Feb 8, 2007
More than 1,000 enthusiasts and experts gathered in Viña del Mar on Tuesday and Wednesday this week for the Tenth International Ufology Conference, organized by the Chile’s Ufology Investigation Group (Aion). The highlight of the meeting was a display of photographs taken by members of Chile’s Armed Forces.
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Ufology is the study of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. While many ufology experts feel that the field is not taken seriously by scientists, participants at the conference in Viña del Mar said the presence of several members of the armed forces added legitimacy to the proceedings. Rodrigo Fuenzalida, director of Aion, said the military presence was important because of the well-known objectivity of their reports and the advanced technology that can be used to back up their observations.
The military photographs and videos were revealed late Tuesday evening. They included a photograph of a spherical metallic object captured flying over Antarctica and a video of Navy ships being pursued by a luminous object in 2000.
Also presented at the conference was a report by Rodrigo Bravo, Captain of the Army’s Fifth Division, who talked to a rapt audience about his thesis, entitled “Observations of unidentified aerial phenomena identified by the Civil Air Force.” While Bravo’s talk was not technically representative of the institution’s position on UFOs, he had been authorized to give it by his commander-in-chief.
“Captain Bravo gave his talk from the point of view of the importance of UFOs as a phenomenon,” said Fuenzalida. “He talked about encounters such as that of three helicopters near La Unión, when a UFO was spotted parked on the ground, and what happened in 2000, when five people were pursued by a luminous object that did not show up on radar screens.”
Fuenzalida denied the existence of “secret investigations” being carried out by the Armed Forces about extraterrestrial activity.
Also present at the conference was retired official Armando Valdés, who is noted for his involvement in one of Chile’s first documented UFO abductions, which became known as the Valdés Case. On April 25, 1977, Valdés, along with five members of an army patrol, saw two bright objects descending from the sky. Valdés set out alone to investigate and, according to the men, simply vanished. Fifteen minutes later, they said, he reappeared, tried to speak and passed out. The date on his watch had been advanced five days, and he had about a week's growth of beard.
According to his comrades, when Valdes was beginning to regain consciousness he said: "You do not know who we are, nor where we come from. But I tell you that we will soon return."