Friday, December 16, 2011

Latin American High Weirdness: The UFOs Part II

In the first installment of this series I reviewed several of the more bizarre UFO encounters to emerge from South America. One of the most celebrated of these encounters was that of Antonio Villas Boas, a Brazilian farmer taken on board a spaceship where he enjoyed sexual relations with a four-and-a-half foot blonde in an effort to create a human/alien hybrid. Or so ufologist claim. Recent evidence has emerged that Villas Boas was in fact used as part of a bizarre experiment conducted by the CIA and military.
"Until his death in Fairfax, Virginia in 1999, Bosco Nedelcovic was an interpreter and translator at the Inter-American Defense College, which educates future leaders of Latin American nations. In 1978 the Yugoslavian emigre confided in the American UFO researcher Rich Reynolds that, during the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA had deliberately manufactured UFO incidents all over the world as part of a project called Operation Mirage. What's more, Nedelcovic, who between 1956 and 1963 had worked for the CIA in Latin America under the Agency for International Development (AID), was himself present at some of these staged events. And one of them was the Villas Boas abduction.

"Nedelcovic claimed that in mid-October 1957 he was part of a helicopter team conducting psychological warfare and hallucinogenic drug tests in the Minas Gerias region of Brazil. The team included himself, two other CIA employees,  a doctor, two naval officers -one American and one Brazilian -plus a three-man crew. Various items of electronic equipment were on board, as was a metal 'cubicle' about five feet long and three feet wide. Nedelcovic was never told what it was for, only that it was used by the military in psychological warfare operations.

"Initially the team flew around their base of operations at Uberaba, about 150 miles east of Sao Francisco de Sales, testing the electronic equipment. A few days later they flew along the Rio Grande and conducted another night sweep. Using heat-sensing cameras they identified a lone figure on the ground. The helicopter descended to about 200 feet then released an aerosol sedative. The helicopter landed, and the man ran, pursued by the three CIA operatives who grabbed him and hauled him into the helicopter, banging his chin on the deck as they did so. Nedelcovic makes no mention of what was done to the man while on board, only that after a few hours they left him, still unconscious, next to his tractor.

"So was this man Antonio Villas Boas? Elements of Nedelcovic's account do correspond to the farmer's story, for example the timing, geography, weather conditions and bruising under their victim's chin. Likewise many aspects of Villas Boas's account, his kidnappers' costumes for instance, sound more human than alien. Their aircraft also sounds as if it could have been a helicopter, modified either by his own imagination or by some crafty sci-fi refitting; the unusual number of coloured and white lights on the exterior may have given it an extra UFO-like feel, while the 'rotating' dome on its top might have been rotor blades. Countering this, a large helicopter makes a lot of noise, and it would be some years before 'quiet' helicopters were operational in the field. Even late at night in such a remote area, somebody would surely have heard the chopper, an unusual sound in rural Brazil at the time.

"Other parts of the story also ring true. At the time of the incident the CIA and the US military were firmly established in Brazil, and all over Latin America, keeping close tabs on political developments in the region. Brazil was considered a particularly sensitive nation; its vast size, considerable natural resources and proximity to the US made it a ripe target for Soviet expansion. Things would come to a head in 1964 when the CIA participated in a coup to oust President Joao Goulart, replacing him with a brutal military junta that held power for the next two decades.

"In 1957 the CIA was also deeply involved in its MK-ULTRA programme, researching mind and behaviour-altering techniques involving drugs, surgery and technology. They experimented with a number of psychoactive substances -hallucinogens, sedatives, stimulants, psychomimetics and more -often so entirely unwitting subjects. Would the CIA have conducted some tests on subjects outside of their own jurisdiction? Certainly. For the CIA at this time, the entire world was within its jurisdiction.
"Villas Boas was repeatedly sick during and after his experience, and also suffered unpleasant physiological effects that Fontes took to be related to radiation exposure. Might the strange 'cubicle' described by Nedelcovic have been used to illicitly test the effects of radiation exposure?Although Nedelcovic doesn't mention what they wore for the helicopter flights, Villas Boas's description of the entities' clothing and helmets could be conceived of as radiation-protection gear."
(Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington, pgs. 111-113)

Villas Boas' actual abductors?

If Villas Boas was a part of some kind of CIA experiment then some sense can be made of the prior encounters mentioned in part one involving Jose Antonio and Manuel and Miguel. The case of Antonio has several overt overlaps with Villas Boas. Both Antonio and Villas Boas were grabbed by strangely dressed beings on the ground. Both were taken into a spaceship by these beings. Both were confronted with bizarre sexual encounters on board the ship. Both encounters share similarities with the effects of psychedelic drugs.

The connections are less clear as far as Manuel and Miguel are concerned. We have no direct eye witness accounts of the experiences of both men. In all three cases physical air crafts of some kind were a factor while psychedelic drugs were seemingly used in all three encounters as well. The cases of Antonio and Manuel/Miguel have strong occult ties. The experiences of Villas Boas is very similar to a fairy abduction of old.

Another curious overlap between the Manuel/Miguel case and that of Villas Boas is the ufologist that was instrumental in investigating either case, Professor Olavo Fontes of the National School of Medicine in Rio de Janeiro. Fontes was a member of APRO, a civilian UFO research agency that was heavily infiltrated by the US Intelligence community. This was directly mandated in the infamous Robertson Report.
"The Robertson Report also recommended that civilian UFO groups be monitored, 'because of their potentially great influence on mass thinking if widespread sightings should occur. [Their] apparent irresponsibility and the possible use of such groups for subversive purposes should be kept in mind.' For the next two decades, one of the groups mentioned by name, the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) of Tucson, Arizona, found itself under close scrutiny by the intelligence services."
(ibid, pg. 86)

the Lorenzens, the founders of ARPO

The figure of Professor Olavo Fontes is quite curious as well.
"...Dr. Olavo Fontes, a respected young medical doctor who would become Vice President of the Brazilian Society of Gastroenterology and Nutrition before dying of cancer in 1968, while still in his thirties. Fontes had become fascinated by dramatic reports of UFOs over Brazil in late 1954 and, after starting to investigate individual cases on his own, joined APRO, the American UFO organization recommended for observation by the Robertson Panel, in early 1957...

"...Fontes's career as Brazil's foremost ufologist and setting him up for an odd close encounter of his own. In February 1958 Fontes was visited by two Brazilian Naval Ministry intelligence officers who wanted to talk to him about the Ubatuba material. After warning him not to poke his nose into matters that 'did not concern him', they proceeded to tell him everything they knew about the secret UFO cover-up. The world's government, they said, were aware of the extraterrestrial presence on Earth and were doing everything they could to keep a lid on it. Six flying saucers of between thirty and a hundred feet in diameter had crashed thus far, three in the US (two in good condition) one in the UK, one in the Sahara and one in Scandinavia. All of the craft had contained short, humanoid occupants, none of whom had survived, and scientists were currently trying, unsuccessfully, to back-engineer these saucers, which seemed to be powered by strong rotating electromagnetic fields, along with an atomic component. The UFO occupants themselves had shown no interest in contacting humankind and were to be considered extremely hostile, having already destroyed a number of aircraft sent to pursue them. The UFO matter, they warned hum, was held at the highest level of secrecy -even Brazil's president was kept in the dark on the matter -and was considered sensitive enough that some witnesses and researchers had been assassinated to prevent them from leaking information.

"Fontes was left puzzled but unbowed by the visit. He may even have asked the same question we should: why, if the UFO matter was so secret that even the president couldn't be told, had so many of the Navy men's revelations already been printed in popular books and magazines? And why were they telling Fontes, who immediately shared the information with Coral and Jim Lorenzen APRO's directors, confirming similar rumours that they had heard from other sources? Was it because somebody wanted Fontes and APRO to believe these tales, and to share them, in the same way Silas Newton had been encouraged to keep spreading his crashed saucer stories back in 1950?"
(ibid, pgs. 106-107)


Fontes would go on to die of cancer while still in his 30s. Is it possible Fontes was an unwitting disinformation agent, spreading the extraterrestrial gospel for encounters instigated by the CIA and like organizations? Did Fontes eventually suspect this, which led to his early death? Vallee acquired much of Fontes' research rather hastily.
"Today my files of UFO data bulge to a barely manageable volume that occupies fourteen well-packed file cabinet drawers. They are organized by country, and the file on Brazil contains a series of original documents that were given to me shortly before his death from cancer, by a highly skilled investigator, a medical doctor named Dr. Olavo Fontes.

"When Dr. Fontes visited us in Chicago in 1967 he took this bundle of case reports from his suitcase. 'I want you to have these,' he said. Was he already aware that he would soon die?"
(Confrontations, Jacques Vallee, pg. 14)

the legendary ufologist Jacques Vallee, who was the model for a character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which he was also a consultant on

Whatever the case, something very strange was going on in Brazil in the 1960s. CIA-backed UFO PSYOPs would fit right in with the rogue's gallery of individuals wandering around the nation then, such as our old friend Andrija Puharich (of whom I've written much more on herehere, and here), the Nazi angel of death Joseph Mengele, the CIA interrogation 'specialist' Dan Mitrione, and even Jim Jones himself.

The figure of Andrija Puharich is especially interesting to our current investigation. Puharich was an Army officer that worked out of Edgewood Arsenal and Camp Detrick in the early 1950s on behalf of the Pentagon, the CIA, and Naval Intelligence. Puharich was involved in bizarre research concerning parapsychology, ELF electromagnetic waves emissions, UFOs, and psychedelic drugs for both the government and the private sector. By the late 1950s Puharich seemingly became convinced that he was in contact with a group of extraterrestrial entities known as the Nine.
"The Nine revealed themselves as extraterrestrial beings living on an immense spacecraft hovering invisibly over the planet. The assembled congregation had been selected to promote the agenda of The Nine on earth. As Puharich would later write in his biography of Uri Geller, 'We took every known precaution against fraud, and the staff and I became thoroughly convinced that we were dealing with some kind of an extraordinary extraterrestrial intelligence.' This belief was reinforced by events that took place over the next twenty years, culminating in the Uri Geller experience, when it seemed there were UFOs following everyone around from Israel to South America to New York State. Indeed, Puharich became obsessed with The Nine, seeing them behind every psychic encounter, every UFO sighting, every paranormal event."
(Sinister Forces Book One, Peter Levenda, pg. 247)

An especially curious encounter involving the Nine happened to Puharich and the Dutch psychic Peter Hurkos in the mid-1950s in Mexico.
"Although out of the Army, Puharich was still quite busy. He found himself in Mexico with his psychic friend, Peter Hurkos, (and, it seems, Arthur Young) in July 1956 to 'help solve an archaeological problem.' As Puharich was involved in locating drugs that could stimulate psychic abilities, it seems likely that he was there with Hurkos on just such an agenda; neither Puharich nor Hurkos had any archaeological credentials. While in the town of Acambaro, he and Hurkos ran into an American couple from Arizona who eventually claimed that they had been receiving instructions from The Nine. Neither Puharich nor Hurkos had ever met these people before, but it seems they were working with a medium back in Arizona who was also channeling The Nine. To prove this, they sent letters to Puharich the following month with sealed communications from The Nine that referred to details of the specific seances that Puharich had chaired back in Maine. This was the proof that Puharich was looking for. The details went so far as to include a variation of the Lorentz-Einstein Transformation formula that had formed part of the first seance."
(ibid, pg. 248)

Hurkos (top) and Young (bottom)

Again we see connections between UFOs, the American Intelligence community (which Puharich was involved with) and psychedelic drugs. Is it possible that some faction of the Intelligence community believed that contact could be established with non-human beings through the use of hallucinogens? Were encounters such as those involving Villas Boas, Manuel & Miguel, and Jose Antonio attempts to open a kind of mental stargate with these beings? Certainly the concept of ritualistic drug use to contact extraterrestrial beings was not unheard of in Latin America.
"In March 1986, in a situation strangely reminiscent of the Morro do Vintem tragedy, two young men were found dead on the beach at Grumari, just outside Rio de Janeiro. They were Olavo Mena Barreta, a computer technician from a prominent family, and Wellington Barros Wanderley, an office worker and former engineering student with an interest in Rosicrucian traditions. Olavo was the organizer of a small UFO group to which Wellington belonged.

"Near the bodies were two empty bottles of Guarana, smelling of something else, similar to ammonia. The police noted no signs of violence; the two men had not been robbed. They died with their arms outstretched.

"Were the two experimenting with drugs to induce an out-of-body experience to contact UFO beings on what occultists call the astral plane? Had they simply died from an overdose of the strange-smelling substances found in the bottles? Could a similar scenario explain the deaths of Manuel and Miguel in Niteroi? But what about the sightings of the large luminous objects above the mountain that day?

"Since no UFO was described in connection with the Grumari case, the incident does not seem directly relevant to the question of the lethal impact of UFOs, but it does provide an important indication of the social context of the phenomenon in Brazil, where UFO cases cannot always be separated from occult practices and beliefs."
(Confrontations, Jacques Vallee, pgs. 128-129)

Officially Puharich visited Brazil in 1962 to study the legendary psychic surgeon Arigo, but could this curious feature of Brazilian culture have also held interest to Puharich? Certainly it would be in keeping with Puharich's experiences with the Nine and consistent with the metaphysical group of researcher (of which Jacques Vallee was involved with) Puharich and his good friend Arthur Young would shepherd in the 1970s. I've written more on this group here.

And with that, I shall wrap things up for now. While there seems to be some legitimate paranormal phenomenon involved in the Nine, the subjects of the next installment are pure PSYOPs and disinformation. Or not. Stay tuned for the next installment and make up your own mind.

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