[dropcap]The[/dropcap] most reliable sources at the moment regarding the presence of the UFO phenomenon on the island is the information provided over thirty years ago by a unique character: Ignacio Valdes Jaña. The information gathered by this Chilean military man has remained in private files for a very long time, as the inquisitive soldier was “unable to convey his concerns to the Chilean military, since they involved the slippery subject of UFOs.” Who, then, was Ignacio Valdés Jaña?
Don Ignacio was a career military officer. He arrived on Easter Island as a Staff Sergeant, radiotelegraph operator, in the year 1953. He was assigned to the initial construction work at Mataveri Airport on Easter. In those early days he was forced to perform all manner of duties, although he also had knowledge of surface meteorology and nocturnal and diurnal weather balloon operations. Moreover, he had many years of experience in air traffic control. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Chilean Air Force (FACH) and died in Santiago de Chile in 1992. It is precisely this officer, with highly perceptive skills, who reported a series of anomalous incidents that have not been made known in this country until today. Thanks to chance, this officer’s information reached this author’s hands, and after ascertaining his statements and writings, were made known in Spain, since the according to Valdés, “no one had paid the slightest attention to his sightings, neither the military nor Chilean ufologists contacted in the year 1987.”
Superstition is latent among residents of Easter Island. Venturing to certain locations at night could lead to an encounter with an aku-aku.
One night, Ignacio Valdés Jaña, accompanied by Juan Anakena (who would go on to become an authority on the island) ventured into the sector known as Maunga Pui, as wild horses were destroying the few crops grown on the island. The all-terrain vehicle made its way along a dusty road when a powerful light became visible some 500 meters ahead on the road they traveled. It approached swiftly, and when it came within 100 meters of the vehicle, both men could see that the intense light was in the air, two meters over the ground. Ignacio and Juan reacted differently. While Ignacio tried to remain calm, Juan immediately yelled that the aku-aku had come for them.
Juan escaped, running in the opposite direction down the highway. Ignacio backed away on foot, since it was impossible to get the vehicle in motion. The light hovered over the vehicle and Ignacio, the sole witness at this moment, saw how the all-terrain vehicle was lifted several meters above the ground, abruptly falling back when the light made a sharp turn, vanishing toward the Rano Aroi volcano.
This eyewitness account, confirmed by the protagonists themselves, leads us to think that the case histories on Easter Island are similar to those elsewhere, even more so, confirmed by the sightings made by Ignacio Valdés during his stay on the island. From that moment on, the military man engaged in a relentless quest for answers, frustrated more than once by his superiors, to whom the subject of UFOs is taboo and a cause for derision.