Androids Amok in Argentina


In 1963, Eugenio Douglas was allegedly attacked by a UFO and chased by robot-like aliens in Argentina.

On October 12, 1963, in the middle of a terrible storm around 3 AM, Mateo Manocchio and his wife, children, and sister were driving home from a visit to the countryside in Monte Maiz, Argentina. Mateo’s brother, Ricardo, was following the family in a separate car. (Sounds like the opening scene of a horror movie, I know.)

While passing along a cemetery road, the Manocchios noticed a strong beam of white light shining behind them. The family figured it came from a̶ ̶g̶h̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶c̶a̶r̶ Ricardo’s headlights, but the light suddenly went out by the time they reached the entrance of Monte Maiz. Mateo, worried, turned the car around to look for his brother.

After backtracking, the Manocchios found Uncle Ricardo perfectly fine. He’d fallen behind, was all. But where did the white light come from? The family wasn’t sure. Ricardo, in fact, had no idea what they were talking about. He hadn’t seen any strange light. The Manocchios shrugged their shoulders and continued on.

Coming into town, however, things only got weirder. Monte Maiz had lost its power and the lights were out. Confused citizens found a hysterical, blanket-wrapped man, running around in the rain, waving a revolver and firing shots. The gunman begged for help, so some presumably terrified bystanders redirected him to the police. 

The man’s name was Eugenio Douglas. He was a 48-year-old truck driver from the city of Venado Tuerto, and he had a perfectly good explanation for why he was publicly shooting and waving his gun like a maniac: He’d been chased by robots and a UFO. 

Hours earlier, Douglas was carefully driving his truck on the slippery road when a red light suddenly flashed in front of him. Startled, Douglas let go of the wheel, sending his truck into a ditch. 

The crash was bad. Douglas briefly lost consciousness, but he wasn’t hurt. He also found that his truck wouldn’t start. Grabbing his revolver, which he kept in the case of a hijacking, Douglas hopped out of the truck to see what happened. 

Far off in the distance, Douglas noticed a kind of vehicle giving off a white light. A door opened, two human-like figures stepping out of it. The light shut off, hiding the figures in the darkness.

A few minutes later, a new light appeared from the opposite side of the road. This light beamed itself at Douglas and prickled his face and hands with a burning sensation. A UFO then appeared with two more goddamn shining lights. Douglas justly shot at these never-ending lights, at which point they disappeared. 


Just when the UFO was gone, Douglas realized there were three or four figures around him. He couldn’t see their faces too well in the dark, but they were “robot-like” humanoids, with helmets and antennas. Unfortunately for Douglas, these aliens decided the harassment wouldn’t stop until there was a long chase scene. 

Running for his life from the robots, Douglas was every now and then attacked by a red light. It blinded and burned him, so to protect his body, he covered himself with a blanket he’d been carrying. As he ran, it became apparent that there was a UFO in the sky, flying over him.

Douglas jolted through the cemetery and didn’t stop running until he got to Monte Maiz. By the time he’d reached the town, the robots and UFO were gone. Back at the police station, police were skeptical of Douglas’s story, dismissing him as a lying drunk. In the morning, they took him to see a doctor, Francisco Davolos.

Davolos wasn’t impressed much with the story either, but he found the wounds on Douglas’s face strange. They looked like signs of erysipelas (a kind of skin infection) rather than burn marks. Since the police were so disinterested, Davolos only ran a few basic tests on Douglas. Save for the marks, which vanished after a few days of ointment treatment, there was nothing unusual about him. 

Later, the police went to look for Douglas’s truck. It was stuck in a ditch, just as he had said. The authorities also found footprints, confirming the chase part of the story. I’ve read in some places that the footprints were misshaped or obviously nonhuman, but this isn’t true. Douglas was running alone.

In later years, rumors sprang up that Eugenio Douglas, Francisco Davolos, and a few members of the Manocchio died from being exposed to radiation from the lights of the UFO. These rumors aren’t true either. In the 1980s, investigators tracked down the major characters here and found them all alive and well. Even Douglas, at the age of 72, was in fine health.

So what on earth do we make of Eugenio Douglas’s story of burning red lights and angry stalking androids? Firstly, I don’t buy the idea that the light the Manocchios saw didn’t come from a car. It was raining and foggy, so perhaps they weren’t seeing clearly.

Secondly, Monte Maiz losing power was a weird coincidence. The power plant was having technical difficulties that night because their equipment was old and outdated. According to an employee named Bonifacio Fernandez, the power had already gone out multiple times that day, long before Douglas’s arrival.

Lastly, Douglas’s solitary footprints should be taken as proof that he was alone that night. Since he apparently ran for hours, I do think he BELIEVED he was being chased. The culprits were not extraterrestrials, however, but hallucinations. Douglas might have been physically unharmed from his crash, but what about mentally? Such a close encounter with death might have sent him into a terrible shock, which could also explain the hysteria he exhibited in Monte Maiz.




Check out my book “Mexico’s Unsolved Mysteries: True Stories of Ghosts, Monsters, and UFOs from South of the Border” for more interesting mysteries of the Spanish-speaking world.  You can buy the book on Kindle here. 


Bipedal Octopus Dwarves from Beyond the Stars

Uniden Digital Camera

Drawings by Yoshihiro Fujiwara of the aliens he saw in 1974.

Part of the fun in reading UFO stories, at least for me, is the descriptions of the aliens themselves. Outside of the usual grays and reptilians, I’ve heard stories of aliens who resemble robots, praying mantises, elves, demons, and perhaps freakiest of all, Scandinavians. When there are pictures of the weirder ones available, I save them to a folder on my computer. Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of adding a new species to my collection: bipedal octopus dwarves.

The fine creatures you see above come to us from The Nikoro Incident, a series of encounters that took place in Japan in April 1974. According to an article from a contemporary ufology magazine, Yoshihiro Fujiwara was a 28-year-old man who lived in Kitami, a city in Hokkaido. On April 6, 1974, at 3 AM, Fujiwara’s sleep was disturbed by a sound in his genkan, the traditional entryway in a Japanese home.

When Fujiwara went to investigate the sound, he found that his visitor was a three foot tall alien. Though he tried to make a run for it, Fujiwara was suddenly whisked off his feet and levitated to an orange-colored UFO hovering over a field outside.

Once he got to the UFO, Fujiwara was able to jump off and run to a neighbor’s house for help. Nothing out of the ordinary happened again until the evening, when Fujiwara developed psychic abilities. He now had the awe-inspiring power of bending spoons, and he could also talk to the aliens he saw earlier by telepathy. After two days, and what had to have been a countless number of mind-texts, the aliens told Fujiwara that they wanted to meet again.


A drawing by Yoshihiro Fujiwara of the UFO he saw and later rode in.

At 6:30 PM that night, Fujiwara and two of his friends showed up at the assigned meeting spot, Nikoro Mountain. For whatever reason, Fujiwara’s pals stayed behind, and he went into the mountain alone. There he was picked up by the UFO for a second time, and treated to a trip to outer space. In only an hour-and-a-half, Fujiwara was flown around the moon once, circled around the Earth twice, and then sent back home.

Once back on Earth, Fujiwara’s charitable hosts threw his ass out to the ground so hard that he lost consciousness. Fortunately, he was rescued by a search party, and was apparently well enough to get picked up again on April 13. On this last trip, Fujiwara was flown to a planet that the aliens identified as Jupiter. For proof, he was given an ultra rare Jupiter rock, presumably the only one on the giant gas planet.

Kinichi Arai, the author of my source here, offered some evidence in his article to corroborate Fujiwara’s outlandish account. The night of Fujiwara’s first encounter, for example, a junior high school student named Miyuki Fujita was woken up by a light shining outside her window. Fujita didn’t get up to see where the light was coming from, but she said it was brighter than the moon. Among other things, there were also witnesses who claimed to see Fujiwara’s spoon bending powers and the UFO.

Briefly poking through this case, however, The Nikoto Incident isn’t credible at all. Spoon bending has been repeatedly debunked as an illusion, and though witnesses might have backed up Fujiwara’s UFO, they had no physical evidence. The biggest hole in the story, of course, comes from the third encounter. As everyone knows, Jupiter is a gas planet, and testing showed that Fujiwara’s ultra rare Jupiter rock was actually an extremely common Earth one.

Though it grieves me to say it, bipedal octopus dwarves from beyond the stars don’t really exist. On the bright side, at least I have a cool new picture in my folder. 

Edit (5/19/17): What do you guys think the Nikoro aliens look like? I’m getting debates about their appearance in my inbox! One source on this English language page describes them as “starfish-like,” another calls them “toad-like.” On the other hand, this Japanese page also describes them as octopuses, while another Japanese page says they seem to resemble true toads.

Be sure to check out more weird Japanese mysteries in my e-book, 20 Unsolved Mysteries of Japan, available on Amazon for Kindle.






Zenhachi’s Unhappy Grandson: A Story of Reincarnation from 19th Century Japan




Portrait of Kyokutei Bakin, the author of Rabbit Garden Tales.

Rabbit Garden Tales is a collection of strange stories gathered by the Edo-era Japanese novelist Kyokutei Bakin. The collection includes “true” accounts of supernatural stories involving ghosts and monsters, but it also contains some more… I guess we could say “realistic” material, like that of an eight-year-old girl who gave birth in a village in what is now Ibaraki Prefecture.

Bakin himself had heard these stories from the Rabbit Garden Society, a group of eleven other writers he’d met with during some monthly meetings in 1825. The following story, a tale about reincarnation, was said to have happened in the fourth month of the second year of the Bunsei era, or April 1819 for those of us who don’t measure time in Japanese imperial reigns.

Zenhachi was a retired picture framer from Edo (Tokyo) who loved to travel. During one of his trips, while walking on a road away from Osaka, Zenhachi saw a teenage girl about 15 or 16-years-old in his path. The girl was traveling alone, and suddenly fainted and collapsed when she passed by Zenhachi.

The wandering picture framer helped the girl, and after she came to, asked her what she was doing all alone. The girl explained that she’d run away from an employer that morning, and was so exhausted from her escape that she couldn’t help but collapse. So Zenhachi accompanied the girl back to her house in what is now the city of Tsu, and her family was so grateful for Zenhachi’s help that they invited him to stay with them for a while.

When it came for Zenhachi to leave, the daughter was very upset. She said that she’d visit him in Edo next year, and wondered if Zenhachi could give her a memento so she could remember his kindness. Being such a nice guy, Zenhachi decided to give the girl an omamori (a religious amulet) dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of compassion and mercy.


An omamori dedicated to Tenjin, the god of scholarship. 

The next April, Zenhachi finally returned to his own house in Edo. While he was away, Zenhachi’s daughter had given birth to a baby boy. On Zenhachi’s return, his family was celebrating the baby’s oshichiya, a naming ceremony that takes place seven nights after a child’s birth.

It should have been a happy occasion, but Zenhachi found that his daughter was very upset. Her baby had been crying nonstop the past week, and his left hand had been clenching onto something he refused to give up. To calm his new grandson, Zenhachi put the boy on his knee. Immediately, the baby stopped crying, and he unfolded his left hand.

To the shock of everyone there, the baby was holding an omamori. Not just any omamori, as Zenhachi quickly realized, but the splitting image of the Kannon omamori he’d given to the girl from Tsu. (Cue Twilight Zone music.) Puzzled, Zenhachi thought about the girl and then sent a letter asking about her to Tsu.

On June 14, Zenhachi got his response. Last May, not long after Zenhachi left Tsu, the girl had gotten sick and passed away. But how could his grandson have gotten the amulet then? Zenhachi figured that the girl had been reincarnated as his grandson, perhaps by an intervention from Kannon herself.

Be sure to check out more weird Japanese mysteries in my e-book, 20 Unsolved Mysteries of Japan, available on Amazon for Kindle.