Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ubatuba Magnesium Sample - some speculation as to its source


Recently, Robert Powell of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) presented a lecture on Youtube. The subject was the never-ending story of analyses of samples from an incident said to have occurred at Ubatuba, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1957. Ubatuba is located on the Brazilian coast, between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Image courtesy of Google maps


The sample analysed by the SCU had a provenance which went as follows:

1. Unknown person.

2. Brazilian Newspaper.

3. Dr. O. Fontes.

Image from Craig, 1995.

4. Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization.

5. Dr. Peter Sturrock.

6. Dr. Michael Swords.

7. Robert Powell.

New analysis

The SCU's aims for their new analysis were, firstly, to look at the isotopic ratios of the magnesium component of the sample (around 99.9% of the sample.) Secondly, to look at the isotopic ratios of the trace elements found in the mainly magnesium sample.

In summary, the SCU found that the magnesium isotopic ratios appear to match terrestrial values, but that they cannot say, one way or the other, if the isotopic ratios of the trace elements in the mainly magnesium sample; namely strontium, copper, zinc and barium, match terrestrial values, or not. The reason for the uncertainty re the trace elements, is due to the fact that the two laboratories which checked the trace element isotopic ratios, showed major discrepancies in these values. Robert Powell stated that if they were to do the testing again, he would isolate the trace elements separately, and then run isotopic ratio testing.

Robert's major question at the end of the day is, even if the magnesium component matched terrestrial values, how did a piece of magnesium of this purity come to be in Brazil in 1957?

Some speculation

Over the years, there have been suggestions regarding some abduction experiences in Latin America, that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) may have been involved. For example, in the book "Mirage Men: A Journey into Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs," [Pilkington, M. 2010, p.65] there is an extremely interesting reference:

"Until his death in Fairfax, Virginia in 1999, Bosco Nedecovic was an interpreter and translator at the Inter-American  Defense College, which educates future leaders of Latin American nations. In 1978 the Yugoslavian emigre confided in the American UFO researcher Rich Reynolds that, during the 1950's and 1960's, the CIA had deliberately manufactured UFO incidents all over the world as part of a project called Project Mirage. What's more, Nedecovic, who between 1956 and 1963 had worked for the CIA in Latin America under the Agency for International Development (AID) was himself present at some of these staged events. And one of them was the Villas Boas abduction."

Note that the Villas Boas abduction is reported to have occurred on 16 October 1957.

Furthermore, along these lines, there is a fascinating quote in Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume Four" in the diary entry dated 26 March 1992 which reads:

"I have secured a document confirming that the CIA simulated UFO abductions in Latin America (Brazil and Argentina.)"

Researcher Jack Brewer followed up this statement, by contacting Vallee. For Vallee's response, click here. 

As I pondered Robert Powell's questions as to how come a piece of nearly pure magnesium turned up in Brazil in 1957, a thought occurred to me. If it were true that the CIA were involved in creating fake abduction events, could they have possibly created a fake "exploding flying saucer" story complete with fake physical evidence? Note, that the first we heard of the Ubatuba fragments, was on 14 September 1957. Take note of the following facts.

No-one has ever located the individual who submitted the fragments to the Brazilian newspaper. Could it be because there was no such individual?

No-one (e.g. Kaufmann & Sturrock, 2004) has ever located first-hand witnesses to the explosion  despite searches by multiple individuals. Could it be because there was no such explosion?

If the above is true, then where did the nearly pure magnesium samples come from? A possible answer is to be found in Sturrock (2001:74) who reports a statement, from 1968, from Dr. Roy Craig, who had a piece of fragment from Ubatuba analyzed. Craig (1995:112) wrote that between 1943 and 1968, the Dow Chemical Corporation, in the USA, had manufactured batches of almost pure magnesium, upon request.

Putting this altogether, we have an unknown source providing magnesium samples, which were available in the USA at that time, to a Brazilian newspaper. This was accompanied by a story of an "exploding flying saucer" for which no first-hand witnesses could be located. Thus we can form a working hypothesis that that perhaps the CIA obtained pieces from Dow; and submitted them to the newspaper along with a fake story.

I would be interested to hear from blog readers what they think of this hypothesis. It fits the known facts, but is speculation, unless we could locate documentary evidence of such a deception, CIA documents.


For those blog readers who wish to read more about the Ubatuba samples, here is a listing of the material which I have on file. I have provided online links to the sources cited, wherever possible. 

1. 1957. Fontes, O. "Special Report: Physical Evidence Proving UFOs To Be Craft From Outer Space." Unpublished manuscript. 57 pages. APRO files.

2. 1957. Sued, I. "Um Fragmento De Disco - Voador!" O Globo, (Rio de Janero, Brazil), 14 September 1957, page 4.

3. 1960. "Physical Evidence." The APRO Bulletin, March, pages 1 &3.

4. 1960. "APRO Metal Extraterrestrial?" NICAP Special Bulletin, May, page 3.

5. 1960. "The Physical Evidence Story." The APRO Bulletin, May, pages 1-3 & 8.

6. 1961. Wightman, D. "The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization's 'Physical Evidence': Was the Ubatuba Disc a Missile, a Hoax or a Flying Saucer?" Saucer News, March, Volume 8, Number 1, pages 5-9.

7. 1962. Fontes, O.T. "A report on the Investigation of Magnesium Samples from a UFO Exploding Over the Sea in the Ubatuba Region of Brazil." Published as a chapter in, Lorenzen, C. E. "The Great Flying Saucer Hoax." William Frederick Press, New York, pages 89-132.

8. 1968. "Report On An Investigation Of A Magnesium Sample." 25 pages. Colorado Project material. Located in the Condon Committee file held by the American Philosophical Society Library. Dr. Michael Swords digital collection.

9. 1968. Saunders, D. R. & Harkens, R. R. "UFOs? Yes!: Where the Condon Committee Went Wrong." Signet Books, New York. page 170.

10. 1969. Lorenzen, C & J. "UFOs:The Whole Story." Signet Books, New York.

11. 1970. "APRO's New Findings on Ubatuba magnesium." The APRO BulletinJul-Aug, pages 1 & 5.

12. 1971. Harney, J. "The Search for Physical Evidence- Part Three- The Ubatuba Magnesium." Merseyside UFO Bulletin, Volume 4, number 2, pages 19-25.

13. 1976. Scornaux, J. "Ubatuba, Brasil - Septembre 1957: Authentiques fragment d'ovni?" Lumieres Dans La Nuit, October, number 158, pages 5-9.

14. 1978. Bourron, M. "Ubatuba." Lumieres Dans La Nuit, April, number 174, pages 1-5.

15. 1979. Lebelson, H. "Alien Metals." UFO Update. OMNI magazine, November, Volume 2, number 2, pages 30 & 132.

16. 1980. Pace, A. R. "Ubatuba Magnesium - UFO Fragments." Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena. Volume 1, number 2, pages 41-42.

17. 1980. Walker, W. W. "Ubatuba (Brazil) Magnesium." In Story, R. (ed.) "The Encyclopedia of UFOs" Doubleday & Co., Garden City, New York pages 374-375.

18. 1984. "Magensium Study Continues." The APRO Bulletin, January, page 6.

19. 1985. Sturrock, P. A. "Brazil Magnesium Study." The Explorer, Volume 2, number 2, page 6.

20. 1986. Lorin, J. & Havette, A. "Isotope and Elemental Charcterization of a Magensium Sample of Unknown Origin Collected in Brazil in 1957." Paris, France. Laboratoire de Mineralogie - Crystallographie, Universite P, et M. Curie.

21. 1987. Sturrock, P. A. "An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Number 1, pages 75-100.

22. 1988. Henry, R.C. "UFOs and NASA." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 2, Number 2, pages 93-142.

23. 1990. Vallee, J. "Confrontations." Ballentine Books, New York, pages 49-51.

24. 1990. Vallee, J. "Revelations." Ballentine Books, New York. page 21.

25. 1992. Swords, M.D. "Analysis of Alleged Fragments from an Exploding UFO near Ubatuba, Brazil: An Introduction." Journal of UFO Studies, (new series), 4, pages 1-5.

26. 1992. Walker, W.W. & Johnson, R. "Further Studies of the Ubatuba UFO Magnesium Samples." Journal of UFO Studies, (new series), 4,  pages 6-25.

27. 1992. Walker, W.W. "Scientific Study of the Ubatuba Magnesium Fragments: A 1992 Perspective." Journal of UFO Studies, (new series), 4, pages 26-37.

28. 1995. Craig, R. "UFOs: An Insiders View of the Official Quest for Evidence." Denton, Texas, Uni. of North Texas Press, pages 105-113.

29. 1998. Clark, J. "Ubatuba Residue." "The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning." 2nd. ed. Volume 2, pages 909-911. Detroit, Michigan. Omnigraphics. Inc.

30. 1998. Vallee, J. "Physical Analyses in Ten Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects with Material Samples." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 12, number 3, pages 354-375.

31. 2001. Sturrock, P. A. "Composition Analysis of the Brazil Magnesium." Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 15, number 1, pages 69-95.

32. 2004. Kaufmann, P.& Sturrock, P. A. "On Events Possibly Related to the 'Brazil Magnesium.'" Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 18, number 2, pages 283-291.


I wish to thank Barry Greenwood, of Boston, in the USA for sharing his data file on Ubatuba; and to Dr. Michael Swords, also in the USA for sharing his Ubatuba information.

Updates 18 June 2020

1. Barry Greenwood forwarded me a cleaner copy of the 14 September 1957 Brazilian newspaper article, and points out that the name of the newspaper was O Globo not El Globo as per the Sturrock (2001) paper.

2. US researcher Brad Sparks advised me that he has an extensive article on Ubatuba, which discusses Ubatuba history, theories, lists all known lab analyses to 2018 and analyzes the isotopic
studies, in "The UFO Encyclopedia, 3rd. ed." authored by Jerome Clark, and published by Omnigraphics Inc., 2018. I was did not have a copy of this article in my files, and so failed to mention it in my bibliography.

3. I received a lengthy comment from researcher Robert Duvall. For some reason Blogspot comments wouldn't work for Robert so I asked him to email me his comments, which appear below.

Magnesium and the CIA - part 1

Hello Keith, how are you doing? Adelaide was a wonderful time for me - enjoyed the visit immensely!

Generally as I see it at least, much of the problem with UFO research is that it focuses on what the government has done or is doing or will do. One has to ask what has the government given the community besides headaches? I began studying UFO by reading the books that came out on the subject in the order which they were published. By the mid-1950s it was obvious that the government had taken a hostile position with regard to the research community and everything that followed verified that position. So why given this obvious stance is it that the community is going after this hostile entity for answers? Anyone who thinks that the CIA works for the president or any government portion that has appearances of representation to the population is nuts.

The CIA was born of nefarious purposes and anyone paying the least bit of attention today to what is going on here in the US should see how far that and other entities will go to secure an agenda that has "no good" written all over it. Australia is beginning to flex and fight - thankfully - against the beast that is the CCP. Globalism is real, and the idea that UFO/UAP or whatever are separate from global politics and agendas is patently absurd. Any observations that the CIA was then involved in obfuscation, mis- and disinformation campaigns and certain military entities were also tending to this should get a gold star. The Magnesium samples - just par for the CIA course.

Many learn about UFO by studying the history of the human reaction to UFO starting jokingly in 1947 - and that overlaps substantially with official actions and responses to these events. That formula is flawed right off. We are learning by taking in all of the disinformation and trying to separate the correct data from the lies? Streams have sudden wide spots where the main current drives the water at these wide spots in a circular motion - Eddie Currents. What the US government has done very successfully over and over and over is kept many talented people within the research community going around in circles unknowingly - assigned to Eddiedom. This is and has been for a very long time the state of the majority of research efforts. I watched it over and over from the sidelines getting my assessment validated. It is hard to watch. You know good and well that intelligence was behind all of it.

The fact is that research needs a new approach. I think it is brilliant that you are pointing out something I have been kind of silent about for quite a while. I bring it up - but it mostly just gets swatted like a pesky fly. This is the heart of the problem with UAP research. I saw it early on and completely avoided the ring where no one can be trusted. Why bother? So I came up with an approach with the help of a colleague that I think panned out in huge ways. I tried to export that approach into the research mix - the community. It went to deaf ears. To be honest now I really don't care - if the community is going to continue to insist on getting the "official" answer from US or other government entities, go ahead by all means possible. You are going to get exactly what you have been getting since probably around 1947. Have fun with that. I left research years ago - I have no current investment in it and certainly don't wish to waste my time trying to convince others about the dam leaking. I'd rather sit off to the side and watch the melee that ensues or better yet do something valuable with my time - I really don't enjoy watching others suffer (which is the state of research).

Magnesium and the CIA - part 2

I did not publish my findings on UFO intent and actions regarding our global nuclear weapons infrastructures for a couple of reasons: a - It is a complex study that requires many working on it to cover the decades of events in enough detail with enough historical analysis that it clearly indicates what actually occurred relationally, b - A deeper historical study would have to take place to place context onto what we see today and since WW2, and c - The same entities that are birthing Eddies in the community won't easily allow the real reason for all of this to see the light of day. Given the state of the research community and the absolute disregard for any approach that is not asking the government to come clean I knew my odds were slim but I persisted for around ten years to try to get this to take. Then I got out. I can't do all of the work required to put this into a form useful to the community and as far as that goes the public at large and I value my life enough to know when to move on. I don't like being played by the nefarious intelligence entities and though I wouldn't hesitate to call them out I know from the beginning I am on the losing side. Only a few within the community understand the importance of a different approach - and the value of this particular approach. These individuals have never exercised it enough to see the returns, so even they aren't convinced. Others have and know the benefits.

We will never learn the truth from the US government, period. To be successful is to go completely around the government, involve history as the comparative backdrop for understanding intent, and look deep into history for the context of what we see today. Only then can an appreciation for what is happening today come about. You need event data, clear concise history, and between the lines information regarding what happened during intense nuclear times - the stuff the governments censored. No one single government and especially the US government wants to be seen as completely incompetent with regard to their most sophisticated defenses toward any enemy - and that is what this exposes in spades. It also tells us a great deal about why these events happen in the first place - and we could learn from that if we could ever study it unimpeded. Go after it and you could receive a package delivered to your home that will send you into the circular waters I call Eddies. You must throw it away and keep plugging.

I hope that answers your question Keith about whether there is merit to your theory regarding the magnesium. To me it is a no-brainer; of course it was an intelligence operation. Fits like a glove and it is still achieving what it set out to do in the first place sixty years after the plan was hatched. Think about how many of these types of misguided lies were thrown at the community since then.

Update 19 June 2020

Robert Powell forwarded me a 6 page report from the National Office Laboratory, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Diviision, dated 27 February 1968, titled "Neutron activation analysis of Artifacts associated with UFO Phenomena." The Ubatuba sample was provided by Dr. Roy Craig.


  1. Hi Keith. You did a lot of research and put together the best plausible story that I have heard to date. Your story made me think more about what would it entail to mimic the physical and chemical signatures found on the Ubatuba magnesium sample. Now that you have caused me to think even more about it, the less I think that the sample was planted by someone.

    The CIA could have gotten a sample of pure magnesium (Mg) from DOW and if you could find a record of that then I think you would have a plausible argument. So for the moment, let's assume that is what happened. Would it explain the results from the physical and chemical analysis?

    The unknown individual who supplied the magnesium (Mg) supplied several broken pieces. So the CIA would have taken this valuable Mg and broken it into pieces? Seems strange to do that. Why not just supply a single piece?

    Next they would need to actually heat the Mg to an extreme temperature. One of the early reports on the Mg sample indicated it had been subjected to extreme temperature. Now this sounds easier than it is. Mg burns with an intense heat in air. One is dealing with a very small sample and I think it would need someone very familiar with Mg to be able to pull that off. That seems hard to believe since the CIA risks losing their entire piece of Mg just to make it seem like it burned up as it moved through the atmosphere.

    Lastly, they would have had to contaminate their sample with seawater. In my paper, I talked about the bulk material. But the reports that examined the surface of the sample show it was contaminated with manganese, titanium, sodium, and calcium. All of these are consistent with the sample being in seawater. So the CIA, after igniting their DOW sample, would have had to dip it in seawater. The smarts to do all of this is beyond what one would expect from a government bureaucracy.

    Is this scenario possible? Yes. Is it very likely? No. In my opinion, the likelihood approaches zero.

    1. Hi Robert, I guess the purpose of any hypothesis is to cause us to take a second look at the data, so I'm glad it stimulated your thoughts. You raise some very valid points about the idea of a planted sample. I had not thought through the early findings of being subject to extreme heat, and how difficult that would be to successfully achieve. Also, the indications consistent with it being contaminated with seawater, which is of course agrees with the anonymous story. Thanks again for your comments.

    2. Keith, you have also created a nice succinct story of the sample for anyone not familiar with it.

  2. Here is a direct link to the Condon Committee's report on the Ubatuba sample (starting on p. 138). It found the Brazilian magnesium sample to be much less pure than the Dow sample.

    1. Hi RobertSheaffer, thanks for the direct link.

    2. Both samples were high purity magnesium (Mg). The report does not say one sample is "more pure" than the other. (I have mailed Keith a copy of the original report.) You can't determine the exact purity of either of the two samples by looking at the Condon Report and adding up the trace impurity numbers. As it states in the report, they chose eight impurities to examine and used irradiation of standards for those eight elements and compared them to the samples tested. In order to compare Mg purity, all the elements would need to be measured as is done in a HR-ICPMS. Both the Ubatuba and DOW sample were very high grade Mg that was not commercially available at the time. To state that the "Brazilian magnesium sample was much less pure than the Dow sample" is incorrect and is a value statement, not a factually supported statement.

  3. Once we know the story of US government desinformation on UFO´s in the last 70 years, it is quite reasonable to think they did it again! If it is possible to fake, so it is plausible to assume they did it! Even if you think it´s very hard to fake, it consumes lot of money and brain power, don´t forget the US government had major aerospace contractors making secret aircrafts with the form of UFO´s!!!

  4. Dr. Julio Fernándo GuglielloJune 19, 2020 at 8:02 AM

    With abundant documentation anyone can speculate and decide which option is the true one.
    But someone, many years ago, asked himself the same question, discarded the pieces provided in public, and went to look for new "fresh" pieces on the beaches of Ubatuba and at the bottom of the sea.
    He carried out several campaigns, the first in conjunction with the Brazilian Navy, and with observers from the US Navy and advisers to the United Nations Secretary General.
    Of all the collected, only a small part was published, even with controlled access.
    If you want Keith, I can send you the data privately.

    1. Hi Julio, If you can, please send the data to me at Thank you.

    2. That information would be very valuable to know. I wasn't aware anyone had gone to look for more material, but at the time it would have been logical to have done so.

    3. Adauto Antonio de NereiraJune 22, 2020 at 2:45 PM

      I am 88 years old.
      As a young man I lived in Sao Paulo, my parents had an industrial supply, and I had finished my electro-mechanical studies in 1953.
      A year later, in 1954 these people came from Argentina, they had a large farm in Rio Grande Da Serra, with workshops, laboratories, and many equipment and vehicles.
      They started buying products from our company that year, and every week, on Saturdays, I transported those products to their farm.
      I came into trust and they hired me in 1956, when I was 24 years old.
      I worked for them with my contract until 1984, in that year they renewed my contract and I kept doing it, even today I still work for them in administrative tasks, they provide transportation to their offices.
      Today I live in Sao Sebastiao.
      These people from Argentina have been investigating the entire area since before 1957, but especially in the ocean.
      They bought properties, buildings, and businesses throughout the area, and they own several tourism businesses, including companies that organize dive trips.
      They even bought my parents' business many years ago and gave them 49% of the property, the same with many companies in the area.
      They invested hundreds of millions these decades, have a sizeable fleet of ships, and hire local labor, services, and supplies.
      They contributed a lot to the development of the entire area.
      In 1988 they built a farm south of the Sierra Bocaina National Park, there they have an advanced research laboratory, the place is only accessible by helicopter.
      Everyone here knows that to this laboratory they take pieces and remains found on the coasts and the ocean, they work with the government.
      All the people from Guaratuba in the south to Itaguaí in the north know that if they find something strange on the beaches, valleys, mountains or in the ocean, they can go and sell it to them.
      These issues are known throughout the region, what happens is that people who write on the internet usually do not know Brazil, and many Brazilian ufologists are very upset because these people from Argentina are very reserved and do not share anything with them.
      But it is true that they are in the area, they invest here and they give work to the people here.

  5. Johao (former traffic officer)June 23, 2020 at 10:13 PM

    Just a contribution to the information of Mr. Antonio de Nereira.
    In 1992 there was a water alarm outside (1 nautical mile) from Ponta Grossa, Ubatuba, there were 2 ships in marine operations there.
    A private rescue helicopter came to the scene, but there were no injured people, on the contrary, an officer from the Brazilian Navy and 2 civilians got on the helicopter, carrying a metal container.
    The helicopter departed heading north, entering the forest, before doing so and near the current Do Puruba beach, the helicopter experienced an abrupt loss of power that caused it to descend 1200 feet in emergency, but recovered.
    In December 1995, the overflight of the entire area was prohibited for 2 hours, and a private helicopter escorted by 2 military helicopters left that area to head north.
    All 3 aircraft landed on Christmas 1995 in a private field located between Tres Caracoes and Varginha, 125 miles from the coast and very close to Highway 381 Fernao Dias.
    A few weeks after the Varginha Case occurred, January 20, 1996.
    Some speculate that an active and functional device was recovered from Ubatuba, and that it was later taken to Varginha, where its non-human owners attempted to retrieve it.
    In June 1996 the property south of Varginha was sold, and a convoy of heavy trucks moved everything to another private property south of the Serra Do Cipo National Park, where public access is not allowed and there is strong security custody, about 194 miles to the northeast.

  6. The security of any country, in the near future, will depend on the dedication it gives to these issues, and the support that politicians give to serious researchers. In Brazil, the government is very responsible with surveillance and strategic air defense.


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