Since it was brought up in the comments section of another post, I thought I would published this segment on the Fort Itaipu injury case as it was reported first by Dr. Olavo Fontes and later by the Lorenzens. The following report first appeared in UFO Dossier.
Doctor Olavo Fontes Teixeira, known as Olavo Fontes in the United States was the
who originally “investigated” the sighting and provided the information to his American
colleague, Coral Lorenzen. Although he provided the preliminary information to
Lorenzen within weeks of the event, it would not be mentioned in the UFO
literature until 1959 in the APRO Bulletin.
|Doctor Olavo Fontes |
According to that article published in September, 1959, and written by Fontes:
On November 4th, 1957, at 2:00 a.m. … something sinister took place at the Brazilian Fortress Itaipu…. It was a moonless tropical night. Everything was quiet. The whole garrison was sleeping in peace. Two sentinels were on duty on top of the military fortifications… Then a new star suddenly burst into searing life among the others in the cloudless sky, over the Atlantic Ocean, near the horizon. The sentries watched the phenomenon. Their interest increased when they realized it was not a star, but a luminous flying object. It was coming toward the fortress. They thought at first it was an airplane but the speed was strange – too high… there was no need to alert the garrison, however. In fact, so tremendous was the object’s speed that the two soldiers forgot their patrol just to observe it….
In just a few seconds the UAO [APRO’s term for a flying saucer which is Unidentified Aerial Object] was flying over the fortress. Then it stopped abruptly in mid-air and drifted slowly down, its strong orange glow etching each man’s shadow against the illuminated ground between the heavy cannon turrets. It hovered about 120 to 180 feet above the highest cannon turret and then it became motionless. The sentries were frozen on the ground, their eyes wide in surprise, the Tommy guns hung limply from their hands like dead things. The unknown object was a large craft about the size of a big Douglas [aircraft], but round and shaped like a disk of some sort. It was encircled by an eerie orange glow. It had been silent when approaching, but now, at close range, the two sentries heard a distinct humming sound coming from it. Such a strange object hovered overhead and nothing happened for about one minute. Then came the nightmare…
The sentinels were startled, unable to think what to do about the UAO. But they felt no terror, no premonition, no hint of the danger. Then something hot touched their faces (one of them thinks he heard a faint whining sound he could not identify at that same moment). In darkness this would have been horrifying. But the UAO was bright and they could see that nothing had changed. Then came the heat. Suddenly an intolerable wave of heat struck the two soldiers.
One of the sentries said later that, when the heat wave engulfed him, it was like a fire burning all over his clothes. The air seemed to be filled with the UAO’s humming sound. Blind panic yammered at him. He staggered, dazed, heat waves filling the air around him. It was too hot… He went stumbling and lurching, his whole conscious purpose that of escaping from that invisible fire burning him alive. He fought, and gasped and beat the air before him. He was suffocating. Then he blacked out and collapsed to the ground – unconscious.
The other sentry got the horrible feeling that this clothes were on fire. A wave of heat suddenly enveloped him. Horror filled him and he lost his mind. He began to scream desperately, running and stumbling and crying from one side to another, as a trapped animal. He did not know what he was doing, but somehow he skidded into shelter, beneath the heavy cannons of the fortress. His cries were so loud that he awoke the whole garrison, starting an alarm all over the place.
Inside the soldier’s living quarters everything was confusion. There was the sound of running footsteps everywhere, soldiers and officers trying to reach their battle stations, their eyes wide with shock. No one knew what could explain those horrible screams outside. Then just a few seconds later, the lights all over the fortress collapsed suddenly as well as the whole electrical system that moved the turrets, heavy cannons and elevators. Even the ones supplied by the fortress’ own generators. The intercommunications system was dead too. Someone tried to switch on the emergency circuits but these were dead too. The strangest thing, however, was the behavior of the alarms in the electric clocks, which had been set to ring at 5:00 a.m. – they all started to ring everywhere at 2:03 a.m.
The fortress was dead, helpless… Inside it, confusion changed to widespread panic, soldiers and officers running blindly from one corner to another along the dark corridors. There was fear on every face – fear of the unknown – hands nervously grasping useless weapons. Then the lights came on again and every man ran outside to fight the unexpected enemy who surely was attacking the fortress. Some officers and soldiers came in time to see an orange light climbing up vertically and then moving away through the sky at high speed. One of the sentinels was on the ground, still unconscious. The other was hiding in the corner, mumbling and crying, entirely out of his mind. One of the officers who came first was a military doctor and, after a brief examination, he saw that both sentries were badly burned and ordered the men to take them [the injured soldiers] to the infirmary immediately. They were put under medical care at once. It became clear that one of them was a severe case of heat syncope; he was still unconscious and showing evident signs of peripheral vascular failure. Besides this, both soldiers presented first and deep second-degree burns of more than 10 per cent [sic] of body surface – mostly on areas that had been unprotected by clothes. The one that could talk was in deep nervous shock and many hours passed before he was able to tell the story.
The nightmare had lasted for three minutes…
The next day the commander of the fortress (an army colonel) issued orders forbidding the whole garrison to tell anything about the incident to anyone - not even to their relatives. Intelligence officers came and took charge, working frantically to question and silence everyone with information pertaining to the matter. Soldiers and officers were instructed not to discuss the case. The fortress was placed in a state of martial law [which, of course, would be a natural state for a military installation anyway] and a top-secret report was sent to the Q. G. (at Rio or Sao Paulo). Days later, American officers from the U.S. Army Military Mission arrived at fortress together with officers from the Brazilian Air Force, to question the sentries and other witnesses involved. Afterwards a special plane was chartered to bring the two burned sentinels to Rio. It was an Air Force military aircraft. At Rio they were put in the Army’s Central Hospital (HCE), completely isolated from the world behind a tight security curtain. Two months later they were still there. I [Fontes] don’t know where they are now.
Three weeks after the incident, I was contacted by an officer from the Brazilian Army, a friend who knew about my interest in UAO research. He was at the Fortress of Itaipu the night of the incident. He was one of those who questioned the two sentries. He told me the whole story exactly as it was described above. His name was suppressed from this report in order to protect him. The reasons are obvious; he told me something he should not tell. As a matter of fact, this officer has asked me to forget his name and he wasn’t laughing. He was too frightened.
I was aware, however, that the information was not enough despite the fact that it had come directly from one of the witnesses. The case was too important. On the other hand, to get more information through the security ring built by Army Intelligence would be an almost hopeless task. The only way was to attempt to break the secrecy around the two soldiers under treatment in the Army’s Central Hospital. As a physician, I might perhaps contact some doctors from the hospital and even examine the two patients if possible. However, all my attempts failed. The only thing I was able to determine was the fact that two soldiers from Fortress of Itaipu were really there under treatment for bad burns. Only that.
The case remained in my files [Fontes] until two months ago [July 1959], when the final proof was finally obtained. Three other officers from the Brazilian Army who had been at the fortress on the night of the UAO were fortunately localized and contacted. They told the same story. They confirmed the report transcribed above in every detail.
Looking at the testimony offered here, there are many problems. There are no names associated with any of these statements. The sentries are not identified, Fontes’ source, that first officer is not identified and neither are the three others who apparently corroborated the sighting.
Since Fontes did not have the opportunity to interview the two men who were so badly burned, his speculations about their reactions upon sighting the UFO are just that, speculations. He is suggesting that they panicked, that their terror overwhelmed them, and they were unable to function as sentries. Their duties were forgotten because the orange disk hovered above them. This is a little difficult to believe and it seems to be more hyperbole than actual fact.
Secondly, the same could be said about the reactions of the other soldiers in the fort. Both the officers and soldiers awoke confused, dashed about without a thought of what should be done, and panicked when the lights all went out. This too seems to be hyperbole to increase the suspense in the story, rather than actual details found through interview.
This story has since been widely circulated in the UFO literature, but nearly every bit of it originated with the same source, that is, Dr. Fontes. No one seemed to
question the accuracy of his statements about what went on in the fort, nor in
his failing to mention the name of a single witness. In the late 1950s and the
early 1960s, most of those engaged in UFO research and reporting didn’t bother
with worrying about such things. Instead they relied on the credibility of
those who were reporting the sighting. Fontes was deemed credible by Coral
Lorenzen, who herself was deemed credible by nearly everyone in the UFO
And there was one document that seemed to lend credibility to the case. It came from the Office of the Air Attaché, Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. There is no date on it, but it uses zip code which means it came about after the US Post Office stared using them. It said:
At two o’clock on the morning of November 4, 1957, in Fort Itaipu, located in the vicinity of Santos, Sao Paulo [Brazil], according to a Report by Dr. Olavo Fontes, two guards where [sic] on watch duty at the top of the highest lookcout [sic] tower facing the ocean. Suddenly an orange color light appeared and quickly positioned itself at approximately 50 meters about the guards. With inoperable automatic weapons, they watched the starange [sic] glow and high pitched noise emerging from the strange object. Suddenly the two guards were hit by an intolerable heat wave, knocking one of the guards unconscious. The other thought himself to be in flames, and screamed to alert the others. The troops in the Fort quickly became alarmed due to a failure of all the power systems, including lights, elevators and weapons. Three minutes later the power returned with many officers claiming to have seen the strange object rapidally [sic] climb towards the sky. The two guards sustained first and second degree burns over 10% of their bodies. The alarm system and the automatic electric clocks where were originally set for 5 am, went off at 2:30 of the same morning. After the incident the Fort was shut down and investigations by the Brazilian Secret Police and afterwards by North American Officials was conducted. The results were not made available.
This statement added nothing new to the tale, except for the mention of the Brazilian Secret Police. The story is the same as told by Fontes, but does not corroborate Fontes because he is the source. Had the document suggested someone other than Fontes, this would have been valuable confirmation of the tale, but as it is, it seems to be little more than a summation of the case by a Brazilian official, based on information that came from Fontes.
The Project Blue Book files for November 1957, mentioned this case as “Other reported sightings (not cases).” This meant they had information about it but hadn’t investigated it and given it was in Brazil, that isn’t surprising. They had received a news clipping about, but that clipping was missing from the file. Nothing could be learned about when they received the case, what they knew about it, or where they got the clipping. It is just another dead end.
But that isn’t the end of the story. Thiago Luiz Ticchetti, a Brazilian UFO researcher and a co-editor of Revista UFO and Coordenador da Revista UFO Brasil: www.ufo.com.br, investigated the case. According to him:
It was recorded [that there was] a blackout, but there may have been a momentary power interruption, which characterize the case as being CE-2 [a close encounter of the second kind, that is in which the UFO manifests some sort of effect on either an animate or inanimate object such as causing a power failure].
However, I found no evidence so far to say that there was indeed a blackout or power outage during the episode. Thus, considering only the sighting of an enigmatic light by the military and even witnessed by the commander of the fort, one would classify this as a simple case of CE-1. All sources consulted and statements obtained discard the information that “soldiers were burned by the heat wave caused by [the] UFO.” And the testimony of [a] veteran UFO researcher this confirms information, making it clear that Dr. Olavo Fontes Teixeira added fraudulent data to an authentic narrative and even mounted an “official” document to the American Embassy….
Unfortunately, over 50 years, many told and published this partial lie so often in books journals, conferences in various countries of the world that [it] became true. I suppose after the news have returned from aboard to Brazil, years later, in the form of books, websites, etc., the military ended up adding new details untrue… Both military [officers] did not know the provenance of that information, just repeated it because they have heard from others the same story.
What is being said is that there had been a UFO sighting but it was of a somewhat distant object. There was no close approach, no heat ray or microwave radiation that burned the soldiers, and no blackout of the fort. In fact, it is difficult to think of a way that a mechanical weapon, whether a rifle or submachine gun could be rendered inoperative by the close approach of a UFO. Other than the sighting, the other elements of the case seem to have been manufactured by Fontes.
There is one interesting coincidence that might explain the added details. On November 2, 1957, there was the sighting of an object around the Levelland, Texas area that caused car engines to stall and radios to fade. On November 4, 1957, James Stokes reported that he, and several others watched a UFO maneuvering near Orogrande, New Mexico, and after the sighting, Stokes had a mild “sunburn.” While there is nothing to suggest this speculation is true, it seems that Fontes, who was a close friend of Coral Lorenzen, might have embellished the case to make it conform to the reports she was investigating in and around Alamogordo, New Mexico. It was a case with some corroborative detail.
The one fact that seems to stand out, based on the documentation available in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, is that Fontes communicated this information to Lorenzen not long after it happened, but nothing was reported until September, 1959. And while he said that he investigated, he never spoke with the injured soldiers, never was able to identify them, and didn’t name any of the other witnesses or the officers who supplied him with the information. Those facts seem to suggest that part of the tale is not true.