The 1977 Colares Island Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
February 3, 2019
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
17 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

Sometimes referred to as the Colares Islands Invasion, the events which began in the summer of 1977 and would result in an official Brazilian Air Force operation that would stretch into 1978 is one of the most intense waves of UFO activity ever witnessed. During the several months of the incident, hundreds of encounters would take place. And while the vast majority were tied together with the same piece of string, each would also seemingly offer a new detail for UFO investigators, many of whom had ventured to the region. Most before the military arrived there.

Images from the 1977 Colares Island Incident

Images from the 1977 Colares Island Incident

While the military would admit to several significant injuries to some of the residents of the island, some researchers would go further, suggesting there were even deaths. There was even talk among some researchers in the UFO community that over 400 people had their “blood sucked out” by the strange UFOs. It is a case that for a moment in time off the coast of Brazil, at least for those involved, appeared as though the aliens really were invading. And with dire consequences no less.

The Colares Island Incident is truly an encounter that would appear to be of prime importance to the UFO and alien question. And one that may very well turn out to be other activities altogether. Ones that managed to hide behind the clamor for proof of extraterrestrial life, and why it was seemingly attacking unsuspecting residents of the fishing villages of northern Brazil.

The Murky And Deadly Beginnings

We have examined one of the sightings of the Colares Island incidents briefly before – the bizarre encounter of Benedito Campos And Silvia Marie from late-October 1977 – so we will not go into it in depth here other than to briefly mention the specifics of the incident as it would prove to be typical of many of the encounters that would take place. That evening, late on the 29th October, as the husband and his pregnant wife relaxed in their living room, following the sudden arrival of a disc-like craft outside of their window, a green laser surged through the window and paralyzing the pair. What’s more, two strange entities would then enter their property. Only an alert neighbor saved the couple from further incident when he chased the creatures away with his shotgun. Incidentally, both would recover, but Benedito would suffer from strange bouts of depression for weeks after.

The case would attract the interest of several UFO researchers. However, while this account is one of the better known, it was simply one of many sightings taking place on the island at the time. And what’s more, they began much sooner, right the way back in late-April. In fact, while such accounts of similar Chupa-Chupa entities can be found sporadically throughout Brazilian twentieth-century history, the date of 26th April 1977 is largely regarded as the date the “phenomena became more aggressive”. [1]

That night, shortly after midnight, four fishermen sat in their small boat near Ilha dos Caranguejos (Island of Crabs). Suddenly, an intense light approached them and settled upon the boat. According to the report, the incident would result in two of the fishermen receiving substantial injuries, while a third would even die. From this incident, events and activity would build increasingly significantly.

An Isolated Region With “Precarious Communications!”

The Ilha dos Caranguejos incident was only the first of many around the Colares Islands region. However, in an age before the Internet, with the region already isolated somewhat and with “precarious communications”, most of the reports remained local.

However, local or not, they would steadily continue. By June several newspapers from outside the region were beginning to pick up on the accounts. Even more so throughout July and August of 1977.

They would state, for example, how the strange aerial sightings were “causing suspense and panic among the population” of the Colares Island. They would describe an “unidentified device” that would “stun them with a light jet” and then “remove their blood”. Furthermore, several strange Y-shaped crafts with a “flame at the bottom” had been seen by “thousands of people”. It would conclude that local residents dare not leave their homes in the evenings in case one of these strange UFOs, which “emits a luminous get of great heat that burns the skin” of those it targets, should pick them as their next victim.

One of the areas particularly affected with heavy sightings was the town Pinheiro. So much so, that the mayor, Maneco Paiva, would contact the Aeronautics Command in Sao Luis seeking advice on how to avoid a widespread panic. He would state:

…The object does not emit any sound. It has huge speed. It stops at any point and it follows in any direction…Many people fishing on boats were chased by this fireball (and) left many people sick. They had a fever and their eyes were burning. The UFO light was so strong that the night looked like day… [2]

From this communication, a report went to Belem Air Force Base. However, the activity was about to get even more alarming.

Newspaper article about the UFO wave

Newspaper article about the UFO wave

The Gurupi Phase Sightings

There are several, almost forgotten about reports of sightings of these strange aerial, blood-sucking craft from the month of July. These are largely thanks to the work of UFO researcher, Daniel Rebisso Giese, who has researched the Chupa-Chupa case extensively. Many of the sightings around this time would unfold in the Gurupi River area leading Giese to refer to them as the Gurupi Phase sightings.

For example, a report in the ‘Jounal da Bahia’ newspaper on the 12th July 1977 would report that “a flying object emitting strong light” was “sucking blood” from the population. They would also report on the genuine fear of the local residents who feared they might be the next victim of the “vampire-like light”. The report would also state that two local men had died as a result of the bizarre bloodsucking glows.

It would also become apparent to the local population during these sightings that flames, fires, and even something as small as a lit cigarette would attract the attention of these deadly glowing objects. One particular incident that would stand out took place on a farm in the Pinheiro region. At the insistence of the owner of the farm, a group of 26 workers remained erecting fences long into the night. One of the workers would take a trip to the nearby river in order to fish so as to provide dinner for everyone once the work was finished.

As he stood on the river bank a blue-white glowing light appeared in the sky overhead. Immediately scared, he dropped all of his possessions and ran back to the group. As he did so the strange object followed him, casting its blue glow to the ground below. The group watched as the craft hovered for around 45 minutes before moving away.

Sightings Experienced By 90 Percent Of The Local Population!

Several days later, 41-year-old Joao Barros, along with two friends, was fishing in a river near the Sao Bento region. It was around 1 am when a suddenly appearing glowing object appeared in front of the boat. It was glowing red in the middle but a light blue-green on the outer edges. The glowing orb-like craft would pass close to their boat and disappear. Barros, however, whose back was to the glow as it passed, suffered intense burning pains in his back for several days following.

A similar encounter took place in nearby Mata do Olimpio. That evening after dark, Antonio Olimpio would leave his house and cross his yard to use the outside toilet. As he made his way there, however, a glowing red object appeared overhead. Immediately terrified due to the reports, he turned and ran back to the house screaming for his wife. Before he could reach the door, he fell to the ground. His wife, by now at the doorway due to her husband’s cries for help, reached out to him and pulled him back inside the house. As she did so, however, he could feel an intense burning on his back, arms, and legs. The burning sensation would last for the rest of the evening despite constant compresses of cold water applied by his wife.

That the incidents were becoming increasingly regular was obvious to anyone who spent even a short time in the area at that time. One television reporter, Cinaldo Oliveira, would state in his report:

About 90 percent of the people we talked to had seen UFOs. And a lot of fishermen got burned…They were not serious burns, but the men were so afraid they did not want to go out to work!

And the incidents were increasing.

The Traumatic Encounter Of Alfredo Marques Soares

One of the most brutal encounters took place in mid-July in the Ceara region. One evening, farm worker, Alfredo Marques Soares was walking to his friend’s house nearby when he felt a sudden pain on the back of his leg. He turned around and immediately noticed a glowing yellow-white object. He felt a pulling sensation and, at the same time, realized he couldn’t move his leg. Alfredo would cling to the post of a fence near to where he stood. All the while, waves of intense heat, then cold, then heat again would wash over him, as if emanating from the strange craft. The light was also so intense that for the most part he would keep his eyes completely shut lest in case it blinded him.

Then, the craft’s grip appeared to “loosen” a little. Almost instinctively, he let go of the post and ran, his leg in pain but under his control. He would take shelter under a cashew tree and watched as the strange object ascended high into the sky and disappeared. Deciding to cancel his planned trip, he would head back home to properly examine his leg. When he did so he was shocked to see it was bruised in the extreme. In fact, it was almost black as if completely burnt.

The following day his leg was worse – full of blisters and apparent fast-developing infections. Furthermore, he was wracked with intense stomach and back pains and for several days would suffer from intense diarrhea. Although he would eventually recover, he would require crutches to walk for almost three months following the incident.

As traumatic as Soares’ encounter was, several days earlier an encounter of a closer kind would take place.

Witness sketch of the UFO

Witness sketch of the UFO

Little-Known Alien Abduction Accounts Of The Colares Island Incident!

Perhaps accounts even less-spoken of are those of apparent alien abduction that would take place within the chaos of the wave of encounters. At 1 am in the early hours of 10th July 1977, Jose Benedito Bogea, would set off from his house in order to catch a bus. Before he even reached the bus stop, however, his evening would take a drastic turn. As he walked along the path he noticed a brightly glowing blue-green object hovering in the middle of the road in front of him. Bogea watched the glowing object for several seconds before a strange beam of light emerged from it in his direction.

The next thing he knew, he was in a strange room that was unfamiliar to him. All around him were several small creatures apparently going about their business. Then, several of these creatures grabbed him and moved him to another strange destination. Before he knew what was happening, however, he was waking up laying on the ground. It was morning, around 8:30 am, several miles away in Sao Luis. He had an intense pain running down the right side of his body. However, he would slowly make his way back home to Pinheiro. He would remain in pain and would walk with some difficulty for several weeks following the encounter. Just where he had been and who had taken him there, however, remains a mystery. His encounter is unlikely to be unique to the region during this time.

One thing worth mentioning, though, is an apparent mystery cure of his partial sight and difficulty hearing. Shortly after the incident, he would realize his sight and hearing had returned to full working order.

The Bay Of The Sun Phase Sightings

As August began, the sightings and incidents began to increase, and would ultimately lead to the involvement of the Brazilian military. Many of these sightings began to move to the Salgado region. And once more, they were almost identical to those witnessed in the Gurupi River area throughout July. A strange light that would appear far away one moment, and then close-up the next. These were usually followed by a paralyzing light beam which would also cause intense pain. This is where we begin to get further details from the accounts.

While in the control of the initial laser beam, another beam would emerge from the beam itself and hit the witness on a part of their body such as their leg or arm. Local reports would state that it was through this secondary beam where these strange entities took the person’s blood.

The panic in the local population was palpable and would lead to another mayor, this time of the town of Vigia, Jose Ildone Favacho Soeiro, publicly declaring:

The people were terrified because this beam of night light had already assaulted several people. The whole community was packed in only three houses, praying, sometimes singing some religious songs! [3]

Many of the sightings in this location and during these last weeks of August and early September would meet tragic ends. At least according to local reports. One 45-year-old woman who was attacked by these strange glowing lights would die only eight hours later. Another fatality occurred when a fisherman came across the glowing orbs while on his boat. He would deteriorate and pass away several days later.

The Chupa-Chupa – The Bloodsucker!

By the time September was unfolding, the Colares Islands were becoming inundated with such strange sightings. Talk of the Chupa-Chupa had suddenly become rampant among the locals. Most encounters were extremely similar. Luminous objects would appear in the skies overhead and at increasingly low altitude. They would often fire green rays of light which would paralyze or render the person unconscious. Most bizarrely, people would often find strange markings on their body and have the genuine belief that the UFO, whatever it was, had removed a significant amount of their blood.

One particular sighting was that of 44-year-old fisherman, Manoel Joao de Oliveira who, along with several colleagues, would witness an umbrella-shaped object hovering over the Rio Novo beach as they walked towards their fishing boats. There was no sound coming from the strange craft. Then, a strange white light shot out from the craft’s underside and the object moved away from the witnesses.

Wherever you turned, a local would have an account to tell. For example, Sebastiao Vernek Miranda would state:

I was there with my wife, Palmira, in front of the church on the sea-front, when at about 8.00pm, we saw an intensely vivid ‘orangeish’ light coming in from the sea towards the town. As it approached, it climbed, and then, moving rapidly, vanished towards the inner part of the Island! [4]

On another occasion, three women were hit in the chest by the strange beams as they walked home. This would cause all three “tremendous nervous tension” as well as “constant electric shocks”.

Notes from the investigation of the 1977 Colares UFO incident

Notes from the investigation of the 1977 Colares UFO incident

Increasing Number Of Bizarre Accounts

Perhaps an even more bizarre encounter is that of 49-year-old Carlos Cardoso de Paula. He would state that he was smoking a cigarette in his hammock when a “ball of fire” came out of nowhere and burst into his home. He would state that this strange ball then went “round and round the room”. It would finally come to a rest on his leg. He would state:

“Then I started to feel feeble and sleepy. My cigarette fell from my hand and I came to and let out a yell!”

As he screamed out due to the pain of the dropped cigarette the glowing ball vanished from the room. He would state his belief that the orb was “searching for a vein in my body” but was unsuccessful.

Raimundo Costa Leite, a well-respected fishing net repairman would also have a strange encounter with these mysterious lights. At around 4 am one morning, he and his friend, Baixinho (real name, Orivaldo Malaquias Pinheiro) were fishing on the Cajueiro beach. Suddenly his friend exclaimed “there it is!” and promptly ran off in fear.

When Raimundo looked up, he could see an object, roughly the size of a helicopter but which made no sound whatsoever. As he watched a type of searchlight emerged from the craft and began to make sweeping motions of the beach. He would describe the light as “bluish, sort of cold” which illuminated the ground underneath it. Suddenly, overcome with fear, he turned and ran towards his friend. They would manage to avoid detection and the craft continued inland away from them.

Around the same time as the above account, another encounter would unfold. What makes this one stand-out is the claim of occupants inside the glowing craft.

The Occupant Sighting Of Claudomira Paixao

On the evening of 18th October 1977, Claudomira Paixao would witness the apparent Chupa-Chupa herself. However, what made her encounter stand out from the plethora of the region was her claim to witness occupants inside the craft. She would claim to wake one evening with a bizarre green glow washing over her house. As she became fully awake, the light turned a red color. It was then she noticed that the light was touching her face. She would later state:

I could see a creature, like a man, wearing a jumpsuit just like a dive. He pointed it at me, and the object shone three times, striking my chest during the three occasions, almost in the same place, it was hot, it wounded me, it seemed that I had needles pierced at all three points. I was terrified, I could not move my legs!

Following the incident, she would suffer from severe headaches as well as a general feeling of weakness for several days. She also discovered burn marks on her chest. Even stranger, these marks were three small circles in a triangular shape. She would later state, upon looking at the burn marks that “it was hot, and it hurt. It was like a needle stick”.

Military Intervention – Operation Plate

Such was the activity taking place that by late-October 1977 the Brazilian Air Force would install the Regional Air Command (COMAR – Comando Aereo Regional) on the island. And what’s more, they would soon put into action Operation Plate (Operacao Prato). The person in charge of directing the military’s research was Captain Uyrange Bolivar Soares Nogueira de Hollanda Lima.

Their presence would, at least in part, prove to be a great benefit to the residents of the Colares Islands. They would, for example, offer psychological assistance to those suffering the aftereffects of sightings and encounters. They would also, and perhaps more importantly to UFO research, obtain hundreds of pictures of these strange crafts. As well as four separate video films of the strange activity. They would, according to locals in the region, place several technical devices along the beachfront.

The military personnel were shocked at the bizarre showings. For example, reports would marvel how the brightness of the lights were more akin to illuminations at major sporting events. They would also state that these lights were “always sharply defined (and) directed with perfect precision towards any target”. In fact, even the military’s own helicopters were subject to these bizarre lights. On one occasion, a military helicopter was forced to the ground. There is no official explanation available. One local resident, though, Alba Camara Vilhena, claimed to have witnessed the incident. She would claim to have noticed a strange craft in the sky, “round and all luminous”. A moment later, a military helicopter approached it. She would continue:

Then we saw the UFO direct a very powerful beam on to the helicopter, obliging it to land on the Sao Pedro Airfield!

One thing for certain, though, the military group would approach the unfolding events with the utmost seriousness.

Claudomira Paixao with the strange markings from the UFO

Claudomira Paixao with the strange markings from the UFO

“There Was A Foreigner Among Them!”

Professor Raimundo Sebastiao Aranha would claim that the military’s interest in the sightings was very real. And serious. At the time of the sightings, for example, he would receive numerous requests for information regarding the legends of the Chupa-Chupa. He would further recall that they had numerous, perhaps even excessive amounts of armor and equipment with them. These ranged from radio transmitters, cameras, video cameras, and specialist glasses, to military cars, tanks, and helicopters. He would also state, rather cryptically, that he suspected “there was a foreigner among them”. While he didn’t elaborate further, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch of the imagination to suggest this foreign presence was an American one.

The operation would run until January 1978. During that time, as well as the photographs and video footage of the incidents, they would interview hundreds of residents regarding their encounters. Perhaps most interesting, especially when we consider that a higher percentage of UFO sightings than not appear near large bodies of water were the reports from residents and soldiers alike who would claim to witness these strange crafts “diving into or coming out of waters of nearby Marajo Bay”.

Although their presence in the region would end in January, the investigation would last a further four months until May 1978. And even then, it would carry on in a private capacity. Incidentally, the Brazilian military would make their findings classified. It wasn’t until 2005 when through Freedom of Information requests that the full documents were released to the public. Among details suppressed was that many victims did suffer severe burns and there were at least two deaths (this figure remains hotly debated). It was Hollande’s view that the UFOs were “taking blood samples”.

Evidence That The Cover-Up Was In Motion

Although the military presence would leave in January 1978, the encounters would continue deep into the year. For example, in May of that year, a journalist and photographer were in the area following up the encounters for a story. This particular evening, the heavy rain pouring down, they would awake to a “powerful beam of light”. Furthermore, this light would “pass through the metallic structure of the roof of the vehicle”.

Each of them would jump out of the car to see what was happening. They could each see a “tube-shaped light beam”. It was around 25 centimeters in diameter. One of the pair would later recall:

It was coming down from above onto the roof of the car and passing through the metal paneling. On another occasion, the UFO emitted such a vivid beam of light that it smashed the windscreen!

Despite the continued sightings, the wider the accounts became known, the more stories began to emerge that the sightings were nothing more than “weather balloons” or “secret satellites”. These reports were met with anger from local residents who had been terrorized for almost a year by these suddenly increased sightings. UFO researchers would also dismiss these findings, especially those who had already spent considerable time studying the phenomena. It would seem to them that a cover-up was already in motion. And it would seem, when we examine the comments of the person in charge of the military operation – at least on the ground – twenty years later.

The Interview With Captain Uyrange Bolivar Soares Nogueira de Hollanda Lima

Perhaps one of the places to wrap up our look at this most remarkable incident would be an interview that Captain Hollande would give almost exactly twenty years following the incidents to UFO researchers Jose Gevaerd and Marco Antonio Petit.

He would state that he first approached the incident wanting to find a rational explanation for the sightings. And furthermore, from an air force perspective, if there was something of danger in the skies, the military would need to know. “In the beginning,” he would recall, “all I wanted was confirmation the events were happening”.

However, almost immediately they began to witness the bizarre events. He would state that one of the first things they noticed was how the ratio of victims out of every ten people was eight to two in favor of the women of the village. Furthermore, women would sustain injuries from the strange beams on the breast. Men, on the other hand, on the arms. Whether these notes are of consequence or not is open to debate.

Hollande would state that despite the wealth of accounts and his own sightings, extraterrestrial activity still wasn’t top of his list of possibilities.

Of the woman’s account, Hollande would state:

Then, laying in the net, she saw that the roofing tiles had started to become colored. After that, they changed to transparent and she could see through the roof. It was as if the roofing tiles had turned into glass. She saw the sky and even the stars!

When asked how common such bizarre accounts as these were he would reply, “very common. And it scared me a lot”. He would continue that the woman would claim to see a green light in the sky. Then, a red light emerging downward towards her left breast.

Colrades Hollande

Captain Hollande

Strange Patterns In Attacks And The “Suicide” Of Captain Hollande

This last detail was another that would strike Hollande about the incident. How it was always the left breast (of a woman) or the left arm or leg that the beam would target. This is an interesting observation. If we accept that the reason for these attacks on the residents of the Colares Islands was to obtain blood from their victims, does the left-hand side of the attacks match with the location of heart on the left side of the body?

He would further reveal that while military doctors would examine, record, and analyze the burns and wounds, they would not treat them. Some of the victims would recover relatively quickly, while others would take much longer to do so. All who came into contact with these strange glowing crafts, however, would suffer some form of illness.

Perhaps his next statement is one that suggests some kind of secret government projects. He would claim that:

It seems that the nature of this light was that of a very strong energy that left people paralyzed. I believe that the federal authorities were informed of this type of attack on human beings that were happening in the region, but I am unaware of any tests. I only receive orders from my commander. Nothing more!

As insightful as the interview that Hollande would give in October 1977 were the events that would unfold after. Less than three months after the interview came the discovery of Hollande’s body. Officially, and with no suicide note or apparent reason to do so, he would hang himself using his belt. [5] As you might imagine, there are some are do not believe the suicide claims. To them, it is clear that Hollande was a murder victim. Perhaps a warning to anyone else looking to give interviews.

Extraterrestrial Biochemical Research Or Top-Secret Military Experiments?

So, what should we make of these bizarre encounters of 1977 and 1978? And, if the researchers who believe that Hollande’s death was a case of murder and not suicide are correct, what does that tell us of the reach and importance of the case?

Was this wave one of extraterrestrial visitors taking samples of blood from the local population? And if so, why was there an apparent focus on female blood samples? Might this tie in with the claims of some that such alien encounters and abduction events are geared towards a hybridization project involving human and alien DNA?

Or might the events have been a military experiment? One that went ahead under the guise of a bizarre UFO attack? Perhaps this would then give the military unit the perfect cover they required to set up a presence on the island? This would, in theory, enable them to continue their experimentation from the ground. And what should we make of the “foreign presence” in the military unit? Might this have been a foreign in terms of non-military? Or might it mean exactly what it sounds like? That a foreign national was present within the otherwise Brazilian military unit?

Whatever did take place, whether military or extraterrestrial in nature, the attacks were very much pre-planned and purposeful. Even down to the apparent attempt to attack many of their victims while they slept. Furthermore, although there was no solid proof of the removal of blood, tests would indicate such activity when they showed lower levels of hemoglobin in the hemogram of those attacked.

Check out the video below. It looks at the incident once more and features several of the photographs of the military.


1 The Lollipop Case and Operation Prato – The Beginning of the Phenomenon, Portal Phenomenun
2 Lollipop Case and Dish Operation – Witnesses, Portal Phenomenum
3 The Chupa-Chupa Case and Operation Prato – The Bay of the Sun Phase, Portal Phenomenun The
4 Colares 1977, Ufologie
5 Disclosure: The Future is Now, Dr. Graham Clingbine, ISBN 9781784 624262 (page 330)

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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1 Comment

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  • JohninND says:

    Jacques Vallee did some excellent research and first hand investigation into these cases contained in his trilogy “Dimensions”, “Confrontations” and “Revelations” books. Absent in the account was the officers first hand physical engagement with an entity, and close up description of its face as a “mask”.

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