by Scott Corrales
The following article appeared in the March 2003 edition of FATE Magazine.
In the year 2002, the world’s attention was fixed upon Argentina. Alarmingly, hundreds of animals were dying mysteriously in different parts of that South American nation, and high-strangeness phenomena were also being reported.
Gabriela and Griselda
In August 2002, amid the confusion, a very strange case emerged involving the possible use of a holographic device in the midst of a cattle mutilation and UFO wave in the Argentinean pampas. The Institute of Hispanic Ufology received numerous emails from researchers and followers of the UFO scene suggesting that the events surrounding the mutilations and sightings could have been related to the use of highly advanced holographic projectors. The events surrounding the experiences of a young woman named Gabriela Lencinas,15, were investigated by the team of Francisco Villagrén, Eduardo Lopez, Omar Vallejos, and UFO researcher/broadcaster Pablo Omastott.
According to an interview with Lencinas, she was riding back to the town of Paso Lovera (12 miles from Corrientes) on her bicycle after having spent the morning in San Luis del Palmar, two and a half miles distant, with a friend. The day had been a warm and sunny Saturday in early January 2002 (specifically the second Saturday of the month, according to Lencinas). As both young women pedaled back to their hometown, they came into contact with the unexplained.
Ms. Lencinas and her unnamed friend saw what they described as a “giant figure,” standing perhaps a few dozen feet tall. The strange giant was allegedly wearing what appeared to be a “ski outfit,” the details of which could not be precisely made out. They were unable to make out its face, but noted that “its hair seemed to be standing on end,” as though from static electricity, and it stood with its arms outstretched toward them, as though beckoning them. Lencinas and her friend did not think this was a friendly gesture: “It was as if [the image] was trying to scare us.” At no point did they see the strange figure’s eyes or teeth, according to the report.
The women, paralyzed with fright, noticed that a car drove past them along the same stretch of road, only to screech to a halt as it came to the towering figure. According to the witness, the driver “got out of the car, took a good look at the figure, got back in his vehicle, and kept driving” until it passed right under the giant’s towering legs.
The women continued pedaling toward the figure and reported that the image “began to rise” up into the air some 15 feet. After that, both returned to their homes to inform their parents of the event. When asked if they thought that the giant could have been objectively real, or a “vapor image,” Lencinas replied, “It wasn’t real because…” and allowed her voice to trail off.
Omastott, who conducted the interview, seemed to elicit better replies from the older of the two women, 19-year-old Griselda Olivera. “We were riding along and suddenly, we saw a black thing, that later looked like an ape…something really gigantic with spiky hair. My companion [Gabriela] asked me if I had seen what she’d seen, and I said yes.”
“It later disappeared,” continued Olivera, “and we saw nothing more than black smoke.” She also admitted to feeling afraid of the strange image.
When asked to estimate the image’s height, Olivera pointed out that it was larger than a 15-foot-tall tree that stood nearby–more like a 30-foot-tall eucalyptus tree.
Further research disclosed that the two cyclists had not been the only ones to see the apparition. “According to other sources,” writes Omastott in his report, “the caretakers of a nearby ranch had already seen the same apparition on more than one occasion from nearby fields.”
A female odontologist who preferred anonymity also told researchers that a year and a half prior to the event, while driving at night toward the city of Corrientes from San Luis del Palmar, she became aware of a person waving at her from the side of the road, urging her to stop. At closer range, she realized that this figure’s height ranged between eight and ten feet. This caused the driver to speed away.
The Translucent Entities of Ciudad Atlántida
Strange though the simian “image” of Paso Lovera may have been, it could not hold a candle to the events which played out on the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean in late July 2000, when a semisolid figure known to the locals only as “The Shroud” began appearing in the Ciudad Atlántida neighborhood of the city of Punta Alta — a scant 17 miles south of the notorious UFO hot spot of Bahía Blanca.
The area where the nearly hallucinatory image manifested itself was filled with small sand dunes leading to the Arroyo Pareja Municipal Beach, which faces Ciudad Atlántida and is separated from the Puerto Belgrano Naval Base by a wire fence.
According to reports received from Christian Quintero and Oscar Adolfo Mario of the Proyecto Condor-CEUFO organization, the apparitions have been witnessed by a wide segment of local society, including residents, members of the provincial constabulary, and naval personnel on duty at the Belgrano naval facility. Law enforcement has been summoned on many occasions to substantiate the sightings made by the locals, and patrols have increased in frequency, not so much out of concern for the residents’ safety, but for that of the Naval Officer’s Club bordering on the area.
“The apparitions,” states the report from Proyecto Condor-CEUFO, “which always occur in the early morning hours, have become so common that in recent days several neighbors have stayed up late to see them, and it is thus that they were able to confirm the simultaneous presence of up to two such beings, as well as red lights flying over the area. All of the witnesses, whether individuals or in a group, agree that the entities are nebulous (‘as if made of tulle’) and glowing, with a pair of red eyes being clearly identifiable, and glassy faces (‘as though transparent’.) Their movements are smooth, and they always appear from behind the sand dunes, as though ‘coming from the [Naval] Base. Most witnesses agree that they show a great interest in the water tanks located above the roofs, and that they did not flee upon detecting the presence of local residents — rather, they stared at them fixedly for some minutes. Deep silence was perceived during the observations and ‘the air appears to become still’ and neither heat nor cold can be felt — only a sensation of warmth, as though [the beings] emanated heat. Witnesses also state that things appear to be darker when ‘the shroud’ appears, as though ambient lighting were dimmed. Another curious fact is the large number of cats and dogs who gather at the place where the sightings occur and sit down to observe it in silence, in a state resembling a trance.”
An engineer who visited the site suggested that the apparition perhaps generates some sort of radiation that causes film to become exposed, relating it to the “heat” felt by witnesses when the figure approaches.
These two Argentinean incidents, although occurring at the peak of the mutilations epidemic, appear to have no relation to the phenomenon: it would seem that they belong to the continuum of unexplained events that have played out in South America for decades since the outbreak of the “modern” age of UFOs in 1947. The September 2000 issue of FATE, in an article entitled “Spy Planes or Saucers?,” explored the links that exist between UFO sightings and advanced military aircraft tests in Argentina. It is not altogether unreasonable to suppose that such experimentation may extend to testing it out on the general population, and in the Ciudad Atlántida case, the proximity of the phenomenon to a major naval facility makes it even more suspect.
The Cuban Scenario Revisited
“Modern warfare requires that the population be conditioned to accept military engagements enthusiastically. Hitler understood this very well,” wrote Jacques Bergier in The Secret War of the Occult. What better way to cause a wave of enthusiasm to wash over an apathetic or disheartened population than to suggest divine inspiration or support for such an adventure, one in which young men and women are sure to lose their lives?
It has been possible to manufacture heavenly supernatural images for quite some time, and these can be employed to manipulate people into believing certain ideas or others, and perhaps more importantly, to reinforce loyalties.
One such case dates back to April 1982, when hundreds of Cubans, taking their nightly walk along the seaside promenade known as the Malecón, witnessed a sudden flash over Havana Bay which immediately made them suspect that they were under attack. But bombs did not rain out of the sky; instead, there was an overwhelming brightness which gradually coalesced into an image of the Blessed Virgin — more specifically Cuba’s patroness, la Caridad del Cobre — extending her arms toward the startled masses on the promenade, as she remained suspended in the night sky. Unlike traditional images of the Blessed Virgin, this one did not bear the Christ-child in her arms, nor were there any other religious items such as crosses associated with it. The divine protector appeared to be wearing a snow-white mantle that contrasted brightly against the prevailing darkness.
According to the late Andreas Faber Kaiser, who chronicled the incident in his landmark book Las nubes del engaño (The Clouds of Deceit), Cuban authorities did their best to suppress the story, but word of it was spread by Miami-based broadcasters WRHC and WQBA. There are further reports indicating that the divine image was seen again only days later at the port of Mariel, where it was taken to be Our Lady of Regla. Such was the consternation created during this second sighting that soldiers opened machine-gun fire against the image, and at least one of them required psychiatric treatment. Reports of similar responses were received from the cities of Guanabo and Trinidad.
Faber Kaiser would later suggest that it was a U.S. Navy submarine that projected an advanced holographic image as part of psychological warfare operations against the Cuban government. Hard though it may be to believe in both the sophistication of such techniques and the fact that their use would ever be authorized, the fact remains that it would not be the only one — albeit it was the most spectacular — ever employed against that island’s socialist regime.
On February 2, 1962, the Pentagon authorized a number of psychological warfare techniques that ranged from bombarding the city of Havana with free plane tickets for destinations such as Mexico and Venezuela to photographs showing Fidel Castro entertaining foreign women in expensive restaurants.
In a planet as small as our own, it isn’t surprising to find information regarding a given part of the world on the opposite side of the globe. When interviewed by Spanish researcher Manuel Carballal, who happened to be in Mongolia at the time on an unrelated assignment, General Battsagan Tsiiregzen provided new information on the Havana psy-ops event of 1982. The Mongolian had been part of his country’s diplomatic mission to the Cuba at the time, and offered new insight into the mind-bending operation. A policeman had indeed unholstered his sidearm and fired at the apparition, being so unnerved by the event that he was hospitalized and given psychiatric treatment. A Russian sailor, informed the general, had a similar experience, due to his inability to fit what he was seeing within the Marxist-Leninist framework of his upbringing. The Mongolian attaché was also able to confirm another story — that a scuba diver who had been in the water in the vicinity of the apparition had lost consciousness and had been brought to an emergency room. According to the story, whenever the hapless diver opened his eyes, he would goggle as though witnessing a vision and would then lose consciousness again.
In the city of Trinidad, southwest of Havana, strange phenomena apparently played out while the divine patroness cast her beatific gaze over the bewildered townspeople. There were reports of strange odors in the air and smoke issuing from the floors of every dwelling.
The amazing account by the Mongolian diplomat was included in Carballal’s own book, Los expedientes secretos (Planeta, 2001), and he adds the highly intriguing detail that the U.S. intelligence community is believed to have planned a follow-up to its successful 1982 demonstration: to spread the belief among Cubans that Fidel Castro was the Antichrist foretold in the book of Revelation, projecting a holographic image of Christ over the skies. It was believed that this “miraculous” event would unleash a rebellion that would overthrow the government.
UFO lecturer and author Dr. Virgilio Sánchez-Ocejo, while remaining unconvinced that a hologram was projected over the area, nonetheless accepts that something truly unusual occurred there. He recalls that on the first day after the apparition, Havana’s Malecón became filled with people, and the government police did their best to disperse the crowds, only to find that word of the apparition had already spread throughout the city and the surrounding region. People from Havana province, Matanzas, and western Pinar del Río were pouring to the city to see the spectacular manifestation of the divine patroness.
Officials declared that whatever was being seen was not the Blessed Virgin, and local militiamen (the brigadas de contacto) were called up to assist the police in dealing with the 100,000-plus crowd. This armed force, writes Dr. Sánchez-Ocejo, “Opened automatic fire against the unknown quantity in a show of force. Bullets, according to eyewitnesses, splashed harmlessly in the water around the phenomenon. At times, the machine-gun blasts could be seen to pass right through the phenomenon.”
This is not to imply that the Cuban government didn’t have enough target practice. In 1963, Fidel Castro accused the U.S. government of sending the Goodyear Blimp on an espionage mission over Havana’s La Cabaña fortress. Antiaircraft batteries filled the air with flak, and the mystery zeppelin vanished at high speed. Witnesses observed that the object had “rows of windows” that could be clearly seen by the defenders. The Goodyear company’s promotional blimp, however, was nowhere near Cuba at the time and in any event would have been felled by the cannonade. A genuine UFO encounter?
Some readers may wonder why any government would invest so much time, effort, and valuable resources like experimental holography to upset the citizenry of a Caribbean island-nation. The answer, obviously, lies in the 40-year political battle to dislodge Cuba’s revolutionary government from power, but the full extent to which the U.S. was willing to pursue such an objective is only being learned now. James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets (Doubleday, 2001), reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved an initiative known as Operation Northwoods in the early 1960s, which would unleash terrorism on American cities and villages — supposedly perpetrated by Cuban operatives — to inflame the public into supporting an overwhelming military operation against the island. In the face of such revelations, belief in submarine-projected holograms hardly ranks as credulity.
Military Holograms for Fun and Profit
The March 31, 1997 issue of Defense Week magazine published a fascinating article regarding the U.S. Air Force’s entry into the field of “computer warfare” through the creation of an entire division — unnamed, but whose operating code was given as AF/XOIOW — to be headed by Lt. Col. Jimmy Miyamoto.
The new USAF division would be responsible for what the article describes as “offensive” computer warfare, meaning attacks upon military and civilian targets in order to achieve supremacy in the field. Coordinating its operations with all of the major government agencies, AF/XOIOW would employ its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as Dark Star and Predator to destroy enemy computing and communication systems, inject viruses into enemy weapon systems and computer links, and other offensive tactics that would make Darth Vader smile.
But the most suggestive of all of these “futurewar” tactics includes the use of holograms for military purposes. The article goes on to describe a quasi-computer warfare or psychological warfare operations program initially conceived during the Gulf War. Holographic projections of this sort would include the projection of three-dimensional, holographic images as decoys, including “the appearance of an angry God” over the battlefield.
The Defense Week story goes on to say that the Pentagon has openly included the use of such holograms as part of its non-lethal weapons program, but the program vanished from sight around 1994, becoming part of the much written-of “black projects.” In late 1991, the JFK Center and School for Special Warfare appears to have looked into a psy-ops holographic system able to “project persuasive messages and three-dimensional images of clouds, smoke, rain, buildings…even and including religious figures and images…the use of these holograms as persuasive messages shall have worldwide applications.”
Apparently military aircraft already feature some of these “modern conveniences”: In issue #38-1998 of Filer’s Files, MUFON’s Eastern Director states, “Many of the futuristic vehicles of terrestrial origin carry advanced directed energy weapon technologies…they also have stealthy characteristics using broad-band holographic technology to easily ‘cloak’ or conceal and/or present false targets.”
Military use of holograms appears to be widespread enough that the possibility was the very first thing that came to the mind of Maj. Gen. Wilfried de Brouwer during the Belgian UFO wave of the early 1990s. Declaring himself skeptical about the triangular UFO first reported on November 29, 1989, de Brouwer stated his belief that the cause of the phenomenon could be ascribed to “laser beams or holograms.”
Might UFOs Be Holograms?
While cases such as the Lovera incident suggest that use of nonhuman imagery for unknown purposes appears to be undergoing tests in Argentina, outrageous though it may seem, there is the further question of whether the UFO phenomenon itself is holographic — that the bright lights and strange creatures being reported for the past 50 years are no more “real” than the light issuing from a cinema projector.
The possibility is broached in Norman Briazak and Simon Mennick’s The UFO Handbook (Citadel, 1978), where they suggest the interesting possibility that UFOs — or rather, their images — are being “beamed” to us from distant worlds for unknown reasons, perhaps serving no greater purpose than bewildering us, much like a human might deliberately seek to perplex a household pet by reflecting a light on a wall. The authors then posit an even more interesting possibility -— that the flying objects are projected by a nonhuman device located somewhere outside the Earth but within our solar system, being “triggered” by certain activities on our own planet (wars, earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other situations in which unidentified flying objects tend to be seen). While it is true that other advanced civilizations may be interested in being alerted when a younger one is about develop sophisticated technology, such a device could alert them to the fact (a good example being the black monolith in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey). However, why would the same device conceivably alert us to the same fact by projecting UFOs in our skies?
“The UFO-hologram theory is one of many explanations offered by ufologists to account for UFOs,” write Briazak and Mennick. “However, most ufologists do not seriously consider this theory as a viable explanation.”
Perhaps. But there is also the interesting notion of “telepresence” mentioned by Prof. Michael D. Swords in his essay “Does the ETH Make Sense?” (International UFO Reporter, September 1999). The concept of telepresence, explains Swords, exists today in a very crude way that does not go beyond “strapping oneself into a video game using an external video camera,” but its more advanced manifestations could conceivably enable a nonhuman, extraplanetary intelligence to directly experience what its projected probe was sending it. Although physical probes are mentioned, could we perhaps extend the theory onto advanced holograms capable of producing the same result?
Dr. Frank Salisbury, in his paper “Are UFOs from Outer Space?” (Proceedings of the First International UFO Congress, ed. Curtis Fuller, Warner, 1980), added his voice to the debate on holographic saucers: “Maybe the UFOs are not tangible objects; they are three-dimensional projected holographs. This has been suggested often in recent years…I know of one case in the Uintah Basin where an Indian shot at a UFO with his deer rifle and heard the bullet ricochet off…but I thought, what if those who project the holograph up there are so clever that they are prepared for people to shoot at them and have a recording of ricochet to play at that exact moment?”
A careful examination of UFO case histories reveals the existence of situations in which the above could apply, such as a midwestern case from the 1970s in which a rancher fired at a Bigfoot-like entity that disappeared, and a Pennsylvania entity from the same time frame in which a housewife fired a shotgun blast at a Bigfoot at close range, producing the same disappearance in a flash of light. In her Glimpses of Other Realities (LMH Productions, 1993), Linda Moulton-Howe suggests that such cases, “combined with others about translucent beings, [have] provoked speculation that we humans are being manipulated by an intelligence that has sophisticated technology that can make us see anything it wants us to see. Some beings might even be holographic projections.”
In the sequel to her 1993 work, Howe mentions the curious case of Jim Sparks, who allegedly witnessed nonhuman forces morphing into the shapes of law enforcement personnel and then military officers bedecked with ribbons.
A personal abduction experience posted to the Internet by Janet Russell described further interaction with beings that appear to lack any type of physical reality. In 1962, she had an experience in which one of the so-called Nordic aliens resembled a holographic projection from a certain angle.
Stefan Duncan raises the possibility that holograms may have been used to create the August 1997 spectacle over Mexico City (known as el OVNI de Polanco, after the upscale neighborhood over which the event allegedly occurred) in the April 1998 issue of AUFON (American UFO News): “Were there military members or special effects people crouched down, aiming laser beams over Mexico City to produce holographic images?”
Could such illusions be the result of highly advanced nonhuman holography, or very advanced human military holographic techniques employed on unsuspecting humans for experimental purposes? Howe subsequently cites the work of abductee Anna Hayes, who believes that “negative ETs” are planning to stage a holographic Second Coming of Christ to spread confusion among the faithful. Such an operation would be more likely to fit a “psy-ops” agenda than that of bona fide space explorers, should there be any, and the Cuban events of 1982, plus the Pentagon’s own admission of experimenting with holography, reinforce the likelihood of an terrestrial answer to the mystery.
Frightening the Primitives
Probably the most distinguished researcher in the UFO field, Jacques Vallee, looked into the stranger areas of the phenomenon and their intersections with clearly human, politico-military agendas as early as 1979 in his landmark Messengers of Deception. He made specific mention of advances in psychological warfare in Dimensions (1987), in which he mentions the use of recordings of “primitive gods” in an effort to frighten tribespeople, and development of the Mitralux system by the U.S. military — a projector capable of displaying 85mm slides against cloud banks and physical structures.
In an interview with conspiracy writer Jonathan Vankin, Vallee mentioned a story involving the mass suicide of the saucer-cult known as Order of the Solar Temple: more than 50 cultists willingly laid down their lives in both Europe and North America. This cult, according to the interview, employed holographic projectors purchased in the United States to reinforce individual group members’ belief in alien salvation. Vallee also mentions that the German Army was already using primitive slides and projectors to cast images against the sky to demoralize their adversaries during World War I, proving that there is really nothing new under the sun.
Holograms Now Routine
The days in which holograms were relegated to the world of science fiction are long over. We can no longer smile as we see Walter Pidgeon’s Dr. Morbius conjure up the hologram image of his daughter in Forbidden Planet or view Princess Leia’s anxious holographic recording in Star Wars without realizing that their innocence and wonder may have been lost forever.
It is possible to find innocuous holograms on credit cards or jewelry. But the users or wearers of these items cannot possibly imagine that the clever images they consider routine are related in some way to the many decades of experimentation by the world’s governments in the areas of psychological warfare and manipulation, seeking to bewilder entire populations through the use of projected images.
Scott Corrales is a fan favorite and a frequent contributor to FATE.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons