By Scott CorralesThe fact that the UFO phenomenon has always shown a curious attraction to the armed conflicts of the human race is undeniable. Even those who are only marginally interested in the phenomenon can relate to the stories of the “foo fighters” that pursued allied and Axis aircraft during the Second World War, or the unidentified objects that prompted the so-called Battle of Los Angeles in 1942. In past decades there was the widespread belief in many countries that “flying saucers” had come to Earth precisely because of humankind’s discovery of nuclear energy and its wartime applications.
But there are other incidents that aren’t quite as well known, and conjectures about the interest displayed by these strange presences in our wars that are quite disturbing...
When Mariano Melgar was scarcely seven years old, he became an accidental witness to an event that would stay for him the rest of his life.
One hot summer morning in 1938, the young boy was taking care of some cows on his family’s property in the town of Muñico (Avila). It was a broad pasture that the animals could roam freely, and Mariano wandered away from them to sit in the shade of a small stand of trees by a stream. Suddenly, he became aware of a buzzing, droning sound coming out of the intense blue sky above; his eyes caught a bright flash of silver in the air from an object that was descending to a spot not far from his current location. Unsure of its nature and intentions, the boy hid behind the trees and observed intently.
“It was a round object surmounted by a small dome, measuring some sixteen to nineteen meters in diameter,” he would later tell researcher J.J. Benitez, who included the case in his book La Punta del Iceberg (Spain: Planeta, 1987). “I must have been some thirty paces away from [it] when I noticed that three or four legs had appeared underneath the object. That “thing” had colored lights all around it...they went on and off constantly. A thing to see!”
Young Mariano’s wonder went up a notch when a door on the bizarre object suddenly opened “like the doors one sees on modern airplanes.” The buzzing and humming ceased and three figures descended from the object, whose interior appeared to be full of some devices whose purpose was completely foreign to the youngster. Two of the figures walked away from the craft to collect what appeared to be soil or vegetable matter samples, while the third one remained at the entrance to the strange vehicle.
Overwhelmed by the sight and his child’s sense of curiosity, Mariano emerged from his place of concealment and tried to get close to the “pilots”, as he described them. Before he had succeeded in walking a distance of five meters, the figure standing at the doorway to the craft fired a bolt of light at the boy, very nearly knocking him down. Chastened, Mariano retreated for the safety of the trees again, but was not chased away by the display of power. In fact, he subsequently tried a second approach, only to be repelled by another volley of shots from the character standing at the entrance to the craft. Fifteen minutes later, the soil gatherers had completed their task and returned to the vehicle. The sentry turned to look at the boy and “waved goodbye”. The domed object lifted off, spinning on its axis, heading off toward the village of Barco de Avila at an altitude of between fifty and one hundred meters.
At the time of the event, Mariano believed that the object and its crew complement had been “Generalissimo Franco’s aircraft” although he now knows better. While it is true that Nazi Germany was involved in many displays of air power over Spain during the Civil War (the bombing of Guernica, immortalized on canvas by Pablo Picasso, being the best known of them), the chance that Mariano Melgar’s close encounter had anything to do with advanced Luftwaffe prototypes is negligible. To stress this point, researcher Benitez goes on to provide his readers with a brief history of Spanish aviation during the Spanish Civil War: the first Soviet-made aircraft (Tupolev SB-2 bombers and Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters) were deployed in the Spanish theater of operations in November 1936; twenty Luftwaffe Junkers Ju-20’s entered the fray in August of that year, plus a host of aircraft purchased by the warring factions from a number of governments ranging from France to the United States and Czechoslovakia. None of them remotely resembling the domed, light-ringed craft that landed near Mariano Melgar in 1938.
In the Melgar case, we are dealing with a pre-1947 incident that combines sighting, landing and occupant encounters in one. There is also the possibility that an over-imaginative peasant child (albeit one whose childhood was not filled with the comic books and space-minded radio adventures of the time) imagined the whole situation. But if we decide to believe in Mariano Melgar and in J.J. Benítez’s painstaking journalistic research, we are left with the conclusion that the UFO phenomenon was active during one of the most destructive periods of internecine warfare in the 20th century. But why?
The fact remains that while a peasant boy peered at the otherworldly unknown through the trees of Muñico, other sightings had taken place on the Iberian Peninsula that amazed trained observers. Two years earlier, in August 1936, the fortress of Pollensa on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca had successfully fended off a landing by Republican forces, who had arrived in the harbor by means of submersibles. Many locals watched the scene expectantly, hoping to see the skies lit by another exchange of fire and rocketry as the Republicans tried to take the fortification yet again. Suddenly the onlookers were treated to the sight of three glowing objects at an altitude of ten thousand feet. Some Mallorcans believed that these were the new air weapons that Hitler had promised Generalissimo Franco’s forces, but the three unknown devices simply cruised over the island and nothing about them suggested a provenance of any of this world’s air forces. They were described as “plates moving through the air” and giving off considerable luminosity.
On February 5, 1938, the forces defending Peñón de la Mata to the north of the city of Granada under cold, clear winter skies were buzzed by an object resembling “a Mexican hat”. Described as having the color of unburnished aluminum, the object’s slow, deliberate path across the morning sky allowed onlookers to get a good look at it. As it approached, an infantryman with the 76th Brigade, reported that “seen from below, it had the exact shape of a cartwheel. At its center, where the spokes emanated from, there was something [looking like] a photo camera lens...”
But the witness’s startling account doesn’t stop there: as the unknown object flew almost directly over him, he was allegedly able to see curved black portholes on the sides of the strange wheel. The report published in Spain’s ABC newspaper added that the unknown device appeared to rotate counterclockwise as it flew southward, fading away until the bemused infantrymen were no longer able to see it.
More humanoids were also reported during the Civil War. On the night of July 25, 1938, five months after the siege of Granada, a blinding light caught the attention of two officers. As the light dimmed, the military men were surprised to see a disc-shaped object measuring approximately eleven meters in diameter at an estimated distance of sixty meters away. The object appeared to possess a sort of “column” containing two humanoid figures that gradually descended from its underbelly. The unknown craft then started to project a circle of blue light on the ground, which expanded its circumference until it reached the onlookers, who felt a sensation of intense cold. The light dimmed and the column was fully retracted into the object, its two separate “halves” rotating in opposite directions as the powerful white light appeared again and the craft vanished into the skies at considerable speed. Researcher Manuel Carballal interviewed the main witness, who held the rank of lieutenant at the time.
Not counting the veterans of both warring sides, or the relatives of those who lost loved ones, most people have forgotten about the relatively brief conflict in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom following the former’s occupation of the Falkland Islands during the spring of that year. In January 2006, Argentinean researcher Silvia Perez Simondini managed to obtain an interview with a war veteran she has named “Román” in an effort to conceal his identity. While “Roman’s story does not take place on either East or West Falkland, but in Rio Gallegos – an important Argentinean air base at the time of the conflict – it is nevertheless riveting.
According to Simondini’s report for Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic Ufology (http://inexplicata.blogspot.com), the soldier’s brush with the unknown occurred sometime between the fourth and the tenth of April 1982, as he and fellow members of his platoon provided security for the sprawling El Condor ranch. Between 2 and 3 a.m., Román and his buddies were awakened by the sound of one of the sentries pounding on the door to their billet.
"When I opened my eyes, there was an intense white light outdoors,” recalls the soldier, “[it was] similar to the floodlights of a soccer stadium that light up the playing field. But there was a startling detail, the fact that it was snowing, there was a lot of wind, but the circle in which the light was contained was peaceful; even the air and weather was warm. I also noticed that the other 2 soldiers outside were looking at the sky, where there was a gigantic spacecraft with lights -- not a circular one, I perceived it as an oval body whose center gave me the impression of looking at the stars, but its lateral lights made a slight movement. Those of us inside the house went out and stared at it for 15 minutes, more or less. We felt no fear, rather a sense of tranquility. At one point, it slowly began to move and vanished over the hills at high speed in a matter of seconds. What was also astounding was that after it disappeared, the snow and the strong wind also returned, which was a shock to us.”
A greater shock was in store for the Argentinean conscripts. An army helicopter with foreign-looking personnel arrived at the ranch (“I thought they were Americans”, he confessed to Simondini). “Román” and his friends were transferred to a building occupied by another regiment and all of their equipment and clothes taken from them prior to debriefing. His superiors were concerned about the possibility of a British secret weapon, but the conscript and his buddies believed they had seen “something unnatural, not of this Earth.”
After the debriefing session, the hapless UFO witnesses were taken to a larger room occupied by members of another unit with an even more harrowing story to tell: they had been riding along the highway in a troop transport shortly after “Román” and his platoon had seen the unknown craft over the El Condor ranch, and in an instant, found themselves no longer aboard their truck, but scattered on the ground in an open field three kilometers away from their original position. The truck was nowhere to be found. This experience had been so unnerving that that a sergeant known to “Román” as a driven, energetic noncom appeared “completely broken and lost” after the ordeal.
A curious addition to the bizarre “teleportation” incident is that another truck belonging to Argentina’s YPF petroleum company also vanished in the proverbial blink of an eye, but still inside his truck and near a police station.
The Argentinean conscript ends his story by saying: “ Then the Army Command divided us up independently, we were each sent to war in different locations and never saw each other again.”