June 30, 1996
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Friday, June 28, 1996, the Varginha case exploded onto Page One of the Wall Street Journal. The story by WSJ staff reporter Matt Moffett (Aliens Land in Brazil in Desperate Need of a Good Shower) provided the latest news on the continuing controversy over the alleged saucer crash and live alien retrieval in Varginha on January 20 - 22.
According to Moffatt, "An official briefing to debunk UFO conspiracies was overshadowed by an auto mechanic's claim to have seen yet another cylindrical aircraft, a cosmic encounter re-enacted with the aid of an aluminum coffee thermos."
Also, the Brazilian city's "local psychic predicts that Varginha will suffer some kind of cataclysm this September as retribution for the blitzkrieg on the interplanetary visitors."
The threat hasn't stopped crowds from staking out the Jardim Andere, the site of the three girls' encounter with an alien injured in the crash, hoping for a glimpse of another UFO. A woman named Nilda told the reporter, "For extraterrestrials, they may not be much, but they are the biggest thing we have ever had in Varginha."
For residents in this city of 120,000 people, located in the coffee-growing country in southern Minas Gerais state, the saucer crash is the number one topic of conversation. City councilmen are thinking of renaming the park "Seite Extreterrestes" (Seven Aliens) in honor of the visitors. Paulo Vitor Freire, mayor of Varginha, said, "We would never have imagined that so many international organizations take interest in cases like ours."
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Army continues to deny that troops were involved in a saucer/alien retrieval operation. All media questions are now being routed to Capt. Eduardo Calza, public information officer at the Escola de Sargentos das Armas in Tres Coracoes, where the six live aliens were confined on January 20.
"You know, I used to get calls about the base talent show," Capt. Calza told the Wall Street Journal.
According to Moffett, "Capt. Calza says he can't vouch for what the three women saw in January. But the activity on the base that fateful weekend, he insists, was anything but otherworldly. New inductees to a sergeant's training school went on parade and a truck convoy was driven to a repair shop."
Capt. Calza did not explain why the trucks were driven nearly two hundred kilometers to Campinas when the even-larger city of Juiz da Fora is only 90 kilometers east of Varginha.
Also, Capt. Calza's assertion contradicts the April 22 statement by the Brazilian Army that its troops were "on maneuvers."
Vitorio Pacaccini, 31, of Belo Horizonte, an engineer and ufologist says he has videotaped interviews with two men in civilian dress--soldiers from the heavy-weapons platoon commanded by Capt. Ramirez and Lt. Tibe (not "Tide"). Fearing reprisals from S-2, Brazilian military intelligence, Pacaccini refuses to release the soldiers' names.
On Tuesday, June 25, Brazilian ufologist A.J. Gevaerd said his group had collected UFO crash stories from 60 witnesses in Varginha. A few witnesses claimed to have seen two American men in civilian clothes at the site north of the city where the cigar-shaped UFO crashed.
Most startling are the claims that Brazilian soldiers failed to erase all physical evidence in the Jardim Andere that weekend last January. Witnesses told of finding unusual "paw prints" in the red earth made by the aliens. The prints reportedly show three "fingers," including two tapering appendages "the length of church candles," with an opposing "thumb" either half or two-thirds the length of the "fingers." All of the appendages protruded from a small "palm."
On Saturday, June 29, Sergio Silva of Campinas announced the formation of a research group to study the Varginha UFO claims. The Grupo Ufologico do Sao Paulo (GUSP) will hold its first meeting on July 6.
While the controversy raged in Varginha and Campinas, a UFO flap began on Thursday night, June 20, in the Sertao, the northeast corner of Brazil. A triangular UFO was seen that night over Guarabira, where a classic daylight disc appeared on April 5, 1996.
According to eyewitness Oriel Parais, "at least 90 percent" of the people in Guarabira have seen "discs and triangles" between June 20 and June 28. UFO sightings were also reported in nearby Algoa Grande and at Rio Tinto on the Atlantic coast.
Parais said his neighbors "have filmed 30 hours of video of OVNIs (Portuguese acronym for UFOs), and I have heard that someone has even more footage." Some of the UFOs were filmed during the daytime.
Parais said he came "within 10 meters (60 feet) of a large disc" or saucer, a dull silvery gray in color, with a big bright yellow light on the bottom. His sighting took place at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24.
On Wednesday, June 12, between 2 and 3 a.m., Stuart Conway and Joyce Murphy were on Arizona Highway 74, in the desert just outside of Morristown, 11 miles southeast of Wickenburg. This rural section of Maricopa County is mostly flat country studded with sagebrush, cactus, greasewood and ocotillo.
While facing southeast, Conway, formerly a photographer with the Herald of Glasgow, Scotland, saw a "green fireball" traversing the clear night sky. He saw no craft or object but said the fireball "was about the size of a quarter (held) at arm's length" and noticed that "it left a strange colored trail" in the sky.
Conway estimated that the fireball was "at least two miles away." He said it was approximately 35 degrees above the horizon when he first saw it. The fireball made no sound or noise. He and his companion had it in view "for five to seven seconds."
"It headed straight for the ground and didn't blink out until it appeared to make contact with the ground," Conway said. "I saw it all the way along the Agua Fria River."
Conway said he believed the UFO was eight miles from Luke Air Force Base, but he's "not sure" if the fireball landed on the base. Neither he nor Ms. Murphy saw any sign of a craft or occupants. (Note: On March 3, 1953, a flight of jet interceptors from Luke Air Force Base encountered a UFO in broad daylight in this area. The flight leader switched on his gun camera and filmed an oblong object with a long streaming contrail shooting across the blue desert sky. Curiously enough, this 1953 "Gun Camera UFO" film was aired Thursday night, June 27, in a UFO special on the Discovery Channel. Coincidence?)
A few ufologists got more than they bargained for at last week's UFO conference in Wagner, South Dakota. The conference was hosted by Lakota spiritual leader Standing Elk. Over 500 people attended the conclave, including Dr. John E. Mack, Whitley Streiber, Barbara Marciniak, Paula Underwood, Dr. Richard Boylan, Leo Sprinkle and Randolph Winters.
The evening of Thursday, June 20, three guests, Robert Peralta, Tricia McCannon and Angela Browne-Miller accompanied a Lakota man named Star Spark and his 12-year-old son, Takawa, out to the edge of the mesa, following a meditation session.
"See the blue star?" Takawa said. "Watch--that one's going to move."
Sure enough, Peralta reported, "All of a sudden, there it went. Something like an S formation. Then another went streaking across the sky. One right after another! After all the waiting, the rumors, the long search--there they were, the space brothers."
Peralta described the event as "an anomalous occurence in the sky on an unprecedented scale," adding, "They mostly flew at extremely high altitudes. One did something that looked like a checkmark in the sky, at what must have been over 5,000 miles per hour. No Earth man flies these patterns."
On Friday morning, the trio discussed their experience with the others at the conference.
Also on Friday, German ufologist Michael Hessman presented a 30-year-old film showing an alleged saucer retrieval in German in 1964.
More UFO reports come trickling in from the Australian Outback. According to the May 22, 1996 issue of Farmers Weekly, published in Cohuna, Victoria, Australia, a week-long UFO flap took place in that area's Murray River valley between May 15 and May 22.
Jack and Daphne Garner of Cohuna were driving home from Echuca, a wine-growing town on the Murray River, on Wednesday evening, May 15, when they spied a UFO tailing them. "We saw this bright orange light that was pulsating," Mrs. Garner said. "It was too early for stars."
The same night, between 6 and 6:05 p.m., Ron and Veronica Morris of Chuggs Road, opposite the Cohuna airstrip, were walking home when they noticed an unusual light in the sky.
The western horizon was still red with sunset, Ron Morris recalled, when "I saw this light, and I said to Veronica, 'I think there's an aircraft coming in to land.'" The couple went into their house to fetch a pair of binoculars. When Ron looked again, the object wasn't moving.
According to Farmers Weekly, "He said it remained hovering some-where in the distance for three to four minutes, then another one appeared." Rejoining her husband, Veronica "said the lights, one of which was brighter than the other, kept changing colors and flickering on and off...the lights maintained their presence in the sky for up to 15 minutes and then disappeared."
This was Veronica's second UFO sighting. In the 1950s, she claims, she saw a UFO behind the old Murray Goulburn factory in Cohuna."
The following night, May 16, Jack and Daphne Garner had another close encounter. Again, while driving home from Echuca, the couple "both looked out the window to the left. Jack commented that there were no clouds in the sky, then said, 'Isn't that a funny cloud?' What they saw was a cigar-shaped object which appeared to occasionally tip from side to side. Mrs. Garner said that as the evening became darker the object took on an orange coloring and appeared to keep pace with them as they drove toward Cohuna."
Having heard of the Morrises' experience, the Garners drove to their house and then both couples watched the UFO through binoculars.
"It was in the sky for an hour," Mrs. Garner said. "It was a brilliant fiery orange color and at times more red. It was much, much bigger than a star and very, very strange."
On Friday, May 17, at 7:15 p.m., a woman in nearby Gannawarra reported seeing the UFO. "I thought it was a spotlight, but it was changing colors--red, orange and whitish," she said. "It was a lot larger than a star and quite low. It shot straight into the air and disappeared."
On Tuesday, May 21, a Cohuna boy named Tristan Pearce came forward and said he's seen the Morris/Garner UFO the previous Thursday night. The Cohuna case is being investigated by Paul Norman, vice president of the Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS).
Wednesday afternoon, June 26, J.E. Peri was watching CNN and caught a live report that stated some people had seen a UFO fly over in Lithuania. The UFO was described as making "sparking noises."
I don't know about you, readers, but, for me, this has been an exhausting week. See you next time!