Elements of the hero’s journey present in the story. In this paper we shall follow the study made by Joseph Campbell on the mythological “hero’s journey” made by the “hero”, understood as the “magnification of the formula represented in rituals of initiations: separation-initiation-return, that could receive the name of the nuclear unit of the mono-myth” (Campbell, 1992: 35) seeking to establish the typical elements of the full cycle (Campbell, 1992:225) that may be present in the Ituzaingó case (1985). To do this, we shall point out the stages and subdivisions of the hero’s mythical journey (Campbell, 1992: 223-224) and we shall then break down the parts that correspond to it, in our understanding.
1) The call to adventure: “The mythological hero abandons his hut or castle, is attracted, carried away or voluntarily marches toward the gateway of adventure (Campbell, 1992:223). The couple drives by car from Posadas to Corrientes at “cruising speed” when “they see lights” which prompt the driver to “slow down and when (…) a light became brighter (…) stopped, despite his wife urging him to keep driving.”
2) Threshold of adventure. “There he finds the presence of a shadow guarding the road. The hero can defeat or conciliate that force and enter the kingdom of darkness alive (battle with a kinsman, battle with the dragon, offer, enchantment) or can be slain by the opponent and descend into death (dismemberment, crucifixion) (Campbell, 1992:223). Ituzaingó Case: a) shadow guarding the road: “a man approached them”; b) conciliation with force: The humanoid “asked our interviewee to give him something to take back to MAIT, and the man took (…) and gave them to the “extraterrestrial” (…) indicating the purpose for each thing being given.”
3) Beyond the threshold: Beyond the threshold, the hero makes way through a world of unfamiliar forces, yet oddly intimate ones, some of which threaten him with danger (tests) while others provide him magical assistants (helpers).” (Campbell, 1992:223). Ituzaingó Case: a) unfamiliar forces: “We are not from Earth”; b) intimacy: “The couple saw a man with perfect human features”, “spoke fluid Castilian more closely resembling the Argentinean dialect; c) tests: “The driver of the car asked him to let them go, the extraterrestrial asked him not to go, bidding him to listen to what he had to say.” ; d) danger: “the wife wept and cuddled up to her husband”; “never thought one could feel so much fear and astonishment”.
4) End of the adventure: “Upon reaching the end of the mythological journey, he undergoes a supreme test and receives his reward. Triumph may represented by the sexual union of the hero with the mother goddess of the world (sacred marriage), knowledge of the father-creator (harmony with the father), his own divinization (apotheosis) or also, if the forces have remained hostile, the loss of the gift he has come to win (loss of his bride, loss of fire). Intrinsically, it is the expansion of awareness and therefore, that of the being (illumination, transfiguration, liberty).” (Campbell, 1992: 223-224”. Ituzaingó Case: a) supreme test: Do not be frightened! Feel no fear! We are not from Earth…!”; “he asked him (…) to hear him out; b) Expansion of awareness and being: “while I must acknowledge that I felt fear, it will be among the loveliest and most fascinating memories I’ve had, and I hope it happens to me again, because then I will get out of the car, exchange opinions and ask questions, which I didn’t do now – ask questions, due to the powerful shock I felt.”
1) Start of the return: “The final task is the return. If the forces have blessed the hero, now he moves under their protection (emissary); if not he flees and is chased (flight with transformation, flight with obstacles)” (Campbell, 1992:224). Ituzaingó Case: “Tell everyone not to be afraid...”; “asking us to tell everyone that they were good”; “asked me to tell everyone we know not to be afraid, and that they are good beings”.
2) Return threshold: “In the return threshold, the transcendental forces must remain behind. The hero begins his return from the kingdom of sorrows (return, resurrection).” (Campbell, 1992: 3). Ituzaingó Case: Transcendental forces remain behind. “The alien (…) headed back to the “UFO” where other beings awaited (…) and the light took off swiftly, vanishing into the horizon.”
4) Return: “Goodness brought to restore the world (elixir)” (Campbell, 1992: 224). Ituzaingó Case: I am doing this, because if all this contributes to clarifying the alien mystery, we will have made a contribution to the Humanity to which we all form part (…) but I am personally sure that I spoke with a being from another world, an kindly being, sweet at times, concerned about us, who was perhaps only accomplishing a mission of contacting the Earth and Humankind.”
Conclusion. The presence of elements typical of the hero’s journey emerges from an analysis of the Ituzaingó Case (1985), making it possible to state that it follows the model of the nuclear unit of the monomyth: “a separation from the world, penetration to some source of power, and a return to life to live it with more purpose.” (Campbell, 1992: 39-40).
¿Fantasía o realidad?.
El Litoral, Corrientes, Tuesday, 27 August 1985, page 5.
Después de los OVNI…
in El Litoral, Corrientes, Sunday, 25 August 1985, p.20.
Banchs, Roberto 2007:
Ituzaingó (Cts.): Diálogo con extraterrestres.
Marcianitos Verdes – 15 December, 2007. ´
Campbell, Joseph 1992:
El héroe de las mil caras. Psicoanálisis del mito.
Buenos Aires, ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, Spanish translation by Luisa Josefina Hernández, 1992.
Eliade, Mircea 1961:
Mitos, sueños, misterios.
Buenos Aires, ed. Compañía General Fabril, Spanish translation by Lysandro. Z. D. Galtier, 1961.
Hynek, J. Allen 1979:
El informe Hynek.
Buenos Aires, ed. Javier Vergara, Spanish translation by Ariel Bignami, 1979.
Mendoza, Oscar Raúl 1993:
Ovnis: Huellas y tripulantes.
Santa Fé, ed. del Autor, 1993.
Ribera, Antonio 1982:
Treinta años de ovnis.
Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), ed. ed. Plaza & Janes, 1982.
en El Litoral, Corrientes, Saturday, 24 August 1985, p.2.
Vallée, Jacques 1976:
Pasaporte a Magonia.
Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), ed. Plaza & Janes, Spanish translation by Antonio Ribera, 1976.
[Translation (c) 2014 by Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology]
(Appeared originally in Alternativa OVNI, April 2014 No.4)