There’s much misrepresentantion and misperception about what ufology in Brazil really is, think, do and did. We present below six proven facts about it to help those abroad know what is really going on around here.
Fact #1: Most Brazilian ufologists readily admit there is no proof of extraterrestrials among us.
Reputed Brazilian ufologists active today defend the existence of an intriguing phenomenon with unexplained cases, but admit there’s no solid evidence about its extraterrestrial origin.
Claudeir Covo, one of the most well-known ufologists in the country, is very clear: “There is still no scientific proof of that“.
Ubirajara Rodrigues, world famous in ufology for his investigations of the “Varginha case”, explains that “between life, intelligent life and life that achieved an unimaginable stage of technological progress, there is such an enormous distance of scientific and philosophic complexity, that we can’t even dream about being able of making any statement about them. Who can claim, then, that UFOs are cosmic spaceships…“.
Among younger ufologists, but no less active in investigation, recognizing the absence of conclusive evidence of the ETH is also a given fact. “There is absolutely no proof or solid evidence [of the relationship between UFOs and the activity of “extraaterrestrial intelligence”], asserts Rogério Chola. Reinaldo Stabolito warns that we “have no way of knowing whether the UFO phenomenon is indeed caused by alien spaceships. Which means that when people talk about ‘aliens’, they do no more than projecting our own expectations, wishes and even personality on those alleged aliens. It’s even worse, because many people use this uncertainty about the phenomenon to exploit the gullible, claiming extraordinary contacts that never happened.”
All quotes above are from the interviews given to the Brazilian Ufology Center (CUB), a diverse ufology group (promoting both “spiritual” and “scientific” ufology), and conducted by its president, Milton Dino Frank. The links point to the full interview, in Portuguese.
We could quote some other noted and active Brazilian ufologists, but there are obviously some “ufologists” in Brazil who don’t hesitate to claim the contrary. One of them is Ademar Gevaerd.
Fact #2: The editor of the Brazilian “UFO” magazine, Ademar Gevaerd, quite simply fled from his public commitment to present one single case that would prove the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life.
On September 21, 2004, Gevaerd electronically signed and distributed a public agreement according to which he would “choose a case that, in his opinion, would offer the best proof for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent life“, offering related documentation that would be analyzed by the scientific community, represented by five independent scientists from the “major Brazilian universities — USP, PUC-SP and UNICAMP — from different areas os expertise“. USP is the largest university in Latin America, and UNICAMP and PUC-SP are also highly reputed institutions.
This was the result of a series of “challenges”, which began when a contributor of the UFO magazine defied skeptics and was soon backed by the publication and its editor. After much discussion, an independent group of parapsychologists, Interpsi, associated with the PUC-SP university, accepted the request to mediate the dispute, and it evolved to the agreement to which both Gevaerd and skeptics alike agreed, signed and publicized.
But only eight days after this public engagement, Ademar Gevaerd simply ran away from it. “I don’t feel obliged to offer proof that UFOs exist to nobody whatsoever“, he stated on a surprising public message. Even more surprising was the fact that Gevaerd also stated in this public message that one of the reasons he broke his public agreement were the words of ufologist Carlos Reis, which he quoted in full and that included the following:
“I know, you [Gevaerd] know and many people also know that ufology is fragile, we don’t work with proof, but with significant indications that we are dealing with a phenomenon of an unknown nature. That’s it. We can’t claim with a proper mind that it’s extraterrestrial, we can’t even talk about ‘aliens’, because those are only theories, hypothesis, speculations…“. [emphasis added]
Gevaerd still sells his magazine clearly claiming that UFOs are extraterrestrial spaceships from alien civilizations. According to him, the best case for the extraterrestrial origin of the UFO phenomenon is the “Varginha case”.
[for a description of this episode, see “Brazilian ufologists flee skeptical challenge“]
Fact #3: Ubirajara Franco Rodrigues, first and main investigator of the “Varginha case”, warns that “the greatest missing thing about Varginha is the alleged presence of an Unidentified Flying Object … To the case, to be able to claim it was the appearance, the capture, spaceships from other planets, extraterrestrial beings, there is absolutely no data.“.
“There are many ufologists in Brazil making statements with absolutely no support, with mixed, wrong and false information, about even the testemony from the witnesses. And what surprises me most, is that the stupid things I hear against the case are less numerous than those supporting it, coming from those in ufology… Of the thirty most well-known ufologists in Brazil … if there are five among those who read the 400 page book that I wrote with all the details of the case, that’s an optimistic guess. And they want to talk about the case“, Rodrigues said.
Those statements are part of the video interview he gave to “Painel OVNI TV“, and Ubirajara Rodrigues refers to his book “O Caso Varginha“, where he is very clear writing at the end that at this point nothing about the case can be concluded given the absence of concrete evidence.
Fact #4: The “chupa-chupa” panic at the end of the 1970s in Amazon is not an unique, exclusive event.
This is one of the most important and intriguing “ufological” cases in Brazil. But those interested in exploiting it as an inexplicable mystery — or mystery explainable with aliens — try to claim this was a unique, exclusive, one of a kind event. That is not the case.
Almost identical reports came from India in 2002, with the “Muchnowa” panic — which allegedly means “thing that bites or scratches the face” in hindi, a popular nickname very similar to the Brazilian “chupa-chupa”, meaning “suck-suck”, which allegedly sucked blood and also scratched its victims.
Both phenomena happened on very poor regions of developing countries, provoking panic among the locals and producing little solid evidence besides reports of strange lights and attacks which resulted in marks like scratches, bruises and burns on the victims.
[Left: Muchnowa victim, India, 2002. Right: Chupa-chupa victim, Brazil, 1977]
Most relevant is the fact that, in the Indian case, the idea of alien beings behind everything was circulated, but with much less emphasis; that’s probably because cases of mass hysteria were almost common at the time. Just one year before, attacks of the “monkey man” scared people and resulted in some deaths caused not by the creature, but by the popular panic itself. It was an almost textbook example of mass delusion.
[Monkey Man, India, 2001]
Whatever the final explanation for the “Muchnowa” and the “Chupa-chupa”, it’s clear that social and psychological elements link both cases, very similar in almost every aspect. The Indian case is more clearly a sociological event, and that should be considered when analyzing the Brazilian one.
The few physical evidence available from the Brazilian “chupa-chupa” phenomenon was collected at the time by a secret military operation, named “Operação Prato” [Operation Saucer].
Fact #5: “Our film and photographic records do not portrait our certainty [that the objects and lights are “driven by an intelligence”], because we lacked much technical and material resources and personnel. On other times, we lost the chance, photographing useless material. We believe that with better resources we could get to the reasonably acceptable“, concludes a report from September 1977 of Operation Saucer, which investigated the “chupa-chupa” phenomenon. In short, it clearly states the lack of satisfactory physical evidence.
Why they lacked so much resources? According to the Air Force Command, the operation was in fact the result of personal interest in the subject by some officers. That claim is supported by statements of late Uyrange Hollanda, commander of the Operation. He reminded that “it was very fortunate that at the COMAR I, at that time, in that region, there was an Air Force officer, a brigadier, who believed in flying saucers. Had it been another officer, another brigadier, maybe the Operation wouldn’t have happened.”
According to the Social Communication Center of the Brazilian Air Force, “regarding the Operation Saucer, the Air Force has only the records based on the data given by one of the members of that activity. A report with many testimonies was produced, apparently with no scientific base“. Indeed, the available reports are just a compilation of testemonies. There’s no scientific analysis of the cases.
The Operation was cancelled soon afterwards.
Fact #6: Brazilian ufology begun with a crude photographic hoax. Brazilian ufologists realized the fact only three decades later.
The event that definitely launched ufology in the minds of Brazilians was the Barra da Tijuca flying saucer of 1952. With huge letters, the Cruzeiro magazine boasted:
“EXTRA: FLYING SAUCER IN BARRA DA TIJUCA. O Cruzeiro presents, on a spectacular scoop, the most sensational documentation ever obtained about the mystery of the flying saucers”.
Sensational indeed. Too bad the photos had obvious lighting discrepancies — the saucer was lighted in a different direction than the rest of the image. The hoax was rejected at the time by Ary Maurell Lobo, from the Brazilian ‘Popular Science‘ magazine, and the discrepancies were pointed out by Americans a few years later, being mentioned even in the “Condon report”.
Curiously, among Brazilian ufologists and even military officers, the case was very different, and decades would pass before the hoax was realized. Officers of the Brazilian Air Force, headed by colonel Joao Adil de Oliveira, analyzed the images and, because they failed to reproduce them with a model thrown in the air, they declared the photos authentic. The hoax was actually created by photomontage, but our ufologists also missed that.
It was only in the 1980s, thirty years after the event, that Brazilian ufologists Carlos Reis and Claudeir Covo would present evidence from the ranks of Brazilian ufology that the photos were indeed hoaxed. On the fifth and last image, Covo remarked that “to crate the shadow in the object, the Sun must have been inside the Atlantic Ocean”.
His research generated much debate and criticism at the time, and even today some Brazilian “ufologists” still defend the authenticity of the crudely hoaxed images.
[See Fraudes ufológicas: O caso Barra da Tijuca, in Portuguese]
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