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Isle Of Friendship, the island that inspired LOST
Secrets of Friendship Island
by Josep Guijarro
Since 1984, a group of ham radio operators has claimed to be in contact with a strange congregation known as "the Friendship"--composed of beings of a Nordic aspect and having strange accents who have considerable technical knowledge and have also predicted important scientific, political and social events, aside from forecasting UFO sightings. Could "the Friendship" be extraterrestrial in nature? Many believe that this is the case and that their bases are scattered around the world at seven different locations.
It rained intensely throughout the afternoon - an entirely normal event in that small coastal settlement in southern Chile. For many hours now, the dominant colors in Puerto Montt were shades of gray. Everything seemed enshrouded by a dense fog: the humble wooden homes, the fishermen's wharf, the pier. The scent of wet earth, the mud of the streets and the dampness of my clothes, above all else, brought me back to reality. Standing in front of the bus terminal I saw the last vehicle to board the ferry that crossed the Chacao Channel, the one slated to take me to Chile's southernmost point and to the gates of a mysterious island that does not appear on sea charts and which according to rumor, houses an alien base. The exciting adventure had to wait still one more day, although my research had started long before in Santiago, the Chilean capital.
The Origin--A UFO Incident
Santiago Of Chile, is the home of Octavio Ortiz--married, father of three daughters and a business agent who matches his professional and family life with his devotion to radio. He owns a 27 megacycle CB base station with which he shares comradeship with other ham operators. His handle is Lucero ("bright star"). In mid-1984, while manning his station, Octavio would receive a distress call from the Mitilus II, a ship working for the Department of Oceanography of the University of Chile, and which was apparently cruising in the vicinity of the Mitagüe lighthouse in the southern reaches of the country. Alberto, the ship's master, was anxious to reach Iquique because he was in the thrall of a mysterious light that inflicted damage to the ship's electronic gear. The strange object began to descend and hovered over the ship. It must have radiated a great deal of energy, because some of the sailors began to experience considerable hair loss.
But the strangeness was not circumscribed to the above. Hector, captain of the Black Web, which sailed in the vicinity of Mitiagüe Light and witnessed the UFO incident in astonishment, also noticed that an incredibly powerful radio station broke into the communications underway. The VU meter's needles jumped past the +30 mark and a tense silence followed. the object disappeared soon after.
Octavio could not believe what he was hearing, and being willing to serve as a "bridge" to eventual communications with Iquique, he took the microphone decisively and rendered assistance. "That was how I met the mysterious Alberto," he reminisced, sitting in a rocking chair in his home. "We struck up a good friendship and less than a year later, he told us that some gringos who'd hired him had taken him to an island and outfitted his ship with strange equipment."
Alberto had acquired his vessel through a loan from CORFO (Chile's development corporation) and like may others, he was unable to withstand the jump in interest rates during the economic crunch of the '80s. Mired in terrible debts, he ran south and became a pirate. There he met Ernesto de la Fuente, a sound engineer taken by the winds of fate to the small town of Quemchi and who had just recently met some strange gringos who claimed to belong to a shadowy congregation dubbed the Friendship. De la Fuente recommended Alberto's services to these curious characters, who needed supplies brought in, and in return, they would liquidate his debts and would also rearrange his life.
The Mystery of the Friendship
Those "gringos" looked nothing like Americans: they were handsome, tall beings with blond hair and dressed in curious outfits. Who were they, indeed?. They professed ignorance about the most elementary items of our society, but were gifted with a remarkable knowledge of physics, biology and mathematics. Their speeches were swathed in spiritualism and they concealed their identities by taking the names of angels as their own. The Friendship claimed to have its headquarters on a base lost amid the Chonos and Guaytecas Archipelago, consisting of over 3,800 islands, and also claimed to possess highly advanced technology in the fields of medicine and astronautics.
UFO Sightings By Appointment
Over the course of a year, Alberto and Octavio would have frequent discussions about life in the disquieting island and its mysterious occupants over their ham radios. A while went by without the skipper of the Milius II taking to the air, but when he reappeared, he introduced Octavio and his family to Ariel, one of the island's quizzical occupants, who clearly possessed an amazing grasp of medicine, architecture and communications. "Whenever this happens," Octavio explains, seated in front of his base station, "the needle indicates the maximum--a tremendously powerful broadcaster." Curiosity over the true identities of those who conceal themselves under the guise of "angels of the Lord" disrupts the Ortiz family's life: the radio remains on at all hours and Cristina, Octavio's wife--a shrewd and restless woman--makes an effort at getting to the bottom of the greatest question: the origins of their interlocutors.
"We are not of this world," they reply, "but we are part of Humankind."
It isn't until August 17, 1985 that the Ortiz family realizes that they are truly facing the extraordinary. Around 2:30 p.m., Cristina, who was glued to the radio along with her daughter Claudia, heard a call from the Friendship, saying: "Come out! Come out!" Cristina went out to the patio of their farm in La Florida and looked heavenward. In a matter of minutes, she was able to make out a shining object suspended in the sky. Excitedly, she made contact with Ariel and suggested certain movements which were obediently carried out by the shining object. Was the Friendship controlling that flying saucer? That is what can be deduced by reading the transcript of the communications. Thousands of citizens were made aware of the object's presence. A crew from Televisión Nacional (TVN) even managed to capture it on film. Elsa Marina, an eyewitness, stated that she "felt like weeping and felt insignificant in the face of what was taking place in the sky over her home..."
Gustavo Rodríguez, who subsequently became assistant director of the air traffic department of the Dirección de Aeronáutica [Chile's equivalent of the FAA---Ed.] was at the home of one of his siblings celebrating a nephew's birthday when he witnessed the event: "It was a light having the apparent size of an orange and which gave the impression of spinning on its axis. It was hanging in space and exhibited little or no movement."
In the measure that the sun went down, Rodríguez noticed the presence of a darker sphere. The second object was opaque and appeared to follow the same trajectory as the first, heading toward the mountains. In fact, the phenomenon was witnessed in Argentina, as shown by newspaper clippings of the time. Were those objects UFO's?
Agents of the Weather Bureau, who confessed having seen the mystery object, noted that no rational explanation could be ascribed to the phenomenon--at least not from the perspective of their profession. Astronomers at the Cerro Calán observatory--Carlos Torres, Guillermo Carrasco and Herbert Wroblewsky--managed to photograph the object through their telescope and discarded the possibility that it might have been a weather balloon. "First of all, it had an entirely different configuration," recalls astronomer Torres. "Nor could it have been an artificial satellite, because it would have had to have been massive in size to resemble what was seen."
All three astronomers agreed on the fact that the object was surrounded by a shining "ring" and some sort of antenna!
Renowned ufologist Jorge E. Anfruns made note of a highly important detail: "Some of the ham operators were phoning the newspapers to report interference with their sophisticated equipment." The Friendship at work?
It was imperative to find out if a CB broadcast could cover the more than three thousand kilometers which separate the archipelago from Santiago. In the opinion of analyst and DX'er Gabriel Osses Valdés, "with a properly calibrated antenna, meaning one that is on the frequency one intends to use, it is possible to have a small setup and communicate properly across long distances," adding that "long distance communication is much more feasible from the small islands of the south than from anywhere else, since the ocean acts as a reflector for the waves and there's nothing to get in their way." Cristina and Octavio, however, believe that Ariel was aboard that object. "If not, how could they have seen the airplanes approaching the object? How could they remotely guide that object at a distance of thousands of miles?"
The Official Investigation Begins
The excitement caused by the sighting was such that on the following day, Aeronáutica's director, Sergio Piñeiro, ordered Rodríguez to begin an investigation. As the official report (to which I had access) indicates, at 15:40 LMT, radar picked up an unidentified object located 20 nautical miles to the west of the El Tabón beacon and moving slowly toward the west. "The radar return," explains Rodríguez, "is fair to poor, and only the raw primary signal can be seen." At 16:00 LMT, a number of flights make contact with the object. On the one hand, a Boeing 727 coming in from the north, and on the other, Ladeco Flight 061 and the CC-LHL flying between Limache to Tobalaba. According to eyewitness accounts, the UFOs were at a considerable altitude and were moving very slowly in an eastward direction, remaining visible until 19:30 hours. Might they have been balloons?
Despite the fact that some newspapers latched on to the weather balloon explanation, such a device is unable to remain static in the same location for five hours. The report of the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil, on the other hand, concluded that: "the manifestations of that day, until the closing of this investigation, remain an enigma and go on to enlarge the file on unexplained phenomena."
To dispel any doubts, a few days later, Melbourne, Australia's chief meteorologist, Dr. J.W. Zillman, issued a press release regarding the possibility that the objects belonged to his country. "They do not form part of any project of the Australian weather bureau...the endurance of these balloons is not sufficient to allow them to fly as far as Chile." "At the time," explains Anfruns, "the U.S. Navy was holding exercises off Valparaiso," making reference to the UNITAS maneuvers conducted with allied countries in the Pacific Ocean. "If we monitor airspace with over seven thousand satellites, why can't extraterrestrials monitor our war games?"
The fact of the matter is that at the time that this extraordinary event took place, a number of sightings occurred throughout the length of the country. But what was their connection to the mysterious island? And if so, what were they up to? It would seem that the object, in fact, had come up out of the south. This is confirmed by the photograph acquired by Jorge E. Anfruns from a man who was travelling in the interior aboard a rural bus: he pointed his camera out the window in the vicinity of San Fernando, a town located 140 km. south of Santiago.
According to the trigonometry study which took into consideration the distance and size of telephone poles and automobiles, the UFO was located barely 370 meters over the surface.
A One-Way Ticket
What did the Friendship want to prove with this show of force? According to veteran researcher Hugo Pacheco, the Friendship carefully selects its contacts and after a trial period, invites them to their mysterious island and readies them to travel to another planet.
Pacheco, 73, remains youthful. He is a public administrator, an engineer and glider pilot. One of the pioneer ufologists in his country, his beliefs leaned more toward radical scientism than the current mystical trend. On Saturdays, he holds a small group of people at his home to read and discuss biblical texts from a ufological perspective. According to the rumors that reached me, Pacheco's meetings welcomed an individual who chose members of the group to visit the mysterious island. Meeting this person was imperative...
Josep Guijarro is another outstanding member of Spain's "third generation" of UFO researchers and has the distinction of being one of the few investigators to have witnessed one of the so-called Grey aliens during the course of researching an abduction case. Today, Josep is the senior writer for KHARMA-7 magazine (very similar name to DHARMA-6), his country's longest-running paranormal publication.
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