Monday, May 22, 2017

Spain: Government Dossier on the Villalón de Campos UFO (1968)

Source: Planeta UFO and ORBITA CERO
Date: 05.21.2017
An article by Víctor Vela

Spain: Government Dossier on the Villalón de Campos UFO (1968)

Phones were ringing off the hook that Saturday in 1968: I've seen something strange, there's a strange thing in the sky, it's not an airplane, it has orange lights, it appears to be rising skyward, it suddenly vanished, and it was over in three minutes.

There were several witnesses to that phenomenon around 19:15 hours as it disrupted the peace of the skies over Tierra de Campos. The first to call was a trucker from Mazariegos, followed by four more truckers. Then residents from the environs of Villalón and even from Palencia, claiming to have seen something in the sky. That very same night, around 0:50 hours, and due to the insistent nature of the calls, the base's commandant sent a telegram to the Air Force Minister advising him of the phenomenon occurring over that corner of Castile. "Nothing to report elsewhere in the region," it ended.

All of these calls from residents of Villalón gave rise to an investigation that ended up in an official report: Document 681207 on sightings of strange phenomena. The High Command called them "expedientes OVNI" (UFO files) and they are still called as such years later.

The Ministry of Defense has recently declassified and published up to 80 documents concerning unidentified flying object sightings in Spain. The one in Villalón is one of them, and like most others, it was closed without having ever ascertained the exact nature of what so many people had seen in the sky.

A veritable UFO fever raged in 1968. The government investigated up to 21 cases. Furthermore, the Air Force Ministry was forced to issue a communiqué that appeared on the headline of the El Norte de Castilla newspaper. "In regard to the statements published with certain frequency in the press regarding sightings of unidentified flying objects in Spanish airspace, the Air Force Ministry asks persons who seem, and believe them to be so-called UFOs, to please advise the nearest Air Force or local authorities in order to submit the news to the competent agencies." It was December 6, 1968. A flood of calls from Tierra de Campos arrived the next day.

The public notice went on to say: "The Air Force Ministry has a radar network that is able to detect any echo producing source in the air space. It has been ascertained that objects considered unidentified by the public turned out to be weather balloons or airplanes in flight."

It was a way of tempering the rise in sightings from Soria, Cádiz, Almería, Bilbao o Valencia. The most famous of these occurred in Madrid on September 5. The next day's newspaper read: "A UFO over Madrid - Seen But Not Picked Up On Radar." The news item included testimony from dozens of witnesses who claimed having seen a bright spot in the sky "the size of a 25 Peseta coin" - it appears to have been, in fact, a French aerostat (launched from Aire-sur-Adour) dragged by the winds, only to crash somewhere between Aspe and Santa Pola (Alicante) on Saturday the 7th.

UFO fever was now raging. "An Alarming Rise in Eyewitnesses", said El Norte on 13 October 1968, noting that "despite the number of scientists convinced of their existence", what was believed to be an alien invasion was most likely "an error of perception." They could be - it said - comets, shooting stars, a car headlight reflected in the clouds, an electrostatic reflection, meteorites...or the planet Venus, which was highly visible in the afternoon between November 1968 and February 1969.

The Air Force Ministry had to issue regular statements to correct possible mistakes. For example, the calibration of a station in Robledo de Chavela (Madrid) had required a flyover by an airplane with a powerful strobe light "to enable locating the station when tests require nocturnal flights."

The press hopped on the UFO bandwagon. El Norte published an article entitled "Los invasores" (The Invaders) divided into chapters and offered on successive days. It was authored by Larry Cohen and provided by the Europa Press agency. It was fictitious, but the climate was right.

[Translation (c) 2017 by S. Corrales, IHU. Our thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Victor Vela and Luis Emilio Annino]