This article was published in the daily newspaper The Evening Star, of Ipswitch, Suffolk, U-K., on October 15, 1965.
DOWN MEXICO WAY THEY ARE LIKELY TO REMEMBER THE MIDDLE OF 1965 AS:
The summer of the Saucers
The summer of 1965 is likely to go down in Mexican history as "the summer of the flying saucers".
"Sightings" began late in July after a succession of reports of similar phenomena from various parts of South America.
Then suddenly all Mexico seemed to be seeing luminous discs, hovering lights and velocity balls of light.
Scarcely a day passed without the Mexican press reporting that "unidentified flying objects" had terrorised some peasant family by day or a whole town by night.
Sometimes a string of "OVNI" (objects voladores no identificados) had converged on a cigar-shaped "mothership."
One Mexico City newspaper commented on the "23-year old enigma" for, it said such "sightings" began in 1942. Another recalled that in a scientific report by the Mexican astronomer, Dr. Jose Bonilla, he said he had watched "hundreds of oval shaped objects pass" before his telescope in 1882.
As "plativolitis" - the fever of seeing "plativolos" of flying saucers - gripped the Mexican capital, staid businessmen could be seen climbing to the roofs of their office blocks clutching a pair of field glasses.
Home-going office workers risked their lives crossing busy streets with their eyes in the air instead of on the traffic. A big department store advertised "OVNIs? See them for yourselves if you don't believe in them buy your telescope or binoculars here."
The "flying saucers" came in red, white, blue, yellow and even grey. They ranged in size from a baseball to discs 60 feet across. They whizzed silently across the sky or gave out a deafening roar and a shower of sparks. Apart from saucers, some looked like mushrooms, American footballs, doughnuts or eggs.
They were seen in Acapulco, on the Pacific coast and Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico, in Tijuana, in the far northwest and in Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula.
In time photographs appeared in the press and then films on television. Usually they showed fuzzy balls of light but sometimes clearly defined discs.
On September 16 traffic was jammed for nearly two hours on one of the capital's main boulevards as scores of motorists leapt from their cars to join hundreds of pedestrians staring up at half a dozen hovering "glowing objects."
Perhaps significantly this was Mexico's Independence Day and the night sky was ablaze with rockets and fire balloons. But even former sceptics denied that the OVNIs bore any resemblance to fireworks.
Reports became more fantastic.
Three architecture students from the National University solemnly claimed to have made a three-hour round trip to Jupiter's third moon with tall spacemen who conversed with them by telepathy.
Three women walking in a city suburb said that they fled from two ten-feet tall beings wearing "space-suits like men in the strip cartoons," but with glowing red eyes.
The family of Senora Elsa Martinez Rebolledo said that their car was chased 35 miles into the outskirts of Veracruz by a gleaming blue egg-shaped object which finally soared away at a dizzy speed into the night sky.
As fast as the "evidence" piled up the rationalisers knocked it down.
Dr. Ernesto Dominguez, Director of the Gulf of Mexico weather bureau in Veracruz, insisted that people were seeing artificial satellites and weather balloons.
Senor David E. Mehlblum, a nuclear physicist, in a public lecture in Mexico City, wrote off all the sightings as weather balloons or meteorological freaks. Photographs of OVNI, were, he said, photographers' tricks, and "the whole thing can be summed up as a fraudulent fantasy."
Astronomers appeared on television with telescopic photographs showing that Venus went through phases like the moon and was therefore saucer-shaped at times.
But Senor Javier Garzon, a physicist on the staff of the National Astronomical Observatory was quoted as saying that in his view "the saucers really exist and apparently come from other planets."
After weeks of denying that anything out of the ordinary had been seen two Mexico City airport officials admitted that they had watched, through binoculars, two "luminous bodies crossing the sky."
One followed a fixed course and they conjectured this was one of the many artificial satellites visible soon after sunset or before sunrise.
But the second "changed course, speeded up, disappeared and came back into view and even went back on its track" according to the airport supervisor, Senor Jose Luis Enriquez.
Further swarms of "flying saucers" were seen over Mexico City on September 25 and 29. The evening newspaper "Ultimas Noticias" commented "Now Ovnividencia (evidence of OVNIs) is getting alarming", while Diario de la Tarde said: "A great number of persons, formerly sceptical or incredulous, had objective and undeniable proof that the flying saucers are a reality."
Hoaxers have certainly also been at work in Mexico City.
On several nights, I myself watched a searchlight, or car headlight, being played on low clouds to give a rough impression of a fast travelling blob of light. But it bore no resemblance to what was being described by hundreds, and even thousands, of witnesses.
I also saw a set of unorthodox intermittent lights waxing and waning and turning red, and sometimes turning about each other. But they were several miles away and none travelled at high speed.
The culmination of "plativolitis" was a forecast by Senor Clemente Gonzalez Infante, a Mexico City sign-painter, that 3.000 flying saucers from Venus would stage a fly past over Mexico City at 9 a.m on October 1.
They did not show up. Nor did Senor Gonzalez when reporters went to look for him.
But it took police and firemen an hour to dislodge some 2,000 citizens from the base of the Independence Monument, known as "El Angel", where they had gathered since dawn on the safety-in-numbers principle to watch the predicted extra-terrestrial parade.