Most people, perhaps ninety percent of us, have never seen a UFO. But one man who said he’d never gone to school and claimed he wasn’t intelligent tells an extraordinary tale of having seen four at one time – each shaped differently – and being forcibly taken aboard one of them.
He was a young farmer who was out hunting one morning when all this happened. In his complex and highly detailed story, he said he was forced to go aboard an egg-shaped UFO by crewmen whose leader was a young, fat blond woman dressed in white coveralls. She told him many things he did not understand.
He was terrified even though he was armed with a shotgun and a revolver. His encounter started when he saw three odd-shaped UFOs, two of which disappeared before his eyes, and he was temporarily paralyzed when he tried to run away.
“I was out of my mind with fear,” Arlindo dos Santos, then thirty-two, said at his mountaintop home near the town of Baependi in the state of Minas Gerais in central Brazil. “I was very afraid.”
Arlindo reported he was momentarily blinded earlier when he tried to photograph a small barrel-shaped UFO that landed near him. Then, when he tried to flee, he got only two or three steps away when he felt he was being pulled by something like a magnet.
His bizarre story was accepted as true by those who knew him and by UFO researchers who spent months investigating the case.
"We checked thoroughly into his character and background and we found him to be totally honest and sincere and not the kind or man who would make up a story like this," said UFO investigator Ubirajara Rodrigues, who was to later play a prominent role in the investigation of the Varginha ET case of 1996.
Rodrigues, then twenty-four and a lawyer, was secretary of a UFO group in Varginha that investigated the Baependi case. Baependi is about eighty kilometers southeast of Varginha.
"We talked to many people who know Arlindo, including the judge in Baependi, who is well known throughout Brazil for his legal opinions, and the mayor of Varginha, who grew up near where Arlindo lives, and everybody speaks highly of him.
OBJECT COMES DOWN IN FIELD
"Arlindo is a very simple person, not educated, who does not have the imagination or sophistication to make up such a complicated story. We have psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, an engineer and others in our organization and we try to investigate cases scientifically. We are convinced Arlindo's case is true and that what he says happened really did happen."
Arlindo’s strange encounter began about ten thirty on the morning of May 16, 1979 about six kilometers from his home. He and two neighbors, José da Silva and Oliveira Prudente, had gone hunting and then split up, each going in a different direction.
Like many others in the neighborhood, Arlindo carried a small, inexpensive camera with him as well as his guns. It was in a cloth bag along with some food that he carried on his shoulder.
"I went through the woods across a valley and into a field when I saw an object that came down in the middle of the field," he said. "It was white and shaped like a post, about two and a half palms wide and one and a half meters tall. On top of it was a sphere that blinked red and white.
"I took my camera out and took a photo of it. Suddenly it vanished before my eyes. I walked on and when I got to the spot where it landed, a second object came down. This one was shaped like a top and had like a little fan turning around on top of it. It was shaped like a spear on the bottom and that stuck in the ground.
“A moment later I heard a sound, like SH-SH-SH-SH and it disappeared in a cloud of smoke. I took a picture of the smoke.
"I walked about ten meters on and a third object appeared. It looked like a wine barrel, red and white and about one and a half meters tall. It had a propeller spinning slowly on top, larger than the one on the other object. It came down, wobbling from side to side, and then put down a leg like a stand for a TV set.
"I took a couple steps and a fourth one came down. This one was white like snow and shaped like a large egg lying on its side. There was a little window on each side of a little wing that looked like fins on a fish.
“When it was one and a half meters from the ground, it stood still, hovering, and four legs came down to the ground. I was carrying a cloth bag on each arm and I laid one down on the ground to take another picture.
TAKEN INSIDE EGG-SHAPED CRAFT
“When I lifted the camera to take the picture, a flash of light came toward me from the fourth object and made my eyes smart. I couldn't see and I ran off but I didn't get more than two or three steps away when something like a magnet caught me. I couldn’t move. I got very nervous and scared. I couldn't feel myself.
“Then I saw two men back at the egg-shaped object wearing black helmets and coveralls. There were visors in the helmets. I wasn't feeling very well and I couldn't make out any features behind the visors. On their backs they had small drum-shaped packs with tubes that were attached to the helmets. They were wearing gloves and the coveralls covered their entire bodies.
"The two men came to me and each took me by the arm and I got even more troubled and frightened. I said to them, ‘For the love of God, let me go!’ And they replied, ‘In God, we are all brethren. We don’t hurt anybody. We only want some information.’
“Then they took me toward the object and when I got close I discovered a ladder coming down from the bottom center of it with four steps.
"Standing on the ladder was another man and when I got near him he asked me, ‘Have you seen a zurca coming down to earth?' I said, 'No, what is a zurca?'
"He said, ‘It is an apparatus that is transmitted from there to here and communicates with all apparatuses on earth.’ He said the one they had lost was round and had come in contact with a universal line and had burned.
"I asked him where they were from and he said, 'We come from the other side of the mountain.’ Then he asked me if I was intelligent and had been to school, and I said, no, I had never studied and I wasn't intelligent.
“Then he took my hand – his hand was smooth and cold – and led me up the steps. As soon as I got inside, everything changed. I felt I was in another world. It had a nasty smell, like dust on the roads.
"At this moment I saw two other men sitting in armchairs or chairs like a dentist's and they appeared to be typing. They stood up and the others came and they started talking to each other. I couldn't understand what they were saying.
‘SHOELACES’ CRISSCROSS BODIES
“Then a young woman entered. She was blond and about twenty years old. She was fat and was wearing white coveralls. Her hair was parted in the middle. It was smooth and short. Her face was rosy, her lips were thin and her face was sort of pushed in. She had a thin, straight nose and no chin. Her lips were pushed out toward her cheeks and her eyes were like Orientals, brown but like slits.
“She was wearing something like telephone receivers on her ears. There was no neck, just short and thick, and she was covered to her chin and was wearing white gloves. All of these people had something like shoelaces crisscrossing their whole bodies to the top.
“I followed her down a short, rounded corridor like a tunnel and the men followed me. One of them put a hand on my shoulder. We went two or three meters and turned right into a room.
"In the room was something like a refrigerator only much larger. She took a wire like a wand with a ball at the tip of it, and on the side of the big box was a handle that one of the men turned like an old coffee grinder. Then he pressed a button.
"The upper half of the box lit up and a round screen like a TV appeared. She pointed the wand toward it and said, 'This is the sun, this is the moon and this is where we are.' She pressed a button and the light went off and then another circle on the right of the box lit up in the same manner as the first.
“A similar picture appeared and she said, 'Here is the earth, the sun and the moon,' and the earth turned and turned in the picture until it vanished. Everything got dark. Then a little spot appeared at the top left and grew larger and larger until it was about three centimeters long. This was their country. She said, 'This is where we are.' I don't know if we were in their country or on earth. (At right, part of a photo that Ubirajara Rodrigues took of a sketch that Arlindo made of the "map.")
"She said, 'We come from there and return in only a few hours but it is according to the rotation of the earth. If the rotation is not favorable we cannot pass. When that happens, we go back.’ Then the man pressed a button, the light went off and we went back to the other room.”
One of the men took off his helmet, Arlindo said, revealing short, black hair.
FREED BUT STILL RESTRICTED
“His ears were stuck to the back of his head and he had no forehead," Arlindo said. "His head was rounded on top. His nose was straight and sunk into his face. His mouth was pushed up at the sides like the girl’s. I didn't see any teeth. When he spoke he hardly opened his month.
“He said, ‘We are made of the same substance, the same blood and we live of the same kind of world as you do. In a short while we will have a transmission.'
"I was very, very scared and I saw the door open and tried to escape. The man said, ‘You can go down now but protect your eyes.’ So I went down the ladder and ran across the field.
“When I got off I couldn't move freely. I felt restricted. Then when I got to the end of the field, they freed me and when I turned around the two objects had vanished.
"I was feeling ill and nauseated and dizzy. I called for my friends and they found me and gave me water to drink. I tried to go back and show them where it happened, but I couldn't.
"When I felt better I went back where I had put my bag and food but we couldn't find it. On May 28 my brother Jairo and I went back and we found four imprints in the ground where the object had landed.”
(The photo above and the one below were taken by Cynthia Luce.)
Rodrigues was skeptical of Arlindo's claim to have carried a camera with him. But during questioning of Arlindo's family and neighbors, he learned it was a common practice in that neighborhood. The men often took pictures of each other with their guns and their kills. Rodrigues even asked to see photos from earlier hunts, and some were shown to him.
The photos that Arlindo took of the UFOs did not turn out. Photos taken days before were all right, but the frames that Arlindo took of the UFOs were blank. Rodrigues examined the camera and found that the shutter was sooty and appeared to be scorched. Arlindo had the film developed and gave copies to Rodrigues.
Rodrigues asked Arlindo to let him have the film to be analyzed, but Arlindo asked him to wait until he had it developed. He gave copies to Rodrigues but loaned the film to a researcher from Rio de Janeiro because it could be better analyzed in Rio.
Tests were done, with copies of the results being shared with Rodrigues, but the Rio researcher later died and the film was never returned. Rodrigues doesn't know what happened to the film. However, he still has Arlindo's camera in his possession, having given Arlindo a new and better one in exchange.
Two months after the incident, Rodrigues and members of his UFO group were searching the ground when one of them found the bag. It was in the same spot where Arlindo said he had lost it even though Arlindo said it had not been there earlier.
By now the bag was weathered and apparently had been chewed by an animal. In addition, on the bottom was some kind of strange printing like hieroglyphics that hadn’t there before. It was never deciphered.
Arlindo said his eyes were swollen for a few days and he had headaches for a while after the incident. He also said that from the time he was a child he had been troubled by white spots on his body that itched, but the spots completely disappeared after his encounter with the UFOs and never returned.
In Baependi, the retired judge, Antônio José Levenhagen, told us: "I have known Arlindo and his family for many years. They are good people." And Eduardo Benediti Ottoni, then mayor of Varginha, said: “Arlindo doesn't lie and he is well liked in the community.
The incident occurred on of May 16, 1979 and I went to Baependi on January 12, 1980. With me was Irene Granchi, well known Brazilian ufologist and English teacher who had told me about the case. She interpreted for me.
We drove to Varginha from Rio with two young women from Irene’s UFO group in Rio. In an accompanying car were Irene’s daughter Chica, Chica’s son Frederico and daughter Renata, and Cynthia Luce and her daughter Aurora. The children were about six at the time. It was the first time I had met Chica and Cynthia.
(For a guide to pronouncing unfamiliar Brazilian names, click here.)