Monday, July 18, 2022

UFOs Blitz Mexico!

This is  story of my 1996 Tour of 'UFO Hotspots' in Mexico. It is adapted from Chapter 21 of my 1998 book UFO Sightings - The Evidence (Prometheus Books) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Probably the area of the greatest UFO activity and excitement in the world today (1996) is in and around Mexico City. UFO proponents often cite the UFO "evidence" from Mexico as the strongest anywhere. When the head of the American UFO group CSETI, Dr. Steven Greer, appeared on the "UFO Coverup"  TV special on Larry King Live,  October 1, 1994, which was broadcast outdoors near the so-called "Area 51" in the Nevada desert, Greer chided them that it is not necessary go to inaccessible places to see UFOs: "In the last three years there have been hundreds of video tapes of these objects maneuvering over twenty-two million people in Mexico City." A National Enquirer story of July 23, 1996, titled "UFOs Blitz Mexico," made equally remarkable claims.

 The National Enquirer, July 23, 1996

The modern phase of UFO activity in Mexico began with the total eclipse of July 11, 1991. With a duration of totality lasting about seven minutes, nearly the maximum possible, and crossing Mexico's most populated regions, it was one of the great eclipses of the century. 
The greatly-overexposed image of the eclipsed sun in Mexico, and its much fainter reflected image at left.

The Birthplace of Quetzalcoatl
Many of the photos showed artifacts like the one seen above. Several were presented to us by a woman in Amatlan de Quetzalcoatl, in complete sincerity, as a genuine UFO. (That place is supposed to be the birthplace of  Quetzalcoatl, making it a sort of Aztec Bethlehem.) The greatly overexposed object, obviously an image of the eclipse, was supposed to be a giant UFO, and the dimmer ring-like object, was supposed to be the eclipsed sun. However, that analysis is backwards. The overexposed object is no anomalous object, but rather the sun, which though only a tiny sliver or "diamond ring" remains uneclipsed, is nonetheless quite bright enough to overexpose the film when photographed directly. The fainter image is in fact just an internal reflection of the eclipsed sun itself, caused by light reflecting off the surfaces of the individual lens elements, and onto the film plane. Many thousands of people, photographing the eclipse with simple cameras, obtained results similar to this. People concluded that they must have photographed OVNIs (the Spanish acronym for UFOs), and enterprising promoters perceived an opportunity to make some quick pesos. The great Mexican UFO flap was on.
In April, 1996 I had the opportunity to check this out for myself when I went on a UFO-related Mexican tour organized by Beyond Boundaries, a 'paranormal travel' agency. This group has also organized trips to the U.K. to investigate Crop Circles, and to Puerto Rico to check out an area reputed to contain chupacabras and an Interdimensional Portal. A chupacabra, literally "goat sucker," is a fabled creature said to attack farm animals and drain them of blood. Actually, this story is just the familiar "cattle mutilation" legend, told with a Latin twist. If a rancher speaks English, his dead farm animals will have been molested by space aliens; if he speaks Spanish, it will have been done by a chupacabra.

One of the tour organizers was Rubin Uriarte, of MUFON Northern California. Two of our tour members worked for the Bigelow-funded National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in Las Vegas. One of them was Air Force Lt. Col. Peter McDuff, the other was nuclear engineer Ted Rockwell (1923-2013), who I was familiar with because of his earlier critiques of skeptics. Most of the other people were ‘true believers;’ in fact, the two NIDS guys and I earned the reputation of the ‘group's skeptics,’ as we were unwilling to believe remarkable claims without seeing proof. At the time, claims were widely being made that UFOs were being seen widely at certain places in Mexico, including the airport in Mexico City. You only needed to go there if you wanted to see them, it was said; of course, that wasn’t true. We flew in and out of that airport, and didn't see anything unusual. Our itinerary took us to some of the most UFOlogically-active regions in the entire world, and we met with many of the leading UFOlogists in Mexico. Was Mexico really experiencing a "UFO blitz"? Here is what I found:

Jaime Maussan met with us.
We met with Jaime Maussan, a TV investigative reporter in Mexico City now turned UFO promoter, who has made more money off the UFO mania than anyone else in Mexico, and perhaps the entire world. His lecture fee at the time of our visit was 60,000 pesos (approximately US $8,000), a staggering sum for a single evening's work, most especially in Mexico. In 2015, Maussan was one of the main promoters of the preposterous Roswell Slides hoax. He runs an organization that exploits belief in UFOs and other dubious claims. We also met, at greater length, with his assistant Eduardo Viadas, who was filling in for his boss while Maussan was in Tijuana, lecturing and investigating chupacabras. Eduardo introduced us to Emilio Grenados, one of los vigilantes, an organization set up by Maussan to gather UFO evidence. Grenados explained how members of this group are trained in the use of cameras, then sent out as part of an on-call network of photographers to travel to wherever UFOs are reported. Jaime Maussan's company produces a 12-tape set of videos of UFOs, several of them prominently featuring Swiss UFO contactee Billy Meier's widely-discredited 'UFOs From the Pleiades.'

Maussan also produces videos about Kennedy assassination conspiracies, and "miracles" of the Virgin of Guadalupe. As might be expected, his studio contains a great deal of state-of-the-art, computer-ontrolled video enhancement equipment. The problem is, however, that unless one is able to examine an original UFO negative or video in its un-edited, original state, it is worthless as "proof" of anything. Maussan displayed what was either a distressing naivete, or else disingenuousness, when he told us straight-out that "Mexicans do not make hoax UFO photos." He quickly added, however, that Americans do. Incidentally, Maussan told us that he does not believe the 'UFO abduction' stories that are the rage in the U.S.; they are simply too bizarre for him to accept.
Maussan's studio in 1996, where his employees produced video tapes promoting loopy stuff.

Maussan claimed to have access to huge amounts of radar UFO evidence from the airport at Mexico City, and he seemed to be able to contact the airport radar operator at any time on his cellular phone, which he did while speaking to us. One of the NIDS people took a keen interest in getting tapes and other data from the supposedly frequent appearances of UFOs on the radar, for analysis in the U.S. However, when Maussan was asked to provide hard data from the radar, suddenly for reasons that were unclear to us that data became very difficult to obtain, when just a moment before it was present in massive detail, albeit in anecdotal form. Maussan talked about UFO evidence and hard data a great deal, but none was seen. He promised to send us reams of UFO evidence that his group had amassed, and took down the names and addresses of interested researchers. However, nothing was ever received.

Maussan claimed that his organization uses a scientific process of computer enhancement which distinguishes genuine UFO photos from hoaxes, based on the presence of 'energy fields' which surround only genuine objects. He claimed that this enhancement process, which was illustrated in an article in each issue of the magazine Contacto OVNI ("UFO Contact", a sensationalist UFO publication of which Maussan is a consulting editor), would reveal the presence of magnetic fields, energy fields, spectral luminescence, etc. surrounding a real UFO. I strenuously objected that no such analysis was possible from an ordinary video or photo, and Maussan seemed unprepared to confront a knowledgeable critic. He fell back to the position that he was only a journalist, repeating what his scientific consultant, a physicist, had told him. To save face with the group, he arranged to have his physicist meet with us the following day.

We did meet with Mario Torres, Maussan's scientific consultant. It turns out, however, that Torres is no physicist, but actually one of the editors of Contacto OVNI. Torres claims that the software and algorithms utilized to analyze the photos are his own. While he has some education in science, and claims to have produced some patent-able inventions, Torres was quite unable to describe to us any valid scientific principles on which his analyses were made. While he claimed to be able to measure "thermal energy", "electromagnetic energy," and "levels of energy" from photos or videos, after a little questioning it became clear that he was unable to defend his statements. Torres said he based his analyses upon a conversation he once had with the late physicist Richard Feynman, who told him that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon. All the rest of the supposedly "scientific analysis" is based upon his own conjectures as to what that implies about what a photograph will and will not contain. Torres told us, as did Viadas and Maussan, that he did not believe the 'UFO abduction' stories coming from the U.S.; they were simply so bizarre as to defy belief.

The Great Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico.

Near Mexico City are the great pyramids at Teotihuacan, built in pre-Aztec times approximately 1800 years ago. The noted crop circle guru Colin Andrews, prudently branching out into other fields of paranormalism, had been on one of the earlier Beyond Boundaries' Mexico trips. He claimed to have detected 'energy lines' while standing on top the great Pyramid of the Sun, so we were told to be alert for this. When we reached the summit of that magnificent ancient monument, most of us said that we didn't feel anything, other than the exhilaration of having climbed up to a magnificent place, at the high elevation of Mexico City. However, one member of our group stood looking up at the sky, his arms outstretched, as if 'drawing down energy'. This gesture attracted considerable attention, and soon others were following his example. As we were departing, some people were still 'drawing down energy'. I wonder if perhaps our group started a new occult practice?

"Drawing down Energy" atop the Pyramid of the Sun.

From Mexico City we went to Tepoztlan, in the state of Morelos, not far from Cuernavaca. This is the New Age center of Mexico, often compared to Sedona or Taos. It contains many shops selling crystals, New Age literature, etc. The Hotel Tepoztlan is a 'holistic health resort', with its own naturopathic physicians and herbal pharmacy on the premises. Its restaurant is entirely vegetarian. It offers its guests very reasonable rates on alternative health services, and was then offering a special discount on a colonic irrigation, which I nonetheless declined.

The mountains surrounding the town are said to 'glow' at night with mystical energy, and in truth they sometimes seem to. The town is surrounded by high, steep cliffs much like Yosemite valley, at night the light-colored rocks reflect the lights of the town. Brush fires were more or less continually burning somewhere nearby, and isolated flames on the mountains were called out by some as suspected UFOs, until calmer voices and a peek through binoculars persuaded them that they were just seeing fires. In California, we spend millions of dollars per year fighting thousands of brush fires in the wilderness. In Mexico, however, lacking the resources to fund such massive efforts, fires in sparsely-inhabited areas are usually allowed to burn themselves out. We spent two evenings holding a "skywatch" on the rooftop of the hotel, which offers an unobstructed view of the UFO-infested town of Tepoztlan. No anomalous objects of any kind were seen, in spite of the ready availability of some very fine beer and Tequila.

Carlos Diaz (facing camera), pointing out the mystical highlights of Tepoztlan from the roof of the hotel.

Our main contact in Tepoztlan was perhaps that town's most famous citizen, UFO celebrity Carlos Diaz. Carlos is a professional photographer, who takes photos of what he says are "plasma ships" piloted by extraterrestrials. When Shirley Maclaine was in Mexico she stopped by to visit him; Carlos showed us a photo of the two of them together, beaming. Carlos possesses a very charming, boyish personality, and immediately becomes overly-friendly with those he meets. No doubt many find this reassuring, but with me it has the opposite effect of setting me on guard, as it calls to mind the slick manner of a used-car salesman. Up on the rooftop of the hotel, Carlos pointed out to us the UFO highlights of the town. He indicated a rock feature that he said resembles the male organ. When seen from the other side of the mountain, it resembles female organs, he said. For this reason, he said, the Aztecs knew it as "the Mountain of Life," although I wouldn't care to bet any money on that statement. Near the base of that mountain is where the alien spacecraft most frequently land.

The way Carlos tells his story, it has three levels. At each level, you are kept unaware that he has even more bizarre stuff that will later follow, things that logically he should have mentioned earlier. Apparently this is so that he can lecture to different groups, of different levels of gullibility. Our group got it from all three barrels. Some members of our group possessed credulity of truly cosmic proportions, and the rest of us kept our mouths shut.

One of Carlos Diaz' "plasma ships," shooting down a light beam.

The first level is the story of Carlos the UFO spotter, a professional photographer who often sees and photographs alien Plasma Ships on the outskirts of Tepoztlan. After about an hour of this, we take a short break, then he begins the second level: the story of Levitated Carlos, who has actually been taken on board the plasma ships, a fact he somehow neglected to mention during the previous segment. Unfortunately, when he was taken aboard he wasn't able to see much. Apparently, the "Plasma" that comprises the alien craft is something like a combination of fog and chewing gum. Walking in any direction was difficult, and no matter where he would go all he could see was more plasma.

Following another short break, we heard the story of Carlos the Adamski-style contactee. His outer space friend often lands, and they go for long nocturnal walks in the desert, where the alien dispenses cosmic wisdom. The evening concluded with an apocalyptic warning of impending ecological doom unless mankind repents of its sinful selfish ways and stops harming the planet. This obviously-heartfelt message is especially significant coming as it does not merely from Carlos, who might be safely ignored, but instead from the extraterrestrials themselves!

Carlos Diaz sells autographed offset prints - not photos - of his supposed "Plasma Ships" for US $20 each, a price which would strike me as quite high even in New York City, let alone in Mexico. We were discreetly warned not to trust Diaz by paying in advance, as others had not received prints they had paid for. His UFOs look mostly like featureless blotches, and even Jaime Maussan privately admitted that he has a difficult time accepting them as authentic. Interestingly, Carlos told us that he does not believe the "UFO abduction" reports coming from the U.S.; they're just too bizarre for him to swallow.

Warning! Evacuation of the Earth in Tepoztlan!

There was a huge banner strung across the main street of Tepoztlan, proclaiming a coming "evacuation of the earth" via flying saucer, under the supervision of the Ashtar command. I asked Carlos what this was about. He shrugged and replied that he knows nothing about it, as it was put up by a different UFO group.
Tepoztlan was also the site of another little-known but nonetheless momentous UFO encounter: it is the site where the controversial conspiracy-oriented Black Muslim minister, the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, was swept up from the ground to a huge mother-ship hovering overhead. Farrakhan claims that on Sept. 17, 1985, he was beamed up from the Aztec pyramid on the mountain at Tepoztlan to a UFO, where he was warned by the voice of the late Elijah Muhammed of Ronald Reagan's forthcoming "genocide plot" against Qadaffi's Libya (the air raids in retaliation for Libya's support of anti-American terrorists).

Looking for "energy lines" on the spot where Diaz meets the Plasma Ships.

We went to the soccer field near the supposed "Mountain of Life" (male side), where Carlos supposedly encounters the Plasma Ships. On a previous trip, Colin Andrews had detected "energy lines" on this spot, too, and he traced them out in a rectangular grid using his dowsing rod. Several people tried dowsing the "energy lines" without much success, until finally the rod was picked up by a woman who claims a pattern of repeated UFO abduction. She quickly dowsed a pattern of "energy lines" on the soccer field, and people were directed to stand to mark the positions where the "energy lines" crossed. What this exercise accomplished, if anything, was unclear, as was the definition of the supposed "energy" she claimed to dowse. No serious attempt was made by the group to determine whether or not these "energy lines" represent anything real. This was an exercise in group psychology, not in physics.

Leaving Tepoztlan for Metepec, in the state of Puebla, the volcano Popocatepetl came into view, one of the largest in the world. In fact, the area was on volcanic alert, and some minor eruptions had occurred in recent months, showering the area with volcanic ash. This volcano figures prominently in UFO lore of the region.

Mario Arminas with one of his UFO drawings.

UFO witness and investigator Mario Arminas of Metepec claims to have made numerous sightings of UFOs in the vicinity of the volcano, and showed us at least a dozen of his drawings. One of them depicts an entire fleet of UFOs going down into the volcano's crater. Another depicts a giant and very ornate UFO, reportedly 300 meters in diameter, with many windows. Mario offers to sell individually hand-painted drawings of his UFOs, US$ 20 for the smaller ones, $30 for the larger. These beautiful handcrafted watercolors offer better value than Carlos Diaz' printed sheets.

Mario has a conspiracy theory involving UFOs and the volcano. The last eruption was provoked, he says, by the earth's superpowers, to obtain a supply of sulfur. (Apparently our country's sulfur shortage has been kept well hidden from the public.) He and others claim to have seen fleets of military helicopters flying up to the volcano, and back again. The former administration of Carlos Salinas is rumored to have actually sold Popocatepetl to foreign interests, who covet its UFO secrets, as well as its sulfur. Mario was worried that our group might have come down to Metepec on behalf of the U.S. Government to obtain UFO secrets from the volcano, and he was unwilling to talk with us unless we swore we were not working on behalf of the U.S. government, or any related agency. All of us gave him our solemn word.

The volcano Popocatepetl

In Metepec, our primary contact was Norberto Gil, leader of the group IFO-IEGA. The group gathers regularly for UFO skywatches at Punta Marconi, a small farm on a hill just outside Metepec, offering an unobstructed view of the sky, and a spectacular vista of Popocatapetl. Even after dark, a volcanic plume could be seen rising skyward from the crater. On this site the IFO-IEGA group has constructed a shack or clubhouse for greater comfort during their UFO vigils. This is one of the sites that was used by the American group CSETI on Mexican trips. We held a skywatch there on two consecutive nights. The site is almost directly under a main air traffic corridor between Mexico and South America, and some members of the group seem to have difficulty distinguishing UFOs from airplanes. Often the UFOs are said to keep to regular nocturnal timetables, which further compounds the confusion between UFOs and scheduled international flights.

People brought tapes of supposed "UFO noises" and "crop circle noises," and practiced group meditation, all in an attempt to communicate with, and hopefully summon, the UFO beings. These are the techniques of CSETI, which IFO-IEGA learned well from their American colleagues. Norberto led the group in meditation and creative visualization. He told us to visualize ourselves slowly rising up from our places in the field, to a series of points successively higher above the ground, then finally out into space beyond the moon, where we would encounter a giant UFO. We would implore it to come and reveal itself to us tonight, much as one might implore any other celestial being. The effect of his talk was much like that of a minister leading his congregation in prayer, imploring an unseen celestial being to grant us our fervent wish.

The UFO Clubhouse in Metepec.

When no UFOs were seen after we had been watching for about an hour and a half, the group retired into the clubhouse to have snacks and get comfortable. Norberto picked up his accordion and led the group in song. He later switched to his guitar. They sang their songs, we sang our songs, the sense of camaraderie and good spirits was unmistakable and infectious; all we lacked were UFOs to make the night complete. The following morning, just before our departure from Metepec, Norberto told us that a UFO had been seen just ten minutes after we had left the previous night. Darn it! But UFOs are like that, always cleverly concealing themselves whenever the danger of their public exposure is the greatest. Like the other Mexican UFOlogists we met, Norberto told us that he and the others in his group do not believe the American UFO abduction reports; they're just too bizarre to accept.

Looking for a gravitational anomaly.

One morning in Metepec we stopped at the site of a supposed "gravitational anomaly" near Punta Marconi. The tourbus was supposed to roll uphill on what was said to be a downhill slope. A complex pattern of local slopes confuses the eye as to where "level" really is. Unfortunately, the bus refused to cooperate. Norberto tried to illustrate the mystery and get the bus rolling, giving it a heroic shove. He is a very strong fellow, but the tourbus refused to keep rolling in any direction, up or down.

In nearby Atlixco, we visited the home of Sr. Lino, an attorney, in whose yard UFOs are said to have landed several times. A ring in the grass was reportedly left as evidence of each landing, although none were visible at the time of our visit. His 16-year-old daughter Adrianna claims to have seen a UFO land in the yard outside her window. She has since begun receiving apocalyptic visions of the earth colliding with a giant asteroid, bigger even than Jupiter. The most dramatic physical evidence presented to us on the entire trip was when Sr. Lino displayed a small stick that he said had been broken when the UFO landed.

Landing evidence - a stick broken by a landed UFO.

We returned to the U.S. in good spirits, yet disappointed that the primary objective of the trip was not met: to witness some of the fabled Mexican UFO encounters with our own eyes. Despite holding four evenings of Skywatches in two of the principal UFO hotspots in Mexico, no anomalous objects of any kind were seen. We met with the leading UFO proponents in Mexico, yet were shown no unusual physical evidence of any kind, and saw no clear or convincing photos or videos. We did see several photos and videos that appear to be sincere misinterpretations of prosaic phenomena. It seems that despite the stories we hear in the U.S. about the supposedly frantic pace of UFO activity south of the border, if you actually go to the hottest UFO hot-spots in Mexico and get the leading UFOlogists to show you their best evidence, you will find nothing more remarkable than the same blurry photos and hazy stories we are accustomed to finding here.