May 24, 2023 I Paul Seaburn

Reporter Who Covered the "Brazilian Roswell" Varginha Incident Comes Forward with New Details

In the span of barely 18 months beginning, in January 2022, a UFO landing and alien encounter in South America has garnished enough attention to have gone from being referred to by many as “Brazil’s Roswell” to being well on its way to turning the New Mexico UFO incident into “America’s Varginha.” The incident occurred in January of 1996 when a large number of people in Varginha, a major metropolitan area in southeastern Brazil, claimed to have witnessed a UFO flying and landing, with a few of them claiming to see one or more extraterrestrials, a sizable number reporting military personnel removing the UFO or its crash debris, and one or possibly more becoming ill from touching an ET or the debris or breathing the air near it. While the military and the Brazilian government have never confirmed the UFO nor the aliens, witnesses, doctors, soldiers and others are suddenly coming forward with more details about the Varginha. This week, a reporter who covered it in 1996 has given an interview and released a book with new information on what she saw behind the scenes of what is becoming the most famous UFO and extraterrestrial incident of the modern era.

Journalist Margarida Hallacoc was born in Poço Fundo, just 50 miles from Varginha in the state of Minas Gerais. In January 1996, Hallacoc was a reporter for Jornal Hoje em Dia (“Today’s Newspaper”) at the Varginha branch – putting her in the perfect location to cover the fast-breaking news about the mysterious incident. To promote her new book on the case, “The ETs of Varginha: Behind the scenes of another world coverage,” Hallacoc sat down for interviews with João Marcelo on his UFO YouTube channel (view it here in Portuguese) and with besides being a journalist and author, Margarida Hallacoc was a writing professor in the Journalism and Advertising courses at the Centro Universitário do Sul de Minas (UNIS). As such, she told that her book takes a different approach to previous ones on the Varginha incident.

What did she see?

“It is not a documentary, an arsenal of research and attempts at evidence, like the others that already exist on the Varginha Case. On the contrary, it completely avoids it. Refers to the challenges and surprises of case coverage. There are several interviews with ufologists, dialogues.” (Google translation)

For those not familiar with the “Varginha Case,” here is a brief summary. On January 20, 1996, three women ranging in age from 14 to 22 claimed to have seen an unusual bipedal being with a large head and eyes like “two red balls" that was walking in an unsteady or sickly manner. As the news got out, reports emerged of UFO sightings in the area in the days prior to the girls’ ‘encounter’. There were more alien sightings and a preponderance of vehicles in the area that could have been military, police, government or all of the above. Stories leaked of people becoming ill and at least one possible death, some witnesses claimed to have seen military or government personnel removing bodies, and the alleged craft or debris was quickly removed from the area. The stories quickly subsided after that, only to have resurfaced with new details recently. Margarida Hallacoc is part of that resurgence. She reveals that her book covers her investigations from January 20 to November 1996 and she begins with how difficult that job turned out to be.

“In the endeavor to follow the unfolding of facts involving the famous ET of Varginha, I faced terrible challenges and heard reports that I never imagined, not even watching the most unbelievable science fiction movie. In the quest to check information and do the best I could, there was a whirlwind of doubts, but I kept going and did not fail to listen, with respect, to any source that had something to say. “

Documentary filmmaker James Fox has been instrumental in releasing new information on the Varginha incident since 2022. He interviewed the sister of Marco Chereze, the police officer who was believed to have been infected and died after touching an alien. He also interviewed Dr. João B.M. Janini, a forensic pathologist who examined the body of Chereze and noted a mysterious bacteria. Fox has also said he has seen or heard about photos and videos of the UFO and aliens and suggests they will be revealed soon. Unlike Fox, Margarida Hallacoc was there in Varginha during 1996 and has the notes to back up her accounts.

What did Margarida Hallacoc hear from the people who were on the scene?

“I was very impressed by reports of sightings by residents of Serra da Tormenta, in Carmo do Rio Claro, where I went more than once, climbed the mountain, talked to residents about sightings of UFOs and ETs. There were several cases and reports, more than ten, just what I heard.”

According to Hallacoc, Varginha had been a hotbed of UFO activity before the Varginha incident. She told of a dentist from Três Corações who thought "all the ET fuss was a big joke" until he had his own personal experience of sighting a craft. She tells of Dona Terezinha Clepff, who claimed she saw an alien at the Varginha zoo – there were unconfirmed stories of deaths of animals at that zoo shortly after the Varginha UFO and alien sightings. In her research, Hallacoc says she was astonished at how many reports came from the Minas Gerais state, and areas immediately around it. She also notes that the city of Luminárias in Minas Gerais received this name because of the mysterious lights seen in the mountains around it. Based on these reports of UFOs and “visitors,” she calls Brazil a “point of galaxies.”

“I belong to the category of earthlings who, yes, believe in other forms of life, in other places, besides the earth.”

Without revealing more details about her book, Margarida Hallacoc admits she is a believer in aliens after conducting her year-long investigation of the Varginha case and then compiling her reports and memories into a book. That is where the rest of her revelations can be found – the stories of a reporter who was on the ground for almost a year as the Varginha incident unfolded … and then folded back up again until now.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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