October 24, 1969
IUR Editor's note:
That means that either the claimant is drawing on a body of widespread folklore or he, like other claimants telling like tales, is speaking the truth. Chile, a military dictatorship, does not have a Freedom of Information Act to which inquirers seeking verification can turn. Readers who might have access to information that could shed light on this claim are urged to write IUR.
Because of a series of chance events and an overseas trip, I had the opportunity to interview an alleged witness to an extraordinary event that supposedly took place in the Pacific Ocean, about 350 miles to the south of Valparaiso Port, off the coast of Chile. The incident involved a Chilean Naval destroyer and was witnessed by crew members and the commander of the vessel. Up to six UFOs, including one large object, were observed. The objects were verified on radar and observed visually. As the main object moved over the ship, the vessel's power went out.
As extraordinary as the event itself is its alarming aftermath. According to my informant, a cover-up followed and the witnesses were held in confinement in port for two days, subjected to intense psychological pressures to force them to believe they saw nothing out of the ordinary.
The name of my informant cannot be revealed. He says, however, that he was on duty during the incident and observed the whole event. The location of the interview, even the country in which it took place, also cannot be given. The witness fears that disclosure of either detail could cause him to be recalled to active service in the Chilean Navy. Although he has already served his term of service, he is concerned that enforced military service could be used as a form of punishment.
I must point out that from the very beginning I have been skeptical of many UFO cover-up claims. From my experience as the first civilian researcher to have comprehensiveaccess to the Royal Australian Air Force UFO files, however, I have become more open-minded about such allegations. In this regard I was willing to consider the testimony of my Chilean informant, who to all appearances was sincerely frightened by the events he described to me. That does not mean I have become a 'believer,' only that I believe such claims deserve a fair hearing.
At 12:43 A.M. the radar officer reported a long-range flying contact. A minute later the "contact" was at 400 miles. Because of the "object's" speed, the operator suspected a malfunction in his equipment. In the next minute the contact was approximately 150 miles away closing from 331 degrees of true north. But the operator and officer in charge during the late night duty (an officer of second-class rank) speculated that the contact was a "plane flying southeast" --but at 213 miles in a minute: 12,780 mph!
The officer in charge advised the ship's commander, who asked that an eye be kept on the object. At 12:47 the contact was only 12 miles away. Suddenly the single contact became six "targets." The "thing spread .... Little dots appeared in the fire of the light on the radar...."
The officer in charge informed the commander just as the objects making the returns came into view. Both eyewitnesses and radar were reporting six objects approaching the ship. The commander came up to the ship's bridge to see what was going on.
It was a fantastic sight. One massive object and five small objects were approaching at high speed. The "big thing looked like a big box [with] semicircles in the side" looking as if they had been scooped out. It was bathed in brilliant light. "The thing must have been metallic," my informant told me. "It was bigger than the destroyer, which was about 110 metres long." He thought it might be at least twice the length of the ship but it was difficult to tell because "the light was bright."
The five smaller objects were egg-shaped and appeared to be no bigger than eight feet long and five to six feet wide. They were bluish in color.
At about 2000 yards out from the destroyer the smaller objects left the proximity of the larger object. Three went portside and two went starboard. The smaller objects at times seemed to be flying in "elliptical circles backwards and forwards between the big one and our vessel ....
"The main thing did not change direction -- if it had been in the sea there would have been a collision."
A humming noise was audible when the large object got to within 300 yards. It was at this point that the power went out. For a couple of seconds all instruments went dead as the huge craft passed overhead.
At this point the commander came on to the bridge, asking, "What the hell is that?" My informant remarked that the commander "was very calm, because probably he knew what he saw. We didn't.
"You could see the whole thing, the light was so strong. You could see the water, the funnel head, the head of the ship, the towers, everything... Everybody on the bridge was sort of listening to the noise. I don't know how long this thing took to go across."
The bright red lights underneath the main UFO seemed to be moving back and forth inside the "box," shining through a half-circle or crescent shape on the bottom of the object. On the side were what looked like "corn cobs," with green or turquoise pulsing lights. These lights, my informant said, "went right through your head."
The large object passed over the powerless ship. When it was 200 yards away, everything returned to normal. The smaller objects, never coming closer than 500 to 1000 yards, flew around the ship and joined up with the larger object on the other side.
The main object continued on its way until it was about two miles beyond the ship. At that point, along with (we assume) the smaller-objects, it vanished. "It was like somebody opened a big door; then it closed and it was darkness. The only thing that was left behind was like floating little bits of metallic paper."(!)
At least eight minutes had passed. Three persons had tracked the UFOs on radar. Five persons saw the objects themselves. The ship's commander ordered everyone to keep silent about what they had seen.
The entries at midnight and on either side of the UFO entries-were routine. Duty proceeded normally for the rest of the morning.
Awakening after he had retired from his shift, the officer rechecked the log, only to find normal entries in what appeared to be his own handwriting. The UFO incident was not mentioned. The officer had been left-handed but an accident had forced him to use his right hand. Because writing was difficult for him, he had to press down hard on the paper. He had to press down so hard, in fact;-that the outline of what he wrote was always visible on the page. But when he checked, it was not. In other words, someone had forged his handwriting but neglected this telltale physical detail.
At 6:45 that morning the destroyer arrived in Valparaiso Port. After eating breakfast, the men on duty during the UFO event were asked to report to the commander. He told them that some people were coming to talk with them and that they were to go with them. The visitors turned out to be two Chilean Navy officers and four Americans in civilian clothes. The Americans, who spoke Spanish, were identified as naval attaches with the U.S. embassy.
The six witnesses were taken to a mine- or torpedo-storage area at the port. Each was taken to a separate room.
My informant was directed to explain what happened last night. When he told them, they said, "No, you didn't see that !"
"I said that's what we saw," my informant related to me. "They started getting very cranky. They said, 'No, you didn't see it. You didn't see anything. You know nothing.'
"I spoke to the highest-ranking officer there, a tactic commander in the Chilean Navy: 'Are we under arrest or what?' He said, 'No you are not.’ "
Asked why they were there, the Chilean officer replied, 'You are under orders. These people just want to talk to you, to put you on the right track."
My informant claimed, "While the men never asked us to go through the story in detail, they knew what had happened by the questions they asked. They also had the radar-plot blueprint." They were more interested in securing his silence than in getting information about the event from him.
For two days the harassment continued. "Every two hours," the informant said, "this guy would come up. 'What do you think now?' he'd say... We had arguments. They didn't have any right to do what they were doing."
My informant threatened to complain when he got out. He was told that if he did so, that would be the end of him. He did not see the other witnesses at any point during the two day interrogation. He was not allowed to sleep until he signed a document. Finally, after he had done so, he was put in a jeep and driven to another location. One week later he was transferred unexpectedly from destroyer duty. He never saw the others again.
His claim that he had been placed in confinement following the sighting was especially interesting to me. In fact, the account sounds exactly like something out of the NBC-television movie The Disappearance of Flight 412, said to have been based on the real life experience of one of the scriptwriters, Neal B. Burger. Burger's experience supposedly took place in 1951. (My informant claimed not to have seen the movie.) A similar story, involving a U.S. Navy man who allegedly was subjected to similar pressures in Panama in 1973, is recounted in Fawcett and Greenwood's Clear Intent (1984).
Bill Chalker, an industrial chemist by profession, is one of Australia's leading UFO investigators. He lives In New South Wales.
Source: International UFO Reporter September/October 1985, pp. 4-6