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A raft of sightings in the semi-rural city of Voronezh, Russia in September 1989 provide examples for Jose Caravaca’s “Distortion Theory” [http://caravaca-files.blogspot.com] and study for UFO buffs, ET believers, debunkers, skeptics, and mass hallucinatory aficionados.
The gist of the event(s) may be found at these web-sites:
UFO Folklore-Myth and Legend
Phantoms and Monsters
And a fine account is proffered in Michael Hesemann’s excellent book [Marlowe & Company, NY, 1998, Page 249 ff.]:
Noted Spanish UFO researcher Jose Antonio Caravaca has studied this group of sightings and created pictures, for his Spanish web-site, to match witness accounts:
Some researchers believe, Jose Caravaca writes, that the inclusion of the symbol of UMMO is due to an attempt by authorities to undermine the credibility of the event.
"But personally, for some children's drawings, I think it is a distortion of the Cyrillic letter writing
"The most interesting thing is that they saw a symbol >I< on the UFO which was like the letter Z in Cyrillic. Even the city's name was included in the "letter"
"There is also the detail of the elongated artifact that throws light rays, and the robot that moved in a very clumsy [way]."
Señor Caravaca finds similarities to the 1856 movie, Earth vs Flying Saucers:
The following photos of the children who saw and reported their experience and their accompanying drawings, from Mr. Hesemann’s book, give you an idea of what was allegedly seen by dozens of people, not just the children.
The news agency Tass presented the stories as legitimate or bona fide UFO accounts, but that was Soviet Russia and caveats are necessary.
Señor Caravaca sees elements in the witness accounts that bespeak mental intrusions by an agency (unknown) that uses unconscious or semi-conscious images in witness’ minds for purrposes not understood (yet) but palpable when the accounts are examined thoroughly.
The UFOs seen by witnesses are not extraordinary within the context of UFO lore, but the entities and the accoutrements of the event are extraordinary as recorded by Tripzibit at Unsolved Mysteries of the World [2/19/2010]:
“In the afternoon of September 27, 1989, several children in Voronezh, an industrial center with a population of about one million, were playing soccer in a local park when a giant red sphere, 30 feet in diameter, landed right next to them. A huge crowd quickly gathered. Suddenly, a hatch opened in the craft and two creatures stepped out. One was a short robotic-looking figure, the other was a gigantic humanoids (12 to 14 feet tall) walked about the town, perhaps sightseeing. The alien appeared to have “three eyes,” was wearing a silver jumpsuit, bronze-colored boots, and a round disk on his chest.
Because there were so many witnesses, and because of the earlier wave of sightings, the event caused a huge sensation. The news agency TASS picked up the story, and before long, it was front-page news across the world. According to TASS, and a report in the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura, two boys and a girl from a local school - Vasya Surin, Zhenya Blinov and Yuliya Sholokhova - were playing in a park on the warm evening of Sept. 27 when suddenly, at half past six, ''they saw a pink shining in the sky and then spotted a ball of deep red color'' about 10 yards in diameter. A crowd gathered, ''and they could clearly see a hatch opening in the lower part of the ball and a humanoid in the opening.”
The three-eyed creature, about over 10 feet tall and fashionably dressed in silvery overalls and bronze boots and with a disk on its chest, disappeared, then landed and came out for a promenade with a companion and a robot. The aliens seemed to communicate with each other, producing the mysterious appearance of a shining triangle, and activated the robot with a touch. Terrified, a boy began to scream, but with a stare of the alien's shining eyes, TASS said, the boy was silenced and paralyzed.
After a brief disappearance, the three returned, but this time one of the ''humanoids'' had ''what looked like a gun'' by his side - a tube about two feet long that it directed at a 16-year-old boy. The boy, whose name was not given in the report, promptly vanished, but reappeared. Immediately afterward, the aliens stepped back into the sphere, which took off straight up.
Residents of the city of Voronezh insisted that lanky, three-eyed extraterrestrial creatures had indeed landed in a local park and gone for a stroll and that a seemingly fantastic report about the event carried Monday by the official press agency TASS was absolutely true.
Lieutenant Sergei A. Matveyev confessed that he had not actually seen the aliens, but said he saw the spaceship and ''it was certainly a body flying in the sky,'' moving noiselessly at a very high speed and very low altitude. To be honest, Lieutenant Matveyev said, he was a little skeptical himself when he first saw the object. ''I thought I must be really tired,'' he said. ''but I rubbed my eyes and it didn't go away. Then I figured, in this day and age, anything is possible.''
Vladimir A. Moiseyev, director of the regional health department, said in a telephone interview that despite reports of widespread fear in the city, none of the witnesses had applied for medical help. But he said that ''certainly we are planning to examine the children.'' There was no explanation why, with the passing of two weeks, such an examination had not yet taken place.
Mr. Moiseyev, like other authorities in Voronezh, the editors of TASS, and indeed many of its readers, treated the report as a serious scientific phenomenon. No extra men are assigned to patrol the area because the department is short-handed, said the duty officer at the local Interior Ministry department, who identified himself only by his last name, Larin, but he said troops would be dispatched ''if they appear again.''
The TASS correspondent covering the case of the mysterious visitors to Voronezh, Vladimir V. Lebedev, seemed insulted that anyone would treat the story with anything but the full seriousness that it was given by the agency. In a telephone interview, Mr. Lebedev described conversations with dozens of witnesses and with experts who had examined the evidence and spoken to the children. He said there were about three landings of the U.F.O between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29.
In the latest development, not yet reported by TASS, Mr. Lebedev said that Genrikh M. Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, asked the children to draw what they had seen. Drawings said to be similar. Though isolated from one another, he said, the children all drew a banana-shaped object that left behind in the sky the sign of the letter X.
Such descriptions, Mr. Silanov said, were reported as typical of U.F.O.'s in a 1976 article in the now defunct American magazine Saga. Mr. Silanov said that a rock that was reportedly found at the site and described as being not something found on earth was actually a form of hematite, which is found in various parts of the Soviet Union. While not a witness himself, Mr. Lebedev said he had visited the site. ''The traces were still seen,'' he said. ''I could see holes of a clear shape that resembled the footprints of an elephant.''
Several scientists investigated and failed to convince themselves that all this was hallucination. The landing was investigated by a wide variety of scientists including medical investigators, psychologists, criminologists, and more. It was discovered that numerous other people in the area had seen and even photographed the UFOs. Some of the witnesses suffered weird side effects such as insomnia. Others reported electromagnetic effects on their TVs and appliances.
Most exciting, however, was the analysis of the landing site. Depressions in the ground showed that the object weighed several tons. Radiation was found in the soil, as were unusually high levels of certain elements—in particular, phosphorus. The Voronezh landing remains one of the most famous UFO landings in Russian history, and as of yet, it is still unexplained.”
If the accounts are fabrics of a hoax, it’s a elaborate charade….but to what purpose?
The things that stand out are the symbols, concocted or actually seen, such as the disk on the chest of the entities.
Of course, Jose Caravaca’s “Distortion Theory” works to explain, somewhat, the event.
A good case can be made for mass hysteria or group hallucinations certainly.
For me, the extraterrestrial explanation doesn’t work, as once the entities debark from the “saucers” or UFOs, they resemble nothing like that reported in other UFO events, thus creating a whole otherworldly category.
Whatever happened in Voronezh in 1989, fact or fiction, the events intrigue, for many reasons, all worthy of study within the context of UFO lore.