SPACE TOAD: (PERU)

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out-of-this-worldIn the summer of 1965, a Peruvian student claimed to have had a face-to-frog-like-face encounter with an extraordinary — and ostensibly amphibious — extraterrestrial being on an isolated rooftop in the capital city of Lima.

On Sunday, August 1, 1965, at precisely 6:02 pm., the sun began its slow descent over the coastal city of Lima.

lima_peru_rooftopThere was a bite in the air that evening; in fact that day was to be the coldest of the year with a temperature of just 55° Fahrenheit. It would not be the weather, however, that would leave 15 year-old student Alberto San Roman Nunez chilled to the bone.

At approximately 7:00 pm., Nunez was taking in the wash from the line on the rooftop of his family’s home when he glanced up into the steadily darkening sky and bore witness to a sight which he would never forget. Directly in front of his disbelieving gaze was a UFO slowly descending onto the roof behind him. As astonishing as this sight clearly was, it would pale before what came next.

bowen_humanoidsAccording to noted ufologist and British diplomat, Gordon Creighton — in his chapter “The Humanoids in Latin America” in Charles Bowen’s invaluable 1969 catalogue of extraterrestrial encounters “The Humanoids” —  Nunez then claimed to have seen an eccentric entity emerge from the now apparently landed craft.

What he described was a hirsute, luminescent “Space Toad” — as I’ve dubbed this critter — which Nunez illustrated as: “greenish… with hair all covered with green lights, and looking like a toad.” The student would also state that this frog-like fiend was approximately three-and-a-half-feet tall.

Whether this entity was genuinely bioluminescent or merely glowing due to biochemical or crystallographic modifications to its body was unknown and remains a mystery to this day.

alien_toadI’ve often wondered whether or not the greenish, illuminated, hair-like attachments might represent not a biological feature, but perhaps the exterior of an advanced bio-protection suit designed to keep this perhaps amphibious visitor safe in Earth’s potentially toxic atmosphere. At this point this (or any) theory is, of course, pure speculation.

Whatever the cause of this strange illumination, Nunez was understandably terrified by this exotic apparition and, forgetting all about the laundry, turned and made a mad dash for the stairs. Mere steps from the door, Nunez suddenly found himself enveloped in a blinding red light, which emerged from the UFO. Nunez froze, no doubt anticipating the worst.

UFOTo what must have been the youthful student’s eternal relief, the craft and its occupant abruptly soared skyward and made a beeline for the Pacific ocean. Within seconds the strange vehicle was gone leaving a perplexed and petrified Nunez alone on the roof.

Not knowing where else to turn, Nunez reported the event to the police. Officers were dispatched to the scene and found four strange circular markings, each approximately 1-foot in diameter, on the roof where the UFO had purportedly landed.

blue_bookIt wasn’t long before the press caught wind of this extraordinary event and on August 2, 1965, the Argentinean newspaper “Última Hora” published the first account of the incident. From there the report went viral — in 1960s terms anyway — and a mention of this sighting even made the files of the United States Air Force’s UFO investigation team: Project Blue Book. It is at this point that the events took an even stranger turn.

In the August 5, 1965, edition of the Brazilian newspaper “Diário de Sâo Paulo” there appeared an Associated Press statement which claimed that Nunez had retracted his original allegation of alien interaction and now declared that the story had been the unfortunate result of his “reading too much Science Fiction.” An allegation that is, candidly, every bit as dubious as Nunez’s original assertion.

Following on that trend, the investigating police officers came to the conclusion that the odd circular markings found on the roof were likely made: “by the rim of an automobile wheel.”

While many investigators dismissed the story as a hoax immediately following these public assertions, I’m inclined to wonder if what happened was less a case of a teenager’s wanton deception and more of the adults in Nunez’s life just trying to get the entire affair to blow over with minimal collateral damage to their family’s name and reputation by convincing the 15 year-old to recant his story.

Jacinta_Francisco_Lucia_FatimaThis would certainly not be the first time something like this has occurred. One need only look at the now renowned (and Vatican sanctioned) Fátima Portugal visitations of 1917. When three grade school children — Lucia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — claimed to have interactions with an entity that they believe to be the Virgin Mary, the initial reaction of their parents, local villagers, clergy and government officials was not one of celebration, but shame.

They did everything in their power to make the young eyewitnesses recant their testimony, even resorting to threats. The children refused to renounce their position and the events surrounding Fátima are now commemorated as miracles by billions of Christians across the globe.

Perhaps young Nunez was subjected to some of the same pressures as the Portuguese children; with the key differences being that he was a lone witness to the fantastic event and that said event lacked any obvious miraculous content with which to help clinch his convictions. On can only assume that it would be easier for a malleable young man to renounce the existence of a UFO piloting Space Toad, then that of the Virgin Mother.

space_toad_cryptopia_rob_morphyIn yet another bizarre twist, Gordon Creighton claimed that on August 7, 1965, the Reuter news agency reported authorities had apprehended “a band of dangerous cat-burglars,” who had been  terrorizing Lima. This insidious group was led by an individual who was known by the alias of “Pygmy.” Evidently, Pygmy had struck upon the idea of using the epidemic of UFO sightings that were plaguing Peru as cover for his illicit operations. To that end, Pygmy and his crew outfitted themselves in what were simply described as “space-suits” in order to perpetrate “a series of bold armed robberies” and home invasions.

While it seems ridiculous that Nunez might have mistaken an ostensibly small (based solely on the nickname) robber for a glowing three-and-a-half-foot toad; and even less likely that Pygmy and his team would have constructed a beam emitting remote controlled flying saucer exclusively for dramatic effect, there are some who have concluded that what Nunez must have stumbled upon that cool evening was nothing more than a career criminal in costume.

keelThat contention is dubious at best, but the takeaway is the fact that over 800 reports of UFOs emanated from Latin America in 1965 alone; with a great many of them centered in Lima. Did this intense UFO flap inspire a “Martian” themed crime spree and, perhaps, at least one genuine extraterrestrial encounter?

While there is no direct correlation, it is worth noting that in his 1966 chronicling of unknown entities: “Strange Creatures From Time and Space,” MOTHMAN researcher and author, John Keel, discussed the Nunez case (although he evidently misspelled the name as “Nuez”) and went on to describe another admittedly less harrowing — though no less peculiar — rooftop encounter, which allegedly took place in Lima during that same August:

“Another rooftop landing, also in Lima, occurred on August 24, 1965, when twenty students and their adult teachers heard some strange sounds on top of their school. They went to the roof and discovered a throbbing, disk-shaped object which took off as they all ran for cover.”

Could this be another pit stop by the same creature who was, perhaps, just a bit more shy during the light of day? Or does this confirm that Lima was simply a breeding ground of intergalactic tourist activity during the chilly August of 1965?

rob_morphy© Copyright Rob Morphy — 2016

Rob Morphy is an artist / journalist / filmmaker / designer / crypto chronicler / podcaster / cult movie lover and co-founder of American Monsters and Cryptopia.