A young bachelor claims he found a unique way to get rid of a UFO that was making a nuisance of itself by showing up every time he rode his motorcycle at night.
"For about six months beginning in February 1990, every time I went out of the house at night it would follow me, and when other people were around me it would completely disappear."
This is the story that José Gomes Neto tells. He's a tall, lean, rather good-looking farmer who lived five miles south of São José do Compestre in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. He was thirty-four when I met him in September 1991.
"It was after me but it wasn't chasing me," José said. "If I went out every night of the week, it would be there every night. Whenever I went out. It was fire-colored but sometimes it was lighter and sometimes darker.
“It would start out about twelve to fifteen centimeters in size, then shrink and then get big again, about seventy or eighty centimeters. It would go up high and then come down low.
"If I was going along and there was a corner or curve, it would disappear and then meet up with me on the other side of the curve. Then it would go behind me. When I came into the city, it would go up, up, up, up and disappear."
He never heard any sound. Sometimes it would come within twenty meters of him.
"It never got closer because I kept riding away from it. When I stopped, it would wander around. I wasn't afraid of it. I was angry at it. If I'd had a gun I would have shot it."
The UFO was never in the same spot when he went out, José said. "What happened was I would open the door and look around and I wouldn't see it, so I'd go out and then the thing would come and follow me, as if it was hiding and waiting for me to come out."
He said he never felt threatened by the UFO.
"It didn't seem to make a serious effort to catch me. It finally went away when I cursed it. I finally got very, very angry because every place I went it would be after me. I couldn't go anywhere without it being there. One night I began to curse it. I told it to go to hell. It went higher and higher and higher and never came back."
Maybe that's the secret to getting UFOs to go away. Tell them to go to hell. Or scream. In the village of Colares on an island at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil, whenever a beam of red light from a UFO in the sky penetrated a house and a victim screamed, the light usually disappeared instantly. That happened during a long UFO flap in 1977-78.
Also in 1977, during four months of sightings in the town of Pinheiro in neighboring Maranhão, the mayor told me that sometimes a UFO hovering above the city would vanish if someone screamed or shouted at it.
UFOs often seem to show curiosity about human beings and what they're doing, with many people reporting UFOs coming close and then going away without doing anything, other than frighten them.
Twice in 1983, a big ball of light paced a truck driven by Ismar Torres, then forty-three, and his wife Iralice, thirty-seven. They are business people who live in Santana do Matos in the western part of Rio Grande do Norte. They also own a farm thirty-five kilometers northeast of Santana do Matos.
"The first time was nine thirty at night and we were in a water tank truck," Iralice said as Cynthia Luce and I joined her family for lunch in their home in 1992. "My husband was driving. We had taken water to a very dry area of our farm. On the way back home in an isolated, deserted area, we saw a huge ball of blue light just above the bushes off to our right.
“It looked to be about ten meters in diameter. It went in front of us and then back to the side. It kept pace with us, going along up and down just above the bushes.
"Sometimes it would go way off and then come back. It would disappear and then re-appear. Sometimes it came within five meters of us. When we went around a curve, the thing would disappear and then be waiting for us around the curve. It seemed like it was intelligent.
"This went on for twenty minutes. I was very afraid but my husband wasn't. He said: 'Well, the flying saucer has come to get me. I want to know some of these space guys.'"
The incident ended when they reached the main highway. The blue light disappeared and never came back, at least not that night.
"One week later we went back to carry more water and we had almost the same experience," Iralice said. "It was in the same area but this time it stayed on the left side of the truck."
One notable difference the second time was that Ismar had a revolver with him and fired a shot at the UFO but apparently didn't hit it.
That same year three of their children – Valgénio, then seventeen, Kátia, eighteen, and Kécia, thirteen – had a similar experience as they were driving home one night from a friend's farm.
"My brother and my sister and I were coming back from Fazenda Jardim in a truck on a dirt road with catinga on both sides," Kécia said, talking about the desert-like areas of stunted vegetation brought on by repeated droughts. "For fifteen minutes a light moved over us very rapidly, from back to front. It was an immense blue light, very bright.
“My brother was driving and he got scared and put his foot on the gas. It kept zigzagging in front of us and came within twenty meters of us. The three of us were crazy with fear. It wouldn't go away. When we got close to the city, it disappeared very rapidly."
Between eight and nine o'clock one night in the late 1970s, farm worker Aurino Cavalcante, thirty-seven, was riding a burro in the mountains southeast of Lajes, Rio Grande do Norte when he saw a big ball of "bluish fire." It was on his left side about five meters away.
It lit up everything around him and it made him feel cold. The burro was frightened and tried to run away but calmed down when the light went away a few minutes later. It made no sound.
People in groups also attract the attention of UFOs.
In July 1982 Lindalva Ramos, thirty-two, a teacher, and her husband Antônio, thirty-three, were walking home after night school with nine children aged eight to twelve when a UFO came toward them. This was in a rural area six miles west of Pocinhos in the state of Paraíba.
"It was eight thirty at night and we were half way home when suddenly a huge light appeared in front of us," Lindalva said, raising her hands to show its size. "It was about half a meter wide. It was a big yellow light almost red. It came very suddenly.
“When it got close to us there was a lot of light over the whole group. Behind the light was a huge black ball. In front I saw this big light and in back was a big black circle.
"It was about as high as a coconut palm. I didn't hear any sound. This was something very rapid. It came toward us, passed overhead and circled around over an abandoned house, and then went away.
"I lived on a farm then and the school was about three kilometers away. The children were going to night school (common in Brazil at that time because many farm children had to work during the daytime). I was teaching them to read and write. They were very afraid and so was I."
In September 1992, Noemi de Lima, fifty-six, said much the same thing happened to her. We interviewed Noemi at a farinha house, where she and others made flour or meal from manioc roots. This was in Cajazeiras, a small village near Santo Antônio in Rio Grande do Norte.
She said that in 1976 she was walking home from night school with another woman and their children. "There were four children, two of mine and my baby, and another woman, Maria Agosto de Prazerios, and her child. When we got to the house of this lady, Luisa, a great huge light lit up over our heads
“There was no noise. It was like the moon. It was so bright we could see everything on the ground. The light covered a big area, maybe ten meters around.
"I had a baby in my arms and I screamed at this lady to open her door. I said there was a light above us and she let us inside. We had to wait in the house about two hours before it went away. The light stayed out there all that time. Then it went away, curving slowly away from the house."
In the city of Mossoró in western Rio Grande do Norte, Zenubio Oliveira, twenty-seven, a cameraman for a TV station, told us what happened when he was a teenager going to night school. At the time he lived on a farm thirty-eight kilometers south of Mossoró.
"I don't remember the date but it was in 1979," Zenubio said. "I was fifteen years old. It was summer. One night about eleven p.m., a moonlight night, I was coming from school with my schoolmates. There were about six of us, all boys about the same age.
“We had to cross a river to get home, and when I got across the river and was going up the bank, everybody was talking and suddenly a very bright light shined on all of the kids. When we looked up we saw what looked like a huge ball of fire sixty to eighty meters high.
"It was about seventy centimeters around, bigger than a full moon. It wasn't exactly above us. It came at an angle towards us. And it came closer and closer. And when it got a certain distance from us it began to recede. Then it got smaller and smaller until it disappeared. It made no noise.
"This lasted five to ten minutes. It came slowly and lit us all up as if it was looking us all over and then it went back away again. We thought it was about sixty meters away but we couldn't really tell. It stopped for about a minute, and then the kids stopped, with all the light on our faces.
“We just froze. And then it started going away, taking much longer than it took to come. When it disappeared completely, we all ran home. We were scared to death.
"We didn't say much about it because people were prejudiced then and would have thought we were crazy. There was another group of students two kilometers behind us. They also saw the light and everybody got scared and ran home."
In all of these cases, the encounters were the only such events in the lives of the witnesses. On occasion, though, someone has repeated sightings or encounters.
José Patrocino de Araujo is a repeater. We met by accident in 1992 on a farm south of Acari in Rio Grande do Norte when local UFO investigators and I were tracking down a witness in another case. José (left) had seen a UFO as a child and in recent years had been seeing things at night that puzzled him. He listened as we interviewed the other witness, and then asked us a question.
"I want to know what can be a very low black spot in the sky at night," said José, a metalworker then forty-nine years old. "You see it and it comes very close and then it goes away. It's round. I see it a lot. It appears all the time when I am out at night. It's dark grayish, not really black, and it's like a low cloud but isn't a cloud."
He then described what he saw when he was a young boy. "This happened in 1952 at four forty in the afternoon. I was nine years old. This object was coming horizontally from east to south on this side of those mountains over there. It was a golden spaceship as big as a ten-story apartment house.
“It was like a castle full of towers and things. Very brilliant. It didn't give off any light. It was going very fast. I saw this thing for about eight seconds. It passed very quickly.
"It wasn't only me that saw it. My wife, the girl who became my wife, saw it too. Afterwards I talked to other people who had seen it too. It was beautiful. It was like a golden castle."
Then he went back to the things he'd been seeing at night. “I want to know about lights that appear, blue lights that go along with you. It lights up an area one hundred to two hundred meters around a person. It's a blue ball and it's about a foot in diameter and then when it disappears it's like someone just turned off the light.
“And it's very low, this blue light. It comes toward me and turns on the light. Sometimes I walk for kilometers with this light on me. I'm not afraid of it. I don't have any reaction to it. I saw the black spots three times and the blue light two times."
He thought we were experts on these things, but we had no explanation for what he sees. The blue light is certainly familiar and has been seen in many areas. As for the dark objects that come toward him at night and then go away, they sound like UFOs… but who knows?
(For a guide to pronouncing unfamiliar Brazilian names, click here,)