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Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2018

Reality Checking with Brent Raynes

by: Brent Raynes

Farewell to a Friend

On Friday, June 29th, the children and grandchildren of Brad Steiger came together from Italy, Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and New York to set afire a mini "Viking ship" (in a manner he had requested) in memory of, and to "celebrate Brad" and his special and unique life - a life that certainly deeply influenced and affected so many of us through the years in the UFO and paranormal communities with his thousands of thought-provoking and insightful articles and his many, many books. His wife Sherry shared with me this photo of the "Viking ship" and another picture of Sherry taken recently with two of their eldest grandchildren from Italy.

A Correction on the Steve Michalak story

Follow-up on cases is always a good idea, whenever possible, and that's what I did recently while working on a book about the life and UFO-related work of John A. Keel. Keel had, in his book The Mothman Prophecies, recounted the story of how in the famous case of Steve Michalak, a man who claimed that while prospecting near Falcon Lake in Manitoba, Canada, back on May 20, 1967, he came upon a large circular metallic craft on the ground, it's surface “like stainless steel.” He walked up to it and believed he could hear mumbling voices inside. He hollered but received no reply. Then unexpectedly the object produced some kind of apparent exhaust, striking him in the chest and causing him to reel backwards as the craft took off. He found his shirt and skin underneath burned, displaying an odd checkboard pattern. He became very ill afterwards, and for a week suffered blackouts, nausea, headaches, and a loss of twenty-two pounds. After many weeks he seemed to return to normal, but then on September 21st his chest burns reportedly returned and his body was swelling. He was hospitalized for a spell, he returned to normal, but then it happened again. It seemed as though every 109 to 124 days this condition would reoccur. In August 1968, he went, at his own expense, to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for help. Doctors reportedly told him that another UFO experiencer, a man from California, had visited them suffering from the same thing, and they told him that his problem was related to a “foreign substance” in his blood.

Keel continued in his writing that later as Michalak tried to revisit the site of his encounter, he admitted that after more than one attempt he was unable to locate the spot. He seemed quite puzzled by this. This intrigued me as I had read other similar accounts.

But then, for good measure, I decided to drop long-time Canadian ufologist Chris Ruthowski a line. He had helped to write a book on this case with Steve Michalak's son, Stan Michalak, entitled When They Appeared: Falcon Lake 1967: The Inside story of a close encounter (2017). He replied (May 21, 2018):

“Nice to hear from you. I've been away the past weekend at a 'UFO Fest' at Falcon Lake, coincidentally.”

“Michalak certainly did locate the site, and led military and RCMP investigators there. Not sure where that claim originated that it was never found. Roy Craig was annoyed that Michalak couldn't find the location when Life Magazine had accompanied him all the way to Canada for the story, and was unimpressed that it was found later. But Craig had taken Michalak there less than two weeks after his encounter, and he was still quite ill.”

“The site has now even been geocached and is known precisely. In fact, one of the only ways into the site is to go on an escorted 'UFO horseback ride' across rugged country.”

“One reason the witness' son and myself wrote a book about the case is because so much false information has been circulated about it.”

Ufology, High-Strangeness, and What The Hell!

One Saturday, in November 1979, around 7 p.m., a man named Antonio Amador De Lima, age 76, reportedly had one hell of a frightening encounter! A resident of a small town in northeastern Brazil, named Santo Antonio, this elderly gentleman was returning home on foot when he spied a strange light approaching in the sky. He tried to lay flat on the ground, hoping it would simply pass by.

Why did he do that? Well, long-time Brazilian ufologist Albert Francisco do Carmo of Brasilia told me that peasants and farmers living out in the country had come to recognize a potential threat from such things. “They knew nature,” he explained to me. “They were aware of how helpless they were and always found ways to face their close problems. And, as the UFOs came, and they became a SERIOUS PROBLEM, they increased their cares about their own security, as their ancestors did in case of a jaquar.”

What sort of problem? Well it seems Antonio was about to experience it firsthand. Next thing he says he knew, a light began shining down on him. He had heard that laying down on the ground could help when dealing with the UFOs. He said he was “pulled” up about 20 inches off the ground. With one hand, he held onto a plant to stop from going any further. Then four hooks, dangling down from what resembled ropes, came down around him from a brown colored, cigar-shaped object about twice the size of your average car. One of the hooks snared the back of his shirt. For a terrifying period of time, that he estimated was about 15 minutes, he held on to the plant for dear life.

Meanwhile, in a window in the craft hovering overhead he could see three human-like occupants. He claimed they weren't Brazilian. One was a bearded man, and there were two women, with short black hair, strange and ugly faces, with yellow skin. He recalled one of the women said, “Here is a good old man we can take with us to our earth.”

Eventually the hook in his shirt ripped loose, he fell to the ground, and the craft spun around 3 or 4 times, and then flew off, much to his relief. Later, while telling his story to American journalist Bob Pratt, this witness had to stop, becoming very emotional and unable to speak for a time, with tears in his eyes. The encounter had happened only two months earlier.

Thoughtout his life, this man had been a farm worker. Twelve years later, in August 1992, Bob Pratt returned to Santo Antonio and learned that Antonio had passed away back in February 1985. His granddaughter, Maria Pontes, recalled how prior to describing his frightening UFO encounter he had always worked very hard, worked long hours, and had been a strong man. But after the encounter he never worked again, and in fact aged quickly, taking to his bed only a few days afterwards, getting up only once and awhile, and never leaving the house. His appetite changed from good and hearty to where he just ate a little. He started having heart trouble, his legs swelled, and his hands trembled, and though always somewhat a picky person who got irritable if things didn’t more or less go his way, he suddenly became very difficult and at times so angry that he wouldn’t speak the rest of the day if something upset him. In addition, he didn’t like talking about his UFO encounter.

At about 2 a.m., on September 5, 1976, near Vargem Grande, in Minas Gerias, Brazil, a farmer named Hermelindo da Silva, who also owned a small roadside bar, was on foot nearing his home when the sky lit up like day and low overhead he saw a bright object, an estimated 10 foot in diameter, surrounded by yellow and violet hues. It had a dark hole in the middle. He took a pole and struck it, receiving a slight shock. He decided to make a run for it to his house, which was about 70 yards away at that point. He didn't get far before the object was again low overhead and he noticed cane like “hooks” attached to what resembled “steel cables” dropping down around him. Next, a small humanoid figure, an estimated 4 foot in height, came sliding down one of the “cables.” The being wore a gray polished hard suit. A struggle ensued, but the creature managed to hook the farmer's left ankle, at which point the little being scurried back up a cable “agile as a cat.”

Next the farmer found himself being hoisted up toward the craft, toward the hole, which produced hot air and was now glowing with a purple color. His screams finally got the attention of a brother-in-law who was staying with his family at the time. He opened a glassless wooden shuddered window and witnessed Hermelindo's struggle, hanging beneath a UFO that was conical shaped with a round top. Next Hermelindo managed, with his free right foot, to kick the edge of the hole, at which point he became free from his entanglement, falling an estimated 20 feet to the ground, into a large yucca plant, with large, razor sharp leaves.

Alberto explained to me that this man's body still bore the cuts and scrapes from his fall into the plant, which nonetheless must have saved his life.

Alberto visited the witness and the site a week or so after the reported encounter with Brazilian psychologist Hulvio Brant Aleixo. He explained to me that this was the third incident with similar beings reported in that area – beings that again acted in a violent manner.

Alberto also recalled another case, involving a boy, who reported an encounter with a barrel-shaped UFO and how two cane like hooks dropped out of it from something resembling a bombay door that opened up on its underside. Luckily, I was informed, that boy escaped as well.

Bob Pratt, the author of UFO Danger Zone, referring to Brazil, formerly himself a hard-bitten UFO skeptic, came to make 14 trips to Brazil to investigate the tremendous UFO activity going on there. Besides the terrifying medieval sounding abduction attempts with hooks, he also came across other terrifying episodes. He told me: “They have dropped scalding liquids on others, apparently trying to make them let go of a tree or bush that they were clinging to, and in one case a UFO dropped a slimy substance on a farmer as he tried to hide. Still another UFO dropped a glowing bubble about a meter and a half wide that exploded silently in the faces of a man and his wife riding on a motorcycle. Sometimes people weren't safe even in their own homes because beams of light from UFOs would pierce the tile roofs as if they didn't exist, and burn someone inside. Most of these people recovered from their injuries, but several were permanently impaired. I have also investigated a few cases in which victims died during or after an encounter.”

Bob four times had visited the isolated island of Colares, at the mouth of the Amazon, and like Dr. Jacques Vallee, as described in his book Confrontations, interviewed Dr. Wellaide Cecim Corvalho de Oliveira, who during a massive UFO wave there back around 1977 treated no fewer than 35 patients, ages 18 to 50, who all had the same bizarre story. They would report being struck by a white light beam, about 3 inches in diameter, that would strike their neck and torso areas, leaving skin burns that felt “almost as hot as a cigarette burn” to the witnesses. Afterwards, the light beam would gradually retract and disappear from sight. The victims burns were like a bad sunburn, and in the center of those burns there were often two small puncture like marks. These people would be suffering headaches, be trembling, experiencing dizziness, and their red blood cell levels would drop. After about seven days they usually would return to normal again. However, in the case of one woman, she died of a heart attack about 8 hours after the doctor had treated large burns on her chest. In another case, a fisherman died the same day he was burned. At the time, because of the activity, a strong military presence (along with news media) was on the island observing what was happening. For some reason, the Brazilian Air Force would not allow an autopsy to be done of the man.

Curious, after all of this disturbing high-strangeness that Bob had investigated, I had to ask him if he had developed a pet theory of his own about what was going on. His answer was as follows:

“Nothing about this phenomenon makes sense, nor does any theory. As I said toward the end of my book, a growing number of researchers are coming to believe parallel universes may exist and some believe they actually do exist, side by side with our universe, perhaps in infinite numbers.

“If there are other universes, there must be stars and planets and life in them, just as we have in ours. And if other universes do exist, then it's possible that inhabitants of one or more of those universes have learned how to travel between universes. They come in craft that can counter the pull of our gravity, allowing them to hover silently and motionlessly, and then zip out of sight in seconds.

“They can also pop in and out of our universe at will and maybe into any of several other universes. This could explain why people see UFOs suddenly appear and just as suddenly disappear. It could also explain where UFOs go when they seem to vanish.

“The aliens may just be coming through while passing on to some other universe perhaps. There also may be many different civilizations traveling through space all the time, which could account for the infinite variety of shapes and sizes of UFOs.

“Parallel universes might clarify some abduction reports where people say they are taken to a strange land, a red city, for example, or a land with no sky. The victims might simply be taken into another universe and eventually returned to our own.

“But that's a universe of 'ifs.' It's all just a guess.”

And, alas, MAYBE that does account for the different crafts, beings, and apparent motives. However, sometimes these characters seem almost territorial. I remember being on a radio show one time talking about the Brazilian cases and the main host remarked how this made him think of how it sounded to him like the world was divided up into zones, like gangs who have a turf that belongs to them and another has their own separate turf elsewhere, and so on and so forth.

In Giles County, Tennessee, back in the 1970s, a man named David Swanner reported a series of UFO contact experiences with a group of humanoid beings from a planet he called the Plantoes. A columnist for a local newspaper, The Pulaski Citzen, began covering Swanner's reports and those of other UFO witnesses in the area. Before long, several other people came forward describing contact experiences – also with the beings from Plantoes! The problem was it seemed only the columnist for the Tennessee newspaper was hearing from those folks about those particular aliens. In the thousands of other contactees around the world, I've not heard any more about the Plantoes.

A few years back, I corresponded with researchers in Peru and found that the contactee movement was flourishing there, much like it was in the United States back in the 1950s. Friendly human-like alien visitors versus our “alien abductions” by the Greys. One researcher in Peru shared with me how many involved in the contactee movement there felt that our “alien abduction” phenomenon was “built up by government confederates in order to scare people away from direct friendly contact.”

I'm sure there's some farmers and peasants in the Brazilian countryside who would strongly disagree. Being beamed aboard a craft for an occasional anal probe seems almost mild in comparison to being hoisted aboard a craft with hooks!

Brazilian General Alfredo Moacyr Uchoa, an engineer and physics professor and the former director of the Military Academy of Brazil (our equivalent of West Point) said that there were indeed various visitors to our planet from space. There were good, bad, and indifferent visitors it seemed. Beginning on July 22, 1968, he and others (often military men and professional business people) began observing UFOs around a farm near Alexania, not far from Brasilia. There were many sightings with many observers. He wrote several books about his experiences. In 1973, he even claimed to have become a telepathic contact with the UFO beings. Bob Pratt interviewed him in 1979, during one of his 14 investigative trips to Brazil.

In December 2005, while attending a UFO conference in Virginia, Cynthia Newby Luce, who had been living in Brazil since 1975 and acted as Bob's guide and Portuguese translator during several of his trips there, introduced me to Denise Uchoa Slater, the daughter of General Uchoa who had become a U.S. Citizen in 1990 and was (and still is) living in Virginia. She had several remarkable memories of UFO experiences there in Brazil, often accompanied by a errie silence. In one she experienced temporary paralysis as a huge metallic looking craft flew low overhead. In another she and several other young people watched as a “red ball of fire” hovered in the sky, her grandfather relaying a telepathic message from friendly star visitors.

From Denise I learned of an extraordinary incident involving a young girl named Bernadete, who came from a poor family, who worked as her grandmother's cook since about age 14-15. However, she had a rare but deadly disease called Chagas, brought about by the bite of a certain beetle, in which the heart enlarges and eventually causes death. By age 17, she ended up on her death bed at a military hospital. General Uchoa communicated with the UFO beings and asked for help. He himself was a healer, but was unable to help her. The star visitors agreed to help, and so the General signed the young girl out of the hospital and took her to an isolated location to meet the beings. Soon a UFO landed, a being in an aura of blue light walked out. The girl was told to approach the being, she did, and with the injection of a blue light into her left arm from a “huge syringe” looking thing – which was said to have been very painful – two days later, Denise told me, a test showed that her heart had shrunk back to normal size. Later she married, had two sons, both in the army.

“She's the only case of 'spontaneous healing' from Chagas disease alive in the world,” Denise said. “And she was in all the newspapers, TV, and news at the time. It was a huge, huge thing.”

Ufology can be a complex and bewildering mixed bag of high-strangeness.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023