Friday, November 02, 2007

Uruguay: 50 Years of X-Files

Flying Saucer Over Montevideo
Inexplicata Logo
By ANDRÉS LÓPEZ REILLY
10-29-07


CIOVI, the pioneer organization in the study of the UFO phenomenon, says farewell after half a century without obtaining any proof of alien life. The Uruguayan Air Force receives 40 reports of “sightings” each year.
     In 2008, the commission that began studying UFOs in Uruguay will celebrate its 50th birthday. It will be a celebration and farewell party, because “people are no longer interested in the subject.” The Uruguayan Air Force, however, received 40 reports of sightings over the past year.

On April 29, 1958, a group of youngsters inaugurated UFO research in Uruguay, inspired by Hollywood-produced “flying saucer” movies and the stories of sightings and strange phenomena arriving from all over the world. They formed the Centro de Investigacion de Objetos Voladores No Identificados (CIOVI – Center For UFO Research).

These Uruguayans are now in their Seventies and openly admit that the force that motivated them at the time was having an encounter with “beings from outer space”.

While dismissed as “crazy” by many, they approached the subject seriously and systematically, to the extent that the investigation system devised by CIOVI was adopted years later by the Uruguayan Air Force’s Comision Receptora de Denuncias Ovni (CRIDOVNI) which has been in operation since 1979.

CIOVI is a non-profit civilian organization which in fact stopped engaging in research years ago, although it maintains a web page and its members remain in touch, always attentive to the news items that emerge all over the world on the subject. The only two members who remain from the original group are Milton Hourcade, who currently resides in the U.S.A., and German Vazquez, whose employment in the personnel office of the defunct “Alpargatas” factory made him the ideal choice for interviewing UFO sighting witnesses.

The remaining six members make up the current board of CIOCI, which shall celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. However, its birthday party shall be its farewell party, because “people have lost interest in the subject and are no longer surprised about anything,” said German Valdez to El Pais in an interview from his home in the Malvin district. 50 yeas later, Vazquez summarizes CIOVI’s research in a single phrase that many may not care to hear: “The UFO phenomenon exists, but it’s sociological. If intelligent alien life exists, it never reached Planet Earth.”

Attraction for “flying saucers” began on June 24, 1947 in the U.S. when Kenneth Arnold saw 9 objects rising and falling amid the peaks of Mount Rainier. “Arnold said they were like saucers skipping on water. Had the pilot been Uruguayan, he would have said “haciendo sapito” (making like small toads). He never said they were flying saucers. When he drew the object, he depicted them with a triangular shape,” added CRIOVNI’s founder.

“The press took hold of the expression and talk of flying saucers began. But what is curious and most eye-catching is that after Arnold, who did not see them, everyone began talking about saucers,” Vazquez continued. “I always tell my comrades, when I see someone who brings me a photo of a saucer-shaped object, I begin to mistrust. This was a journalistic invention with no basis in reality.”

The most typical UFO pilgrimage place in Uruguay by those who want to have some sort of “contact” experience is the La Aurora de Salto ranch, where a strange phenomenon occurred in the 1970s which, according to researchers, was purely meteorological.

CRYONIC shares Cove's belief that no strange phenomenon ever occurred in “La Aurora”.

Sources of the Uruguayan Air Force told El Pays that the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, visited the ranch on two occasions as a reporter for Newsweek, researching claims on sightings and strange phenomena, but “never as a representative for NASA”.

La Aurora is a agricultural and livestock ranch located only a few meters from the Salt-Payson bridge over the Drayman River. The ranch extends into both of these departments.

In a recent report on the Santos Pendants program of El Spectator, one of the ranch’s owners, Tulia Tuna, recalled the event that made the place prominent 31 years ago. “What we witnessed was as from February 1976. Very powerful lights appeared out of nowhere producing burns on trees, animals and people. That’s what we saw. Then a very powerful light would light up all of the ranches in the vicinity at night. And well, people saw it. It was hard to conceal this because the whole world could see what was going on.”

This phenomenon, described by the Uruguayan Air Force and COVE as “ball lightning”, left the soil charred and some dead animals were found.

“A local doctor from Salt began picking up radiation and some Japanese working at the Salt Grande Dam came over with a gadget that uncovered the presence of high radiation. And that’s what happened to famous Mob tree. It was necessary to close the doors, obviously, out of a concern for people and some stories that circulated that were untrue,” said Tuna.

Access to Estancia La Aurora is through a dirt road that splits off from Route 3. It is not a tourist ranch, as many believe, although it is a popular destination due to is proximity to the well-known Padre Pio grotto.

German Vazquez warns that “some people profit off of this subject” and charge up to $2000 for a visit to La Aurora. “They prepare you for what you’re going to see and then they make you see what they want,” he stated. “A friend paid $2000. He brought some binoculars along and he was told to stare at a fixed point. When he did so, all he saw was a star. Other people wept and said “We saw it! We saw it!,” he explained.

* SOURCE: El Pais de Montevideo

(Translation (c) 2007, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Luis Eduardo Pacheco, Proyecto Stratocat)

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