Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Contactee Madness - The 50 UFOs That Never Made it to Chascomús

Source: www.eldebate.com.ar and Planeta UFO
Date: 08.27.2019

Contactee Madness - The 50 UFOs That Never Made it to Chascomús
By Marcelo Metayer

“The most overwhelming mystery is that of certain locations,” wrote Aimé Michel in 1965. I’ve felt that in many places, and one of them is on the banks of the Chascomús Lagoon. It is well-known that enigmas are often found close to water. Like the golden ray of light given to me by the sun of the July eclipse. And like the event of August 1973 – 46 years ago on the 25th of this month. On that day, a crowd chose to believe the words of contactee Francisco García and headed to the lagoon to witness “fifty flying saucers, not forty-nine, not fifty-one, but fifty.”

This took place in a year of such upheaval in Argentina and the world as a whole that it was almost impossible for me to find newspapers in the libraries: they had vanished, whether stolen, or torn to shreds from so much re-reading. Perón’s return, the pardoning of political prisoners, Comet Kohoutek, Vietnam, the Twin Towers, the Sydney Opera House, Kraftwerk’s debut, The Exorcist and Columbo – a list that does not run out of multifaceted items, an extraordinary year indeed. In the same way that those newspapers vanished, the memory of Francisco Garcia and his flying saucers faded as well. I learned about the subject much later in the pages of Invasores by Alejandro Agostinelli, who devotes the chapter titled “Mi marciano favorito” (My Favorite Martian) to the episode.

I learned from those pages that García had been a shining star who made the most out of Warhol’s “fifteen minutes of fame’, as Agostinelli states quite correctly. Given what occurred later, the contactee was more of a supernova than a mere star, because Argentina was paralyzed for a few days around siesta time to tune into Channel 13 and watch Teleshow, where Francisco García made his disclosures to Victor Sueiro, José de Zer and Alfredo Garrido.

This is how Antonio Las Heras, who was also a protagonist of those afternoons, tells it: “Around that time I had already released my first two books, one about comets, another about UFOs, published by the Rodolfo Alonso publishing house. So I was around, looking to disseminate this, and that’s how I met Sueiro. He was very kind to me, he always helped me to disseminate my material, and would invite me to Teleshow every so often in the afternoons. It was broadcast live, and he’d interview me about any UFO item I might have. One day they called me and asked me to go because a man had turned up at the station due prompted by the appearances in which I discussed UFOs. He said he was able to rebut or refute what I was saying, because – and here’s the interesting part – he was Martian on his mother’s side. The interview came about, conducted by Sueiro, and Francisco García and I were finally together. I quickly asked him how did he know his mother was a Martian, because she seemed to be a human with a name, surname, and at the time, a voter registration card. Then he said: “Regarding her body, she’s human, but with the soul of a transmigrated Martian female. She died on Mars, came to Earth and took over my mother’s body. Furthermore, in his condition as a Martian on his mother’s side, he had been appointed commander of the entire Martian fleet on Earth. On a given Saturday, at five o’clock in the evening, fifty flying saucers, not forty-nine, not fifty-one, would come down and hover above the Chascomús lagoon.

Agostinelli recalls another item in his book: An appearance of Garcia’s nemesis on Teleshow – a rancher surnamed Martínez, who claimed to be in contact with forces from Jupiter and argued that the first contactee’s pronouncements were untrue. First over the phone and then live, the fight of the century: García vs. Martínez, Mars vs. Jupiter. “The arm-wrestling between these characters stole all the afternoon viewership. One accused the other of stationing his troops in the Asteroid Belt, which was neutral territory, and argued over the cooperation of the residents of the Sun. it was thus that viewers learned that Martians had the gift of blending into the landscape, turning into rocks or trees. They were also able to turn into humans, mimicking Earthlings (possible source of the song ‘there are Martians among people’). Other Jovian satellites (Ganymede, Europa, Io) were also confederated and ready to sweep away the Martian colonies on Venus and Mercury,” [Agostinelli] wrote in Invasores in 2009.

Then, “during a pause in the debate, Sueiro asked García once more for proof. If only just one.” And that’s when the fifty saucer announcement was made. These would appear over Chascomús Lagoon on Saturday, August 25, at five o’clock in the afternoon.

Why Chascomús? Agostinelli explains that “García was no stranger to the landscape. José Eduardo Bonavita, editor of the Chascomús El Cronista, informed that around 1963, García was making the rounds of municipal offices, presenting a binder with documents that substantiated his announcement. He held long conversations with the now-deceased Federico Martínez, Undersecretary of Government, Bonavita remarks.”

The proclamation had been made, and thousands came to watch.

A Squadron Announced

The El Argentino de Chascomús newspaper put a special inset on its front page that Saturday. The hook was “The Gullibility Hour” – the first paragraph read: “Today’s the day: the gullible from a variety of backgrounds will populate the lakefront, awaiting the apparition of an announced flying saucer squadron that will substantiate the authenticity of statements made by a gentleman who claims to be in constant contact with extraterrestrials, given that his own mother is one of them.” The skeptical news writer, however, mistook the provenance of García’s mother and called her a Venusian in the article.

“The gullible from a variety of backgrounds…”

Las Heras continues: “The day arrived. I went over with some friends, thousands and thousands of cars. I had been to Chascomús several times as a boy, taken by my parents, but I’d never seen so many people: the lagoon’s entire perimeter was surrounded by cars. One noteworthy thing was the attention commanded by this man in an afternoon show: keep in mind this was a show aimed at housewives, kids who weren’t in school…it wasn’t a 9 p.m. program. Well, it was packed, completely packed.”

Researcher Gustavo Fernández was also in Chascomús that afternoon. “I went there with a childhood friend. We were two 15-year-old jerks who ran off to the despair of our parents. We saw how García was conveyed in a fire truck, siren howling, to the Fishing Club.”

“Francisco Garcia was on one of the Fishing Club’s little terraces, surrounded by trusted people. There was a car with Víctor Sueiro and others from Channel 13, with the cameraman, but not among them. As five o’clock drew near, I remember seeing García place his hand across his forehead, looking into the horizon to see if they would appear. It was a beautiful day with abundant sunshine,” continues Las Heras.

Alejandra Bilbao directs the Instituto Historiografico de Chascomús and was there that day on the lakeshore. Her mother was a UFO buff, collected Cuarta Dimensión magazine and had attended Fabio Zerpa’s lectures. So she took her children, dressed to the nines, to see the fifty flying saucers announced by García. “I remember what I was wearing that day, because mother dressed us in our Sunday best: pleated skirt, little shoes, and a blue sweater. My little sister was in her stroller, as she couldn’t walk yet. They loaded us into the Dodge pick-up, we parked on the lakefront and went to the pier,” she recalls. “the situation was like that on the day of the eclipse, but there were many more people,” she says, referencing the crowd in attendance in Chascomús on July 2 of this year to see the total eclipse of the sun. “Everyone looked at the sunset, which was impressive,” adding: “We were at the edge of the lagoon, close to where Development and Tourism stands today. The cameras were on the Fishing Club’s pier.”

A crowd looking at the setting sun, yearning for a miracle, but the miracle never came to pass.

Abelardo Tejo, editor of Chascomús’s El Fuerte newspaper, who was also there, recalls a fanciful detail: “A group of fellows at the Fishing Club had climbed on the roof and began launching cardboard plates into the air.”

“They nearly overturned his car,” Antonio Las Heras continues. “García was isolated on the club’s terrace with his allies and no one could go there. Not even the Channel 13 cameraman made it inside, who was closest to theca in which we traveled. When the crowd identified the cameraman and Sueiro, the nearly overturned his car, but Sueiro stepped out, spoke very well, said that he was as surprised as everyone else, and that the situation would be straightened out. This mollified everyone.”

The El Argentino newspaper’s headline the next day read: “Multitudinous turnout on the edge of the lagoon,” going on to say that it was “truly incredible, not that flying saucers would appear at the command of a mythomaniac’s fantasy, but rather thousands of people, summoned by this fantasy, enduring the strong wind and intense cold that swept the lakefront yesterday afternoon, hoping, like the Hebrews, for a sign in the sky that would tell them what they’d been told wasn’t a lie. At the pier of the Fishing Club, the architect of this tumult, flanked by television journalists and police, spoke on and on as the large crowd – that one that had made the lakefront impassable, booked the hotels solid, redoubled work at restaurants and rendered the heart of the city a ghost town – became dispirited.”

On Monday, August 27, Teleshow contacted Las Heras once more to discuss the subject. “García was also called. He said the flying saucers had not appeared because as commander of the Martian fleet on Earth, upon seeing so many people, he thought the sight of fifty saucers could cause a tragedy. They were already approaching and nearly made themselves visible, but he made them go away. When I asked him how, because I had seen him on the terrace, using his hand as a visor, with no equipment or anything, nothing…how did he notify them? Telepathically, he replied.”
As from that day on, García’s public presence vanished. “Every so often, José de Zer would disguise himself as Francisco García and would tell the “not forty-nine, not fifty-one” joke, and that was all.”

Was it indeed all?

A Lovely Madman

“I ran into García on the subway, on the A-Line, in March of the following year,” says Gustavo Fernández. “We exchanged a few words. I went over, greeted him, told him I’d been in Chascomús, he repeated the explanation of why the flying saucers hadn’t come, and I never heard anything after that.”

Antonio Las Heras has something further to add. “Meanwhile, I got on with my life, my career. I was doing my college studies. I did all my coursework at Universidad Kennedy – bachelor’s, doctorate in Social Psychology, Masters in Psychoanalysis later on. Around 1977 or 1978, I was given the choice of doing internships at the Borda Hospital for a Psychology course. I went off happily to do my internship one Saturday morning, and Doctor Reyes, the head of Unit 26, said to me: Look, let’s go interview a patient you’ll find interesting. I went with him, and it was Francisco García. He was receiving outpatient treatment at the Borda Hospital for some time, taken by his family. I told Doctor Reyes that I knew him, told him all that had happened, and he told me he’d been coming in for treatment for years as an outpatient and was beloved by all. The same things he spoke about on television he would discuss in the hospital, only they were taken differently at the Borda. He insisted on his maternal Martian parentage and about receiving telepathic communications. Years later I saw him walking along Corrientes Avenue, but didn’t even bother to stop him.”

“All of this made me wonder. I said to myself, and keep saying to myself, was this a die-hard psychotic, or was he a person whose sensitivity or parapsychological gift allowed him to tune in on things that he would interpret in that way. What he said on Teleshow was worthy of ridicule. In a psychiatric hospital it was enough to make him out as psychotic, but do we really know this?” concludes Las Heras. Fernandez states: “I share Antonio’s perspective. In my article Contactados y Revelaciones (Contactees and Revelations) I say that they contacting me with something. The question is – what with, and how?”

Because in the evening of August 24, 1973, according to Gustavo Fernández, “between eight thirty and nine o’clock, it was already dark, and many campers who had arrived from various locations, drawn by Francisco García, indeed saw a UFO over the lagoon, flying low.”

What if…?

[Translation © 2019 Scott Corrales, IHU with thanks to Marcelo Metayer, Guillermo Giménez, Alejandro Agostinelli, Gustavo Fernández and Antonio Las Heras]