The Villa Santina Extraterrestrial Encounter – More Evidence Of Alien Reconnaissance Missions?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
February 3, 2020
Last Updated
January 17, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
13 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

The extraterrestrial encounter of Italian artist, R L Johannis in Villa Santina in Italy occurred only weeks after the world-famous sighting of Kenneth Arnold in the United States in the late summer of 1947. What’s more, details in the encounter, which the witness would keep to themselves for almost five years, mirror many that would surface in other incidents as UFO and alien sightings exploded around the world in the years and decades that would follow.

A depiction of the incident with a UFO superimposed over the top

What did R L Johnson witness?

While some express “concern” with the amount of detail the artist managed to recall during the sightings – which was only several moments long – others remain impressed with the way he would not deviate from his report, and the apparent genuine passion with which he not only told it, but in the concern he would show that governments of the world were not taking such reports seriously, at least not officially.

It is interesting that in the first half of the 1950s, Italy, like many other countries around the world would experience several waves of sightings of these strange disc or globe-shaped crafts, including several very public mass sightings such as the incident over Florence when a packed football stadium (including the players) saw the strange craft moving overhead. It is certainly not that stretch of the imagination, then, to think that a resident in a quiet part of Italy just might have stumbled on to these strange and mysterious visitors only several years earlier.

Several prominent UFO researchers would examine and investigate the case, which appeared in Clypeus (May 1964) and in the book El Gran Enigma de los Platillos Volanies. It was also subject to several articles and reports in Flying Saucer Review, perhaps most noticeably by UFO researchers Charles Bowen, and Gordon Creighton in 1966 and 1967 respectively.

A Morning Painting Session Turns Into A Bizarre Close Encounter

It was around 9 am on the 14th August 1947 when R L Johannis was stood by the Chiarso creek in Villa Santina, painting as was his profession. It was as he was scanning his surroundings that morning that he would gaze upon something that would completely change his world view. There, in front of him, was a disc-shaped object at least 30 feet across.

What’s more, next to the object on the ground were two small humanoid figures, approximately three feet in height. Still a little in shock, he kept his focus on the scene unfolding in front of him. Each of the small figures had on a dark blue coverall-type suit which had a red belt around the waist, as well as a red collar. What’s more, although they were covered with a round helmet, their heads appeared to be significantly larger than one would expect when compared to their bodies.

He couldn’t see clearly, but the skin under the helmet and on their hands appeared to be a “greenish” color. This is an interesting detail in that while most would imagine these types of aliens to be grey in color (hence they are usually referred to as The Greys) many accounts exist that specifically state the color of the respective creature’s skin was a distinct green.

A superimposed UFO over a daytime mountain scene

Did alien entities visit R L Johnson?

What’s more, and this sighting was before such descriptions of the Grey alien were in the public psyche as it is today, Johannis would describe their eyes as large, dark, and with no eyelashes or eyebrows. Very similar to descriptions given by many who would experience alleged close encounters over the decades that would follow.

Still very much in the moment, the painter then called out to the strange creatures, raising his arm as he did so.

A Welcoming Gesture Mistaken For Aggression And Hostility?

As soon as he gestured to the apparently alien visitors they appeared to react. And what’s more, it appeared as though they mistook the gesture by the artist as one of aggressiveness. In response, one of the creatures reached to his belt. A moment later, a “thin vapor” emanated from it and “hit” Johannis within seconds.

He immediately began to feel disorientated and confused. The next thing he knew, he was falling to the ground. As he hit the surface with a thump, he noticed the two creatures approaching him. They would stop at the painter’s easel, looking at it quite quizzically.

It is perhaps worth noting the files of the previously mentioned Bowen here, who would highlight how the descriptions of the belt in the incident were very similar to the occupant encounter of Antonio Villas Boas in Brazil a decade later in 1957.

An artist's impression of the alien entities

An artist’s impression of the alien entities

As the artist struggled to his hands and knees, he noticed that the figures were now holding the painting before placing it back on the easel where it had been. They then, panting heavily Johannis recalled, turned around and walked calmly to the waiting, hovering disc-shaped object. It would rise slightly upon them first entering it. Then, after a moment or two, it shot directly into the sky and disappeared within seconds.

By the time the painter had fully come back to his senses, he realized that the easel was now missing. To the best of our knowledge, it wasn’t found.

The witness would ultimately gather himself. He would then return home where he would make notes of the encounter before ultimately forgetting the incident. At least publicly. When he arrived in America, as we will examine later, Johannis would begin to realize the gravity of what he had witnessed.

Further Reasons To Consider The Merging Of Space, Dimensions, And Time?

The witness would later recall that a “tremendous blast of wind” hit him within seconds of the craft vanishing. He would also recall that he believed the craft got smaller as opposed to disappearing into the distance.

This is an intriguing detail to consider. Did the craft actually disappear and it just appeared to get smaller to the witness? He was, after all, in a confused and disorientated state of mind at the time. Or might it really have grown smaller? Perhaps not physically but as it traveled through some kind of portal or wormhole? One artificially created by advanced technology.

While it is pure speculation on ours and other researcher’s parts, there are many theories that suggest UFOs are actually traveling here through these cosmic shortcuts from their world to ours. This, for example, would remove the need to travel at beyond astronomical speeds to traverse the vast reaches of space.

Artist's impression of the incident

Artist’s impression of the incident

Or might it be that these UFOs are not traveling from space at all, but as we have suggested before, from another realm or dimension? Perhaps even from another time? Maybe dimensions, space, and time are all one and the same thing?

What is also interesting here is the time that the incident took place. As we have highlighted before, many of these initial humanoid or occupant encounters appear to revolve around intelligence gathering missions. Was that the case here?

Reasons For Doubt? Or Proof Of The Unique Professional Skills Of The Witness?

There are many, as we might expect, who express concern as to the authenticity of Johannis’s account. Not least due to the remarkable amount of detail he appeared to recall of the event. And this, despite the incident only lasting for a matter of moments.

There are perhaps several things to consider here.

Might this be a case of the human mind, or at least the subconscious part of it, recalling an extraordinary case in exact detail? Or might, as one UFO researcher suggests, his skills as an artist and in noticing and replicating minute detail be something to consider?

Artist's impression of the incident

Artist’s impression of the incident

Perhaps we should also consider the fact that the case may indeed be genuine, but that the witness, perhaps with certain blanks in his recall of the incident, chose to manufacture such details so as to make his account more believable. This certainly wouldn’t be the best way of handling a situation. There is no doubt, however, that some very genuine accounts have been subject to such treatment by the respective witnesses. And for a variety of reasons, genuine and suspect.

In the same way that disinformation is tolerated and begrudgingly accepted as a necessary part of the quest to get to the truth of the UFO and alien question, it might also be equally beneficial, although equally frustrating, to accept that a certain amount of embellishment will take place on at least a certain number of UFO reports. And, as mentioned, these embellishments might not always be made in an effort to deceive, but rather that genuine reports are more believable to the wider public.

Rightly or wrongly, it is something that we must remain aware of as we negotiate the twisting tunnels of the UFO and conspiracy world.

Initial Corroborative Reports

Shortly after the sighting, Johannis would board a boat destined for the United States. It was during his travels and arrival in America that he first read about the previously mentioned Kenneth Arnold incident. He would spend several years there, returning to Italy in 1952. He was now convinced that what he had seen was indeed a “flying saucer”. Just the same as many American citizens, as well as around the world, were now reporting.

He would make a report of the incident, offering to provide two sketches of the scene to the Italian authorities. However, “without proof”, they had little interest in the case.

He would recall in his eventual report, however, that the day after the sighting, he had made some initial inquiries in the local village. He would ask specifically if anyone might have seen a strange aircraft the previous day. During this initial quest for information, he would happen upon an aging gentleman and a young boy. Both would claim they had indeed witnessed a strange object in the skies.

Artist's impression of the humanoid

Artist’s impression of the humanoid

The elderly gentleman would claim to have seen a strange “red globe being carried aloft by the wind” near the mountains (near to where Johannis was painting that morning). The young boy, on the other hand, claimed to have seen a “red ball – like the ones they have at fairs”. His sighting was at around 10 am while working in a field with his mother. He would claim that it was “rising with great speed” before disappearing out of sight. Perhaps this, incidentally, would corroborate Johannis’s own undecidedness on whether the object actually moved further away or literally grew smaller.

Earthly Items Sat In “A Museum On Some Other Planet!”

Whether we should treat the account of Johannis as a credible close encounter incident or not remains open to debate, much like many cases of a similar nature.

For his part, Johannis would express his “disgust” and “bitterness” with the way the world’s authorities were handling and treating claims of UFOs and alien visitors. Both in the United States and in Europe. He would even claim there was a “campaign of vilification” against such witnesses to these extraordinary events. Johannis would follow events closely since first discovering accounts in the American newspapers. He would soon realize, at least in his opinion, the importance of these goings-on around the world. And what it would mean for humanity in terms.

Johannis would also state that during this time of intense interest and research he attempted to explain the incident. For example, he made several efforts to explain his encounter as being a secret military device. Perhaps from the Soviet Union or even the American government. Each time, though, he would always ultimately dismiss such notions. Not least as the two strange creatures were surely not test pilots of human origin.

Perhaps even more bizarre, although intriguing at the same time, is Johannis’s belief, as tongue in cheek as it might have been, that “an old picture of mine is now in a museum on some other planet”. If we recall, the easel and the painting had vanished by the time the artist had gathered his thoughts. Might it be possible, especially if we accept that such visitations are part of reconnaissance mission, that such items have been taken as our ancestors looted items and relics from “far-away civilizations” centuries earlier? It is certainly something worth thinking about, as outrageous as it might sound upon first consideration.

Check out the video below.

The Antonio Villas Boas Encounter – A Controversial Case With Similar Details

We mentioned earlier that we would return to the Antonio Villas Boas encounter that also occurred in Brazil around a decade after that of Villa Santina. The case is a controversial one that many in UFO circles dismiss as too outlandish and one that falls in line with the “eccentric” claims of UFOs and alien visitation that permeated the 1950s and early 60s. However, if we take the Villas Santina incident seriously – and many researchers do – then the similarities of the Boas account should not be entirely dismissed without examination.

The incident unfolded on the evening of 16th October 1957 in the Sao Francisco de Sales region of the country. Boas – a 23-year-old farmer – was performing his farming duties late in the evening due to the blistering heat of the day. While doing so, though, he suddenly noticed an object like a “red star” in the night sky above. However, unlike a star, this object was moving. And what’s more, it was heading in his direction.

Artist's impression of the Boas alien abduction

Artist’s impression of the Boas alien abduction

Within moments, with the craft now extremely close to his location, he could see that it was oval in shape with a rotating section on the top. There was also a bright, red light on what he assumed was the front of the craft. He watched in awe as the strange object descended down to the ground, ultimately landing in the field he was working in, using three leg-like attachments to steady itself in the dirt.

Initially rooted to the spot on which he stood, Boas suddenly came to his senses as a surge of fear ran through him. It was at this point that he made the decision to leave. He would jump on his nearby tractor. However, within seconds of setting off, the engine sputtered and died and the tractor came to a stop. He leaped back off the vehicle and began to run.

Several seconds later, though, a strange humanoid being grabbed him and halted his advance. Seconds later, several more humanoids were around him. Then, they began to drag toward the landed object a short distance away.

A Most Outlandish Encounter

The humanoid figures dragged him on board the craft and immediately began to strip him of his clothes. Following this, they covered his entire body with a substance Boas would later describe as a strange “gel”.

The humanoids would then take the confused Boas into a different room. On the walls, which were a semi-circle shape, were strange, red symbols. His captors would then take blood samples from him before leading him to another strange room. They would exit the room, leaving him alone. Shortly after they had left, however, a strange gas-like substance was seemingly pumped inside. This substance, Boas claimed, would make him feel extremely sick.

As the gas faded away, another humanoid entered the room with him. This one, though, was decidedly different from those who had grabbed him in his field and brought him here. She was most definitely human-looking (described as Asian by Boas) and, of course, female.

A depiction of a female alien

A depiction of a female alien

Although she didn’t speak to him, the two proceeded to have sex, at least according to Boas’ account. Following this, according to Boas, she pointed to her torso (where her womb would presumably have been) before pointing to the sky. The gesture, claimed Boas, was clear – they had conceived a child which would be born and live on another world.

He was then given back his clothes and asked to get dressed. The humanoids would take him back through the ship as they led him outside. As they did so, Boas attempted to take a device nearby so he would have proof of the encounter. However, one of the humanoids witnessed this and took the device back from him.

The next thing he knew, he was back outside the craft, standing watching it reach into the sky, quickly becoming little more than a “red star” once more.

A Truly Perplexing Case

Initially, Boas decided against telling anyone of the encounter. However, he would begin to become extremely unwell over the days and weeks that followed. He would suffer intense headaches, as well as feeling generally weakened and sick. He would even develop bizarre bruising all over his body for which he couldn’t account.

When he saw an advert in a local newspaper from journalist, Jose Martins asking to speak with people who had witnessed UFOs, he decided to get in touch. Shortly after doing so, Martins, along with UFO investigators, would begin to examine the account in detail.

One of those involved was a medical doctor Dr. Olavo Fontes, who after examining Boas came to the conclusion that he had indeed been exposed to radiation – something that many other close encounter UFO cases often also indicate.

Around four months after the incident in February 1958, the account entered the public domain when it appeared in a Brazilian UFO magazine. We should note that this was several years before the Betty and Barney Hill abduction – largely regarded as “the first” alien abduction encounter to capture the world’s imagination. Does this lend an air of credibility to the incident?

We should note that Boas would stick to his version of events for decades until his death in 1991. He also became a successful lawyer. How credible the account is still the subject of debate.

New Revealing Information?

In the book Top Secret Alien Abduction Files: What the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know by veteran UFO researcher and writer, Nick Redfern, another possible reality to the case is examined. And rather than painting Boas as the charlatan many claim him to be, it perhaps lends that little bit more credibility to his story.

Perhaps the most fascinating revelations were those of Bosco Nedelcovic, who Redfern reported on extensively, as told to UFO investigator, Rich Reynolds. Nedelcovic had a long history of working with the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the United States’ Agency for International Development (otherwise known as AID) and would approach Reynolds with apparent information on the Boas encounter. What is of particular interest is that records genuinely show that Nedelcovic was indeed working for AID in Brazil at the very time of the Boas incident.

A depiction of the UFO encounter of Antonio Villas Boas

A depiction of the UFO encounter of Antonio Villas Boas

According to the information he would give to Reynolds, the alien abduction of Boas was, in fact, an orchestrated incident carried out by multiple United States’ intelligence agencies, who, in turn, employed the assistance of AID. And the ultimate aim of the agencies involved was to observe how far the human mind could be twisted and manipulated with the right combination of props, substances, and various other chemically mind-altering drugs. The incident, in short, was another branch of the infamous MK Ultra program.

An Experiment In Mind Control

Essentially, those involved in the experiment were airborne in an unmarked military helicopter on the night in question and happened upon Boas by chance. They then, according to the AID worker, descended in the field where the farmer was working, spraying the area with chemicals that would “alter the perception” of those who breathed them in. They would also incapacitate them somewhat, which would explain why Boas suddenly collapsed after attempting to run.

They would eventually drag him on board the helicopter before subjecting him to further drugs that would severely alter his sense of reality. It would appear that he was placed in various rooms at an undisclosed location as opposed to having been placed in a “UFO”. At this point, the intercourse that Boas thought he had with an alien, was, in fact, with a prostitute of Asian origin (remember, Boas described the “alien” as “Asian looking”).

Following the incident, he was subjected to further chemicals before being taken back to the field where he had been taken from. What he most likely saw leaving the field was the dark, unmarked helicopter, which his drug-addled mind perceived as a flying saucer. Exactly how they managed to place the scenario of a UFO and alien entity fully in his mind is unclear. However, as bizarre as it sounds, the story perhaps isn’t as far-fetched as it might appear.

We know, for example, that the CIA often used such drugs as LSD to distort a person’s reality, and also employed the prostitutes to maneuver their target into any number of compromising situations. When we add in the MK Ultra experiments, then it is not that much of a leap in imagination to think such a scenario as that above is true.

Might one of the most controversial alien abduction cases have actually been a top-secret intelligence project? And if so, what would such a project hope to achieve? Such questions are perhaps not as difficult to answer as we might think. Firstly, it gave the intelligence agencies to fully test just how far they could bend a human mind into believing something had happened in a certain way. Secondly, if Boas went public with the incident, it would be so outrageous that most would dismiss it (which most did). And of more importance, many people would have the same reaction with other, perhaps genuine UFO encounters.

And what does that say about the Villa Santina incident? Might that have been genuine, or a very early experiment of what would become the intelligence agencies of the United States?

The video below examines the Boas incident a little further.

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • dao says:

    very agressive aliens they took that picture in space

  • William Granger says:

    Very interesting case. The embedded video at the end makes the witness out to be a geologist, not an artist, and the aliens searching for anything aluminum. Is this the same case or did I miss something in one of the vignettes?

  • Jorge Vargas López says:

    They exist september 21 1977 i see i flyer disc footing over the house ar México.then fly into the Sky looks like cómet. 5:30am

    • Lyn says:

      If it helps you, I believe your story. I have had several experiences including my husband that witnessed one experience and my neighbors seeing lights and heard sounds from another incident. People make fun but if it happened to them, then they have a totally different opinion. I don’t drink, don’t do drugs and take no medication. Nothing to influence my experiences.
      They are particularly interested in water which I believe they use to pilot their crafts. Also, I have seen them over mountain tops from which I believe they are extracting neodymium or some element they need. I have seen them in Alaska too. Have a picture of this and one in TN taken recently.

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