Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mexico: Enigmatic Object Recorded Over Popocatepetl's Crater

Source: PLANETA UFO (Argentina) and Diario CAMBIO (Mexico)
Date: January 15, 2018

Mexico: Enigmatic Object Recorded Over Popocatepetl's Crater
Staff/Diario Cambio

A new video of an alleged unidentified flying obejct flying over the Popocatepetl Volcano's crater has been shared over the Internet.

VIDEO AT: https://www.facebook.com/diario.cambio1/videos/918076715018976/

Friday, January 05, 2018

Backtracking: Early 20th Century UFO Mysteries

Backtracking: Early 20th Century UFO Mysteries
By Scott Corrales

There is one thing that UFO believer and skeptic, nuts-and-bolts advocate and psycho-social theorist, contactee and abductee can agree on (mostly): the modern age of UFOs kicked off in 1947 with Kenneth Arnold’s historic sighting over Mount Rainier.

But cracks can be found in that monolithic supposition as researchers unearth cases from earlier in that decade and previous ones, not including the airship mystery of the late 19th century. Some of these have been correctly solved as hoaxes, misidentifications or even wishful thinking brought about by the pulp novels of the time. Nonetheless, we come up with interesting events that deserve a place in the sun.

In the mid-1980s, Spanish journalist Juan José Benítez drove across his country in search for older mysteries than the ones occurring at the time of his research. Some of these cases were paranormal in nature, involving enigmatic lights and apparitions. Others fit more clearly within the framework of unidentified flying objects as we have come to understand them.

His travels led him the rural home of Mr. Mariano Melgar, who claimed to have witnessed a strange object on the ground during the years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Melgar told the journalist that he was only six years old at the time, but was certain that the event took place only a few months before the fratricidal conflict came to an end.

Responsibility had been thrust upon the boy at an early age, and he was looking after some cows at his family’s property near the village of Muñico, not far from the city of Avila. While the cows munched away contentedly at the grass, young Mariano sheltered under the trees lining a small brook. His attention was soon distracted by a buzzing sound, so typical of UFO events.

“I soon realized,” he told Benítez, “that it came from a circular object, firing silvery flashes. It came down near the edge of the tree line and landed. I sheltered behind a tree and spied on it. The object was about 15 to 20 meters in diameter (50-65 ft.) and had a small dome on top of it. I was about thirty paces away from it and I noticed that it had three or four legs. The thing was encircled with colored lights, turning on and off. It was wonderful to see! I saw round windows around its fuselage, which shone like aluminum in the sunlight.”

As if this possible CE-2 experience wasn’t interesting enough, the witness added details that would bump his experience into the CE-3 category.

“Suddenly a door opened,” Melgar continued. “It opened like an airplane door, like the ones that slide into a pocket with a photocell. We didn’t have doors like that in Spain at the time, but I later associated it with ones I saw in airports and some banks and stores. A wedge-shaped ramp appeared and the silence was complete. I could see that the interior was full of machinery, but I couldn’t tell you what kind. A “man” emerged, followed by a second and a third. The last one, shorter than the others, remained on the doorstep.”

Cautioning the journalist that his memories were those of a six-year old country boy, Melgar explained the entities seemed rather tall to him, and that they proceeded to scoop up soil or plants, but that he couldn’t be certain. Overcome by curiosity, the boy emerged from his hiding spot and walked toward the object, an undisputed novelty in his otherwise humdrum existence. His thirst for adventure was suddenly quenched by the “man” standing in the object’s doorway. “He fired a flash at me that very nearly knocked me backwards. It frightened me and I ran back to my shelter.”

Undaunted, young Melgar made a second sortie, repelled by the “sentry” with another flash, this time right in his eyes. Ironically, once his fellows had completed their activities, the unknown entity waved at the boy. “It was the typical arm motion of someone who is going away,” he added.

The object eventually went up into the air, sailing away toward the village of Barco de Avila. In young Melgar’s mind, the strange object and its pilots “had something to do with Generalissimo Franco’s air force.”

When writing up the incident for his book La Punta del Iceberg – Los Humanoides (Vol 1), J.J. Benítez took great care to catalogue the military aircraft available in war-torn Spain at the time – a hodgepodge of Dorniers, Stukas, and Junkers on the Nationalist side and Soviet-built Polykarpovs on the Republican side. Not a single one of them remotely similar to the shining, circular object seen by a youthful Mariano Melgar in the summer of 1939.

So we’re left with another anecdotal experience, but from a country lad who had never been taken to the movies to see Flash Gordon or Buster Crabbe serials, or fortunate enough to pore through the pages of the Spanish pulps or “boys’ papers” of the time. Melgar rounded out his experience with details gleaned from technology later in his life. The footwear of the strange men was compared with “the heavy shoes worn by deep sea divers”.

The presence of unknown objects during the Spanish Civil War is not restricted to this case, either. Javier Garcia Blanco penned a very informative article on these events for INEXPLICATA a number of years ago which may of be of interest to readers [“Saucers of the Spanish Civil War” - available at https://inexplicata.blogspot.com/2010/11/spain-saucers-of-spanish-civil-war.htm]

Strange Happenings in Argentina

Luis Burgos, director of his country’s FAO and ICOU research organizations, had a fascinating conversation with Vicente Pedone, a resident of the coastal town of Orense, who remembered being part of a strange experience in the early 1940s, when he held the rank of sergeant with the Buenos Aires Provincial Police.

During the course of their nightly rounds, Pedone and another officer saw a boy running toward them, saying he had just seen a plane crash to the ground, enveloped in fire. Not wasting a second, the two officers hustled the youngster into their patrol car and sped off toward the accident site. But far from the fiery wreckage they expected to see, the policemen were amazed to see “a very strange-disk shaped luminous disk.” Even more perplexing were the figures milling around in the darkness: tall entities wearing self-luminous uniforms that seemed metallic to the onlookers.
Discretion being the better part of valor, Pedone and his comrade decided that a strategic retreat was in order. Their police car, on the other hand, was uncooperative. The engine would not turn over, despite repeated attempts, leaving them at the mercy of the situation.
The object eventually departed, flying low over the surface, and the provincial police officers were able to restart their cruiser, leaving the area post-haste.

“This brought an end to [Mr. Pedone’s] reminiscence,” wrote Burgos, “and it’s a shame that they didn’t stay long enough to witness the final phase of the phenomenon. The next morning, Don Vicente obtained confirmation from NN [the young witness who first reported the incident] that the landing site in Oriente betrayed signs of burned grass. Unfortunately, the police did not verify this on-site. Therefore, only the story told by NN remains the proof of such physical evidence.”

The Caribbean Experience

Dominican UFO researcher Miguel Fiallo had the good fortune to interview the putative witness of UFO event that took place at some point during the years of the First World War but no later than 1920. Mrs. Matos, a resident of Santo Domingo, was convinced that she had seen a UFO “shaped like a portable clay stove - an anafre” moving silently across the star-lit night skies of the Antilles from east to west. The object, described as grayish and noiseless, was also seen by her uncles and cousins. Having nothing to compare it to, the family took the object at face value, but certain that they hadn’t seen one of those “newfangled airplanes”, which had been known in the Dominican Republic since 1911, when Zoilo García built his country’s first airplane, the Poliplano (polyplane).

Another early and compelling case was recorded by Puerto Rican ufologist Sebastián Robiou.

Researchers became aware of the case in 1976, when the news director of the La Gran Cadena radio network based in San Juan (WQBS) received a letter from a woman asking that her name be withheld from publication. The full text of the letter appears in Robiou’s Manifiesto Ovni and we reproduce it here:

Dear Sir: A few weeks ago I read the article Hugo and the Extraterrestrials, appearing in the 13 August edition of the El Nuevo Dia newspaper. I have had several contact experiences with these beings, and your article has prompted me to disclose them. The first of these was a journey aboard one of these vehicles around 1926 or 1927, followed by the presence of these craft in Barrio San Antonio, Caguas, where I lived at the time. On this occasion I heard how a machine employed to send messages was used, and I could not understand them nor made any effort to do so, since I didn’t feel that I was able to do so. The message was then given to me directly while I was lying down. One being, then three others, gave me a message to give to the youth. I never did so due to a lack of confidence on my part, but now, having read Brad Steiger’s Mysteries of Time and Space, I have come to realize that the beings I have seen are exactly the ones he has described. This has prompted me to write to you. I do not wish to disclose my experiences or the message at this time, as I do not seek notoriety or to become known in any way. I therefore ask you to withhold my name. I would be willing to be interviewed by you, should this be of any interest. I believe the message to be pressing and very important. I think it is urgent. It is in the hands of a professor at the University of Puerto Rico.”

Robiou was startled by the formality and elegant handwriting of the eighty-one year old author of the letter, describing her as “one of so many people who claim to have received messages from extraterrestrial sources”.

While there is no further information as to the message or its author, she can lay claim to be among the first – possibly the first – contactee in the Spanish-speaking Americas.

No further unusual activity was reported in the Caribbean skies until four days before the Kenneth Arnold sighting. On June 20, 1947, Mrs. María Ayuso saw a “bright object flying over San Juan, Puerto Rico” at five thirty in the afternoon from the city’s Puerta de Tierra district while in the company of her husband, Dr. Romulo Ayuso. The newspaper item appearing in the July 10, 1947 issue of the El Mundo newspaper reports that “[Mrs. Ayuso] asked her husband to stop their car to have a better look at the strange flying disk. The light it reflected – said the woman – was similar to the reflection of an aluminum pie plate exposed to the sun’s rays.”

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Initial Reports: Argentina's 2018 UFO Flap

Argentina's 2018 UFO Flap appears to be off to a running start.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

2018: Argentina's Potential UFO Flap

2018: Argentina's Potential UFO Flap

By Luis Burgos

1. The provinces having the highest likelihood of sightings would be: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, La Pampa and Patagonia.
2. The 9 pm to 2 am rule would remain in effect.
3. The highest number of reports would occur during the second half of each month.
4. Evaluations will be conducted according to the Strangeness Index: Low-Average-Good-Very Good - Excellent.
5. While a UFO flap includes high altitude sightings, landings, humanoids, UFO crashes, USOs, photos, videos, etc. the LITS (Lights in the Sky) and "phantom UFO" photographs will not be taken into account so as to avoid engrossing the lists to excess.
6. Finally, we utterly reject the old Psycho-Social Hypotheses which hold that "announcements of forecasts generate false expectations and condition people to see UFOs, as well as the population's willingness to believe and/or see all manner of phenomena during periods of crisis..."

Note: Mr. Burgos alerted us on New Year’s Day that "a veritable fleet of ten objects" had been reported, witnessed by a professional photographer and two friends, who saw the event from the city's downtown area. He also cites a report from Antonio Pérez in the town of Ramos, stating that two unidentified objects had been seen over that community. One of them - a noiseless green and white light - flew at an altitude of 2000 to 2500 feet. "It paused briefly over Hurlingham and then returned whence it came. Seconds later, another white and blue light came in from the west, stopping over Ituzaigo (estimated location) before heading back at some 800-1000 km per hour."

Monday, January 01, 2018

Argentina: Luis Burgos Forecasts a UFO-Active 2018

Argentina: Luis Burgos Forecasts a UFO-Active 2018

“A year of greater UFO activity is forecast throughout the country.”
Article by Sebastián Aranguren for Mas Allá del Misterio (Diario Popular)

A renowned ufologist has stated that 2018 will be a year with greater UFO activity, having its epicenter in the environs of Buenos Aires, Cordoba and the Patagonian region, especially in the summer, where the most striking phenomena will involve "lights" and black flying triangles, among others.

Luis Burgos, who heads the Fundacion Argentina de Ovnilogia (FAO) and Investigadores de Campo OVNI Unidos (ICOU), told Mas Alla del Misterio that the year starting tomorrow will have have many more cases than those recorded in 2016 and 2017.

Burgos's opinion is backed by the Decimal Hypothesis, a working tool developed by the researcher in 1985, upon discovering that a significant portion of mass UFO presences tended to repeat with gaps over time.

Using this consideration as a basis, the expert noted that "the biggest UFO flaps" recorded in the country took place in 1968 and 1978, suggesting that years ending in 8 are prone to phenomena of this sort.

While the years 1988 and 1998 had fewer cases than the two previously mentioned years, UFO activity was "also intense." He admits, however, that in recent years the frequency and quantity of UFO episodes "has been on the decline" as has been the trend of the past two years.

"We are bringing 2017 to a close with only a hundred reports, of which the better known were the hoaxed cases," Burgos declared, reminding us that the UFO phenomenon is "both cyclical and fluctuating" since "the last worldwide flap in 1968."

Stressing his database, which contains over 5500 cases recorded from 1947 to the present, the expert noted that even when he lacked all that information, repetition of UFO manifestations "was clearly visible", which encouraged him to work out the Decimal Hypothesis.

"It's as though the recorded phenomena return, at a given point and time, to the same place," Burgos notes, in the light of a situation that lacks any logical explanation, for the moment, that allows us to solve the equation that may aid us in better understanding the phenomenon.

Expanding on the concept, Burgos detailed that repetition of the phenomena "occurs most assiduously every ten years," giving rise to large flaps. If the one he predicts for 2018 comes about, it would be the eleventh to take place in Argentina since 1947.

While larger waves include the various aspects of the UFO phenomenon, the ICOU member stated that the "luminous and undecipherable points of light are being reported nearly every night and therefore, their presence will continue to stand out."

He assigns a similar likelihood to the black flying triangles. "We have been seeing them regularly in recent years," he maintains, while considering that the setting for such displays during the 2018 UFO wave would be "areas of the province of Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Patagonia."

With the aim of clarifying his explanation, Luis Burgos specified that a UFO flap is understood to be the "entirety of manifestations of all types which take place during a given span of time, whether weeks or months." The ufologist explained that these case histories include the finding of ground traces, sightings in the skies, bolides, mysterious explosions in the atmosphere, automobile or airplane chases and the presence of humanoids. "This does not include fraud and confusions," he added ironically.

[Translation (c) 2017 by Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology]

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Allure of Forbidden Treasures

The Allure of Forbidden Treasures
By Scott Corrales © 2017

Anyone who ever read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, or was otherwise entranced by stories of daring pirates and corsairs burying chests of plunder on desert islands, or even brave explorers recovering the wealth of the ancient world from forgotten tombs, has felt the allure of treasure. The word alone elicits mental images of wooden chests brimming over with gold coins, hoards of bullion and jewels on the stone floor of a crypt, perhaps even brazen thieves removing a prized stone from the uncaring head of a graven image.

The unforgiving twenty-four hour news cycle in which we live makes us overlook - and promptly forget - items that appear one minute on the evening news or in the back pages of newspapers. The discovery of a fabulous treasure trove in 2015 at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in southern Indian state of Kerala was big news, but as ephemeral as a shooting star. In our fake news-ridden times it was refreshing to learn that the story was in fact true, and that experts had estimated the hoard's value at over one trillion U.S. dollars, conceivably making it the most prized treasure on our planet (as an aside, the value of the diamond planet orbiting 55 Cancri, discovered in 2004 by our telescopes, has been calculated at 384 quadrillion times more than our world's entire GDP of seventy trillion).

Indian auditors opened some of the temple's vaults and were bedazzled by the splendid array of gold, silver and gems contained within. There was initial hesitation about penetrating one of the chambers - one supposedly guarded by terrible reptiles, perhaps even the mighty Nagas of the Sansrcrit texts. A year later the India Times reported that the inner sanctum appeared to have been looted in the past and that hundreds of vessels containing gold and silver were now missing. The supernatural guardians must have fallen asleep on the job.

Temple authorities noted that the structure contains a further vault - one with walls supposedly made of solid gold - which was never been profaned. It has no visible means of access, and the 'hidden door' can only be opened by holy men able to chant an obscure mantra. The Illuminations blog (http://illuminations2012.wordpress.com/2016/08/01) calls this the Garuda Mantra and adds the following admonition: "At present NO WHERE IN INDIA or in the WORLD such a highly sacred and powerful ‘SIDDHAPURSHAS’ or ‘YOGIS’ or ‘MANTRIKAS’ who does know how to execute highly sacred ‘GARUDA MANTRA’ are EXISTING. If any human attempts are made with man-made technology to open the mysterious Chamber-B other than by chanting highly sacred and powerful ‘GARUDA MANTRAS’ by a highly sacred ‘SADHUS’ or ‘MANTRIKAS’, catastrophes are likely to occur in and around the Temple premises or throughout India or even throughout the world according to VEDIC ASTROLOGERS OF INDIA." (Quoted verbatim with our thanks to the author).

Seeing the amount of trouble that bedevils the modern world, perhaps it is wiser not to make a clumsy effort that dooms us to more trouble...

The Wrath of Phantom Sentinels

The belief that otherworldly forces are at work in the safeguarding of treasure troves is widespread. Curses laid by holy men - whether Inca or Egyptian - are as common a belief as the presence of genies or ifrits guarding Eastern treasure hoards. South America gives us a tradition in which the supernatural clasps its hands with the erotic.

Mexican folklorist Rafael Olivares has carefully compiled the legends and traditions of the state of Nuevo Leon and published extensively on the subject. His works include an observation on the methods employed by treasure hunters in his country, and other Latin American nations, when approaching buried caches supposedly defended by an otherworldly guardian.

"This is a custom," he writes, "that ranges from Colombia to Argentina. When an evil spirit has a treasure site in its custody, it is necessary to hire a woman to accompany the explorers. Upon reaching the place in question, she must strip naked and stand a few meters away from the dig. Once the pit has been opened, the woman will drop to the ground and shake, thrusting her pelvis in the air as if simulating a sexual attack."

While this is scandalous to our understanding, the firmly held belief is that the paranormal guardian, having abstained from flesh for centuries, will ignore the diggers and busy itself in a carnal relationship with the female. "The men will seize the treasure and take the woman with them," Olivares observes. "She will neither remember what happened, nor who or what with."

There is a gruesome consequence to securing treasure by this means. The hapless woman offered to the spirit in exchange for a pittance will be tormented by the evil entity for the rest of her days.

Treasures of the Andes

In his Leyendas Populares Colombianas, author Javier Ocampo expands on the Colombian belief that those who seek and find lost treasure also inherit the curse that goes with it. It is necessary to recite certain prayers and carry out certain rituals to undo the malediction. The Andean nation apparently has several lost and enchanted hoards: the treasure of Buzagá, the treasure of Cariababare and the treasure of Hualcala, the Golden Mountain.

The desert peninsula known as La Guajira contains a not fully explored cave (Cueva de la Perrita, in honor of the little dog that allegedly made humans aware of its existence) containing not only petroglyphs of considerable anthropological value, but lost treasure safeguarded by a supernatural sentry. Carolina Parra interviewed the cave's discoverer and explorer - Jorge Solano - confessed that he was more fearful of the living than the dead, but that the ancients "buried their belongings and the treasure right there where you're standing. I once tried digging for them but soon regretted it." As an intriguing aside, Solano adds that going after the treasure would have entailed making a deal with the guardian spirit, and that lights resembling tiny bells and stars would entice him toward the spot under which the treasure lay hidden.

There are other explanations for paranormal burden that weighs heavily on these forgotten caches of wealth. Rich landlords would have a farmhand dig a pit in which to conceal the treasure, then murder the worker to keep anyone else from knowing the location. Conversely, the hapless peasant's soul would be bound to the trove, becoming its unwilling keeper, although in some instances, it is the greedy landlord's own spirit that is bound to amassed gold and jewels.

Other traditions posit the capricious nature of the treasure spirits. The lucky explorer or adventurer may find the hoard, and in so doing, prompting the manifestation of the guardian entity, which issues a severe admonition: the treasure hunter must take it all or not a single coin or gem. The sheer size and weight of these forbidden holdings makes it impossible, so the hunter is forced to withdraw lest the cave collapse. This, according to folklorists, is the reason why skeletons are often found upon the heaps of gold - the remains of prospector who ignored the warning.

The Colombian government's Sistema Nacional de Información Cultural (www.sinic.gov.co) includes narratives about lost treasure. The town of Salazar de las Palmas in the Department of Santander is reputedly the home of the Cueva de los Mil Pesos (The Thousand Peso Cave) and local tradition holds that "an immense treasure" emerges from the bowels of the cave every Good Friday at three in the afternoon to dazzle the local residents. A 1908 expedition - well equipped and armed - ventured into the cave, supposedly finding stone chambers crafted by an unknown culture, their walls festooned with undecipherable signs and symbols. The website states that historian Luis Miguel Marciales is of the opinion that the cave is actually an opening to a gold mine that was discovered in the early centuries of the colonial era.

As we travel down the Andean Range, we find that similar beliefs in Peru. Burial sites of containing the bones of forgotten chieftains and their gold finery are guarded by the Apus, the mountain deities of the Inca and Aymara lore. Profaning any such burial to retrieve these riches must be done at a prescribed time and date, wearing amulets that will ward off the supernatural guardians. Not doing so exposes the grave robber (to speak plainly) to the wrath of the protecting spirits.

There is a very real fear of this supernatural wrath, and not always involving buried treasure. The now world-famous "Ice Princess", the mummy of an Inca maiden sacrificed at the summit of the Peruvian mountain known as Nevado de Ampato, near the city of Arequipa, has also attracted considerable controversy due to the supernatural forces apparently surrounding it. Her remains were found by U.S. archaeologist Johan Reinhard and taken out of Peru for research purposes.

The city of Arequipa, however, began to experience a string of calamities shortly after she was taken out of the country: two air traffic accidents, one of which made headlines around the world and left nearly two hundred dead, a mid-air collision between two helicopters and the collapse of a high-voltage cable during a fireworks display, killing thirty onlookers. The word spread around southern Peru that the "wrath of the gods" had been unleashed due to the maiden's removal, and local brujos hastily convened to pray for divine forbearance. Despite their fervent orisons, local authorities were advised to seek the return of the "Ice Princess" post haste.

But rather than risk public ridicule by citing the reasons given by the brujos, local leaders chose to cite financial reasons. "If the mummy were here, we might get some tourists," said Antonio Jiménez, mayor of Cabanaconde, a hamlet in the foothills of the massive Nevado de Ampato. Others cited the fact that museums around the world were charging an admission to see their "ancestor" and that the mountain people were not benefitting from it at all.

Neither were the museums. Perhaps Mayor Jiménez would have been startled to read that the "Ice Princess" had been de-accessioned (removed from display) from the Everhart Museum. Museum authorities cited the need to comply with the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act of 1992, which mandates the immediate return of Native American human remains to their respective tribes for immediate burial. Thus, the Everhart collection had a mummy that could neither be photographed nor displayed, and which further had to be repatriated: what greater curse than that of bureaucratic entanglements?

The Wages of Plunder

A treasure hunter fell to his death from the top floor of a hotel in the Moroccan city of Tangiers in April of 1968. An instantaneous death, according to the coroner.

The victim's name was Sven Bornholm.

The matter would have probably ended there, with the corresponding transactions between local authorities and the embassy involved for repatriating the corpse. But the coroner received a visit from Mr. Bornholm's widow, who had a story to tell. Years earlier, her late husband had gained access to some old sea charts that pointed to the existence of a sunken treasure ship in the waters of Libya's Gulf of Sidra - a body of water better known as a trouble spot during the years of the Qaddafi regime.

Bornholm went on to tell his spouse that the treasure - while worth millions - had been given a wide berth by most divers not on account of hazardous diving conditions, sharks or other perils of the deep, but due to the curse laid upon the treasure by its owner...a notion he dismissed as fanciful. Following the charts, he located the ship in March 1968 and went ahead with the salvage operations, successfully retrieving the salt-encrusted riches.

It wasn't long, said the late Mrs. Bornholm, that the treasure hunter began showing signs of being disturbed by an invisible presence that made him distracted, forgetful and frightened. Worse yet, the "thing" appeared to beckon him toward it, and resisting it was becoming increasingly difficult. Thinking that a vacation in sunny Tangiers might be just the tonic, the couple flew to Morocco, where Bornholm was set upon by the "thing", grappling with it in broad daylight on the hotel's rooftop solarium. During the struggle, the treasure hunter fell backward into the void.

His struggles with the unknown had come to an end, and Bornholm had become another victim of the curse that Ahmed Musa, the Bey of Tripoli, had set upon his own riches.

Today's war-torn city of Tripoli had been the splendid capital of the Turkish bey, or governor, whose ships raided European vessels without compunction, filling the ruler's treasury with ill-gotten gains. An Italian raid on the city, led by a Genoese admiral, managed to penetrate the city and seize fantastic wealth accumulated by the tyrant over the years, but not before the bey stabbed himself with a bejeweled dagger and cursing the treasure. The conquering admiral became the first victim of the curse, dying during the return voyage.

So what became of the treasure? It was reportedly returned to Libya and deposited in a mosque in the late 1960s. What has become of it during the upheaval following the fall of Qadaffi is anybody's guess.

[Note: Efforts at corroborating this otherwise compelling story have been unsuccessful. It is possible that the original source (Revista Duda Vol. 1. #24, December 1971, researched by Jaime Reyes) gave the protagonist a pseudonym, but there is no evidence of military action by any of the Italian states at the time against Barbary, or the existence of “Ahmed Musa.”]

A cache of lost wealth more compatible with the swashbuckling era is said to lie at the bottom of an estuary in Northwestern Spain. In the early 1700s during the War of the Spanish Succession, an Anglo-Dutch fleet managed to engage Spanish galleons at anchor in the Ría de Vigo in a situation worthy of Horatio Hornblower. The galleons went to the bottom, their holds reportedly containing gold and jewels from the viceroyalties of the Americas. No curse or supernatural mystery lies upon it, however.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Haunted Deserts: UFOs in the Emptiness

Haunted Deserts: UFOs in the Emptiness
By Scott Corrales (c) 2017

Many years ago I wrote an article for FATE magazine about lost civilizations in our planet’s desert areas – regions that may have once been suitable for large, organized communities, even cities, but had which had succumbed to erosion and were now simply uninhabitable. Even in the Sahara Desert we find the ruins of Roman settlements in desert oases, otherwise hospitable locations that settlers had to abandon due to a proliferation of scorpions, for example.

They may be the repository of lost civilizations, but it can also be said that our desert regions appear to be teeming with something else – unusual happenings that fall under the loose mantle of UFO phenomena, in the strictest sense. Are these luminous manifestations the residual energy of the peoples who once occupied this region, reduced to flickering lights in the dark? Perhaps even manifestations of the spirits of the empty lands that kept them in abject terror during the long desert nights? Or are we more inclined to think in terms of extraterrestrial visitors availing themselves of these hostile, recondite areas to shelter their spacecraft and operating bases on our small blue marble?

Colombia’s La Tatacoa desert in one of these locations, nestled in the heart of the mountains. The first report we have of its existence comes from Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, one of the lesser-known Conquistadors, entrusted with the mission of “reaching the Kingdom of Perú by following the course of Magdalena River, demanding gold from local natives to finance the expedition.” Easier said than done, as the explorer traversed some of the most astonishing badlands in the South American continent, known as the “valley of sorrows” due to the overwhelming presence of rattlesnakes. Later researchers would find in La Tatacoa a startling deposit of Pleistocene fossil remains.

The odd geographical feature has also been become known for its constant UFO sightings. A woman named Orfanda Soto, a permanent resident of this forsaken location, claims having seen these spectacular lights from her farm. “On two separate instances,” Orfanda told journalists from Colombia’s Huila Extra website, “me and my family have witnessed flashing lights and objects shaped like Chinese hats flying directly overhead. The light emitted by these UFOs is tremendous. It can even go straight through rock surfaces.”

Expanding on her UFO sightings in this desert region, Mrs.Soto told listeners of Colombia’s NCN Radio that fifteen years ago, she and her family were gathered around seven o'clock in the evening when a 'flying saucer' staged an appearance. The shock caused a pregnant woman present at the gathering to lose consciousness. The object made a noise similar to that of an airliner 'as it takes off', according to her description. Orfanda Soto made it clear that these things do not frighten her, nor is she worried about being abducted by one of the objects - on the contrary, she would like one of the nocturnal visitors to carry someone away 'in order to make sure that we're really dealing with flying saucers.'

The prevalence of these lights led to the creation -- at a cost of five million Colombian pesos and fifteen truckloads of stone – of a platform that has been dubbed an “ovnipuerto” (UFOport), but is more correctly described as a place where people gather to obtain healing from earth energies. It has been a success with the contactee set, who assure that only “those who manage to tune into the vibratory frequency to be found within the five concentric stone circles will be able to contact the higher goals of other worlds”, whatever that means. There are suggestions that a Sasquatch-type creature may also live in the area - El Mohán, described as a monstrous, hairy humanoid.

Riddles of the Atacama Desert

As we head deeper into South America, we come to the better known salt deserts of Chile and Bolivia. The Atacama Desert is notorious for being one of the driest places on Earth, although abnormal weather conditions – such as the event in the year 2015 – have caused it to become covered in desert flowers, despite receiving less than half an inch of rain in a twelve month period.

Archaeologist Juan Schobinger has written in his Prehistory in the Americas (NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2000) that Chile faces one of the richest seas in the world and is backed by one of its most forbidding deserts. The dryness of the salt desert, where rainfall is measured in inches per century, made it ideal for preserving cultural artifacts such as baskets, textiles and even food.

It also preserved something darker—the rituals of forgotten shamans who would bury sacrifices deep in the desert for the “gods” to feast upon. The sacrifices would be held at night and the victim, usually a llama or a dog, left out. At daybreak, the ancient medicine men would return to the site to insure that the gods—the meandering lights of the desert—had accepted the offering. The carcass would be utterly exsanguinated and a puncture mark could usually be found somewhere on the body, which was then transported back to the primitive settlement to be consumed by the community. Subsequently, evidence of this communion between man and his deities was buried under a cairn known as an apachetca, a tangible link of the trade between ancient man and supernatural forces. It is easy to dismiss this as the savagery of ancient man until we remember that the books of the Pentateuch mentioned that the blood of the sacrifice belonged to the godhead. Contemporary thinkers of the paranormal like Salvador Freixedo have written at length about this curious aspect of the human worship (Defendámonos de los dioses, Spain: Quintá, 1985).

The first contemporary UFO account from this part of the world dates back to the year 1868, when a local newspaper, El Constituyente, reported on a strange even in the Copiapó Valley. The news item, dated November 14 of that year, reports: "Yesterday, around five o'clock in the afternoon, the time when work is over at the mine, all of the workers were gathered together, expecting our evening meal, and we saw a giant bird flying through the air, having taken it at first to be a cloud. As the object came closer, we were rightly startled, realizing that it was an unknown flying entity, perhaps even the Djinn from The Arabian Knights. Flying a short distance over our heads, we became aware of the odd structure of its body. Its large wings were covered in dark feathers, the monster's head resembled that of a lobster (or locust), while its body only displayed glittering scales that sounded like metal as the strange animal pulled away". A compelling description, but of a cryptid or an unknown vehicle?

Centuries later, miners toiling in the same copper mines as those of the 19th century took a spectacular video of something bearing no relation to anything in The Arabian Nights. In 2013, a survey team photographed an apparently cylindrical object resting on one of the nearby mountainsides. Voices captured on the tape can be heard to say that ‘no one would believe this is actually happening’ as the large object flew across the skies. A corroborating photograph from the Cerro Negro region was also taken in 2013 by workers of the Grupo CAP mining concern.

Perhaps even more startling than these events was the alleged CE-3 involving Argelio Araya, a desert hermit who witnessed an enormous "spaceship" disgorging its crew complement of so-called Grey aliens. The terrified loner braved the distance that separated him from the local police station, where he was met by senior warrant officer Claudio Ramirez, who documented the event and ordered search of the landing area where the object and its occupants had been reported.

In March 2005, local newspaper El Chañarcillo reported that a blackout in the city of Copiapó had supposedly been caused by two unknown objects flying at high speed over the city, submerging the community into stygian gloom between eight and nine o’clock in the evening on the third of March of that year. The story gained traction in spite of the usual denials from the area power utility, the Empresa Eléctrica de Atacama, particularly when a witnessed stepped forward to tell his story. Gonzalo Delgado told the newspaper that he was returning to the city along the Cuesta de Cardone when he saw how the two objects in question “crossed the sky at high speed, and when I turned around to look at the city, I realized it had vanished. That leads me to believe that it was at the time that the power failure occurred. Two trucks were also coming down the road at the same time, whose drivers could have also seen the phenomenon."

Hostile UFOs in the Brazilian Desert

When 16th century Portuguese explorers reached the northwestern corner of Brazil, they were faced with a surreal landscape - impossibly blue green waters and enormous dunes of white sand. Accustomed to the sands of North Africa, they promptly referred to the area as Ceará (the Sahara Desert, or Saara in Portuguese, although this etymology has been challenged). Its spectacular dunes aside, this semi-arid region of caatinga-type vegetation has also been a hotbed of UFO sightings, something that can be said for the entire Brazilian northeast.

A UFO "invasion" allegedly occurred on March 3, 1996 when a still-unexplained blackout plunged the community into darkness at 6:45 p.m., and 26 UFOs cruised through the skies unmolested. Wellington Santos, director of EPUC (Equipo Pesquisa Ufologica Guarabira), observed that "the UFO situation in Guarabira is one of a kind in Brazil and the whole world, since never have there been so many collective sightings involving people of all ages, sexes and occupations, having repeated sightings over a long period of time."

Massive cigar-shaped craft flew over the region of 23 cities. According to EPUG's report, a farmer went out in the middle of the night to fire a shotgun-blast at one of the smaller discoidal craft which came closer to the ground than their putative "motherships." His hostile gesture was duly reciprocated by the UFO, which aimed a beam of light at the assailant, inflicting third-degree burns. In Mamamguape, fifty-five miles from Joao Pessoa, one of the cigar-shaped objects (known locally as charutos) reportedly fired a gas weapon against a hapless man who was running away from it. On October 14th, three hundred Guarabirans witnessed another UFO invasion, which included a massive craft reportedly as big as a twenty-floor building. "Had this been a southern city," Santos noted ruefully, “journalists would be raining out of the sky."

In 2015, the town of Santa Quitería in Ceará would face a similar wave of hostile UFOs. Car and motorcycle drivers would complain of being chased in the dark of the night by strange fiery objects along the stretch of road linking communities in this remote region, prompting some to leave their cars at home and use rail transportation instead to cover the distances involved. The A Voz de Santa Quitería news portal (www.avozdesantaquiteria.com.br) presents the following quote from an anonymous local driver: "I was on my motorcycle with my wife, heading for my parents' home. Suddenly, a reddish light approached us...we felt a wave of powerful heat, prompting me to head into the bushes and get off the motorcycle. We were very frightened by that thing. We decided it was probably the device that chases people to suck their blood. Once the lighted vanished, we resumed our journey to my parents' house."

The news portal adds another case from the same region. A married couple motoring along the road leading to Trapiá was confronted by a shining object "engaged in making pirouettes" over the treetops. They were so taken aback that they wondered if it was prudent to continue their trip, but the bizarre craft - if craft it was - made the decision for them by flying off into the darkness. Reporters advised their readers to avoid taking any violent action or retaliation against the objects, "since we are uncertain as to how they might react."

The town of Almecegas - a sandy fishing community of two hundred souls, whose homes are sheltered by languid palm trees against a cloudless blue sky - has also become a UFO hotspot. A place that looks peaceful and inviting in the light of day becomes an island of fear in darkness, as its residents look to the sky for signs of abnormal lights. Fishermen have narrowly escaped from the strange objects when their boats are offshore at night - a situation reminiscent of the infamous Ilha de Colares attacks of the '70s, involving the mechanical "chupas".

Prof. Humberto Sales is responsible for most of the research being conducted in this remote area. He writes: "Stories like this are striking, because even one such isolated case would suffice to prompt us to look into the apparitions at Riacho de Meio, the location where the bulk of the sightings occur." Another reported case involved bikers on their way back from the locality of Aprazível. As they rode along, a powerful light appeared, flying low over their heads, causing one biker to fall off his motorcycle out of sheer panic.

Mysteries of the Mexican Desert

On July 11, 1970 the world turned its attention from the ongoing lunar exploration missions and worldwide political crises to focus on a relatively small region of the deserts of northern Mexico.

An Athena rocket V-123 rocket launched from Utah's Green River missile base went astray and landed in the Mexico's Bolsón de Mapimí, a desert region covering roughly forty-seven thousand square miles of the states of Coahuila and Chihuahua and is considered the southern reach of the Chihuahua Desert. The rocket, originally aimed at the White Sands range, somehow deviated twelve hundred kilometers to land in the so-called "Zone of Silence" or vértice de trino, as it is also called in Spanish due to the fact that it occupies the place where the states of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua come together.

Quick diplomacy by the Nixon Administration averted an incident between the neighboring countries. Some Mexican sources, however, questioned the nature of the "accident" and suspected the Athena misfire could have been deliberate effort by the U.S. aimed at exploring the mysterious area. American communiqués stated that the rocket's payload contained Cobalt-60 in an airtight container that would have almost certainly survived the impact, but a gargantuan effort was made not only to recover the payload, but also to remove and containerize supposedly 'irradiated' soil to be returned across the border. Nearly seven hundred U.S. and Mexican personnel combed the desert for a month, collecting all manner of specimens.

UFO researcher Santiago García, the undisputed expert on the subject, believed the U.S. had left behind a remotely guided vehicle, perhaps similar to the Soviet Lunakhod that would remain idle during the day and operate in the cooler desert night. García was of the opinion that this putative probe was looking for uranium deposits, but keeping an eye out for more interesting phenomena was not out of the question.

In 1975, a businessman known only as "Mister Wong" was making milk deliveries along an established route one night. When he came to the village of Nuevo Delicias, he was blinded by a tremendous light ahead on narrow desert road. Wong's eyes adjusted to the sudden flash, and he was startled to see a saucer-shaped object hurtling toward him. He promptly began rolling up his truck's windows, as if doing so could save him from a certain impact with the unknown object.

The incoming object, however, avoided the truck with ease, flying overhead, turning around, and returning whence it came at low altitude, vanishing into the darkness. Wong - who was accompanied by his wife at the time, noted that the object made a shrill noise "like that of an old blender." He was more fearful of the possible collision than of the strange object itself, since according to his testimony, the local ranchers and truck drivers were quite accustomed to seeing these strange objects, which landed at a rocky outcrop at a location known as Cuatrociénagas in the state of Coahuila, where it was possible to find evidence of their landings in the desert sands.

Wong conveyed all this information to researcher García, who would find it corroborated by an even more incredible event. In early 1976, Jesús Berlanga approached the ufologist with a series of photographs purportedly showing a UFO landing less than two hundred feet away from Berlanga's father, who was exploring the promontory known as Cerro del Imán (Magnet Hill), when he came across the glowing, hat-shaped object. As though startled by the human's presence, the object rose into the air with a thunderous roar, allowing young Jesús and the other members of the expedition to see it.