tales from urban dilettantia


Lead Masks

Background:  The Lead Masks mystery comes up every now and then on reddit.  A while back, I did some digging into the case after hearing some new information on the Skeptoid podcast.  I pasted my notes into a document on Google Drive, and never looked at it again, except to direct redditors there when the case was posted.  This post is a cleaned-up version of that document.



Per the English Wikipedia article, which is largely accurate at the time of posting:

 The Lead Masks Case (Portuguese: O Caso das Máscaras de Chumbo) was a series of events which led to the death of two Brazilian electronic technicians, Manoel Pereira da Cruz and Miguel José Viana. Their bodies were discovered on August 20, 1966, and the cause of their deaths has never been determined.

 On the afternoon of August 20, 1966, a young man was flying a kite on the Morro do Vintém (Vintém Hill) in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he came upon the bodies of two deceased males and reported them to the authorities. The Morro do Vintém had difficult terrain, and the police were unable to reach the bodies until the next day. When a small team of police and firefighters arrived on scene, they noted the bodies’ odd conditions: The two males were lying next to each other, slightly covered by grass. Each wore a formal suit, a lead eye mask, and a waterproof coat. There were no signs of trauma and no evidence of a struggle in the surrounding area. Next to the bodies, police found an empty water bottle and a packet containing two wet towels. A small notebook was also identified, in which were written the cryptic instructions “16:30 estar no local determinado. 18:30 ingerir cápsulas, após efeito proteger metais aguardar sinal mascara” (’16:30 be at the specified location. 18:30 ingest capsules, after the effect protect metals await signal mask’).

You can find out plenty more about the case, including many theories and much speculation, if you search for ‘lead masks’.  The following notes are a compilation of some of the harder-to-find resources.   The reliability of the accounts provided is unconfirmed, and very much in doubt.  The translations are raw from Google Translate.  The transcript of the relevant Skeptoid show is available here.


Key identities

Manoel Pereira da Cruz – electronics tech, victim

Miguel José Viana – electronics tech, victim

Élcio Correia Gomes – spiritualist friend, arrested and released

Jorge da Costa Alves – discovered the bodies

Raulino de Matos – watchman at the site

Astor Pereira de Melo – coroner, conducted autopsy


Translated sources

The somewhat longer Russian Wikipedia article [English Translation]



The Case of Masks Lead – Unsolved Mystery in Rio de Janeiro [English Translation]

[Source – personal website]


To the following facts are true. This event is considered one of the greatest mysteries from the police records of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

 I remember when I was a kid, “The Case of Masks Lead” was presented on television, if I’m not mistaken the Globo program “Hotline”. The story was so bizarre that after watching the program I cost to fall asleep wondering what could have happened. Being sicero, the thing still gives me chills.

 Some typical elements of a mystery authentic cthulhiano are present in this event at least unusual: unexplained deaths, a possible summoning ritual gone wrong, rumors about non-human forces at work in our world … gives some good ideas to take this narrative.

The Case

 It all began on August 20, 1966, on a Saturday, two men were found dead on the hill of Vintém, in the neighborhood of Santa Rosa, in Niterói (RJ).

 The bodies, found no signs of violence, were side by side on their backs on the floor, on top of a sort of bed made with sheets of pintombeira (a species of palm in the region) to.

 The bodies of two men, wearing clean suits and raincoats, were already in an advanced state of decomposition, was found beside them a landmark cement magnesian a bottle of mineral water, a sheet of foil that was used as glass, a bundle of paper with basic equations of electronic and paper where it was written:

 16:30. – Being in the given location.

18:30. – Swallow capsule after end

and protect metals wait signal mask.

The such masks were made of lead beside the bodies. They resembled rustic rustic dark glasses and a rod was placed a ring. What is the purpose of them no one could tell.

 The autopsy of the bodies, conducted by coroner Dr. Astor Pereira de Melo, did not reveal the “cause-mortis”, since there was no evidence of violence, poisoning, organic disorders and total absence of contamination by radioactivity. drug testing in the viscera, were also negative.

 The two men, identified as Miguel José Viana, 34, and Manoel Pereira da Cruz, 32, residents of fields Goitacazes, interior of Rio de Janeiro, were partners and electronics technicians.


Reconstruction of the case

Manuel and Miguel were colleagues and longtime friends. The two had lived near and society in a small workshop offering maintenance services in electronics, especially radios and televisions.

 On the evening of Tuesday (16), Manoel Neli told his wife he would go to São Paulo, along with Michael, to buy a used some electronic components and car to stock the shop. Having wrapped around two million, three hundred thousand cruises (approximately 20 thousand dollars in corrected values) for the trip.

 On Wednesday, at 09 hours, the two men boarded the bus in Bus Campos, destination Niteroi, where they arrived at 14:30.

 Until the moment he died, the police found that they spent in a consumer electronics dealer in downtown Niterói, bought raincoats and then went into a bar, where they bought a bottle of magnesian mineral water, not forgetting to pick up proof of the container, to return when they returned. The person who answered the said Michael seemed nervous and looked at every instant the time on his watch.

 The lookout Raulino de Matos, who worked at the site, said he saw when Manuel and Miguel boarded a jeep where two other men, still unidentified. According to the watchman, the four exchanged a few words and then followed the vehicle to climb the hill. The group, however, would have followed the foot since at the time there was a road that led to the top.

 What happened next remains unknown.


The bodies of Michael and Manoel were spotted on Thursday (18), by a boy who lived nearby, Paulo Cordeiro Azevedo dos Santos. He warned the guard Antonio Guerra, who served in the police car, but the officer was only there two days later.It is possible that the guard or someone else has searched the corpses for appropriating valuables, but this was not proven. On Saturday (20), the Second Police Station received a new complaint about Niterói two bodies, and preparations were made to go there to find out

 On Sunday (19) followed the area and difficult to police, firefighters, journalists, and many curious, to monitor the recovery of bodies. Found the two fallen into a clearing in the woods surrounded by a strong odor. Beside them recovered the two masks of lead that would name the notorious case. In the pockets were 161 000 cruises, plus watch and gold chain. No metal objects, which the ticket should be “protected” was found.

 Soon, hypothesized to be a third character in the story. The ticket to the instructions found in the pocket of one of the men held a calligraphy that belonged to neither. The disappearance of some of the money they carried also indicated that it had been delivered to a third person. In addition, police found a knife or sharp object necessary to cut sheets pintomba. The hypothesis of a third individual suggested that this would have directed the experiment conducted, but actively participated in it.

 The efforts of the police discovered in the shed workshop of friends in Campos, the mold and the equipment used to produce the curious masks of lead. Found no medicines or drugs (as such capsules) mentioned on the ticket. There are rumors that detectives found some strange books about occultism and witchcraft among the things of friends.

 Soon after the newspapers announced the two strange deaths, residents of the vicinity of Morro do Vintém, reported that on the night of the 17th, between 19:20 hours saw colored lights circling the hill. Mrs.. Gracinha Barbosa and his three sons, who lived in a house about 800 meters from the site, said they had seen an object ovoid, orange-colored, with a ring of fire where they left blue rays in various directions. This object hovered a few feet off the ground and circling around the hill. Other witnesses corroborated this information and stated that several “dancing lights” were seen flying low. The news sparked a series of complaints to police from people who have also seen the bright objects in the same place, day and hour.


For technical police, the lights are nothing more than rays, since the night in question fell a heavy storm. For some men would have died due to a fatal electric shock. The argument is valid, being in a high place, bearing shades of lead that would attract lightning. The bodies have suffered burns, but these were not observed at autopsy given the state of decomposition. The Forensic Institute and the expert who conducted the autopsy vehemently denied this hypothesis.

During the investigation, the police came to a suspect, Élcio Correia Gomes who was questioned by detectives responsible for the investigation. According to the wife of Michael Élcio was a strong influence and the three “secrets of living.” He would have brought the two friends studying the occult and introduced them into strange paranormal experiences.Élcio appeared as spiritualist, but rumor had involvement with witchcraft.

The researchers pointed out that times before, Élcio would get involved in a kind of experiment in Atafona Beach, inside the RJ, which might or might not have counted on the participation of Miguel and Manuel. The experience resulted in an explosion that was cause for investigation by the Brazilian Navy. At the time, no evidence was found against Élcio and he was eventually released. During testimony Élcio denied any involvement in the killings and had a solid alibi that exempted from participation in occurred.

 At the time, folk Father Oscar Gonzales Quevedo (yes it even!), Professor of parapsychology, gave testimony to the newspaper O Globo. He informed that the masks of lead have been used in some sort of occult test, to protect the people of luminous radiation emanating from other worlds. These lights could affect what they called the “third eye”, so the need for protection with masks made of this material. In such experience, those involved should be fasting to cause physical and mental imbalance needed to ingest a massive amount of psychotropic drugs that allow them to go into a trance. Quevedo explained that these studies, known as psígama and hyperesthesia,sought by super-excited nerves at raising awareness to subtle aspects of reality (or beyond!).


Exactly one year later, the bodies of Manuel and Miguel were exhumed, despite being made tests in São Paulo, where samples of bone, hair, skin, clothes, which were subjected to field neutron bombardment, nothing was set were sent. The case, in police sphere, was insoluble and was made the filing in 1969 for lack of evidence.

 There were rumors that a similar case had occurred four years earlier, in 1962 At the time, a technician television called Hermes (last name unknown) had been found dead in the Morro do Cruzeiro, without any sign of violence, with all his belongings intact and with a lead mask fixed on his face. He would have gone to the top of the hill to capture television signals, but no electronic device were found with him. At the time, the police concluded that the technician had committed suicide by ingesting drugs. The lack of information about this first case prevented police correlating events.

 In 1980, French scientist and ufologist Jacques Vallee, came to Brazil exclusively to research this mysterious event. Valleé considered possible that friends had held a kind of immediate contact with extraterrestrial beings. The researcher was taken to where bodies had been found and there made a startling discovery. The site was cleared of vegetation, as if it had been marked with quicklime. Soil samples revealed that he had been calcined and met traces of residual radiation. Valleé considered the case as an extraterrestrial contact in one of his most famous books “Confrontations” and gave wide prominence to it.

 Shades of lead are currently on display at the Museum of the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro.

It is likely that the disturbing “Lead Masks Case of” never has a proper solution. After so many years went out evidence, clues were lost and witnesses have died. Even so, and perhaps why, the case involving mysterious deaths, rituals of the occult and even perhaps alien contact, continues to fascinate those who become aware of it.


The Mystery of Masks Lead [English Translation]

[Source – personal website]

On August 20, 1966, a Saturday, two men were found dead on the hill of Vintém in Santa Rosa neighborhood in Niteroi, State of Rio de Janeiro [GPS Coordinates: Latitude / Longitude = 22 ° 53’54 .09 ” S, 43 ° 5’41 .05 “W ].

No sign of violence or physical fighting were found.

The bodies were close, one beside the other, lying on his back, on top of a sort of “bed” made with leaves Pintoba, a kind of palm tree, which was cut with a knife or something similar.

The bodies were dressed in clean suits and raincoats and in an advanced state of putrefaction.

Side of the bodies had a strange frame of cement, a bottle of magnesian mineral water, a sheet of foil that was used as a cup, a bundle of paper with two towels, a pair of glasses with a black ring on one of the rods, a handkerchief with the initials “MAS” two coarse masks lead, a role with basic equations of electron and a strange paper with the following written:


16:30 hrs. – Sitting at the given location. 18:30 pm.


Swallow capsule after effect protect metals…

The autopsy on the bodies, the coroner Dr. Astor Pereira de Melo, nothing revealed as the “cause-mortis”, because there was no sign of violence, poisoning, organic disorders and total absence of contamination by radioactivity.

Various toxicological tests were performed on various pieces of offal and all were negative.

The documents bore allowed easily identify who were the partners and Electronics Technicians Miguel José Viana, 34 and Manoel Pereira da Cruz, 32, residents in the city of Campos dos Goitacazes [GPS Coordinates: Latitude / Longitude = 21 ° 45’25 .08 “S, 41 ° 19’27 .87” W ], Interior, State of Rio de Janeiro.

The grafotécnicos tests performed in the airplane proved that the handwriting was Miguel José Viana.


To further complicate matters, the night that radiotécnicos died on August 17, 1966, a Wednesday, several witnesses phoned the police to report that they had seen an Unidentified Winged object (UFO) on the hill of Vintém , ie, a foreign object, rounded shape and with a halo of intense light over the scene where the bodies were found.

Until now the police could not explain what really happened.

A simple robbery?

An unsuccessful parapsychological experience?

A psychotronic experience with a tragic end?

A fatal encounter with a flying saucer crew?

To try to understand what might have happened, we will detail, step by step, what they have done since leaving fields and even found dead in Niteroi.

August 1966 – Do not know correctly the day, but the two shades of lead were made ??by radiotécnicos in his workshop in Campos, RJ, for there was found the rest of the plate used:


Lead Mask used by one of the victims


Lead Mask used by one of the victims

On 08/16/1966, evening, Tuesday, Manoel Pereira da Cruz reported to his wife that he was going Neli São Paulo, along with Miguel José Viana, your partner, married, buying a used car and some components electronics to stock your workshop.

He wrapped two million, three hundred thousand cruises (one thousand U.S. dollars approximately) to take on the trip.

On 08/17/1966, Wednesday, at 09:00 am, the radiotécnicos take the bus at the bus Campos, flying to Niterói and São Paulo as they had not informed his family.

The following is a curious dialogue that Michael had a niece at the time of boarding the bus to Niteroi:

Minutes before departing for Fields Niterói, Miguel found a niece, with whom he had the following exchange:

– Are you going to where, uncle?

– Pra Sao Paulo.

– You’ll do that in São Paulo?

– Buy a car.

– In Sao Paulo? Why do not you purchase here, it’s cheaper.

– I need to know one thing. Then when I get back, I’ll tell you if I really believe in this story of spiritualism or not.

On 08.17.1966, Wednesday at 14:30 pm, they arrive at the bus station in Niterói.

Between 14:30 hours until the moment they died, police discovered that they went to an electronics store components, where they were customers, the Fluoscop, located in Lane Alberto Vitor, 13, in downtown Niterói.

Also went into a store and bought raincoats, and although it was raining at the time, left the store without dressing hastily covers.

Spent at a bar, located at Av Marquis of Paraná and bought a bottle of magnesian mineral water, not forgetting to take the proof of containers, in order to return back.

The person who answered the in the latter category, said Michael seemed nervous and consulted every time the hours on the clock.

That day was rainy and getting dark quickly.

The Lookout Raulino de Matos, who lives on site, and Manoel Miguel saw when they arrived at the foot of the hill in a Jeep, driven by a blond man, along with two other people, even today not identified.

Manoel and Miguel went down the jeep and climbed the hill on foot.

During investigation performed later, it was noted that the path of the Morro Vintém there was a Spiritualist Center, which accomplished spiritual studies and research, however no evidence of contact with Michael and Manoel members of this site were found.

But there could be some connection, in view of the location of the Spiritual Center on the way in which Miguel and Manuel made ??the Vintém up the hill?

Who drove the Jeep took the victims to the foot of the Hill of Vintém? Would someone who helped to guide them in their experience?

There sure that Miguel and Manuel were told by someone with superior intellectual knowledge, due to the details of the procedures that would perform in the Morro do Vintém. But who would it be?

On the morning of 08/18/1966, Thursday, a 18 year old kid, Paulo Cordeiro Azevedo dos Santos, who was hunting birds, saw the bodies and told the guard Antonio Guerra, who served in the police car.

Later, this guard was heard by Delegate Venancio Bittencourt, who led the investigation, to know why it took two days to go to where the bodies were found.

It was assumed that the guard or someone else would have searched the corpses, to appropriate the money, but nothing was proved.

On 08/20/1966, Saturday, two days later, at about 18:00 hours, also a boy of 18, Jorge da Costa Alves, looking for his kite along with other boys, when they felt a strong stench and located bodies.

Jorge warned the Second Police District (2nd DP) of Niterói.

On 21/08/66, Sunday morning, Police, Firemen, journalists and onlookers climbed the hill to recover the bodies.

In a pocket was found the amount of 157 000 cruises ($ 68) in my pocket and the other 4000 (less than $ 2), in addition to watches.

Thus, the police started investigations.

One of the airplane and the disappearance of the money strengthened the hypothesis of a third character.

Also the absence of a knife or sharp object, used to cut sheets Pintoba, reinforced this hypothesis, but the masks lead did not match the situation nor the odd ticket.

The hypothesis of a third person indicated that she would have directed the search, but did not participate.

Later, the police arrested the friend of the victims, Elcio Correia Gomes, spiritualist, who introduced the two radiotécnicos in strange and grand experiences.

Times before, the three caused a huge explosion in the Atafona Beach in the interior of Rio de Janeiro.

The explosion was so great and caused a huge blaze, the population thought it was an earthquake occurring.

This accident was under investigation by the Brazilian Navy.

As the police found no evidence against Elcio, he was eventually released.

After the papers had announced these two strange deaths, Mrs. Gracinda Coutinho Barbosa de Sousa, said that on the night of 08.17.1966, between 19:00 ‘and 20:00’ hours, along with three children, two girls and a boy, were going by car, by Alameda St. Bonaventure, in Fonseca neighborhood when Denise daughter, age 7, caught the attention of the mother something on the hill.

Viewed a multicolored object, ovoid, orange color, with a ring of fire which came out blue rays in various directions.

After the press disclose that testimony, several other people are encouraged and called the police stating that they had seen such a bright object in the same place, day and hour.

Technicians in electronics substantiate the hypothesis that Manuel and Miguel were killed by lightning, since that day it rained a lot.

Argued that they were in a high place with a mask on the face of lead.

If issso had happened, the bodies had suffered minor burns, which were not only found at autopsy because the brands divested themselves with the decomposition of corpses.

This hypothesis was not confirmed by the coroner.

Father Oscar Gonzalez Quevedo, professor of parapsychology at the time, gave a statement to the newspaper O Globo, stating that shades of lead were used in deadly tests occult.

Said the occult admitted that the new worlds emanated light rays, for example, can affect what they called the “third eye”, and fulminate the experimenter.

Hence the need for protection with masks lead.

This type of experiment, the experimenter must ingest an amount of drug that allows you to go into a trance and should be fasting to cause physical and mental imbalance.

These experiences are known as psigama and hyperesthesia.

In the first case the experimenter seeks release the soul to achieve spiritual abstraction, and second, the hiperexcitados nerves are the instrument by which man seeks feel subtle aspects of reality that surrounds him.

Father Quevedo stresses that to achieve success in any of these experiences, many exercises and perfect physical condition are essential.



 The situation became more complicated when the police discovered a very similar death four years earlier.

 José de Sousa Arêas reported that in 1962 a television technician, was found dead in the Morro do Cruzeiro in Neves, without any violence, with all their belongings and also with a mask of lead.

 He was called Hermes and this was on the hill to try to “capture” television signals without the aid of any electronic device.

 Said he swallowed a round pill and died because he was not physically prepared for the venture, which offered the possibility of life or death.

 After much research and several hypotheses raised in 25/08/1967, the bodies were exhumed to be performed a new series of tests, in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but nothing was discovered.

 In May 1969, the Brazilian courts dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

 In 1980 a new mystery. The scientist and Ufologist Jacques Vallee, who worked for NASA, came to Brazil exclusively to research this case.

 Upon arriving at the site, in the company of his wife, Detective Saulo Soares de Souza and crime reporter Mario Dias, who attended the event at the time of the events, up the hill and there were appalled.

 At the site where the bodies were found, there was some vegetation, with the marked site almost as if someone had bypassed the bodies, and the ground was as if it had been calcined.

 Because it has grown no more no vegetation at the site where the bodies were encontratos?

 What phenomenon would have caused this event?

 The questions are many, and thus the Mystery of Masks Lead today remains a great unknown.

 Police failed to clarify what happened and neither the Judiciary.

 The case was publicized in “Hotline” Globo ” program, showing all the details.

 During the program, was asked the reopening of the case of the death of Miguel and Manuel for the analysis of documents, but mysteriously the box that contained the entire process was empty. All documents disappeared.



UFO Magazine: Shades of Lead  [English Translation]

[Source – UFO Magazine]

VARELA – The main reason is surely the vision still somewhat credulous that these segments have Ufology. Even with the evidence obtained through reputable testimony is also possible to observe strong doubts as to its veracity. The photographic records are always weak, unfocused lights or objects that can be associated with anything that has wings and fly. Unfortunately, the doubt factor is very strong in UFO means. Scholars claim that the FAB does not reveal its files on the matter for fear of panic the population.

 This view is very simplistic. The technological implications of the phenomenon may well define a position of extreme power in relation to our society. Then yes, the total unpreparedness of our Armed Forces to deal with all that is unknown paradigm that prevents them from disseminating their data.

 UFO – But the armed forces of some governments have already acknowledged the reality of UFOs. Chile, Belgium and Uruguay, for example, are countries where the government pays attention to the subject. Recently, Peru has also entered this team.

 VARELA – This attitude shows maturity of these governments and their armed forces. France, despite having been an isolated attitude of some researchers and high ranking military officers, also released a very interesting report. Already Belgium and Spain do not have an official UFO research group as Chile. These governments have just released some cases and Belgium in particular, made extensive studies on the wave of triangular UFOs had some years ago, and reports submitted by Spain are very interesting. I understand the reluctance to disclose something. Here at INPE, for example, almost all the reports coming are forwarded to my analysis, and it is good to note that despite the ugly face of the scientific community as to my involvement in UFO research, the direction of the institute does not impose any restriction on the subject.

 UFO – Do you think these countries already have reliable information on the origin and intent of the aliens?

 VARELA – I think that even in countries such as Belgium and Spain access to information is very difficult. There was no continuity in the disclosures they began to do in the area. Uruguay, for example, maintains a small military group investigating sporadic cases. Apparently, Peru intends to do the same. Have Chile should serve as an example to all countries. The military there set up a framework for cooperation between the Chilean Air Force and the University of Santiago and even flight are being trained to report and record contacts with UFOs controllers. Drivers are instructed to report their sightings. I had the opportunity to visit the Comite de Estudios Aereos Anomalous Phenomena (CEFAA) and was stunned with the seriousness and especially how it is handled between the military and civilians involved in the project, in cooperation with the Chilean ufologists.

UFO – You said it receives reports the INPE. What kind are they?

 VARELA – Many people bring videos or UFO photos I supposed to examine. They prevent copying of the material is done and still require a report or report. When I say that this is a misinterpretation, people ignore my analyzes, and seek someone who can validate “their” flying saucer.

 UFO – Being a ufologist who considers himself a skeptic, you believe that there are many statements in the UFO means, that there are UFOs being rescued in accident recovered tested in places like Area 51?

 VARELA – The information on the subject are very vague and the evidence, as always, weak. But my attitude is reinforced by the Spanish saying: “Yo no creo en brujas …” Evidence of recovery ships are weak, especially taking into account that by the time the technological potential returns of such operations do not exist. The characteristics we observe through the reports of flying saucers – identified – the technology they employ is beyond our comprehension and thus could hardly be incorporated in our. All terrestrial technological evolution has followed well-defined parameters, ie, new technologies appear based on previous innovations. It never occurred to any great “leap” in this process, which could be associated with alien technology. The witness accounts of Roswell are inconclusive but strong. The same with regard to the secretive coverage given by the U.S. government regarding the Majestic Project.

 UFO – What about ETs allegedly caught in Falls spaceships, some ufologists warrant that they are or were held captive by the U.S. government?

 VARELA – Reports describing overflights of UFOs have these objects without any restriction the trajectory or speed when seemingly have no boundaries or barriers regarding defenses. So I think it would be extremely difficult to capture a crew member. Basically, abduction accounts show that some of these beings have full control over our sensory responses and even no respect for our feelings. Thus, we could hardly keep them trapped. And here I return to the previous question, there is no tangible evidence that can support these claims.

 Philipe Kling David

TRIANGULAR UFO similar to those recorded in the Belgian wave

January. No sign of violence or physical fighting was recorded. The bodies were close, one beside the other, lying on his back, on top of a sort of bed made with sheets of pintoba [type palm], cut with a knife or something similar. They were well dressed in clean suits and raincoats. Already in an advanced state of decomposition when they were found, and at his side, there were several interesting objects: a strange landmark cement, magnesian a bottle of mineral water, a sheet of foil (which was used as a drinking cup) and a wrapping with two paper towels. But what caught the attention of police were other items: a pair of black with a ring on one of the rods, a handkerchief with the initials MAS two coarse masks lead and a paper with basic equations of electron glasses. One was Ohm’s law, involving power, voltage, current and resistance.

 Together it was a curious piece of paper with the following written: “16:30 – Being at the given location. 18:30 – Swallowing capsule. After effect protect metals. Wait – sign Mask “. In the pocket of Manuel, one of the dead was found a pack of cigarettes Continental brand, virtually at an end. Who is a smoker understands that the experience led the two to death was scheduled to be short lived, as it were long and had to spend the night on the hill, sure Manuel would have taken an extra packet. Autopsy performed on cadavers by medical examiner Dr. Astor Pereira de Melo, nothing revealed as cause of death because there were no signs of violence, poisoning or organic disorders, besides the total absence of contamination by radioactivity.

Drug Tests – many drug tests were conducted on several samples of the viscera of the dead, and all were negative. The documents bore allowed to easily identify which were the radiotécnicos Miguel José Viana, 34, and Manuel Penno hill suburb of Niteroi, still a quiet town in the 60s, two radiotécnicos humble engaged in a mysterious and fatal experience. Although there is no explanation for it, yet, there are indications of the presence of UFOs in the unfortunate episode.


Image Gallery  [English Translation]

[Source – Globo media network, now dead link]


Élcio Correia Gomes: appointed by family victims as introducer of spiritualism in the lives of Michael and Manuel


The coroner Astor Melo is accused of failing in duty the day the bodies of the victims arrived in the IML in Niterói: necropsy was made for assisting without …


Forensic Institute of Niterói: viscera of victims rotted before being examined because the refrigerators were broken


Herval Viana, Miguel’s brother: “Time passes and you can not see the signs on the face but the heart is … the wound still hurts.”


Photo of expertise: one of the bodies. At the place where the grass were found not returned to growth


Housewife Gracinda Coutinho and their children: witnesses to a ovaloid multicolored object flying over the hill of Vintém at the time Miguel and Manuel died


Cryptic note found with the bodies of Michael and Manuel: “16.30 hs is determined location / 18.30 pm after ingesting the capsule acting / protect metals wait for signal …


Morro do Vintém in Santa Rosa, Niteroi (RJ): 38-year mystery


Photo of expertise: one of the strange masks lead


Vale of returning the bottle of water magneziana handwritten: the victims had intended to return

Mystery Man

Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to read far more random Wikipedia pages than anyone needs to read, and as a result, have become a little obsessed with a most peculiar mystery.

In December 1948, the body of a man was found on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, South Australia. The identity of the man remains unknown. The investigation encompassed a code, two copies of a rare copy of a book of poetry, an unnamed nurse and the paternity of her child, a mysterious poison, spies, wild speculation, a stored suitcase, and ultimately many more questions than answers.

If you wish to appreciate this baffling time-drain with me, here are some good places to start:

1. The Wikipedia article on the Tanam Shud case.

2. A fascinating set of pages from Honours students at The University of Adelaide, focusing on students’ attempts to understand and crack the code associated with the mystery. They also include a great timeline, a list of common misconceptions about the case, and a list of known facts about the dead man.

3. 2009 and 2010 videos from the University of Adelaide students relating to the case.

4. Parts 1, 2 and 3 from an ABC Inside Story documentary on the case produced in 1978. (Includes footage of the suitcase and clothing discovered in storage, which were subsequently lost by police.)

5. Some clarification and amended statements from a witness originally interviewed for the 1978 documentary.

6. Parts 1 and 2 from an ABC Stateline report on the case in 2009.

I have no further insights to add to the content linked above, but I hope you enjoy puzzling over this very strange tale as much as I have!


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@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.