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Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 1996 front page article by Matt Moffett.
Aliens Land in Brazil in Desperate Need of a Good Shower

The incident that made this town a hot spot in the intergalactic search for intelligent life started quite innocently. On a Saturday afternoon stroll in January, a trio of young women decided to take a shortcut home through a vacant lot. In a clump of weeds, the three said, they encountered a creature like nothing they had seen before. “It wasn’t a man or an animal - it was something different,” said one of the women, Katia Andrade. The being had oily, brown skin and rubbery limbs, she said. Three rounded protrusions sprouted from its oversized head. Standing out in a different way was the creature’s odor: One ghastly whiff weakened the knees. As for the stranger’s demeanor, the women unanimously, if tactlessly, agreed: It was “muddle-headed.” When the creature wagged its big noggin dizzily in their direction, the three women ran off.

Word of this encounter, spreading rapidly through the coffee bars where Varginha’s [Brazil] 12,000 inhabitants trade gossip, would soon meld in the public imagination with other unusual occurrences: sightings of a peculiar cigar-shaped flying object, a mustering of troops and vehicles at a nearby infantry base and a peculiar bustle at the municipal hospital. Goaded by self-styled UFO savants and a ravenous national media, residents rather matter-of-factly embraced a stupefying conclusion: Several aliens from a wayward space ship had been captured and brutalized by troops from the Brazilian army.

Bristling denials from the military, which once compiled a lengthy record of abuses against the terrestrial population, have only served to inflame public suspicion. The upshot: The army and the now famous space aliens find themselves locked in a pitched battle for the hearts and minds of this provincial community. Doltish and malodorous though these space celebrities might be, mere men in uniform are proving no match for the first creatures of any kind from Varginha to land on a national magazine cover. “For extraterrestrials they may not be much, but they are the biggest thing we’ve ever had in Varginha,” says a young woman named Nilda, scanning the nighttime sky from a downtown park bench. Had the armed forced not interfered, she says, locals might have scrubbed the visitors up, taught them the language, in sum, made something of them. “But they never had a chance,” Nilda says with a sigh. Her anger at the military’s alleged inhospitality sparked a tiff with her boyfriend, a private in the infantry. ...

An armed-forces news conference marking “Victory Day” in World War II degenerated into a shouting match between a general and a television reporter pressing him about the extraterrestrials. An official briefing to debunk UFO conspiracies was overshadowed by an auto mechanic’s claim to have seen yet another weird cylindrical aircraft, a cosmic encounter he re-enacted with the aid of an aluminum coffee thermos. To some extent the army is paying for past sins. During an oppressive 20-year dictatorship ending in 1985, the Brazilian military eliminated any number of earthbound political enemies by “disappearing” them. If the army was capable of liquidating human beings without a trace, locals ask, why couldn’t it carry such a “dirty war” to outer space? ...

To date, Brazil’s leading television magazine has done three programs here. A two-hour nationally televised documentary on Varginha pulled in so many viewers on a recent Saturday night that it was repeated in its entirety the following weekend. ... With an eye toward promoting Varginha, city fathers are thinking of building a park in the creature’s honor. Deputy Mayor Paulo Vitor Freire says: “We would never have imagined that so many international organizations take interest in cases like ours.” Yes, Varginha, there is a support group known as Abductees Anonymous and a research organization called Operation Right to Know. Stanton Friedman, a Canada-based UFO expert, says Varginha has the makings of a “cosmic Watergate.”