Corporal Armando Valdés’ case made the Chilean Ufology noticed at the global level. The UFO encounter was witnessed by Armando along with seven other soldiers in 1977. The soldiers claimed that strange lights moving in the sky were normal for them, but this particular incident terrified everyone. Although Armando disappeared only for 15 minutes, it seemed like he was gone for days.
The incident occurred in one of Chile’s hot zones for UFO sightings in the mountainous region of Andes near the village of Putre. Armando and seven other soldiers were on a patrol at the Chilean Army stable in Pampa Lluscuma when a night guard Private Rosales alerted them about the two bright objects hovering close to the ground near their place.
Armando decided to investigate the matter and emerged out along with the soldiers, finding two large balls of lights rapidly descending a hill. They described the objects as oval-shaped, and one of them lit the whole area making the soldiers uncomfortable.
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The whole area went into a deep silence, animals huddled together as if sensing the unusual situation and possible danger. The dog hid behind the soldiers and whined. The soldiers were trained for high combat situations but they did not expect this one. Armando shouted and prayed so that the object leave them.
Before the UFOs made the army stable a horrifying place, the soldiers had been resting near a campfire and thought that maybe it had attracted the objects. Armando immediately ordered to extinguish it.
What happened next was just mind-blowing. The soldiers’ leader Corporal Armando vanished for 15 minutes. In an interview with Agence France Presse in November 1978, Armando said that he took six or seven steps away from the group, heading towards the light, and he had no idea what happened after that.
He said: “Something terrible was calling my attention… Something was attracting me… It was like an internal communication with the light.”
According to the soldiers, Armando reappeared after 15 minutes from nowhere, and he looked like he did not know them for a moment. The soldiers stuck to the same story and said that the Corporal behaved strangely until the UFO left the place at 6:35 a.m. They also reported that Armando said “You don’t know who we are nor from where we come, but I tell you we will return soon” while being in the state of semi-consciousness.
Moreover, another completely inexplicable part of the case was that Corporal Armando, who had shaved the day before, had beards of five to six days. Besides, his wristwatch calendar showed April 30 instead of 26, and the clock was 15 minutes behind. At the same time, the soldiers were in shock due to the UFO encounter.
The Chilean military authorities immediately prevented any communication between the media and Corporal and his group. But the story grabbed the newspapers headlines after a local school teacher named Pedro Araneda shared his taped interviews with the soldiers who investigated the case.
He said, “I was surprised at the corporal’s appearance. He had around six to seven days’ growth of beard. I knew soldiers have to shave every day. It was obvious that the soldiers had been through some kind of extraordinary experience. Even two or three hours after it happened, they were all still in a state of complete shock, I would say, near panic. And all the men told me the same story.”
For two weeks after the incident, the military kept silent on the matter. It was only on May 19, 1977, when the Chilean most trustworthy newspaper El Mercurio shared the story on the front page.
Interestingly, Armando was not fired, in fact, he retired from the post of sergeant in 1999.
During an interview with TVN, he hinted at encountering with mysterious “Men In Black.” He had also another UFO sighting in 1980. During an investigation in 2002 by journalist Patricio Abusleme and skeptic Diego Zúñiga, Armando told them that the UFO indeed hovered over the army stable, but his disappearance was just a prank. He said that when soldiers were busy witnessing the UFO, he left them to take a piss. He explained the reason behind his beard growth was simple as he had not shaved for several days, and his wristwatch was just not working that day.
Of course, this version does not fit with the original one as according to military rules, soldiers should clean shave every day. If he knew his wristwatch was not working, then why would he wear it on duty? On the other hand, the other soldiers never changed their story.
It should be noted that in April 1977, three objects were seen in the sky of Chile with mysterious flight paths. Moreover, on April 28, 1977, several people, including the director of a local school, saw a UFO flying a few meters above the bushes, which were later found to be radioactive.