The Trindade Isle Case

March 15, 1958

Dear Dick Hall:

Please forgive the long delay in answering your thoughtful and very kind letter of December 21. I had been intending to write to you for a long time—but, as you know, we never have time to do what we plan. Only now it was possible to get out from under the mountain of work I have been engaged since December. As in your country, doctors here are always busy with their patients; besides, I had to do also an exhaustive bibliographic revision for a medical article I am writing (about "Hepatic Coma"); and, to make things worse, hundreds and hundreds of UFOs began to appear everywhere over my country, day after day, since the launching of Sputnik II taking the spare time I still had.

Thank you very much for the copies of "Satellite" you sent gratis for my files—as a gift. I have now a better idea of your work in UFO-research. Your bulletins are excellent of high quality, including highly interesting sightings unavailable elsewhere and many other fascinating items. It seems that you understood, like myself, that the only way to enlarge our knowledge about UFOs is to study the available evidence collected through the world, i.e., sighting reports. Some UFO—editors apparently do not realize the point: they discuss anything that can be included in an UFO-bulletin with a only exception--case reports. One of them even said recently: " There is no interest in reviewing the great number of sightings reported on my country the last month, they are always the same". I am glad that you are not like him, and I hope to see "Satellite" appearing again in the future to fill the gap left by its premature and unwanted death.

It is my opinion for the present that the UFO—people are indifferent about us, as individuals, but definitely hostile toward our military organizations. I am completely convinced of it. I don’t know, however, if this hostility was spontaneous from the very first time—or if it was raised as a consequence of the attempts to shot down UFOs by our jet—fighters. like you, I don’t trust statistics; but in some cases statistical evidence cannot be discarded easily. For example, in your country, there are actually eight or nine major aircraft accidents involving military planes occurring on the average every day, seven days a week. The number of major air accidents, since 1952,was the following:

            Air Force      Navy        Total

1952       2.274          2.086        4.360
1953       2.075          2.325        4.400
1954       1.873          1.911        3.784
1955       1.664          1.566        3.230
1956*     1.530          1.358        2.888
* first 10 months FIVE YEAR'S TOTAL: 18.662

 These numbers are official (source: US Dept. of Defense). Fast new jets it appears, account most those major accidents. While they still account for only a minor fraction of the total air time flown in the armed services, they are involved in most of the plane crashes and result in 62 per cent of all pilot deaths in the Air Force, 53 per cent of pilots fatalities in the Navy.

Of all accidents in Air Force and Navy aircraft, the survey found 56.2 per cent to be caused by pilot error: 8.1 per cent by ground—crew or other personnel failure; 23.4 per cent by failure of parts and equipment in the aircraft: 2.8 per cent by various "unsafe conditions", and 9.5 per cent by unknown factors.

I confess I was astounded when I was informed about this situation. The total number of major air crashes (18.662) shocked me. It is too large to be attributed to natural factors only. Besides, the fact that jet—fighters account for most of those major accidents is strange enough, in my opinion, to justify a careful evaluation of the hostility theory. Another clue to be considered is the unexplainable occurrence of "series crashes"—involving military and civilian planes all-over the world—which have been observed with increasing frequency since 1952. This cannot be attributed to meteorological factors or other local causes because it is a world—wide phenomenon all times it happens. Coincidence? I don’t believe. Some freak world-wide atmospheric disturbance (still unknown to us) caused by magnetic storms in the Sun? I don’t think so.

Since November 1955, I begin to collect newspaper clippings about aircraft accidents though the world. These accidents were charted a according to their monthly incidence. They are not evenly distributed: there are lulls and peak months. Then, in another chart, I recorded the monthly incidence of UFO-sightings through the world for the same period (fifteen months). I found the same type of graph. Moreover, the two diagrams were entirely similar: the same lulls, the same peak months. Of course, there is a flaw in this experiment which might alter the results: the recorded data are not complete. In fact, many UFO—sightings never appear in the papers (or in UFO-newsletters and bulletins); the same thing can be expected for airplane crashes, chiefly when happening on distant countries. Besides this, we have no information about the incidence of both phenomena on countries behind the Iron Curtain. However, if local samples carefully selected can be taken as representative of the whole, the complete diagrams would not be different from the ones I have obtained. And local samples obtained in my country are almost complete, I am sure. They are impressing: in July— August, 1957, for example, an unusual number of aircraft disasters (and UFO—sightings)was registered in Brazil; the interval, between occurrences of each kind was always of only a day or two; and, in some cases, it was even reduced to a few hours only. A disturbing pattern....

There is also the matter of individual air accidents. Many of them are definitely unexplainable by known factors. In some cases there is evidence that an external object was involved. In others an UFO had been sighted in the same area or region—before or after the accident. Another disturbing coincidence.....

I don’t like statistics—but I don’t like "coincidences", too.

When one assumes the investigation of aircraft crashes to be the best way of learning about the possibility of UFO-hostility; when he finds a strange pattern which cannot fit anything excepting interference by an unknown factor; when he discovers many clues indicating a concrete relation between this factor and the presence of UFOs in our skies—there is no other alternatives left than to believe the UFO people are hostile.

You know, of course, that UFOs have done a very methodical reconnaissance of our planes, airfields, Air Force bases, atomic-plants, power—centers, missiles proving—grounds, radar and missile installations, war activities and maneuvers (as in Korea, for example), and industrial areas. Some people refuse to recognize the military implication of this behavior and prefer to attribute it to their curiosity about our technical progress. Then, why aren't they interested about our largest cities? How many UFOs had been sighted over New York, Chicago, London, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires?

There is also the close observation of fortifications, fortresses, quarters and bases of the Brazilian Army which began after the launching of Sputnik II—a pattern never repeated  before on any country. The first Army sighting occurred on November 6 and was followed by many others through the country, during the Nov.-Dec. UFO flap. I have already twelve cases of the kind in my files. Why this sudden interest about terrestrial military defenses of my country? Scientifical curiosity only?

I discussed with Escobar his argument that, if there were organized hostility, there should be obvious evidence of it. We still do not agree with each other. I believe there is non organized hostility—yet--because this means open war, which would include a planet— wide invasive operation with mass-landings at strategical points everywhere. Two conditions would be requisite for the success of such a kind of operation (even for space-people with best weapons than ours): a sudden attack with all forces—and surprise. Because of the last condition, small—scale organized hostility is not desirable in the present stage, before the all-over attack. What exists now (if the hypothesis is right) is, in my opinion, the following: 1) scattered attacks against jet-fighters attempting to approach or to shot down UFOs; 2) isolated attacks against any solitary plane (military or civilian), as experiments to test their weapons, missiles, ultra—sonic beams, etc.; or with other unknown purposes.

Even in this case there should be obvious evidence of it, I know. It would be obvious for the military, in any case. But it might be concealed from the people, however, if there was a rigid censorship to hide the truth. And there is censorship about UFOs, carried out by the same people who are constantly trying to ridicule and debunk the whole subject. It is indeed a funny paradox....

My dear Dick Hall, I do not want to convince you, I only wanted to show why I think that the UFO people are hostile.

I have in my files the "Life" article quoted in "Satellite", Aug. 1957. You are right, it is a clear admission that US Air Force believes UFOs to be "space-ships"—this in 1952. Then something happened, there was an amazing turnabout, and they have been denying it vehemently ever since. The public has been deliberately misled by the authorities ever since. Let’s consider, for example, the last dishonest statement by the US Air Force-—the "Lie Sheet" released on Nov. 5— which repeats the old rigmarole about geese, kites, etc., reported as saucers ; and about the small number of reports that turn out to be true Unknowns: "only 1.9 per cent out of 250 reports in the first half of 1957." It is a lie, as I will show you. I am going to tell a very interesting story On January 16, 1958, at noon, a flying saucer appeared over the Trindade Island, a small rocky Brazilian island lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Since July, 1957, it has been used as a base for certain IGY investigations. A Navy research-group was there to do the task, with the help of a civilian scientists. A Navy vessel, the "NS Almirante Saldanha", was also there, being used as a hydrographic ship. Then came the UFO. What happened was printed on the first page of All newspapers though my country, on Feb. 21-22. The following was quoted from "O Jornal", Rio de Janeiro (Feb. 21):

"Flying Saucer Sighted and Photographed from the "Almirante Saldanha"

"A FLYING SAUCER (now official) was sighted at noon, on January 16, 1958, by more than one hundred persons placed on the deck of the school ship "Almirante Saldanha’, now doing investigations related with the IGY, in the exact moment the ship was preparing to leave the Trindade Island—and was photographed by a member of the expedition, Mr. Aluiro Baraúna, who was taking some shots of a boat being moved into the ship when the saucer appeared. Baraúna had his "Rolleiflex" in his hands when he noticed a strange brightness in the horizon’s line, which rapidly disappeared. Puzzled, he continued to watch and suddenly saw the "thing" come back. He adjusted his camera and began to take shots. He got six photos, but only four could be used—because he was pushed by someone when taking the others, and photographed only the sea waters

The film was developed aboard: The sighting of the flying saucer over the Trindade Island scared all who sighted it. There was even an officer who was so terrorized that was found trembling and mumbling meaningless words—entirely out of his mind. The saucer was seen simultaneously by almost everybody and caused a tremendous running and confusion aboard— everybody trying to see the strange object. When ,it had disappeared and everything was again in order on the ship, Captain of Sea—and—War Jose dos Santos Saldanha da Gama, commander of the "NS Almirante Saldanha", requested the film from Mr. Baraúna. A few moments later, according to a suggestion of some Navy officers, this film was developed by Baraúna—in the presence of Commander Bacelar and other officers.

Inquiry in the Navy: Captain of Sea-and-War Saldanha da Gama reported the matter to Navy Headquarters, at Rio, and a careful investigation was made on the film, to prevent any doubt regarding its authenticity. It is proved—and there are official documents to testify it—that the photos are genuine and that the object appearing in them was the same which was sighted over the island. There is no possibility of a falsification.

It had been spotted by radar: The day before the sighting, approximately at the same hour, the flying saucer had been spotted by the ship’s radar. But radar operators thought that strange "blip" was caused by some kind of trouble in the apparatus—and rechecked it to see if it was operating properly. It was. Besides this, information given by Navy men living in the island and confirmed by Commander Carlos Bacelar, the commanding officer at the Trindade Island, revealed that this was the fourth appearance of the saucer over that region in the last months.

The Navy will not release any statement: We are informed that Navy authorities are not going to release any statement about the photos of the flying saucer. The publicity given to those photos worried the Navy General Staff."

I can assure that all the facts described above are true. The photos are spectacular. The Navy was going to keep the whole matter secret, but this plan was disrupted by our President, who released the photos to the press. I knew about them since Feb. 4—and even got permission to examine them under compromise. It was done on February 14, when I went to the Navy Ministry according to the instructions received the day before. There are other important details I have learned about this case, which will be described in a report I am writing about the subject. But you have enough, here, to realize the extraordinary importance of this incident—one of the best in the whole history of UFOs so far.

I was going to prove that US Air Force has released dishonest statements about UFOs Now, I will show you something related with that purpose. It is the following:

On February 26, a high-staff officer from the USA? arrived at the Galeao International Airport, in Rio de Janeiro. He was Major-General Thomas Darcy, who had been envoyed to country to represent the USAF in the Military Commission for Brazil and U.S.A. Defense. He had already made a number of trips to my country related with his position in that Commission. Major—General Thomas Darcy had been a former Commander of the 22 Tactical Air Command) at the time of World War II. By a strange "coincidence, he arrived at Rio only five days after the publication of the Trindade photos in the Brazilian press. He was interviewed by reporters of Rio’s newspapers, still in the Airport. As expected, under the circumstances described above, he was asked about the USAF opinion regarding the flying saucers. His answer was the following (transcribed verbatim):

"In the United States Air Force, we have a well established viewpoint about flying saucers. We came to the conclusion that, in 85 per cent of the cases, the so-called "UFOs" are explained as natural phenomena produced in the atmosphere. For the other 15 per cent, the mystery remains--and we prefer to give no opinion about subject." (the underlines are mine--Dr.Fontes)

He was asked then about the reasons of his trip. He gave the following answer:

"There are many reasons. The first is related with the delivering of airplanes and instruments for anti-submarine defense. As to the other, I regret to inform that I can’t tell anything about them."

"In his trip to Brazil", he concluded, "I am going to study the several problems which attract the interest of our countries, and I will visit, of course, the Air Base of Salvador."

The AF Base at Salvador, capital of the State of Bahia, is the last scale in the continent en route for the Trindade Island, the nearest one.

The contradiction between the statement of Major-General Thomas Darcy (quoted from the newspaper "0 Globe", Feb. 27) and the last statements by the US Air Force (chiefly the "Lie Sheet released on Nov. 5) is evident. The difference between 1.9 per cent and 15 per cent is too large to be attributed to a single difference of opinions. One of them is obvious false and was deliberately released to misled the public opinion—there is no other choice.

It is not right to keep secret information that concerns the human race as a whole. Unfortunately we are living in times when suppression of the truth is always justified for "reasons of security", or loved merely for suppression’s sake, to gratify the egos of faceless military authorities who think they are entitled to conceal the facts from the people--the ones who have the right to know. Why? Maybe because they are the ones who cannot stand the whole truth: that they are very small frogs in very insignificant puddles, that their petty "cold war" means nothing and must be stopped, etc., etc. Or maybe they cannot stand the truth regarding the reasons of UFOs—hostility against us (if they are so); if it is the case, it seems highly probable that the policy to shot down flying saucers changed their curiosity in hostility. If so, the military are the men who opened the Pandora box, the ones who cannot stand the public announcement of their wrong and dangerously foolish activities.

I ‘ve read your excellent article "The UFOs and proof", printed on "UFO Newsletter". The alleged absence of physical proof to work with, so frequently used as argument against UFO—reality is no more the true thing. The cry of "no physical evidence" can be disregard— now. Because physical evidence of the existence of the UFOs was finally found in my country . I have it. This evidence is constituted by fragments of a flying disk that exploded near a beach close to the town of Ubatuba, São Paulo, on September, 1957. The object appeared suddenly in the sky and approached the beach at fantastic speed. It was coming down toward the sea and a crash seemed imminent. When almost touching the waters, however, in the last moment, the disk tried a desperate maneuver to avoid the disaster. Thus, it made a sharp upward turn and climbed up again, rapidly, on a tremendous impulse. But them came the end:  the flying disk exploded in flames, a few seconds later. It disintegrated into thousands of fiery fragments that fell toward the sea—sparkling with such a magnificent brightness that they looked like "fireworks", even at noon (the time of the accident). The larger ones fell into deep waters, but a number of small pieces fell close to the beach and were picked up by the witnesses—persons fishing at the beach that day. They got a large amount of that material which seemed to be almost as light as paper. I got three small samples of the disk’s fragments, three pieces of a dull—gray metallic substance that really looked like fragments disintegrated from a larger metallic structure. They weren’t smooth and polished on the outside, but rough and irregular; one piece even showed a deep longitudinal crack running through almost two thirds of it, plus a number of minute, almost microscopic, longitudinal fissures at different places—as if that piece had been disrupted under the action of a powerful force. Besides, there were whitish areas scattered on the surface of all samples, produced by the deposition of a thin, adherent layer of a powdered substance which presented some similarity with the powdered cinder adherent to the surface of a chunk of burned charcoal—as if the metallic pieces had been scorched by fire, or injured by too much heat or radiation. Since October, 1957, a careful chemical study of these "disk’s fragments" is being made at several laboratories in my country and elsewhere. The results already received showed that they are made of magnesium (Mg)—the lightest of the structural metals. The incredible thing was that this magnesium was found to be absolutely pure (100.00 % in Mg); no "trace" of any other metallic element was detected by the spectrographic analysis; no impurity of any kind was discovered by X-Ray diffraction studies of the samples. The white powdered substance was identified as being magnesium hydroxide (a result of oxidation in the water)—which obviously was not in the original material.

Absolutely pure magnesium represents a technological development outside the range of present-day scientific achievements on the field of Metallurgy. The purest magnesium ever manufactured on this Earth is the ASTM "standard of purity’ for magnesium (ASTM 4-0770) from the National Bureau of Standards. It still contains (by the spectrographic analysis) the following impurities: " Ca<0.1 %; and traces of Al, Cu, Fe, and Si."

The case is still unpublished——but shall be in the near future, as soon as all the analyses’ reports have been received. Until there, do not tell about the case to any one; please keep the whole thing absolutely secret. I ask you to do this as a favour. There are very good reasons for it, as you will understand later.

That’s it for now on this end. With kind regards, I am                                             

Sincerely yours,

Olavo Fontes, M.D.

*NOTE: Some but not all grammar, typing and spelling errors have been corrected from the original letter.


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