Teleportation has traditionally remained in the province of science fiction: Isaac Asimov’s “Pebble in the Sky” features a protagonist who steps out of a 20th century Chicago building to find himself in a dead, radioactive Earth of the far future. Non-fans are aware of teleportation and its perils from the events in the 1950’s classic “The Fly” and its sequel. Even generations raised on Star Trek’s apparently seamless transporter units know that teleportation entails risks. Is instantaneous – though unwilling – abstraction from one location to another possible or merely the stuff of fantasy and hearsay? Recent scientific advances in the field of teleportation have given a smattering of dignity to what until recently was dismissed as “crankery”. In 1993, a group of scientists of international repute stated that teleportation, far from science fiction jiggery-pokery, was theoretically possible. This opened the door to a number of experiments in this direction, none of them, however, involving the translation of solid objects, much less living ones. For the time being, science has restricted itself to experimental demonstrations of teleportation using “trapped ions” and laser beams. Possible applications for these research endeavors include long-range quantum communications, but no transporter rooms a la Star Trek, since the scientific principles at work suggest that the original must be destroyed in order for teleportation to work. But what about events of teleportation that do not involve any inconvenient machinery? Sudden, unexpected transportation to “somewhere else” is without a doubt one of the most terrifying things that could conceivably happen to anyone. Imagine yourself walking down a familiar street or driving along a road on the way to work or play when a sudden, unexplained force removes you from your surrounding reality to deposit you elsewhere: another city, state or even country, without any memory of how you got there or in many cases, how to return. Gone for Good? Mist-shrouded El Yunque has always been a source of mystery involving paranormal phenomena and more recently, UFOs. Dozens of individuals, largely weekenders and campers, have disappeared inexplicably from this mountain rainforest. A child disappeared while walking down a trail with its parents, and even rescue teams sent to investigate have been swallowed by this deceptive wilderness area. Forestry officials are quick to blame quicksand and unexplored sinkholes as the reasons for these evaporations, even when they occurred in areas far from where any of the aforementioned conditions would be encountered. The following appeared in a privately circulated paper entitled Abductions in El Yunque - Are Aliens Responsible? by Hermes Rivera (1989). “About ten years ago, some 15 children disappeared in El Yunque while on a school trip. The teacher responsible for the kids committed suicide because the students were never found. A search team from the U.S., sent to the mountain to try and find the missing youths, ran into a short humanoid creature wandering around the bushes. As soon as the creature realized it had been seen, it ran and disappeared. The search was fruitless: no trace of the creature or of the missing children was ever found. The involvement of Tupamaro revolutionaries was suspected, since they had long before threatened to kidnap children all over the U.S. and Latin America to sell them for money [...]. Two Italian kids, about 9 years of age, were also reported missing between 1976 and 1978. Their case was put on hold because of their father’s involvement with the Mafia. The Colón brothers, who used to live on the road that leads to the top of El Yunque where the first UFO landed, were also reported missing without a trace about 25 years ago.” Not even well-trained and armed soldiers are immune to whatever force is behind the disappearances. In March 1976, two Marines stationed at the Roosevelt Roads naval facility vanished in El Yunque. Ten years later, a man named Angel Bernard and his son had vanished from the same spot, and also in the month of July. The Bernards, father and son, were lost for 4 days after wandering off one of the area’s many trails, coming across strange features such as bottomless pits, not normally a feature of the rainforest, pools of quicksand, and the most distressing feature – the skeleton of a hapless, unknown person who never made it out of El Yunque’s shroud of mystery. Angel Bernard added another interesting note – while the moment they became lost in the rainforest was four o’clock in the afternoon, “there was a sudden, abnormal nightfall” at that time – a feature that has been observed in high-strangeness experiences associated with alien abductions. The elder Bernard encountered a red-eyed, human-looking being surrounded by what he first thought were children, only to see them vanish a lightning speed. Their peals of laughter made him realize that some paranormal force was a work; it prompted him to tell his son that amid their precarious situation, they were also facing forces against which only the deity could ward them. Four days later, they found themselves on another trail on the far side of El Yunque rainforest, having no idea of how their wandering could have led them to that location. Were these individuals possible victims of alien abduction? Unwilling guests of the elemental forces that traditionally occupy such places? There is no shortage of speculation in this regard.
When the Dutch sensitive Gerard Croiset was employed by the Puerto Rican police in the mid-1970's to find two children belonging to a local millionaire, he concluded, chillingly, that the children were nowhere to be found on this physical plane. Unwilling to be blinded by what they perceived as mysticism, the police thanked Croiset and resumed their investigations with conventional means: the children remain missing to this very day.
Certain locations on the planet have acquired the reputation as places where human disappearances are quite common. Some of them, like the Bermuda Triangle and the Devil's Triangle of Japan, have formed part of "pop" paranormal study for decades. Nonetheless, mountains play a greater role as locales for mysterious disappearances than any other site. In ancient tradition, travelers straying too close to Greece's Mt. Parnassus or Mt. Olympus would often be lost for good. Puerto Rico's El Yunque, Vermont's Mt. Glastenbury, and Eastern Zimbabwe's Mt. Inyangani never quite managed to acquire the name recognition of the better-known ones, despite the vast number of unexplained cases which have occurred in and around them.
Author Salvador Freixedo, who looked into the subject of these bizarre disappearances as part of his book La Granja Humana, cites the curious case of a vehicular accident in Burgos, Spain which caused the deaths of a number of people and the disappearance of a 10 year-old from one of the trucks involved in the accident. He was not found among the victims of the crash, and has never been seen again. The police initially believed that the boy had wandered away from the crash scene in an amnesic state, and a thorough search of the area was mounted by both civilians and police officials, yet nothing was turned up. In order to bring the case to a close, the authorities suggested that the boy had been disintegrated, in fact, by a cargo of sulfuric acid being hauled by the tanker truck in which he was a passenger.
Jose María Carnero, a 26 year old medical student, vanished off the face of the earth in April 1987 while on maneuvers with the military unit to which he belonged on the Montelareina Military Base in Zamora, Spain. Reports indicate that José María wandered away from his squad in the midst of a light rainfall, while the other soldiers tried to find shelter under the trees. The young man was never seen again, even after a massive search by the Spanish army, which to this day lists him as a deserter.
The Other Vidal Case
Teleportation is not exclusive to flyers. According to a case researched by Drs. Nelson Berlanda, Luis Reynoso and Juan Acevedo, a family bearing the apparently unlucky surname of Vidal vanished from the road that connects the towns of Cipolletti and Viedma on February 10, 1995 only to find themselves in the vicinity of General Conesa, 15 km of their original destination.
Juan and María Angélica Vidal, accompanied by their teenage son Julio and an unnamed nephew remember having stopped at a service station on Highway 3 to fill up their “Traffic” passenger van before resuming their drive. Shortly after, they pulled over on the side of the road to see the lights of the nearby port of San Antonio Oeste. But something unexpected happened: all of the vehicles occupants fell asleep at once – uncharacteristic behavior for them, according to Juan Vidal, as one of them would always stay awake. Maria Angelica added that she wasn’t given to taken naps during trips, either.
Yet sleep they did, for an hour and a half. Upon waking, Maria Angelica prepared her husband a hot cup of “mate” (Argentina’s national beverage) and told him about the strange dream she’d just had: odd people dressed in white, who she described as “small children with Asian features and long fingers” were touching her and laughing, but at no point did she feel afraid.
But when Juan looked out the window, he realized that they were no longer on the side of the road, parked under tall trees: they were in the middle of an unknown, empty field. “Where are we?” he asked his wife nervously. The nephew was just waking from sleep and reportedly said: “Uncle, this isn’t where we stopped.”
Mr. Vidal set the van in motion amid the consternation of his passengers. Only minutes later they saw a sign that read: “General Conesa – 15 km.” Bemusedly, the Vidals realized they had somehow, in their sleep, gone from Highway 3 to Route 251, backtracking some 90 kilometers that they could not account for.
Attesting to the family’s physical condition, Dr. Berlanda, a clinician, and Acevedo, a psychiatrist, performed a variety of tests and hypnosis to obtain more details on Maria Angélica’s “dream”, in which family members had been removed one by one from the van. The new Vidal case was of great interest and importance to these researchers, given that nearly a dozen UFO cases had taken in that area between 1994 and 1995. Only thirteen days prior to the Vidal family’s teleportation, UFOs had been photographed in Las Grutas, only a few kilometers away from the port of San Antonio Oeste.
Chile, Argentina’s neighbor on the other side of the mighty Andes, has also been the scene of perplexing disappearances that while not immediately associated with UFOs or the paranormal, certainly result in invitable associations due to that country’s extensive chronicles involving unexplained lights, monsters and high strangeness situations. On July 10, 2003, the city of Calama’s La Estrella del Loa newspaper ran a story on the deserted mining camp of Pampa Unión in the country’s unearthly northern deserts.
“One of the most chilling and still-unsolved ones,” reads the article, “was experienced by Nora Suarez when she spent a day in this settlement in the company of her sister Mireya and their relatives. In the blink of an eye, Mireya walked away from the family group, causing concern among them and prompting them to search for her. Despite their best efforts, Mireya was never seen again among the ruined walls of Pampa Unión. Her mysterious disapperance is an unsolved mystery that has many incredible details. The case reached the law courts, before which any and all who might have something to say about the matter were summoned to appear. However, all those called by the court to testify in the girl's disappearance died under unexplained circumstances without ever telling their stories. The family has made heroic efforts to unravel the bizarre situation that has remained unsolved for so many years. Nora Suarez has even appealed to Carabineros (state police) and television broadcasters in the search for her missing sister.