Friday, January 25, 2013

Antediluviana: Chronicles of Worlds Before This One

Antediluviana: Chronicles of Worlds Before This One
By Scott Corrales © 2013

Pride comes before a fall. This seems to hold true, at least, for the explanations given in human myth and fiction for the collapse of all the civilizations that came before us: The urge to build a tower to reach heaven ended in the linguistic sundering and scattering of humankind; in some traditions, the gods became fearful of human prowess and initiative, and took pre-emptive measure to keep or species at bay, destroying their own creation by fire and flood. What more poignant ending than the destruction of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Númenor – his own version of Atlantis – as it is plunged into the sea by the Creator, who refashions the world in order to keep mortals from ever setting foot on the Undying Lands?

There was a time when students of history freely discussed “antediluvian” civilizations, or even “Pre-Adamic” ones. A Mexican textbook from the 1960s (Historia de Mexico: Etapas Precortesiana y Colonial) speaks freely of “Atlantis” as one of the serious theories concerning the arrival of humans to the Americas, stating the following on page 14: “ATLANTIS – Lovely and ancient in literature is the belief that men in the New World came from the Old One across a continent that stretched out in the Atlantic Ocean, and which was called Atlantis, according to the vague reports given to us by the philosopher Plato in the dialogues “Critias” and “Timaeus”. Atlantis served as a footbridge between both worlds, until it was destroyed by a cataclysm. Its remnants can be seen in the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde, as well as the Antilles.”

We may well think the authors of the textbook irresponsible for placing the seed of pseudoscience into the minds of impressionable young students, but…might they have been closer to the mark that we care to admit? In May 2001, a series of underwater probes of the Caribbean Sea revealed to an astonished world the existence of what many considered to be the ruins of a sunken civilization at a depth of six hundred meters off Cuba’s Cape San Antonio. Covering an area of nearly twenty square kilometers of seabed, the city – dubbed “Mega” due to its size –consists of cube-shaped and pyramidal structures. Cuban geologist Manuel Iturralde believes that the ruins indeed belong to an antediluvian civilization, dating back to the 10th millennium B.C.E.

The extensive Cuban cave systems are also a source of wonder, such as Cave Number 1 on Youth Island (formerly Island of Pines). The cave dome, measuring some 25 meters in diameter (81 feet), has skylights that allow for illumination from the blazing Caribbean sun during the day and the moon by night. The complexity of its pictograms places them at the very apex of cave art, leading some to think of wiring diagrams. “Seen as a whole, the Central Motif (the main pictogram) suggests to the viewer the image of a star map, a representation of constellations, but it could also mean something completely different,” according to the antrhopologist Núñez Jiménez, writing in 1986. A possible star map on the domed ceiling of an ancient cave is enough to fuel more speculative television broadcasts about ancient astronauts…
Youth Island is relatively close to Cuba’s Guanacahibibes area, where sunken, dreaming Mega awaits further exploration. Could there be any connection between one and the other? Videotaped images of the undersea ruins were analyzed by the Centro de Arqueología Marina y Antropología de la Academia Cubana de Ciencias (Center for Marine Archaeology and Anthropology of the Cuban Academy of Sciences), which officially stated that “there was no simple and straightforward explanation for these structures,” yet unequivocally ascertaining they were man-made, rather than a natural phenomenon.

The Resurgence of Paleoufology

The branch of UFO research which could rightly deserve the appellation of "paleoufology" constituted a controversial field of investigation during the 1970's, when authors like Otto Binder (Unsolved Mysteries of the Past), Richard E. Mooney (Gods of Air and Darkness), and Erich Von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods?) wrote extensively on human/alien interaction at the dawn of recorded history and even earlier. Proof of the existence of "gods" or "ancient astronauts" could be found everywhere, and to judge by the conclusions found in the books of the time, it seemed that every major engineering project in antiquity had been "farmed out" to alien contractors! Paleoufology lost its appeal and languished in obscurity until the works of Zechariah Sitchin thrust it once again into prominence in the early 1990s, gaining further momentum with the Ancient Aliens television program on the History Channel in the ‘00s. Clearly, there is still a great deal to learn about this aspect of the phenomenon.

Guatemalan researcher Oscar Rafael Padilla, an attorney and Ph.D who has dedicated 30 of his 51 years to the research of the UFO phenomenon is also the compiler of an extraordinary taxonomy of extraterrestrial creatures, composed by taking into consideration such characteristics as the existence--or lack of--hair, eye type, body shape and similarities to the human body, among others. One of the species portrayed in Clasificación Exobiológica de Entidades Extraterrestres (Exobiological Classification of Extraterrestrial Entities), is characterized by its large head and eyes in relation to the thinness of its body. The being has been classified as belonging to the family Homidia (due to its resemblance to humans), order Primates (due to its walking on two extremities), subclass Euteria (since they are allegedly placental mammals). Padilla also believes that this particular variety of non-human entity played a significant role in ancient times.

Dr. Padilla recalls a very curious stele that was on display in Guatemala's Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology until its removal in 1990, when it was transferred to Japan for scientific study, according to his own research. The stele portrayed the figure of a being with enormous ears, three-fingered hands, elongated legs, no feet, and two strange filaments on its head which, in Padilla's opinion, constitute "antennae".

Scientists have dismissed Dr. Padilla's allegedly alien as a colorful primitive depiction of an imaginary monster--very much like our own science-fiction beasts--and left the matter at that. But there is growing evidence throughout South America that ancient artisans depicted certain things we now know to be fact much too clearly.
Brazilian UFO researcher Jean Alencar has noted that the mythology of this country is replete with descriptions and statuettes of beings endowed with the power of flight. The legends of Brazilian natives, like those of other countries, detail experiences of gods or travelers from the sky who descended to earth when humans were little more that animals to instruct them in the arts of agriculture, astronomy, medicine, and other disciplines. Alencar points out one figure in particular, Bep-Kororoti, a space warrior worshipped by the tribes of the upper reaches of the Xingú River. Not unlike the heroes of India's Mahabharata, Bep-Kororoti possessed a flying vehicle capable of destroying anything in its path. His aspect terrified the primitive natives, until he stepped out of his "raiment" and revealed himself to be fair-skinned, handsome, and kind. He amused the natives with his "magic" until he grew restless for his land in the sky and returned there.

Pre-Humans and Non-Humans

The Sahara, a warm subtropical desert, occupies almost 3 million square miles. Its relative humidity can go as low as twenty percent and strong dry winds like the harmattan contribute to the evaporation. Such inhospitable conditions make survival an almost insuperable barrier for animals such as gazelles, antelope, jackals and the varieties of reptiles and insects that can be found there.

Yet humans have tenaciously clung to life in this environment, and appear to have done so far back in history when the climate wasn't so harsh. These human cultures, now lost to us, nonetheless left behind a number of beautiful and disturbing drawings that have created controversy since their discovery.

Almost nine thousand years ago, one of these cultures flourished on Djebel Zenkekra in the Tassili-n-Ajjer Massif, a natural, fortress-shaped mountain formation that provided relief from the unforgiving desert sun during the day and shelter against the animals that roamed the Neolithic swamps which would later turn to desert.

The Tassili Culture, for want of a better name, bequeathed to posterity a collection of 4000 images, painted in a variety of colors unavailable to their counterparts in the Altamira and Lascaux Caves: using flints for brushes, dark reds, yellows, and even shades of green supplemented the basic reds and whites available to the prehistoric cave artists. Everyday life was their subject matter--the endless cycle of hunting, battle, and domestic life was captured in stone, along with a gallery of figures which stand out in stark contrast to humans in their workaday poses. While there are many such examples of cave art in other rock shelters and ledges throughout the upper reaches of the Sahara, the ones on Djebel Zenkekra hold a special fascination.

Discovered by the 19th century French explorer Henri Lhote, these figures were so unusual he dubbed them "Martians," explaining "their contour is simple, inartistic, and with rounded heads; their only detail is the double oval at the figure's centre, which evokes the image we currently have of Martians."

Lhote's round-headed denizens of the Red Planet were depicted by the primitive cave artists as wearing suits strongly reminiscent of those worn by our own astronauts on the Moon, down to the detail of the boots. Several hundred such drawings exist, scattered over many miles of desert: strange helmeted and antennaed figures, often floating in weightlessness as if the artist had been able to witness one of our modern spacewalks. Other images are of a technological bent, showing what could be taken as solar panels, space stations, floating spheres containing humanoid figures.
Unwilling to be caught up in the ancient astronaut craze, anthropologists have suggested that the Tassili "roundheads" are merely ceremonial dancers or priests wearing empty gourds over their heads. The problem with this rational approach is that the agricultural know-how and resources to grow pumpkins were nonexistent in North Africa at the time the Tassili drawings were created, and would probably not have been available for another thousand years.

Could extraterrestrial visitors included the then-lush Tassili region among their forays in ancient human history? Dozens of books in an equal number of languages have provided circumstantial evidence of non-human intervention in earthly affairs. Biblical texts speak of the "sons of God" attracted by the "daughters of Men," Mayan bas-reliefs depict what could be a space traveler, and so forth. But it is this forsaken complex of African drawings that provides a graphic illustration a similar nature.

In 1976, Spanish researchers Jorge Blaschke, Rafael Brancas and Julio Martínez reached the Tassili Massif to conduct a systematic study of the enigmatic cave drawings. In the course of their research, they were stunned to find a clear depiction of a helmeted and suited figure, linked by a tether to the interior of a large, spherical object, leading three human females toward it. Dr. Martínez noticed that the artist had taken great care in showing the women: one of them an adolescent, the other a mother carrying a child, and the third a visibly pregnant woman. Could this be representative of the genetic experiments which are allegedly still being conducted in our days by large-headed Greys.

The examples of cave art found in the Spanish caverns of Ojo Guareña and Altamira, and the French ones at Lascaux and Font de Gaume, have proven that our distant ancestors were able to represent what they saw with a clarity and simplicity that is stunning to twentieth century eyes. This skill extends to depictions of things that anthropologists and archaeologists often find troublesome: equally faithful representations of domed objects, some of them in threes, others with legs or antennae.

The small French village of Le Cabrerets lies next to the impressive Pech Merle Cavern--a colossal labyrinthine complex almost a mile long. Using a red pigment, Cro-Magnon artists depicted on one of its walls a being that would fall perfectly into Dr. Padilla's taxonomy: it has an enormous bald head, an unusually pointed chin, no ears, and its eyes are represented as elongated slits which taper toward its temples. The straight lines crossing the figure appear to indicate that it was wounded or slain by caveman spears, while a drawing of a hat-shaped object appears floating over the creature's head. Nor is Pech Merle an oddity: Twenty miles away, another cave, Cougnac, contains a similar representation of a wounded or slain creature. Lest we think that Cro-Magnon artists lacked a flair for depicting the human form, it should be noted that other French caves, such as Rouffignac, contain clearly recognizable human figures, including what seem to be mask-wearing humans. The Pech Merle and Cougnac "dead men" are clearly something else. Archaeologists tell us that these ancient images were drawn at the beginning of the Magdalenian Period--some twenty thousand years ago.

North America has also provided its share of enigmatic prehistoric drawings. A particularly impressive one can be found at Canyonlands National Park, in Utah. There, a duo of unusual creatures (remarkably similar to those depicted at Tassili) is engaged in strange activity: one of them appears to be pointing an item at the ground--a flashlight? Farther south, an artist of Mexico's Tlatilco culture drew a perfect image of a little man who gives the impression of wearing boots and a square helmet.

When even steadfast UFO naysayers like Carl Sagan are willing to concede that alien visitations in the remote past cannot be dismissed out of hand, can we still believe that this evidence, which is there for anyone to see, is simply a misinterpretation of conventional events, seen from a primitive human perspective? Or can we lend credence to the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian stories of divine beings coming down to earth to teach humans the rudiments of civilization?

A Scattering of Survivors

H.S. (Hans Schindler) Bellamy, an Austrian researcher-writer, was inspired by the discredited theories of “world ice” put forth by Hans Horbiger, but nonetheless contributed some interesting thoughts of his own, as in his In The Beginning God (London: Faber & Faber, 1945). In discussing the cataclysm that brought the old global civilization to an end – a planet-spanning one, much like our own, rather than one located on a specific island or continent – Bellamy invokes the theory of lunar capture favored by Horbiger, adding that both the highly advanced societies on the planet (the “Sons of the Elohim”) as well as the less sophisticated ones (Adam and Eve and their offspring) were equally affected by the calamity:

“[…] The Sons of the Elohim, too, “fell”. The also left the chilly Paradise plateau and settled in the warmer valleys “on the face of the earth.” There they intermarried with the other survivors of the [lunar] capture cataclysm. They taught their superior culture to men: Azazel, says one of the Jewish myths, showed men how to gain metals and how to fashion them into objects; Armaros taught men how to cast spells and how to raise them; Barachel taught divination from the stars”, etc. In the Book of Enoch, vii and viii, the teaching of similar cultural accomplishments by “the angels, the children of heaven” to the “children of men” is mentioned…”

Bellamy writes elsewhere in the same volume:

“The cosmogonic myths of the Bible, and of all peoples, are, according to my opinion, the traditionally handed-down reports of eyewitnesses concerning actual happenings in the remote past. These happenings always centre round, and describe in more or less pictorial language, various phases or aspects of a great cataclysm which had once swept over the Earth…”

It is easy for us to conjure up such a scenario – front-loaded as we are with visions of apocalyptic science fiction – to adapt this situation to our own context. A planetary body (the asteroid Apophis, for instance) slams into the Earth with the attendant tribulations. Survivors from North America, Europe, Japan, etc. relocate to parts of the world less affected by the devastation of the world – the Amazon, the Congo Basin – and share their know-how and what technology they could carry with the locals. Over the course of generations, these “culture-bearers” would occupy the same role as the Mesopotamian figure of Oannes – whether an extraterrestrial or a castaway from the shipwreck of a higher civilization. Following this train of thought, can we suppose that the survivors of the lost city of Mega, covered by 600 meters of water, fled to nearby Mexico, kicking off the Olmec culture and perhaps even laying the foundations of enigmatic Cuicuilco, built 8000 years ago?

Lords of the Pyramids

With the recent discovery of possible mega-pyramids in the former Yugoslavia, the subject of these massive structures found worldwide – and usually among a narrow band along the Equator – has been rekindled. Tombs for ancient kings, granaries, places of worship for a forgotten planetary religion – all theories have been put forth, held up for scrutiny, and then set aside in favor of a newer, shinier toy.

The Mexican pyramids have proven to have extraordinary properties. As this author has written elsewhere, the research team of Pedro Ferriz Santamarina – the pioneering ufologist – and his French colleague Christian Siruget – discovered that the enigmatic structures acted as enormous batteries, storing unguessed-at amounts of energy. Ferriz and Siruget carried out their own program of investigation on the subject at a number of pyramidal structures, ranging from El Tajín in Veracruz right to the Yucatán. In their book Los OVNI y la Arqueología de México (Diana, 1976), they presented the conclusion that these structures had been created for the purpose of storing energy, having been painted in red and blue to display, in theory, the positive and negative sides of the structure.

Ferriz and Siruget went further: in their theory, the Cholula Pyramid in the state of Puebla represents the choicest example. Its alignment with two other structures – an artificial hill known as Teotón and the now-extinct Tecajete volcano – repeats itself the other Mexican pyramids.

“Within all the pyramids,” writes Ferriz in his book, “we find layers of different materials that are joined at one of its ends and separate from the base, where the heat of the sun propagates unevenly, producing a flow of electrons at certain levels. The second of the foreign elements I am referring to is one that consists of two layers of conductors insulated by another material: a sandwich made by a slice of ceramic between two slices of copper. This element captures – much like a sponge – the static electricity in the ambient air and is able to store fantastic amounts of energy, which it releases as necessary. They layers of brick encasing stone walls achieve the same effect. The ability to absorb as much power as is made available to them is quite notable, particularly with regard to beams. El Tajín and Cholula are two fine examples of this.” (p.326).

He goes on to add: “A good number of the Teotones (the artificial hills) are made of superimposed layers of various materials. They have the ability to deviate biological electricity (circulating in our body) in one or several unknown directions. The Tecajetes (small volcanoes) are similar in design and orientation to the transmission and reception antennae of radiotelescopes, since they are built like photodiodes: an enormous base of iron oxide (tezontle stone) surmounted by a layer of silex (sand) at its core. Any pyramid has any of these geological characteristics in the surrounding terrain: hills of tezontle stone and sand, mines of silver, gold, copper and other metals, or large limestone deposits acting as photocells, or else lagoons of water charged with electrolytic materials (Tequesquitengo, Alchichica, Texcoco) or the sea itself.” (p.327). The researchers also note the great care taken by the ancient engineers in providing these structures with proper drainage by means of polished clay pipes.

As to how energy is shared between the grid of aligned pyramids, the author posits the likelihood of a constant flow of microwaves between the structures, even possible undiscovered pyramids at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. This may seem outlandish, but it is worth remembering that as far back as 1978, there was talk of a super-pyramid in the waters of Louisiana’s Chandeleur Island, described by amateur archaeologist George Gelé as a structure “so monstrous, so awesomely big that it the Louisiana Superdome would fit inside its hollowed shell.” Gelé’s quest for the Louisiana pyramid remains fresh to this day (, and the Louisiana Office of State Parks stresses the importance of the Poverty Point Archaeological Site, describing it as “a rare remnant of an exceptional culture. It has been estimated that it took at least five million hours of labor to build the massive earthworks… eight centuries after Egyptian laborers dragged huge stones across the desert to build the Great Pyramids, and before the great Mayan pyramids were constructed.”

Teopanzolco, a block-like pyramid whose name means “old or abandoned temple” (indicating it was abandoned by the time the Nahuatl-speaking peoples reached the area known as modern Cuernavaca) has also been seen as a potential power source. One of the structures in the complex is built within a narrow moat. Theorists suggested if the moat were to be flooded with salt water or acid, the structure would become an impressive “battery”. Scaled down versions of Teopanzolco successfully produced limited amounts of electricity. But why would such a structure become known as the “old or abandoned temple”? When Geiger counters are employed at some of these sites, their needles often make an initial reading and then go silent. Sometimes the needles oscillate wildly, like tree branches in a storm wind. Could some of these electrical pyramids have become overloaded, “short-circuited” and burned out? Signs of fire-blackened walls, having nothing to do with the rapine of the colonial conquest, are often reported in some structures.

Peter Tompkins, author of Secrets of the Mexican Pyramids, also has something to say about the enigmatic interiors of these mammoth structures that predated the arrival of the Aztecs. In the early 1970s, abnormally heavy rainfall over Teotihuacán – home to the Pyramids of the Sun– caused the soil and rock at base of the massive staircase to subside. Archaeologists soon learned that the hole in ground was in fact a series of steps heading downward into a natural cave, and given its perfect alignment with the rest of the structure, may have predated construction of the pyramid itself. Cautiously entering the forgotten tunnel, the archaeologists found themselves inside a lava tube at least a million years old, according to a geologist on the team. The walls had been carefully coated mud by ancient workmen, and the lava tube itself had been blocked off by a series of adobe walls – nearly twenty of them – which suggested having been built by retreating workmen, as if trying to wall up something within.

“One hundred twenty meters down the tunnel,” writes Tompkins, “ the archaeologists came upon an extraordinary sight: an arrangement of caves in the shape of an irregular four-leaf clover. Each chamber, which was 10 to 20 meters in circumference, appeared to be part of a natural formation, deliberately enlarged by the hand of man.”

The fortuitous discovery was beginning to resemble an Indiana Jones or Lara Croft adventure at this point of the telling. The explorers marveled at the statuary and pottery that had lain in darkness for centuries, including slate disks. Oddly enough, they found a polished obsidian mirror of the sort used by dark priests to contact Tezcatlipoca, the god of night, depicted by a “smoking mirror”. We well may wonder about the need to conceal this artifact by so many exterior walls…


In the end, and to the dissatisfaction of readers, we are left with more answers than questions: Was our world visited in eons past by beings from other worlds? Tutelary entities like the enigmatic “Preservers” of the original Star Trek series? Did they visit us in the Pleistocene, like Arthur C. Clarke has Heywood Floyd suggest in “2001: A Space Odyssey”? Or do we follow a different path altogether – the one that this author prefers to tread – leading us to the possibility of advanced civilizations in the remotest past, An antiquity so remote that would cause historians’ heads to swim? Would these have been human cultures much like our own, civilizations abreast of our own, perhaps in control of non-technological devices that allowed them to build the megaliths that are their legacy? Or, verging on the fanciful, can we think in terms of non-human, perhaps reptilian, tenants of our planet – evolved from a sentient branch of dinosaurs? Do we dare conjure up interdimensional kindred who returned to their own level of existence, and keep returning to check on what we might describe as “the old neighborhood”?

We’re only an accidental discovery away from finding the truth.

Monday, January 21, 2013

1986: The Atalaya UFO - A Mystery Lost in Time

Source: Diario El Día
Date: 01.21.13

The Atalaya UFO – A Mystery Lost in Time
By Matías Kraber – Diario el Día

The object was seen by 7 members of the FAO (Fundacion Argentina de Ovnilogía). It took place on 4 March 1986 on the road to Atalaya, where the world record of [UFO associated] ground marks took place.

At first, they thought they were under attack, and that none of them would be left alive. However, the oldest among them, Avelino Mengui, pressed the shutter of his Nikon D80 and the image taken from a field in Atalaya went all over the world. It was all true, in the end: they kissed their fingertips and swore on what they’d seen: flying objects – luminous and circular – were prowling the area they would later christen as El Nido, the Argentinean UFO epicenter formed between southern La Plata and Punta Piedras, joining Routes 2 and 36 straight to the bay of San Borombón.

It was the first time they had seen something after a series of hints, ground marks and eyewitness accounts from local residents. First there had been a record number of mysterious ground marks – 150 of them – and two months later, their suspicions had been confirmed: they could see a UFO flying around in a 45-minute long aerial display. The core of media interest had installed itself right there – the press, radio and television – five kilometers from Atalaya and an hour away from Magdalena by road.

El Nido

A mysterious location known for apparitions, flying objects, ground marks, humanoids, cattle mutilations and other popular legends, suggesting a bizarre and unprecedented phenomenon. Right here, at the core of the borough of Magdalena and Greater La Plata.

“We had started to visit the area in October ’85. We would conduct watches at El Espinillo creek, heading toward Atalaya by road. It was very odd for us. Reports were coming in weekly: someone who had gone hunting or fishing, or local residents touring the countryside. Everyone saw something strange and everything was occurring precisely here, in what we began calling El Nido (The Nest),” says Luis Burgos, leader of the FAO (Federación Argentina de Ovnilogía), a resident of Ensenada who never stopped looking at the sky ever since the day Man landed on the Moon – 20 July 1969. He has spent some 43 years studying the phenomenon – between skywatches and investigations – and is a more than knowledgeable spokesperson for the subject.

A Record Number of Landing Traces

It was January 1986 and the world record of anomalous landing traces occurred in the San Luciano field: 150 UFO landing traces around an Australian tank and in a single plot of land: perfect circumferences, cylinders and figure-eights etched on the ground, with dehydrated grass. The media boom followed the next day. The press – El Dia, La Gaceta, El Argentino – printed “Mass UFO Landing in Magdalena”, radio waves carried the voices of local eyewitnesses, and Telefé and Nuevediario followed the story closely and in real time at a location where flying saucers were as commonplace as the hyperinflation of the Alfonsín presidency. After two months of skywatching, experts confirmed that the phenomenon was occurring both on the ground and in the sky.

Seeing is Believing

The obsession had been going on for some time. Since October 1985, experts of the FAO were breathing down the phenomenon’s neck. Dozens of reports from southern Rio de la Plata stirred the curiosity of the group – created in 1984 as a non-profit that would multiply throughout the country until it numbered 150 members of all backgrounds: accountants, engineers, enthusiasts, businessmen, parapsychologists, photographers and Tae Kwon Do instructors. They had no radars, pickup trucks, subsidies, research centers or meetings. It was a social network of bare-chested researchers who believed in the UFO phenomenon, or the need to unmask it.

Then came the day. 4 March 1986. They were seven, like the Magnificent Seven: Avelino and Fernando Menghi, Luis Burgos, Ana Piralli, Gabriel Cella, Norberto and Rodolfo Lamberti. Four of them riding in a Chevy and three in a Peugeot 404, heading to the countryside. They hadn’t spoken of anything else for 6 months and wouldn’t rest until they had seen something. The sense of intrigue was overpowering.

“Hey, look, look…it’s coming from over there.” Fernando Mengui was pointing at two objects dancing along the southeastern Rio de la Plata. Everyone stared at the sky for what seemed an eternity.

It was a starry night, and suddenly two lights as bright as planets changed colors from white, to blue, to a reddish hue. They executed an aerial ballet for 45 minutes – nine o’clock to a quarter to ten. They came, went, one above, the other below. It shattered anything conventional, Burgos says, pointing a finger at some clouds in the sky of Atalaya which just yesterday could have been UFOs.

No one spoke. They watched the object zigzagging, and suddenly it was upon them – approaching a little bit more, then more, until it caused them to panic.

“Let’s run, boys! There’ll be someone left alive to tell the story!” shouted Burgos.

Someone else ordered everyone to drop to the ground. Everyone – minus one – dropped face forward on the grass. Avelino remained standing. He rested his elbows on the Peugeot’s hood, activated the flash, selected infinity and pressed the shutter. It caused the giant light hurtling toward them to suddenly go dark, plunging them into absolute darkness.

Two days later, the photo was on the back cover of Diario Popular, and the FAO stepped aside from the case for a few months.

The Sightings by Numbers

Thirty-two landing traces were recorded in Santa Fe in 1968; some fifty seven in Chaco in 1974; seventeen in the town of Jacinto Arauz in La Pampa in 1980; 304 landing traces in the year 2000 at Sierra de los Quinteros in La Rioja, and some twenty in a traffic circle in La Plata, between 10th and 19th streets.

The hot zones do exist and are spread all over Argentina’s geography: from the Pampean plains to the mountains of Córdoba, from the valleys of Cachi to the heart of Buenos Aires province. Places where the phenomenon rears its head and sooner or later becomes a subject of conversation.

Atalaya, The Chosen Site

In the middle of all this data we find El Nido, whose hottest point is found in the premises of Atalaya. There we can find a creek known as El Espinillo, agricultural land and a dirt road leading to the town of Magdalena, founded in 1663 when Governor José Martinez de Salazar ordered the construction of some towers along the river’s edge to serve as lookouts to watch for enemy ships approaching the banks.

This is a place that could be as tourist friendly – if not more so – than Córdoba’s Uritorco, but which remains a forgotten plain in southeastern Rio de la Plata. There are no rest areas, no viewfinders, no lookouts, no hotels, no campgrounds, no magic charms and no gurus. There are no people around. Every so often, an old Falcon or F-100 pickup truck from another time shatters the silence with its engine sound, or perhaps the sound of a horse galloping in the distance, carrying a farmhand to the nearest store.

They have returned to this site some 50 times since 1986. And if they return, it’s because the case was a landmark in Argentinean Ufology, and there are always journalists or new curiosity-seekers who want to hold their ufological baptism with a skywatch at the creek. However, they never again beheld anything like it. “The site must be preserved for further research, keeping it from turning into a tourist or merchandising trap,” observes Luis Burgos, wearing the cap with the FAO logo, the insignia that identifies his group to everyone else.

Avelino – The First Witness

Twenty-six years later, Avelino is sitting in an armchair at his home in Ensenada. He is formally attired. In a few hours he will be nominated for the Fuerte Barragan Award as a renowned personage in the city. There is a book of photos and newspapers on his table that attests – among other things – what the father and son witnessed with their own eyes as photographers and researchers in recent years.

“I saw what I saw, and I will remember it ‘til the minute I die. I base myself on facts. After 4 March 1986, there was no need for me to go see anything else. That’s it. You can go to the countryside every day and maybe you’ll never see anything. I grew up watching the sky and I can assure you it wasn’t natural. Let anyone come to disprove it,” says Avelino Mengui, 85, “and I’ll knock any debunker senseless. I’m not some old scam artist.”

[Translation © 2013, S. Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology. Special thanks to Luis Burgos (FAO) and Guillermo D. Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Argentina: UFOs and the Presidential Plane

Today is "Blue Monday" - reputedly the saddest day of winter - and INEXPLICATA thought to dispel some of that sadness with photos from Argentinean researcher Luis Burgos's website, kindly provided by our contributing editor Guillermo Giménez. The southern hemisphere is basking in one of the warmest and most pleasant summers in memory.

The photo depicts Argentina's Tango-1 (the equivalent of our Air Force One) as it made its landing approach to the city of Rio Gallegos in December 2012, carrying President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner aboard. An unidentified "contact" - a true UFO - was photographed by many onlookers from the ground. The object was not visible to the pilots or the escort plane, according to sources.

1954: "No Flying Saucers Allowed - By Order of The Mayor"

[Our friend Paco Máñez posted this on his site this morning: a charming reminder of the early days of “flying saucery” and a story that was often cited in French and Spanish works of the 60s and 70s – SC]


The mayor’s office forbids fly-overs or landings by flying saucers.
During the French flying saucer wave of 1954, the mayor of the small French town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape became indignant at the number of military tests, drills and maneuvers being conducted, and faced with so many “secret airplanes” and bizarre international arms systems, was moved to publish the following ordinance:

Article No. 1. Fly-overs, landings or take-offs by the aircraft known as flying saucers or flying cigars, regardless of their nationality, is forbidden within the limits of this township.

Article No. 2 Any aircraft known as a flying saucer or flying car shall be impounded. Municipal authorities are charged with enforcing strictest compliance of this ordinance.

Mayor Lucien Jaune, 55, apparently feared that flying saucers – possibly powered by atomic engines – could cause harm to the town’s world-famous vineyards.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Argentina: The Strange Lights of La Tapera

Argentina: The Strange Lights of La Tapera
Gaceta OVNI (Victoria, Argentina) – Winter 1992

Many claimed that strange lights could be seen at Estancia San Carlos, in the region known as La Tapera. It was for this reason that the place was often visited by UFO followers, although access was not allowed, since it was private property, leaving them with no choice but to stop along the side of a rural road leading to Tres Bocas and leading to Route 11, nearly facing La Pepita. Hunters of vizcacha – a rather large rodent, whose meat is a delicacy - also met at this site, given the animal’s nocturnal habits, and which is readily immobilized by shining a beam of light on it. This is why the “vizcacheros” employ powerful beams of light from their pickup trucks to find their prey and render it helpless. Driving through the “estancias” is not allowed without proper authorization, and such nocturnal forays are conducted with special permits or by paying the foreman beforehand.

Since the area is uneven, some visitors think they have seen mysterious flashes coming from under the ground, but these are made by hunters, no less. It was spring ’92 when we agreed to meet up at La Pepita with Silvia Pérez Simondini, her daughter Andrea and a group of friends of Mr. César Bretto, who still traveled to the area with the enormous binoculars he fastened onto a bicycle framework. Our group consisted of Paco Martinez, Carlos Ingaramo, Jorge Pietrafesa, Daniel Torres, Pablo Moche and Daniel Lopez. Once we reached the “estancia” (ranch), Bretto remarked on the sighting of a strange light a few days earlier in the interior of San Carlos, and we decided to spend our watch night at the spot. Fierrito Guzmán and the Vaccarini couple from Paraná also joined us.

We parked the cars along the rural road after covering some four kilometers with wide mud ditches, since recent rains had flooded part of the road. Before arriving, Ms. Simondini gave up on the idea of driving any further, fearing that she’d become stuck in the mud patch. But we pushed on, a total of 10 people in three vehicles.
In broad daylight, and from the same point at which we stopped, it was possible to see a smooth hill under a more elevated horizon, extending several kilometers. The countryside, at that time, was made up of sparse vegetation, groupings of shrubs and short trees here and there, and an Australian water tank with a windmill no more than 600 meters away, facing NNW. The terrain had an even appearance, but there are, in fact, uneven surfaces that place the windmill some 10 meters lower than the rural road’s height. Beyond this we could see small clusters of shrubs. It is possible to see all of this by the light of the sun, but at night, the surface looks like little more than a thick, black strip. Only a few stars could be seen in the sky along with a timid moon, permanently concealed by passing clouds.

Descending from the vehicles, we approached the field’s wire fence among trees five to ten meters distant from each other. Before long, we could make out a distant purplish light, approximately toward the west. Our initial impression suggested a bulb or helmet light, seen at a distance, but its exact location was unknown to us, as this was our first time visiting the site.

Whether or not it came from another ranch, the light remained steadfastly in the same position while some suggested it could be a UFO. There was no choice but to go find the truth, without the foreman’s permission or anyone’s authorization, and amidst such a darkness that it would be odd if anyone ever heard from us again…or not. For communication purposes, Bretto gave us one of his handheld radios, as he would await any developments at La Pepita, accompanied by the main witness of the Victoria case, Ms.Gonzalbez of Basaldúa. Meanwhile, Pablo had another radio that could pick up communications from aircraft flying over the area, employed to certify the nature of a sighting, should one occur. Given that there were airports nearby, it would be feasible to detect an exchange of radio communications, and thus determine if the phenomenon was merely a conventional flight.

Unfortunately, the device could only receive, not transmit, and for this reason it was decided to employ it in a “special” way during the expedition. We decided that we would reach the purple light at any cost, as we could not remain in doubt. Thus, we formed two groups. One would remain at the base – our present location – and the other would go after the alleged UFO. Since communications would be restricted by Pablo’s two-way, we agreed that the explorer group would bring it along. The base would have the transmitter/receiver to advise the explorers of their actual position as they progressed and correct the route taken, if necessary. The second group would reply by means of a previously agreed set of flashlight signals.

So it was that Pablo Moche, Paco Martinez, Carlos Ingaramo, Fierrito Guzman and Daniel Torres would advance across the field while Daniel Lopez, Jorge Pietrafesa and Bretto’s two companions would remain at the base. With everything arranged, the second group moved ahead with two flashlights, the camcorder and the handheld radio, penetrating the dark, mud-covered terrain, completely unexplored by anyone. Those at the base followed the flashlights as they grew distant, finally vanishing from sight. The purple light remained in the same place.

Base unit: “Let’s perform a test…answer yes if you can hear us.” This was followed by three flashes of light aimed skyward – a positive sign.
The explorer group progressed without hindrance, remaining together and in conversation.

Base unit: “You’re off the right of the light. Correct your course slightly to the left.” Three more flashes of light were seen. All was well. Several minutes elapsed.

Base unit: “We cannot see you. Please indicate your position.” There was no response.

Base unit: “If you answered us, we couldn’t see your flashlights. Reply and mark your position.” No response either.

Meanwhile, the explorer group had stopped at the windmill –25 minutes later – on muddy terrain to cross a series of wire fences after going off in the wrong direction. Carlos climbed to the top of the metal structure to find the position of the purple light, which could not be seen from that point.

Since the moonlight was reflected off the surface of the Australian water tank, Carlos assumed that it could have been the purplish light. A distant light, without any point of reference and with ambient humidity, can prove deceiving. They rested after a rather slow and bumpy march.

Base unit: “We can’t see your flashlights. Please reply if you can hear us.”
The base station’s voice could be clearly heard by all through Pablo’s handheld unit. Someone insisted that it was time to make signals. Those at the base were able to see an indistinct flash, an imprecise flashlight signal that did not constitute a definite answer.

Base unit: “Was that a yes?”

The explorer group decided to forge ahead, but Fierrito Guzmán was enveloped by a sensation of fear, and asked that everyone retrace their steps immediately, as he had a bad feeling. Almost not hearing him, the remaining members of the group made ready to go. Seen from the rural road, a light somewhat stronger than a flashlight made an appearance to the right – perhaps a few hundred meters from where the light signal had emanated. This light, similar to a car headlight, seemed to move forward and stop, emitting a sort of reflection before becoming motionless again. Those at the base assumed that it could be a vehicle, maybe a pickup truck. “Hunters,” they thought, or what was worse, they had been found by the ranch’s owner.

Base unit: “There’s a light…can you see it? Have people shown up? Please answer, either yes or no.”

Carlos shouted to the group, asking them to listen. Mutual notice was given about the base station’s observation, and certain confusion ensued. From the top of the windmill, Carlos could see something like a vehicle. “I saw a light that I thought could come from a pickup truck, but I couldn’t see any other light than the white one.”

From the base station, the binoculars could only pick up a not-too-distant light source, unable to make out position lights, headlights or even the outline of a wheeled vehicle that could be more than 400 meters away in the middle of absolute darkness. Trying to identify any source of light, and with growing concern, they asked Carlos to descend from the top of the windmill, calmly at first, and then more forcefully.

Fierrito suddenly burst out, asking that the expedition be halted, for God’s sake, saying it was dangerous. An inexplicable sense of unease permeated through the air.

Base unit: “We can see a light. Is that you?

The woman accompanying the base unit began to weep inexplicably before the message was finished. She leaned against the pickup truck, holding her face in her hands, saying something awful was happening. According to her husband, she had certain sensitive faculties and could perceive that something very odd was taking place. Not a sound could be heard from the base station, not even to theorize about what was taking place in the distance, in the darkness. Only the cool night air whistling cautiously through the branches could be heard.

Shouts and insults were traded among the explorer group’s members. Fierrito issued chaotic pleas, dropping to the ground, begging not go on due to the danger (?). “They can hurt us,” he said.

Carlos – also rather forcefully - asked for calm, asking the group to take deep breaths. Since nothing appeared to change, he and Torres walked some hundred fifty to two hundred meters ahead. The alleged pickup truck was there, quiet. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the light dashed horizontally across the ground at high speed, possibly covering 100 meters in two or three seconds.

“They’re running.”

Concern spread among those at the base station. The woman was adamant about her feelings.

Base unit: “Reply if something’s wrong…are you alone?” A new light came alive, a rather bright orb, followed by another one to the left, near the first that had run along. The former returned to its original position. One, two, three lights were now visible…when suddenly a fourth appeared along the same line. The lights moved chaotically, giving the appearance that the group was separated by hundreds of meters from each other.

The first light became more intense. The explorers became confused by the calls from the base unit: “What’s going on?! Is that you? Please answer!” -- but they could see nothing from there. A flashlight flash was seen from the ground. “It’s the guys”, some thought. But who has those lights? One, two, three, four…five lights!

Base unit: “Please tell us what’s going on! This is turning in a light show!” But there was no reply.

Base unit: “Answer yes or no. Can you see the lights?” Suddenly, the lights began vanishing one after another after a few seconds. Calm returned to the base station, calm returned to the explorer group. A short while later, the two flashlights were visible during the return trip. The explorers reached the rural road, asking why such a fuss was made when neither lights nor pickup trucks were visible to them at any time – the only light coming from their flashlights.
Their second comment was that they had never reached the purple light. We all looked over the wire fence to ascertain its true position, staring at it for a few minutes before it, too, disappeared. It took us a long time to decipher the facts. The explorers swore that they hadn’t seen a thing, except for Carlos, making them think it was likely that there was confusion with their flashlights. That was impossible, said those from the base. All four were in agreement that five lights had been seen and at the distance, the observable flashlight blasts could not compare to the strange manifestations.

As we made ready to leave, a pickup truck went by, evidently armed for nocturnal hunting, and with an upper row of reflectors. Could it have been the culprit? The sense of desperation felt by the woman and Fierrito had occurred at the same time. The reason that made some not want to go any further was also inexplicable, and the possibility that the purple light was caused by moonlight was also unlikely, since the tank – seen by daylight – had a position other than the light, which was toward the left. There was no coincidence…and no explanation. In fact, there wasn’t a safe road that a pickup truck could have followed, especially due to the position of the barbed wire fence that the explorers had crossed.

Both reflectors and headlights would have been clearly visible to direct observation, and more so to the powerful binoculars employed by the Vaccarinis. Therefore, the confusion alternative was unlikely. Add to this the fact that the swift advance and retreat by the first light didn’t fit in, either.

Five unexplained lights, without beams, had been seen between the explorer group and the base group, no more than 400 meters away, and seen only from a single position. Someone or something had been toying with us in a mysterious fashion.

[Translation © 2013, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO]

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cuba Files - An Interview with Orestes Girbau

The Cuba Files – An Interview with Orestes Girbau
By Debora Goldstern, Crónica Subterránea

This interview brings to a close the cycle of reports for the year 2009, published throughout the year in Crónica Subterránea, where little-heard-from voices found a place at our site, and which will continue next year, God willing. In this instance, readers of our blog will gain firsthand knowledge of the state of Ufology in Cuba, guided by one of its foremost exponents, Orestes Girbau Collado, who has been performing the task with great merit.

We shall discuss not only the latest developments in the subject of UFOs, but also in their mysterious occupants, popularly known as “humanoids” - one of our guest’s specialties - and look into some archaeological discoveries made in Cuba that we make known today in an exclusive for Crónica Subterránea.

DG: Although you’re acknowledged as one of the best UFO researchers by his peers, Orestes Girbau Collado keeps a low profile and not much is known of his work, rich in suggestive details on events that tend to have Cuba as a protagonist. And my first question is: How did Orestes get started in ufology?

OG: First and foremost I’d like to thank you for this interview in your wonderful site, which has fulfilled the expectations of those seeking on the various enigmas of the past and the present. My story begins at the age of 6, when I lived in a rural community in Ciego de Avila. In the afternoon I would sit on the porch with my maternal grandmother to hear her stories -- she was a correspondent for the Diario de la Marina. The opposition of the planet Mars was approaching (1956) and at one point I thought to ask her about the V-shaped formation of certain birds at twilight. She immediately offered an explanation, adding that flying saucers from the planet Mars had been observed flying similar formations. That gave rise to my interest, enthusiasm and restless approach to the phenomenon, which endures to this very day. Until age 15 I compiled a variety of information on the subject. I remember acquiring my first book, a work by retired Major Donald Keyhoe entitled “Flying Saucers from Other Worlds”, and in September 1957 I saw a strange cylindrical object for the first time, flying across the sky at high speed. Up to 1965 I collected scrapbooks with news items about UFOs. It was that year that a worldwide flap of sightings took place, with the ones of the Argentinean, Chilean and British bases in the Antarctic being particularly significant. I was also impressed by the fact that the object had been caught on film. At that time, I was living in the city of Matanzas and was becoming involved with other young students and older people interested in the subject, and whose beliefs were similar to mine regarding the plurality of inhabited worlds and extraterrestrial visitations. That time period was highly stimulating and decisive for my future path, learning about the informative work of Mr. Oscar Hurtado, the father of Cuban ufology, a journalist and advocate of UFO-ET reality. I owe a great deal to this illustrious figure in Cuban literature. Between 1973 and 1982 I was linked to a number of amateur astronomy groups, creating a UFO section and becoming something more than just a collector of extraterrestrial data, since the amount of reports worldwide caused us to feel, in fact, a greater awareness of the situation and its likely implications. My efforts at the time prompted me to build a 5-inch refractor telescope, which to this day remains the largest in our province. In 1984, the Theosophical Society asked me to hold the first UFO lecture I ever presented, dealing with such aspects as alien settlements that may have been established within our solar system with the purpose of visiting us.

At that time, the influence of my investigative approach in UFO research was becoming known both in France and in the former USSR, which served as an investigative lodestone. In April 1985, and as a result of a memorable sighting in the Soviet Union, the Gener y del Monde Provincial Library in Matanzas extended an invitation to organize public events aimed at discussing subjects pertaining to the UFO mystery, contact in ancient times, parapsychology, etc. This is how the Círculo Albert Einstein came about, which I preside, and which remains active nearly a quarter century later. It should be noted that during this time period we carried out several informative programs, a total of 162 sessions, some of the classified as unique. Inspired by this initiative and thanks to the assistance of many friends, the Círculo grew to some 200 members in 1989. Many interesting events that occurred later are testament to its creativity. In October 1989 I was asked to give a Master Conference entitled “OVNI: ayer, hoy y mañana” (UFOs: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) within the framework of a scientific conference (Geociencias ’89) held at the Varadero summer resort. This was the first time such an activity had taken place in our archipelago. As from 1988 I collaborated with the “Yumurí” weekly and the “Girón” provincial newspaper and from ’90 to’95, I contributed to a 20-minute weekly radio show on the Radio 26 provincial network.

Then came October 1995. On the 15th of that month, the [UFO] landing at Torrientes, Matanzas, took place, opening a new stage in the case histories and kicking off new horizons for Cuban researchers. The following year (1996), filmmakers Octavio Cortázar and Hugo Parrados asked me to help with a major project – a documentary aimed at chronicling the thorny subject of unidentified aerial presences over some Cuban provinces. This is how “OVNIS: ¿En Cuba?” (UFOs in Cuba?) came about. It even went on to win an award at the Viña del Mar Festival in Chile.

On 21 April 1997, 13 colleagues from Matanzas established PIFAAM (Proyecto In vestigación de Fenómenos Anómalos Aéreos en Matanzas – Aerial Anomalous Phenomenon Research Project in Matanzas), which I presided until June 2003. I had about 20 field research cases to my name at the moment, and up to that point, I’d had the privilege of reading some 100 specialized works. Following several contacts and meetings with colleagues from several provinces, we reached the conclusion that we had to do the unthinkable: set in motion the legal transactions to create the Asociación Cubana de Ufología (A.C.U. – Cuban Ufology Association). So on November 14, 1998 we established the Comité Gestor Nacional de la A.C.U. in Havana at the site of the Cuban Meteorology Society, presided by acknowledged ufologist and physicist Enrique Pérez Gutiérrez. After 11 years of transactions, an infinity of events at such institutions as the José Martí National Library or the Rubén Martínez Villena Public Library, and at the Academy of Sciences itself, we had a multi-disciplinary membership of 157 colleagues in 7 provinces and our own Bylaws, organizational structure and code of ethics, and things keep us as though it was the first day. I should mention the large number of attendees at our events, ranging between 100 and 200 people at times. I collaborated with the OvnisCuba website between 2002 and 2005.

Between 2000 and the present I have contributed to “Signos” magazine from Villa Clara, which published a full number devoted to UFOs, and to h my friend and colleague Dr. Jorge R. Bermúdez’s book “Ovnilogía Cubana” (Cuban Ufology). During that time, I collaborated with the “1861” magazine, the publication of the Matanzas Speleological Committee, on works related to certain ancestral Pre-Columbian enigmas. I’ve also delved into meteorological subjects in the “Humedal” newspaper (I’ve worked as a specialist in forecasting for the Matanzas Meteorological Institute for 22 years now), participating in several activities sponsored by the Cuban Speleological Society, reading a paper at an International Congress on Prehistoric Art in the year 2008.

As of July 2005 I had the privilege of being asked to contribute to the Asociacion Forteana Latinoamericana in Argentina, thanks to kindness of its director, Fabio Picasso, and the support given by another good friend, Liliana Núñez from Chile. I’m eternally grateful to both. I still have some time left at the helm of the Comité Gestor. I’m not sure if we’ll achieve our goal, which remains one of our dreams. We can envision it, but we’re neither fortune-tellers nor mages. Those who have faith in us can be convinced that Cuban ufology is alive and well. I’m currently finalizing details to complete a monograph on UFOs in the province of Matanzas, will be finalizing a documentary script and hope to complete a specialized literary work.

Discussing ufology in Cuba today is to venture into an exciting field, as regards both case histories and quality of research, placing the country in a privileged position in the subject. With this context in mind, it isn’t surprising to find detailed studies, proving that one can become involved with ufology “without dying in the effort.”

Serious ufology can be performed by any serious researcher who is willing to avoid confusion or manipulation. I don’t think that our ufology is more emotionally interesting than what is done by Latin American brethren or from other latitudes. We have had verified experiences and/or indirect evidence, like anyone else. Close encounters, manifestation of prints on the ground, photos, videos, detections, teleportation’s, disappearances, bedroom visitations, USOs… we have a rich history of events in respective dossiers. Literature, folklore and art – among other cultural manifestations – have complemented the field as they have in the rest of the continent. I strongly defend this point, since in my opinion, ufology is an (emerging) science that requires all cultural and scientific currents to serve both science and culture at the right time, with its new approach to research. The Nazca Lines required – or suggest – a higher technique, and are one of the cultural manifestations that have received most attention. A genuine cattle mutilation leaves a researcher flabbergasted, but at the same time, the meticulous use of technology applied on the animal represents a work of art, when we think of the fact that there are no tell-tale signs of confrontations between the victim animal and its obsessive aggressors. Can someone not consider crop circles and their perplexity the leave in their wake as a work of art?

Nonetheless, there are unquestionable aspects that make a difference: all groups and independent or “lone” researchers (as we call them, since they aren’t committed to any of our organizations, while remaining a very active component within the whole of the Comité Gestor), are united around the Committee, which isn’t so common in other countries. There is a plurality of interests.

DG: Humanoid cases occupy a special place in your reports. These entities are generally defined as UFO crewmen. Is this association valid, or should the term be redefined?

OG: When I became Vice-President of the Committee, Prof. Enrique Pérez assigned me the task of dealing with cases involving humanoids in Cuba. At the time I barely had 7 files in my hands. I prefer to classify them into four categories: humanoids, paraphysical entities, animal-like creatures and androids. Cloned entities are another plausible variant, but I’ll set that aside for the moment. Today, with the development of nanotechnology, we can understand that higher intelligences must first use exploratory probes, then vehicles that can go unnoticed, and finally, promote their exploration agenda gradually. A little common sense would indicate that they come to us with an advanced technology, but not one that is greater than we Earthlings will have before the 21st century is over. I should add that we could well be visited by the inhabitants of a single planet and not fifty or a hundred, as is commonly believed. I assumed this belief before the French COMETA report became known: If interstellar distances are an obstacle to vessels that have been able to dominate antigravity or travel by using magnetic lines between heavenly bodies, or interstellar electrical currents, and if on the other hand, the existence of other dimensions are pure science fiction along with hyperspatial or time-space travel, Atlantis is a myth and the solid objects that flew in the atmosphere prior to the Arnold sighting as far back as 1897 are little but sensationalist charades, to what can we ascribe the thousands of experiences reported to which no explanation of any kind can be found? I think, number one, that they can visit us by using mechanisms that take advantage of powerful energy in space, discovered by the beings who pilot such advanced technology, achieving speeds that cannot be conceived by the most creative minds, all thanks to those rivers of energy. Number two, it isn’t necessary to invoke visitors from beyond the solar system – they may have been concealed for a long time in one of the planets of our won, waiting for the right time. Number three, the space visitors may be closer to the terrestrial community than the great mass of humanity is able to imagine.

If we redefine the foregoing, this would cause a tendency to judge certain values that most of humanity believes in and respects, and to which it devotes its time, welfare and its very existence. If a substantial part of close encounters are nothing more than the product of terrestrial technology, this would represent a disquieting variable, considering the straight-line turns at 90 degree angles, and the thrust they employ when disappearing almost instantly before the witness and the radar. There is talk of symbiotic ships and this possibility is approached none-too-subtly in the documentary on the Roswell autopsy. Does anyone know why? Anyone aware of the life, work and personal experiences of the American child prodigy David Adair will realize that there’s something fishy going on. In his interviews, reports and statements he says he has seen and touched aerial devices in bases located in his country, and which could not have been built by Earthlings. Adair says that these spaceships respond to touch and the mood of those who come in to contact with them. Well, he believes the same thing – designing and building this aerospace technology is impossible for humans, and he reiterates that they are symbiotic UFOs. Making comparisons, we notice a captivating detail in the laboratory of French scientist Jean Louis Naudin. He tests advanced aircraft design, small and large, resembling disks. When compared with the research, experiments and developments concealed at the heart of Area 51, such a story would not withstand the scrutiny of knowledgeable people. However, the number of developments to be found in a lab as futuristic as Naudin’s are fascinating. The statistical data we handle provide us with invaluable information. As naysayers are quick to say, only one per cent of the total number of UFO reports may be of value, but their alien provenance is only a slight possibility. If the number of reports is intensifying, we must assume that the 1% represents thousands of sightings, It is necessary to keep this in mind when making a priori judgments.

According to witnesses, winged humanoids, Adamski-type characters and visitors of short stature have been reported in Cuba. We have also had those whose characteristics are reminiscent to more than a few historic cases, due to their clothing and helmets. When these occupants are mentioned, I believe it fitting to mention robots programmed within the craft, or perhaps guided remotely from a probe hidden in the solar system, invisible to humans. In my work “El Principe Negro” (The Black Prince) I try to acknowledge the probe (or probes) around us, fulfilling their hypothetical missions with the required precision. But this clearly falls within thought processes based on chance data arising from unlikely sources, as speculative as they are logical. Since my strong point is the study of UFOs through the human technological process, I look for technological, chronological and statistical relationships that suggest that at least one alien race has visited us – is still visiting us – over the past 150 years. I am not averse to believing in various types of aliens. It is possible. What I am trying to say here and now is that they hail from a material, three-dimensional world, using forces unimaginable to present-day humans, and without straying too far, stressing the fact they could be different races from the same world, employing androids for various reasons, and whose aesthetics change according to their needs. It isn’t the same thing to see an entity in our likeness with wings than another humanoid with a robotic aspect and superimposed wings, or other cloned beings (that can only be conceived in a laboratory) with a similar structure. The Mothman isn’t like the “angels” that Lot invited into his home to drink wine. However, there could have been a religious relationship, if we add wings to those envoys from on high, which aren’t always Nordic-looking. Aren’t the Chinese going to the Moon in coming years? If Selenites existed, and happened to see one of them, they would compare him to others who consider landing, or have landed on the Moon in the past. Russians, Americans or Germans arriving there would be distinguished from the Chinese by the hue of their skin and the characteristics of their eyes, and all of them by their various languages, national emblems, suits and spaceship types. The same would happen to an astronaut of African origin. As you can see, there are certain parts that can be matched.

At the dawn of history, UFOs were understood as a factor that belonged within the “extraterrestrial” subject. This perspective was subsequently restructured, and the “UFO” acquired a more proximate origin, giving rise to even more questions, and to greater resistance among experts, since the implications of an interdimensional link are still not accepted.

I believe that the greatest resistance comes from researchers, arising from the excessive trust in the intentions of that one per cent of genuine ET cases. Facts are sometimes underestimated, since we are unable to reason with another type of logic, given that human nature is easily conditionable and presents unequal levels of spirituality. The prototypical UFO occupant is either overly peaceful, highly indifferent or extremely dangerous. The ones that come to save us represent a new age, and take away the past sins of this unfinished absurdity, the unending horror that Millennial mythology has brought along with it. To me – and hovering on the edges of the implausible – this interstellar race respects free will. Mine and that of others. They aren’t gods, although they’ve had to play that difficult role. It becomes hard to me to imagine how hard it must be for cosmic intelligences – out of respect and formal commitment toward the freedom of human beings and their normal evolution – to keep from altering anything with procedures that it would find atavistic, and whose most lurid example can be seen in the so-called implants, which can be as thick as a hair, inducing visual and auditory hallucinations in people.

Now then, let us say that these groups have been on Earth for a while, possess this mind-bending technology, are able to defy the restrictions and laws of gravity, and are in league with powerful ultraterrestrial forces or simply with EBEs. What group that isn’t under the military yoke of some great power can be so bold, and where would it settle on this planet? But since everything seems possible in this world, let’s give them the benefit of doubt and say that this group is located in another dimension (or in Hell), but they would no longer be Earthlings. Much less angels.

DG: But let’s go back to Cuba. Is there any recurring pattern on the island, within the UFO phenomenon?

It wasn’t until 1989 that sightings were on the rise. The months of October-December 1995 were highly significant, due to the unprecedented wave of sightings in several provinces, with accepted territorial patterns: the southern reaches of the Havana provinces, the provinces of Matanzas, Camaguey, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus. Unidentified objects are frequent in this area, with a dozen of events made known by our country’s press becoming notorious.

In the summer of ’68, October of ’73 and January ’89, they were seen respectively to the south of Havana, to the north of the Capital and in what we call today Youth Island. What we have called the “Damaso Case” occurred in the Spring of 2003. This singular abduction and teleportation case kept many Cuban ufologists in check. In the Eastern region you find the legendary “luz de Yara” (Yara Light) – a source of controversy nowadays, and which has existed in remote areas for centuries, and was the subject of research by Carlos Heredero for a long time. I need them to find the similarities between the dates covered, and the models that lead to their relationship with peak moments in worldwide flaps.

I should say that Matanzas has had some exclusives: let’s say that the first photo of a UFO was taken as it flew over the city in July 1952 – does this month and year sound familiar to you? We also had the same sighting of a USO emerging in broad daylight from the depths of our Bay on 5 July 1959. Also strange was the first landing and emergence of a ufonaut from its flying machine near the town of Torriente in southern Matanzas. All moving pictures of anomalous cases in our files were recorded in this territory. The first telepathic contact, and the only [UFO] crash we are aware of [also occurred here].

DG: Aside from your interests as a ufologist, you delved into the study of vanished American civilizations prior to the arrival of Columbus. While little information ever comes to light, every so often we hear of discoveries in Cuba that testify to this unknown past.

OG: I am linked with the members of the former Sociedad Epigrafica de Cuba (SOEC – Cuban Epigraphy Society), sharing in their triumphs and discoveries, which transformed Pre-Colombian history from one day to the other, with such solid archaeological and epigraphical evidence that their specialists, presided by Georgeos Diaz Montexano, had a significant informative career in an off the island between 1989 and 1994. I witnessed how the U.S. Epigraphic Society and even the wife of legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl, acting in his name, acknowledged those outstanding events firsthand. They were promoted and supported by the Círculo Albert Einstein from their inception. Belonging to another speleo-archaeological group was useful to me. It encouraged me to acquire and share a diversity of knowledge, such as archaeology and ancient history. The tempting discovery of an alleged city sunken beneath the waters of Guanahacabibes, Pinar del Rio, bolstered my thoughts on the multiplicity of ancient enigmas in the Caribbean region, particularly in Cuba. The foregoing has made me take advantage – objectively speaking – of the notion of Paleocontact in Cuba, the existence of profound archaeological enigmas in our aboriginal culture. A theory based on outstanding arguments, and not sufficiently pseudo-scientific to be dismissed. There is also the unequivocal sign of an extracontinental presence in the largest island of the Antilles. Paleocontact (or contact through stone) has found Lic. Carlos A. Garcia among its greatest proponents. He has performed serious analyses of cave art on the walls and ceilings of some Cuban cave. He explains that there are samples of art whose three-dimensional projection can be interpreted hypothetically as prehistoric machinery. As we all know, it would be unlikely, unless there was further circumstantial or causal evidence that could be corroborated from our present knowledge.

A distant culture, if one did indeed flourish, could have been located in Mega, the sunken city, which is at the heart of discussions that will bear fruit at some point in the future. The studies published by Cuban scientific researcher Manuel Iturralde offer some clarification, but are far from conclusive. The enigma persists.

Among the mysteries that are a source for doubt and propel the debate we find Baya Manaco, one of the deities of the Cuban native pantheon. It has been feverishly studied by Dr. Thelvia Marin. The statuette is impressive by its peculiar structure and its outstanding appearance, which predisposes some – from an esoteric perspective – to see in it a character similar to the Japanese figurines, that is to say, an astronaut. Geographer Leonel Pérez and I have looked into an aboriginal spheroid that displays concentric circles on each pole. If the native culture that crafted these spheres did not belong to the same one responsible for the cave art, how was it done? Their separation, one from another, has the same width. I’m just showing you an insignificant fraction of the mysteries held by this ceremonial artifact. As far as epigraphy goes, the expectations created in the 1990s were never surpassed, and I must admit it. Valuable pieces and clues still await us. Edilio Estupiñan, my colleague – also a member of PIFAAM – died a year ago and Mr. Díaz Montexano, who acted as president of the then-operational but unformalized SOEC, currently lives in Spain, where he has stood out for years due to his ceaseless research endeavors. In recent times, he believes he has discovered analogies between the representation of an ancient figurine, found in the interior of our own province, and a deity from ancient Mexico. I am referring to the god Tezcatlipoca. Should a broader effort be made – undertaking a greater on-site gathering of information – with Mexican archaeologists, many outstanding elements that imply wide transculturation between North America and the Caribbean might emerge. This diffusionism would cover areas of Western Cuba, where information supporting the possibility has been gleaned.

DG: One final and compulsory question. What are Orestes Girbau’s recommendations to researchers taking their first steps in ufology?

I would advise the fourth generation of Latin American researchers, among other things, to be yourselves and follow the voice of your own conscience. Collaborate positively with each other, applying the standard of optimism. Aliens exist, and those who would conceal this reality for whatever reason also persist. Also be aware that the larger part of public opinion (despite having access to books, magazines, newspapers, videos and other documents) passively accepts any statement as fact, no matter how gross it may seem. Do not allow yourselves to be dismissed as fanatics: if you develop a ufology with the required maturity, you may slow them down, yet never stop them. You must never allow yourselves to be tagged as “fanatics”. Bear in mind that according to Blázquez, in his Diccionario de las Ciencias Humanas (Dictionary of Human Sciences), the characteristics of fanaticism are: stubbornness, recalcitrance, dogmatism, ideological radicalization, aggressive intolerance, rigidity and the inability to understand and engage in dialogue, and the distortion of reality. You can see the negativity that you can eliminate from yourselves, or the element negatives in others that you must ward against. Keep in mind that understanding and love for a cause are stronger than the pride of disinformers. You dream, like the rest of us, with the crucial official encounter between beings of the cosmos and humans. This contact may also be delayed, because there must first be contact among ourselves. No one must undermine or destroy our dreams, which are sacred, as the truth we seek comes from the common source of all truths. Know that the future belongs to you and is impossible without you. Giordano Bruno and other medieval thinkers believed that the horrible world in which they lived was the only reality for an irrevocable future. Let us learn from history.

DG: Orestes Girbau Collado, many thanks!

[Translation © 2013, Scott Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Débora Goldstern, Crónica Subterránea]

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

High Strangeness: The Escalante Entity (Spain, 1914

Source: and
Date: 01/07/2013

High Strangeness: The Escalante Entity (Spain, 1914)
By Francisco Renero

One evening in the late summer of 1914, Claudio Rey was walking home from Lastra to Escalante (Santander, Cantabria) late in the evening after having dropped off his girlfriend at her home. Upon reaching the corner of the town’s church, he saw a rather tall man standing in a luminous outfit. The entity wore a sort of metallic tunic, and no features were visible at all.

Thinking someone was trying to play a prank on him, Claudio Rey approached the entity, but it moved away, keeping its distance. Seeing that he could not approach it, he chose to ignore it and resume the walk home, but always keeping an eye out for the prankster.
Rey soon found out that he was the one being pursued, and came to a halt. The entity did the same, kicking off a game of cat and mouse.

Growing weary of the charade, Claudio Rey pulled out a knife and faced the unknown figure. The being retreated to a nearby well. Rey thought the figure was going to fall into the water supply, but the entity floated right over it. It was at that point that he began to feel fear.

The entity stopped and began to go around the church. Rey decided to go around in the opposite direction in an effort to meet it head on. He found “the critter” standing by the church door.

Seeing its considerable size – standing nearly as tall as the upper section of the portico – the man dashed away in fear, convinced that what he had seen was not normal. As he retreated, he came across three miners, who told him they had seen a light “rising and dropping” along the road he was walking.

Claudio Rey spent of the night in a sleepless state. The next day, unsure whether he had dreamed the entire situation, he revisited the places he had been the previous night, finding his own footprints in the mud.

[Translation © 2013, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to El Viejo Desván]

Friday, January 04, 2013

Darkness Abides: A Tour of Haunted Structures

By Scott Corrales

Haunted houses run the gamut from Great Britain's Borley Rectory, studied in the early days of paranormal research by the legendary Harry Price, to lesser known places like Madrid's Palacio de Linares. However, there are thousands of others that occupy the vast middle ground in between. The ones examined in this article belong in this category.

Mexico's rich and varied paranormal history (see "Ghosts of Old Mexico" in the February 2000 issue of FATE) includes places in which the shadows of the past still exert an uncomfortable grip on the present. One of these places is the city of Morelia in the state of Michoacán.

In 1984, a group of high-school students who had embarked upon a photographic tour of the Morelia's colonial past made a startling discovery: a photo taken in the City Library's stacks revealed--upon developing--an eerie silhouette projected on the neat rows of books. At first the students thought it was a trick of the light, or a prank played by a member of their group. But when Library employees were shown the image, they were able to identify it all too well as the outline of a "nun in blue" which has haunted the repository of knowledge for untold generations. Many of the City Library's holdings, it is said, once belonged to one of Morelia's convents.

Nor is identifying the deceased religious woman an easy task: Morelia's library is housed in an ancient stone building that dates back to the 16th century. Burials took place in the structure's floors and walls, and even the librarian's desk is located on top a slab covering an early 20th century burial.

"When I leave the building," stated library director Rigoberto Cornejo in an interview to the El Norte newspaper, "I feel the sensation of someone following me. In fact, I can even hear the footsteps." Although this sober-minded professional refuses to believe in the supernatural, he is hard pressed to find logical explanations for his experiences, or for those of his subordinates.

In 1996, library worker Socorro Ledezma requested a transfer from her work area in the colonial structure after an uncanny experience. "The time must have been seven o'clock in the evening," she told reporters from El Norte, "and it was getting dark outside...that's when I suddenly felt the presence of someone standing behind me, blowing in my ear. I was unable to turn around, and my body was gripped by a chill."

The haunted Mexican convent has a counterpart across the Atlantic: the ancient convent of the Arrecogidas (cloistered sisters) in Madrid, located at 86-88 Calle Hortaleza, has steadily gained the reputation of being a haunted location ever since the labor union known as U.G.T. (Union General de Trabajadores) established its headquarters at said location. A number of union leaders who remained into the wee hours of the night hammering out collective bargaining agreements claim felt cold chills upon hearing strange voices, murmurs and the sounds of doors opening and closing all by themselves.

One of the more remarkable agreements involved the office of Antón Saracibar, one of the labor union's former directors. Every morning, his staff would arrive at work to find hand prints on the leather sofas and sunken areas suggesting someone had been sitting in them overnight--despite the fact that the executive office was carefully locked every evening. The incidents caused no-nonsense labor officials to request the aid of prominent parapsychologists.

Historical background checks soon attested to the building's tormented past. Centuries ago, the nuns had turned their fortress-like building into a home for "wayward girls and fallen women," toward whom they behaved more like jailers than helpers. The building's popularity as a place of torment was such that the renown filmmaker Pedro Almodovar used it as the scene for one of his projects, Entre Sombras ("Among Shadows").

The hauntings appear to be circumscribed to the former convent's lower floor, where the cemetery used to bury deceased nuns was located. When the U.G.T took over the building as its main office, the convent's chapel was turned into the main room in which press conferences were to be held, and the choir area became the office of another union executive. Serious consideration was given to the removal of mortal remains from niches in the crypt to make way for computer servers, but wiser heads prevailed and a door was built to bar access to the old convent's lower levels.

Have efforts been made to contact the deceased occupants of these old structures, ridden with memories? The answer to this question is apparently affirmative. In 1995, Father José María Pilón of the Society of Jesus delivered "The Ata Report" on the subject to the board of governors of the Reina Sofía Museum of Art in Madrid, which had formerly been the San Carlos Hospital. The controversial aspect of Father Pilón's effort was that contact had allegedly been made through a Ouija board.

According to Sebastián Rodríguez Galindo's report on the subject in April 1996 issue of Mundo Paranormal, a team of paranormal experts composed of Sol Blanco Soler, Paloma Navarrete, Jose Luis Ramos, Piedad Acevedo, Lorenzo Plaza an Jaime de Alvear, looked into the "psychic presences" in the former hospital, which were allegedly responsible for activating elevators that had been shut down, opening locked doors, and perhaps more chillingly, "processions of entities wearing religious garb moving down the hallways." The majority of the witnesses in these cases were members of the buildings custodial and security staff.

Among the entities contacted by means of the Ouija board were "Malé", a Jewish woman who had lived at the site in 1594; "Aldonza de los Angeles", who claimed having been the prioress of the building's religious community in 1750, and last but not least "Ataulfo" or "Ata" (who gave the report its name): a dangerous, psychopathic patient of the hospital who confessed to having committed five murders while alive.

The Watchman's Story

In 1995, a night watchman known only by the initials "M.A.P." was on duty at the RENFE (Spain's national railway) station in the town of La Cañada in the province of Avila where the events took place. The 25 year-old watchman was accompanied in his rounds by his dog Yeny, who began to issue pitiful howls shortly after ten o'clock on February 8th. Fearing that vandals were on the premises, the watchman left his shack only to find his dog running toward him for protection. When he looked toward the right, he was further amazed to see a slight young woman dressed in white, with long black hair, advancing slowly along the platform. Although her face was covered by a thin veil, "M.A.P." would later tell researcher Carmen María Porter that the woman in white was "quite a looker."

But his enjoyment of her unearthly beauty came to a sudden end when he realized the figure stood some fifty centimeters above the surface, while drawing symbols on the ground with what appeared to be some sort of cane or staff.

Gripped by fear, the watchman abandoned his post and ran to a nearby bar, where patrons were startled by his sudden entry and the deathly pallor on his features. After drinking some soothing tea, the watchman was able to explain what happened and was escorted back to La Cañada Station by the bar's owner and some patrons. The enigmatic figure was long gone, but the symbols she had drawn were there for all to see.

Witnesses said that the letters S,T,N,D and L , plus the word "BEL" had been placed within a double circle containing a Star of David. Renown paranormal expert Juan García Atienza noted that the symbol found at La Cañada was "a magic circle designed for protection against evil."

Many of the townspeople refused to believe that a mere ghost had drawn the strange sigil, and word soon spread that "Our Lady of La Cañada" had appeared to affirm her protection of the community and the railway platform soon became a minor place of pilgrimage.

Mansions of Darkness

The abandoned house at Calle Aramberri 1026 received national attention when a Monterrey, Mexico newspaper ran an article about it, citing the strange screams, supernatural manifestations and other unusual events surrounding it. It wasn't long before the structure became a minor tourist attraction--grownups would photograph it during the daylight hours and raucous gangs of teenagers would break into it at night, hoping for a chance encounter with the ghost that has supposedly haunted it since the 1930's

"We went in last night and let me tell you, when we noticed one of the windows in the back, we saw a woman's face, a woman dressed in white, who appeared and disappeared," explains one of the nightly visitors interviewed by the newspaper.

A murder took place within the house in 1933, when a woman and her daughter were brutally slain one evening by her husband. The story goes that it was the family parrot who gave away the culprit: so terrible had been the screams that night that the words had become imprinted in the animal's brain: The bird shrieked "Don't kill me, Gabriel, don't kill me!" and this evidence was deemed sufficient to arrest the murderer.

The house, built in the early 1900's, has remained empty ever since that tragic night out of a fear that a "curse" weighs heavily on the structure.

Ricardo Zavala told reporters that when he learned of the haunted house's existence, he decided to come from a remote part of the state of Nuevo Leon to share in the mystery. He added that the evening he chose to visit had been particularly eerie, since when a group of youngsters went in, one of the last windowpanes that remained whole shattered without any apparent cause.

The newspaper story added that groups of four to five people have entered the house at different times to pray for the wandering souls to rest, or else to invoke them and ask them to disclose the reason for their remaining in this world...

As compelling as the story surrounding the Monterrey house may be, few accounts involving haunted edifices can compare to the one described by French paranormal author Robert Touquet in his book Le Bilan du Surnaturel ("Inventory of the Supernatural" ). Even if the case involving the occupants of the grand old structure known only as Le Prieuré --The Priory-- should ever be proven to be a hoax, it would nevertheless rank among the finest Gothic stories ever put on paper.

On July 6, 1955, a wealthy French matron known only as "Madame V." moved into the magnificent 17th century monastery which had once housed a nameless religious order. The French Revolution had expelled the monks and turned the building over to private hands. Madame V. and her two sons, Jean, 20 and Gaston, 30, were more than delighted to live in the huge, rambling structure. But Madame V.'s enjoyment of her new property was to be short-lived: on July 10th, while sleeping in the sprawling chamber that had once been the Prior's room, she woke up to see "a thin shadow formed of opaque fog, behind which there seemed to be a light." As her eyes adjusted, she saw that the human figure wore long robes and its head was covered by a cowl. Frozen in terror and unable to scream, there was little she could do as the figure progressed to the room's fireplace and knelt before it three times, its shadowy hands clenched in a prayerful manner. The hooded figure rose and vanished into another room, from which the terrified woman heard the sound of a body falling on the tiled floor.

Daybreak could not come fast enough, and in the warm summer morning, Madame V. wondered if she had been the victim of some kind of delusion or nightmare. Her sleep was troubled some weeks later by a repetition of the same scene, and she cursed her inability to overcome the overwhelming fear that kept her from taking any action. Having grown up with the stereotypical concept of ghosts--a skeleton covered by a sheet--she could not believe that the shadowy figure could be anything other than an elderly monk doing his devotions.

But things changed dramatically during the third nocturnal encounter: the hooded figure appeared to shake, as though convulsed by weeping. A voice could be heard, coming not from the figure but from an uncertain location: "Mercy, dear Lord, have mercy on me! Forgive me, Jesus!"

As Madame V. would tell Touquet, these words emboldened her to address the specter. It turned toward her, and the same disembodied voice demanded: "Why are you here? No one has the right to disturb the peace of a house that was built for the greater glory of God."

The exchange between the frightened homeowner and the otherworldly figure suggested that the long-dead monk was well aware of the affairs of the living, and of its own plight--no mindless ghost repeating senseless behavior. It made certain apocalyptic prophecies before asking Madame V. two questions: why hadn't she fed the prisoner in the basement, and why had she left the statue of the Blessed Virgin to lie among the rubble?

According to Touquet, Madame V. made up an excuse the following morning to have her sons go down to the extensive aumbries beneath the monastery. Both men reported finding what appeared to be prison cell and a religious statue, which was cleaned off an placed in the old monastery's oratory.

This should have satisfied the departed monk, but it only prompted the specter to reappear eleven more times on consecutive nights. Jean and Gaston began to notice the physical toll on their mother, who was becoming gaunt and unable to eat. Madame V. made the decision to abandon her bedroom and relocate to a smaller one which would hopefully not be visited by the supernatural presence.

The night she did so, a series of loud banging sounds shook the walls, loud enough to cause Jean and Gaston to wake up and conduct a thorough inspection of the premises, even the attic, thinking that an animal had somehow gotten into the house. Madame V.'s thoroughly Cartesian sons (who did not believe in God, Devil or supernatural events, according to Touquet) were at a loss to find a ready answer to the loud sounds. The violent blows continued for a number of nights, causing the men to believe that an intruder had gotten into the house through the extensive underground level.

It would not be long before Jean, the youngest son, began seeing things as well. "It's odd," he reportedly told his mother. "I notice as though something was following me. I've turned around yet can't see anything." He added having caught glimpses of a "black thing" floating beside him, but scoffed at the notion of ghosts.

Peace reigned at Le Prieuré for a while, until a new phantom entered the scene: a tall menacing figure, wearing what appeared to be a bishop's miter and cassock. Madame V. felt herself weaken and break into a cold sweat as the figure ordered her to leave the house, which had been "wrongfully seized from a religious order."

Skeptics Gaston and Jean were now beginning to hear clanging metallic sounds coming from behind the old stone walls and could not find any hidden chambers or passageways to account for them. One morning, while Madame V. and Gaston were sitting down to breakfast, Jean barged in shouting that "the ghost has crossed the main hall and gone into the library." A skeptic no more, the younger of Madame V.'s two sons would begin experiencing his own series of encounters with the unknown, some of them so unnerving that on October 28, 1956, he phoned his mother, who was staying in Paris, and asked her to return to Le Prieuré, since "he was beginning to go crazy." Upon her return, Madame V. sent Jean away to the city and remained in the old monastery all by herself.

Photographs of one of the ghosts were taken on two separate occasions, according to Touquet: October 18 and 26, 1956. The images show a dense light-grey vapor. But something even more important occurred on the second of these dates.

Having dropped off Gaston at the local train station, Madame V. returned home with great sadness only to find the ghost standing on a small landing on the staircase. Angrily, Madame V. charged up the stairs, uttering angry words. She thrust her hands into the mass of grey vapor. A sensation of glacial cold and shock washed over her as the figure vanished. Fortunately, Jean had seen her rash action and ran up to aid her, helping her to her room. Her hands swelled up and burned as though frostbitten; it was necessary for Jean to carefully saw his mother's jewelled rings off her hands. The swelling remained for two months, leaving small burn and scratch marks as a result of the experience.

The woman told Touquet that for a long time she had wanted to discover "if there was a skeleton" under the ghosts' shroud of grey vapor, but had felt nothing more than cold, viscous vapor.

But Madame V. would have a further encounter with the ghost on the landing, and a rather lengthy conversation, on the last sunday in March, 1960: She was alone at Le Prieuré with her dogs, when the animals began howling. The phantasm stood on the small landing on the staircase, holding its hands imploringly: "Release me from my chains!" it begged.

When asked how she could help, the entity told her he had died without having received the sacraments, and was punished for having allowed a man to starve to death in the cell beneath the monastery. He was slain and buried with his fellow monks under the building, and needed to have "the sign of the Cross and holy water poured over him".

In 1975, moved by this thoroughly compelling story, Spanish paranormalist Salvador Freixedo contacted Robert Touquet and inquired as to the possibility of visiting La Prieuré and conducting research. The author replied that Madame V., unable to cope with all of the manifestations, had sold the property to a construction company, which had in turn knocked it down to build a housing development. Freixedo speculated that "it would not be surprising for the monk to reappear in the houses which coincide with the exact location of the old monastery."

Haunted Buildings, New and Old

Literature and cinema have conditioned us to envision haunted houses as looking very much like the aforementioned monastery of Le Prieuré or the dark tezontle stone of the Mexican library in Valladolid. We often forget that more modern edifices can be just as haunted...and some have fiery stories to tell.

Researcher Bruno Cardeñosa interviewed a flight attendant for Aviaco, a major Spanish airline, whose flight crew had been booked into one the Meliá Corona, one of the city of Zaragoza's upscale hotels. "I knew nothing about the room [I was staying in], but the fact is that one night I felt the oppression of another presence. I could feel it at the window, as if trying to open it but unable to do so," she reported. "Nor could I sleep, since I felt that someone was looking over me just as I was drifting off. I thought it must be my nerves, or that my imagination playing tricks on me, but when I mentioned it to one of my colleagues, she told me immediately: "you must've spent the night in room 510. There's something going on there. You aren't the only one who's felt it."

Apparently no one in the Aviaco crew knew that the posh Meliá Corona had been the ill-fated Corona de Aragon hotel, which had been devastated by one of the most terrible hotel fires in history: seventy-nine guests died in 1981, unable to escape from the raging flames. Room 510's reputation precedes it: many guests have been unable to spend the night there, having heard the terrifying voices and cries of those who tried to open the window to hurl themselves to their deaths rather than burn.

Five years later and half a world away, a similar fate befell the Dupont Plaza hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, destroyed by an arson fire on New Year's Eve 1986. Although the death toll did not rise to the numbers of the Corona de Aragón conflagration, repair crews reported hearing screams and voices during the ten year span of the restoration effort.

The tragedy of human-initiated fires is awful enough; but what are we to make of fires of unknown (read paranormal) origin?

In April 1996, a series of strange fires took place in a farmstead near Sillobre, Spain. The small, random fires became an understandable source of concern to the owners, who asked officials for advice and assistance. Officialdom limited itself to recommending "a thorough cleaning of the septic tank" on the chance that an accumulation of gases could be the source of the small blazes. But despite the sanitizing effort, the phenomenon returned yet again to trouble authorities of the Xunta de Galicia, who steadfastly maintained that the problem stemmed from nothing more than a gas pocket and was "a phenomenon which lacks any scientific explanation at the moment."

Curiously, Carlos Muñoz, the environmental delegate in the nearby city of La Coruña, averred that the source of the problem were unknown "energies" which concentrate in the region and start the fire. The exact nature of the energies involved remained a mystery (CIPNO# 12, November 1996).

A 1995 report from Spain discussed a strange "poltergeist" case from the town of Coslada, a suburb of Madrid, which was so severe that it forced the embattled family to desert it. A succession of bizarre knocking sounds, unexplained crashing noises, sudden fires and odd shadow on the wall caused the building's occupants to contact a clairvoyant. The anonymous seer said that whatever the source of the paranormal infestation was, "it was too much for him": the forces possessing the house were apparently stronger than the psychic's ability to remedy the situation.

Worse than the poltergeist phenomenon was the fact that the family's son acquired an unusual blood disease which medical experts described as being hereditary in nature--the only problem was that such an illness had never been recorded on either sides of the family. The report concludes by stating that the structure's weary residents tore down the wallpaper in an effort to reduce possible fuel sources for the spontaneous fires, and were startled to find "weird symbols" on the wall which no one could identify.

An epidemic of phantom fires broke out in Chile in April 2001 and soon achieved international attention.

The modest home of Miguel Ulloa, his wife Irma, and their two children, Jesús, 2, and nine month old Moisés, became the focus for this most fearsome type of paranormal event. Spontaneous fires were erupting simultaneously, even setting the edges of a leather-bound Bible on fire shortly after a priest had said the Lord's Prayer within the structure.

Unlike most instances of paranormal "firestarting", there were plenty of witnesses to this one. Reporters from Chile's La Cuarta newspaper and other print media were present to witness--and photograph--the unholy blazes as they erupted along a wall and the home's ceiling.

Miguel Ulloa told the media that he was convinced that his family's unity and the religious assistance received would "get the devil out of the house once and for all. We want it to leave us alone."

On April 10, 2001 and in another neighborhood of Santiago de Chile, apartment dwellers Luis Torres and Carmen González were astonished beyond words after returning home and witnessing smoke and flame emerging from a hand towel in their bathroom. Shortly after, the plastic shower curtains were aflame. "The plastic shower curtains were burning. I threw water on them and my wife started to become hysterical", Torres would later tell reporters from the evening newspaper "La Segunda".

After a few minutes, the couple noticed how the right side of their bed, the blanket and the quilt started to burn. They methodically began to remove clothing and combustibles from the apartment in order to pour water over them, only to find that the bathtub itself, despite being full of water, was also blazing. Smoke poured from the closets as a startling discovery was made: the clothes hangers were aflame, but the clothes themselves were not.

Christian Chereau, a veteran lieutenant with the Santiago Fire Department and an expert in chemical fires, told the media that the fires in the Torres González household were beyond belief. "There really isn't a logical explanation, therefore, I believe that the next course of action that the Fire Department will have to take involves an exorcism."

Although neither the EFE newswire nor the Chilean newspapers provided any follow-ups on each couple's experiences, it is interesting to read what authors Fátima Machado and Wellington Zangari have to say about these incidents in their book Conversando Sobre Casas Mal-Assombradas (Sao Paulo: Ediciones Paulinas, 1995). Discussing cases of spontaneous psychokinesis, the authors suggest a double approach: first, determining that the case is clearly paranormal and not a hoax, and second, determining if a human agent is responsible for a "psychic hemorrhage" or spontaneous PK in a 50 meter radius, or if a discarnate being is involved. Machado and Zangari are convinced that family psychotherapy is especially helpful in these cases (an avenue suggested in the case of both Chilean families by parapsychologist Juan Pardo, who insisted that both families were "unable to control their energies" and that the source of the fires was "within their unconscious"), and that important distinctions must be made between a haunted house and a location in which a poltergeist outbreak has occurred: apparitions remain in the haunted house, observe the authors, while poltergeists trail along with the affected family no matter where they happen to go.

Within the Walls of Stone

The reason for hauntings, on certain occasions, is more often than not of a grisly nature. This is the case of Venezuela's "House of Stones" (la casa de las piedras) in Ciudad Bolivar.

The unwholesome location would have gone ignored by the rest of the world had it not been for an article appearing in Nueva Prensa ( describing the experiences of one Esteban González (pseudonym) on a rainy evening in May 1998. González was driving down Ciudad Bolivar's Libertador Avenue when every system in his car -- a Chevy Chevette -- went dead, forcing the driver to coast to a halt, much like occurs in UFO cases. Surprised by the unexpected occurrence, González got out of the car and looked under the hood, unable to find anything wrong. At that moment, he heard the howling of dogs coming from within a stone structure not too distant from his car. The driver had no idea that his car had gone dead in front of the "Casa de las Piedras" -- also known as "la Casa del Diablo" (the Devil's House).

A noxious odor wafted through the air, unexpectedly, causing González to feel fear. He would later tell reporters for Nueva Prensa that he felt the presence of "something supra-normal" at the location. He admitted to having heard of the legend, but having paid little attention to it. His experience was merely one of many involving the abandoned house whose back yard --as was discovered in 1968 -- was a charnel pit containing the bones of children and dogs alike.

The newspaper article characterizes the structure as "a building of European influence, with part of its walls made of stone, as well as the enclosing perimeter. It has a chimney inside it and strange spots cover the walls." As if this didn't suffice to put off curiosity-seekers, the entry adds: "[it] is similar to castles found in a horror movie, or the cloisters of a forsaken abbey."

"Casa de las Piedras" has been abandoned for years, and those who pass in front of it claim having had strange experiences. Stranger still are the experiences of those who have tried to occupy the old structure, usually vacating it within days.

In the 1960s - or so the story goes - the grim structure was the home of a tall Trinidadian gentleman, dressed in somber clothing. His presence was a cause for concern among the locals, as he was know for his irrational attachment to dogs - mainly Dobermans and Rottweilers, which followed him everywhere as he bestrode the streets of Ciudad Bolivar, always wearing an outsized black hat.

"It was then," says the Nueva Prensa article, "that reports of strange disappearances of 10-year-old boys and girls began to circulate. Police inquiries eventually lead to the place in question: Casa de las Piedras. A pit containing the remains of children and dogs was found in 1968, while Satanic symbols were found on the walls along with the so-called "Black Bible" (Anton La Vey's Satanic Bible, perhaps?). The Trinidadian - allegedly responsible for the slayings - vanished and was never seen again.

In the mid-1970s, according to the feature, a couple from Bolivar moved into the house, unmindful of the dark lore that surrounded the stone structure. The unexplained sound of howling dogs did not appear to deter them either, but having their their bed "supernaturally and inexplicably" shaken with savage force one night prompted them to move out the next day. Twenty years later, the local government arbitrarily housed a group of wandering natives in the abandoned house. That very same night, the natives were seen running down Avenida Libertador, shouting for help. In broken Spanish, one of the indians (possibly a Warao tribesman) said that the ghost of "a tall woman, dressed in white and with eyes blazing like hot coals" appeared. Even more disturbing was the description of the entity making "the sound of clacking bones" as it walked.

Religious authorities in this predominantly Catholic country, when consulted as to the possibility of performing an exorcism on the old house, replied that there were no plans for a face-off with the supernatural forces generated by the worship of evil at that location. "Better to leave it unoccupied, and keep things as they are."


Believing in ghosts or haunted houses appears to require very little suspension of disbelief for most people. Even the most hardened skeptic is willing to entertain a story about a haunted house or the unexpected apparition of a long-deceased relative rather than deal with UFO cases, for example. Since nothing human should be alien to us, according to the ancient Roman philosophers, the presence of departed humans in old buildings should hardly constitute any surprise.

But few among the living actively enjoy these fleeting brushes with the afterlife, as can sometimes be experienced in a structure heavy with the past. Popular television programs have lead us to believe that most of these locations are in cold, damp Northern European locations that are better suited to ghostly activity. However, Southern Europe and Latin America can hold their own when it comes to haunted places.