Brent Swancer September 5, 2021
UFO reports come from all corners of the globe and from people from all walks of life. There seems to be nowhere that is immune to such strange phenomena, with this seeming to be an all-encompassing wave of strangeness that is as of yet beyond our ability to comprehend. One area that has seen plenty of UFO action are the islands of our world, and this may make sense in that UFOs have often been said to be drawn to water. Whether that is true or not, islands have consistently brought in some weird accounts, and here are some of the weirdest.
In 1954 there was a very bizarre UFO event in the island nation of Madagascar, which would be witnessed by potentially tens of thousands of witnesses. On August 16, 1954, an “electric green ball” was seen hurtling down from the sky over the Palais de la Reine, also called the Rova of Antananarivo, in the bustling city of Antananarivo. The mysterious object went streaking behind a nearby hill, and at the time it was thought to be perhaps a meteorite that was about to hit, but there was no explosion or impact. As a multitude of alarmed citizens tried to figure out what was going on, the green light reappeared from behind the hill and proceeded to silently fly up and down over the Avenue of the Liberation while an estimated tens of thousands of awestruck people looked on in various states ranging from awe to horror. It was noticed at the time that street lights and shop lights would flicker and go out as the object passed over them, only to snap back on as it went by, and dogs all over the city were furiously barking. The object continued travelling over the city, passing over a zoo, where all of the animals became absolutely hysterical, and when it passed by cattle on the outskirts of the city they too went nuts. Whatever it was then flew off to the west and was gone. The event was witnessed by as many as 200,000 people and has never been explained.
In 1958 there is a case from the remote rocky uninhabited speck of rocky land called Trinidade, located in the South Atlantic between Brazil and Africa. The island is far from civilization, with no settlements and the only people here being the seasonal staff of an oceanographic post and a meteorological station operated by the Hydrography and Navigation Division of the Ministry of the Navy. It is a wind-lashed, forbidding place, surrounded by lonely seas and forgotten by the world, and where not much ever really happens, but that would change in January of 1958. At the time, a Naval oceanographic research vessel called the Almirante Saldanha made its way to the island to perform scientific studies, after which it was to head off to Rio de Janeiro. On January 16, as the ship was preparing to depart after several days on the island, something very strange would happen. On that day, a number of people on deck witnessed a bizarre object in the sky, which a photographer on board by the name of Almiro Barauna also observed and managed to take photographs of. He would say of it:
It was on January 16, at 12:15 P.M. The ship was preparing to leave the island, to come back to Rio. I was on the deck observing the operations to take aboard the boat used in the trips between the ship and the island (the island has no harbor). The sea was agitated. The weather was cloudy, clear, with no shadows. I had my Rolleiflex 2.8, Model E, which was kept inside an aluminum box for protection against the corrosive effects of water and salt. I had left my Leica with a telephoto lens in my cabin a few moments before. The deck was full of sailors and officers. Suddenly, Mr. Amilar Vieira and Captain Viegas called me, pointing to a certain spot in the sky and yelling about a bright object which was approaching the island.
At this same moment, when I was still trying to see what it was, Lieutenant Homero, the ship’s dentist, came from the bow toward us, running, pointing out to the sky and also yelling about an object he was sighting. He was so disturbed and excited that he almost fell down after colliding with a cable. Then I was finally able to locate the object, by the flash (of light) it emitted. It was already close to the island. It glittered at certain moments, perhaps changing its own light – I don’t know. It was coming over the sea, moving toward the point called the Galo Crest. I had lost thirty seconds looking for the object, but the camera was already in my hands, ready, when I sighted it clearly silhouetted against the clouds. I shot two photos before it disappeared behind the peak Desejado. My camera was set at a speed of 125 [125th of a second], with the aperture at f/8, and this was the cause of an overexposure error, as I discovered later.
The object remained out of sight for a few seconds – behind the peak – reappearing bigger in size and flying in the opposite direction, but lower and closer than before, and moving at a higher speed. I shot the third photo. The fourth and fifth ones were lost, not only because of the speed the saucer was moving, but also for another reason: In the confusion produced as a result of the sighting, I was being pulled and pushed by other persons also trying to spot the object and, as a consequence, photographed the sea and the island only – not the object. It was moving out to sea again, in the direction from which it had come, and it appeared to stop in midair for a brief time. At that moment I shot my last photo (the last on the film). After about ten seconds, the object continued to increase its distance from the ship, gradually diminishing in size and finally disappearing into the horizon. The object was sighted by almost all the people on the deck at that time, including Lieutenant Homero, Captain Viegas, and Mr. Amilar Vieira.
Barauna would have the photos developed as soon as he could, and the negatives were turned over to the Navy. It would also turn out that others in the area on other vessels had also seen the object and even photographed it, and he was extensively interviewed by Navy officials. Barauna would say of all of this:
I was interviewed by several high-staff officers, who asked me all kinds of questions. I went there twice. At the first meeting, they requested the negatives for examination. They were sent to a civilian organization, the Cruzeiro do Sul Aerophoto grammetric Service, remaining there for four days. I was told by the Navy officers that the analyses proved they were genuine -excluding definitely the possibility of a trick or falsification. On the second visit, they performed several time-tests. While I worked with my Rolleiflex, taking shots at the same time intervals I had used to photograph the object, three Navy officers with chronometers registered the times.
They came to the conclusion – based on these tests as well as on studies concerning the ship’s position and examinations of charts of the island – that the object was flying at a speed between 900 and 1,000 km./hour [about 600 mph]. The object’s size was also estimated on the basis of studies related with the island’s details also appearing on the photos, diagrams drawn on charts, graphs, et cetera. The object was about 120 feet in diameter and about 24 feet high. They requested me to keep the matter secret for some time. I was permitted to publish the case only after authorization from the Navy. The permission was granted, verbally, on the night of February 15, by Commander Bacellar. They made only one restriction, which I cannot mention for the reason that I have given my word. I was informed of four other sightings over the island during those thirty days preceding the incident of January 16. I was also informed of another thing: At one of those sightings, the object was photographed by a Navy sergeant. His photo obviously was not released and probably never will be – the reasons are evident. Besides those four sightings, there was also the RADAR case. A target flying at supersonic speed was tracked by the radar of the Almirante Saldanha on January 15.
The photos eventually got out into the wild and created quite a lot of excitement in the general public, as they were very clear photos of an actual UFO. As people discussed and debated them, the Navy went quiet and refused to make any comment or answer any questions on the matter, despite the fact that many high-ranking Navy personnel had witnessed the event and were telling their stories. The hype over the incident and its photos got so intense that the Navy had to step in, making a statement that said:
With reference to the reports appearing in the press that the Navy is opposed to divulge the facts concerning the appearance of a strange object over Trindade Island, this Cabinet declares that such information has no basis. This Ministry has no motive to impede the release of photographs of the referred-to object, taken by Mr. Almiro Barauna, who was at Trindade Island at the invitation of the Navy, and in the presence of a large number of the crew of Almirante Saldanha from whose deck the photographs were taken. Clearly, this Ministry will not be able to make any pronouncement concerning the object seen, because the photographs do not constitute sufficient proof for such purpose.
In the end, the Brazilian Navy would say nothing more on the case, the photos, or its analysis of them, and we are left to wonder what all of these qualified witnesses saw out there at that island and what is in those images. Another weird case happened at the rugged and remote Anglican mission village at Boianai, Papua, New Guinea, where on April 5, 1959, a Father William Booth Gill was there doing missionary work when he would have an outlandish experience. On that evening, Gill would observe a strange fast-moving light moving through the sky in the distance over the remote Mount Pudi. This would be followed a month later by an “inverted saucer-shaped object” hovering over the mission. At first Gill tried to put these anomalous occurrences out of his head and get on with his work, but on June 26, 1959 Gill and dozens of other witnesses saw a four-legged, disc-shaped object fly out from the wilderness to hover over the mission with four small humanoids that busily went about some unknown task as a blue beam intermittently shot down from the craft to the ground below. Curious, some of the witnesses waved their hands and were astonished when the entities waved back. Gill would say:
On the large one, two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the center of the deck. They were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or “setting up” something. One figure seemed to be standing, looking down at us. In a moment of anticipation, I raised his arms and waved to the figure. To our surprise the figure did the same. Ananias waved both arms over his head; then the two outside figures did the same. Ananias and myself began waving our arms, and all four seemed to wave back. There seemed no doubt that our movements were answered.
After about an hour of this the beings entered the ship again and flew off, after which several smaller craft would patrol the area for some time before disappearing. Later that evening, Gill would hear a loud bang from outside and go out to see four UFOs circling about before flying off. The sightings have never been explained. Moving on to 1972 there is a curious account from Uruguay’s remote Isla de Lobos, a tiny island just off the coast, populated by fur seals and with the only sign of humans is a lone lighthouse on the rocky, wind blasted shore. This lighthouse is manned by a garrison of five Navy men who do 15-day shifts, and on October 28, 1972 the shift would have dinner as usual, after which one of the men, a Corporal Juan Fuentes Figueroa, went out to check the generators on a routine inspection. As he was out there, his attention was caught by some strange lights in the sky hovering near the top of the generator building, seemingly right above a terrace that was situated up there about 20 feet above the ground. The lights looked to him like car headlights, although this was of course impossible, and they seemed to be flashing and oscillating between a mix of white, yellow and violet.
Fuentes was so unsettled by the sight that he went back to get his pistol, oddly not telling any of the other men what was going on. When he went back outside to approach the generator building again, this time he could see that there was an object up there apparently landed on the terrace, described as a metallic, copper-colored object shaped like an inverted bowl, standing on some sort of landing gear and with a rotating antenna of some sort on its top. What’s more, in the eerie illumination of the lights there was what looked to be a figure standing beside the object, and a second and third figure were descending from the craft. They seemed to be wearing some sort of dark suits akin to diving suits, their heads appearing somewhat elongated and oversized, and one seemed to be noticeably taller than the others, although Fuentes could not make out a lot of details. He then realized that they had turned towards him and seemed to be very aware that he was there.
At this time, Fuentes was overcome with fear and panic, and raised his pistol to point it up at the craft. It was at this point that he felt a strange sensation throughout his body like a vibration that sent his hair standing up on end, and found that he was unable to move, as if paralyzed, all while a voice boomed through his head that said “Don’t shoot because it is useless.” After this, the strange entities went back up into their ship, seemingly walking up steps of some kind, appearing to be pulling themselves up with handrails, after which the craft closed and began to lift off as its landing legs retracted telescopically. It hovered up in the air momentarily, then silently sped off at breathtaking speed with a flash of bright light like a fireball. At this point, Fuentes ran back to the others and told them what had happened, but no one believed him. Considering he was the superior officer and no one believed him, this came as a shock, but it would seem that at least one of the men, Francisco Cascudo, thought it was odd enough to pass it along to a superior officer and they would all check it out.
Not long after their tour at the lighthouse ended, Fuentes was called aside by high-ranking officials, who interviewed him at length on what he had allegedly seen. Fuentes would claim that there had also been two men who he believed to be from the U.S. Embassy lurking in the background taking notes, and who were later identified as officers of the “Spatial Affair Service.” Fuentes was also shown various pictures of different UFOs and asked to point out which were most similar to what he had witnessed and then dismissed. At no point was he ever directly questioned by the mysterious Americans, but he could see them excitedly talking to his interrogators in another room, making it obvious they were very interested in his sighting. After this, the case came to the attention of the Uruguayan UFO Investigation Center, who subjected Fuentes to some psychological tests and came to the conclusion that he was a solid witness, described as “sincere, uncomplicated and simple, with no tendency to fabrication or fantasy and lacking an average imagination.” It was also noted that Fuentes had no previous interest in or knowledge of UFOs, and they came to the conclusion that he at least truly believed he had seen what he claimed. Sub-officer Cascudo would back this up, describing Fuentes as a “simple and honest man, incapable of inventing a story of this nature.”
Finally, we have a report from the Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean in the region called Macaronesia and just about 62 miles from the northwestern coast of Africa off Morocco. On June 22, 1976, people living on the islands of Tenerife, La Palma, and La Gomera began calling in to report numerous strange lights performing odd maneuvers in the sky, amongst them one that seemed to be larger than the others, described as a giant, luminous sphere. Among these reports some were more spectacular than others, and one of the first reported incidents was made by the Navy escort ship, the Atrevida, which at the time was positioned off the coast of Fuerteventura Island. On this evening at approximately 9:27 PM, the crew observed an extremely bright light moving in the general direction of the ship. It was first thought to be a normal aircraft, but this turned out to not be the case, as it began rotating, pulsating, and generating a blindingly bright halo of yellow and blue, as well as various flashing strobe effects. The baffled crew watched this mysterious object for a full 40 minutes, and the official report from the ship would read in part:
The original light went out and a luminous beam from it began to rotate. It remained like this for approximately two minutes. Then an intense great halo of yellowish and bluish light developed, and remained in the same position for 40 minutes, even though the original phenomenon was no longer visible. Two minutes after the great halo, the light split into two parts, the smaller part being beneath, in the center of the luminous halo, where a blue cloud appeared and the part from which the bluish nucleus had come, vanished. The upper part began to climb in a spiral, rapid and irregular, and finally vanished. None of these movements affected the initial circular halo in any way, which remained just the same the whole time, its glow lighting up parts of the land and the ocean, from which we could deduce that the phenomenon was not very far away from us, but was close.
At no point was the craft picked up on radar, and a check of air traffic in the area showed no military or civilian aircraft scheduled to be in the vicinity. This would start a whole series of reports from throughout the Canary Islands as whatever it was headed out on its inscrutable mission, and people seemed to be reporting two different types of phenomena, one being this large sphere and the other being smaller flitting orbs, and these were seen by hundreds of people across several islands. One of the most intriguing reports came from a doctor Francisco Padron Leon, who at the time was in a taxi on his way to a house call at the town of Las Rosas. However, things got very odd when both he and the driver noticed an illuminated globe up in front of them, just seeming to hover over the ground. According to Leon’s report, it measured an estimated 100 feet across, and was seemingly made up of a semi-clear material like crystal. More bizarre still was that as they drew closer they could see that the bottom of the sphere was ringed by some sort of metallic platform, upon which two immense humanoid beings around 10 feet in height were standing next to large consoles of some kind. These two creatures had oversized heads, wore some kind of helmets, and seemed to be operating a giant tube that belched forth a bluish smoke, and the doctor would say of these entities and what happened next:
At each side of the center there were two huge figures of 2.50 to 3 m. [8.5 to 10 ft.] tall, but no taller than 3 m. [10 ft.], dressed entirely in red and facing each other in such a way that I always saw their profile. Then I observed that some kind of bluish smoke was coming out from a semi-transparent central tube in the sphere, covering the periphery of the sphere’s interior without leaking outside at any moment. Then the sphere began to grow and grow until it became huge like a 20-story house, but the platform and the crew remained the same size; it rose slowly and majestically and it seems I heard a very tenuous whistling.
This gigantic sphere would ascend and then purportedly shoot off at astounding speed along with its mysterious occupants. It would then be seen by several other witnesses directly after this, including the very patient that the doctor was on his way to see, all of who described the same translucent crystalline structure and giant beings on their catwalk. By the end of the evening there would apparently be thousands of reports from across the archipelago describing something bizarre going on in the sky, coming from a wide variety of professions and ages and making them one of the most mass witnessed UFO events ever, yet it was all mostly swept under the carpet by the Spanish Air Force.
The Canary Islands
The following year, in 1977, some of these reports were leaked to journalist J. J. Benitez by a Spanish Air Force General, and would subsequently find their way into his book UFOs: Official Documents of the Spanish Government, but this was all still considered unverifiable and filled with spooky conspiracies. It would not be until 1994 that people would really take it seriously, when the Spanish Air Force declassified its files on the events and it was clear for all to see that something very odd had indeed been documented from that evening. The declassified report was very detailed, included over 100 pages of testimony, evaluations, drawings, a full chronology of the sightings, and it also took the step of separating witnesses by their perceived level of veracity and reliability, with the reports of the crew of the Atrevida and that of doctor Leon ranking at the top. It was also explained that an investigative adjunct had been launched by the Spanish Air Force, which had found that there had been no military or civilian aircraft at the time and they officially labelled it an “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
There are no easy answers for any of these cases, and they join the ranks of the many, may UFO reports that have come before them. Although such accounts come in from all over the world from many environments, there just seems to be something fascinating about these island reports. To know that there are these strips of land out there isolated from the rest of the world having these incidents holds a certain sense of allure, and it all only adds to the mystery of the UFO phenomenon at large.