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.







The Airline Stewardess who Starved Herself to Death for Aliens


A picture of Gloria Lee from her first book, “Why We Are Here.”

In September 1953, 28-year-old Gloria Lee began to hear a strange voice in her head. Fortunately, the voice didn’t claim to be a manifestation of schizophrenia, but a telepathic communication from Jupiter by an alien named J.W. (The Jovians were so utterly advanced that they had no use for names or vocal cords.) Lee, an airline stewardess who had a great interest in UFOs, was understandably thrilled with her psychic visitor. She’d heard stories from pilots and other stewardesses about flying saucers, but in her five years of experience had never actually seen one herself.

Imagine Lee’s disappointment, then, when J.W. refused to physically show himself to her. “Frankly,” she wrote in her first book, I was just plain disgusted J.W. didn’t “drop in for a visit” if he was who he said he was.” For months, Lee decided to ignore J.W., until one day she was hanging laundry outside her home in Westchester, California and suddenly heard a voice telling her to look up.

Not sure what to expect, Lee followed the command, and spotted a giant UFO flying northward. After hearing there were other witnesses who saw the object in near-by Redondo Beach, Lee’s faith was restored, and she took up talking to J.W. again. To further develop her powers, Lee also attended a “psychic development” class. Lee never claimed to have physically met or seen J.W., but a classmate did once sketch his picture after supposedly seeing him stand behind Lee in class.

While this experience by itself was enough to convince Lee, she still had nothing to offer to any skeptics. “I have talked to him in materialized form and via direct voice control, ” she admitted, “but for those of you who may still doubt the existence of a person named J.W., I can give you no concrete proof which would satisfy only the five senses.” Among the 1950s contactee movement, no concrete proof was needed, and Lee put out a popular book in 1959 originally entitled “Why We Are Here: by J.W., A Being from Jupiter Through the Instrumentation of Gloria Lee.”  (The book was allegedly written by J.W., who communicated it to Lee by automatic writing.)


Lee took her work with J.W. very seriously, lecturing about her communications and even founding an organization called the Cosmon Research Foundation to promote his teachings. On September 23, 1962, J.W. ordered Lee to go on a hunger strike after some government officials in Washington D.C. declined to see her channeled blueprints for a spaceship. The strike was held for world peace, and Lee said she wouldn’t stop until the “light elevator” J.W. promised her would appear on earth to take her to Jupiter.

As everybody else expected, J.W.’s light elevator never arrived, and Lee’s hunger strike lasted for 66 days until her husband William H. Byrd had her hospitalized. Sadly, Lee didn’t recover, and she died in George Washington University Hospital on December 3. This was not, however, the last we would ever hear of Gloria Lee.


Shamelessly, or perhaps ingeniously from a marketing perspective, the clairvoyant Nada-Yolanda claimed to have come into psychic contact with Lee two months after her death. In January 1963, she and her publishing company Mark Age, Inc. released “Gloria Lee Lives! My Experiences Since Leaving Earth, Lee’s posthumous account of life on Venus. Mark Age would later release several other books of telepathic messages from Lee, and while these are now long out of print, you can still pick up new copies of Lee’s and J.W.’s first book on Amazon.





A Warning Unheeded: A Victorian Account of Precognitive Dreams

unknown artist; Reverend Frederick George Lee (1832-1902)

Painting of Frederick George Lee.

Today’s article is an account from Frederick George Lee’s 1885 “Glimpses in the Twilight: Being Various Notes, Records, and Examples of the Supernatural.” Lee was an English priest who believed in ghosts and wrote several books about the supernatural. He recorded this story, verbatim,  from the member of a Buckinghamshire family called Hickman. Unfortunately, the narrator gives us no date, but I assume it happened in the earlier part of the century. 

My grandfather had a favourite daughter. She was his youngest child, had been born about ten years after the birth of his youngest son, and to her he was devotedly attached. The loss of his wife when his youngest daughter was about sixteen years of age, seemed to deepen and strengthen the affectionate attachment in question.

He himself is said to have been a very hard-headed, unromantic, anti-sentimental man, who had been largely influenced by the Scotch philosophers of the last century in rejecting the revealed religion of Christ; and during the latter part of his life, with a habit of sneering and cynicism, appears to have given up any belief in God, the soul, or immortality.

He was, however, reputed to have been a person of great integrity and good principles; living an upright life, respected by his friends, and a good friend as regards things temporal to his poorer neighbors.

The daughter in question, going with others to an outdoor party in one of the most beautiful parts of Buckinghamshire, not far from Wendover, rambling far from headquarters, was with several others overtaken by a storm, caught a severe cold, went home, took to her bed, and in less than ten days was buried in the village churchyard.

The young girl in question was very fair both in form and features; and friends who came to see her in her coffin said that she had never in all her life looked more beautiful. She was interred in the family vault amid the tears of her relations, and to the intense grief of her sorrowing parent.

Her father was inconsolable at his loss, the more so as he knew nothing of the consolations of religion, having long ago rejected them, and fretted much at what he looked upon as the stern decrees of Fate.

The night after the funeral he is said to have had a most vivid dream. He dreamt that his daughter was confined in a cold and narrow underground cell, and that two resolute jailers were slowly filling her mouth with small pieces of cotton wool, in order to forcibly suffocate her; but that in the greatest trouble and agony she continued to resist, and would not be suffocated.

The dream disturbed him considerably; but, on waking and thinking over it, he acknowledged that his recent loss had no doubt served to disorganize his stomach, to confuse his brain, and to give rise to such fantastic fancies of the night.

However, a similar dream was had on the following night, and a third to his great astonishment on the night succeeding. His mental anguish and stress became so great that, at sunrise on the third day he rose from his bed, and went off to the clergyman of the parish to narrate what had happened, and to ask his counsel.

The clergyman, who had not then risen, surprised at being roused so early, came downstairs, listened to the curious and affecting narrative, and at once advised the immediate opening of the vault. This was done at once, and the coffin examined.

Under further advice- that of a doctor from the country town, who was going his rounds to visit his patients- the coffin was opened, when, to the horror of all who witnessed what was then and there discovered, it seemed perfectly clear that the young girl had been buried alive.

It was obvious that she had been put into the coffin in a state of suspended animation or trance, and that since the burial (for the body was turned and twisted, the hands compressed, the nails being dug into their palms, and the face fearfully contorted), the poor creature had died of suffocation.

An inquiry which was held resulted in nothing that could either give consolation to the living or benefit to the dead. The bare and melancholy facts as here recorded were both undoubted and unquestioned. The father of the girl soon afterwards died of grief, wasted away from sorrowing; and, as some said, died of a broken heart.

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The Gandillon Werewolf Family


Painting of Henri Boguet, the French judge who recorded the Gandillons’ story and took part in their trial.

One werewolf is incredulous enough, but a whole family of werewolves? Such a story happened in the Jura region of eastern France in 1598. In the spring of that year, a boy named Benoit Bidel and his sister were picking strawberries near the village of St. Claude. While Benoit was climbing a tree, a wolf with human hands emerged from the forest and lunged at his sister. Benoit hopped down and tried to stab the wolf with a knife. The wolf tossed his knife away though, and it then bit his neck and ran back off into the trees.

Some near-by peasants who heard the scuffle rushed to the scene. They found Benoit badly bleeding, although his sister was unharmed. Before dying on the spot, Benoit gave a description of the strange wolf he saw. The angry peasants immediately set off looking for the wolf in the forest, but instead they stumbled on a local girl named Pernette Gandillon. The furious mob noticed that Pernette’s dress was covered in blood, so they grabbed her and tore her apart.

Regardless of whether Pernette confessed to being the wolf or not, as some accounts claim, Pernette was a pretty unpopular person to begin with. She and her family lived in the forest, isolated from the rest of St. Claude. They were rumored to be Satanists and witches, so it wasn’t that big of a leap to suspect her of being a werewolf either.

Following Pernette’s murder,  her brother Pierre and sister Antoinette were also accused of being werewolves. They were both accused of attending sabbaths, as well as summoning hailstorms and having sex with demons. (In Antoinette’s case, her sexual partner was a goat, who was actually the Devil in disguise.) After being tortured, surely the most reliable method of truth inducement, Pierre cracked and confessed that the accusations were true.

He admitted that the Devil gave his family magical wolf-skins, which had the power to turn the Gandillons into werewolves. Wearing the skins, they couldn’t help but run across the land on all fours, devouring animals and humans alike. Pierre’s son, Georges, also confessed to having an ointment that had the same magical power. With the help of his aunts, he said that he killed two goats while in the form of a wolf.

Unluckily for the Gandillons, the infamous judge Henri Boguet was put in charge of their case. Belief in werewolves might have been widespread during the time, but educated people were generally more skeptical. They thought werewolves were mentally ill, or suffering from delusions caused by the Devil. (Hey, they were close.)

Boguet, on the other hand, took werewolves seriously. He was the author of a best-selling book about witchcraft, and claimed to have sentenced over 600 werewolves to death during his long and, shall we say, distinguished career. While visiting the Gandillons in jail, he noted that Antoinette, Georges, and Pierre walked on all fours and howled. Their faces, hands, and legs were marked with scratches. Pierre was so badly disfigured, in fact, “that he bore hardly any resemblance to a man and struck all those who looked at him with horror.” 

The Gandillons never transformed into wolves during their captivity, but Boguet attributed this to a lack of magical ointment. The Gandillons’ behavior in their cells was proof enough for Boguet, and he sentenced all three family members to be burnt at the stake.

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The Legend of Count Estruch, Europe’s First Vampire Story


Ruins of Castle Llers, the castle where Count Estruch was said to live.

The legend of Count Estruch is thought to be one of the first European vampire stories, if not the earliest that we know of. The story takes place in the 12th century, during the time of Muslim rule in southern Spain. King Alfonso II,  the king of Aragon in northeast Spain, was worried that pagans in the region of Emporda might ally themselves with his Muslim enemies. The King decided to send a war hero, a count named Guifredo Estruch, to christianize the region.

After being placed in local Llers Castle, Count Estruch set to work christianizing the pagans. Unfortunately, the Count was a very vicious man, and his method of “converting” consisted of murder, torture, and witch-hunts. The Count went on his blood-spree for quite some time, until he was assassinated by one of his own soldiers in 1173. The man, a captain named Benach, poisoned the Count and his daughter Nuria. Benach had wanted to marry Nuria, so his motivation presumably came from rejection, not any disgust with the Count’s hobby of killing pagans.

Still, others say that the Count died after being cursed by one of the many witches he ordered burnt to death. The day after the witch’s execution, Count Estruch found himself so sick that he couldn’t even get out of bed. He died a short time later, and his body went missing from the castle before it could be buried.


A picture of “Estruch,” a 1991 novel about the legend of Count Estruch. That note card over the book says, “The first vampire was Spanish, and he “lived” in a castle in the Pyrenees. Before Dracula, the Count Estruch terrorized the Iberians of the 12th century.”

After the Count’s death, dead cows started turning up around the castle, mutilated and drained of all their blood. The castle’s servants reported seeing their old master walking through the halls and rooms again, looking just as he was when he was a young man. Count Estruch had come back from the dead, and he haunted the people of Emporda, drinking their blood and stealing their women.

Whenever these abducted women would return, they’d come back pregnant. Nine months would pass, just like in a normal pregnancy, but their children would always come out as hideous monsters. These babies would never survive long, and most of them were born stillborn. Eventually, depending on who you ask, either an old nun or a Jewish hermit put an end to the Count’s terror by finding his hidden coffin and driving a stake into the vampire’s heart.

While Count Estruch might have died there, his story was passed down for hundreds of years among the people. Peasants warned their children of the Count, and women who delivered stillborn babies were said to have been seduced by him. Count Estruch terrified generations, but we can’t be sure how exactly true the story is. Nobody knows whether the Count was a real person, or whether he was just a legend. Unfortunately, Llers Castle was reduced to ruins during the Spanish Civil War, and all the historical documents about Count Estruch were destroyed or lost.

Some suggest that the story of Count Estruch might have originated with the persecution of the Cathars, a group of Gnostic Christians that were popular in southern France during medieval times. The Cathars were considered heretics, and were even burnt at the stake and massacred. Some of the Cathars fled for Spain, and “Estruch” might have come from the Occitan surname “Astruc.” I suppose we’ll never know for certain, but you’ve got to wonder how this story came from Spain of all places, a country not particularly known for its vampire lore.