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|May 21, 1952. Barcelona was making preparations for the International Eucharistic Conference to such an extent that the La Vanguardia Española discussed the arrival of the archbishop of|
Ottawa as though he were a special guest. The possibility of some afternoon rain showers that Wednesday was in the forecast. Journalist Valentín García was among those who looked at the sky that day, but it seems he saw more than just a storm warning.
This is what a document declassified by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) attests. It forms part of a series of documents disclosed last February, a considerable part of them related to the likelihood of unidentified flying object sightings.
Valentín García, as the CIA reports, was crossing Avenida de Jose Antonio – the modern Gran Via de les Cortes Catalanes – on the way to his newsroom when he saw something strange – too strange – up in the sky. “I saw a strange object flying at high speed from the Prat Airport, some 2000 meters over the ground, leaving a broad plume of smoke in his wake,” the journalist told the news agency. García even made some inquiries about the object and ascertained that it was not an aircraft of which the El Prat and Sabadell Airports were aware. He also noted that there were differences with the so-called flying saucers because it did not emit “flashes or light, nor did it spin on an axis.”
The reporter was not alone in seeing that craft, according to what is presented in the CIA’s declassified pages. “My colleagues at the office saw the smoke, but not the object,” said one document. A curious item of information is that when it was already over Badalona, the craft or whatever it was stopped expelling the eye-catching smoke and “vanished for a few seconds, reappearing once again kilometers later, issuing smoke. Telephones started ringing at the paper’s newsroom, with people claiming having seen the same smoking vehicle that Valentín García mentioned.
There is something more, although all we have is a reference in the CIA papers. A photograph is known to exist, but unfortunately, it appears to remain classified because it does not appear in the raft of documents released on 21 February. It was taken by Francisco Andreu and according to the note, [the object] “presented a diagonal stripe.” Oddly, it is said that the photo was taken on 17 May, even though the information is from the 21st of that month. Clerical error?
What is indeed certain is that this incident, whose existence is known thanks to a journalist in contact with the CIA, caught the attention of the U.S. intelligence services.