The Varginha incident is an incident in information transmission in Brazil broadcasting. In 1996, popular reports informed that strange creatures (allegedly extraterrestrials) were supposedly captured by Brazilian officials. This reports was broadcasted by Sunday special program Fantástico of the Rede Globo, the largest TV transmitter of Brazil, of very high audience, which sometimes show extra-normal incidents. The case generated extensive publicity in Central and South America, and was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal.
According to media reports, the creature was first sighted by three women ranging from 14 to 21 years old: sisters Liliane and Valquíria Fátima Silva, and their friend Kátia Andrade Xavier. They allegedly saw the creature in the afternoon of January 20, 1996: A biped about 1.6 metres (5 ft), with a large head and very thin body, with V-shaped feet, brown skin, and large red eyes. It seemed to be wobbly or unsteady, and the girls assumed it was injured or sick. The creature was said to have a strong, unpleasant odor. Some have noted physical similarities between this alleged creature and the chupacabra, a cryptozoological creature reported in Puerto Rico and Central America.
The Silva sisters say they fled, then told their mother that they had seen the devil. She didn’t believe them at first, but when she had gone to the area they had seen the creature and smelled a strong ammonia-like odor, her opinion changed. After relating their tale to family and friends, rumors began to spread throughout the city: UFOs were sighted, aliens were captured. Two days later, another creature was allegedly found lying along a road. Three military trucks were sent to retrieve it. It was captured by S2 officials (Brazil's military intelligence), and sent to a hospital to be examined.
As related by Moffett in the Wall Street Journal, "The army finds itself besieged on several fronts. A local mystic predicts that Varginha will suffer some kind of cataclysm this September as retribution for its blitzkrieg on the interplanetary visitors. An armed-forces news conference marking 'Victory Day' in World War II degenerated into a shouting match between a general and a television reporter pressing him about the extraterrestrials. An official briefing to debunk UFO conspiracies was overshadowed by an auto mechanic's claim to have seen yet another weird cylindrical aircraft, a cosmic encounter he re-enacted with the aid of an aluminum coffee thermos ... Stanton Friedman, a Canada-based UFO expert, says Varginha has the makings of a 'cosmic Watergate.'"
Brazilian mass media was saturated for some time with speculation, rumors and accounts regarding the UFO's and the strange creatures. A soldier, Marco Eli Cherese, was said to have died under mysterious circumstances related to the UFO affair.
Vitorio Pacaccini, a Brazilian UFO enthusiast, became a central figure in the Varginha affair. He appeared on television, offering testimony he reported was from reliable government officials, which confirmed the events as true. The sources, however, were anonymous, said Pacaccini, and feared reprisal. Randle notes that Pacaccini insists that the first to encounter the strange creature was not the girls, but rather, a group of fire department workers. In the early morning of January 20, according to Pacaccini, four firemen were alerted to a strange animal which had been first spotted by a group of boys, who began throwing rocks at it. They captured the dizzy creature, and whisked it away.
Moffett writes that there have been over half a dozen sightings of the creatures, though "it is unclear how all of these beings could have fit into the minivan-sized spacecraft that was spotted here in January." There was disagreement as to whether one creature had been sighted multiple times, or if several creatures had been sighted individually.
Officials in Varginha denied that anything unusual occurred, but considered dedicating a park to the creatures.