On July 11, 1991, the last total eclipse of the century occurred. For the residents of Mexico City, the eclipse prompted a festive celebration. Thousands took to the streets as one of the world's largest cities was plunged into total darkness in the middle of broad daylight. No one imagined that the entire country was about to be swept into a wave of UFO hysteria.
That afternoon, a television executive named Guillermo Arragin, was videotaping the eclipse from a rooftop when he noticed an unusual object overhead. Jaime Maussan, a respected television journalist in Mexico, recalled his initial reaction after viewing the footage:
"When I saw it, I said oh my god. This is a UFO, a real UFO. I mean you can look at it. You can look at the video and be absolutely convinced what you are looking at."
Jaime Maussan produced, directed and hosted Mexico's edition of "Sixty Minutes" or "Sesenta Minutos". Eight days after the eclipse, Jaime presented the Arragin footage as part of a special UFO broadcast. According to Jaime, the network was inundated with phone calls:
"The telephone lines blew up. I mean 40,000 calls at the same time. Then the system was completely shut out. We received more than 15 videos and we now know for sure that in at least 7 of them, we can see the same ship that was recorded by Guillermo Arragin."
Erick Aguilar, a 19-year-old student at a university in Mexico sent in one of the many videos. He was setting up to film the eclipse from a rooftop when he spotted something unusual in the sky:
"At first, all we saw was a white dot in the sky, that's all we could see in the beginning. Later we saw that this dot was shining brightly. It wasn't a dot anymore. It was a larger object. And it was giving off light. It was shining."
At about the same time, 60 miles from Mexico City, a businessman named Luis Lara videotaped a similar object:
"As I raised the camera, you could see something in the clouds. And it was a metal object. You could see clearly it's not a star. It's a UFO because it had a shadow underneath. If it were a star or a planet you would see clearly that it would be completely luminous. But this one had a little shadow underneath."
Another video was shot by the Breton family in Puebla, a city 80 miles east of Mexico City. Magnifying the Breton video revealed an odd, wave-like disturbance behind the pulsating disc, perhaps, some kind of energy trail. Jaime Maussan enhanced the Arragin footage and compared it to the Breton tape. The objects were photographed nearly 100 miles apart, yet according to Jaime, they were amazingly similar:
"The video from Puebla was absolutely identical to the one we had seen with Arragin in Mexico. It was the first time in history that you had a tape of two UFO's in two different places at exactly the same moment."
The videos caused a sensation throughout Mexico. But the UFO craze was just beginning. Two months later, an engineer named Vincente Sanchez took his video camera to a military air show in Mexico City:
"I was following one of the planes and I saw a shiny dot in the camera. It didn't fly like a plane; it was undulating. I didn't know what it was so I let the planes go off and I focused more on this shiny dot in the sky. What I saw was a bright round object, about 10 meters in diameter. It was made of silver, was shining very brightly and reflected the sunlight a lot. The object appeared, undulated, and moved around quickly."
A year later, a similar object was videotaped at the same air show. This time the disc descended rapidly and mysteriously disappeared. Alejandro Leal shot amateur video of the flying disc:
"It was traveling against the wind, so much so that, had it been a balloon, considering the force of the helicopter blades, it would've crashed. But no, it kept on its path very straight and steady, until it got lost in the sky."
Since the eclipse in July of 1991, there have been thousands of sightings throughout Mexico. There is no clear pattern, although the majority have occurred in and around Mexico City. The witnesses range from pilots to doctors to bus drivers and even, school children. But are the UFOs real? It's hard to deny the images captured on videotape. A skeptic would suspect a hoax. But for those who have witnessed the mysterious objects in the skies over Mexico, "seeing is believing."