Sunday, July 05, 2015

Argentina: 50th Anniversary of the Argentinean Antarctic UFO Sighting



Source: Clarin (Argentina)
Date: July 4, 2015



Argentina: 50th Anniversary of the Argentinean Antarctic UFO Sighting


The UFO That Paraded Across the Antarctic and Triggered the Argentinean Psychosis
By Guillermo dos Santos Coelho

It had all of the ingredients. An exotic locale, experienced witnesses and a season that was ripe for fostering the imagination, shortly before man’s arrival on the Moon. It is for this reason that the UFO which paraded across the Antarctic 50 years ago was a landmark that had pride of place in the covers of all of Argentinian dailies, triggering a collective psychosis that lasted that entire winter and a little longer.

Tomorrow will mark half a century since the main sighting. While it was later learned that previous episodes existed, it was on July 3, 1965 when a small number of people, the only ones for hundreds of miles around, found themselves staring at the skies in fascination.

The Argentinean base – Decepción – held fewer than 20. At 19:40 hours that Saturday, the night had been clear and peaceful for a good while, and it was then that the weatherman noticed it. The Navy communiqué would subsequently speak in terms of a “lenticular mass” – two concave surfaces stuck together, like a lentil.

This “lentil”, according to various accounts, moved across the sky changing colors, the predominant ones being red and green, putting on quite a show: a display of yellow, blue, green, orange and white hues.


The weatherman summoned everyone. Except for the radioman, who happened to be on duty, the entire detachment was able to see the object and follow it with the detail provided by their binoculars and theodolites. Some 10 to 15 kilometers distant, the object was traveling in a generally eastward direction, although it made momentary westward changes at some 45 degrees. Its speed was variable, according to reports; it made no noise whatsoever, and at times remained suspended in space. The Navy communiqué indicated that the display lasted some 15 or 20 minutes under excellent visibility conditions. The protagonists would later state it lasted longer than that.

Civilian meteorologist Jorge Hugo Stanich reached for his camera and photographed the object as best he could. Nothing appeared on any of the photos – it was a low-sensitivity photographic emulsion for the prevailing darkness and he lacked a tripod. A curious side note to all this was the disruption of geo-magnetic instrumentation which accompanied the sighting.

A few days later, the story exploded, commanding the headlines of all domestic newspapers. Clarín spoke to the commander of the Decepción base – Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Perissé.

“We have only seen an unidentified flying object. According to the information in our possession, this was the same one witnessed by the Chilean and British detachments. I can add that this curious event was also seen on earlier dates, and always involved a single object.”


This information was indeed confirmed by the staff of Great Britain’s “B” base and the Pedro Aguirre Cerdá, which stands abandoned today. Even there, Corporal Uladislao Durán Martínez managed to take ten photographs, but months would go by before they were developed, following the personnel rotation, as no lab facilities were available. The corporal returned to Santiago in January ’66 with the film, which was forgotten. Either a conspiracy or blank negatives – you can choose your own adventure.

All this was followed by an agitated month of July. With the Argentinean delight for psychoses, UFO accounts appeared throughout the country, each of them commanding a good number of inches of page space.

First, seven teenagers near Pilar on a camping trip saw a UFO. Then there was a case near the Morón air base. Lights were photographed in the sky over Bahía Blanca. Similar accounts were repeated in Mendoza, Resistencia, Rosario and Mar del Plata. On August 1, binoculars at the Palermo Racetrack, usually aimed at the ground, focused on the sky on account of a strange balloon. The whole event lasted a few minutes, until it was announced over the loudspeakers that “only five minutes were left for placing bets.” Argentina had become a sort of UFO garage.

On August 4, the La Plata Observatory soothed the UFO effervescence that had so many people looking at the sky rather than the ground. After consultations made with centers specializing in the tracking of artificial satellites, it was explained that the U.S. Echo II satellite, launched on January of that year from Vandenberg AFB for communications duty, could have been seen from the Decepción base at the same day and time as the UFO sighting. [The Echo] was an enormous aluminized plastic balloon, highly reflective.

The tide subsided, although more eyewitness accounts took place that year. In August, officers from the Punta de Vacas squadron in Mendoza reported seeing a UFO playing in the heavens for some eight minutes. Later, in the capital of La Rioja, two men reported seeing a UFO fly directly over the car in which they drove. In early October, at Villa Characato, in the department of Cruz del Eje (Córdoba), a teacher and a group of female students claimed seeing a 30 centimeter device coming and going in the air at some 400 meters overhead before vanishing.

One of the cases appearing in the newspapers during these months occurred in the city. A child attending the No.9 School saw a light changing colors and making strange movements. The mother also saw the object and corroborated the story. The father, somewhat more skeptical, told Clarin with a thin smile: “He’s not a fantasy-prone boy, but he’s that age.”

And then…

Two years after the sightings, volcanic activity caused there to be no winter activity on Decepción Island. UFO sightings were ongoing in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but nothing came close to the 1965 wave, the Year of the UFO. The experience left a deep mark on Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Perissé, who went on to become one of the country’s best-known ufologists, first as a member of the Comisión Permanente de Investigacion del Fenomeno Ovni (Standing Committee on UFO Research) and later as a civilian.

[Translation © 2015, S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Luis Burgos, Fundación Argentina de Ovnilogía]

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Colombia: UFO Recorded Over Bogota's Cerro Monserrate



Source: Diario del Huila (Colombia) and Planeta UFO
Date: 07.03.15


Colombia: UFO Recorded Over Bogotá's Cerro Monserrate

The object seen in the video has apparently been considered an unidentified flying object.

The video was recorded on the evening of Wednesday, July 1 2015. A luminous object flying at high speed can be seen in images, swiftly changing directions. The "UFO" - as it has been classified by cybernauts - is flying over Cerro Monserrate with an impressive moon in the background. The video was recorded by Jaime Reyes, who uploaded the video and would like to have the strange object analyzed by UFO experts. The images have gone viral on social media.

VIDEO AT: https://youtu.be/_Jh4fQgOnRU

[Translation (c) 2015 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Argentina: Cattleman Blames Herd Death on Chupacabras



Source: Informate Salta
Date: 06.30.2015


Argentina: Cattleman Blames Herd Death on Chupacabras

The cattleman, over the course of the weekend, visited his property located in the Cuña Muerta wilderness of Tartagal, discovering that two cows and two goats had been mysteriously slain.

The four animals were missing their tongues and entrails, with no visible traces of blood. In his complaint to the police, the cattleman stated that the notorious character known as the Chupacabras could be to blame.

[The same news source reported another case last year, which appears below -- SC]

Source: Diario El Tribuno and Informate Salta
Date: November 24, 2014


40 Goats Killed in Coronel Cornejo, But No One Knows Who or What's to Blame

In a single night the predator eliminated sixteen goats from the caretaker's surroundings, despite the presence of six dogs. During its second attack, it killed twenty-four, "toying with them and making numbers [sic]."

The caretakers ascertained that in all of their years, they had never suffered a similar attack by creatures who left no traces. In barely two nights, a family of goat livestock suffered the rage of a strange being that ended the lives of forty goats by slitting their throats.

The mysterious case kept livestock ranchers from the locality of Coronel Cornejo on alert. This community is less than 20 kilometers distant from the city of Tartagal, and the attacks occurred on Saturday and Sunday evening.

The family of Jaime Villalba is still astonished by what what happened only meters from where the caretaker and his family were sleeping. Forty large goats were slain with identical injuries to the throat.

The Villalba's smallhold is located some 2 kilometers north of Coronel Cornejo and its owner had though to sell the young goats for the new years' festivities. "We do not know happened, but on Saturday, when the caretaker awoke, we found sixteen dead animals scattered throughout the yard, all of them with the same injuries to the throat," she said, adding: "During the evening of the first storm on Friday, I heard Caschi [one of the dogs] crying and pawing the door to be let in. It was already dark and I opened to let him in. That's when I saw something or someone jumping the fence, as if running off into the wilderness. It was huge and very agile, perhaps a jaguar. Had it been a hungry puma, it would have also eaten them. Besies, the dogs would have attacked it."

"What's odd is that [the goats] made no noise when they were in danger. We had nearly 200 animals," the caretakers told El Tribuno. "We don't mean to alarm anyone, but to kill 40 large goats - since they didn't attack the kids or the newborns - it must be a very powerful animal or creature, able to catch and kill animals in a confined space without them scattering and voicing their terror," they said, still overwhelmed by the death toll.

The mystery came in two separate episodes for the Villalbas: on Saturday morning they incinerated the first 16 dead goats, without thinking that 24 more animals would appear lifeless in their yard, with strange tooth marks in their throats, but without these injuries producing a loss of blood, another detail that did not go unnoticed. "Only a savage bite could have done that."

No one can imagine what could have happened to it. "We have several animals left, so we will stand guard all night to see what attacked them so stealthily. If it's an animal, we'll feed it lead," said one of the caretakers.

"We reject the possibility that it could have been dogs or wild animals. Maybe it's a person who doesn't like us, or some wandering spirit, or else it's a predator. This is the first time something so terrifying has befallen us," said the owner of the decimated herd yesterday.

The story of the family harmed by the predator attack leads us to the possibility of cryptids, that is to say, creatures existing in the popular culture but whose actual existence is not proven. Among them we can find the Ucumar and the Chupacabras.

[Translation (c) 2015 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Monday, June 29, 2015

Peru: A "UFO Fleet" Recorded Over Tarma



Source:El Popular (Perú)
Date: 06.27.2015


Peru: A "UFO Fleet" Recorded Over Tarma


Two UFO buffs recorded the presence of an alleged fleet of "flying saucers" that remained suspended in the skies over the city of Tarma in Central Perú.

The material, which appears to be unedited, shows strange lights and objects in the sky that move silently and cause excitement among the witnesses.

The UFO buffs claimed that the tape was recorded as from 0530 hours and that the strange phenomenon had been seen for two consecutive days in that part of the country.

"Are they floating?!" asks a man with a youthful voice, identified as Edinson Avila Lamadrid.
"UFOs they are!" replies the other, seemingly older one.
"Look, look, look! It's a huge one!" they add.
"Hey, Robert, don't go away, this is making me scared," says Edison Avila, tremorously.
"This is a signal," they insist.

The video shows at least six strange objects amid the darkness, forming different figures. At several moments during the recording, the shapes that appear on the recording remain still and then begin to move slowly.

To prove that the recording is real and not a hoax, they videotape part of the house from where the sighting is being recorded. These same witnesses uploaded another UFO video to YouTube, recorded on June 17. This other material also shows alleged alien craft. The weather can be seen as pleasant and there are no stars in the sky.

TO WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=98&v=sSMbV4YnHgo

[Translation (c) 2015 S. Corrales, IHU with thanks to Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mexico: UFOs Over Mayan Pyramids




Source: SIPSE and Planeta UFO
Date: 06.20.2015



Mexico: UFOs Over Mayan Pyramids


BY JORGE MORENO/SIPSE - MERIDA Yucatan - Many internationally-known researchers have associated UFOS with ancient cultures and have spoken about
sightings over such archaeological sites as the Egyptian pyramids or South America's Easter Island.

Yucatán is no exception, and similar cases have occurred in such sites as Uxmal, Chichen Itza and Acanceh.

Whether it is due to the alleged energy the emerges from such pyramids as Uxmal and Chichen Itza, or as skeptics would have it, by mere coincidence, the
fact is that photos showing alleged spacecraft have been seen prowling these sites.

One of the most famous ones was taken by an Argentinean tourist. The UFO appears beside the pyramid, in a photo she took of herself as a souvenir.
Tourists and locals also state seeing strange lights stalking these locations, and claim that their movements do not correspond to anything that may
have a rational explanation (airplanes, helicopters, satellites, etc.)

Even employees of the Uxmal site have told me that they are "accustomed" to seeing - with certain regularity - lights engaging in irregular movements:
"We do nothing and we do not report it, partly because we would be dismissed as insane, and partly because the lights cause no damage or anything that
merits being reported."

Employees of some Yucatán archaeological sites have become used to seeing lights in the heavens.

A few years ago, in Acanceh, I was informed of a UFO sighting near the pyramid located at the heart of the community. When I visited the site, I
interviewed young Jiram Cetz and David Castilla, who had been the witnesses. They advised me that they'd seen such craft in nearby locations as well.

Three of their videos, in fact, were uploaded to YouTube and they went around almost daily with a camcorder in search of evidence. All of this began
when they went to Homún in a pickup truck after classes at the "Acanceh" high school". They were on their way to visit a friend and never thought such a
thing would happen to them: "When we returned, I was sitting in the rear of the pickup, and as we entered Acanceh (along the Los Venados baseball field)
one of my companions asked me to looked skyward. We all turned around and we looked: it was round, with colored lights, as though floating in the sky.
What was odd is that it also moved, as though wobbling. It was quite near us. We were frightened, then it turned around and left," said Jiram.

As of that moment, he says he told his friend David - who had a video camera - that they should return the next day in an effort to record it. They were
lucky enough to see it that night and secure the recording.

They repeated the procedure over following nights and the UFO always returned. It flew over the town and left through the entrance to Timucuy. On
several occasions, they camped out at the palapa [thatch-roofed shelter] that was at the entrance to the town, since they were friends with the owner, and it was still under
construction at the time. The owner also admitted having seen the UFO, as it always passed overhead. The youths also managed to see a fleet of UFOs: "On
one occasion, we managed to see six or seven of them. Suddenly, their lights went out and they turned them on again. Those craft flew together. We even
became famous at school, since even our teachers asked us what we had recorded and couldn't believe what we had seen," he said.

"When we made inquiries from several adults, they weren't surprised. They said it was common to see UFOs over the pyramid, and perhaps some connection
existed," he concluded.

[Translation (c) 2015, S. Corrales IHU with thanks to Jorge Moreno, SIPSE and Guillermo Giménez, Planeta UFO]

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chile: UFO Recorded During Soccer Match




Source: Radioagricultura (Chile)
Date: 06.12.2015


Chile: UFO Recorded During Soccer Match

A luminous objct startled fans of "La Roja" who were enjoying the game at the National Stadium.

It was crossed the skies ove Nuñoa for nearly 3 minutes. It was gone in the same way it appeared. The alleged UFO during the opening ceremonies of the Copa America at the National Stadium was swift and fleeting,

The fireworks launched at the sports arena drew the attention of one supporter, who took out his cell phone quickly to capture the moment. However, he never thought he'd find a luminous object moving strangely, from side to side - a movement far from what one would expect of an aircraft.

Could it be a UFO? The images are eloquent. The conclusions are yours to draw.

VIDEO AT: https://youtu.be/9yHJsOWnkpY

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

A Voyage to the Land of the Living Dead




[While looking through the INEXPLICATA archives, I came across one of our most popular features from the pre-Blogspot days: an article about zombies written by contributing editor Manuel Carballal, who visited the island to look into Haiti's occult practices, much as he had done earlier in Cuba. Although we often receive complaints about straying from ufology into other areas of the unknown, it is precisely this diversity - and the fearless journalism of reporters like Manuel Carballal - that have made INEXPLICATA stand out since 1998 -- SC]


Voyage to the Land of the Living Dead
By Manuel Carballal


The scene could have been derived from any suspense film. Manuel Delgado instinctively held on tightly to his television camera as we clutched our machetes. Our vehicle was being surrounded by a dozen ebony-skinned Haitians. The blancs, as they derisively call Europeans, are not welcome in Haiti and we had been warned that under no circumstances should we venture into the shanty towns outside Port-au-Prince where, we were told, "there exists a 90 per cent chance of being mugged." We ignored this sage advice, of course.

After endless minutes of waiting, our guide allowed us to emerge from the car. Monsieur Balaguer, an important bokor -- a voodoo high priest -- would allow us to visit his hounfor or temple. The hounfor consisted in a humble wooden shack whose center contained the peristyle, the indispensable central column of every voodoo ritual, by means of which the gods or loas descend to earth. A filthy light bulb and seven candles enabled us to see the disquieting form of Monsieur Balaguer, a tall man with sparkling black eyes, who covered his head with a Stetson.

While our guide stated all the arguments at his disposal in order to have Monsieur Balaguer allow us to film his "she-devil" and his "zombie", we were startled by a sudden blackout. The dirty light bulb was extinguished, plunging us into the shadows, illuminated only by the seven candles around the peristyle. Balaguer greeted his "she-devil" -- supposedly located behind a mysterious metal door -- by rapping on it a few times. From the other side, "something" responded with brutal blows against the door, causing the entire temple to shake. Suddenly we were told that the bokor had to consult the loas: we looked on as Monsieur Balaguer fell int a sort of trance, being "ridden" or possessed by Bravo, one of the loas who shares the lordship over death and cemeteries with Baron Samedi and Baron La Croix. Subjecting us to a sort of "trial," exchanging a curious combinations of handshakes to which we instinctively responded to, Balaguer drank rum through an ear as he smoked a cigarette through one nostril.

The fact of the matter is that in Haiti, Western patterns of logic become fragile in the face of the unpredictable, incomprehensible and irrational voodoo cult -- vodú in the native tongue -- which originates from the Fon language of Dahomey, meaning "deity" or "spirit." This is the precise nature of voodoo: a spirit that envelops Haiti, influencing each and every cultural or social manifestation of this small country, the poorest of the Americas.

Voodoo Reaches the Presidency

No single cultural manifestation is longer-lasting or more influential than a country's religion. In Haiti's case, this influence becomes particularly apparent. In late 1995, when President Bill Clinton visited Haiti to supervise the "changing of the guard" -- American troops being replaced by UN peacekeepers, more than four thousand Haitians converged upon the square in front of the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince to witness the event. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, restored to power thanks to the intervention of twenty thousand U.S. troops in October 1994, would preside over the event.

Bill Clinton had barely finished his conciliatory speech concerning military intervention in Haiti when a white dove landed next to his microphone. Immediately, thousands of Haitians roared their approval and applauded in the light of such an unequivocal "sign of approval" from the gods. The Voodoo loas had accepted Clinton. This "innocent coincidence" made thousands of Haitians--and more importantly, secret societies like Bizango, who had promised to protect the country against foreigners through magic--put aside their anger against the new white invaders, respecting the wishes of the gods. Voodoo is the main power in Haiti: no one would dare contradict the wishes of the loas, or what is interpreted as their wishes.

From the days of Macandal, the pioneer of independence in the 18th century to the times of General Raoul Cédras, no Haitian ruler has forgotten to acknowledge the all-powerful influence of voodoo in Haiti. President Aristide was no exception. In spite of having been a Catholic priest, after an interview with several houngans (priests) and mambos (priestesses) on July 19, 1995, Aristide officially announced the construction of a great Voodoo temple within the capital. In this manner, the president equated the Voodoo religion with other "accepted" religions, granting Voodoo practitioners a "cathedral" similar to the Baptist churches, Masonic temples or Catholic parishes which are so numerous in Haiti.

Warlocks in Charge

But there was one Haitian ruler who knew how to make use of Voodoo as a political tool: the mythical and shadowy "Papa Doc," François Duvalier. In 1954, the legendary "Papa Doc" published (with Lorimer Denis) a monograph entitled L'Evolution graduelle du vaudou (The Gradual Evolution of Voodoo). The knowledge of Voodoo displayed in this book was evidently utilized during his political career.

As a young man, along with other Haitian intellectuals, Duvalier published a nationalist newspaper called Les Griots. At a time when the government torched the sacred Voodoo drums and other objects of worship as a sign of loyalty to the Catholic church, Les Griots revindicated Voodoo as a religion and as rebellion against American colonizers. It isn't surprising that "Papa Doc" gained the support of the traditional secret societies, and that during his 1957 campaign, the hounfour or Voodoo temples were utilized as his local party headquarters.

Immediately after rising to the presidency of Haiti, Duvalier named the feared bokor of Gonaives, Zacharie Delva, as commander-in-chief of the army, and began to revindicate Voodoo as the official religion. His personal bodyguard, a sort of "esoteric police," were the Volunteers for National Security (VSN), the feared Tontons Macoutes who spread terror throughout the island (the name Tontons Macoutes refers to an old Haitian folk tale of the "men with the sack". Misbehaving children were warned that their tonton -- uncle -- would take them away inside a macoute, a sack). All the hounfor who were not aligned with the Duvalier regime were locked up and rebels were persecuted. According to his biographers, "Papa Doc" ordered a special airplane to bring him the head of former rebel captain Blucher Fhilgénes. The man was decapitated and his head was placed in a bucket of ice. According to the rumors filtering out of the Presidential Palace, Duvalier would spend hours contemplating the head and consulting its spirit in secret rituals.

"Man speaks, but doesn't act. God acts, but doesn't speak. Duvalier is a god." This was the thought echoing through the streets of Haiti. Papa Doc had woven around himself a terrible magical legend thanks to his knowledge of Voodoo, a legend that none dare question, and which allowed his dictatorship to flourish for decades. In fact, many peasants believed that "Papa Doc" was an incarnation of the dreaded Baron Samedi, lord of cemeteries. "They cannot have me. I am an immaterial being," Duvalier said during one of his speeches in 1963. The fact is that his legend exists to this day, and many believe that Duvalier has become a loa, a spirit of the Gede family that can still manifest itself in certain rituals...

Blood, Rhythm and Possession

We were engulfed by frantic drumbeats. The convulsive dancing of the hounsí --Voodoo initiates--bewitched us, and the markedly African chants and litanies overwhelmed us. The entire montage of the Voodoo ritual we were witnessing in Cachimán, near the border with the Dominican Republic, created an almost dreamlike atmosphere within the confines of Voodoo priest Manuel Sánchez Elie. Without a scrap of hesitation, one of the houngan's assistants delivered a powerful blade-stroke on the neck of a ram, abruptly decapitating the animal while its blood showered everyone present. The ram's head was torn from its body and offered to the gods, while two acolytes stripped the body, which would be served to the participants later. Voodoo religion is an imprecise mixture of blood, music and esthetics.

Voodoo, like Santería, Umbanda, Candomblé or Palo Mayombe, is the product of synchretism between African religions and Christianity. The ancestral beliefs brought by African slaves to the New World as their only treasure was forcibly mimetized with the saints of the Catholic onomasticon. The orishas and African loas were disguised as saints, mystics and martyrs in order that their worship could survive in a hostile world, which was that of slave-owning whites. This abstract mixture of witchcraft, paganism and christianity survives to this day.

It is said that on July 16, 1843, the Blessed Virgin materialized on top of a palm tree near the town of Ville Bonheur. The palm tree was very close to the precipices in which the Tombe River dissolves into the mist in a cascade known as Saut d'Eau, a sacred site for generations of voodooists. The Catholic Church recognized the location as a site of Marian worship, but to the Haitian people, it was really Erzulie Freda, goddess od love and beauty, who had materialized there. Since then, every July 16th, thousands of pilgrims visit Saut d'Eau to pay homage to the goddess Erzulie, although christian priests and pastors would rather believe that the pilgrimage is a form of Marian worship. The fact remains that Haiti may be 85 per cent christian, but it is 110 per cent voodooist.

In Saut d'Eau, as in any other Voodoo celebration, there is an indispensable element: possession.

A sociological study conducted on 486 societies around the world revealed that 360 of them believe in some form of possession. Haiti is a prime example. In the words of ethnobiologist Wade Davis, "Voodoo is a democratic faith par excellance. Each believer not only has direct contact with the spirits, but really receives them within his own body." Unlike other religions, the Afrocaribbean ones do not require intermediaries between gods and believers. When the gods introduce themselves into the devotees' bodies, anything can happen: voice changes, attacks of hysteria, walking on hot coals, eating broken glass...

Haitian voodoo admits three kinds of possession: rada, gede and petro. The last two are the most spectacular. Petro Voodoo is the most brutal, violent and dangerous kind. The violence of such possessions has even caused the death of some worshippers who have been "ridden" or possessed by the powerful loas of petro Voodoo. This kind of ritual, among the least accessible in Haiti, reflect the rage, the pain and humiliation of the people, who for generations were subjected to the indescribable cruelty of slave owners.

Haiti's Secret Societies

"A fellow diplomat was named as a witness in a trial against one of the secret societies that proliferate in the country. When he reached the courthouse to testify, there was an exhibit table upon which he could see a cauldron brimming over with the head and arm of a girl sacrificed in a magical rite by the society. My friend had to run out of the courtroom to vomit." This was the story told to us by Juan Blázquez, Spain's consul in Port-au-Prince for five years and a scholar of voodoo. Throughout his years in Haiti he had heard of many secret societies, but had also learn that penetrating them is almost impossible.

The study of Haitian secret societies represents an arduous task for anthropologists and sociologists alike. In the summer of 1976, Haitian anthropologist Michel Laguerra met several peasants who had belonged to different secret societies, but who had later converted to Protestantism and were now willing to divulge certain information. According to his sources, there are secret societies running the length and breadth of the country, each controlling a given region.

Some of these secret societies are especially feared and respected in Haiti. The Zobop terrorized the population by kidnapping in the dark of night anyone considered a traitor to the community in order to "bring them to justice" in a cruel fashion. Others, like the Bizango, uphold a sorcerous tradition that goes back to the dawn of time. Its rituals mix ceremonies extracted from old texts on witchcraft, such as the Petit Albert or the Red Dragon (which reached Haiti during the colonial period), Masonic ritual and African magical practices.

Its rules are strict, and those who betray them are harshly punished. The Bizango society, for instance, has a taboo known as "the Seven Crimes": ambition, excessive material wealth gained at the expense of relatives or subordinates, disrespect toward fellow members, seducing another man's wife, slandering others or affecting their well-being, harming the members of someone's family, and any action that impedes others from tilling the soil. An infraction of any of these could cost a Bizango member his life...a particularly cruel and painful death by means of the poisons known for ages by Voodoo houngans and bokors.


Poisons and the Living Dead

The discussion was becoming more heated by the moment. We were trying to convince an important Voodoo priestess to let us record a gede Voodoo ritual in her temple. We knew that we were not welcome and the haggling about the price was adding heat to the surroundings. On another occasion, a similar discussion at another temple almost cost us our lives when nearly a hundred Haitians barricaded the door to the hounfour, warning us that we would not get out alive unless we paid them a thousand dollars.

While one of us argued with the mambo, a tall, fierce looking young man toyed with a rubber glove. He would put it on and take it off his hand with a smile on his lips. We knew exactly what he meant: at any moment, a yellowish powder could appear on his right hand, to be blown in our direction. It would represent a terrible doom--zombification. As a measure against this fate, we had drawn up a special policy which stated that in the event of dying in Haiti, no autopsies were permitted and that our bodies should be returned to Spain immediately. Death in Haiti can be far more perilous than anywhere else on earth.

Anthropologists, missionaries and industrialists who have come into contact with traditional African medicine have discovered its wonders. The knowledge of herbs, plants and jungle poisons possessed by witches, sorcerers and shamans is surprising, and this fascinating wisdom reached Haiti on the slave ships. Ethnologists and biologists who have analyzed the "magical recipes" employed by Voodoo houngans and bokors have discovered fascinating aspects, such as the substances created based upon the root of albizzia versicolor, used in Africa to create ibok usiak owo ("medicine to make people talk"), a sort of native truth serum. Or Zawda dust, employed to cause marital discord; Yoyo dust, used for the "Evil Eye"; Patchouli dust, used to cause infidelity and wreck marriages, and a hundred other "magical powders" with a number of uses and functions. But among them all, one is particularly fascinating: Pudre or "zombie dust."

Zombie Dust

It is impossible to discuss the mystery of zombie dust without mentioning the pioneering book by Harvard anthropologist, ethnobotanist and biologist Wade Davis, entitled The Zombie Enigma, a project that earned Davis his Ph.D and inspired the film The Serpent and The Rainbow, describing a scientist's quest for the living dead. Wade Davis began his own search for zombies in April 1982. In spite of the skepticism and even repugnance which scientists, even Haitian doctors, expressed for the myth of the "living dead", Davis and his sponsors were able to fathom a truth of great scientific interest concealed behind the veil of mystery and superstition. It wasn't the first time that a case of zombification was medically documented, but on certain earlier occasions, pretentious scientific despotism had quelled interest in such cases with derisive qualifiers such as "trickery" and "popular hogwash." If a death certificate was found for a person walking through the streets of Port-au-Prince, it was always attributed to confusion, hoaxing or medical error. After all, everyone knows that it's impossible to return from the grave...

But the clinical histories and death certificates were not the only items in existence. Relatives and neighbors recognized the zombies. After making contact with Haitian houngans and bokors, Davis obtained access to certain Voodoo secrets, among them the making of zombie powder.

Far from being the product of strange esoteric ritual, zombification is the result of an exceptional application of natural chemistry on the bokor's part. Zombie dust is a compound based on a number of vegetable, animal and human material, which combined in the right amounts produces the most fascinating poison of Afroamerican witchery. Extracts from plants, human bones, tarantulas, poisonous toads, worms and other no less picturesque ingredients form part of the dust whose main active ingredient is the tetrodoxine found in the Haitian blowfish, which we were able to localize and photograph with underwater cameras after various dives into Caribbean waters. The substance is a masterpiece of chemical artistry --- if improperly mixed, it will have no effect whatsoever or will cause instant death.

Once prepared, the powder is deposited on the floor of the victim's home, so that it will penetrate his skin upon stepping on it with bare skin. Otherwise, the bokor will blow it into the hapless victim's face. Shortly after, the future zombie "dies" and the bokor "steals its soul," containing it in a bottle. After burial, the bokor and his assistants go to the graveyard and retrieve the zombie from the tomb in order to sell him as a slave on the other side of the island.

Our travels took us all over Haiti -- a hellish voyage between the Dominican border and Lake Peligros that took over twelve hours by motorcycle, crossing rivers and mudholes. We were thus able to prove the horror of the possibility of being zombified, a fear that forces the decapitation of corpses, or else the nailing of corpses to the casket to impede their removal. On the road to Lake Peligros, we found that many tombs and family crypts were built directly across from the relatives' homes, in order to keep the bokor from tampering with the deceased's body and soul.

In Haiti, death is not final. Death isn't even an antonym for life. In Voodoo, both death and the dead form part of daily life, of religion, and of society. Death itself is another form of life.

[Translation (c) 1998, 2015 by Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology]