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

First Published: February 3, 2020 Last updated: September 3rd, 2020 Written by: Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes 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 stories, accounts, and discussion in this article are not always based on proven facts and may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports and accounts available to us as provided by witnesses and documentation.

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About 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 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.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • 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

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