Toward late November and during the month of December of 1983, the neighborhood of Villa Montoro on the outskirts of La Plata (capital of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) became the epicenter for a series of reports by local residents – mainly children and teenagers – who claimed having witnessed encounters with small, greenish, humanoid entities. The case became known as “the little green men of La Plata” and it caused significant local interest in the early days of the restoration of democratic rule in the country.
An abandoned house, located on a property on Calle 600 between 2nd and 3rd in the Villa Montoro neighborhood was the main scene of the alleged apparitions of these diminutive beings, which according to eyewitness reports, were green-skinned and stood no taller than 0.60 centimeters. Sightings of these small entities was not restricted to the house in question, and sightings and reports extended to several blocks around, giving rise to a veritable tidal wave of journalists, researchers, experts in supernatural phenomena and curiosity-seekers flooding the area constantly.
Diego Illi, 7 at the time, living at Calle 600 between 1st and 2nd, was perhaps the first to have a close encounter with the little men. This took place on Sunday, November 27 between 14:30 and 19:30 hours. “We went to play with Walter (a friend) in the abandoned house. We were climbing a tree when we saw them. Walter got scared and ran away. I stayed behind and played with them a lot. We climbed the tree limbs, and I also got to wrestle with one of them. Then they told me it was late and that I had to leave.” (1)
Regarding the description of these beings, Diego noted: “They’re tiny – they come up to here,” pointing to his knee. “They’re green and have wrinkled faces, like old men. They had long nails, were dressed in green, had little boots and green caps.” Diego says he saw the little men eating quince and honey.
“I went back to the house but never found them again. I hope they come back. I’d like to see them again.”
Claudia Ortiz de Viguera, 21, lives across from the lot where the apparitions allegedly occurred. She remembers going out to smoke a cigarette on the evening of Sunday the 27th. “First I heard laughter, like that of children, coming from the playground, but while it’s true that they play there regularly, I found it odd that they should be playing at that time of night. That’s when the little man turned up. The night was rather bright and that’s how I managed to see him, but it happened very quickly…”
Another eyewitness account is that of Julio Cesar Masei, a 14-year-old who on Monday the 28th, the next day, claims having had the following experience.
“It was around 16:30 hours and I was crossing the field to reach Calle 90, since I was off to see a friend who lives between 4th and 5th. In the middle of the field there’s a small stream and a sort of embankment. As I walked by, I heard laughter and noise, and decided to get closer. The embankment is covered by a cina-cina bush, and when I lifted it I saw around 4 or 5 of those little men. When they saw me, they stood up and chased me. I took off at high speed, and tried to leap across the stream but couldn’t do it. In any event, I managed to cross it all covered in mud. The little men remained on the other side. We stared at each other for a while, some 5 minutes. They screeched and growled like cats, threatening me with cina-cina branches. One of them, the loudest, appeared to be rabid.”
Julio’s description of the beings is as follows. “They were midgets standing some meter and a half tall. They were dressed in little green coveralls, but their skin was the same as ours, the same color. They had no ears and were very old, some 70 years old.”
The youth adds: “I threw a brick at one and hit him in the leg. He screamed and hopped around as his fellows looked at him.” Julio ran to join his friends, who mocked him. He then fearfully made the return journey home.
Hours later, at dusk, the young man decided to go back. “I went out looking for them again, with a flashlight. I found them once more in an empty field under a tree. I crept up and had one of them close at hand. I reached out my hand and touched him without feeling anything odd.”
Guillermo Insaurralde, 11, decided to go to the site accompanied by several friends after hearing what locals were talking about. “All of us were circling the house when one of them [the little men] ran out from behind a wall. He was green, looked scaly and I even think he had a single eye. It was dark and I shouted for my friends to bring the flashlight over. The thing ran toward the bushes in a zig-zag pattern and vanished. It walked on two legs, was like a midget, and made strange noises like a tired dog.”
Later on, the boy would expand on the details (at the request of journalists) on the creature’s characteristics: “It would have been some 50 centimeters tall with a scaly body, like a fish, seemed frightened and squealed…it looked like the light from the flashlights caused it harm. We almost caught it, but it moved too quickly and got away from us after chasing it nearly two blocks from where we found it…I saw it had a single eye in its forehead. It was black. I didn’t notice any hair on it, had a large head, like a half-flattened egg or pumpkin…”
Beatriz Piñeyro was around 8 at the time. She lived with her parents in the rear of the abandoned house. She told her father that on Monday, she saw the little men on the treetops. The father did not pay attention to his daughter’s statements at the time, and upon approaching the trees, he saw nothing out of the ordinary.
During the course of the events in Villa Montoro, a number of researchers of unusual phenomena appeared (2), aside from the journalists and chroniclers of the communication media. [These were] extraterrestrial contactees, channelers, people who received messages from the Blessed Virgin and those who claimed to be in telepathic contact with imps and gnomes. Among them was parapsychologist Oscar Avendaño, who claimed having received telepathic messages from these small beings, giving him a message to be conveyed to then-president Raul Alfonsín (3). The parapsychologist claimed to have made contact with a little man named “Clatú” (4), commander of the Astro-Galactica spacecraft: “Alfonsín must not allow work to continue on nuclear energy and thoughts of making a nuclear weapon must be dismissed.” This, allegedly, was part of the message received by Avendaño.
Commissioner Amador Alfredo Villar of the Eight Commisariat of the city acknowledges that many people reported to his precinct to report what they had seen, but made it clear that the corresponding reports were never taken down. In his own words: “We visited the place several times. I’ve been there myself and haven’t found anything yet…we’ll keep investigating and patrolling should anything turn up.”
When consulted about his opinion regarding the witness claims, he said: “I don’t know what they’ve seen. I don’t know. Maybe it’s true. It’s hard to believe, of course, but who knows. People were very restless last night, we went and found a large group of people combing the pastures with flashlights or standing there discussing the subject.”
Some local residents manifested their dismay about the situation, especially the lack of safety at the end of the day. They said that gunshots could be heard in the dark, stones were thrown at the homes nearest the abandoned house. They demanded a greater police presence due to the number of people prowling the area (5).
“My neighbor, Lucia Segovia, has even had stones thrown at her house because she’s been told the midgets hide there, and that we’re concealing them,” said local resident Osvaldo Piñeyro.
Next, we shall mention only a few incidents subsequent to the matters discussed in this report, which in some way reflect certain similarities both in the description of the beings observed as well as their erratic and unusual behavior.
In December 1983, in the city of Gobernador Ingeniero Valentin Virasoro in the Department of Santo Tomé, Province of Corrientes, several children reportedly saw green, one-eyed creatures in the vicinity of an abandoned house, describing them as “some 60 centimeters tall, wrinkled skin and with piercing gazes.” (6)
During the month of April 1984, several residents of Coghlan, a neighborhood to the north of Buenos Aires, claimed having had face-to-face encounters with the little men, and not only green ones. According to these reports, the creatures sighted were sometimes orange in color, and described as “cute and kindly.” (7)
In August 1988, at School No. 35 (Perito Moreno) in the city of Mar del Plata, several students of that institution claimed having seen small green men. According to their stories, midgets standing some 60 to 80 centimeters tall were seen over three or four consecutive days in the yard, on the rooftops, in the bathrooms or on the water tanks. Despite the students’ claims, school authorities paid no mind to the situation, dismissing it as childish fantasy.
That very same year in Pergamino, on October 28 and around 0:30 hours, a group of four friends witnessed the presence of several little men, describing them as follows: “They were 5 or 6 little men, some 70 centimeters tall, naked, with a single eye, hairless, moving their arms and with three fingers on their hands. They had no wrists and we could not see their feet.”
The case of the little green men left its mark on society, serving as a trigger for subsequent reports of manifestations in various locations, as we have seen. The term even gained popularity due to the famous rock group [Los enanitos verdes] that formed in the city of Mendoza in 1979. But contrary what can be thought a priori, the group took its name from another case that occurred in Mendoza in 1979. This is how Felipe Staiti, guitarist for Los Enanitos Verdes, tells the story: “The year was 1979 and a family of tourists took a photo while visiting Puente del Inca in Mendoza. Upon developing the photo, the family noticed some little green men beside them. No one saw them when the shot was taken, but there they were after the film was developed. This event achieved notoriety and appeared in the local press, and some even say the photo was even sent to NASA to ascertain its authenticity. Whether it was a legend or fact, a journalist friend of ours christened our new group Los Enanitos Verdes of Puente del Inca, and that’s how it appeared in the first chronicle. Band members opted for the first half of the name: “Los Enanitos Verdes”, but they could just as easily have called themselves Puente del Inca.”
The media reached the scene and from there, day after day, confected reports for television news programs that kept viewers in suspense, anxious for more adventures about the reporter of the moment (8). Another aspect to be highlighted were the recent and major movie releases concerning alien beings (some of them truly successful at the national and global level) whose main characters had the characteristic of displaying the typical aspect of the small humanoid.” (9)
There are those who consider – in view of the situation described above – and the media efforts at disseminating these events in an overblown manner and with dubious intent, played a major role in firing the imagination, reflected in the eyewitness accounts, leading people to concoct suggestive stories and narratives. However, stories and narratives of “encounters with strange beings” are not exclusive to our present society or culture. A glimpse at old legends and myths from a variety of cultures should suffice to find several suggestive similarities with such fantastic apparitions.
Thus, in the same way it all started, disturbing the peace of the neighborhood, mobilizing residents and curiosity-seekers alike, creating unusual situations that were not exempt from moments of violence and lack of control, there was no further talk of the diminutive intruders one fine day, leaving behind one of the most bizarre and curious stories regarding the alleged presence of non-human beings in our midst.
(1) Mirta, the boy’s mother, says the following about him: “He is very serious for his age and doesn’t lie”, when questioned by reporters for “Shock” magazine.
(2) Marta B. Peyrou de Patinni (psychologist, parapsychologist and archaeologist) appeared on the scene, claiming to belong to the International Cosmobiological Institute for Extraterrestrial Experience, alleging having captures strange sounds and images of large-headed figures through the use of infrared photography.
(3) The message conveyed by the leader of the little men begins by saying: I am Clatú, and belong to the Astra-Galactica Commandery, we have made you come here to give you a message for all mankind. In another instance we did the same on 26 November at 05:00 post meridiem. Many will remember the time and place on the planet where our message was heard.”
(4) Note the similarity between the name “Clatú” with Klaatu, the alien protagonist of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (1951)
(5) Annoyed residents state: “What happens here at night is not to be believed. Older boys throw stones and even fire shots […]
(6) A member of the group, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the “little green man appeared to want to tell us something, but when we approached, he ran in fear into the fields.” Revista Alternativa Ovni No. 3, November 2013, p.11.
(7) One of the female interviewees said the following in “Libre” magazine in 1984: “I approached the little men because they inspired trust. They’re very calm despite their rapid movements. They were gathered by the fallen tree. We spent a long time together. It turns out there are little men and little women, and we were all together making love.”
(8) Tiempo magazine for 03.18.2007 made a brief summary of what went on there: “José de Zer prepared a new report for Nuevediario every day; blurry photos of the beings that must unquestionably be extraterrestrials were published in the press. A policeman patrolling the area asked for medical leave on account of having been bitten by one of these creatures. A boy saw one at the school at 72nd and 19th, and classes were called off. Even one of the school secretaries was attacked by the little man, also causing her to request leave. The news went beyond the borders. Researchers from the Swedish UFO Institute arrived to study the phenomenon, but the little men never turned up and the Swedes had all of their equipment stolen (could it have been a little man?). Others took the opportunity to make a little money, like Loco Córdoba, who sold little dolls of “Luciano el Marciano” (Lucian the Martian). Founders of the LUS cult were not to be left behind and called a press conference to say that they had sustained direct communications with “the captain of the spacecraft” and that they were “time travelers.” The cult’s leader, one Andrade, had no luck with his pronouncements. He was prosecuted by the law for defamation of character. People began to lose faith in the little green men. As the phenomenon ran out of steam over time, Jose de Zer went to find UFOs at Mount Uritorco. Loco Córdoba didn’t sell another doll, and no one went camping or spoke again of Martians or midgets in Villa Montoro.”
(9) On 23 December 1982, Spielberg’s E.T. opened at theaters. In this movie, a small space visitor strikes up a friendship with a group of children. On 14 July 1983, the movie “El Extraterrestre”, a parody of the Spielberg film, starring Alberto Olmedo and Jorge Porcel, opened nationwide in theaters. On 8 December 1983, The Return of the Jedi by George Lucas, third installment of the Star Wars movies, opened in theaters. In this movie, Master Yoda appears prominently. He is a diminutive being with aged features, pointed ears and green skin.
* [Translation (c) 2014 Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology]