The Disappearance of Rivalino Mafra da Silva: Alien Abduction or Foul Play?

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Depiction of Rivalino Mafra da Silva’s abduction on an Italian magazine.

Rivalino Mafra da Silva was a Brazilian diamond prospector who lived in Diamantino, a town in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. Rivalino’s wife had died in 1961, and he raised his three sons Raimundo (12-years-old), Fatimo (6-years-old), and Dirceu (2-years-old) by himself in a shack. On August 19, 1962, the family was woken up during the middle of the night by a shadow in their shared bedroom. According to Raimundo, the shadow was “half the size of a man and not shaped like a human being.” It quietly moved through the room, looked over the Mafras, and then left their house. 

After the shadow left, the Mafras heard voices and footsteps coming from outside. One of the voices said, “This seems to be Rivalino,” and then Rivalino jumped out of bed and went into the living-room. He asked the voices who they were, but they refused to identify themselves. They told Rivalino that they were going to kill him. Eventually, the voices stopped and seemed to have left, but the Mafras couldn’t sleep after this incident. They were so scared that they prayed all night.

In the morning, while fetching his dad’s horse, Raimundo saw two ball-like objects hovering in the air near the family shack. One of the objects was entirely black in color, the other was black and white. Both objects had antennae and tail-like appendages. They also made humming noises, and flashes of light or fire came out from their backs.

Raimundo shouted for his father, and when Rivalino came outside, the two objects combined into one ball and released a yellow smoke. The smoke covered Rivalino and filled the air with a terrible odor. When the smoke cleared a minute later, Rivalino and the ball-like object were gone. Raimundo looked all over for his father, but couldn’t find him. He ran to the local police station and reported what happened. When the police searched the Mafras’ shack, they found drops of human blood, although it couldn’t be determined whether it belonged to Rivalino.

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Drawing by Raimundo of the objects he saw.

Naturally, the authorities didn’t buy Raimundo’s incredible story. They suspected that he killed his father, or perhaps was covering up for the murderer. Joao Antunes de Oliveira, a psychiatrist, thought that Raimundo was perfectly sane. He seemed to truly believe that he saw a ball-like object abduct his father. The police didn’t buy it though. In a cruel trick, they covered a (still living) volunteer with a sheet and told Raimundo that it was Rivalino’s dead body. Raimundo still refused to take back his account. In tears, he insisted that the story was true and that the ball must have returned his father.

While some believed the boy, other residents sided with the police. Elagmano Marques da Costa, a businessman in the area, thought Mafra ran off and abandoned his sons. One popular rumor suggested that he was murdered. Perhaps Raimundo saw the shadows and voices of the murderers, but hallucinated the rest of the incident due to shock. While he might have been deemed sane, Raimundo wasn’t in the best of health. He was badly malnourished, illiterate, and couldn’t even read a clock. Interestingly, Raimundo related the same story over and over. His account is said to have never changed, perhaps confirming the psychiatrists’ observation that he believed what he saw. (Or, if you will, the veracity of Raimundo’s testimony.)

Five days after his father’s disappearance, Raimundo gave an interview to the press. The next day, an article about the story appeared in the newspaper Diario de Minas. A Rio de Janiero-based paper, Tribuna da Imprensa, covered the case on August 29. In a September article for The A.P.R.O Bulletin entitled “Man Kidnapped by Globes,” Olavo T. Fontes translated Raimundo’s press interview, the first report of the case in English-speaking media. Many other articles and books, as listed here, have since covered Rivalino Mafra da Silva’s disappearance, but with distortions and inaccuracies.

One common piece of apocrypha, missing from the earliest sources, concerns alien dwarves.  Slightly before Rivalino’s disappearance, two of his co-workers are said to have seen a pair of three foot-tall beings while walking past his house. The dwarves were digging a hole, and when spotted, ran into the bushes. A red UFO then emerged from the hiding spot and took off into the sky. Others claim that it was Rivalino himself who saw the dwarves.

Many English sources also neglect the fact that Rivalino’s body might possibly have been found. In October 1963, A Estrela Polar reported that a group of hunters found bones near Rivalino’s house in “a place of difficult access.” Due to the belt that was found with the remains, along with the location, the body was identified as Rivalino’s. Of course, some have questioned whether the bones really were Rivalino’s, but this was enough to (partly) satisfy the foul play theory. To my knowledge, however, nobody could come up with the names of the murderers.  Whatever exactly happened to the Mafra boys after their father’s disappearance is also obscure; Raimundo is said to have died in 2001, and the whereabouts of Fatimo and Dirceu are unknown.

 

 

 

 

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The Betty Andreasson Abduction

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In January 1967, Betty Andreasson was abducted by a group of aliens who told her that worshipped Jesus Christ.

Until January 25, 1967, Betty Andreasson was a pretty ordinary housewife living in South Ashburnham, Massachusetts. That night, around 6:30 PM, Betty was working in her kitchen when her house’s power went out for a brief second. As Betty rushed to her front room to check on her seven children, a red light suddenly flashed through the kitchen window and caught her father’s attention. When Betty’s father went up to the window to check out the source of the light, he saw a group of small gray aliens apparently hopping toward the house.

Once they reached Betty’s home, the aliens floated through the kitchen door and put everybody except Betty into a state of suspended animation. To show Betty that her family was all right, the aliens snapped her 11-year-old daughter Becky back into animation. Becky told her mother not to worry, and then the aliens froze her again. While communicating with Betty by telepathy, the aliens took her outside to a silver spacecraft. This smaller vehicle took off and entered a mothership.

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A drawing of the Andreasson aliens from one of the five books Raymond Fowler wrote about the case.

Over the course of four hours, Betty was subjected to some medical experiments and a surgery which removed a tracking-device that had been put in her nose in an earlier encounter that happened in 1950.  During her abduction, the aliens told Betty that they worshipped Jesus Christ. They claimed that the Second Coming would happen soon, and then they took Betty to a room where she talked to a tall being she would later call “The One”. After meeting The One, Betty was taken home and had her memory wiped clean. Her family was unfrozen, and aside from Becky, would forget everything they saw that night.

It wasn’t until years later, in the 1970s, that Betty would remember what happened to her. In 1975, Betty wrote a letter about her experience to J. Allen Hynek, a well-known astronomer and UFO investigator. Hynek had little interest in Betty’s incredible story, but a hypnotic session was eventually organized by a group of investigators in 1977. After more than a dozen sessions and some other tests, Betty and Becky were able to unravel what happened to their family that night in 1967. Betty also recovered memories about some incidents in 1944, 1949, and 1950, and the hypnotist, Raymond Fowler, soon came to believe that he was once abducted by aliens too.

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In 1979, Fowler turned the exhaustive notes taken of Betty’s experiences into a book called The Andreasson Affair. By that time, Betty was living in Florida with two of her daughters after a divorce from her husband. After her case became publicized, she met a man named Bob Luca, who also claimed to have some abduction experiences. (It seems like everybody Betty comes into contact with realizes they once had an abduction experience.) Betty and Bob were soon married, and their subsequent experiences have provided for four more books by Raymond Fowler. They are both still alive and active in the UFO community.

Due to the hundreds of pages of research that went into investigating Betty Andreasson’s experiences, her story has long been regarded by enthusiasts as one of the more credible abduction cases. There are plenty of troubling details and problems with her case, however, and I don’t just mean the part about the aliens practicing a 2,000-year-old religion whose holy book doesn’t even mention life on other planets.

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A sketch of the spaceship Andreasson went on-board.

As pointed out by Dr. Aaron Sakulich, of The Iron Skeptic, Betty’s description of her abductors is strange and inconsistent. Over the years, Betty went from describing the aliens’ eyes as white with pupils to being entirely black like the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The uniforms the aliens wore also don’t make much sense. According to Betty, they wore heavy boots, but what would have been the point since the aliens apparently floated everywhere? Furthermore, hypnosis sessions and “recovered” memories are notoriously unreliable and should not be taken as serious proof that an abduction actually happened.

In February 2007, Betty and Bob Luca’s son Robert Jr. announced that the Andreasson Affair was a hoax. In a 2,000 word email available on UFO UpDates, Robert Jr. claimed that his father was a compulsive liar who had drinking problems, while his mother needed “serious psychological help” and had “serious issues.” According to Robert Jr., Betty had been experiencing emotional shock because two of her sons had earlier died in a car accident. After meeting her second husband, Betty  would write about every dream she had as though it were an abduction, and Bob encouraged her and even manipulated investigators into believing the story.

At the end of his email, Robert Luca Jr. had this to say about his parents: “These two people have used the ufo society for years and only to gain book sales, money and own self satisfation of feeling as if they are in the public. They give people out there with real and true stories a big black eye!”

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The Andreasson Affair, the first of five books about the Betty Andreasson case written by Raymond Fowler, is currently the only book still in print.

I believe Robert Jr. had much more to say on his website, Luca Land, but this site is no longer available. Naturally, his accusations came as a great shock, and Betty’s defenders slammed him as a liar incapable of using spellcheck. (As you can see in the quote above, he wasn’t particularly strong on his grammar and spelling.) The official Andreasson Affair website has an open letter from Bob Luca rebuking his son’s claims. According to the elder Luca, his son was estranged from the family and struggled with drugs and alcohol. He also announced that his son was now deceased, although he didn’t specify the causes.

Personally, I have no idea whether Robert Luca Jr.’s claims were legitimate. But his comment about Betty’s emotional state is interesting and deserves some attention. From an interview on the UFO Case Book, Betty had this to say about how her experience and the publicity affected her family:

“Yes, many things changed in my family. My father passed on, my ex husband disappeared, my two sons died in an auto accident, my mother came to live with us, I moved to Florida with her and my two youngest daughters. I was told not to speak to any reporters. I had to sell my home, the children had to attend other schools. My whole life, and my family had changed and went through some very difficult times.”

Did you find this article interesting? Be sure to share it on your social media and leave me any comments, questions, or theories you might have in the comments section. 

The 1973 Pascagoula Alien Abduction

Picture of the type of alien Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed to see in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Image credit/source here.)

Picture of the type of alien Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed to see in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Image credit/source here.)

On the night of October 11, 1973, co-workers Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were fishing on the Pascagoula River in Mississippi when the two men suddenly heard a hissing sound coming behind them. When they turned around, they saw an oval-shaped craft hovering in the air and flashing blue lights. A door on the craft opened, and three robot-like creatures floated down toward Hickson’s and Parker’s boat. The creatures were about 5 feet tall, with gray wrinkled skin, clawed hands, and slits for eyes and a mouth.

The two men found themselves paralyzed and unable to resist being grabbed by the creatures. Parker fainted at this point, and they were then floated up into the spaceship with their abductors. According to Hickson, he was taken into a room full of light and examined by an oval-shaped probe that circled around his body. When the probe had finished its examination, the creatures floated out of the room and then floated Hickson back outside after 20 minutes. Hickson found Parker on the shore, crying and praying. The spaceship then left, and Hickson and Parker went into their car to calm down and try to make sense of what happened.

Charles Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker (right). (Image source/credit here.)

Charles Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker (right). (Image source/credit here.)

Although afraid that nobody would believe them, Hickson and Parker called the Kessler Air Force Base, which recommended that they report the incident to the local sheriff. At first, the sheriff and his deputies were skeptical and thought the men were drunk. When they left Hickson and Parker alone in a room with a secret tape recorder, however, they continued to talk as though the experience were real. At one point, Hickson told Parker, “It scared me to death too, son. You can’t get over it in a lifetime. Jesus Christ have mercy.”

The story appeared on local newspaper headlines the next day, and soon news reporters and UFO investigators were crawling all over Pascagoula and harassing Hickson and Parker at their workplace. Hundreds of UFO sightings in Mississippi were reported in the next couple of weeks, including an encounter by some Coast Guardsmen with a glowing object moving underwater in the Pascagoula River.

While Parker initially tried to keep his distance from the incident, Hickson gave media interviews and lectures about his experience, even visiting local schools. In 1983, he published “UFO Contact at Pascagoula” with investigator William Mendez, a full-fledged (and rare) book about the encounter and three incidents of psychic telecommunication he said that he received in 1974. Until he passed away in September 2011, Hickson continued to insist that the story was true and that the creatures he saw were peaceful aliens concerned about the earth.

Drawing of the Pascagoula aliens. (Image source/credit here.)

Drawing of the Pascagoula aliens. (Image source/credit here.)

After participating in some hypnotic sessions, Parker recovered vague memories about what had happened that night. Unlike Hickson, he was wary of the attention he attracted, and eventually moved out of the state. Over the past two decades, he has become more open to interviews and has even participated in UFO conventions.

Drawing of a Pascagoula alien. (Image source/ credit here.)

Drawing of a Pascagoula alien. (Image source/ credit here.)

So what have skeptics had to say about the Pascagoula incident? Hickson’s and Parker’s story made a big splash in national media back in 1973, and some of the biggest names in the UFO investigation community, like J. Allen Hynek and James Harder, believed that the men were telling the truth. While Hickson and Parker did pass lie-detectors, there were inconsistencies in the interviews Hickson gave to the media. Much of the story, in fact, had come from Hickson, since Parker said he passed out. Nobody else in the area, including drivers on a well-used highway, claimed to have seen the UFO.

In an interesting article for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, noted paranormal investigator and debunker Joe Nickell suggests that the whole abduction was a vivid hallucination by Hickson. Hickson had drunk some whiskey after the abduction to soothe his nerves, and Nickell suspects that he and Parker might have been drinking before the incident. They fell asleep afterward, but Hickson suffered an episode of hypnagogia, a state of consciousness in which a person is in between sleeping and waking up. Hypnagogic episodes often involve the experiences of paralysis, seeing lights, and feeling as though one is floating. While Parker might not have had a hypnagogic episode himself, he might have been influenced by Hickson and the hypnotic sessions he had undergone.