Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Argentina: The Night a UFO Shook Mendoza Awake

Source: Planeta UFO and UNO (diariouno.com.ar)
Date: 06.18.2019
An article by Jose Luis Verderico

Argentina: The Night a UFO Shook Mendoza Awake

Over 50 years ago, the courts of the city of Mendoza (Argentina) engaged in the investigation of a strange claim that became local and national news: the Villegas and Peccinetti Case - two employees of the Mendoza Casino who claimed having been intercepted by a UFO and five aliens in the city, near the Liceo Militar.

Judge Jorge Marzari Céspedes was famous for the fact that all unusual events wound up before his bench. "All that you need is to send a flying saucer to jail!" some colleagues had told him, half-jokingly. However, one day, that remark practically came true, and it became a police docket and later a judicial file.

Fernando Villegas was 26 and Juan Carlos Peccinetti was about to turn 30. They worked as cashiers at the state gambling house, which at the time was on 25 de Mayo de Ciudad Street between Espejo and Sarmiento, where private gaming establishments now operate after privatization.

As entered in the court case investigated by Marzari Céspedes, on Saturday, August 31, 1968 at 3:42 hours, Villegas's 1934 model Chevrolet suddenly stopped as it headed northward to take Peccinetti home. The "encounter" took place 300 meters from the playing fields of the General Espejo Military Academy.

It was a dark night and the sky was remarkably clear. Once more, (weatherman) Bernardo Razquin had been correct with his forecast.

"We were about to check whether the car battery was operating correctly when five completely bald individuals, with heads larger than usual approached us. They wore a kind of coverall, stood 1.40 meters tall, and had very pale skin." -- Statements by Villegas and Peccinetti in the court document.

Upon seeing themselves surrounded by these humanoid figures, the Casino cashiers thought to escape through an empty field, but a surprise awaited them.

"There was a lenticular object, 5 meters in diameter, hanging in the air. A powerful beam of light was projected from a lower opening, aimed at the ground. It was some 30 meters from us and floated a little over 1 meter from the ground." -- From Villegas and Peccinetti's account.

When Juan Carlos Peccinetti was asked for more details of the event, he remembered the three of the characters 'began to transmit messages'. The others? They were guarding the craft, he said. They didn't speak like human beings, yet we did manage to pick up a clear and intelligent message: "No fear, no fear" were the repeated words. Their tone, said the witness, aimed at persuading us.

"So what did they tell you?" asked Judge Marzari Céspedes, who had taken on the case at the request of the Supreme Court in the light of high public impact.

That they had orbited the Sun three times and were studying the customs and languages of the inhabitants of the solar system. That the Sun fed the system in a kindly manner. Otherwise, it would not exist.

"Did something else happen?"

The magistrate's question was aimed at hearing the account of the second part of the event, which was perhaps even more surprising than the chance encounter with the flying object and its occupants. Villegas and Peccinetti continued their story, saying the following:

"On the running board of the car and the left door, one of the beings was drawing signs with a device of some sort. It was some sort of electric welding, judging by the blinding sensation to the eyes." -- From the statement made by the casino employees.

The next morning there were nine marks on the Chevrolet's door and the running board. These were vertical signs, neatly arranged to be understood by those able to do so. They were examined by criminalists, the staff of the Atomic Energy Commission, and even the Navy, not only to find out what they meant, but what they were made of.

The flying object vanished into the wonderfully clear sky after a brief flash, according to the men. Before this, one of the occupants took Peccinetti and Villegas by their hands and pricked the index finger and thumb of their left hand. "It was like having your blood drawn," said Peccinetti, according to specialized publications. Previous to this, they had been shown a kind of TV screen showing a nuclear explosion.

That morning, Fernando Villegas, shaken and exhausted, ran to the Military Academy's guardhouse and spoke of his experience for the first time. His companion was following him, more or less frightened, pensive.

Marzari Céspedes was learned of the case on Sunday, September 1st, through the media. He wasn't even ready to open an investigation, yet he did. He delved into the matter little by little, as though drawn in by a force that many have defined with a single word: curiosity. He then opened a case file against NN (parties unknown) for the crime of slight injuries (the pricking of the fingers) to the casino workers.

In order to invest the matter with legal sobriety, the magistrate ordered that the casino workers be subjected to medical and psychiatric scrutiny. He wanted to know if they were telling the truth, but particularly to see if one of them had a mental disorder or had a fantasy-prone personality. The Medical Board worked with them for four and a half hours.

Alcohol testing was among the first tests, but the conclusion that they hadn't had a drop to drink only make the mystery greater.

They even had to make drawings and sketches of that night. The renderings and shapes were nearly childlike: of themselves, the characters, the nearby trees and the empty field, and of what they essential considered to be a flying object.

Mathematics is the universal language, Peccinetti told the Judge.

"How's that?" asked Marzari Céspedes.

It was the last thing the visitors said before they vanished.

The local Court ordered the magistrate to keep a tight rein on the investigation, to avoid losing sight of the terms of the complaint.

The plaintiffs were represented by Ignacio Correa Llano, who accused the judge of having pressured his clients "by the terms and manner" in which he had questioned them. Correo Llano was an attorney, but also a ufologist. He directed the CIEM (Centro de Investigaciones Espaciales de Mendoza) which had a strong opinion in the matter.

To another ufologist, Victorio Corradi, CIEM's vice-president, the inscriptions found on Villegas's car were a sort of "cosmic graffiti", as he told the journalist Alejandro Agostinelli's website Invasores: Historias Reales de Extraterrestres en la Argentina".

The National Atomic Energy Commission's report showed that levels of radiation in the empty field were normal. Measurements had also been taken at the El Sauce Hospital, where the plaintiffs had been taken. Nothing of concern was found there either.

As part of the investigation, Sheriff Miguel Montoza kept Peccinetti's wristwatch: a Precision with 17 antimagnetic rubies which had stopped cold at 3:42 on 31 August, the exact time of the reported "alien contact".

The 4th Aerial Brigade appointed Lt. Luis Cunietti to attend to the ramifications of the civilian investigation. He submitted all conclusions to the Junta de Investigaciones Espaciales (Space Research Board), not only those regarding technical mater, but also his opinion on the casino workers' emotional health, as he witnessed at least one of the sessions with therapists.

The police chief told the La Nación newspaper that experts had found "considerable amounts of magnesium and magnesium salts" inside the Chevrolet, particularly on the floor.

Social anxiety and concern was mounting to the extent that the Mendoza Police issued a communiqué aimed at staving off a potential panic. Chief Roberto Hartkopf explained: "We wanted Mendoza to avoid what happened in the U.S.A. when Orson Welles simulated the war of the worlds. Panic is uncontrollable."

He availed himself of an incident that took place in Ecuador to explain the goal of his institutional warning:

"The arrival of extraterrestrial beings was simulated through a radio broadcast, and the consequences were dire: flight, fire at the station and even officials lost to the panic".

"I think the case was a yarn," Marzari Céspedes began by saying, among other conclusions. "I don't believe in UFOs, so that's why I visited the site, not expecting to find radiation, but to find the truth. The Judge claimed having found 'many contradictions by Peccinetti" after reconstructing the case at the same time and location where according to the plaintiffs, they had traveled from the Casino heading toward Barrio Cano, and the subsequent encounter with interplanetary beings.

"It was a great yarn. A gag pulled by Peccinetti on this fellow Villegas which got out of hand and escaped his control," said Judge Marzari Céspedes.

Disturbing the peace. That was the only possible criminal charge against Peccinetti. However, the magistrate himself said that the charge would serve no purpose, and acted in consequence.

Peccinetti and Villegas quit the Casino shortly after the strange incident. Exactly a year later, in August 1969, the former was detained in La Rioja for swindling olive growers. Villegas was by now a restaurant worker.

In 1970, Peccinetti was front line news again. No longer in Mendoza or La Rioja. Now he was in Chile, and it wasn't a prank this time, or check fraud. Now he was accused of murdering an accountant for money, with two accomplices.

Peccinetti and Villegas are both dead today, and so is Judge Marzari Céspedes. Yet they are survived by this bizarre story, a curious one, filled with esoteric, religious, political and social seasonings.

It was an episode that shook Mendoza out of its habitual slumber; nearly a miracle in this part of the world.

[Translation (c) 2019 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez and Jose Luis Verderico]