UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Mar > Mar 21

Re: UFOs And Fairies/Legends/Supernatural - Pt. I

From: Chris Aubeck <caubeck.nul>
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 13:14:49 +0000 (GMT)
Fwd Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004 20:52:05 -0500
Subject: Re: UFOs And Fairies/Legends/Supernatural - Pt. I

>From: Luis R. Gonzalez <lrgm.nul>
>Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 16:17:53 +0100
>Fwd Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2004 10:56:48 -0500
>Subject: Re: UFOs And Fairies/Legends/Supernatural - Pt. I

>>From: Terry W. Colvin <fortean1.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2004 10:20:53 -0700
>>Subject: UFOs And Fairies/Legends/Supernatural - Pt. I

>T. Peter Park wrote:


>>A strange "construction" with "lights" and a "noisy
>>motor" flew low over Copiapo, Chile, on July 1,
>>1868. Local people described it as" a gigantic bird"
>>with "eyes wide open and shining like burning
>>coals," covered with "immense scales" that "clashed
>>together with a metallic sound". Although it was not
>>an actual landing, Jacques Vallee called this the
>>first instance of close
>>observation of an unknown object at low altitude in
>>the nineteenth century. [Charles Fort, 'Lo!' (1931),
>>in 'The Complete Books of Charles Fort' (New York:
>>Dover Publications, 1974), p. 638,
>>citing 'Zoologist', July, 1868;Jacques Vallee,
>>Passport to Magonia' (Henry Regnery, 1969), pp.
>>179-180, Case 1]

>A Chilean colleague located and transcribed _literally_ the
>original clipping (in Spanish, sorry):

Hi Luis, Peter,

Just for the record, I also looked into the famous "Copiago"
sighting a couple of years ago as part of an effort to gather
"winged serpent" tales from all over the world.   

What originally caught my eye was the near overlap of dates
between the account of a strange airship seen in Parramatta
(Australia) in 1868 and the "Copiago" event. According to the
Magonia Catalogue, the "aerial construction" was sighted over
Chile in July 1868, the same month as the Parramatta sighting.
And both cases concerned "scaly" aircraft.

In Anatomy of a Phenomenon (1965), young Vall=E9e wrote that the
object emitted light and gave off an engine noise, its scales
clashing with a metallic sound. He cited two sources: Charles
Fort's Lo! (1931) and "Zoologist, January, 1868." What surprised
me was that the latter journal would have predated the sighting
itself by about six months!

A search through Fort's book soon solved the mystery. Fort had
quoted from the July 1868 edition of the Zoologist, but this
journal was quoting from a newspaper printed some time before. I
also found that Fort had written the town's name as "Copiapo,"
which is in fact the correct spelling of the town. (An internet
search for "Copiago" produces a large number of hits, most -- but
not all -- of which stem originally from Vall=E9e's typographical
error. However, no such place exists in the world.)

I soon acquired both the original Spanish article and the one
published in Zoologist. A third, also dated 1868, was located
later by Jerry Clark for the Magonia Exchange project:


The Copiapo case turns out to be less interesting than I had
first hoped. Basically, the story came from a letter sent by the
directors of a copper mine to the newspaper "El Constituyente"
of Copiapo, published on March 18th 1868. The (alleged)
sighting, therefore, took place just over four months prior to
the Parramatta incident. The original title of the report was
"Este es cuento" ('This is a Tale'), referring to the fantastic
nature of the sighting, though not necessarily in disbelief.
Here it is in English:

"Yesterday at around 5:00pm, when the day's work in the mine was
over and all the workers were gathered together waiting for
their dinner, we saw arrive through the air, on the side of [the
mine known as] "la Ternera," an enormous bird that at first we
took for the clouds that at that moment were covering a part of
the atmosphere, supposing that it had been separated from other
clouds by a chance gust of wind=85As the object in question
approached, causing us great surprise, we could see it was an
unknown flying object (un vol=E1til desconocido). It was moving
from the northeast to the southeast and its flight was fast and
in a very straight line. It passed over just above our heads and
we could see the strange structure of its body. Its great wings
were covered in brownish feathers; the head of the monster
looked like that of a lobster and its eyes open wide and bright
like embers, and it seemed to be covered in something resembling
thick hair, like a sow. Its body was long like a snake's and
only bright scales could be seen on it, which sounded like
metallic pieces when the strange animal moved them.

"Surprise soon became panic amongst the workers before such a
strange phenomenon. All the ornithological knowledge of the good
miners was useless as they searched for the name and nature of
the strange bird that had just passed by, happily leaving no
trace [without causing any damage]. Some claim they detected a
terrible smell in those moments, a smell similar to arsenic when
it is burnt. Others say their senses were not so injured in such
an odd manner. The superstitious believe it was the devil
himself who they saw pass over, while others remember having
witnessed, in the that city, years ago, the passing of a similar
monstrous bird."

It is interesting to see how the miners' story has changed from
'strange bird' to 'spaceship' over the years. The fault lies
ultimately with Charles Fort himself, who interpreted the
description as "a construction that carried lights, and was
propelled by a noisy motor." Vall=E9e's "aerial construction
emitting light and giving off engine noise=85interpreted locally
as a giant bird" is a seemingly harmless reversal of the
argument, but it soon led to many more fanciful versions.

Best wishes,

Chris Aubeck

Idiomas SEIF
Carrera de S. Jeronimo, 17, 1 - A
Madrid 28014

tlf: 687758960

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com