Tales have emerged over the last couple of years about a fascinating series of sightings of unexplained craft and creatures in Southern Brazil. The period from 1996-1997 saw the greatest UFO activity in that region for 25 years, along with a "captured aliens" case which could put Roswell in the shade! I have gathered together the following "timeline" from a number of sources, both contemporary with the events listed and retrospectively researched by a number of investigators. I have appended a list of major sources at the end, and hope that visitors to the site may be able to confirm or refute the accuracy of the reports, or suggest other sources where appropriate.
Early morning: (the exact time does not appear in any of the reports) NORAD began tracking one or more unidentified objects heading over American airspace. When the object(s) left U.S. airspace, they were travelling towards Brazil. NORAD contacted the Brazilian authorities, and several jets were scrambled to attempt to intercept them. Radar confirmed the existence of one or more objects, tracked heading over Minas Gerias, in the direction of Varginha, a large industrial town 330Km North-East of Rio de Janeiro.
8am: An ultralight pilot, Carlos Souza, was driving between Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte, when he witnessed a "cigar shaped" craft approx. 120 meters above the highway making a "strange noise". The craft had windows along the side, and appeared to have a large jagged hole in the front, with a "crack" running from the hole to the middle of the craft, issuing forth smoke or "vapour". The craft was flying quite slowly, moving Northward. Souza followed the craft as best he could in his pickup, but eventually lost sight of it. After twenty minutes of searching, down a dirt track he came upon a large expanse of "wreckage", along with a helecopter, an ambulance, two trucks, several cars and about 40 armed soldiers!
(This strand of the story is frustratingly incomplete, as there is no attempt to say whether or not there was a "conventional" explanation for the wreckage. If anyone out there has easy access to back issues of Brazilian newspapers, perhaps you could check the date out and E-Mail me any reports published at the time, to confirm whether there was indeed a mundane explanation for this "crash site".)
1am: Farmhands Oralina Augusta and Eurico Rodrigues were awakened by the noise of a disturbance in their cattle herd. They went outside to see "a grey object, similar to a submarine, the size of a small bus", emitting what appeared to be white smoke. (One researcher, Claudeir Covo, speculates that, given the similarity to Souza’s earlier sighting, the unlikelyness of two such sightings on sequential Saturdays and the fact that both stories were being told some time after the fact, it is conceivable that either of the witnesses could have "mixed up" the weekends. This would suggest that both events could have happened on either the 13th or the 20th…)
Between 8am and 9:30am: A group of passers-by sighted a "strange creature" in woodland around 2Km from the centre of Varginha. A woman came upon three teenage boys throwing stones at the creature to try to elicit a reaction – she told them to stop, and called out the local fire brigade. (It is a regular part of the fire brigade’s duties to capture wild animals which stray into the city bounds – they routinely carry nets, cages etc. for this purpose.) The brigade responded to the call, but immediately realised that they were not dealing with a conventional wild animal. They radioed the fire station, who in turn contacted the military academy (the Escola de Sargentos das Armas or "Army Sergeant’s School") at Tres Coracoes, 25Km away.
10:30am: By the time the firemen had captured the creature an army truck had arrived from the Sergeant’s School to take charge of it. The creature was placed in a box, under a sheet in the back of the truck, and driven away.
2pm: A jogger passing the woods in the Santana district of Varginha saw seven armed soldiers enter the woods in what appeared to be a search formation. A couple of minutes later, he heard three rifle shots. On returning to the scene, he saw four soldiers carrying two "body bags" emerge from the woods. One bag contained a still form, while the other was "squirming".
No further information about this incident has been uncovered, but given the date, time, place and lack of comment by the local military, local investigators believe it is probably safe to assume a connection with the other "captured creatures" that day.
3:30pm: Three young women (Two sisters, Liliane and Valquiria Silva, and their friend Katia Xavier) were returning home from their jobs as housemaids. They took a shortcut over a patch of waste ground in the area of Jardim Andere, 2km from the centre of Varginha. They were frightened to witness a strange creature a few meters from the side of the path. "He was squatting, with his long arms between his legs" reported Liliane. "It was not an animal and it certainly wasn’t human" was how Katia recalled it. "The creature seemed afraid."
The girls described the creature as about one meter tall, having huge, red eyes, shiny brownish skin with what appeared to be a slippery, oily coating, long arms and three small rounded horns protruding from its large head. The creature made a slight movement with its head, and the three girls ran away screaming, believing that they had just encountered the Devil! Luiza Silva, the mother of Liliane and Valquiria, returned to the waste ground forty minutes later to investigate her daughter’s stories, but saw no sign of the creature. She did, however, note a strange and unpleasant smell lingering at the location.
6pm: A violent hailstorm, extremely unusual for the time of year, erased any tracks which may have remained in the woods. (Witnesses had described "paw prints" resembling a human hand opened out with a space between the ring and middle finger. Skeptics point out that this is in fact the "Vulcan salute" used by the "Spock" character in the original series of Star Trek…!) Just after this, one report says that another "humanoid" creature was sighted and captured by two policemen.
Early evening: (after 6pm) Army trucks arrived at the "Hospital Regional" in the centre of Vaginha, bringing a body for autopsy. As it was a busy Saturday night in the city centre, many people witnessed their arrival and leaving. Hospital staff say they were told to take the body away because the hospital "was only equipped to deal with humans"…
Late evening: Some reports say that the military captured a further creature, possibly the one seen by the girls at 3:30pm.
Morning: (before dawn) One or more creatures was brought by the army to "Hospital Humanitas", Campinas, Sao Paulo. Hospital staff witnessed a number of vehicles from the University of Sao Paulo, along with two Americans carrying "Strange devices" visit the buildings during that morning.
Evening: A military operation, reputedly run by "S-2" (Brazilian intelligence) was arranged to remove one dead creature from the hospital. This involved at least three trucks, one for the body and two "decoys". According to soldiers who claim to have been involved in this operation, the body, now smelling very bad, was removed to the University of Campinas, where it was to be examined by Dr. Badan Palhares, a world-acclaimed professional in the field of autopsies. Both the University and Dr. Palhares deny involvement in any such events.
All through January 1996, UFOs continued to be seen over Southern Brazil, with sightings in Sao Tome de Letras, Tres Coracoes, Conselheiro Lafaiete and Pouso Alegre.
April 1996: A woman sitting on the veranda of the restaurant at Varginha zoo saw a strange creature, fitting the earlier descriptions, looking at her from behind a railing a few meters away. The creature ran off, vaulting a low wall. Zoo staff recalled that over the past three months there had been a number of unexplained deaths amongst the animals in the zoo, averaging at least one animal a week, often with no signs of a cause of death. These strange deaths stopped after this sighting.
May 1996: A student driving along the Varginha – Tres Coracoes highway spotted a strange creature which started to cross the highway in front of him, then darted back into the roadside bushes. When he reported this, he found out that the spot was right where the highway ran past the farm where Oralina Augusta and Eurico Rodrigues reported the strange craft on January 20th.
May 1997: UFOs were being sighted "nightly", shortly after sundown, over Ribeiro Branco, a small town 350km from Sao Paulo. The main national TV network, "Redo Globo" broadcast two features on the phenomenon.
Evening: An incandescent disc-shaped object was sighted lighting up the skies of the city of Nova Brasiliandia. There was a loud noise like an explosion which shook houses in the city, and the object disappeared from view. The object is alleged to have "crashed" at a ranch in the Teresopolis district, on the edge of the Manso river. One witness, named as Gilberto Braga, a local cowboy, described the crashed object as "an iron ball, bigger than a tractor, that released an odd smell". Another witness described the object as "black", "the size of a truck", and said it was impossible to remain near it for any length of time because of the smell it produced.
(The story took over a week to "break", and by this time, the locals had become very secretive about the location of the "crash site", deliberately misdirecting TV crews and reporters. I have yet to find out any follow-up to this story.)
Peet, 8th November 1998