Sunday, July 23, 2017

The José Higgins Close Encounter 1947

During my many years of investigation and documentation of the Richard Höglund contact case I discovered an old close encounter report from Brazil with many similarities to Richard´s first contact with the space people, December 9, 1965. The incident occurred on July 23, 1947 northeast of Pitanga, Brazil. 

Swedish artist Max Magnus Norman´s illustration of Richard Höglund´s close encounter

Here is a short summary of the case:
Hearing a whistling sound, Jose C Higgins, a topographer, saw coming down a lens shaped object with surrounding flange; it landed 150 ft away. It was of gray white metal, about 150 ft in diameter with a 3 foot rim, and 15 ft high, "crossed by tubes in several directions," the whistling coming from these. Metallic legs, which bent a little, supported the craft. Walking closer, he saw through a black glass window 2 persons watching him; a door opened beneath the rim, and there emerged 3 people enveloped in inflated transparent suits, with metal boxes on their backs. They wore shirts and shorts, which looked as though made of paper rather than cloth. Their heads were almost hairless, their eyes round and large, and their legs relatively long; they were nearly 7 ft tall. All 3 looked identical.

They spoke in an unknown language, and he noticed that they kept in the shade except for brief periods. One, pointing a metal tube at him, motioned Higgins to enter the door, through which he could see an inner door and the end of a "pipe." Using gestures, Higgins asked where they came from. One drew on the ground a dot (the sun, "Alamo" in their language) surrounded by 7 circles, and pointed alternately to the seventh circle (called "Orque" Uranus) and to their craft. Not wishing to go there, Higgins showed them a picture of his wife, indicating that he did not want to leave her, and the allowed him to go. From the forest he looked back to see them "playing like children, jumping in the air and throwing enormous stones." After half an hour, having "carefully examined their surroundings," they re-entered and the craft took off.

Especially interesting was that the Brazilian observation occurred already on July 23, 1947. It was first printed on August 8, 1947, in Diario Da Tarde and the Correio Do Norroste, in Bauru. It was rediscovered by journalist Joao Martins and reviewed in the large magazine O Cruzeiro November 13, 1954 with an illustration by the artist Mauro. The report was translated and forwarded to APRO by Brazilian ufologist Olavo T. Fontes. This translation was printed in The APRO Bulletin, May 1961 and also in FlyingSaucer Review vol 7, no. 6, Nov-Dec. 1961.

Part of Joao Martins´article in O Cruzeiro

Unfortunately there was no more data to be found on this case and no follow-up investigation. So beginning in 1991 I decided to search for additional information. After several failed attempts I received a kind reply from American journalist and ufologist Bob Pratt, who had investigated hundreds of UFO incidents in Brazil and other South American countries. He is the author of UFO Danger Zone (1996). Somewhat to my surprise he had never heard of the José Higgins case but gave his view of the story: ”I don´t know how many cases I´ve investigated there, but it´s easily at least 200 and maybe more than 300. And based on some of the stories  I´ve heard, I´m not surprised by what José Higgins reported, nor do I have any doubts that the incident probably occurred as he said. There are several elements in his story that I have heard in other cases – people frightened and running away, the UFO landing in front of the witness, people getting out and talking in an unintelligible language, the sketch in the dirt showing the ”location” of their home planet or whatever, and the occupants playing ”games” as the witness hid in the woods.” (Letter March 30, 1993).


Bob Pratt gave me the adress to two well known Brazilian ufologists, Irene Granchi and Alberto Francisco Do Carmo. In a letter May 11, 1993 Do Carmo made a few comments on the José Higgins encounter: ”Unfortunately, the Higgins case is that kind of good case that got lost in the crowd. I talked to Joao Martins in person and he hardly remembered it. Let me remind you: Joaoa Martins was one of the best reporters in Brazil, worked for ” O Cruzeiro” a magazine as important as LIFE was for the American public… My opinions about O´Higgins case are most of all judgements of value, since I never had the faintest opportunity of meeting the witness in person… He told his story and vanished in the crowd without no newsmedia publicity, lecture tours and alike.”


From Irene Granchi I received som additional information. She phoned her friend Joao Martins who mentioned that this case could be found on page 75 of his book As Chaves Do Misterio. Irene Granchi checked the original article and the book by Martins and made some additions and corrections of the translation. This information is of interest to all researchers so I reproduce this part of her letter.


Here some of the intriguing similarities between the Jose Higgins and Richard Höglund close enounters:
Higgins: ”… he heard a high-pitched, piercing whistling sound, which seemed to come from the sky.”
Höglund: ”Suddenly Lizzi (dog) run around like crazy in circles so that he eventually has to quiet her. Soon afterwards he heard a whining sound that is reminiscent of when artillery pieces fly through the air.”
Higgins: ”… three people came out. They were enclosed in a kind of transparent suit which enveloped their bodies completely, head and all and inflated like a rubber bag full of compressed air.”
Höglund: ”The entities are wholly embedded in clothing similar to plastic covers, fully transparent.”
Higgins: ”They had no beards… almost hairless… they were somehow beautiful and appeared in excellent health”.
Höglund: ”The entities are of medium height and similar to humans but they are completely hairless… The skin is smooth without the slightest blemish.  Likewise, they have perfect teeth.”
Higgins: ”One of the men on the outside carried a tube which appeared to be of the same metal of the ship, which he pointed at Higgins.”
Höglund: ”Then the old man goes back to the spacecraft and float up in the same way as he came down. He returns shortly and then with a cylindrical object that resembles a microphone, about three centimeters in diameter.”
Higgins: ”… they moved with incredible agility, forming a triangle around him.”
Höglund: ”
Then the entities make up a circle around Richard and join hands to show they have friendly intentions.”

Higgins: ”They were playing like children, jumping in the air and throwing stones of enormous size.”
Höglund: ”The entities are very amazed that Richard has hair on his head. They laugh and point at him and obviously find the this quite amusing.”

One of the entities encountered by Richard Höglund

Could Richard Höglund had been informed or read about the Higgins encounter? This is highly unlikely. The story was published in APRO Bulletin and Flying Saucer Review 1961. Richard had very little formal education and no knowledge of English. The similarities between these two close encounters from 1947 and 1965 are certainly fascinating.