Recovering the Forgotten Record. Notes Towards a Revisionist History of Abductions, Part 4

Peter Rogerson
Magonia 50, September 1994

Abduction reports from outside of North America show imagery very different from the developing stereotype. One of the earliest non-American semi-abduction reports is an obscure and now forgotten report from Kenya, which appeared in the Nairobi Daily Nation sometime in December 1965. Michael Mudachi was sitting in his home near Eastleigh Airport when he saw a point of light approaching from the horizon. As it neared he saw it was an elliptical object with transparent windows.

It landed vertically and three humanoid figures emerged from it, wearing what looked like tall hats. They had human appearance, seemingly a synthesis of all races. They spoke in an incomprehensible language but were able to make Mudachi understand that they were not hostile and wanted to take his photograph. To get him to agree they first photographed his brother and another witness, then they put him on a platform where there was an implement like a birdcage which emitted a white light, like sunlight. A powerful ray shot out from a red bulb at the centre of this contraption which hit Mudachi on the chest leaving him spluttering and fighting for breath. Suddenly the beings left without him seeing how. After the incident he fell into an unusually deep, dreamless sleep. Later he suffered from hallucinations, depression, loss of appetite and general malaise. [1]

The theme of cold aliens is continued in the story of a Filipino woman walking in the Vienna Woods following a sort of presentiment. Suddenly she was paralysed, unable even to move her eyes, as a strange object descended. It resembled two saucers edge-to-edge, with a domed top and a three-sphere ‘landing gear’. Three ‘thin but strong’ men, 1.5 – 1.65 m. tall descended via a ladder. They wore dark-brown one-piece suits and transparent helmets, through which humanoid faces could be seen. One held a small box which flashed a red beam at her when the figure pressed a button on it, which enabled the witness to hear them talking in English. They asked if she would like to visit their planet, then flashed another light and gave a warning about the wickedness of humanity. They warned her she might die of cancer as she was of no further use to them, then re-entered their craft “with a smile of either mockery or pity. [2]

British abductors also leave trauma behind, but not so deliberately. Take the adventures of ‘BS’ and ‘SC’ at Longleat, Wiltshire in January 1968. On the 18th BS had been struck by a bright light as an object flashed past his car, which stalled. Later he received a phone call telling him to be at a spot called Heaven’s Gate on the Longleat estate of Lord Bath, at 2100 hrs on 21 January. There the two saw a tiny object the size of a soup-plate from which emerged a gossamer-like ladder down which tripped more than twenty-five beings no more than 4 inches (10 cm) tall. They ‘blinked out’, then reappeared at human size. They talked with the couple for a while then invited BS on board. He was shrunk along with them, taking off in the tiny craft which ascended with a whistling noise. They did not reappear until 0500 hrs the next day, when he was returned to normal size. He refused to divulge anything about his journey, except to hint something about the Earth’s core, and visits to underwater cities and communities. It was said, as it is about all taken by ‘them’, that he “was never the same man again”. [3]

The third of the early British abductions was the first of the ‘backdated’ stories, supposedly taking place in 1942 but only returning to the witness’s memory in the late 1960s. It was investigated in late 1969 or early 1970. The witness, Albert Lancashire, claimed that in the late summer of 1942, when he was 27, he was on sentry duty at a radar site two miles from Newbiggin-on-Sea, Northumberland, and about thirty yards from the sea. A light surrounded by a black cloud shone on him, then he saw another beam which he began to walk along; whereupon he was seized by a pygmy-sized man and carried aboard a craft, in which the rest of the crew was normal sized. There was a ‘captain’ with dark hair, wearing goggles. Lancashire was made to lie on a couch, looking up at a blue-domed ceiling. He could see another man wearing goggles leaning over a table. This figure smiled as if in welcome. He felt that some sort of medical examination had taken place but could remember no details, and next found himself back in the sentry box. [4]

Some years later he appears to have told Jenny Randles that the encounter involved seeing a naked oriental woman on a bed, and having goggles put on his own eyes. [5] Randles also reported that “Mr Lancashire appears to have incorporated his encounters into a semi-religious framework and quotes freely from the Bible”. Lancashire also claimed a variety of anomalous experiences involving hypnogogic visions, strange lights, etc. He claimed that his memory of events returned in October 1967, yet he first came to the attention of investigators when he wrote to Lionel Beer, of BUFORA, having obtained Beer’s address from the Daily Mirror after they published excerpt from Interrupted Journey. These however were published in October and November 1966 (I have the original cuttings).

Throughout this period the largest source of abduction stories was Latin America. As early as October 1967 a Mr ‘CAV’ told Richard Greenwall of APRO of an adventure which had supposedly happened many years before, when he encountered three uniped mummies near Lomo de Ballena. The beings were described as having grey, towel-like skin, oblong jelly-like features where eyes should be, no ears, nose, mouth or sexual organs, and fingers fused together. They were “biscuity to touch, exuded a soapy liquid and reproduced by division”, a description which shows he was little influenced by the Hills, and had constructed radically more different occupants than normal. CAV’s story, with its invitation on board, warnings against atomic energy and claims of being godlike and eternal is really a heterodox contactee tale rather than a modern abduction. [6]

The Mario Restier story from Brazil was first published in Diario de Noticias of 6 February 1968. Restier’s claim that he was taken for four months in 1949 – 50 is clearly a contactee tale of a visit by invitation to a Utopian otherworld [7]. The story of janitor Ricardo Catille Trujillo of Valparaiso as reported by the EFE Newsagency of an encounter with two Caucasian men from an elongated object who would not let him on board but cured his myopia, is also from an older tradition. [8]

More modern abduction narratives emerged in the post-Hill period from the Argentinean UFO wave in the spring of 1968. The first of these was the Vidal teleportation, reported in the Argentine press in May. It appears this may have been a cover story invented to account for the wife’s flight from home. [9] On June 4 the newspaper El Razon carried an article by Professor Alejandro Eru, secretary of the Argentine college of Parapsychology, who commented on the Vidal story but released the first full blown post-Hill Latin American abduction. Further details appeared in the Brazilian paper Correio de Povo on 11 June. These accounts told that the “well-known Argentine painter and sculptor” Benjamin Solar Parravicini was walking home from the theatre in Buenos Aires on a foggy night, with a copy of the theatre programme in his hand, when at the corner of Avenida Belgrano and Avenida 9 Julio he was confronted by what he first thought was a madman. The stranger was a fair-skinned Nordic type with eyes so pale it looked as if he was blind. [Solar Parravicini has been involved with a wide variety of mystical and prophetic announcements, e.g. see HERE]

The man spoke to the witness in an unintelligible guttural language, but in a “kind and gentle manner”, directing his attention upward, where through the fog Parravicini saw an unlit aerial object fifty metres above him. He became dizzy and when he recovered he found himself inside the object with three other people. One, who was “very handsome” addressed him in an unknown language, but the artist was able to grasp his meaning by telepathy. He told him not to be alarmed and that they would take him on a trip round the world, then release him. He observed surface features of Japan, France and Chile before he awoke from his ‘dream’, the theatre programme at his feet. Later he claimed further contacts with the beings, who said they were patrolling the Earth to see that no catastrophe befell us. [10]

It can be seen that this story, apart from the supernatural means of entry, is well within the contactee tradition of friendly, fair-skinned aliens saving us from doom. The supernatural entry may represent a genuine waking metachoric experience [11] possibly connected with a brief epiliptiform experience. The percipient also fits the pattern found in later abduction cases, of abductees with high artistic ability. There is also the folkloric theme of meeting at the crossroads.

It can be seen that these stories
are well within the contactee tradition
of friendly, fair-skinned aliens
saving us from doom

This theme is continued in a story which has every indication of being influenced by the above. On 2 July 1968 La Cronica reported the story of Mrs Alejandra Martinez da Pascucci who said that coming home the previous night at 2330 hrs at the corner of Calle Alvear and Calle Savedra, an open undeveloped area of the town of Quilmes which always made her nervous, she felt an invisible force pressing down and ‘absorbing’ her. Without losing consciousness she found herself in a baking hot enclosed space inside a round machine with red and green windows. With her were two men in metallic clothing which gave off a powerful light, as did their shoes and helmets. One was over two metres tall, the other rather shorter. They looked at her and spoke to her in an unintelligible language. Then one of the men pressed a button; shortly afterward she descended with the same sensations, landing smoothly not on Mars as she had feared, but by a cemetery in her own town from where she got a free taxi ride home [12].

Here we can see that the Solari Parravicini story has been adapted and dramatically secularised. Gone are the beautiful Nordics and the message for humanity; in comes the infernal heat. The folkloric theme of encounter by the crossroads is joined by another, the return in the cemetery. We would clearly need to know quite a lot more about Argentine folk beliefs to assess correctly the significance of these themes.

At the end of July the Brazilian Gazeta de Noticias (21 July 1968) reported the adventure of a civil servant Pedro Dema who was walking along the Sao Paulo highway in Rio de Janeiro when he heard a humming noise overhead and was blinded by a powerful beam of light and two green lights which appeared right by him. The lights were replaced by something dark in which a horizontal opening appeared and four beings 15 cm tall appeared and ran towards him. He tried to flee, but found himself held by an hypnotic force, his limbs cold, head spinning, unable to speak. The little creatures, which were greenish and wore things like headphones on their ears, had strangely shaped heads with no mouths, but seemed to speak to him in Portuguese.

They grabbed his arms and dragged him into the machine, the inside of which looked like a complex laboratory. Here they interrogated him about human habits, customs, the human body and sexual reproduction. They then made him undress and gave him an examination, which included a very fine luminous wire being introduced into his mouth. This made him transparent, as if being X-rayed. Two of the beings conducted the examination, while the other two made marks on an aluminium-like sheet. Suddenly lights flashed across the walls and they hurriedly terminated the examination and hustled Dema out of the machine. They told him it would all seem like a dream. The object took off leaving an intense luminous trail. [13]

The Dema case is thus one of the first post-Hill cases to feature a medical examination. We see over the space of a few months in the sequence Restier: Parravinci: Martinez: Dema, the transformation of the contactee narrative into that of the abductee. Even in the Dema story the contactee motif of telepathic communication continues, as of course it does in the Hill case.

Mendoza in Argentina was the location of the ‘semi-abduction’ of Peccinetti and Villegas who claimed that in the early hours of 1 September 1968 their car had been stopped by five humanoids, 1.5 metres tall “of human shape except that their heads were strikingly larger than usual … also hairless”, wearing overalls like petrol-pump attendants. The two men received the usual contactee-abductee pseudoscience and warning of nuclear war, including an image of the effects of an atomic blast displayed on an improvised audiovisual device. The entities also pricked the men’s fingers [14].

Possibly somewhat more influenced by the Hills than other early South American abductions was the story of a 46-year-old man at Villa Operaria (Brazil) who was sucked on board an object where he encountered six beings with large heads, long noses and oriental eyes. Surrounded by a green aura, the beings moved stiffly and spoke in a strange language. The witness suffered from bad eyesight for a month after the event. [15]

Diario de Noticias, Brazil, was a source of abduction rumours. The issue of 18 March claimed that a couple had been teleported from Rodovio (Dutra State) to the Mexico-USA border, with marks of a grappling hook still being visible on their car [16]; while the issue of 24 May 1969 contained the story of a farmhand, Adelini Roque of Itancu, who was apparently lifted off his horse by a brilliant, mesmerising light from above, and was found at dawn over 250 km away. Another paper, Folha de Goias (12 June) reported that he had been seriously traumatised by the incident, had eloped with his niece then committed suicide. [17]

The last of the South American reports of the sixties was among the most dramatic: the abduction of army conscript José Antonio de Silva. Whilst out fishing he was kidnapped by two troll-like beings about four feet tall, with waist-length beards and shoulder length hair, large noses, fishlike mouths and green eyes. They took him into a cylindrical craft to a room apparently hewn out of stone where he was ‘tempted’ by more hairy beings who wanted his military knowledge. This story sees the first appearance of the motif of the ‘dreadsome drink’, in this case a green liquid which restored his strength. JosÈ at one point had the vision of a religious figure which seemed to confuse the trolls, whereupon he was blindfolded and brought back home in the cylinder. [18]

One may be tempted to suggest that the story was a cover-up to account for Silva going AWOL, but its imagery is striking, and it is tempting to think that it has its roots in Brazilian folk culture and Afro-Brazilian religion. [19]

We can see from the abduction narratives of the post-Hill ‘sixties a tremendous heterogeneity; the elements which will occur in later stories do appear briefly in highly unreliable tabloid tales and an admitted work of fiction. Those North American abduction stories show quite different origins. The contemporary perception of the abduction as a primarily female experience is hardly borne out in this material, where the bulk of the participants are male. The abduction experience is an outside activity: people are abducted when walking, driving or working in lonely places or deserted city streets.

The early ‘seventies saw a diminution in the production of abduction reports, as the impact of the Hill case waned. In North America discussion was largely confined to the so-called star map seen by Betty Hill and its controversial interpretation by Marjorie Fish. [20] This discussion however did give rise to the folklore surrounding Zeta Reticuli which was to surface repeatedly in later years. Though a number of teleportation rumours and time-lapse cases surfaced, actual abduction narratives were few and far between.

About the only classic abduction narrative of the period was that of Paolo Caetano Silvera, from Itaperuna in Brazil, whose story surfaced in the autumn and winter of 1971. Like Watts, Caetano claimed multiple encounters, which gradually mutated into a contact story, with photographs. His accounts have mixtures of natural (car stopped by UFO) and supernatural (door opens by itself, he is lifted to the object by a ‘shovel of light’). the beings he encounters are described as 90 – 110 cm tall, wearing light blue clothes, with coarse rectangular shoes pointed in the front. Their eyes and noses were hidden by helmets. In his first encounter Paolo was simply stood underneath a beam of light while a being walked back and forth along an upper platform. In a subsequent encounter the examination consisted of being laid down on a small table with a pillow on it, his legs dangling over the end while a machine was lowered over him and fastened his arms. They cut his arm and took a blood sample.

However, on the third encounter Paolo had a witness, Elvio B., who gave a different account. Paolo said that his car had begun to drag and had been pulled to the side of the road. A beam from the object opened the car door and he was shoveled onto the flying saucer for the examination described above. Elvio on the other hand said that Paolo panicked about a bus behind them, said the car was slowing down then stopped. Before Elvio could see how it had happened Paolo was lying on the ground behind the car. Elvio’s memory seemed confused, which of course led ufologists to conclude that they were under the spell of the ufonauts. It seems more probable that Elvio simply lost track of the precise sequence of events in the confusion, and that Paolo’s experiences were quite subjective. [21]

Clearly subjective was the experience of Maureen Puddy, who described to two investigators an invisible ‘golden entity’ in the car with them, then had the sensation of being trapped in a room with a mushroom-shaped device with a jelly-like top and writing on it. This description seems to have been based on a compass on a suction pad which she had in the car. [22] It seems obvious that our only question here is whether this was a ‘genuine’ virtual experience, or just something made up by the witness, who was nursing a dying husband and looking after two small children, in order to gain sympathy and attention.

What we are seeing are fragments of science fiction stories, half remembered dreams and distorted visions of the Hill narrative, all jumbled together

The experience of Mimi Gorzelle were self-reported in Fate for November 1972. In the first she saw a disc with a revolving centre hovering outside her country cottage. Inside were two small men. Some weeks later she dreamt she was out driving along a familiar road in the middle of the night when a bright light came from the front, swinging from side to side. Her car and three others stopped. A man dressed in a white coverall, like a hospital orderly approached, held her arm and led her to a machine on the prairie. A bright light cam on and she could see three men dressed in business suits also being escorted on. Inside, the object appeared to be filled with metal cabinets which had controls and gauges. The beings appeared to be all alike, in their thirties, and balding, with a leader who seemed smaller than the rest. She was told she would awaken with no memory. They were all then led back to their cars. Mimi’s story has never been included in the ufological canon. [23]

Likewise, sixteen-year-old Gladys Maldonado Quinonas from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, whose story appeared in the PR Press on 5 October 1972. She said that the previous night she encountered two scaly-skinned green-brown things in her bedroom, which communicated by telepathy. They gave her a ring and a stone. She claimed to have had dreams in which she “visited spacecraft at bases on other planets”. Another source gives: “in their bases in tunnels connected with a mine”. [24]

Containing hints of things to come was the experience of UFO witness Mrs J in late summer, early fall, 1970. As she went to bed one night she smelt a terrible stench “like death”, and slept the night as if in a coma not waking until 0930 hrs the next day. While in this sleep she dreamt that she was in her old house near the beach. Amid images of fire and flood she had a vision of a UFO landing and indistinct beings trying to get in through the bathroom. Next day she felt as if she had a needle in her, and her 11-year-old child “acted strangely and talked foolishly”. [25] Imagine what Budd Hopkins would have made of that! More to the point is that her doctor noted that Mrs J “frequently sought medical help for her family … was often upset and had multiple complaints”, which may raise the suspicion of Muchhausen’s Syndrome. One wonders what Dr Berthold Schwarz meant when he referred to “several aspects of her life that might have raised questions about her social adjustment”. All this in a woman who had repeated dreams of a naked bronze man in a cellar, whom she equated with her father.

What is perhaps most striking about all this material is its essential paucity. Most of the stories recorded here were not incorporated into the canon. The accepted abduction sequence of events as of summer 1973 would have run: Villas-Boas, Hill, Dema, de Silva, with Schirmer hovering on the sidelines. Let me reemphasize the heterogeneity of the material; the fact that there is no real dividing line here between abductees and contactees. What we are seeing are fragments of science-fiction stories, half remembered dreams and distorted versions of the Hill narrative all jumbled together.

And of all these accounts the one that most prefigures what is to come us an admitted work of fiction.

  1. Letter in Fate (UK), September 1967, quoting undated clipping from Nairobi Daily Nation.
  2. Dora Bauer-Lammer in COS-MOS 1,4, p.2; INTCAT files; information from Tim Good.
  3. Arthur Shuttlewood, Warnings from Flying Friends, Portway (Warminster), 1968. ch. 7.
  4. ‘What Happened to Mr Lancashire?’ in COS-MOS, 1,9, p.2-4
  5. Jenny Randles, Abduction, Hale 1988, pp.75-6
  6. J and C Lorenzen, UFOs Over the Americas, New American Library, 1968. ch.8
  7. Diario de Noticias, 6 February 1968. Further details are quoted in Richard Heiden’s article ‘A Brazilian Contactee’ in FSR 27, 5 and 6.
  8. EFE Newsagency, 19 March 1968, quoted in Antonio Ribera, Platillos Volante in Iberoamerica y Espana, Pomair, 1968. INTCAT files information supplied by Richard Heiden.
  9. Oscar Galindez, ‘Teleportation from Chascomus to Mexico’, FSR, 14, 5, p.3-4, quoting La Razon, Buenos Aires, 3 -4 -5 June 1968, and personal investigation. In 1969 or 1970 I was at a UFO group meeting at which a British businessman who worked in Argentina and knew Dr Vidal’s employer said that the case had been made up to explain Mrs Vidal’s absence from home for psychiatric reasons.
  10. Gordon Creighton, ‘A New South American Wave’, FSR 14,5, p.23-28, quoting La Razon and Correio do Povo, 11 June 1968
  11. For metachoric experiences see Celia Green and Charles McCreery: Apparitions, Hamish Hamilton, 1975
  12. Gordon Creighton, op.cit., ref. 10.
  13. Gordon Creighton, ‘Physical Examination by Minature Martians’ FSR 15, 5, p.32 – 34, citing GIVPOVND Bulletin, 4 July 1968, in turn citing Gazeta de Noticias, 21 July 1968.
  14. Charles Bowen, ‘One Day in Mendoza’, FSR, 14,6.
  15. INTCAT files, quoting an undated SBEDV Bulletin.
  16. A whole string of such reports, or rather rumours, is given in: Gordon Creighton, ‘More Teleportations’, FSR, 16,5, pp. 11-13, 32.
  17. Gordon Creighton: ‘More Teleportations and Charles Bowen: ‘Another teleportation and its sequel’, FSR 15,5, pp 15-15, citing investigations by C. Churchill and C. Soares, reported in Folha de Goiaz for ‘early June’, 1969.
  18. Hulvio Alexio, ‘Abduction at Bébédouro’, FSR, 19,6, published April 1978.
  19. For a background of Brazilian Spiritism and some insight into parts of Brazilian ufology, see: David J Rees, Spirits and Scientists; idology, Spiritism and Brazilian culture, Penn. State U.P., 1991
  20. See for example: Terence Dickison (ed.) Zeta Reticuli Incident, AstroMedia Corporation.
  21. Walter Buhler, ‘Itaperuna 1970 – 1971′ in UFO Encounters, FSR Special Issue, no. 5, November 1973.
  22. Judith Magee, ‘Maureen Puddy’s Third Encounter’, FSR 24,3, p14 – 15.
  23. Mimi Gorzelle: ‘Views on UFOs’, Fate, November 1973, not seen. My account comes from a paraphrase in BUFORA Journal 3,11, p.6, corrected in BUFORA Journal 4,3, p.24.
  24. Gordon Creighton: ‘Puerto Rico plagued by Gas and Torchlight’, FSR Case Histories, 17, June 1974.
  25. Berthold Schwarz, ‘Port Monmouth landing’, FSR, 17,3, p.21 – 27