By Scott Corrales
Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic UFOlogy
UFO Digest Latin America Correspondent
In 1972, astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek created a classification system that while not widely mentioned these days, remains the general rule-of-thumb that governs descriptions of unidentified flying objects and attendant phenomena. This “taxonomy” constituted the backbone of Hynek’s landmark The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry(NY: Ballantine, 1974), in which the author had the following to say about close encounters of the second kind: “The physical effects reportedly include tangible marks on the ground that can remain in evidence for days or even months, and come ostensibly from physical contact of the craft with the ground, scorching or blighting of things (particularly plants and trees), discomfort to animals as evidenced by their behavior, and such physical effects on the human observer as temporary paralysis, numbness , a feeling of heat and other discomfort.”
UFO historian Jerome Clark, on approaching the subject of CE-II’s decades later, has the following to say in his The UFO Book (Visible Ink, 1997):” By their nature, CE-IIs ought to be the most important of all UFO cases," (p.83) given the fact that the physical traces left behind by putative alien craft may actually lead to a better understanding--if not prove--the phenomenon's existence and origin.” Overshadowed by more compelling accounts of alien contact and abduction, CE-IIs have been relegated to "supporting actor" status and have played a minor role throughout the 1990s and into the first decade of the 2000s.
A notable – and overlooked – CE-II occurred in the city of Poza Rica, Veracruz, on 22 May 1992 and involved multiple witnesses (a detail of particular importance in a field in which “one witness is no witness at all”, or so it is argued): a teacher and the twenty children that excitedly made her aware of the situation.
Second grade instructor Zita Azuaria described the case to reporters from the Mexican tabloid INSOLITO, who covered the event. She indicated that it was a very warm, sunny day and that the time was 10:30 a.m., when all the children were enjoying recess by playing in the school's basketball court. According to Ms. Azuaria, a number of children soon approached her, claiming to have seen a bright flash produced by what they held to be a spacecraft.
"The children were telling me: "Maestra, it's a flying saucer!" but I paid them no attention. They came to find me at least two or three times and event then I paid them no attention. It wasn't until eleven o'clock, when we were heading back to the classroom, that I noticed all of them looking skyward. Once inside the room, I started assigning work, but noticed that a few students were missing."
Upon asking their whereabouts, Ms. Azuara was told by the other children that they were outside looking at the flying saucer. Intrigued, she decided to take a look for herself, followed by the students.
"It wasn't saucer-shaped," she told journalists. It resembled a wall-like structure, like a highly polished mirror, at least three meters tall. It was at least three kilometers away from our location, and there are small hills and a lot of vegetation in between."
Ms. Azuara detailed some of the children to inform one of her colleagues to witness the event. When the colleague arrived, the scintillating structure wobbled and appeared to have been sucked into the ground. It emerged once more to everyone's amazement, and then vanished into the ground once more. "Later that afternoon," she continued. "the authorities phoned me at home and asked me to retell my experience for the record. I insisted that it may have been nothing at all anomalous, but an experiment of some sort that was being conducted."
A number of strange circles were found on the soil at a nearby ranch known as "El Edén", which lasted eight days before being engulfed by the local vegetation. Ms. Azuara believed that the circles had been produced by the strange, shining object that her students had seen on May 22nd. Visiting the ranch personally, she complained of feeing a strange sensation within her body, leading her to suspect that there might have been some form of residual radiation in the area that no one had bothered to check. Other visitors to the ranch had indicated that the stones within the scorched circles appear to have melted and bubbled, as would a piece of metal heated to its melting point in a furnace.
Another multiple witness event sure to satisfy even the most conservative researchers occurred on October 7, 1993, when hundreds of people attending a fair honoring of St. Francis in the city of Pachuca, state of Hidalgo, were stunned to see a massive fireball streaming across the skies headed in a southerly direction. A group of musicians who were among the entertainers present at the event indicated that they had seen similar fireballs in the town of Valle del Mezquital, not far from the ruins of Tula. The musicians added that after the event, imprints allegedly made by the "landing gear" of a strange device were discovered.
Carried by the Light
This account takes us from Mexico to the Southern Hemisphere--namely Tandil, Argentina--where UFO activity restarted in earnest in early 2000, attracting national and international attention.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2000, Hugo Macías, 60, faced the task he had been performing--some might say heroically--for the past 37 years: delivering the city of Mar del Plata's La Capital newspaper to a number of locations along national highway 226. As he woke up in the pre-dawn hours to do his job, Macías began his paper route at the Gendarmería Nacional (national police force) building in Puerta del Abra on the road between Tandil and Mar del Plata. After dropping off copies of the paper, Macías drove on for a quarter of a mile when he felt a loud, unusual sound approaching him from behind. He stated that a cylinder of light "encircled" his vehicle, and placed the light's diameter at some 50 meters (160 feet). The unknown beam of energy "seemed to pierce the rooftop", according to the deliveryman.
At that point, explained Macías to an interviewer from the Diario de Tandil newspaper, his car radio inexplicably shut off, with the vehicle's engine and headlights following suit. Despite the engine shutdown, the cone of light transported the car an estimated 600 meters (1700 ft.) before abruptly disappearing and leaving the automobile by the roadside. "Everything came back to life," stated Macías, referring to his vehicle's electrical system, "and I found myself staring into a dark but starry night. In the sky above, [at an altitude] of some two thousand meters (6000 ft.). I could see a cylinder-shaped light heading toward a nearby mountain range...the whole ordeal lasted a matter of seconds, but they seemed endless. There were no other vehicles on the road that night: I may have passed two cars during the remainder of the trip."
Macías retold his experience to a group of friends and an Army officer. The duty officer at the Gendarmerie building later advised him that similar phenomena had been seen "five or six times" and that a burned circular shape had been found in a nearby prairie.
But the deliveryman was also made privy to a highly intriguing piece of information that appears to be a constant factor in Latin American UFO cases. The Gendarmerie, he was told by a local sheriff, discourages talk of UFOs out of a fear that stories "will attract NASA's attention, a fact which creates disturbances [given the fact] that NASA has an airplane with six scientists and an all-terrain vehicle which can go anywhere in the world to inspect different sites...many locals are troubled by the presence of such strangers." Stories of official-looking foreigners flashing NASA credentials and in clearly marked vehicles constitute a common experience in UFO cases from Mexico to Puerto Rico to the Southern Cone. Does the great esteem in which the U.S. space program is held outside the country represent a perfect cover for military or governmental investigators?
Hugo Macías cherished his brush with the unknown, and was proud of "having the satisfaction of having been contacted by something which many researchers would like to see and yet never have." His only complaints in the wake of the CE-2 were of a physical nature: while he felt no bodily effects at the moment of the incident, he came down with a migraine, laryngitis and a number of other ailments two days later. Such side effects have been reported in cases around the world: during a wave of "boomerang"-shaped saucers in Pennsylvania and western New York (1994), many eyewitnesses complained of similar physical maladies (cold or flu-like symptoms).
Out of Control in the Snow
Our friends at Grupo G.A.B.I.E. have submitted another fascinating account of strange events in Argentina – this time involving a electromagnetic phenomenon that could be construed as a CE-2 were it not for the absence of any discernible unidentified object or anomaly. Suffice it to say that Patagonia has always been a prime locale for high strangeness events and this is clearly one of them. The event occurred on 13 July 1988 in one of the southernmost communities on the South American landmass: Ushuaia, in the Argentinean province of Tierra del Fuego
While aboard Frigate Q-2 (ARA Libertad), a vessel employed in training Marines for the Argentinean Navy, Ocampo suffered injuries that would trouble him for the rest of his life, leaving him unable to use his left leg and hip and forcing him to walk in crutches. Since that time – the mid-1980s – he has lived in Usuaia, Tierra del Fuego, where he runs a food and beverage establishment on 25 de Mayo street.
In spite of his injuries, he was able to acquire a vehicle in neighboring Chile that was customized to his needs, allowing him to get around. During a particular morning in 1998, Mr. Ocampo boarded his vehicle to head to his business.
It was around seven o’clock in the morning when he drove along a snow-covered road, lined by many trees native to the area. He remembers listening to a local station when it dawned on him that he had forgotten his eyeglasses back home. He turned around and embarked upon the return journey – a distance of approximately 15 blocks – along open snowfields at the edge of the Olivia River.
At some point during the return trip, the radio suddenly went silent, just as the car made a sudden stop. Ocampo tried to re-start the car but obtained no response whatsoever. When he tried to use his cellphone, he found it was also out of order.
He tried starting the car repeatedly, wondering what was going on, until he finally succeeded. The radio died again, but the car remained in motion – only its driver had no control over the vehicle. The brakes and steering were inoperable, and it wasn’t long before the vehicle left the road, as if guided by an invisible force. It plowed through a snowfield until it came to rest before a stand of cypress trees. Ocampo experienced injuries as a result of this and was rescued by a passing motorist. A tow truck eventually pulled out his car.
A series of stunning discoveries were made when the vehicle was inspected at a mechanic shop the next day: the car’s battery had melted along with the entire electrical system. The instrument panel had been ruined as well. Not a single electrical device was salvageable. The battery of Ocampo’s cellphone – which had refused to operate the day before – refused to take a charge and was also declared ruined.
“We believe that several things are described in this report,” states Grupo G.A.B.I.E.’s report. “A clearly electromagnetic manifestation affected the vehicle’s electrical system and all of its devices. The action was directed at Mr. Hugo Ocampo. It should be noted that at no time was another vehicle – 300 meters away from where Ocampo’s vehicle drove off the road – was affected at all.”
UFOs, wrote Professor Hynek, appear to regard cars as creatures to be investigated, and the UFO Enigma contributes the following words of wisdom in this regard: “One remarkable reported physical effect involves interference in electrical circuits, causing engines to cease functioning temporarily, radios to cut out or exhibit uncommon static, car headlights to dim or be extinguished for a short while, and, on occasion, car batteries to overheat and deteriorate rapidly.” One can be almost certain that Mr. Ocampo would have wanted to hear something a bit more reassuring – if only to tell his insurance agent!
Electromagnetic effects on automobiles are not restricted to the Americas, either. In April 1974, a young couple strolling along the beach at Valdelagrana (Cadiz, Spain) noticed a luminous object a few hundred feet in the air and only several hundred feet away as it engaged in a slow descent behind a treeline. Feeling particularly adventurous, the young man and woman ran back to their car and decided to approach the alleged landing site. As they approached, they were rewarded with the sight of a static, luminous object some twenty feet off the ground. The unknown object gave off green and orange flashes from its lower section.
Their sense of adventure gave out at exactly the same moment that their car’s engine shuddered and died. Despite their best efforts, the engine wouldn’t turn over. Fear of the unknown washed over them as the object rose gently into the air, emitting a low, buzzing sound. Determined to drive away from the otherwise desolate location, the couple eventually got the engine to run, but noticing that it operated hesitantly. The battery was nearly drained, and the entire sighting of had lasted less than eight minutes.
Another intriguing Spanish case occurred during the Galician UFO Flap of 1995-1996. Andres Landeira, a resident of Galicia, Spain's northwestern corner, had no idea he was about to become a protagonist of UFO drama when on the night of February 26, 1996 he found that his car was unable to climb the steep hill which led back to his home in the city of Lugo.
The perplexed driver changed gears, but the sedan refused to budge. It was then that Landeira realized that the car was rising into the air. Panicking, he opened the door, hoping to jump to safety from whatever nameless fate awaited him, but he realized he was well over thirty feet in the air. "I held on to the steering wheel with all my might," Landeira would later tell UFO investigator Manuel Carballal, "I forced my back into the driver's seat and thought I was going to die, being taken to God knows where...Hell! I was really scared."
But the car was not spirited off into the black skies. Landeira observed that whatever had picked him up deposited him back onto the road just slightly ahead of his original position, but sideways. Aside from being badly frightened by the experience, the driver wasn't negatively affected. The only reminder of the event was the car's dashboard clock, which froze at precisely ten minutes before two o'clock in the morning.
Electromagnetic Effects in the Caribbean
Puerto Rican UFO researcher Sebastián Robiou, the tireless documenter of the UFO activity that overwhelmed the Spanish-speaking Caribbean in the early 1970s, looked into an alleged case of electromagnetic interference from an unknown source in his book Manifiesto OVNI.
In August 1973, a young man by the name of Antonio Jusin, driving a standard shift 1963 Impala, had no idea that he was about to entered in the annals of ufology. It was a Friday evening, shortly before midnight, and Jusin and a friend had set out from the town of Sabana Grande to Maricao in the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico – one of its most active areas for all manner of anomalies.
Driving his oversized car along the narrow mountain roads, Jusin noticed a light hovering over a nearby mountaintop. He made a comment to his friend, who dismissed it as a “beacon”. Wending their way through the mountains, they saw the object again – this time larger than before. Startled by the sight, Jusin put the car into second gear...but the Impala stalled. Its driver was unable to make it go backward or forward.
Something prompted the alarmed driver to turn on his high beams, and the unknown light responded with a blast of light that turned night into day for at least a mile around, according to Jusin. The object advanced until it hovered directly over the Impala and its now-terrified occupants, descending. Nearly blinded by the light, Jusin was nonetheless able to see that his car’s electrical system had died out – no lights, no radio. His friend struggled to keep him from abandoning the car and running for cover in the vegetation. Both men agreed to put the car in neutral and coast downhill to the nearest house; along the road, a friendly motorist in a Jeep offered to tow the stricken car back home.
“Upon arriving,” Jusin told Robiou during an interview held in May 1976, “I opened the hood and saw that the battery had melted down to chewing gum, a rubbery mess. It was completely melted. I could also tell that the wiring was burned, completely charred. The lighting system was damaged. The starter was no good; the alternator, the horn, nothing. Neither the radio nor the tape player worked, or the clocks. That object ruined everything.”
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