I’ve been working on my new book, which is sort of a follow up to Government UFO Secrets (notice that I’ve slipped the name of my last book into this) and I have been doing something that I don’t think is being done very much. I’ve been chasing footnotes again. This means as I research a case, looking for all the information available on it, I attempt to return to the original source as much as possible. One way of doing that is look at the footnotes in other books to see where they gathered the information.
The case in question here is the attack on Fort Itaipu, Brazel on November 4, 1957. According to all those other sources, two sentries on duty saw a “new” star blossom in the distance, over the Atlantic Ocean, fly toward them, hover and then slowly descend. It was an orange disk that was humming slightly. There was a blast of heat that caused the sentries to panic. One fell to the ground unconscious and the other torn at his clothes screaming. That alerted the garrison, all of whom apparently reacted to the UFO.
About the same time, as the confused soldiers attempted to find out what was happening, the lights failed, as did their communications ability, their generators and even their weapons. The electricity came back quickly and the clocks, set to ring at 5:00 a.m., began at 2:03 a.m.
The injured soldiers were removed, first to the infirmary, and later to an Army hospital. The fort commanding officer ordered an information blackout, telling the soldiers not to discuss the case with anyone, not even their fellow soldiers. Someone did talk, and Dr. Olavo Fontes, APRO’s representative in Brazil learned of the case some two or three weeks later. Though he tried to interview the soldiers, using his contacts as a medical doctor, he failed. His information came from some of the officers at the fort, but he never mentioned their names, nor did he identify the soldiers.
This is the bare bones of the sighting. As I was conducting my research, I looked to see what others had written about the case. In The A.P.R.O. Bulletin of September 1959, Fontes’ tale was published apparently as it appeared in his book Shadow of the Unknown. Later, in 1962, Coral Lorenzen, in her 1962 book, The Great Flying Saucer Hoax: The UFO Facts and Their Interpretation, repeated the information supplied by Fontes but in her own words. She suggested that Fontes had talked to an officer who was at the fort, but she didn’t supply his name or that of the sentries.
Jacques Vallee, in Anatomy of a Phenomenon, quotes from Lorenzen’s book, and adds nothing new to the case. Donald Keyhoe, in Aliens from Space, reports on the case in his own words, but there is nothing in that report that is new or different. He does speculate about alien motivations and their worries about our first tiny steps into space. Keyhoe wrote, “It would also mean that the burnings were intended as a demonstration of superior weapons they could use against aggressive explorers from Earth.”
But the point is that everything comes back to the article by Fontes in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. I could find no new information about the case that wasn’t traced to Fontes. I did email Thiago Luiz Ticchetti, a Brazilian UFO researcher and a co-editor of Revista UFO and Coordenador da Revista UFO Brasil: www.ufo.com.br, who did update the case for me. He wrote that he had been unable to verify the tale of the injured soldiers, and unable to verify the power outage whether it was momentary or something a little longer. According to what he told me, most Brazilian UFO researchers believe that there had been a UFO sighting, but the details of what would be a Close Encounter of the Second Kind, meaning a sighting in which there are some sort of physical effects, remained unverified.
Fontes, according to his own writings, never got the chance to talk to the sentries, so much of what he wrote about their reactions had to come from the officers that Fontes said he had interviewed. The problem is that he never identified them. The tale then is based, at best, on second-hand testimony and we have no way to verify the information supplied by Fontes. We must trust him based solely on the trust that Coral Lorenzen had in him and if we have no faith in that, then almost everything he wrote about the Fort Itaipu case must be carefully scrutinized. In the end, the best we can say, based on what we know, is that there was a UFO sighting and the other elements are yet to be verified.