ideal for preserving cultural artifacts such as baskets, textiles and even food.

It also preserved something darker—the rituals of forgotten shamans who would bury sacrifices deep in the desert for the “gods” to feast upon. The sacrifices would be held at night and the victim, usually a llama or a dog, left out. At daybreak, the ancient medicine men would return to the site to insure that the gods—the meandering lights of the desert—had accepted the offering. The carcass would be utterly exsanguinated and a puncture mark could usually be found somewhere on the body, which was then transported back to the primitve settlement to be consumed by the community. Subsequently, evidence of this communion between man and his deities was buried under a cairn known as an apachetca, a tangible link of the trade betwen ancient man and supernatural forces. It is easy to dismiss this as the savagery of ancient man until we remember that the books of the Pentateuch mentioned that the blood of the sacrifice belonged to the godhead. Contemporary thinkers of the paranormal like Salvador Freixedo have written at length about this curious aspect of the human worship (Defendámonos de los dioses, Spain: Quintá, 1985).

Death Lurks in the Sand

Spanish author Miguel Seguí, writing in Año Cero magazine, mentions a conversation a conversation he held with Tunisian camel driver Mohamed Charaa regarding the perils of the northern reaches of the Sahara desert. In the vicinity of the town of Gafsa, said Charaa, the truly unlucky ran the risk of coming across monstrously large snakes known as taguerga which measure up to 4 meters in length and whose poison is lethal. In the late 1950s, desert nomads spoke of giant snakes that devoured their goats and and sheep; when one specimen decided to help itself to a young camel at a desert campsite, the nomads decided that no matter how much they loathed the idea of doing so, it was necessary to appeal to the colonial authorities for help.

It was thus, according to Seguí, that a French army detachment was sent to investigate from the vicinty of Beni Ounif. It wasn’t long before these romanticized desert warriors came across the largest snake they had ever seen—so large that their Enfield rifles were unable to fell it. The soldiers had to resort to a heavy machine gun to slay the beast, which measured a nightmarish 20 meters long—very nearly 90 feet.

Although the serpent’s skin was preserved for a while, the political turmoil of the times and the withdrawal of French forces from the area caused all traces of the spectacular find to be lost.

Seguí was able to determine, however, that a year earlier, a native auxiliary had been attacked by a giant snake measuring anywhere between fourteen and fifteen feet. The skin of this desert beast had indeed been preserved and seen by many, but was ultimately sold for forty-five thousand Francs to a private collector. The notable characteristic of this monster snake is that it appears to be able to “jump up” to bite a human or camel in the head, and has a singular characteristic: what appears to be a crest of long hairs on its head, which also have horns.

Years would go by before another case was reported. It wasn’t until 1967, during the construction of a massive dam in southern Morocco, that bulldozer operator Hamza Rahmani saw a seven long serpent engaging in a singular activity—eating its way through the construction site’s entire supply of engine grease. Using his bulldozer’s blade, Rahmani was able to kill the creature, which measured a little over nine meters long and had a “mane’ of hair running along its head. According to Seguí, the construction project was bedeviled by the creatures, with a ten meter long one—complete with twisted horns—being seen the following year and twelve to fifteen meter one reported two years later. While even the most open-minded may scoff at these measurments and call them overblown, the author reminds us that eighteen-meter long snakes were common during the Pleistocene in South America.

But stranger things than giant snakes can be found in the world’s deserts. Ing. Marco Reynoso of Mexico’s defunct Fundación Cosmos A.C. describes a case involving a group of teenagers during the months of December '89/January '90 as they traveled to visit a series of caves located in Cerro Pajarito, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua on the road leading to the Paquimé archaeological site. According to Alvaro Villareal, one of the witnesses, they found two dead, 3-point deer and one doe on their path. The animal’s carcasses were not rigid and the eyes had been eaten by ants. Three perforations, spaced at 3 cm., were on their necks forming a triangle. Footprints similar to those of a puma were seeing in the area.

When the group entered into one of the caves, they heard squealing sounds and smelled an odor of burned wood; standing on an outcropping 15 meters away was an entity resembling the one described as the "Chupacabras", which advanced toward them. Seized by panic, one of the would-be speleologists drew his pistol and fired an entire clip at the creature, which was impervious to the hail of bullets. The group ran out of the cave, uncertain if the creature was dead or not. They also claim having encountered a thin, metallic green entity standing some 80 cm., which they took to be an "extraterrestrial". Drawings were subsequently made of both creatures. It is worth noting that the deserts of Northern Mexico have also been the locale for many encounters and sighings of winged creatures best described as “gargoyles” or even “Birdmen” (see “Return of the Birdmen” by Scott Corrales, FATE October 1998).


The desert is a place of great beauty, but also of danger. It is the place where animals and insects inimical to human life dwell and also the place seekers go to find hidden wisdom and revelations. Traditionally the “deserted places” were shunned by the ancients, who believed that the gods of the ruined cities in the desert reverted into angry demons, having no one to worship them. Tanith Lee, one of Great Britain finest authors of sword and sorcery, writes a compelling account of a band of desert travelers who entertain a stranger by their campfire—who should it turn out to be but the demon king, come to the surface to listen to the chorused voices of his “children”, the desert predators. H.P. Lovecraft, whose visions disturb our sleep to this very day, had the “Mad Arab” Abd Alhazred title the fearsome Necronomicon “Al Azif” – supposedly the sound made by nocturnal desert insects who are in fact, evil spirits.

But so much for the worlds created by our gifted fantasists. What wonders—and horrors—do the world’s deserts hold for us?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mexico: Exanguinated Sheep in Veracruz

Date: 18 March 2011

Mexico: Exsanguinated Sheep in Veracruz
By Ana Luisa Cid

The NOTIVER newspaper reported on the incidents that took place at a ranch in the community of Las Compras, two kilometers distant from the municipal seat, according to Oscar Leonel Rojas, first police commissioner:

The sheep were kept in a pen within the ranch owned by Justino Andrés Bretón, and died when blood was sucked out of their bodies.

Bretón reported that he made the discovery on Tuesday morning. He found the seventeen lifeless sheep scattered throughout the ranch as he was about to feed them.

“We heard nothing in the early morning hours. There was no noise or anything like it. The animals presented bite marks in various parts of their bodies, mainly the neck. Some of them had tears in their skin,” he explained. His neighbors say its the Chupacabras, because the attack on the sheep shares the same characteristics that were in evidence during the animal slayings years ago throughout the municipality and the region.

Alarmed by the bizarre occurrence, local residents declared themselves in a state of alert, as they did not know the type of animal or beast that they are dealing with, and have therefore organized themselves into brigades to look after their animals. “What is odd is that there are no traces suggesting that the animal went as far as where the sheep were kept. Residents have made their fear of the alleged Chupacabras’s presence well known and have taken measures to prevent further attacks,” he remarked.

For the moment, the first commander stated that monitoring operations had been stepped up in the region to find the animal that killed seventeen sheep in an unusual manner in a single morning.”

This is the third report concerning mysterious deaths in Mexico in 2011. The first was in Chiapas and the second in Chihuahua.

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Ana Luisa Cid and Notiver)

Cusco UFO Video Link

For those of you who've had trouble seeing the Cusco UFO at the link provided, here's the direct link to YouTube:

Mexico: More "UFOs" Seen Over León

Source: Periódico A.M.
Date: 20 March 2011

Mexico: More “UFOs” Seen over León
By Jose Luis Ramirez
Photo credit: Fernándo Fernández

Some people in Parque Metropolitano saw lights in the sky that they ascribed to UFOs.

Residents of the city of Leon claimed seeing such objects in the Downtown area; even one person managed to record the alleged sighting.

Juan Antonio Lopez professed himself as completely skeptical, but changed his opinion on Friday when he saw around 50 luminous objects in the sky moving in an orderly fashion toward the Parque Metropolitano before vanishing from slight.

“In fact, many of us even referred to these lights as brujas (witches) in the sky, but after what I’ve seen, now I believe in them (UFOs).”

María Sandoval says that she also saw the lights in the sky last Friday night. “I was able to see them in the vicinity of El Rosario. They’re neither balloons nor airplanes, because they move in formation, and a balloon wouldn’t fly so high or move [in such a way].”

A resident of Gran Jardín says that around 0200 yesterday she saw five lights flying in formation at high speed. She made it clear that these could not be airplanes due to their high rate of speed. Another resident of León said that three red spheres forming a triangle have been visible since January from the parking lot at Plaza Galerías.

Videos have been uploaded to the Internet. For over a month, sightings of alleged unidentified flying objects over León have been posted to YouTube. The videos have over a thousand hits and according to the description offered, were seen over Ibarrilla and the El Coecillo district.

Images show some lights that remain static before moving swiftly, and later disapperaing. Others show circles of light in the sky before nightfall. A three-part video was taken in mid-February, looking toward Cerro Gordo, and according to the person who took it, a “UFO Flotilla” is in evidence.

Another video is dated 15 February and was taken around 0750 hours near Ley de Torres Landa. “We thought it was a balloon, but when it got closer we saw its shape,” says the author of the video posted to the website.

Photo caption: With his cellphone, Fernando Fernández captured the lights that startled people strolling through the Zona Peatonal at 2200 hours.

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Peru: Strange Light Videotaped Over Cusco

Source: El Correo Noticias
Date: 18 March 2011

Peru: Strange Light Videotaped Over Cusco
Correo Noticias Staff

LIMA - An alleged Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was recorded by an amateur cameraman in the city of Cusco.

YouTuber "luiggisalazarr" explains that the object was seen very early in the morning from the southern reaches of the city of Cusco.

"Unfortunately, its disappearance could not be recorded due to a lack of battery power. Are we really alone in the universe?" wonders Salazar.

The alleged UFO appears static but when the zoom is applied, it has a rhomboidal shape.

There are dozens of videos on YouTube - some less blurry than others - that reveal alleged UFO apparitions over ruins, and even over Machu Picchu itself.


(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Policemen and UFOs in Cordoba (2002)

Source: Gaceta OVNI & Planeta UFO
Date: March 14 2011

“And the Night Became Day”: Policemen and UFOs in Cordoba
By Carlos Fernández

July 21, 2002 could have been any other day in the locality of Rio Cuarto, Argentina. Reports of poaching or less significant matters might have occupied the time of the policemen stationed in the villages of Achiras, Chaján and Las Albahacas. But the reported sighting of a strange light by one of the squad cars, and the radio communications with its sister units, turned into a multiple sighting that involved several police officers and civilians.

In the company of Paco Martinez, Patricio Parente and Javier Ferraroto, we decided to travel to the area to gather first-hand accounts from the main witnesses to the phenomenon. Our first destination was Achiras, located 70 kilometers west of Rio Cuarto, where we obtained the main narratives.

Officer Barrio is assigned to Achiras. That night he was driving along the road that links this locality to Rio Cuarto. Accompanying him was Franco Biasi, chief of the Achiras Fire Department. As they crossed the wilderness known as Cuatro Vientos, they noticed something that broke the landscape’s monotony. “It was a light far bigger than a star, and a lot closer. I saw the light moving at high speed and then remaining still,” Barrios described the first movements of the sighting. “Then it “ran” again and moved upward, returning to its point of departure. Then it reversed itself. It did this three times,” said the policeman.

Official communications began at that point: “I requested information from Rio Cuarto, asking whether there was a helicopter or airplane in the area, because it really caught my attention.” Dispatchers advised him from the base that what they were seeing did not correspond to any identified traffic, and that the radars at Cordoba were not picking any abnormal activity. Over the radio, Barrio kept describing what he and Biasi were seeing until they reached the Las Albahacas crossroads, where the sightings observation became more intense. “It was an immense light. It might have measured some 150 meters,” he says. The fireman’s own report coincides with Barrios.

Driven by curiosity, the protagonists pulled over on a dirt road. The light, originally white, now acquired a yellowish tone. “It lit up everything to look like broad daylight,” Biasi explained.

Mauro Fernández was driving through the location at that very instant at the wheel of the Expreso Achiras Pullman bus, providing service between Achiras and the city of Rio Cuarto. The busman’s account dovetails in that everything appeared to be illuminated, even though it was the middle of the night.

Standing outside their vehicle, Barrio and Biasi looked at the light for a few minutes when a “platform flew over our heads.” According to their account, it was a large semi-circular light flying at low altitude. Following this observation, both witnesses saw the object fly away, and other witnesses – policemen stationed in nearby communities – also witnessed other UFO activity.

Alerted by the observations described by Barrio over the police radio, Sergeant Guillermo Arias had gone out to investigate another sighting taking place in Chaján, 50 kilometers from Achiras.

Arias stopped at a place called “zona de piedra” (the stone area) from which the entire region of Chaján, Suco, Sampacho and Achiras can be seen. After 22:00 hours, he had only seen “a reflection”, but almost immediately, “a terribly large sort of vessel began to rise at a distance of some 15 to 20 meters, blue light streaming downward, and it began to move before hovering over the road some fifteen or 20 meters away and some thirty to thirty-five meters high. The vessel’s “shape” as described by Arias was that of “a triangle resting on its side with a rounded tip and hundreds of portholes and lights ranging from violet to yellow, but very dim.” Through these portholes, the officer was able to see figures that resembled “shadows moving like treetops in the wind.”

Sergeant Arias got out of his vehicle because the car stopped functioning and, with a hand on his sidearm, calculated by steps that the object measured some 200 meters in length. Streams of “frozen light” (sic) emerged from the UFO “and everything turned to day.” The object then flew westward at high speed.

Arias reported his situation over the squad car’s radio, describing his situation. The sergeant’s memory experiences a brief time lapse. He was found an hour and a half later, weapon in hand, cocked and ready to fire. Sergeant Arias subsequently underwent a psychiatric examination at the request of his superiors. Alejandra Terrestre, the psychologist in charge of the test, highlighted the integrity, professionalism and mental health of the police officer, detecting a slight “post-traumatic stress syndrome” that bore witness to the ordeal that Arias had been through.

Officer Luis Ortiz also saw the lights in the night sky on July 21, 2002 from Las Albahacas. The lights became especially noticeable in Achiras due to a power blackout. Moreover, research suggests that more than one strange phenomenon took place that night in the skies of southern Cordoba Province.

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Gaceta OVNI and Guillermo Gimenez)

Mexico: Security Camera Captures UFO Over Tulancingo

Date: 13 March 2011

Mexico: Security Camera Captures UFO over Tulancingo, Hidalgo
By Ana Luisa Cid

On December 5, 2010, Mr. Ezequiel Zeferino Hernández recorded a strange object over the city of Tulancingo. The witness is a C4 security camera operator.

At the end of his work shift, Mr. Hernández went out to the street and was able to see a luminous shape in the night sky. He returned to his office and used the building's security cameras to focus in on the object, noticing that it changed shape as hours went by.

The "Bisemanario Ruta" newspaper published the events, and its editor -- Lic. Juan Antonio Ortiz -- sent me a full video (over 2 hours long) and put me in contact with the original witness. I originally learned of the case from my friend and collaborator Ing. Héctor Pérez.

It should also be noted that -- according to Mr. Hernández -- the UFO was located in the same area where a fireball was recorded last year.

NOTE: Full video at

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Ana Luisa Cid)

Argentina: UFO Videotaped North of Santiago del Estero

Source: El Nuevo Diario (Argentina)
Date: 13 March 2011

Argentina: UFO Videotaped North of Santiago del Estero

A sudden flare crossed the skies of the provincial capital and was videotaped by residents of the Aeropuerto District. Countless theories have been put forth about the nature of the unidentified flying object.

The video was taken last Thursday (03 Mar 11) at 19:44 hours by Oscar Covi, who was startled by the flare while playing with his family in Barrio Aeropuerto to the north of Santiago del Estero.

The images were captured by the camera of a 2 megapixel cell phone and the object can be seen traveling on a trajectory parallel to the surface. According to the videographer "the flare was heading west of the city at high speed."

There is no solid information regarding the source of the sighting. Among the hypotheses put forth by witnesses are the possibility of space junk, a meterorite entering the atmosphere, the exhaust of a rocket or even that of an alien spacecraft.

Watch the video and leave your comments as to what was the true nature of the object flying over the skies of Santiago.

NOTE: Video can be seen at YouTube at

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Uruguay: The Salto UFO was "Space Junk"

Source: El Pais Digital (Uruguay)
Date: 03.09.2011

Uruguay: The Salto UFO Was “Space Junk”
By Luis A. Perez – Salto

Explanation given: NASA states debris was the remains of a U.S. rocket launched in 2003

“A luminous fleet” is how some witnesses described it. The photo was published in El Pueblo de Salto newspaper, where the reporter who took it is employed. The Uruguayan Air Force dispelled the mystery – it was “space junk”, the remains of a U.S. rocket.

“Remains of one of the stages of a Delta II rocket launched in 2003 from Cape Canaveral.” That was the explanation given by the Uruguayan Air Force after a quick investigation of the phenomenon’s visual record, which was made known in Salto on Sunday.

The image of an unidentified flying object - captured by a photojournalist at 23:00 hours in the vicinity of Zanja Gorda – became an element for study by the members of the Comisión Receptora e Investigadora de Denuncias de Objetos Voladores No Identificados (CRIDOVNI – Uruguay’s sanctioned UFO research body). The author of the photo, Luis Massarino, was also brought in for questioning. But NASA’s information was the key: the sighting’s narrative coincides with the official data furnished by the United States space agency: on that day, at that time, latitude and altitude, the re-entry of fragments of a Delta II rocket launched 8 years ago was anticipated.

Massarino, linked to Diario El Pueblo and whose work has sometimes been featured in EL PAIS, mainly in its sports pages, took the photo in an entirely fortuitous manner. He happened to be fishing at night in Zanja Honda, 50 kilometers north of the city. He was only able to press the shutter once to capture the movement of a “luminous fleet’ moving from West to East.

“There were five of us at the campsite. Suddenly, the site’s owner and one of my kids looked skyward, shouting for me to look at those lights in the sky. I looked up and saw what looked like a train pulling railcars, with more lights of an intense violet hue. I ran to the pickup truck to grab my camera and document the image,” Massarino told EL PAIS. At that time they were getting ready to roast a dorado (fish) over the coals.

He notes that the urgency and prevailing darkness kept him from noticing that the equipment was on automatic and he could therefore not focus. “When I realized this, I switched to manual and 3200 ASA, causing me to lose an tremendous amount of time. I was able to take a single photo, which was the one at the exact moment, because it truly did startle me.”

He told EL PAIS that in spite of having covered numerous stories involving spacecraft landings or fly-overs at Establecimiento La Aurora in Salto, he never thought that he’d have an experience like the one on Wednesday.

Another eyewitness account, from a reader of El Pueblo, describes the phenomenon as: “Aligned luminous objects. The brightest of them looked broken and in flames, and the ones at the head of the caravan weren’t so bright, but they seemed to be smaller in size.”

“A 100% conventional phenomenon” - the report issued by the Uruguayan Air Force’s Comisión Receptora e Investigadora de Denuncias sobre Objetos Voladores No Identificados reads thus: “This Commission, after having analyzed the main witness’s story, the photograph presented and the information regarding space junk, concludes that the lights seen in flight by various witnesses from the Department of Salto on the evening of Wednesday, March 2 (2011) correspond to the re-entry of the remains of one of the stages of the Delta II booster launched in 2003 by the United States from Cape Canaveral. Therefore, there exists the 100% likelihood that it is a conventional phenomenon.”

(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to TresUFOs-Piriápolis)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Aviation and the Unknown

Spirits in the Sky: Aviation and the Unknown
By Scott Corrales

Much is made this day of the declassification of UFO material by some of the world’s air forces and civil aviation boards, but much of this openness surely mirrors the greater receptiveness toward the UFO subject in society at large. Pilots and workers in the aviation industry who stepped forward years ago with claims of the abnormal could find their flight status revoked or their employment terminated.

We can only imagine the fate of pilot Ricardo France of the LAN carrier, who spoke openly to Chile’s REVISTA VEA in January 1972 about being pursued by a flotilla of UFOs over a considerable length of Chilean territory for nearly 90 minutes. It is likely that he underwent rigorous investigation and medical checkups, even when four days after his experience, five hundred cars in the city of Tandil “were paralyzed by a flashing flying saucer” according to the same publication. These unbelievable cases form part of the collection of ufologist Liliana Núñez.

Pilots in Peril

“The altimeter started to climb and the artificial horizon spun like a top. The gauges all became whirlygig and the readouts on three inertial navigation computers turned to frantic numbers and coordinates. The airliner flew along the indicated parameters, but if the autopilot had obeyed the instruments, we would’ve been killed.”

It sounds at first blush like a line of dialogue from LOST or some television show in which square-jawed protagonists take on the unknown. But this is the testimony of a Mexican commercial pilot whose crew actually had a brush with the bizarre in February 1979 at an eleven thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The three man crew – who steadfastly refused to allow their names to be used – spoke to researcher Alberto Montemayor under a promise of anonymity. Had the cause of the confusion on flight deck been ascribed to faulty software, defective hardware or some other mundane reason, they would surely have been less reticent. But as the airliner captain – known only as “F.T.” – told the researcher, the cause for the confusion anguish among the crew was an powerful source of light that appared to fly over the aircraft for an endless, maddening three minutes.

“F.T.” had no illusions about the experience. “If someone was trying to send us a special message,” he told Montemayor, “all they managed to do was show us that the thing had such power and control over our aircraft that it could have seized the airliner and spirited us away.”

This harrowing experience is among several collected by our friend and colleague Bruno Cardeñosa, host of Spain’s ever-popular La Rosa de los Vientos radio show. Cardeñosa, an acclaimed UFO writer and researcher, mentions another mid-air incident involving a another Mexican pilot on an international flight between Europe and the Americas. The pilot – only known by his initials – said that the flight was going along as planned and that stepped out of the flight deck to inspect the cabin and see how the passenger service was going. He chatted for a few minutes with the cabin crew and some passengers when a flight attendant made a curious observation: the sun’s light was streaming through the wrong side of the aircraft. “I returned to the flight deck for an urgent confirmation. It turned out we were flying toward the O navigation point,” said the pilot, “that is to say, we were heading toward Africa instead of the Americas. We made the appropriate corrections, but the fuel wasted in the inexplicable turn forced us to land in Bermuda. Upon making the corrective turn, I could see a dot of light pulling away from us and throbbing brightly.”

But Mexican pilots have hardly been the only ones with tales to tell. An electrifying brush with unknown aerial “competitors” tested the mettle of pilot Carlos García Bermúdez and his co-pilot Antonio Nieto at the controls of Aviaco Flight 502 between Valencia and Bilbao in early 1978.

Captain García’s flight plan would take him from Valencia’s airport to the Sondika Airport outside Bilbao, a challenging destination at the best of times due to uncertain weather conditions. Dense cloud cover forced Aviaco 502 to be redirected to Santander, from which passengers could reach their destinations by ground transportation. As the airliner made its final descent through the clouds, it penetrated “a particularly dense, lens-shaped and extremely bright cloud formation.” The brightness was such that the pilot and co-pilot put on their sunglasses without giving the situation a second thought.

As with the Mexican flight described earlier, the airliner’s equipment went haywire. Compasses, weather radar, VHF channels fluctuated wildly as the flight odometer started counting kilometers backward. According to Captain García: “We could neither receive nor transmit over the VHF band, and we later learned that both Bilbao and Santander were constantly trying to reach us. This situation lasted seven minutes.

Flight 502 eventually emerged from the anomalous cloud and communications were restored. To their shock, they were in the same position as they had been before entering the cloud – twenty-two miles from Bilbao. The forty miles they covered while in the cloud had apparently never existed and the aircraft had made no forward progress for seven minutes. Cardeñosa remarks that “it was as if the cloud had pulled them out of space-time.”

Weirder things have happened: according to the March 13, 1992 issue of Mexico's reputable El Universal newspaper, a sudden encounter with a UFO on March 6 of that year caused an airliner to become invisible.

The Aeromexico airliner allegedly departed from Mexico City at 11:30 p.m. enroute to Monterrey. The pilot dimmed the cabin lights and passenger began falling asleep for the short flight, until they suddenly found themselves staring into the night sky and the bright stars in the heavens if the entire fuselage had been lifted away. "We were flying in space, seeing the skies and stars without the barrier of cabin walls, which were still there and detectable to the touch, but completely invisible," said a witness to this sudden phenomenon. "We could even see the pilots in the cabin, at the controls of an aircraft that none of us could see, only touch."

One would expect to see passengers gripped by panic, but this was not the case: the startled passengers tried to make sense of the phenomenon until they suddenly became aware of a glowing object shaped like two "inverted bowls" stuck together flying alongside the aircraft.

The newspaper account states that the broadcast media reported the disappearance of the Aeromexico airliner from radar screens in both Monterrey and Mexico City for ten minutes, along with the corresponding gap in communications.

Strange Encounters in the Southern Cone

Ever since the days of the "Stendek" affair in the 1960's (solved in recent years when the wreckage of the aircraft was found in an Andean valley), the UFO phenomenon has shown an interest in commercial aviation and has even interfered with routine flights, as has occurred elsewhere in the world.

The February 17, 2001 issue of Chile's "El Mercurio" newspaper ran an interesting story which demonstrated that this disturbing attraction to airliners wasn't a thing of the past: at 11:30 a.m., the crew of LAN Chile Flight 560 established visual contact with a shining ovoid object "of considerable size" which prompted the pilot to report it to the National Air Traffic Control Center in Santiago de Chile. Although civilian radars reported that the contact was not on their screens, the 5th Air Brigade in Cerro Moreno (Antofagasta) and the regional airport of Calama in nothern Chile managed to track it.

Confirmation for the event was received five minutes after an Avant airliner had taken off from the Calama airfield--its crew corroborated the LAN Chile information, adding that the object was stationary and remained visible 10 minutes after the initial sighting.

The military air station at Cerro Moreno placed the object 40 miles over the town of Mejillones and at an altitude of 60,000 feet, thus ruling out the possibility that the strange object could have been a weather balloon -- the usual "culprit" in these cases--due to the fact that said meteorological artifacts were launched from Cerro Moreno on a daily basis early in the morning.

Across the Andes, Argentinean pilots have had a long history of facing the unknown.

Researcher and author Carlos Iurchuk takes note of two early incidents from the early days of the UFO phenomenon: In August 1958, private pilot Raul N. López took to the skies in his Piper PA (LV-XJW) on what he described as “a glorious day” marred only by the smoke arising from agricultural burning. Flying from Machagay to Resistencia in the Chaco, López became aware at 11:16 hours of a glowing “something” at 2400 feet, when his small aircraft was 180 degrees from La Verde. Within seconds, the unknown light had ascended to an estimated thirty six hundred feet and at twenty kilometers’ distance. Intrigued, López changed course to get a better look, only to find that the light had exactly the same intentions.

When interviewed, the pilot noted that the intruder hac come within seven kilometers of his position and was shaped “like a flat dish with a dome in its middle, and it was golden-yellow in color. Its external section was thirty meters in diameter and spun quickly, shooting off greenish-red sparks.”

The physical proximity of the unknown object soon began exerting physical effects on the Piper PA: López noted a rapid increase in the engine’s RPMs as the golden disk rose into the air, losing itself in the blue sky. López remarked that he was startled to see that without having touched the controls, the tachometer indicated a return to cruising speed after the intruder had taken its leave. The Raul López case was featured in Hector Anganuzzi’s “Historia de los Platos Voladores en la Argentina”

A year later, an Aerolineas Argentinas DC-3 piloted by Nestor del Blanco also ran into unknown traffic over the Chaco.

Flight 757, scheduled service to Buenos Aires, departed on time from Roque Sáenz Peña in the Chaco on 16 October 1959 on a 205-degree heading and at altitude of 7,900 feet. The DC-3 was well on its way toward a refueling stop in Sauce Viejo (Santa Fe Province) when Captain del Blanco noticed an unusual cloud formation on the horizon. Upon closer inspection, he noticed to his surprise that the cloud formation was actually “a spindle-shaped object” that was soon joined by three similar ones.

In subsequent statements, the pilot noted that the strange objects “had the color of lead” and were not self-luminous. They changed intensity according to the sun’s brightness. At this point, the captain alerted Officer Manso, his co-pilot, and both men witnessed the curious intruders as they engaged in horizontal maneuvers. One of the objects – described as “voluminous” – disgorged three saucer-shaped objects that flew off, becoming mere specks in the horizon.

The DC-3’s radio operator, Miguel Villafañe, was a third witness to the uncanny spectacle: he contacted the tower at Resistencia Airport to see if the objects could be seen from the ground, but all efforts were negative.

A Pilot Goes Public

A memorable scene in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind shows the moment when an air traffic controller asks two airliner captains who have just reported a UFO encounter if they wish to file a formal report--both men refuse, one of them saying unequivocally, "I don't want to report one of those!"

One can well imagine the penalties that a professional responsible for safety of hundreds of passengers and a multi-million dollar aircraft might face if he or she admit to seeing "flying saucers". Fortunately the silence imposed on airliner crews is now being broken as many pilots retire and no longer face being grounded for good. Juan Lorenzo Torres is one of them.

Torres, who retired from the Spanish carrier Iberia at the age of 65, had an illustrious career that included forty years of flying military and civilian aircraft. Born in Madrid and the son of an Air Force general, Torres served in the military with Spain's King Juan Carlos and is presently the director of an aviation academy. "The day I saw a UFO from my aircraft," he told interviewer Pedro Madueño, "I wasn't able to sleep, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all this time."

But why would a man with such an illustrious background and career wish to enter the UFO fray? "I think many people would like to know that my crew and I saw something that no one has been able to explain to this very day."

On the fourth of November, 1968, at 18:23 hours, Torres was flying a Caravelle 6-R along the London to Alicante route (Iberia Flight 249). This routine flight proceeded normally until the Barcelona tower ordered the aircraft to descend from an altitude of thirty one thousand feet to twenty eight thousand feet, ostensibly to compensate for the transit of another aircraft on the same corridor. "Well, I had already ordered dinner and the trays were in the cabin," reminisces Captain Torres, "but a that altitude we were shaving the clouds, which produce a slight though uncomfortable turbulence. Having one's dinner that way was thoroughly disagreeable. I asked my co﷓pilot to visually monitor if the opposing traffic could be seen, in order that we could return to our proper level to have a peaceful dinner."

Within seconds, the pilot said that the incoming aircraft was in sight, but it wasn't another airliner: instead, the Caravelle's crew saw a flash of light heading toward them at full speed and on a collision course.

"We dumped the trays and our jaws dropped, since that blinding light was nothing we'd seen before." he explained. "We called the stewardess to witness the thing. None of us knew what it could be."

The petrified crew witnessed how the object stayed some ten meters away from the Caravelle's nose cone, moving up and down and sideways, but always returning to its position in front of the aircraft. Torres made an effort to contact the object in English and Spanish with no success; contacting the Barcelona tower was fruitless, since area was beyond its radar coverage. The next thing he did was to initiate an emergency broadcast "on the 121.5 channel, so that all nearby aircraft could communicate with us."

Torres recalls turning on all of the aircraft's lights in an effort to begin a rudimentary form of communication with the object. "I told it in Spanish: "On and off twice means no, on and
off once means yes." When asked by the interviewer if there had been any success, he replied that "there had been logic" in the intruder's movements.

"That night we all slept poorly, as my crew told me the next day. We all made a pact of silence, but lieutenant colonel Abreu of the Barcelona tower, called me when I landed at El Prat and told me that the radar coverage for eastern Spain had recorded those "UFOs". I asked for a copy of these records and he gave me one." This valuable bit of evidence would be lost later on in a series of events.

"Four months later, another Caravelle piloted by commander Ordovas had another sighting in the area, flying with the same flight engineer, Jose Cuenca! The news made it into the media because one of the flight attendants had a boyfriend who was a journalist. Journalists began calling and four months later Lt. Col Ugarte and a lawyer showed up and the copy was confiscated. After reporting the sighting, Lt. Col Ugarte concluded that what the co﷓pilot, engineer, flight attendant and I had seen was in fact Venus! Venus was stuck to my plane's nose, and I never realized it!"

Captain Torres' remarks go to show that unidentified flying objects have always shown an interest for our passenger airliners, and some have humorously suggested that the smaller unidentified objects may be attracted to jumbo jets like baby whales to surface ships in a misguided imprinting event

Few cases in Spanish ufology have achieved the level of angry pro-and-con discourse that characterizes the so-called Manises Incident, in which a Mirage F-1 fighter pursued a UFO for an extended period of time with full authorization from ground control. The military component of the case often overshadows the civilian aspect, which is hair-raising enough, as we shall see.

On November 11, 1979, Captain Javier Lerdo de Tejada, a senior pilot with eight thousand hours of flight time under his belt, was flying a Super Caravelle belonging to the TAE airline on a flight between the Austrian city of Saltzburg and the Canary Islands, where over a hundred passengers hoped to spend a sunny vacation. After having been aloft for less than half an hour, the Super Caravelle began to pick up an odd distress call on the emergency band, being informed by ground control that it emanated from a point 40 miles northwest of the coastal city of Valencia. Captain Tejada remarked that it was as if the party sending out the distress signal had no knowledge whatsoever of Morse code.

At 23:47 hours, flight engineer Francisco Rodriguez reported the presence of a pair of red lights at a lower elevation and to the left of the airliner. The Barcelona control tower insisted that their flight was alone in the night sky and that no other traffic was in the area.

The object began closing in on the Super Caravelle, causing consternation among the crew, since it was flying within less than the 10 mile safety range. The lights, spanning a diameter of two hundred meters, practically made a bee line for the airliner, coming within half a mile of its wing. Certain that a collision was imminent at this point, Tejada broke his flight plan and began an emergency descent to the Manises airport outside of Valencia; the pursuit ended only when the approach maneuvers were initiated. “This was the first time,” writes Spanish ufologist Javier García Blanco, “that a passenger airliner was forced to change it flight plan in order to avoid a collision.”


Ufology has always set a high bar for witnesses, preferring the testimony of "trained observers" over reports from the average citizen. Airline pilots, entrusted with the care of human lives and very expensive equipment, surely occupy the highest tiers of reliability. The cases in this article suggest that regardless of the hypothesis one may favor to explain the phenomenon, unidentified flying objects have interacted closely us "up in the wild blue yonder" all over the interaction that shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Riddles of the Distant Past

Riddles of the Distant Past
By Scott Corrales

While many may find the concept of sunken lands a trifle disturbing (or as an old college instructor of mine would say, when questioned about Atlantis, "continents made of granite don't sink into tectonic plates made of basalt"), the need to explain many of the ancient features of the American continent almost inevitably leads to the realization that older, advanced civilizations may have flourished on both landmasses earlier than anthropologists and ethnographers are willing to accept, or that such features could be the remains of more advanced visitors from the Old World...or a world that no longer exists.

Abel Hernández Muñoz, a member of the Sociedad Epigráfica Cubana (Cuban Epigraphic Society) has drawn attention throughout Latin America and Spain to the highly curious "Taguasco Dolmen", located near the village of the same name in the Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus, close to the island's geographic center.

The Taguasco Dolmen is, in fact, a tower made of superimposed megaliths containing a small chamber running in an east-west direction. According to Hernández, the eastern opening of the chamber points toward a tiny circle of stones or Cromlech, consisting of one central stone and two menhirs standing some 10 feet tall. The overall style and composition of this monument is disturbingly similar to the megalithic alignments of the Balearic Islands (off Spain's eastern coast), giving rise to all manner of speculations by its very appearance.

But as if the mysterious structure's aspect weren't controversial enough, the Taguasco Dolmen bears on its surface some very curious inscriptions which Cuban epigraphers have associated with Phoenician script employed in their Mediterranean posessions around the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., respectively. Other inscriptions appear to correspond to the Irish Ogham script which according to experts, was not in use prior to the 10th century of the Christian Era.

Regardless of the obvious descriptions, the Ogham inscription reads "B-L", which has been interpreted as "BEL" or "Bel", the name of the solar deity of the sea-faring Phoenicians. If correct, this identification would match similar instances of "B-L" found in North America. The other inscription is rendered as "Q-B" and vocalized as the word coba, an old Arabic word describing a turret or small watchtower. Could this, Hernández speculates, be the source of the word Cuba, which identifies the largest of the Greater Antilles?

The epigraphical findings can be corroborated by archaeological ones, such as the discovery of a clearly female European skeleton in a Taino/Siboney burial yard, and the existence of a Celtiberic-Phoenician sanctuary near Cuba's world-famous Varadero Beach.

Traces of Phoenician involvement in the Caribbean go beyond Cuba, appearing in the the strange "bearded" petroglyphs of the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. These images show strange figures of bearded men, often wearing turbans or thoroughly non-Taino Indian headgear. Revisionist historians have often used the existence of these stone carvings to launch theories of Phoenician visits in antiquity to these islands; In a paper presented to the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y El Caribe, scholar Roberto Marínez Torres points out the existence of 17th century historical references to unusual divinities visiting the islands that form part of the oral traditions of the Carib indians of the isle of Tortuga: these white divinities taught the Caribs the building of huts, agricultural techniques and the manipulation of poisonous yucca to make cassava bread. This last indication proves both troubling and interesting, given the absence of yucca and similar tubers in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, might we not assume that Phoenician traders frequenting West Africa (as demonstrated by Hanno's expedition to the Senegal region) would have encounters similar roots and learned how to use them? Curiously enough, the Spanish conquistadores learned the making of cassava bread quickly enough, turning it into a regular staple on their maritime explorations in the New World.

A Mystery of Painted Stone

Brazil, best known in occult circles for its UFO cases, high strangness events and candomblé rituals, also holds it own when it comes to strange landmarks which point uncomfortably to origins that perhaps are at odds with scientific dogma.
The best known of these is Pedra Pintada ("Painted Rock") a series of blocks and rock walls protruding from the ground and overlooking grassy plains of the Brazilian state of Roraima (on the border with Venezuela). The rock compled presents an array of rhomboidal shapes, triangles, what appear to be suns, and crudely drawn figures. In 1838, German explorer Richard Schomburgk ventured up to the Amazon headwaters and was among the very first Europeans to ever gaze upon Pedra Pintada. His native retainers informed him that Pedra Pintada was considered by their folk to house the spirit of Macunaima, one of the heroes of the Carib tribes dwelling in the northern end of the South American landmass.Archaeologists have ascribed the Pedra Pintada petroglyphs to the "Rupununi phase" of the Guayanas and dated them between 2000 and 1000 BCE. Contemporary native tribes often express a certain amount of fear about these carvings and claim not to know their significance.

The belief that these manifestations could be far older has always been expressed, much to the consternation of academia. While Chilean anthrolpologist Juan Schobinger assures us that the question of "ancient vanished civilizations" being the responsible for this work has been put to rest, others insist that the question remains quite open and valid.

The best-known challenge to academic auctoritas came from Marcel Homet, a French explorer and scholar whose expedition to discover the remains of lost civilizations in 1949 is chronicled in the book The Children of the Sun. Homet's Amazonian guides regaled him with stories of ruins far up the course of the Uraricoera River, and the researcher himself faced a number of perils (carnivorous plants, etc.). Homet's work has been largely discredited, but his observations on Pedra Pintada deserve to be commented upon. He considered the odd, egg-shaped stone to be an enormous book containing samples of all of the ancient languages of mankind -- old Egyptian hieroglyphs and samples of Mesopotamian symbols. Homet couldn't emphasize enough the rock's importance as a "glyptolithic library" on humanity's past.

Chile's Bewildering Past

The living have always had a morbid fascination with the process of mummification. Surely ancient hunter/gatherers in the world's deserts were quite used to the prospect of natural mummification due to exposure in extremely dry and stable climates. Mummies have become an indispensable fixture in literary horror stories about Ancient Egypt and in not-quite-so literary motion pictures such as 1999's The Mummy. Yet the fulsome and complicated techniques by means of which the Egyptians disposed of their dead have always seemed unique to that part of the world, although some adventurous souls have claimed that it was handed down from lost Atlantis. The sunken continent aside, what are we to make of the mummification practices which took place in the Americas, which were just as complex and far older than any Egyptian ones?

In 1917, when anthropologist and explorer Max Uhle discovered the burial sites of what he called "the Arica Aborigines", scholars believed that these non-Egyptian mummification dated to 3000 B.C.E or thereabouts, but contemporary researchers have discovered that it is at least two millenia older than the date first put forth (5000 B.C.E.). Mummification in Egypt can be dated back to 2400 B.C.E.

The ancient Aricans mummification techniques consisted in skinning and eviscerating the corpse, removing the muscles of the bones and legs, then setting the insides to dry by means of hot coals. All cavities were filled with substances ranging from dirt and wool to feathers and natural fiber. The face was generally painted white, black or red while a wig completed the ensemble.

Curious similarities to the mummification traditions of the Canary Islanders soon emerged. Paleopathologist Michael Allison notes that the Chilean mummies "...were collected in family groups of three to eight people, men, women and children, and kept upright through the use of the rods employed to reinforce them. These families were perhaps personages, healers or shamans, or great hunters, having special powers transmittable to the living even after death as long as their bodies remained present." The custom in the Canary Islands, roughly six thousand miles away, prescribed that the new tribal leader be "advised" by the mummified body of the deceased leader, who was kept at hand.

A Canarian historian, Héctor Gonzalez, believes in the possibility that "Atlantis" is source for the commonality of funeral practices. González has conducted a detailed analysis of the descriptions of mythical continent given by Plato in his writings and has checked them against existing maps and atlases. He suggests that there was never, in fact, a "lost continent", and that Atlantis is in South America--located in the still-unexplored Guyana Highlands.

The descriptions given by the Greek philosopher, says González, match the physical features of the Panama Isthmus, the Matto Grosso region and the bordering Andean range. As contradictory as this conclusion may seem, the Canarian historian has argued that at no point do any of the classical sources refer to Atlantis as "a continent", but rather a massive expanse of land surrounded by water.

The simultaneous creation of inventions and the discovery of new concepts in separate locations is nothing new, and certainly the primitive inhabitants of the salt flats of northerh Chile were bright enough to come up with their own mummification techniques, owing nothing to an improbable "mother civilization". But why engage in exceedingly and exceedingly complex and grisly task when their very environment would take care of the job for them? The dryness of the atmosphere was a key factor in preserving another set of very ancient and sensational burials which have become known as the "mummies of Urumchi" -- the remains of a tall, caucasian group of tribesmen dwelling in what is now Western China. The complex mummification practices of South America must be included, therefore, into our continent's gallery of mysteries.

A Forgotten Kingdom Speaks

An Aztec map would probably have portrayed the area currently known as Northern Mexico in the same terms used by Medieval cartographers for the vast uncharted lands on their portulans: terra incognita. Indeed, while the Aztecs were clearly aware of having come from a place called Aztlan somewhere in North America, their own idea of where it could be was quite sketchy. Spanish friar Diego Durán, writing in the late 1500's, notes that Aztec monarch Moctezuma Ihuilcamina ordered his wise men to engage in what we would call a "fact-finding" mission on the origins of their people. The scholar in charge, Coauhcoatl, informed his king that Aztlán meant "whiteness" and had been a land filled with all manner of waterfowl, fish and riverine vegetation, but that little else was known about it. The Spanish conquest of the region occupied by the state of Querétaro (just slightly to the north of Mexico City) were aided by other native tribes who had knowledge of what lay beyond, given the Aztecs' geographic shortcomings.

Despite the fact that the Mexican highlands had sustained commercial relations with the mysterious city of Paquimé (part of the Casas Grandes culture of the desert), northern Mexico beckoned as a place of great mystery and even high strangeness. It's allure caused even the most ruthless of all the conquistadores, Nuño de Guzmán, to push his bedraggled band of soldiers ever northward into modern Sinaloa, hoping to find "the country of the Amazons".

Had his desert-weary troops not rebelled against him, Guzmán may have reached the mountainous dwelling places of the Tarahumara Indians, which some believe to have direct ties to forgotten Atlantis.

It would fall to an artist, not a warrior, to share this significant experience. In 1936, the surrealist French poet and playwright Antonin Artaud visited northern Mexico consumed by a burning desire to see the Tarahumara peoples and, in his own words, to "seek the roots of a magical tradition which can still be found in their native soil" (Voyage Au Pays des Tarahumaras, Parisot, 1944) Artaud's quest took him through the bottom of Copper Canyon and some of the most perilous landscapes on the continent, always on horseback and led by a native guide. He eventually reached the heart of the Tarahumara mountains in the state of Chihuahua only to witness a native ceremony that amazed him beyond words--the ritual slaying of a bull which was identical to a similar ceremony described in Plato's Critias.

The first of Plato's two dialogues on Atlantis describes how the Atlantean rulers would gather together at sunset before a freshly-killed bull while their servants butchered the animal and collected its blood in goblets, chanting dirges well into the next day. They would subsequently cover their heads in ashes and the dirge would change pitch as the circle around the sacrificed animal grew closer. Artaud would later write: "The Tarahumaras, whom I consider to be direct descendants of the Atlanteans, still pursue this magical ritual." The poet goes on to describe the rictus of indescribable pain on the animal's mouth, the natives gathering its blood in pitchers, and dancers in mirror-studded kings' crowns, wearing triangular aprons similar to those worn in Freemasonry, encircled the bull. Musicians engaged in repetitive, hypnotic strains on fiddles and an assortment of percussion instruments. "They then sang a mournful chant, a secret call from some unimaginable dark force, an unknown presence from the hereafter..." writes Artaud, who would for the rest of his life be troubled by nightmarish images of his experiences among the Tarahumaras, particularly due to his use of the sacred hallucinogen known as peyote.

Many cultures have rituals in common which originated separately. For example, adherents of the Mithraic cult of late Roman times practiced the taurobolia--a veritable baptism in the blood of a freshly-slain bull. Was Artaud's experience pure coincidence coupled to the artistic genius's volatile temperament, or one of the most astonishing discoveries of our time?