*Ilustration: Patrimônio Vivo Org

The research on ufological events throughout history can be very interesting for the study of different aspects of modern Ufology. We recently discovered the report of a sighting in 1887, involving characters that marked the history of Brazil. Antonio Conselheiro and the sertanejos, his followers, are the ones contacted, and the journalist Manuel Benício is the author of the report. There are many interesting aspects of this document.

To begin with, the sighting is much earlier than Ufology itself, and no witness evidently refers to the extraterrestrial hypothesis. The attentive reader, however, much clearly identifies the specific characteristics of an ufological sighting. Our interest was aroused precisely because the description of the event does not correspond to the interpretations called to explain it, leading us to reflect on the ever-present question of the credibility of witnesses’ reports. This account is very interesting for this reflection, since Antonio Conselheiro was considered crazy, and his followers seen as fanatics, which would have disqualified them as reliable witnesses for Ufology, had they resorted to the extraterrestrial hypothesis to explain what they saw.

Let us quickly recall a little of the pilgrim Antonio Vicente Mendes Maciel (1830-1897) history, who went down in history as Antonio Conselheiro. The Pilgrim led the life of a wandering ascetic, and advised the people with his preaching, dispensing welcome and meekness to those who approached him, in addition to congregating the people in the construction of churches, cemeteries and weirs. The movement engendered around the Counselor ended up becoming a serious political problem. It started to interfere in the traditional socioeconomic relations of the sertão(backland). Whole families abandoned their work on rural properties, sold what they had, left everything to follow him. Antonio Conselheiro was adored and obeyed by his followers. Four fratricidal wars were necessary to wipe the city of Belo Monte off the map, founded by him in 1893, in the Canudos region, and which became the second largest city in Bahia Province at the time, after Salvador, the provincial capital.

The account can be found in the book “The King of the Jagunços(bodyguards), a chronicle of sertanejos customs”1, written by journalist Manoel Benício and published in 1899. The author was one of the countless reporters sent by the different newspapers in the country to cover the War of Canudos in the Bahian hinterland. Manoel Benício was notable for his commitment to the truth of the war, being the first correspondent to denounce the errors of strategy and the confusion reigning in the actions of the command of the 4th Expedition, sent to destroy the city founded by Antonio Conselheiro. Thus it displeased the military, who got into a war with unexpected difficulties, which led to the death of thousands of soldiers and civilians, exposing the Brazilian Army to three successive failures. The Army Club demanded his withdrawal from the war scene, from which he left under  death threat.

In the introductory essay to the work of Manuel Benício, we will find the main characteristics of the author’s way of writing that “does not intend to write a ‘sertanejo novel’, but a ‘chronicle of sertanejos customs’, that is, a report in which the historical facts take precedence over literary construction. The ‘tone of romance’, adds the author, only appears in the work to ‘ease the harshness of the subject and the bore of boring descriptions of those without style’. Likewise, it is possible to assume that the use of ‘syntax and words adopted by our sertanejos’ enters The Rei King of Jagunços not to compose a ‘romance tone’ and, yes, to guarantee ‘greater historical fidelity’. ”>>2 These considerations give Benício’s work the status of a very rich historical document, a must-read for the scholars of Antonio Conselheiro and the Canudos War. His stay on the war scene allowed him to collect anthropological data about the sertaneja(backland) culture, which he wanted to faithfully portray in his book. The psychological impact of the Canudos War in Brazil gave rise to numerous works of testimony and documentation, of which the most complete is the inimitable work of Euclides da Cunha3. If Manuel Benício did not aspire to make great literature, he wanted to communicate faithfully what was also a discovery for the rest of the country: the sertão (backland) and the sertaneja culture.

We then proceed to comment on the narrative. Antonio Conselheiro, still wandering with his supporters through the northeastern hinterlands, “had descended from Canindé through Quixadá, Riachuelo, Icó, Missão Velha, Milagres and passing Cariris Velhos he had arrived in Paraíba where we will find him in 1887 surrounded by all his prestige and numerous bunch, in the municipality of Cabaceiras close to Paraíba River, located in  Boqueirão village. ”4 The Pilgrim often went to fairs and rodeos, wherever there were a gathering of people for evangelization: “It was on the farm of Major Tomé that in 1887, the cowboys of those lands would agree to meet each other, coming from different breeding points, driving heaps of cattle from various owners, to share them there with whom they belonged. Every day, several cattle arrived, driven by tanned men, who wore leather garments: hat, doublet (gibão), guards, and chest guard. Tomé’s farm was a plain surrounded by huge boulders, steep mountains, only accessible to goats, spanning 6 square leagues.”5

Manuel Benício talks about the particular context of religious exaltation that preceded the Pilgrim’s announced preaching: “The spirit of everyone was very impressed, shrunk within a vague sense of fright and contrition. They were going to hear the voice of the holy and famous missionary who practiced miracles, for whom there was no secret, no mystery in the soul of sinners. As if a strange weight was on their shoulders, making them crestfallen and submissive. ”6

The sighting will be inserted in this psychological environment, and will soon receive an explanation from the author as being an ignis fatuus: “Suddenly, at the foot of a neighboring hill, a yellow and quick-moving flame appeared, which increased visibly, close to the ground! On this occasion when everyone’s attention was frightened by the extraordinary appearance, Conselheiro appeared, without being seen from where he had entered the kind of altar under the latada (an improvised coverture). The murmur made him look up and discover the movement of the ignis fatuus at the foot of the hill.

-What light is that, Jesus !? Where is it? They asked in awe. ”7

Two other explanations were called to understand the appearance of a light, which impressed and frightened the witnesses: “Opinions differed and women crossed themselves. The most daring, trying to calm the panic, thought that they were hunters’ light beams, digging armadillos: others that they were lost souls of women who were priests’ lovers.

– Yes, most agreed, that is a priest’s mule zombie.

Old Tomé then explained that from time to time that light used to appeare in Caboclos Hill , at night. Over there, there was a cave underneath, filled with whole skulls and a boulder with  inscriptions and signs in an unknown language. The explanation calmed a little down people’s spirits, the majority were quite sure that the fire flame had something to do with the missionary arrival there: it would be a lost soul, that pehaps, came to this world, begging for prayers and penances, in order to get out of purgatory. Only then did they noticed the Counselor, standing, his head down, as if receiving an invisible consecration, or hearing a voice, inaudible to sinners, in the center of that improvised altar.” 8

The behavior of the light will have the effect of discrediting two of the explanations given by the witnesses: “And at that moment the ignis fatuus climbed the steep boulder, where not even a goat climbed, climbing swiftly, reaching the inaccessible summit and projected from there the yellow flame with a fantastic quietude and fading! There was an oh! in unison, and the flame disappeared into space, it was like a santelmo (St Elmo’s fire). The old farmer, who had never seen this fire climbing to the top of the boulder, shuddered with that movement and was thinking about the supernatural power of the lay priest. Those who believed that the light was from hunters, also reconsidered this judgment. Up that slab, only a gecko could climb! It was a miracle done by the Counselor! ”

Humor was not absent from the sighting, as fear did not prevent the soul of a priest’s mule from receiving a thunderous boo from the witnesses: “Prayers began, then, for the sake of the soul that had appeared in the form of a flame in Caboclos Hill. (…) high-pitched voices like bugles, hoarse like trebuchets, squeaky, of calves, bisonant, of coryza, they tried artistically by a prodigiousness of devotion vanity, to overcome each other: and from those frightened voices it burst like a dizzying boo to the poor soul of Caboclo Hill. “9

Antonio Conselheiro spoke a few times about his mission, and always in an enigmatic and laconic way, in short sentences. In Manuel Benício’s text we find the only piece of information about Antonio Conselheiro explaining his mission at length. The religious interpretation of the light creates an atmosphere of exaltation that undoubtedly had an effect on the Pilgrim himself. Associated with this event, the Counselor spells out his mission at length: “- Yes, my brothers, obey the Church and the Commandments of God Our Lord, our father and eternal savior, of whom I am a miserable apostle on earth; because he appeared to me one night and said: – Antonio, you will go out into the hinterlands as your namesake from Lisbon, doing penance, preaching my Gospel and the Holy Scriptures: you will suffer persecutions from the wicked and the heretics, that you will repay with benefits spilled wherever you go: you will have, like Peter, Paul and all my holy disciples, your people who will follow you and of which you will be the guide: I will fill you with power on earth and you will be and will be your followers, full of grace eternal life.

– Amen, everyone answered.” 10

In the next paragraph, the author will say that the imagination continued to function after the sighting, since the light continued to appear and disappear. He says: “And as in the eyes of everyone’s imagination, the pale and supernatural flame of the ignis fatuus passed, passed again, disappeared and reappeared, no one thought of hunting with facho (twigs on fire), this night, as usual, for fear of a bad encounter.”11 Manuel Benício speaks of a “pale and supernatural flame”12, translating the particular luminous environment, which characterizes the UFO manifestations.

Ignis Fatuus or UFO on Caboclo Hill?

Ignis Fatuus, as we know, is a luminous manifestation caused by the decomposition of organic matter. Methane and phosphine gases, thus produced, ignite on contact with the air, causing a small explosion and a bluish light. The light is produced close to the ground and moves horizontally in combustion, consuming itself in a few seconds. That flame can give the impression of chasing the witness if he/she is running, displacing the air that will pull it towards the person. In that case, all that remains is to keep running! Ignis fatuus is most often observed in cemeteries and river valleys. At the archaeological site of Boqueirão, the existence of decomposing organic matter in the furna (underground cave) could credit the explanation of the Ignis fatuus.

However, the light described by Benício has in common with the fire, only the fact that it appeared close to ground. But we have a yellow light that increases in size, and, in a vertical movement, rises up to the boulder summit, ” where not even a goat climbed”13, from where it emitted the yellow flame with a “fantastic quitetude and fading”14, disappearing into space, ” it was like a santelmo (St Elmo’s fire)”15, reaffirms the author the ignis fatuus’ interpretation. The light seems to continue to manifest itself, as “it passed, passed, disappeared and reappears”16, causing fear and astonishment. The sighting prevented hunters from going out that night, “for fear of a bad encounter.”17

Other aspects of the report place the sighting within the more general context of ufological sightings. Casuistry has demonstrastes UFOs’ interest in collective religious manifestations, and in archaeological sites.

Collective religious manifestation

Ufology has recorded UFOs’ interest in collective religious manifestations. Were they testing this form of contact? What would happen if they were mistaken for gods? Many cases of supernatural beings apparitions within the religious register are interpreted by.

The Boqueirão sighting was in the midst of a collective religious manifestation, one of the most important that the backlands have seen in 19th century. The presence of the Pilgrim attracted thousands of people to the fairs and rodeos to hear Good Jesus’s word. The Pilgrim was deified by his followers, although he himself did not position himself as a deity. The environment of religious respect and contrition was the environment of his preaching. The only greeting among the followers of Antonio Conselheiro was “praised be Our Lord Jesus Christ”, with the reply “so good Lord, be praised forever”. With this greeting, the interlocutors made a pact with the religious discourse. There was the appearance of a light with a particular behavior at the moment when Antonio Conselheiro arrived for his evening preaching. Then the Ufo steals from him the show. Nobody sees him coming, for they were attracted by the unusual luminous phenomenon. Was the UFO observing this exalted religious manifestation? Did they know the catastrophe that was being prepared by the delusional certainty of a charismatic leader? The report shows that Antonio Conselheiro integrated the light into his religious interests, but that he was also affected by it.

Caboclos Hill, Caboclo Hill: two archaeological sites

The account also has an interesting feature. The author probably condensed, in his “romanticized chronicle”, two ufological events, of which he undoubtedly listened from orally transmitted narratives. The report under study seems to condense two ufological sightings into one, or a context of sightings in Paraíba, as it refers to Caboclos Hill, which is located in São João do Tigre Municipality, while describing the sighting in  Boqueirão village, located in Cabaceiras Municipality. So, one of the two: either there is a Caboclo Hill also in Boqueirão, or the report condenses two sightings, or a context of sightings, one that occurred in Caboclos Hill, in São João do Tigre, and another in Caboclo Hill, located at Boqueirão. We were unable to ascertain anything about it. The sighting region is now submerged by the weir Epitácio Pessoa, inaugurated there in 1957.

We found out that the name Boqueirão (gorge) is due to the crossing of the Paraíba River in the Carnoió Mountains. The idea of ​​a reservoir for water supply dates from the 19th century. Antonio Conselheiro is there with his followers precisely to build a reservoir in old Tomé’s lands. Since the 17th century, rock inscriptions have been registered on the site. An exploration trip carried out by Costa Lira, from Paraíba Historical Institute, in 1905, confirms the information given by the owner of the farm, that there is “On the right bank of Paraíba, three leagues west from Boqueirão Village, a rocky monument with a large number of inscriptions. A league below this location, on the left bank of the river,  he saw several characters engraved on a slab and on the foot of Serra do Carnoió, bathed by Paraíba, identified characters engraved inside a furna (underground cave). These are just some of the notifications registering rupestrian inscriptions in the Carnoió valley, before it became an artificial Weir, which prove that there are a large number of traces there, testimonies of the amerindian  and paleolitic past shrouded by the waters and tonnes of alluvium material, without ever being properly registered.”18 Old Tomé’s farm was undoubtedly located there and the light was seen there.

We then have proof of the archaeological affinity of Caboclo Hill, in Boqueirão, the location of the sighting in the report, with Caboclos Hill, in São João do Tigre  Municipality, a well-known archaeological site in Paraíba.

Antonio Conselheiro and his people penetrated Paraíba through the southeastern tip of Ceará, and it is reasonable to think that he passed by Caboclos Hill on his way to Boqueirão village. Had a sighting already occurred there, at an archaeological site as the one described by old Thomas? Or would the Boqueirão boulder, in the old man’s land, also have the same name Caboclo (singular) Hill, slightly different from Caboclos (plural) Hill, for having the same archaeological value? Manuel Benício leaves a certain ambiguity in the text, which allows us to think that he has condensed two ufological sightings into a single report, or a context of sightings related with archaeological remains. As we will see, many indications suggest that the sighting in Boqueirão boulder was called, at that time, Caboclo Hill, inside of old Tomé’s lands, and that it probably got its name after the affinity of lights’s sighting associated to archaeological remains, as in Caboclos Hiil.

But Manuel Benício emphasizes, not only the archaeological affinity, but also the affinity of stories in both places. The Hill in São João do Tigre is known for a cave that contains the remains of Indians who perished on the site, trying to protect themselves from settlers, as well as rupestrian inscriptions in an unknown language. In the place of our report, in Boqueirão, the old Tomé relates the luminous event to the same story of furnas (underground caves) full of skulls and inscriptions in an unknown language. Old Tomé says that there is the same place on his land: a furna (underground cave) with human remains and inscriptions, under a cliff. Perhaps he had had other contacts, so he does not try to give an explanation, but he fairly tries to understand an event that seems quite strange for his understanding. He will make a link between the sighting of lights in the sky and steep hills with walls written in an unknown language, and furnas containing human remains. Later in the book, eleven days after the sighting, Manuel Benício also refers to the luminous event, animating the speech of Raimundinho Doutor, protagonist of the story: “He had said that he had gone to Caboclo Hill, had entered inside a dark furna where he saw for more than a thousand skulls. He brought one out to look at it in the sunlight and acknowledged that its owner had died as a result of a huge gash that had split his head in half.

– I wanted to bring it to show you … but …however…!

– God forbid that! women crossed themselves. ”19

The luminous event comes as if to signal the existence of archaeological sites. This UFOs’ behavior is widely studied by Ufology. Today we know that one of their greatest interests is the remains of ancient antediluvian civilizations. We are watching across the planet the unraveling of a civilized past of men that we did not suspect. Recent archaeological finds have pushed us, hugely, backwards in time. Civilizations that were antediluvian existed all over the planet. Material evidence is currently teeming with new archaeological discoveries around the world. It is an expansion of consciousness unprecedented in human history. It is as if a large part of the unconscious cultural content has been revealed. Paraíba is certainly part of this very old history of man, with countless traces of cultures completely unknown.

The question of witnesses:

Ufologist Reinaldo Stabolito20 proposes an approach to witness reports that is well suited to the study of the report that interests us here. He recalls that the great effort of researchers to validate and classify the ufological casuistry involves the study of witnesses. The witness considered valid for Ufology is one who, after verification according to certain protocols, does not present any mental disorder, would not be moved by financial interest, or to achieve fame. However, he demonstrates that these three requirements are not enough to guarantee the credibility of a report, since the human witness has specific sensory organs, which may not be entirely appropriate to apprehend extraterrestrial reality, which is quite different from the one we live in. From the witnesses’ perspective, Stabolito conceptualizes ufological events as perceived sighting (observation), which results from the witness’s sensory system, his physical and emotional state; internalized sighting (the interpretation), where the witness usually uses his cultural references; and the described sighting (description), written by the witness himself or by third parties. These three facets involving the witness lead Stabolito to say that the report is not a true record of the ufological event. Applying his concepts to the reading of thewitnesses’ position in Manuel Benício’s account, we will, however, come to a different conclusion.

From our point of view, we can examine the question from another angle: how are the ETs who have the initiative to get in touch and, if they are much more advanced than us, they must know the functioning of the human psyche. They must know how to manifest themselves so that we can, with our senses, apprehend what they communicate to us, because, thanks to the witnesses’ reports, the object of study of Ufology has been constituted over the years. Constituted precisely by the repetition of  ETs’ behavior patterns, which are multiple, but allow a sedimentation of knowledge about them. Today, we know, for example, that the ones most involved in abduction cases are the Greys, about which we already have thousands of information obtained from the witnesses’ reports.

The perceived sighting (the observation) and the described sighting (description):

In the case of our historical account, the sighting perception doesn’t belong to writer who made it. Manuel Benício was not an eyewitness to the report. He writes from a sighting situation that was told to him, probably by several witnesses, since he incorporates different interpretations in his description. This is, in fact, the case for most of the reports of witnesses in Ufology. The reports are usually written by journalists, psychiatrists and other professionals who deal with witnesses, describing what they have heard from them.

The author dedicates more than three pages to the sighting he situates in 1887, ten years before his arrival as a war reporter in the hinterland of Bahia. These three pages demonstrate the strong impression caused by the sighting among the sertanejos, to the point that the author deems it worthy to be incorporated into his “chronicle of sertanejos customs”.

Internalized sighting (interpretation):

Much of the interest in Manuel Benício’s account is the interpretations summoned to explain the luminous event. First, we have the explanation of the author of the description, who did not witness the sighting. Eyewitnesses are divided into three different explanations: one rational, one religious, and a third testimonial position, that of old Thomas, who advances an explanation, which is rather a question about a sighting that escapes his understanding.

Manuel Benício’s interpretation:

Manuel Benício, as we have seen, was not an eyewitness to the sighting. However, he poses himself as the bearer of a scientific explanation for an event that he did not witness. This is the perception he had of the ufological event that he was told: an event that was recorded in the memory of the sertanejos for a long time, which he, a journalist, a learned man from Rio de Janeiro, knew from the description he heard that it was an ignis fatuus. He was so sure of his scientific explanation, that he described very faithfully what he was told, without worrying about the  facts’ concordance: for him, it was an ignis fatuus. This is a typical case of blind faith in science, an ideal in the 19th century.

Manuel Benício’s scientific certainties do not interfere, however, in his description of what was told to him. The author does not seek to distort the event to suit his explanation. The distortion is introduced in the report itself precisely as a perception problem attributed by the author to the eyewitnesses, considered as believers and ignorants sertanejos: the light passed and passed, appeared and disappeared, “it was like a santelmo (St Elmo’s fire)”, but “in the eyes of imagination”. Definitely, the behavior of the light did not correspond to a ignis fatuus, but corresponds to the behavior of an UFO, as it has been described for decades through the account of witnesses.

The rational interpretation:

When the light came on, causing astonishment and fear in the assembled sertanejos, a rational explanation was soon put forward: it was the torches of night hunters digging armadillos. The particular behavior of the light quickly discredited this explanation dictated by common sense.

The religious interpretation:

This seems to have been by far the most evoked explanation for understanding the light sighting. Antonio Faleiro’s21 interesting study of folkloric interpretations regarding ufos’ appearances directs our attention to the lost souls or to the Mãe do Ouro (Mother of Gold), both present in Manoel Benício’s account. Belief in lost souls, however, is very different from belief in the Mother of Gold. The lost souls do not belong to our material world. In popular folklore, they manifest themselves occasionally and in various ways, including fireballs in the night sky. As for the Mãe do Ouro (Mother of Gold), “she” comes to locate mineral deposits, to indicate buried treasures, in a much concrete way, always leaving in the backland populations a question about events that have their own characteristics.

Most of the witnesses were followers or sympathizers of the Pilgrim. They were deeply religious, reaching the edge of fanaticism. The religious explanation, which need not be credible, prevailed: the light was the soul of a priest’s mule.

Old Tomé’s interpretation:

The farm’s owner, Velho Tomé, gives an explanation, that is more like a question, an attempt to understand a sighting, which may not have been the first for him. Velho Tomé establishes a luminous sighting identity in places of plumb boulders and furnas (underground caves) with human remains and writings with an unknown language.

Antonio Conselheiro’s interpretation:

Antonio Conselheiro’s position as a witness is very interesting. His religious faith and that of his followers leave no doubt about the interpretation to be adopted for the fact: the light was the lost soul of a priest’s lover woman, asking for penance and prayer. Here, however, the pilgrim’s ambiguity is surprising. We saw above how he will adopt an attitude of spiritual contact with the light and how he was affected by what happened. On that night of the sighting of the yellow light – which increased in size, rising up the boulder, “where no goat climbed”, light that passed and passed, appeared and disappeared – Antonio Conselheiro will explicitly speak about his religious mission. UFO sighting is translated as bringing a luminous reality to religious beliefs about souls who find no rest because of their sins.

However, the Pilgrim had not inclination for folk beliefs, as the teachings contained in his manuscripts attest very well, and the memory of a survivor of the war. In fact, Antonio Conselheiro’s manuscripts reveal a consistent religious culture, always within the strictest Catholic orthodoxy. The Pilgrim was a learned man, “he was not a man to believe in witchcraft”22.

The explanation of his mission is given in association with the UFO sighting, indicating that the event affected him deeply. This account is the only document where Antonio Conselheiro explains his mission. He referred to it a few times and in an enigmatic and laconic way.

Everything suggests that the Counselor interpreted the light as being the Mãe do Ouro (Mother of Gold). Then, in 1887, we point out the folkloric context studied by the pioneer Antonio Faleiro: “Around Brazil, there are stories that tell us about fireballs that roam the countryside at night. In most Brazilian states, this apparition is called the Mother of Gold.”23 Faleiro informs us that the witnesses he interviewed “told us that they always saw a fireball flying from one mountain to another and burying themselves into the ground. They said it was ‘the gold changing places’. At other times, ‘she’ remained motionless on the tops of mountains and even flew over villages. How many people went to dig certain places in search of the gold hidden by the Mother of Gold, and some even found something.”24

The belief in the Mother of Gold is quite different from the belief in other world’s soul, although both beliefs are called upon to explain sightings of lights in the sky. The Mother of Gold designates a reality that is related by witnesses as something quite material and concrete in this world of God, which is gold.

The Pilgrim’s attitude fits perfectly in the tradition studied by Faleiro and makes us think that the belief in the Mother of Gold, creation of popular UFO mythology, inspired his religious feeling: “There is an interesting tradition based on the fear of the reactions of the Mother of Gold and, according to the elders, one should not point a finger in her direction, but rather make a movement with hand saying: ‘go, God guide you’.”25 This interpretation of ours suggests that the Counselor recovered the sighting to make his spiritual influence confortable. His gesture is inaccordance with the tradition related to the fear of the reactions by the  Mother of Gold, but he turns to the light as if it were a soul of mula de padre (priest’s mule:priest’s lover woman) , as thought by most of the sertanejos (inhabitants of the backlands),  gathered there, he shared with his followers the combative mood, in fact: “All this was fast, and, still overwhelmed  by the frightening impression, they were shaken by the prophetic voice of the leader, who, with his arm, slowly rising toward an invisible thing, had said:

-Do disappear, soul of priest’s mule; do not seek to disturb the children of the Lord in the prayers they will make today for begging forgiveness for yours sins ” 26

1st degree contacts, witnesses and testimonies:

We can classify our report as a 1st degree Contact, so that, as this article is a case study, we do not want to generalize our conclusions to the testimonies of other degrees of contact.

The contactees have no prerogative to cause an ufological event. It is the extraterrestrials who make themselves known, when they want and the way they want. If we are thus in a position of being observed, and if extraterrestrials are much more advanced than we are, we must assume that they know the human psyche, that their way of contact must take into account our sensory, physical and emotional differences, although they often demonstrate, in cases of abduction, a lack of knowledge of the existence of the pain inflicted on abductees, for example.

According to Stabolito, the witness is subject to so many limitations to faithfully restore the ufological experience, that it must be considered as very different from the real event. What we find interesting in Manuel Benício’s account, where we find the interaction of different interpretations, is that no interpretation interfered with the description of the sighting, not even the scientific certainty of the author. We can say that there was no interference of the interpretations in the author’s description, because we can clearly identify an ufological sighting, as Ufology identifies it today. Thus, we think that the evaluation of the credibility of an ufological event should not be checked by the control of the witness’s behavioral variables, but by the credibility of the testimony.

What the sighting of Boqueirão shows us is that the ufological event imposes itself on the witness, despite the differences in perception and explanation they resort to explain the sighting. The ufological event imposes itself on the witness, and transcends his/her subjective particularities. Despite the subjectivity of the witnesses, a knowledge of the  ufological reality has been deposited over the thousands of witness reports, defining an experience that is particularly ufological and not of another nature. The conformity of the testimony with other testimonies would decide the validity of the ufological experience, that is, whether or not the report corresponds to what is repeated throughout the reports.

Antonio Conselheiro was a mystic, but he was also a man with great practical sense and a delusional certainty. He was a great social organizer. He managed to promote a prosperity never seen in the northeastern hinterlands, proving his ability to gather people and carry out works. And he was not inclined to folk beliefs. The study of Antonio Conselheiro’s work allows us to affirm that he probably did not believe in another world soul. He certainly saw the  light as a divine manifestation, but not as a soul from the other world, that on the scale of prestige of unexplained beings is a beggar at a low level of evolution. The attitude of communication and submission that he takes when he sees the light shows that he experienced the sighting as a divine manifestation, and not as a lost soul: “Only then did they noticed the Counselor, standing, his head down, as if receiving an invisible consecration, or hearing a voice, inaudible to sinners, in the center of that improvised altar.”27 The Pilgrim thus recovers his audience, turning the light into a religious event. He does not contradict the people, but his gesture is directed to the Mother of Gold. Days later, we still see the Pilgrim affected by the sight of the light. One night, he said when he finished his sermon: “- Yes, pray and do penance, while I will ask God for grace and mercy. And so speaking, he came down from the improvised throne, crossed the courtyard full of marveled and contrite devotees and everyone saw him disappear in the shadow of the night towards the place where Caboclo Hill is.”28 We think that he went to investigate the place. The Counselor was not inclined to folk beliefs.

By Lalla Barretto

Urca, October 5, 2013.



1) Manoel Benício. The King of the Jagunços. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of the Jagunços by Manuel Benício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003.2

2) Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of Jagunços by Manuel Benício, introductory study, p. 34. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of the Jagunços by Manuel Benício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003.

3) Os Sertões (Rebellion in the Backlands) published in 1902

4) Manoel Benício. The King of the Jagunços. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of the Jagunços by Manuel Bénício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003, p. 88.

5) Idem, pp. 94,9 5.

6) Idem, p. 99.

7) Idem, p. 99.

8) Manoela Benício. The King of the Jagunços. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of the Jagunços by Manuel Benício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003, pp. 99, 100.

9) Idem, pp. 100, 101.

10) Manoel Benício. The King of the jagunços. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of Jagunços by Manuel Benício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003, pp. 103, 104.11) Idem, p.104.

12) Idem, p.104.

13) Idem, p. 100.

14) Idem, p. 100.

15) Manoel Benício. The King of the jagunços. In: Azevedo, Silvia Maria. The King of Jagunços by Manuel Benício, between fiction and history. São Paulo, Edusp, 2003, p. 100.

16) Idem, p. 104.

17) Idem, p. 104.


19) Benício, Manuel. The King of the Jagunços, pp. 118, 119.

20) Revista Ufo 57 (Ufo Magazine)

21) Faleiro, Antonio. Ufos in Brazil, mysterious and millenary. Campo Grande, CPBDV, 2002.

22) Macedo, Nertan. Memorial de Vilanova. Brasília, INL, 1983, p. 68.(Vilanova Memorial)

23) Faleiro, Antonio. Ufos in Brazil, mysterious and millenary. Campo Grande, CPBDV, 2002, p. 42.

24) Idem, p. 42.

25) Idem, p. 46.

26) Manuel Benício, p. 100.

27) Idem, p. 100.

28) Idem, p. 115