The Bone-Chilling Deadly UFO Encounter Of Joao Prestes Filho

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
March 30, 2018
Last Updated
October 11, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Although there very well could be numerous other reasons for the sudden agonizing death of 44-year-old, Joao Prestes Filho in Brazil in March 1946, the grim and gritty account tends to remain predominantly in UFO circles. Perhaps due to other, similar cases that would take place in Brazil over the decades that followed.

A depiction of UFOs shining lights on the ground

A depiction of UFOs shining lights on the ground

The encounter remained relatively unknown from the rest of the world until French magazine, ‘Phenomenes Spatiaux” ran a story on the incident in 1971. The piece was the work of Professor Felipe Machado Carrion and ufologist, Irineu Silveira. Many other UFO researchers have examined the case, both before and since, and it remains one of the most mysterious on record.

In fact, as we will look at later, this part of the world seems to have more than its fair share of such deadly UFO-type encounters.

The Aracariguama Incident

Following a day fishing on the Tiete River near the small village of Aracariguama in Brazil on 4th March 1946, Joao Prestes Filho and Salvador dos Santos would pack up their equipment into their horse-drawn cart and begin their journey home. [1] Filho would take Santos home first, bidding his friend farewell before heading to his own house.

His surroundings were a blanket of black. Aracariguama was yet to enjoy the benefits of electricity. Furthermore, most of the village (including his wife and five children) had traveled to San Roque, around seven miles away, to celebrate the carnival season. Filho hated such festivities and so chose to spend the day fishing with his like-minded friend.

Upon finally returning home, however, he realized his wife had forgotten to leave him a key to enter the property. Tired and hungry, he searched the property for a way to gain entry. He spotted an open window and managed to squeeze himself through it. As soon as he did so, a strange feeling permeated his body. He had an intense feeling that someone was watching him.

He turned quickly to look out of the window, expecting to see someone looking back at him. Instead of a person, however, a bright, hot light struck his body.

An Attacker “Not From This World!”

Filho instinctively placed his hands to his face. The whole incident lasted a matter of seconds, but he felt a burning sensation spread around his entire body. He managed to open his front door and ran from his property barefoot, heading for his sister Maria’s home.

By the time he arrived his feet were a bloody mess from the sharp rocks that scattered his route. A route he had to negotiate in the dark. He complained to Maria that “he had been burned” and she duly informed the local police.

Joao Malaquias, the village police chief arrived shortly after to investigate. Filho would tell him in no uncertain terms that “his attacker had not been from this world!” As he spoke to the wounded man, he noticed that the flesh around his leg was coming away from the bone and looked like “meat that has been allowed to boil for a while!”

Several members of Filho’s family arrived not long after. All noted how gravely ill he looked. His usually fair skin was now a “roasted red” color. His hands were particularly deformed from the assault, twisted and burnt. Strangely, his face bore burn marks, but his hair was seemingly unaffected and completely intact. He was also struggling to speak, perhaps due to damage to his tongue.

They feared the worst for Filho.

A depiction of a bright UFO above

A depiction of a bright UFO above

An Agonizing Death

Ideally, Malaquias wanted to have Filho taken to the main hospital in Sao Paulo. However, the roads out were treacherous to begin with – even more so at night. They would decide to take him instead to nearby Santana de Parnaiba hospital. As he was moved into the awaiting truck for the journey his entire body was “truly ruinous” with “serious burns all over!”

After his admittance, doctors were at a loss as to what caused such rapid burns and deterioration. His final hours, if the accounts are accurate, were truly tortuous and horrifying. The medic and orderly who was with Filho in these final hours would later state it was as if he was “decomposing alive!” Flesh continued to fall away from the bone. When the tissue around his jaw fell away he could no longer communicate.

He died a short time later. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Although the case is closely associated with UFO encounters, there are several other theories as to the bizarre events that fateful evening. Brazilian legend speaks of the Boitata, an old Tupi (ancient Brazilian language) word which means “Fiery Serpent”. This brightly lit beast had stalked this part of the world for centuries, and it would appear, at least to some, that Filho was its latest victim.

Other, more local legends, would lay the blame at the feet of the “Assombracoes” – ghostly spirits with glowing eyes who roamed the area. More conservative, and retrospective theories, suggest such phenomena as ball-lightning or even spontaneous human combustion to be the culprit. It is perhaps also worth pointing out, particularly with this last point in mind, that as well as Filho’s hair, none of his clothes, nor anything in his home suffered any damage at all.

Other Deadly Cases In Brazil

We have written before of the Lead Masks case that took place two decades after the incident with Joao Prestes Filho. We have also written of the Guarapirango Reservoir Man – an unknown man whose discovery revealed what looked strikingly similar to cattle mutilations. In short, as well as being a hot-spot of UFO activity, many of these Brazilian sightings have resulted in the death of the witness.

Just one more case to examine would be that of Rivalino Mafre Da Silva whose encounter in August 1962 in Diamantino remains unsolved. [2] Rivalino, along with his three young sons awoke to the sound of footsteps outside of their home one summer’s night. According to the reports the children would give later, the family would peer out of the window only to see “human-shaped shadows” heading in their direction. They appeared to float as they moved ever closer.

While the family’s focus was on these dark, floating entities, one of the young boys noticed two black spheres, also floating several feet from the ground like the shadows. He warned his father of the black balls, who told his children to remain inside while he went to investigate.

No sooner had Rivalino opened the front door to his property than the two black sphere merged into one object. As they did so, a bizarre and menacing yellow mist emanated from the now single object. This mystery substance seemed to take hold of Rivalino, holding him within its invisible grip. It grew thicker and thicker until in an instant the mist, the globe, and Rivalino had vanished into thin air.

A depiction of a sphere UFO

A depiction of a sphere UFO

Abduction? Or Murder?

Upon hearing the boys story the police, perhaps understandably, found it hard to believe it. In particular, they suspected Rivalino’s 12-year-old son, Raimundo, who was the main witness to the strange events. At one point, they even set up a “staged body” and informed the young boy of the “discovery” of his father’s corpse. Raimundo, upset beyond tears, didn’t change his story one bit, insisting instead that the black globe must have returned his father.

No charges ever came against any of the children. The community, however, appeared split as to believing the outlandish account. Some believed that the single father, for reasons unknown, had simply abandoned his sons (although that doesn’t account for the children’s story). One seemingly persistent rumor was that Rivalino was murdered and the crime witnessed by the children. The sheer shock resulting in a group-delusion to protect them from the horrific reality.

UFO researchers who have examined the case and spoken to locals in the area did uncover at least one UFO sighting on the night in question. Although they wished to remain anonymous, two of Rivalino’s co-workers, while walking past his home just before the alleged disappearance, witnessed two humanoid creatures, each around three-feet tall. Shortly after this and after they had walked on some way, a red glowing UFO appeared in the sky above them. It appeared to have come from the area around Rivalino’s house.

There was a discovery of apparently concealed bones in October 1963 near to Rivalino’s home. Although the authorities would “confirm” them to be his, many suspect the identification to be suspect.

Extra-Terrestrial? Secret Experiments? Or Natural Phenomena?

So, what might it be about this part of the world and the seemingly higher-than-average deadly UFO encounters? Might it be, as some people believe, that more than one race of aliens is present on Earth? If so, might this particular civilization be hostile to humans?

Might the sightings not be extra-terrestrial in nature at all, but secret government weapons experiments? It is not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine, for example, the involvement of the US military. They enjoy a naval base in Sao Paulo. Might decide to test top-secret technology away from home in the (relative) wilderness of Brazil?

Or perhaps the location itself is the key to these intriguingly macabre incidents? Might it be that some natural phenomena is at work? Perhaps what is particularly strange about the two incidents we have looked at here is that no “actual” UFO was seen by the those involved. There was, instead, the presence of bright lights, and in the Rivalino case, strange mist.

Perhaps one day the pieces of these most remarkable cases will fit together and the true events revealed. Until then, however, they remain unclear and unsolved.


1 Death from Above — Part One: The Horrible Melting Man, Mysterious Universe, June 4th, 2012
2 The Disappearance of Rivalino Mafra da Silva: Alien Abduction or Foul Play?, Bizarre and Grotesque, July 8th, 2016

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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  • Marcus Lowth says:

    Hi Claudio – I am relatively familiar with the case. Leave it with us and hopefully we can work an article in sometime in the near future.

  • Claudio says:

    you need to write about the case of Luis Fernandes Barroso who suffered an attack of a humanoid being and in the following years experienced rejuvenating side effect both physical and mental

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