Anyone who reads the stories on this website knows me as an American who researches UFOs in Brazil. Now they can also think of me as a “Brazilian” researcher as well.
That’s because members of the Brazilian UFO community have bestowed on me the title of “Ufólogo Brasileiro Honorário” – or an Honorary Brazilian Ufologist.
The honor came during a UFO conference in the city of Curitiba in May 2003. Before saying more about that, I wish to pay tribute to all Brazilian ufologists.
There are about three hundred active ufologists in Brazil, ranging from the youngest and least experienced to those with unbelievable numbers of thoroughly investigated cases.
Hulvio Aleixo,for example, has a record of research that may be unequaled in the world. Hulvio (left) has spent more than thirty years investigating UFO reports in Vale das Velhas, or the Valley of the Old Women. This region has been one of the most active UFO spots in the world and UFOs are still being seen there, as several colleagues and I learned in mid-May, just a few days after I took this photo of Hulvio. (It was the fifth time he has helped me since 1979.)
In this mountainous farming region north of Belo Horizonte, Hulvio and members of his research group CICOANI investigated at least fifteen hundred cases, including some three hundred major ones. He developed a network of people throughout the region that kept him informed of sightings and encounters, and between 1969 and 2000 he and his group spent hundreds of weekends in the valley investigating cases. (I have records of twenty-one of those thirty-one years of expeditions and they show that Hulvio and members of CICOANI went to that region at least three hundred and seventeen times. Among the missing ten years of records are two trips that I made with him in 1991 and 1996.)
Hulvio and his colleagues often returned to the scene of an encounter again and again with tape recorders, cameras, sketch pads and other gear. They would conduct repeated interviews with witnesses and others until they were sure they had a solid case and that they had all the information they could get. In an innovative investigative technique, they also had witnesses use Playdough to create models of the UFOs they saw. This was particularly effective in helping witnesses to describe the shape and colors of the UFOs.
Many other Brazilian researchers have investigated countless cases with similar thoroughness.
There are so many sightings and encounters in Brazil that within a few years almost every active investigator becomes as experienced and competent as any in the world.
I have worked closely with at least forty Brazilian investigators. All of them treated me with friendship and respect. Each unselfishly shared his or her best cases, taking me to the sites where encounters occurred and introducing me to the witnesses.
Never once did I hear a harsh word or sense any hostility or resentment, nor were these investigators ever reluctant to tell me about any case that I was interested in. All through the years they treated me as an intelligent, competent equal, just as I did them.
Brazilian researchers helped me in at least half of the several hundred cases I have investigated in Brazil.
Now back to the honor I was given in Brazil. On the night of April 29, 2003, I flew from Miami to Rio de Janeiro and the following evening continued on to the big, busy city of Curitiba four hundred miles south of Rio. It was my fourteenth visit to Brazil since 1978 and was to become the most rewarding.
Over the next three days I participated in the twenty-seventh annual Brazilian UFO Congress in Curitiba. It was organized by Rafael Cury (right), president of the National Association of Ufologists of Brazil and co-editor of the magazine Revista UFO. I was one of three Americans and more than twenty Brazilians to speak at the conference.
When I gave my talk on the afternoon of Saturday, May 3, about two hundred and fifty people were in the auditorium. I told them about a number of the unusual UFO cases that I had investigated in Brazil since 1978.
I talked only about cases that I had investigated without help from Brazilian researchers. I was careful to not include encounters that had first been investigated by the men and women who had helped me over the years. The reason is that those cases were rightfully “their” cases, not “mine,” and they had probably already talked about them in front of other audiences at earlier UFO conferences.
I used slides to illustrate the talk and was blessed to have an excellent interpreter, Marcos Malvezzi Leal (left), relay my words to the audience. Earlier in the year, Marcos had translated my book UFO DANGER ZONE into Portuguese. It was published in the United States in 1996 and it is about my UFO research in Brazil. It has now been published in Brazil under the title Perigo Alienígena no Brasil, Perseguições, Terror e Morte no Nordeste (see cover below). It was released in July 2003 through the magazine Revista UFO.
(Marcos, an English teacher and professional interpreter,
has translated about two hundred books into Portuguese and has written his
own book, SERES, Fantástica Realidade, Relatos Surpreendentes Sobre a Interação
de Humanos com Outros Seres, or BEINGS, Fantastic Reality — Extraordinary
Stories About the Interaction of Humans With Other Beings.)
The next thing I knew, veteran ufologist Mário Rangel
(above right) walked up to me with a large black portfolio in his hands and
asked Marcos for the microphone. At about the same time, Rafael Cury and twenty
or more people began walking on stage behind him. Because the portfolio was
big and one of Mário's hands was now occupied with the microphone, Rafael
helped him open the portfolio (above left). It revealed
first a Brazilian flag and then a beautiful diploma naming me an "Ufólogo
Brasileiro Honorário" — or an Honorary Brazilian Ufologist — in recognition
of the research I had done in Brazil over the years. There were also three
similarly large pages with signatures on them.
The diploma itself was signed by three of the country’s leading ufologists, Mário himself, Rafeal and A. J. Gevaerd, editor of Brazil's leading uFO magazine, Revista UFO. Three additional pages contained the signatures of seventy-five other ufologists from all over the country. (Please note also that all photos from the presentation ceremony were taken by Tom Tulien, a historical researcher from Minneapolis, Minnesota.)
Later I learned that Mário was the moving force behind the honor. Many good things have happened to me because of Mário. He discovered through the Internet that in July 2001 I had spoken at the MUFON Symposium in Irvine, California about my Brazilian research and that I had written a book about some of those cases. Mário got my email address, contacted me, and we exchanged copies of our books.
He liked my book and for many months he urged me to get it translated and published in Brazil. He sent me the names and addresses of more than a dozen publishers in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. I contacted all of them, sending each a letter, a book proposal and a copy of the book, but only one was interested. However, that publisher had a backlog of UFO books to do and it could be several years before he would get to mine.
Mário never gave up, and early in 2002 he persuaded magazine editor A. J. Gevaerd (below left) to publish the book. Through his group, Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas de Discos Voadores (CBPDV), Gevaerd (below left) has published a series of a dozen UFO books that includes Mário’s Seqüestros Alienígenas, Investigando Ufologia com e sem Hipnose (Alien Abductions, Investigating Ufology with and without Hypnosis).
Mário, who lives in São Paulo, was not finished yet. When he learned I had been invited to speak at the Curitiba conference, he began working on the Honorary Brazilian Ufologist honor and got other ufologists to support the idea.
He worked with researcher Rodolfo Heltai (below right) to design and create the diploma on Rodolfo’s computer, along with extra pages to contain signatures of ufologists.
In his own computer, Mário created labels, many of them individual ones with the names of ufologists printed on them. He sent the labels to as many ufologists as he could reach and included self-addressed, stamped envelopes along with a letter explaining what he was doing.
In addition, Mário traveled to UFO conferences, getting more signatures. The result was seventy-eight signatures.
When the labels came back in the mail, he glued them into the signature pages that Rodolfo had created.
The whole undertaking, Mário said, was “Very simple.”
I met Mário for the first and only time in Curitiba and was able to talk with him several times during the conference. He is a tall, distinguished-looking man, extremely courteous and serious. He has white hair and a quiet sense of humor, and speaks English and Spanish in addition to his native language. He and his wife Tereza have four daughters and two grandchildren.
Mário is a retired executive of an encyclopedia company, having served during the last eight and a half years of his career as director of distributors in fourteen countries of Central and South America. He has traveled extensively and has visited seventy countries.
A private pilot much of his life, he became interested in UFOs one day in the early 1970s when he and another man watched an object hover for a minute or two in broad daylight about five hundred feet above Bacacheri Airport in Curitiba, less than two kilometers from the auditorium where I received the diploma.
Below are the people who signed the diploma naming me an honorary Brazilian ufologist. To all of them and all ufologists throughout Brazil, my profound thanks.
Ademar José Gevaerd
Alcione Luiz Giacomitti
Allyson Santos de Souza
Álvaro Santos Marciano
Arismaris Baraldi Dias
Carlos Alberto Machado
Carlos Alberto Reis
Carlos Arlindo de Souza
Cynthia Newby Luce
Dalton Corrazzari de Santi
Edilson da Silva
Edison Boaventura Junior
Elizabeth Aparecida Rodrigues Silva
Enos Francisco Beolchi
Eustáquio Andréa Patounas
Henry Albert Nakashima
Hulvio Brant Aleixo
Jackson Luiz Camargo
Jaime Barros Junior
Jeferson C. S. Martinho
Jonas Marcelo Augusto Coelho
Josef David S. Prado
Julio César Goudard
Luciano Stanka e Silva
Luís Carlos Santos
Luiz Gonzaga Scortecci de Paula
Luiz Ricardo Geddo
Marco Antônio Petit
Marco Aurelio Leal
Marcos Malvezzi Leal
Nelson Vilhena Granado
Pablo Villarubia Mauso
Paulo Anibel Gomes Mesquita
Paulo F.I. Giordano
Pedro Gabriel Scarabello
Reginaldo de Athayde
Rubens Junqueira Villela
Sebastião Alves França Bruce
Sheylla Salles Patounas
S. S. Saga
Walter Oliveira da Silva