Flying on an Alien’s Back Across the Middle Kingdom


Huang Yanqiu (left), China’s first alien abductee

Discounting ancient stories that modern enthusiasts have reclassified as alien encounters, China was relatively late to the UFO craze. There was no Chinese equivalent of Kenneth Arnold, and I’ve never heard of Beijingers riding around with benevolent Space Brothers in the ’50s, or being pursued by shady men in black during the ’60s. The birth of Chinese interest in UFOs might well be dated to the late 1970s, as China ditched Maoism and opened itself up to American influences. Paranormal researcher Paul Dong identified the years 1977 between 1980 as the beginning of China’s “UFO fever,” as the country set up research groups, studied sightings, and followed UFO cases in major newspapers.

The case of Huang Yanqiu, a farmer in a village in Hebei Province, is possibly the first abduction story to come out of contemporary China. On the night of July 27, 1977, Huang- a 21-year-old man about to be married- vanished from his village. In the morning, another village next door got a telegram that Huang was being held by the authorities in Shanghai. For a man with no car or private jet, this was an astonishing distance. Huang had somehow gotten 700 miles away, even though the nearest express train was in Handan, a city that was over 27 miles away from his village.

Baffled, the folks over in Huang’s village had to wait three days before they got confirmation from Shanghai that it was, indeed, their missing man being held in custody. After his cousin and neighbor came to retrieve him, Huang’s explanation for his bizarre disappearance and trek was a bit of a head-scratcher. On the night he vanished, Huang claimed that he fell asleep in his room. When a loud noise woke him up, Huang found himself lying in a big, flashy city. Passersby told the bewildered farmer that he was in Nanjing, more than 500 miles away from home. 

How would he get back to Hebei? Huang was so confused and worried that he started to cry. In his hour of need, two traffic cops approached Huang and gave him a train ticket for Shanghai. They made him board the train immediately, and after arriving in Shanghai a few hours later, Huang was shocked to see the two traffic cops at the train station’s police station. The pair then escorted Huang through the city, dropping him off at a deportation center. He had no idea who these Good Samaritans were, and was equally mystified on how he ended up in Nanjing. 

Huang’s tale was the talk of the village. A month later, just as things began to settle down, the young husband-to-be disappeared again. On the night of September 8th, Huang drifted off to sleep at home, but woke up at a train station in Shanghai. As a violent storm pounded rain over his head, Huang’s first thought was to find a soldier he met in the city last time. Never mind that Huang didn’t know the man’s address. Another pair of Good Samaritans, calling themselves soldiers, took Huang to the necessary barracks. When they finished their duty, the men stepped out, unseen by any troops at the camp.

Disappearing under mysterious circumstances just once is all fine and dandy, but Huang’s village was more concerned the second time around. When Huang returned on September 11th, some suggested that he was being haunted by ghosts. His fiancée, admirably patient up until this point, begged local officials for a divorce. Yet his earlier adventures would prove to be tame when, on September 20th, Huang fainted and materialized in a hotel. Once again, there were two men inside the room, who informed Huang that he was now hundreds of miles away, in the city of Lanzhou.

The men revealed to Huang that they were responsible for his disappearances, and had disguised themselves as the traffic cops and soldiers Huang encountered earlier. They wanted to take their sleepy abductee on a nine-day trip around the country, starting with Beijing. Their method of travel was unorthodox, but highly efficient. Huang hopped on one of the stranger’s backs, and the man flew him into the air, crossing hundreds of miles in only an hour. There was no wind involved in their flight, and Huang described their pace as being like running.

His magical hosts took Huang to Tiananmen Square, hotels, restaurants, and even a movie theater, where they were allowed to enter without tickets. They ate three meals a day, could speak a number of Chinese dialects, and always had a letter of introduction for whatever and whoever they wanted to see. Unfortunately, the trip of a lifetime came to an end on September 28th, when Huang woke up under a jujube tree at home. Local reception to his third and final adventure was cold. His fiancée’s family cancelled the wedding, and the authorities at one point launched an investigation into Huang, accusing him of hurting village production and spreading superstition.

The flight of Huang Yanqiu has since entered the holy annals of Chinese ufology. His flying companions have been deemed aliens, and the far distances he traveled have been attributed to UFO rides. Non-believers argue that Huang was lying or delusional, while one CCTV program offered the imaginative solution that Huang was sleepwalking. A poster on the question-and-answer site Zhihu has suggested that Huang’s trips were perfectly doable by train at the time. Even if it took 22 hours to get from Handan to Shanghai in 1977, Huang was always gone long enough to take the ride, and nobody ever confirmed seeing his gifted friends.

On the cynical side of things, should we also really ignore the fact that Huang was a young groom who just happened to get involved in this when he was about to be married? I’d venture that disappearing and hanging out with extraordinary flying men is a fool-proof way to cancel a wedding that you don’t want.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider supporting my work by buying my book “Forgotten Lives” on Amazon here. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and other classic dark writers, my first short story collection includes characters who believe they’re in contact with extraterrestrial seahorses, a queen who chokes to death on honey, and a Victorian detective so incompetent that he makes the Warren Report look credible.  If your tastes lean toward the absurd, do give the book a read and leave a review on its Amazon and Goodreads pages. 

Wilbert Smith and Project Magnet, Canada’s Unintentional UFO Research Study


Canadian engineer & UFO researcher Wilbert Smith

In the beginning of the Flying Saucer Saga, academics and military officials who studied the subject made a point of creating a division between themselves and their more colorful layman cohorts. While contactees like Gloria Lee and Buck Nelson frolicked around in public, babbling about traveling in UFOs and hanging out with groovy Space Brothers, professionals like Major Donald Keyhoe represented a more sober, respectful camp of believers. During one 1958 TV interview, Keyhoe stated that “We do not accept any reports of these so-called contactees without more evidence.” In fact, he dismissed the group entirely, offering pilots and military officials as more reliable witnesses of the UFO phenomenon.

As a radio engineer for Transport Canada, the Great White North’s department of transportation, Wilbert Smith was an oddity who hovered between the two factions. On a trip to Washington D.C. in 1950, Smith encountered Keyhoe’s The Flying Saucers Are Real, one of the earliest books to suggest that UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin. At the same time, he read Frank Scully’s equally influential Behind the Flying Saucers, which proposed that the giant metallic frisbees sweeping the United States were being propelled by a mastery of the planet’s magnetism. Smith, a man greatly interested in the manipulation of magnetism, soon found himself hooked.

Sometime in September of that year, Smith had the Canadian embassy set up a meeting with Dr. Robert Sarbacher, a physicist and government consultant. Sarbacher affirmed that UFOs did, indeed, exist, and that Scully’s book was “substantially correct.” (Never mind that, a few years later, Scully’s main sources for Behind the Flying Saucers were revealed to be substantially fraudulent.) When Smith returned to Canada, he reported to other maple syrup-slurping officials that the matter of flying saucers was “considered by the United States authorities to be of tremendous significance.” Anxious to join the fun, and enticed by the thought of using magnetism as an energy fuel, Smith appealed for his own UFO research project.

In December 1950, Canada Transport established Project Magnet, an enterprise headed by Smith that initially (and officially) studied geomagnetic energy. In the course of his research, however, Smith also indulged in UFO sightings, a personal excursion that would soon overshadow the project’s original purpose. In addition to directing Project Magnet, Smith participated in Project Second Storey, a government committee which briefly analyzed and collected reports of UFOs in 1952. While that committee was inconclusive, Smith came to believe that UFOs were very likely alien vehicles. The next step, he advocated, was to get a hold of this geomagnetic technology.

To detect magnetic disturbances and anomalies in the earth’s atmosphere, Smith was allowed to use an observatory in Shirleys Bay, near the city of Ottawa. On August 8, 1954, the observatory’s gravimeter went crazy, apparently catching something unusual. Although Smith interpreted the measurement as the sign of a UFO, the foggy weather on that day prevented him from seeing anything. Alas, Smith’s detection of a flying saucer, or dragon, or squadron of fairies, or whatever it was, was the final straw for Canada Transport. The department was growing tired of Smith and his antics, to the point that some officials argued that Project Magnet was a waste of time and resources.

When Smith’s observatory episode caught the attention of the press, Canada Transport couldn’t stomach the embarrassment anymore. Project Magnet was ordered to close, and the department made it loud and clear that it had nothing to do with the ufological aspect of Smith’s work. Still, while he no longer had that sweet government funding, Smith continued to work for Canada Transport and research UFOs in his spare time. He gave lectures on the subject, granted interviews, and founded a UFO-related club in Ottawa. In 1960, Smith and his club claimed that a piece of metal they uncovered in the St. Lawrence River was a piece of an alien spacecraft. On another occasion, Smith told American interviewers that he examined a UFO fragment that was lent to him by the American Air Force.

As he accepted the existence of UFOs, it seems that Smith became increasingly credulous. His approach shifted, concentrating more on the meaning of flying saucers over gathering reliable evidence. He exchanged letters with George Hunt Williamson and other contactees, and not only believed that these New Age hucksters were genuine, but joined their ranks. In due time, he began to talk about communicating with extraterrestrials himself. Smith nicknamed his space friends “The Boys from Topside.” They were advanced beings, of course, and they used telepathy to guide Smith in crafting such handy inventions as the binding meter, a tool that measured the energy which holds things together.

In May 1962, Wilbert Smith was diagnosed with cancer, and later died that December at the age of 52. His tragic, unexpected death led to the usual wild speculations that tend to follow paranormal/UFO researchers who die prematurely; his son James, however, has confirmed with researcher Palmiro Campagna that his father passed away from bowel cancer. Seven years after Smith’s death, some of his writings were collected in The Boys From Topside, a collection of articles from the Flying Saucer Review and Smith’s own Topside newsletters.

The eleven pieces feature Smith’s musings on aliens and UFOs, and in the fourth, Smith predicts that “In time, when certain events have transpired, and we are so oriented that we can accept these people from elsewhere, they will meet us freely on common ground of mutual understanding and trust. We will be able to learn from them and bring about the Golden Age all men everywhere desire deep within their hearts.” Is it wrong that, deep within my heart, I desire for The Boys from Topside to grant me a patent for some nifty space gadget?

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider supporting my work by buying my book “Forgotten Lives” on Amazon here. The entire book was dictated by The Boys from Topside via automatic writing, and the morbid and bizarre stories therein star such characters as a playwright who stages real deaths for his work, a corpse that leads a revolution in a banana republic, and a sleazy photographer who claims to take pictures of ghosts. If your tastes lean toward the absurd, do give the book a read and leave a review, death-threat, or prophetic message on its Amazon page. 



Aladino Félix: From Contactee to Terrorist


Our lord and savior, Aladino Félix

I imagine few people have a  résumé as colorful as Aladino Félix’s. This Brazilian Renaissance man was an author, translator, World War II veteran, contactee, psychic, cult leader, messiah, and a terrorist. Félix’s journey to greatness began with the events in My Contact with Flying Saucers, a book he wrote under the name Dino Kraspedeon in 1959. Like Buck Nelson and other contactees in the United States, Félix claimed to be on good terms with extraterrestrial beings. His first book is presented mostly as a dialogue, featuring the usual contactee tropes of spirituality, warnings about the atomic age, and a poor understanding of science.

According to Félix, his first encounter with a UFO occurred in November 1952. It was a rainy day, and Félix had just reached the top of a mountain with a friend when the two pals noticed a squadron of five UFOs in the sky. After the sighting, Félix  spent three days waiting at the same spot, hoping to see a saucer again. On the third night, the earthling’s wish was granted. Not only did a UFO appear and land, but the captain of the ship invited Félix inside. The visit lasted over an hour, and it ended with the captain promising Félix that he’d be back soon.

Some four or five months passed. While sitting at home one Sunday afternoon, Félix’s wife heard the doorbell ring three times. After finding a traveling parson at the door, Mrs. Félix fetched her husband. At the time, Félix was an atheist. He dreaded listening to preachers, but let the parson in to be polite. The stranger was dressed up enough to put a Jehovah’s Witness to shame, wearing a nice cashmere suit, a white shirt and blue tie, and an impressively clean pair of shoes. As Félix came face-to-face with the man, he realized the handsome parson was no stranger. Just as he promised, the UFO captain had returned.

The captain stressed that he’d come in peace. He only wanted Félix’s friendship, and apologized for showing up in a disguise. (Mrs. Félix apparently couldn’t handle the thought of a spaceman sitting in her kitchen.) Over the course of five conversations, the captain revealed a myriad of things, including that he was from Jupiter. He was also a strong believer in the Christian God, convincing Félix to turn away from his atheism. By the time the captain said goodbye, leaving Félix at a São Paulo train station, the enlightened Brazilian was taught everything from the working of UFOs to the “fact” that gravity didn’t actually exist.

My Contact with Flying Saucers was a surprising success, and it was even translated into English. Félix published another alien-themed book in 1959, using the Dino Kraspedeon pseudonym one last time. That same year, he embarked on a translation of Centuries, a collection of vague prophecies by the infamous Nostradamus. While translating the text, Félix became convinced that the book contained references to his own life and relatives. Later, a disembodied voice told Félix that it was Jehovah, and it was his destiny to unite the Jews. Reinventing himself, Félix passed on his revelations in the 1960 Message to the Jews, published under the name Dunotas Menorá.

As the decade went on, Félix’s ideas grew more bizarre and grandiose. Insisting that he was a messiah, Félix adopted yet another new name, Sábado Dinotos. As he popped up on TV and made predictions about the future, Félix gathered up a base of fans and followers. In 1967, the self-proclaimed reincarnated King David elaborated his doctrine in The Antiquity of Flying SaucersIn Félix’s baffling history, Earth was the battleground of two opposing extraterrestrial forces. The good guys, the inhabitants of Jupiter, bequeathed us the Old Testament. The bad guys, a bunch of villains from Venus, gave us the New Testament.

Along these lines, Christianity was evil. As a matter of fact, Jesus was a freak spawned from artificial insemination, a Venusian agent to lead humanity astray. Fortunately, Félix revealed, this dark age was almost over. The Jews would take complete control of Jerusalem, sparking the Catholic Church to call for a crusade. Jupiter would then intervene and send a fleet of UFOs, leading Félix to victory as master of the world. There was nothing anybody could do to stop it. Félix predicted disaster after disaster, claiming great violence was about to shake up Brazil and the rest of the planet.

Between 1964 and 1985, Brazil was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship. When Félix issued his prophecy, the Brazilian government was getting ready to clamp down on critics and dissidents harder than ever before, a period of repression and violence known as the Years of Lead. Beginning in December 1967, a wave of mysterious terrorist attacks swept São Paulo. The terrorists stole weapons and bombed a number of important places, including a stock exchange building and a police headquarters. The crime spree continued for months, only coming to a stop when police nabbed the culprits after a bank robbery in August 1968.

To the superstitious, the whole episode proved Félix’s prophecies were correct, but there was a tiny problem. As the authorities interrogated the terrorist group, which consisted of policemen, they realized the ringleader was a familiar face on Brazilian television. The mastermind behind the attacks, the man who had plotted to overthrow the government, was none other than Sábado Dinotos, otherwise known as Aladino Félix. The true messiah was duly imprisoned, before escaping from prison and getting thrown in jail again. Félix was ultimately let off lightly, and was released in 1972. His last days were spent away from the public, writing, pondering, and wondering why his Jovian allies never arrived.

The great prophet died in 1985, leaving behind several loose ends. Why, for example, did Félix receive such a light punishment? And why were his co-conspirators acquitted, some of whom were allowed to go back to work? In 2018, the saga of Aladino Félix took another wild turn when investigators discovered that he had links to elements in the old military dictatorship. Félix and his right-wing group were actually encouraged to carry out their spree of terror, in the hope that left-wing terrorists would strike back, and the government would be justified in tightening its control. Of course, the plan worked, but one has to wonder why Félix’s military buddies entrusted a lunatic to help them. Were they, perhaps, afraid that the communists would team up with Venus?

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider supporting my work by buying my book “Forgotten Lives” on Amazon here. My first collection of short stories includes the company of such wonderful people as a vengeful circus dwarf, a gourmet cannibal, and a mother who convinces her daughter that aliens are coming to abduct them. The book is available on Kindle, and makes an excellent diversion for anybody who’s grown impatient waiting for the Jovian flying saucers. 




The Life and Crimes of Reinhold O. Schmidt


Contactee Reinhold O. Schmidt (far left) on the set of a movie he made about his alleged experiences.

As a skeptic, I consider the contactees of the 1950s and ‘60s obvious hoaxers, but I’ll grant that they were at least sincere. Their antics normally consisted of selling books and spreading the peaceful messages of Space Brothers, nothing particularly illegal. The American salesman Reinhold O. Schmidt had a different act. While he preached the usual claptrap about harmony and love, Schmidt stole a bunch of money from elderly female fans. Using his contactee stories as part of his scheme, Schmidt purloined some $30,000 before he was caught and imprisoned.

According to his writings, Schmidt’s experiences began on November 5, 1957. On a misty day in Kearney, Nebraska, while traveling for his salesman job, Schmidt noticed a flash of light shining ahead of his car. When he drove farther, intending to find the source, Schmidt’s car suddenly stopped working. Right as he got out to check what the problem was, Schmidt noticed a silver, balloon-like UFO resting on landing gear nearby. In classic contactee fashion, Schmidt approached the ship and was quickly hit and paralyzed by a beam of light. Two men- one of whom Schmidt later nicknamed “Mr. X”- came out of the UFO and invited Schmidt to come inside.

Two other men and women sat in the ship, attending to its control panel and a bunch of tubes that were red, blue, green, and orange. Schmidt described this crew as very similar-looking to earthlings, all of them having dark hair and tanned skin. Oddly, the crew spoke in High German, which Schmidt very conveniently studied in high school. Whenever the men and women spoke English, it was also with a thick German accent. At the time, this led Schmidt to believe that they were probably German scientists.

Our noble salesman was allowed to stay in the UFO for a half-hour. Once he got back to his car, Schmidt shook and struggled to understand what he just experienced. He wasn’t quite sure whether to go public with his encounter, but decided it was his duty as an American citizen to report it. From Schmidt’s telling, the first thing he did was drive to a minister’s house. The minister wasn’t home, so he figured he’d head to the local police station instead. The deputy sheriff listened to Schmidt’s story and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt: he and Schmidt headed to the UFO’s landing spot, where they found the ship’s imprints and a dark green oil.

After this first check-up, Schmidt visited the spot again, this time with the chief of police, a reporter, and the city attorney. These three men, according to Schmidt, also agreed that his story must have been legitimate. Later that day, they dropped Schmidt off at his hotel, where he watched a news broadcast that called the UFO in Schmidt’s story a spaceship . The broadcast caused a sensation; the rest of the night, Schmidt talked to reporters and officials at the police station, and made a few more visits to the UFO’s landing spot.

In the middle of the barrage of media attention, according to Schmidt, the Kearney authorities told him that he had to change his story. They pressured him to admit that it was a lie, but Schmidt stuck to his guns. In his own account, Schmidt tries to portray himself as innocent, but the cops weren’t so easily fooled. A background check revealed that Schmidt had earlier served prison time for embezzlement, and a search of the trunk of his car revealed a can of the “mysterious” oil that was found at the alleged landing spot. Rather than letting Schmidt go, the cops detained him and held him in the local jail.

Based on his story, the authorities suspected that Schmidt was crazy. He failed a mental health evaluation, and was consequently put into a mental hospital for treatment. From Schmidt’s telling of the tale, the Kearney authorities tried very hard to smear him as a nutcase. They told Schmidt’s brothers over the phone that he was mentally ill, suicidal, and, most heinously, a marijuana smoker. For two weeks, Schmidt was stuck in this hospital, until his boss flew to Kearney and testified that he was a perfectly sane person.

Free at last, Schmidt continued to have contact with Mr. X, being treated to rides in his spaceship. He got to know Mr. X and the UFO crew much better during this time, learning that they were not sinister Nazi space colonists, but friendly Saturnians. On August 14, Mr. X picked Schmidt up and took him on a trip to the Arctic Circle. The crew also traveled to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which Mr. X claimed was built by levitating the stones into place.

Interestingly, a decade before Erich von Däniken emerged with his infamous shtick, Schmidt tied the pyramids to ancient aliens as well. Together with Mr. X, Schmidt entered a secret door in the Great Pyramid and stumbled on a room containing a spaceship. When Schmidt inspected the room, he found a huge wooden cross, a pair of sandals, a white robe, a crown of thorns- And yes, if you haven’t guessed it already, Jesus Christ was the original owner of this ship. After his resurrection, Jesus rode the ship to the planet Venus. Mr. X was the (space)man who drove it back, and he hid it in the pyramid for the time when mankind would finally be ready to learn this jaw-dropping secret.

Across these excursions, Schmidt reportedly flew over the sites of cancer-curing crystals that were begging to be excavated. As he built his following up in the contactee scene, Schmidt told elderly female fans that he could mine these magical crystals, but needed to finish raising funds first. Unfortunately, these women took the bait, and Schmidt collected over $30,000 before he was busted. Once he was caught in 1961, Schmidt was convicted of grand theft, and given a jail sentence of one to ten years. Sources are scanty on how long Schmidt spent in jail, but it appears that he survived his imprisonment and died in 1974.

As for the cancer-curing crystals- the Saturnians have told me their location, but I’m afraid I’ll need at least a million dollars before I can divulge this information.



The Terrassa Double Suicide


José Félix Rodríguez Montero and Juan Turu Vallés

I’d like to think chasing UFOs is generally a harmless hobby. If any of the stories at Bizarre and Grotesque are to be believed (and they shouldn’t be), then an obsession with aliens usually leads to extraterrestrial lovers, intergalactic vacations, and maybe, just maybe, a chance to hang out with a Venusian dog. Unfortunately, every now and then, some enthusiasts’ interest in UFOs becomes a dangerous influence. Case in point: José Félix Rodríguez Montero and Juan Turu Vallés, two Spanish men who bonded over their love of UFOs and committed suicide in 1972.

Rodríguez was a 47-year-old father and textile worker who had turned his back on traditional religion. He practiced meditation and yoga, and personally knew two of the wackiest figures of ’70s Spain: Clemente Dominguez y Gomez, a Catholic visionary who claimed to be the legitimate pope, and Father Enrique Lopez Guerrero, a “UFO priest” who promoted the long-running UMMO hoax. Among UFO circles, Rodríguez’s nickname was “The Venusian,” and he told others that he had astral projections and telepathic conversations with aliens.

Turu, the younger of the pair by 26 years, was an accountant for the same company Rodríguez worked for. Some places on the web say that Turu was a member of CEI, a UFO research group in Barcelona that the paranoid Franco regime kept a close eye on, but this doesn’t appear to be true. Regardless, Turu was an equally passionate believer, and liked to investigate UFOs in his spare time.

Despite the age gap, Turu and Rodríguez quickly became friends. They had met through an advertisement Turu placed in a magazine in May 1972, looking for other people interested in UFOs. Not even a month later, on the morning of June 20, Rodríguez’s and Turu’s bodies were found decapitated along a railway near the Spanish city of Terrassa. The bodies were three meters (nearly ten feet) apart and had been torn apart by a train. Authorities ruled out foul play, and concluded that the two men committed suicide. In a coat pocket, the police found a simple note that laid out the dead men’s motivation: “The extraterrestrials call us; we belong to infinity.” It was signed “WKTS 88.”

A few days later, the ufologist Màrius Lleget received letters written by Rodríguez and Turu before they committed suicide. One of the letters was meant for the United Nations, but another was addressed to Lleget himself. In this farewell note of sorts, Rodríguez and Turu declared that they had made contact with aliens, and the aliens understood “that we are strangers on this planet.” The folks from outer space counted the two outsiders as friends, and called for them to come to Jupiter, where the closest alien base was located.

Of course, the UFO community in Spain was as disturbed as it was embarrassed. The mysterious deaths of José Félix Rodríguez Montero and Juan Turu Vallés caused a scandal, surrounded by a countless number of questions and rumors. What the heck, for example, did “WKTRS 88” and “WKTS 88” mean? Furthermore, were any of the men’s UFO-watching buddies aware of the plan? Theories have popped up casting doubt on the police investigation of the case, speculating that Rodríguez and Turu had help with their plan, or even that their suicides were part of a Heaven’s Gate-like cult.

In an article for the Spanish-language site El Ojo Critico, the researchers Josep Guijarro and Manuel Carballal suggest that a third-party was involved with Rodríguez and Turu. They believe Turu might have had second doubts, or was involuntarily killed. They point out that Turu was young and engaged, and that the police investigated the case hastily because Rodríguez and Turu were just seen as crazy. Perhaps, however, he legitimately believed that killing himself would send him to Jupiter? That’s the interpretation film director Oscar Aibar went with anyway, when he dramatized Rodríguez’s and Turu’s story as Platillos Volantes (Flying Saucers). I haven’t seen the movie, but Aibar gives the audience a happy ending: Rodríguez and Turu, after killing themselves, happily find themselves on an alien planet.

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The Farmer Who Traveled 800,000,000 Miles


Buck Nelson: Farmer, contactee, and UFO convention organizer.

In the early days of contactees and UFOs, the Missouri farmer Buck Nelson was a breath of fresh air. While other contactees figured talking eloquently and lying about their academic credentials would make their stories believable, the plain-speaking Nelson admitted his education didn’t go any further than the sixth grade. He presented himself as a humble, hard-working guy, and though Nelson’s stories were every bit as ridiculous as his contemporaries, they have an amusing, folksy kind of charm to them.

Fortunately, Nelson was kind (and brave) enough to share his encounters of giant space dogs and Venusian English teachers in a booklet he published in 1956, the bluntly titled “My Trip to Mars, the Moon, and Venus.” For a journey that covered, as an opening page calculates it, an astonishing 800,000,000 miles, the booklet is short and to the point. As far as I know, it’s the only full-length piece of work Nelson ever wrote, and for that, we’ll have to assume it’s the definitive account of his tale.

Before his epic space odyssey, Nelson claimed to have had four earlier contacts with aliens. The first happened on July 30, 1954, when Nelson noticed three UFOs flying outside his home. He took a few pictures and waved a flashlight at the saucers, thinking they would come down and land. I have no idea whether waving a flashlight is offensive in Venusian culture, but the UFOs responded to Nelson’s request by shooting him with a ray of light and knocking him onto the ground. The attack had paralyzed him for a moment, but oddly enough, healed some long-suffering back pain and improved Nelson’s eyesight.

The subsequent encounters were much less violent. The occupants of the UFOs talked to Nelson during the second encounter, and they finally showed themselves on the third. On March 5, 1955, the colorful crew visited Nelson at his home, consisting of an earthling, two Venusians, and a giant space dog. The earthling was a young man named Bucky. Bucky was born in Colorado, but his parents sent him to be brought up on Venus, where he lived and taught English. (Fun fact: Nelson later learned that Bucky was a distant cousin.)

The Venusian guests were both older men. The older of the pair never mentioned his name, but the other said that his name was the distinctly Venusian Bob Solomon, and that he was 200-years-old. Frankly, none of these people are as interesting as the dog though, a 385-pound giant named Bo. On her hind legs, Bo stood even taller than Buck Nelson, and she could shake hands (eh, paws) just like a human.

Over the space of an hour, the friendly crew marveled over Nelson’s ordinary home, and invited him to come along for a trip to outer space sometime. On April 24, Nelson’s friends picked him and his dog Teddy up for the promised trip. Before entering their UFO, Nelson was given the Venusians’ “Twelve Laws of God,” a set of rules that pretty much just updated the Ten Commandments. Unlike the Ten Commandments though, Nelson tells us that the people of outer space actually listen to these rules, and hence are able to live without such destructive influences as war, disease, jails, and- truly the Devil’s liquid- tea.


After writing the Twelve Laws down for all mankind, Nelson was allowed to enter the spaceship. His hosts let him fiddle around with the controls, laughing at him when he accidentally flew the ship upside down. First the crew visited Mars, then the moon, and then Venus. Nelson was introduced to various leaders, and sampled the local cuisine on each stop. Generally, the inhabitants of Mars, the moon, and Venus were like earthlings. They ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, and like Buck Nelson, wore overalls. They lived for a long time, using natural medicine and hypnotism to treat pain.


Of the three destinations, Nelson spent the longest amount of time on Venus. He noted that Venusian cars lacked wheels, but could float three to five feet off the ground. Because the cars could float, Venus had no roads. Because there were no roads or even government buildings, the Venusians paid very little in taxes. They worked only an hour a day, and spent much of their time visiting and socializing with others. For entertainment, the Venusians had “Book Machines,” computer-like devices that could read books and play music.

When Nelson was dropped back off on Earth, he found that he was gone for three days. Nelson promised his extraterrestrial friends that he would tell everybody about the trip. He traveled to Detroit to talk at a “saucer club,” and was allegedly interviewed by astronomers and scientists in Chicago. (Nelson claims these scientists were positive, based on his descriptions, that he had visited the Moon.) Interested in his story, men from the Armed Forces investigated Nelson as well, looking over his house and buying the pair of overalls he wore on his space odyssey. (Again, we have only Nelson’s word to confirm this.)

On December 25, 1955, Bucky showed up at Nelson’s house to deliver a message. It seems Nelson recorded Bucky’s voice, but I can’t find any trace of a recording. In the booklet, however, Nelson writes Bucky’s message down verbatim. To sum it up, Bucky lovingly warned mankind to give up atomic weapons, otherwise America would destroy itself fighting a war on its soil. The rest of that Christmas was pretty cheerful; Nelson hosted some other guests, and one of these men tried selling Bucky insurance.

Traveling across the country, talking on and on about Bucky and Bo, and his 800,000,000 mile journey, Nelson earned a bit of a following among people interested in aliens and flying saucers. He was a guest on radio and TV shows, and spoke in churches as well. Since the aliens apparently recognized how to create a brand, they told Nelson that it was best he always wore overalls in his public appearances. “I think it is something which will fit in with their future plans for me,” Nelson speculates in his booklet.

For a while, Buck Nelson had a good thing going on. Between 1954 and 1966, Nelson held UFO conventions on his farm, featuring, according to one 1961 poster, music, telescopes, fried chicken, and “speakers who have contacted our space brothers.” Nelson also sold copies of his booklet, along with pieces of dog hair he took off Bo. Ultimately, however, Buck Nelson and his overalls ended up playing no great cosmic significance. The last few years of his UFO convention saw disappointing turn-outs, and Nelson is believed to have spent the rest of his life in California, staying with relatives until his death in 1982.

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The Alien Who Needed a New Head


A magazine photo of Mr.F, the baffled protagonist of today’s story.

During the 1970s, Japan was swept by a boom of new interest in the occult. Spoon-bending, Nostradamus, New Age religions, and kokkuri– the Japanese equivalent of ouija boards- were taken up by a number of Japanese. This golden age of hokum also produced some of the country’s most infamous UFO encounters, such as the Kofu Incident, in which a pair of second graders ran into a fanged-midget, and the Nikoro Incident, which involved an even shorter variety of extraterrestrial octopuses. Last week, while browsing an excellent Japanese blog, I had the pleasure of stumbling on a much more obscure case: the story of a 31-year-old truck driver known only as Mr. F.

On September 3, 1974, Mr. F had to deliver a load of furniture bound for Takamatsu, a city in Kagawa Prefecture. He had to reach Uno Port in Tamano, Okayama Prefecture by 7 AM, where the goods would be shipped south to Takamatsu. In the early morning, while driving on the National Route 30 highway, Mr. F got tired and stopped for a bit to eat some udon noodles.

After getting back on the road, Mr. F noticed a body of silvery-white light in the sky. The light, of course, was a flying saucer, and it noiselessly landed some 10 meters (32 feet) away. What happened next was a bit hazy, but after falling unconscious, Mr. F woke up to find a strange woman sitting in his passenger seat.

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The Boy Who Was Zapped By a UFO


Drawing of a UFO that supposedly attacked a boy in Spain in October 1977.

It was the night of October 1, 1977. 7-year-old Martin Rodríguez was playing a game of hide-and-seek with some amigos in Tordesillas, Spain. When the time came for Martin and Fernando Caravelos to hide, the two boys ran to a large abandoned corral. Vagrants were known to sometimes sleep in the corral, so Martin grabbed a rock outside and threw it over the wall to be sure nobody was there.

Instead of hearing a stream of obscenities, the boys heard a clang from what sounded like a metallic object. The sound sparked their curiosity; aside from an old tilling machine, there was nothing else kept inside the corral. Going ahead of Fernando, Martin walked into the corral and noticed a metal, pear-shaped object sitting in the back of a corner.

The object was about 2.8 meters (9 feet) high and 1.95 meters (6.4 feet) wide. It had three circular windows, an elevator-like door in the middle, and three legs. The UFO made a low humming noise and flashed a variety of different colors. After a few seconds of sitting there, the object rose from the ground and suddenly shot a beam of light at Martin’s abdomen.

Fernando quickly grabbed Martin and tried to pull him away. No matter how hard he pulled, however, Martin stood in place like a statue. While Fernando took off screaming for help, Martin felt extreme pain in the spot where the light was shining. He began to feel dizzy, and as he lost his balance and fell backward, the UFO folded its legs into itself and flew away.

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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. 

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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.

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