Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Puerto Rico: Mid-20th Century Sightings

 Puerto Rico: Mid-20th Century Sightings

[From Inexplicata: UFO's in Latin America and Spain by Scott Corrales]

Puerto Rico – an eternal UFO hotspot that has blazed into searing, white-hot prominence several times in the 20th century – began its contemporary sequence of UFO cases on June 20, 1947, four days prior to Kenneth Arnold’s history-making encounter over Mount Rainier. Mrs. Maria Ayuso witnessed the passing of a “bright object at high speed over the skies of San Juan” at 5:30 p.m. from Puerta de Tierra in San Juan. Nor was Mrs. Ayuso alone in this – her husband, Dr. Rómulo Ayuso, was driving the family car when his wife suddenly asked him to pull over and look at the strange flying disk in the heavens. “The intense light it gave off,” said Maria Ayuso, was similar to what can be reflected by an aluminum pan held against the sun’s rays.” The newspaper article of this early sighting appeared in the July 10, 1947 issue of San Juan’s El Mundo newspaper.

El Mundo’s issue for the previous day, coincidentally, had also carried the story of four witnesses – Americo Paoli, Miguel Orozco, Francisco Rodriguez and Julio Salazar – who reported seeing four luminous discs heading south in the night sky as they stood outside a pharmacy in San Juan at 2:35 am. Paoli, the manager of a taxi stand, noted that the objects “appeared to be flying at high speed and in pairs, separated by a short distance,” adding that “they were plate-shaped when tilted in such a way” that he could see their circumference, although they weren’t perfectly round. An attorney and his wife also reported seeing the same intriguing objects, adding that they had a “shiny, straw-like color.”

As the sightings continued sporadically into the early 1950s, even newspaper writers themselves were having sightings. Miguel Angel Santin, senior writer for El Mundo, and an unnamed co-worker, were returning to their homes in the Puerto Nuevo sector of the city around ten thirty at night when they saw a luminous object traveling from east to west. “We thought that it couldn’t be a shooting star due to its trajectory, as these tend to fall very quickly. Furthermore, it gave off a greenish cast. The object was at an altitude of some 15 degrees and at an azimuth of some 5 degrees.”

By 1952, UFO activity over the Caribbean island was in full swing, with cases being reported from parts of the island’s geography that would become well known in subsequent decades for the volume of reports issuing from them, particularly the waters of the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. On May 13, 1952 at seven o’clock in the evening, Miguel Angel Garcia, a prominent politician, was seated with his family at their residence in the city of Mayaguez, commanding a view of the city and its bay from a considerable elevation. García, his wife, daughter and son-in-law interrupted their conversation to look at two orange disks—one larger than the other-- flying high over the Mona Passage. The politician promptly went inside for his field glasses and returned to study the unusual objects. The larger of the disks had “the apparent size of the sun, according to Garcia, and was static while the smaller one maneuvered around, switching positions with each other. García’s daughter Fredita managed to photograph the strange aerial ballet between the orange disks but nothing appeared on the film due to shortcomings in the Verichrome film employed. Other residents of Mayaguez also saw the disks, but believed them to be military devices from the Ramey Strategic Air Command base on the island’s northwestern tip.