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Spain’s UFO Wave: 1973-1974

Over the years and decades, there have been a number of “waves” and “flaps” of UFO activity. There was, of course, the huge surge of activity that began in June 1947, with the case of pilot Kenneth Arnold. In the wake of the Arnold incident, numerous reports of Flying Saucers dominated the U.S. media – and elsewhere too. In the summer of 1952, Washington, D.C. was the target of multiple UFOs. Two years later, there was another huge wave of activity, much of which was focused on Europe. And, in October 1973, there was yet another flap in the United States. In 1989 and 1990, Belgium was hit by countless numbers of encounters with what became known as “Flying Triangles.” Less well known, however, are the large numbers of encounters that occurred in Spain, back in the 1970s.

At the time of the encounters – which ran from late 1973 to mid-1974 – the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)  took an interest in these encounters. Eight separate reports have now been declassified so far. The most interesting one is a document titled “Spanish UFO Sightings” that surfaced, in the 1980s, from the archives of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It’s a collection of data that the DoD secured specifically from Spanish newspapers and that provides a notable and useful look at that large wave of activity.

The DoD stated: “During the period September 1973 to June 1974 a rash of UFOs appeared over Spain and sightings were reported by various types of people. The following table summarizes these sightings. Date: 11 Sep 73. Location: El Ferrol del Caudillo. Description: Bright, circular, with two hoops, appeared to have feet on bottom part. Emitted a very powerful light. Observer: Various. Remarks: Was immobile during time of observation. Date: 11 Dec 73 (early morning). Location: Malaga. Description: Circular, like a flying saucer, had an intense red light. Observer: Various residents of Salitro and Cuarteles Streets, Malaga. Remarks: Remained quiet for about 15 minutes, then departed suddenly towards Torremolinos.”

While the cases described above were fairly scant – in terms of the data available – that cannot be said for all the reports. Consider, for example, all of the following, which are far more intriguing: “Date: 23 Mar 74. Location: 5 kilometers south of Castille de las Guardas. Description: Mother-ship – aluminum, 150-200 meters long. Three smaller ships resembling mushrooms. Flew silently, had no windows but towers above and below. Observer: Traveling salesman from Sevilla. Remarks: Was pursued by one of the smaller ships, which disappeared as observer entered village of Castillo de las Gaurdas.”

Also on March 23, there was this: “Date: 23 Mar 74. Location: On highway near Sanlucar de Barrameda. Description: Luminous, metal-like. Observer: Chauffeur of President of Cadis Provincial Commission. Remarks: Object moved upward with great brilliancy. As observer approached object, he felt a strange sensation. His car finally came practically to a stop, wavering back and forth like a feather.”

Moving on to March 1974, the DoD noted this case: “Date: 26 Mar 74. Location: Valdehjijaderos. Description: Luminous. Strange object like a plate placed above another large, round object. Observer: 21-year-old truck driver. Remarks: Was motionless over the highway about 200 meters from observer. A similar object, also motionless, was seen 15-20 meters away. Two beings came out of the first vehicle, pointed to observer’s truck, then went in again and both UFO’s flew away.”

One day later there was yet another development: “Date: 27 Mar 74. Location: Valdehjijaderos. Description: Silver. Observer: 21-year-old truck driver. Remarks: Three silver ships parked on the highway with light similar to floodlight. Observer stopped motor of his car and some figures approached him. He ran, frightened, and they followed him. He threw himself into a gutter. His pursuers passed within 2 meters and he saw them. They were about 2 meters tall, had arms and legs but he did not see their faces. After they passed he returned to the truck. The beings returned to observe him again, then they entered their ships and left. Next day the Guardia Civil made an investigation. They found a hole in the ground, which the truck driver said he had not made.”

That was not the only incident that occurred on the same day, the 27th: “Date: 27 Mar 74. Location: Malaga. Description: Big, luminous, moved slowly, pale like a gaseous mass. Observer: Photographer. Remarks: Photographed by 25 cm teleobjective lens, published in local paper. Later two more UFO’s were discovered when the negative was developed. The UFO sighted disappeared slowly. Fifteen minutes later a small blue-violet mass was visible.”

Matters were still afoot in April: “Date: 14 Apr 74. Location: Herrera de Alcantara. Description: Rhomboid, formed by luminous, hoary lights. In upper lefthand part there was a pink-yellowish semicircle which became a circle as UFO came near ground level. Student claims he heard a prolonged noise like that from an old alarm clock. Professor estimated size of smaller diagonal of rhomboid to be about 20 meters. Observer: Professor, his wife and a student. Remarks: Was observed at ground level from a distance of 300 meters for 5 or 6 minutes, then flew northeast.”

Now, on to mid-June: “Date: 16 June 74 (5 a.m.). Location: Caceres. Description: Luminous, emitting brilliant light on the highway. Observer: 46-year-old laborer. Remarks: Was pursued by UFO for several kilometers at great speed. Saw three tall figures standing inside the ship. When observer extinguished the lights on his car, the object drew away. Then as he turned them on again, UFO approached again at enormous speed some 70 meters over his car. It followed him home and when he turned out his car lights, it slowly flew away.”

Interestingly, the Department of Defense also noted, in closing: “Comments: It is of interest to note that in April of this year teams of extra sensory perception specialists held a meeting in Malaga for the purpose of scientifically studying the UFOs seen in that vicinity. Results of this meeting unknown.”


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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