By BOB PRATT and CYNTHIA LUCE
(This story is based on research carried out in Brazil between 1979 and 1997. To some extent, it overlaps material in UFOs Filmed Going Into and Coming Out of Bay, which was written in September 1999. A version of this story was published in the April 1999 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal. Cynthia Luice is an American researcher who has lived in Brazil since the 1970s.)
A former intelligence officer who led an official investigation of UFOs said he and his team photographed “many flying saucers” and admitted he was once badly frightened when a huge UFO hovered just a hundred meters above him and his men.
“I was terrified,” he said. “At that moment I didn’t know what would happen. They could have abducted us. They could have done anything they wanted to with us.”
We were talking to Uyrange Hollanda, a retired Brazilian Air Force lieutenant colonel, whom we interviewed for two days at his home in Cabo Frio, Brazil in August 1997.
“It was about seven o'clock, just after sunset,” Hollanda (right) said. “We never saw anything approaching. Suddenly a big disc-shaped object thirty meters in diameter and fifty meters high was hovering exactly above us!
“It made a noise like an air conditioner, and in the midst of that we could hear a sound like a bicycle sprocket when you pedal backwards.
“It was emitting a yellow glow that would grow and dim, grow and dim, every two or three seconds for about five times. As we watched we could see small yellow and orange lights in the middle of it. After the fifth time, the lights turned light blue, dimmed and then it disappeared with incredible speed toward the sea.”
The astonishing close encounter occurred near the village of Baía do Sol, about twenty-five kilometers north of Belém, one night in November 1977during a long series of UFO sightings in thirty villages at the mouth of the Amazon River.
The sightings began in August 1977 and continued for more than a year. Hollanda said the chief of the Intelligence Service at the regional Air Force command in Belém sent him and a half a dozen intelligence sergeants to the region to investigate.
The team spent four months in Colares, Baía do Sol and other villages just north of Belém, after which time the official investigation was terminated. However, Hollanda said, he wanted to know more about what was happening, so he and a colleague continued the investigation on their own for several more months.
“I was interested because I saw a lot of things,” he explained. “I continued searching for the reasons for what the UFOs were doing there, what they wanted. The Air Force was no longer interested but I was.”
Hollanda said he and the six sergeants interviewed nearly three hundred people who had had close encounters, including dozens of men and women who had been burned by the UFOs.
At least two people died in Colares after being burned by rays from UFOs, according to Dr. Wellaide Carvalho, who was then in charge of the state-run hospital in Colares. Much of the UFO activity during the flap was centered around Colares, a village on an island by the same name about eighty kilometers north of Belém.
It is not known whether there were UFO-related deaths in any of the other villages. Hollanda said he was not aware of the Colares deaths at that time but heard about them later.
In a 1993 interview in Belém, Dr. Carvalho also said she treated about forty people who had been burned by rays from UFOs. Hollanda told us his team had seen almost the same number of injuries in Colares, but added that people had been similarly burned in many other villages as well, including some on Marajó Island, sixty kilometers west of Colares across Marajó Bay at the mouth of the Amazon (Marajó Island is larger than the country of Switzerland.).
Villagers in Colares reported that sometimes UFOs would sit
in the dark sky at night and beam down rays of red light at the roofs of houses,
passing through the tile roofs as if they didn’t exist.
The UFO beings used two different rays of light, Hollanda said. “First came a green light that would hit the person and paralyze them, then the green light would turn off and a red ray of light would hit, burning them. A lot of people were burned.”
of the victims in Colares was Claudomira Paixão, then thirty-five.
On the night of October 18, 1977, she was asleep in a hammock at the home
of a cousin with five children. About eleven that night a light coming through
a window awakened her. (In 1981 photo below, Claudomira, in a blue top,
tells me her story as Hollanda, in a black shirt, interprets for us.)
(In 1981 photo below, Claudomira, in a blue top, tells me her story as Hollanda, in a black shirt, interprets for us.)
“The air became warmer and warmer,” she said. “The first time the light was green. It touched my head and passed across my face. I woke up and the color changed to red.”
could see a person, like a man in a diving suit, but only from the chest up.
“It was very hot. I got very thirsty. It hurt, like being stuck with a needle. I bled at all three points. I think each time he took blood. I was terrified but I couldn't move my legs. I was paralyzed. I was very frightened.”
UFO BURNS LEAVE SCARS
The man and the light disappeared when she began screaming, awakening her cousin, who took her to the hospital. Dr. Carvalho treated her and Claudomira returned home about four in the morning.
burns left three tiny scars in a triangular pattern on the upper right side
of Claudomira’s chest. "For many weeks I had headaches and fever."
(For more on Claudomira's experience, click here.)
(For more on Claudomira's experience, click here.)
After serving for one year in Colares, Dr. Carvalho returned to Belém, where she went to work in the state Department of Public Health. In the 1993 interview, she said most of the burns she treated in Colares were like sunburns, on the chest and throat.
“I she could see two small puncture wounds in the center of the burns," she said. "All had irritation, swelling, redness. Very red. The burns usually covered an area of ten to twenty centimeters and the skin peeled off.
“These burns healed quickly. Usually it takes about seventy-two hours for burned skin to peel. UFO burns begin to peel almost immediately.”
In each case, she said, the victims told her a ray of light had hit them.
Most of the villagers in Colares were terrified because they thought they were under attack by the UFOs and they had no way to defend themselves. Many fled from the area.
Dr. Carvalho said that for three months all the professionals left Colares except her and two other residents, the sheriff and the priest, Father Alfredo de La Ó (who had many UFO sightings, according to Hollanda). They had little to eat except for eggs and farinha because fishermen were too frightened to fish. Farinha is a meal or flour made from manioc roots.
PARALYZED BY LIGHT
Hollanda said the villagers were very afraid. “They used weapons," he said. "They shot at the discs very often, threw rocks. We told them: ‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’
“Once a strong light was focused on a man’s home in Colares, a carpenter about fifty or sixty years old. He got a rifle and aimed at the disc. The light turned on him and he fell to the ground, almost paralyzed.
“He could barely move for fifteen days. The first day he was dizzy. He could hear, see and speak but he stayed in his hammock for days, hardly able to move. After fifteen days he was normal again.”
Fishermen from Colares also saw UFOs going into and out of the water of the bay and sometimes they saw blue lights moving around underwater.
“They told me about these sightings, but I did not believe them,” said Hollanda, who was a captain at the time of the sightings. “Once I was sleeping and the sergeants came and told me they had photographed a flying saucer diving into the water near a boat. I waited for the fisherman to come to shore and he told me that happened. He said he was afraid.
“Several weeks later I saw a light near a fishing boat. The light was blue. It circled the boat once or twice about three hundred meters away and then it dived into the water.
“The boat was about eight hundred meters off shore. I could see the sail of the boat in the light from the UFO. I saw it. It really happened. I started to believe the fishermen were telling the truth. I asked the fishermen 'Did it make a splash, a sound?' 'No, nothing.'”
Hollanda held his hand horizontally flat, then moved it down and said: “When you hit the water that way, SPLAT! But when you do like this,” and he turned hand vertically sideways, “no sound, like a blade going in water.
VILLAGES ACROSS BAY ATTACKED
“I talked with another crew of fishermen who said they saw a blue light under water circle the boat and then come out of the water about a hundred meters away. We got a lot of reports from fishermen.
“I went over to Marajó Island three or four times to see what was happening there, and the people there were getting attacked too. Some of them said they also saw flying saucers floating on the water, blue lights, and they could hear sounds like fishing nets being launched and then pulled in. This was maybe eight hundred to a thousand meters off shore.”
Marajó Island is on the opposite side of Marajó Bay from Colares.
Hollanda said the people called the UFOs chupa-chupas (from the verb chupar, meaning "to suck") because they believed the UFOs suck blood from the victims. He was convinced that actually did happen but he also believed the UFO crews were simply taking blood samples, somehow withdrawing small amounts when they burned someone with a ray of red light.
“They were not attacking people,” he said. “They were collecting material.”
Hollanda, who died unexpectedly on October 2, 1997 at the age of fifty-seven, spent thirty-six years in the Air Force. He enlisted at the age of seventeen and spent the next seven years undergoing academic and military training at Brazil's Air Force academy.
He was a pilot, a parachutist, a jungle expert, and for many years was the finance officer of the Belém Air Force Base. He was fluent in English and French, and for twenty-four years was an officer in the secret Intelligence Service, a fact that few people were aware of.
Hollanda said he had Indian, Portuguese, Jewish, French and Dutch blood in him and was proud of the fact that one of his great-great-grandmothers was indian and a member of a cannibal tribe called Porintintin.
AT INTELLIGENCE SCHOOL
He knew some indian dialects (“They would greet me saying, ‘Capitão! Capitão!’” he said in Cabo Frio), and almost every month for six years he spent long periods of time living in the jungle and working with tribal indians. He retired from the Air Force on March 10, 1992.
Flying saucers were seen nearly every night from April through July in 1977 throughout the neighboring state of Maranhão just before they began showing up farther west at the mouth of the Amazon. They first were seen in the Colares area in July and August but Hollanda was not aware of the sightings until the following month.
“I was in Brasília at the national Intelligence School and when I returned to Belém, my section chief (a lieutenant colonel named Camilo, the head of the Belém base’s Intelligence Service) asked me whether I believed in UFOs. Until then, I didn’t know about the operation (in Colares). When he asked me that, I said ‘Yes.' And he said, ‘Well, you are responsible for the operation now.’”
Colonel Camilo and several sergeants from the air base had already spent two to three weeks in Colares. They had interviewed some of the people who had been burned by UFOs and had seen flying saucers themselves.
Asked why Camilo chose him, Hollanda replied: “I don’t know. I was the chief of the Operation Section. I was responsible for the operations of the Intelligence Service.
“I went to the commander of the base, the brigadier, to find out what he wanted done,” Hollanda said. “I asked him what the command wanted to know about the cases in Colares, what was the line of the investigation. He said he was interested in what was happening and wanted to know everything we could find out. He wanted us to get the details and make a report.”
The commander did not set any specific length of time for the investigation. Hollanda selected as his staff a number of sergeants who worked in Intelligence and had been trained in different specialties, photography, meteorology, first aid and so on.
PROBLEMS PHOTOGRAPHING UFOS
To Hollanda, this was just another intelligence operation. He called it Operação Prato because, he said, he had to give the operation a name.
“Brazil is the only nation that calls UFOs discos voadores, or flying saucers,” he explained. “In Portugal, they speak Portuguese too and they call it ‘flying plate.’ The Spanish call them platillos volantes and the French call it ‘flying saucer’.
“I could not call it Operation Flying Saucer. I could not call it Operation Flying Disc. I chose a cousin of the saucer, a plate. That’s why I called it Operação Prato.”
Hollanda soon made his first trip to Colares to see what was
Generally, the team members would spend a week in one village or another – moving from Colares to Mosqueiro to Baía do Sol to Benevides, Santo Antônio do Tauá, Vigia and many other villages, as well as farm areas, and return to Belém on weekends.
They often saw flying saucers themselves and photographed many of them, then kept detailed notes and sketches on altitude, movement, direction, color, shape and anything else they believed important. In the daytime they would type up their reports.
They interviewed people who had seen UFOs and had been burned by them, again making written records of what people told them.
“I was there with orders from my commander to see and try to understand what was happening there,” Hollanda said. “We were to photograph everything we could. But I spent two months without any (photographic) results.
SPECIAL FILMS AND FILTERS
“I saw the balls of light, I saw the people who had been burned, but I could not make any conclusions. Many times during the two months, I saw very bright lights, blue lights, yellow lights, but I didn’t see one object. I saw lights but no shape. I was worried because my work was showing no results.
“When we saw a big ball of light we photographed it, but they did not register on the film. I was sure when I came back to headquarters that we had a picture of a big light, but nothing showed on the negatives.
“Then I asked for filters and special film, infrared and ultraviolet. The results were much better, and then we identified many other forms, many other shapes.”
they started getting results, they were able to get good photos of UFOs, he
“The first was a disc with windows. The second was rectangular, like a barrel on its side. The third was a trapezoid, or like a pyramid with its top cut off. The fourth was like a Boeing (737). The fifth was triangular or like an arrowhead. They flew very high in the sky and very fast. They were also seen leaving the water. The sixth was domed. The seventh was pointed on the top and bottom and was black on top and white on the bottom. The eighth was like a ball with three sticks coming out the back, with lights on the sticks.”
In Cabo Frio in 1997, Hollanda said they had actually seen a ninth shape – a huge mother ship (below).
“It was maybe a hundred meters long with windows in it. This was near Baía do Sol. And little ones (flying saucers) would come out of it and later go back in, three, four, five, six sometimes. We photographed this several nights.”
Hollanda said some people in Colares reported seeing occupants in the flying saucers. Most were short, about one meter fifty centimeters. However, in two cases the beings were taller and looked more or less like normal people.
“One man in Baía do Sol said he was sleeping after lunch when he awoke to see a red light blinking outside his house. He thought that was strange and went to the window, and what he saw was much stranger.
“It was a huge shape like a helicopter but without rotors. A red light was blinking on top. There were three men inside. They were tall, about one meter eighty, with blond hair and blue eyes and were wearing white suits with blue capes. They looked like they were working with instruments, like a computer.
“When he appeared at the window, he heard one say to the others: ‘Look at that.’ And immediately the UFO took off, disappearing beyond the trees.”
In another case, a pilot friend of Hollanda’s was driving near Colares one night when he saw a light in the sky coming toward him.
“He stopped the car and he saw this disc land behind the trees. He was alone on the road, it was completely dark and he became frightened. Then he saw a man walking toward him.
“The stranger was tall and had blond hair. He walked close to the car, looked at the driver, and looked into his eyes. The driver started to cry and the tall man shook his head, glanced at the license plate, turned and walked back into the forest. The disc took off into the sky.”
Hollanda also related a story about a young man named Luís who was hunting in the forest. Luís climbed a tree and sat a hammock to wait and watch for small animals. A bright light approached and stopped above him.
HUMANOID FLOATS DOWN FROM UFO
Luís was frightened. He jumped to the ground and tried to hide. He saw a door open on the bottom of the UFO and a little humanoid floated down to the tree on a beam of light with his arms and legs spread out. He shined a red light over the hammock and then floated back up into the UFO.
"Luis began to run but the forest was muddy,” Hollanda said. “He ran and ran and the disc chased him with the beam of light. It took him an hour to get to the place where two friends were waiting for him in a boat.
“They saw a big ball of light searching for them, and all three jumped into the water to hide in the weeds. Then the UFO stopped over the boat and again the little man came floating down like before and passed a red light over their boat, searching for something. Then the man went back to the flying saucer and it went away.”
(In Hollanda’s official report that was sent to Air Force headquarters in Brasília, he stated that the incident occurred on the evening of November 11, 1997, and the humanoid was described as short but muscular and wearing a dark, seamless uniform, and that as Luis fled from the first encounter, he looked back and saw the humanoid examining his fishing net.)
Hollanda said he persuaded a reluctant Luis to take him and
four sergeants back to where this happened.
“We took some photographs of it. Then, about eleven forty-five, we saw the same ball of fire again, but this time it was smaller and going at a slower speed. Now it was only a thousand meters from us over on the right side of the river and maybe two hundred meters high.
PHOTO SHOWS VERTICAL DISC
"At midnight, a big ball of fire passed directly over us, going across the river. When it got to the other side, it turned its light out and we saw a disc-shaped object about twice as big as a Boeing 737, very, very big. It was amber colored with many bright white windows.
“When it passed over us, we heard a small noise like a turbine, but low. It crossed the river and disappeared. We photographed this object also.
“Then, about two in the morning, we saw it again. This time it was coming down the right side of the river. It looped out and swung back toward us and stopped for a minute above the opposite shore. It looked like the sun had stopped about seventy meters away and six to eight meters high. It was a very, very big ball of bluish light.
“We were taking pictures all the time. Then the object went into the sky very fast and shut its light off. When it did that, we couldn't see the shape but there was one green light on top and a red light on the bottom.
“We couldn't see the shape but when the pictures were developed, we could see a large disc-shaped object standing vertically, rather than horizontally.”
Whenever possible, usually at the end of each week or two in the field, Hollanda turned in reports of the team’s findings. These reports gave details of each sighting of their own and those they learned about, the testimony of witnesses, and photos they took of UFOs. Included would be sketches of the UFOs, as well as maps showing where sightings occurred and paths of the UFOs as they moved about.
Hollanda no longer remembered how many individual cases he and his team reported to Brasília. Somehow, Brazilian UFO researchers obtained copies of many of the reports, and we have seen at least three different sets, no two of which are identical.
Some are bare summaries of incidents with dates and times but no names, while others name the witness and give date, time, location and other details of the encounters. Some examples of the first type are:
1. “A reddish-yellow light moving at low altitude moving east to west descended rapidly toward the witness, obliging him to hide in the bushes from where he saw the object shine a blue light in his direction. He could not determine its size or shape. He heard a hissing sound like a dynamo when the object climbed toward the city.”
2. “A bright light hovering about twenty meters above the trees, bluish color with three black stripes, with a round shape like a farinha oven, lit up everything around it. The witness aimed a gun to shoot the object when he was hit by a reddish light that felt like an electrical charge, paralyzing him. Thereupon the object moved off, gaining altitude in a wavy motion and spinning like a wheel while making a slight hissing sound.”
3. “A ball of light, yellow-reddish, moved down to a low height, ten meters, east to west, circular shape with a multi-colored tail, making no sound, emitted a long ray of bluish light that hit the witness in the back, causing numbness in the area hit and paralysis, muscle pain and other effects for several days.”
4. “A reddish-yellow light descended to one hundred meters, moving north-south… At a distance its light was very bright and when it came close it reduced the intensity of the light, like a lighted cigarette in the dark. After coming to a swift stop, the object fired three quick rays of bluish light toward the city (Colares), 1,500 meters away. Witness raised his gun and fired two shots at the UFO.”
And from the more detailed documents, a copy of which we showed to Hollanda in 1997 (“These are my reports,” he said), these examples:
1. “About 11:30 on the night of October 12, 1977 in the village of Santo Antônio de Tauá, a twenty-year-old man named Manoel was standing outside his house with four friends. They saw a yellow light moving east to west, then slow down and stop about twenty meters from them. Inside the object they could see a man on the left and a woman on the right who appeared to be working controls of some kind. Then a beam of red light was directed toward the group, hitting Manoel. It was like an electrical shock that traveled all over his body from the head to his toes. He felt weak and paralyzed, and thought that for some minutes he was going to faint."
2. “Late on the same night in the same village, a forty-year-old man also named Manoel was asleep in his house with his children when a bright light came through the roof, awakening him. He started to get up but felt paralyzed. He tried to scream for help but couldn’t. After about two minutes he was able to get up and cry out. His neighbors came to his rescue. In telling the investigators his story, Manoel said his left side was numb for eight days. He said he had seen a ball of light several times passing near his home at low level without making any noise, at times slowing down and nearly stopping before disappearing at great speed.”
3. “At four o'clock in the morning on October 26, 1977, in the same village, a thirty-six-year old man named Raimundo was awakened by a bright greenish glow in his room. Then he felt as if he had been stuck by a needle on the inside of his right thigh. He felt dizzy and soon had a headache. His thigh was reddish and hot. Several other people had told him the same thing had happened to them but he didn’t believe them. Ten days later, his thigh looked like it had been sunburned. The whole area was twenty-five centimeters long and fourteen wide, oval shaped. In the center was a small red point and around that was a two-centimeter area that was clearer where the skin was starting to peel.”
COLLEAGUES MADE JOKES
Hollanda turned all of his reports in to his superiors and the command sent them to Brasília. “I never saw them again,” he said.
Q. “Did anybody from Brasília ever ask you any questions about these reports?” we asked.
A. “No, I asked them and they said ‘We are keeping them indefinitely.’”
Q. “But nobody asked questions about what you found up there?
A. “No, they joked about it,” Hollanda replied.
Not all of his colleagues took his investigation seriously. “Some of my fellow officers used to joke with me and asked if I had seen any flying saucers. But later some of them saw the same things.”
Hollanda’s investigation was not a secret mission but it was “classified,” he said.
“The Brazilian government and the Air Force were not interested in publicizing UFOs because three questions were often asked of the government and the Air Force: Who are they? Where do they come from? What do they want? And the Air Force did not have answers to the three questions.”
Asked if his commander had specifically told him he could not speak publicly about the sightings, Hollanda replied: “Yes.”
We asked if the Air Force ever had any similar UFO investigations in other parts of the country. “No,” Hollanda answered, and then said his investigation was unique for three reasons.
“We (referring to himself) were lucky we had a very long exposure to the UFO phenomenon. We were lucky because we were chosen to be commander of the operation. And we were lucky because my commander, the brigadier, was interested and believed in UFOs. Three conditions. It would be very difficult to have all three again.”
U.S. OFFICERS ‘INTERESTED’
We asked if he had ever worked with the U.S. Air Force, and again he said “No” but added: “They were interested but we never worked together. They asked about the UFO operation but we never worked together. They wanted to know what we saw, the facts.”
He explained that two or three times military attaches from the American embassy in Brasília would pass through Belém, they would have lunch or drinks together, and the subject would come up.
“It was very discreet,” Hollanda said. “I suppose it was just curiosity, or they dissimulated very good.”
We asked if at any time did his commander ever consider sending planes after the UFOs, and he said: “No.”
Nor did he and his sergeants ever think of shooting at the UFOs. “We never, in the entire time of the mission, used a single weapon, never even thought of doing it,” he said.
was convinced that the UFOs “surveyed” much of northern Brazil in 1977-78.
(For a guide to pronouncing unfamiliar Brazilian names, click here.)
Copyright 1999 by Bob Pratt and Cynthia Luce