Season 1
Episode 22: Peru: The Real X-Files

Hunting UFOs in Peru with a real-life Fox Mulder.

Are aliens really visiting us? And if so, why have they chosen Peru? Darren and Andrés head there to meet the real Fox Mulder. Can he help them figure out how Peru’s obsession with the skies has made it the Extra Terrestrial Capital of the world?

Peru has everything. Dense jungles, imposing mountains, and a long coastline. A rich history that combines breathtaking Incan archeological sites with the original seats of colonial power on the southern continent. But people also treasure Peru for something else: UFOs. 

To those in the know, Peru is the Mecca for unidentified flying objects. Peru even has its very own X-Files-style UFO investigations office — an official department in the Peruvian air force. 

Recently the Pentagon released footage of US air force pilots tracking mega-fast unidentified objects that left no vapour trails — this has been stirring up a lot of mainstream interest. 

In Peru, they don’t need much convincing. UFOs are already part of the national psyche The reason? Just the sheer number of sightings and weird goings-on. So are UFOs really visiting Earth? And if so, why have they singled out Peru?

Passport’s Andrés Bartos and writer/producer Darren Loucaides have both had their own mysterious sightings in South American skies and today they’re going to find out that they are not alone… and neither are we.

MORE TO EXPLORE

SAVED PINS

  1. MARCAHUASI
    Passport Guest Producer Darren Loucaides had his own UFO sighting at this spookiest of mountain Plateaus. Come for the faces carved into the rock and the human sculpture park, stay for stories of creatures crawling out of the ground to abduct you.
  2. CHILCA
    The “Roswell of Peru” – an otherworldly, Mars-like, landscape just south of Lima that is a must-visit spot if you’re looking to catch some UFOs in action.
  3. THE MARIA REICHE MUSEUM
    Discover the history of the Nazca lines through this museum dedicated to the “Keeper of the Lines” – scientist Maria Reiche who was one of the first people to bring them to international attention.
  4. ARAMU MURU
    Lake Titicaca – one of the world’s most ancient and highest lakes – has floating islands, traditional reed board, and this ancient doorway believed to be a portal to another dimension.
  5. LAGUNA DE CHARO
    And for another unknown, isolated spot, head to the stunning Charo lagoon, found in the tiny town of Iquitos in Peru’s Amazon. It’s famous as the place where Peru’s ex-president Alberto Fujimori had a UFO sighting of his own.

CONNECT WITH US!

On Instagram: @passportpodcast

On Facebook: @passportpod

On Twitter: @passportpod

On The Web: frequencymachine.com/passport

Get The Ticket – the Passport newsletter with amazing new stories. 

CONNECT WITH OUR GUESTS!

Marco Barazza on Twitter: @marquillo727

Cesar Reategui on Twitter: @cesar_reategui

This episode of Passport was written and produced by Darren Loucaides and edited by Neil Innes and Harriet Davis.

Big big thanks to Marco Barazza, Cesar Reategui, Luis Jaime Castillo, and Corina Duran for helping us make this episode.

Our theme tune was written by our own Ziggy Stardust, Nick Turner, very special tracks from Enriquta Cerda Mendes.

Also very special additional music by Darren via his very own band, and drummer Jason Ribeiro, who currently go by the name Time Cops

Additional stuff from Lt. Fitgibbons Men, Foxey Bassey, Attitude and Auracle. 

The show is mixed and mastered by Julian Kwasneski.  

Eliza Engel is our production assistant.

Stacey Book, Dominique Ferrari and Avi Glijansky are beings with intelligence far beyond our own, they also executive produce the show…

Which is hosted by Neil Innes and a man who deals almost exclusively in close encounters of the weird kind, Andrés Bartos.   

We’ll see you in the next place.

EPISODE 22 – TRANSCRIPT

NEIL: Are we in a spaceship right now?

ANDRÉS: That’s what I feel like

DARREN: It kinda feels like it

ANDRÉS: Feels a little…  

DARREN: Like a kinda shitty one with a flamingo…

ANDRÉS: With a flamingo on it.

DARREN: USS Pink Flam

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: Captain’s law. Star date, September 22nd.

[PASSPORT MAIN TITLE]

ANDRÉS: A destination isn’t always a place.

NEIL: Sometimes it’s a new way of seeing things.

I’m Neil Innes

ANDRÉS: And I’m Andrés Bartos.

NEIL: From Frequency Machine, this is Passport.

ANDRÉS: Your ticket to everywhere.

[END MAIN TITLE]

[Song playing]

NEIL: You know Peru for Machu Pichu, the Incas, ceviche, maybe mountains, definitely Pisco.

ANDRÉS: Peru has everything. Dense jungles, imposing mountains, and a long coastline. A rich history that combines breathtaking Incan archeological sites with the original seats of colonial power on the Southern continent.

Immigration from Asia has given it one of the most unique gastronomies in the world.

NEIL: But people also treasure Peru for something else: UFOs.

[UFO noises]

[Song playing]

NEIL: To those in the know, Peru is the mecca for unidentified flying objects. Peru’s capital, Lima, has its very own X-Files-style UFO investigations office, an official department in the Peruvian air force.

ANDRÉS: Generally these days, UFOs are not taken very seriously, but recently the Pentagon released footage of US Air Force pilots tracking mega fast unidentified objects that left no vapor trails.

This has been stirring up a lot of mainstream interest.

NEIL: There was even a report in the New York Times in July about the Pentagon’s own secret unidentified aerial phenomenon taskforce. Nope, not the National Enquirer, the New York fricking Times.

ANDRÉS: And a former director of the task force is convinced that objects of undetermined origin have crashed on earth and been retrieved for study by the U.S. military.

NEIL: In Peru, they don’t need much convincing. UFOs are already part of the national psyche.

ANDRÉS: The reason? Just the sheer number of sightings and weird goings on. So, are UFOs really visiting earth? And if so, why have they singled out Peru?

NEIL: Passport’s Andrés Bartos and writer, producer Darren Loucaides have both had their own mysterious sightings in South American skies.

And today they’re going to find out that they are not alone, and neither are we.

ANDRÉS: Where do you stand on UFOs?

NEIL: I don’t know. I’ve never seen anything.

ANDRÉS You’ve never seen anything.

NEIL: Like most things, I’d rather believe because it’s just, it’s just more fun.

ANDRÉS: More interesting.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Right

NEIL: I hope there’s a heaven. I hope there’s a little green men. But I’m a, I’m in a weird predicament here because I know and love and trust both of you guys.

And I know that you’ve seen stuff.

ANDRÉS: We have.

NEIL: I have to believe by proxy

ANDRÉS: But the question is, what did we see?

DARREN: And how many mind-altering substances had you taken, Andrés?

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: That’s a very good point.

DARREN: It’s tricky, right? Isn’t it. Cause like technology is evolving so quickly. So some of these things are probably like weird advanced military aircraft. And like drones.

ANDRÉS: Sure.

DARREN: But like, there’s just that percentage that just like, can’t be explained by any conventional…

ANDRÉS: It seems like this year, in particular because of Corona,

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: It seems like the clearest skies we’ve had ever, and also the most sightings, just because there’s a chance to actually track and follow this stuff.

DARREN: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: We’re at that point, like you say, proper journalism looking into this, trying to figure out is 2020 the year. Is, I mean, if we’re going to have a year where we figure out that we’ve been invaded by aliens, it’s definitely this year.

NEIL: It’s going to be the cherry on the cake.

DARREN: That Pentagon footage of that. I don’t, I don’t see how humans are making that.

NEIL: No, no.

DARREN: Some kind of bizarre obstacle illusion, but I don’t see how or

NEIL: Cause that is definitely there. It’s definitely some distance away. And it’s fast.

DARREN: I mean, let me just tell you guys that, so I’ve been into like space and Star Trek and Alien since I was a kid. And like people sometimes say to me, like, nah, just don’t, I don’t believe there’s aliens, no we’re alone.

It seems like it’s pretty statistically unlikely to me that we’ve got like hundreds of billions of stars just in our one galaxy. And there’s like infinite galaxies.

ANDRÉS: Everybody I’ve ever talked to about this, I think, has that feeling like, there is unexplainable stuff. And then like you did, you put it in the category of, you know, heaven and religion and the sky, immediately makes you think about this stuff.

So, if you think about those, those periods of time, where everybody was seeing burning bushes and, you know, even in the States, in the 19th century, they were like people having mass hallucinations of proper, you know, Israelites walking in Colorado and crazy shit like that. There is a possibility that we’re going through this now as well.

NEIL: Yeah, yeah.

ANDRÉS: Because we’re going through incredibly tense and stressful times where our whole reality is kind of twisting in on itself. We don’t know what’s what, we can’t tell reality apart from fiction. So, you know, it’s, it’s only strange because we have measuring devices that seem to be picking this stuff up and we have phones that can photograph.

NEIL: I don’t know, I don’t know.

ANDRÉS: The whole point is that we don’t know.

DARREN: It’s always like science fiction, isn’t it, until it is science fact.

ANDRÉS: There you go.

[Plane landing]

[Song playing]

DARREN: As you fly into Lima, the capital of Peru, you see a huge city sprawling out beneath you. A chaotic, densely populated city of around 10 million. Lima heaves with shining tower blocks and grand older buildings, the colonial mixed with the modern. Pretty much what you expect of a major South American metropolis.

But there is a secret that marks Lima out. Somewhere in the trendy barrio of Miraflores, which hugs the city’s high cliffy coastline, is a dark cubby hole investigating UFOs for the Peruvian government.

Seriously.

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: Today, UFO hunting can seem a bit old fashioned, kind of a retro interest. The heyday was the fifties and the sixties when sci-fi shows like Star Trek hit the small screen. At the time, governments were testing advanced new aircraft at the height of the Cold War. In the nineties, there was a bit of a resurgence in interest, thanks to shows like the X-files, but in Peru, UFOs never really went out of style.

DARREN: I was in Peru in 2014 and I had my very own honest to god, UFO sighting.

[UFO noise]

DARREN: What is it that makes Peru such a hotspot? Alien hunters said it’s not just about sightings. There are powerful energy spots in Peru. Just think about the mysterious Nazca Lines, which some think are alien landing strips.

ANDRÉS: The Nazca Lines in Southern Peru are a group of 300 geoglyphs etched into desert sands.

They cover nearly 1000 square kilometers and depict animals and plants. Some of the lines which make up these giant symbols are 30 meters wide and stretch more than nine kilometers. At that scale, you can only appreciate them from the air.

DARREN: But is it all just a bit of fun or is there something more sinister going on here?

ANDRÉS: Peru’s department of investigation of anomalous aerial phenomena is trying to answer that very question. That long-winded name, it boils down to a real-life UFOs office and the work they’re doing is deadly serious. The department is officially part of the Peruvian air force.

 And like the X-files, it contains a real-life Fox Mulder.

MARCO: Uh, my, my father was a pilot. My uncle was a pilot too. My life is absolute refer to the sky.

DARREN: That is Marco Barazza, aka, the Peruvian Fox Mulder. Marco has been interested in UFO since he was a kid. Around 2008, when Marco was in his thirties, he began sharing his interest with others.

MARCO: I decided to start writing a blog, a simple blog. It was called our extraterrestrial past, in Spanish it’s nuestro pasado extraterrestre. And it was mainly an astronomy blog. Communicated in a fun and a simple way in sharing my search with everyone.

DARREN: Marco no longer produces the blog.

MARCO: Yeah, unfortunately no longer because it’s not compatible with my duties in the department because I’m an investigator, you know. This is not compatible with the hard investigation.

DARREN: How on earth did Peru end up opening UFOs office? The interest goes up to the highest reaches of Peruvian politics.

Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s president between 1990 and the year 2000, had his own close encounter back in the day.

Fujimori was fishing with his personal escort deep in the Peruvian jungle when it happened.

MARCO: It was a clear night, 9:00 PM, when a strong light, like a laser beam, rapidly approach, around 300 meters high, even splashing them with water, you know. There was a silence, there was a confusion.

DARREN: Others familiar with the story have said that a luminous sphere rose out of the river in front of President Fujimori and his entourage before shooting towards the heavens.

But at the time they all agreed not to repeat the story to anyone.

ANDRÉS: Fujimori, by the way, is currently in prison convicted for links to death squads that murdered thousands of political enemies. Just for the record.

The original office of investigation into aerial phenomena was opened nearly 20 years ago.

And the first ever case it investigated was the infamous Chulucanas Incident. On October 13th, 2001 in Chulucanas, hundreds of people observed eight spheres of red-orange light moving intelligently through the sky for over five hours. Similar sightings continued for weeks.

DARREN: So, while next year is Peru’s bicentennial, 200 years since the country’s founding, some are more eagerly awaiting the 20-year anniversary of Chulucanas.

Marco told me more about the incident.

MARCO: It happened in extreme north of Peru. The appearance of a strange light, many photographs and videos of the case were taken from numerous witnesses. Today, this topic is investigated from the strict perspective of national security.

DARREN: Marco also tells me about a historic case at La Joya air base in Arequipa, south of Lima. It happened on a morning in 1980, involving a MiG fighter jet and a UFO.

MARCO: It’s a very modern base. And all the people in the field see some form, some strange form in the sky. It’s big, it’s like a balloon. It was the order to send to a flight of reconnaissance. The Comandante Oscar Santa Maria was the pilot and he described it perfectly.

DARREN: Thinking the unidentified object was some kind of balloon, Comandante Oscar Santa Maria fired at it using his aircraft’s howitzer guns. The bullets are about the size of a Coke can. He fired more than 50 shots, but the bullets just seemed to pass through the balloon like object. The object then kept rising, higher than any plane could go, until finally, the pilot had to abort.

ANDRÉS: The original UFOs office had a limited remit and closed in 2003. But Marco then lobbied the government for years to reopen it. Finally, on October 13th, 2013, coincidentally the anniversary of the Chulucanas incident, a new expanded office was opened. Today’s department of investigation of anomalous aerial phenomena.

DARREN: The investigations team included a mathematician, a sociologist, a physicist, an astronomer, a former military pilot, an anthropologists and Marco, the investigator and communication specialist.

As the department evolved over the last seven years, Marco and an ex-general remain the only permanent members of the department, instead calling in specialists on a case by case basis, including aeronautical engineers, air defense specialists, and meteorologists.

ANDRÉS: Some of the cases are simple and just entail recording the event and filing the paperwork. Others require rather more investigations, speaking to witnesses, traveling to the location of the sighting or fallen debris.

DARREN: So, just how many unexplained cases have there been since the department opened?

MARCO: Unfortunately Darren, I’m not authorized to share that information because the vast majority of cases are open right now. We are talking about the Peruvian air space control. I hope you understand me.

ANDRÉS: It’s true that many of the UFO sightings are probably illicit narco trafficking flights, or very possibly incursions from foreign militaries.

But of course, we want to know about little green men.

MARCO: I do not deny the phenomenon, it is real. It exists, it is there, it can be recorded, but we need more than testimonials and interpretations to take the next step.

I have had some experience, but I don’t comment it publicly. Maybe when I leave the Aerial Phenomena Investigation Department, I’ll write a book, you know, I don’t know.

DARREN: We should say, this isn’t the first time Marco and I have spoken. We met in Peru more than five years ago in a busy cafe in Lima. At the time I asked Marco where in Peru I would have the best chance of seeing a UFO. One of the weirdest spots that Marco recommended to me was a place called Marcahuasi.

MARCO: Always, I will recommend the Marcahuasi plateau, a place almost out of a Stanley Kubrick movie, you know.

DARREN: So, I went to Marcahuasi and I think I saw a UFO.

[Song playing]

DARREN: But before we go there, let’s check out a couple other places. I asked Marco about another hot spot I heard a lot about. It’s called Chilca.

ANDRÉS: Chilca is to Peru like Roswell is to the United States. Chilca is a city in the Lima region, surrounded by desert plains with mournful reddish peaks looming in the background. It looks a bit like Mars.

DARREN: Chilca’s famous.

ANDRÉS: The Rhama group is one of the most famous groups of UFO hunters. People begging and hoping for contact with extraterrestrials.

MARCO: This is the place from the seventies when a lot of young people going to the desert waiting for a contacts to the ships and the contacts with alien beings.

ANDRÉS: Sixto Paz Wells is the leader of the Rhamas and is the most famous alien hunter and contactee in Peru, maybe in the world. Sixto claims to have been in direct contact with aliens.

Back to Marco.

MARCO: I saw strange lights with the Rhamas, with the people of the Sixo Paz. This is, this is real. It’s something is happening in this place, but eh, I think this is some kind of place in Peru that needs more investigation and more special equipment and more special technology to know specifically what happened in this place.

ANDRÉS: We’re with Fox Mulder. So, what’d you think of this guy?

NEIL: I love him.

DARREN: He’s like really sweet and friendly, but he’s like really professional as well.

ANDRÉS: Exactly.

DARREN: Like I can’t, I can’t talk about this cause it’s like part of the Peruvian air force, like this is serious work, Darren. But yeah, I believe in aliens.

[Laughter]

DARREN: No, he’s really cool. And like, I want to read his book when he writes that book.

ANDRÉS: Yeah.

DARREN: I think he’s seen some crazy shit in the classified files.

ANDRÉS: I bet. Well, if he’s going out –

DARREN: With his own eyes…

ANDRÉS: If he’s Fox Muldering out there in the middle of nowhere, talking to like, you know, a lady with three llamas and interviewing her, I mean, it’s gotta be amazing.

DARREN: He’s like Fox Mulder, but he’s like, you’d actually like, you’d like to have a cup of coffee with this guy.

ANDRÉS: Totally.

DARREN: Maybe not with Fox Mulder.

ANDRÉS: That’s so true.

DARREN: He’s a bit intense, David Duchovny, a bit much.

NEIL: It feels like the hardest thing to do in Peru is to find somebody who hasn’t seen a UFO.

ANDRÉS: Well, the story that I found today accidentally, like I just come across the fact that the Secretary General of the United Nations in the eighties, another Peruvian man, in Manhattan of all places, depending on the account either was kidnapped by aliens himself and won’t talk about it or witnessed a woman being pulled out of the 12th story of her Manhattan apartment.

Bodyguards there watching the Secretary General of the United Nations observing this, and they’re on the record as being like he seemed a little distressed by what was going on.

[Laughter]

NEIL: Maybe aliens just dig Peruvian politicians.

ANDRÉS: Just messing with Peruvian politicians’ heads.

NEIL: Look at these guys.

ANDRÉS: I like, I like the idea that it’s the CIA just kind of messing with Latin American diplomats.

DARREN: Like micro-dosing their coffees.

ANDRÉS: Totally. Wouldn’t put it past them.

[Extraterrestrial noises]

DARREN: When I spoke to Sixto Paz by email, he told me that Peru is the Mecca of UFO hunting.

Sixto doesn’t speak English, but he put me in touch with one of his colleagues, Cesar Reategui, a Peruvian who’s been living in Washington DC since he was 16. Cesar has been interested in UFOs and the paranormal since he was a kid.

[Song playing]

CESAR: I do remember my dad taking me and my brother to the movies. We used to live in a little town.

You know, we would like our chocolate, or our soda and I also wanted this specific magazine called Lo Insolito.

DARREN: A magazine about UFOs and paranormal investigations.

CESAR: My dad also who likes this subject, started reading one of the very well-known contactee Sixto Paz, one of his first books, Extraterrestrial Contact.

I read many books of his and it prepares you to start going to the outings. 

ANDRÉS: Sixto Paz had his first contact event in 1974. Since then, he’s written multiple books about his experiences and attracted thousands of followers from around the world. Often, organizing outings in different countries, but especially in Peru.

CESAR: And, and really to go to an outing, you really have to have read at least one of the books.

Otherwise you will waste your time and you probably won’t see much because you’re not going to be like the other people who are probably vibrating higher.

ANDRÉS: We told you things were going to get a lot weirder. So, let’s see how far down the rabbit hole we can go.

[Song playing]

CESAR: In Rhama, which is the group I belong to, we have different initiations as we call it. The xendras are like the dimensional portals. Once you cross them, you could be somewhere else. You, you could probably go somewhere else, like what happened to Sixto. He was taken to one of the crafts, one of the UFOs back in 74.

Suddenly, I mean, you feel dizzy and then before you know it, you’re inside the ships.

[Song playing]

DARREN: I asked Cesar how this all began.

CESAR: Sure. This group was initiated by Sixto Paz and his brothers. He was blessed to have a dad who was already in this arena.

DARREN: Sixto was already deep into meditation. He connected with his family and together, they tried to channel messages from interstellar beings.

CESAR: They put papers and pencil on a table and he started meditating and he suddenly felt the urge of writing a message.

DARREN: The message outlined the existence of aliens on Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter. It’s also hinted that the more you prepared yourself as Sixto put it, the more contact you would be guaranteed. But these beings also have bases here on earth. And of course, they’re in Peru.

CESAR: They have like two bases in the ocean in front of the coast of Peru. And one of them is pretty much in front of the city of Chilca.

DARREN: You say they have two bases. Sorry. Who do you mean by “they”? Just to be clear.

CESAR: There’s like 60 different kinds of extraterrestrials visiting earth right now. They would have harmed us long ago if they wanted to, but they haven’t. So with them, being in a communication with them, we saw it, we saw them, we saw the ships, we saw the ships landing in Nazca.

And not only there, we saw them coming out of the ship and, um, some of us have even gone into the ships and taken a ride with them.

[UFO moving]

DARREN: What are they doing here?

CESAR: What they’re trying to tell us is that we are part of a cosmic plan. Life after death, earth is mutating right now, why are we going through all these things right now with a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes going off, this is what this is all about. This is what Rhama is about.

Preparing ourselves for this, uh, end of a cycle.

DARREN: Cesar takes it spiritually, too.

CESAR: Meditating, praying, you elevate your frequency. Even the monks do it. All this helps for you to becoming a lighter person and prepares better for you to have a contact. So, how do you vibrate higher? We raise our vibe. We’re usually vibrating in a 3.3 dimension. And these beings are in the fourth, fifth, sixth dimension.

So we raise our vibe with the meditations and everything, and these beings show up because they lower theirs and we raise ours and that’s where contact begins.

DARREN: It’s so interesting. My mind is a bit blown.

CESAR: You told me to go further, so I’m doing it.

[Song playing]

DARREN: So, Chilca, where this all started for Sixto and his followers seems pretty important.

CESAR: It’s incredible, it’s a place out of this world. You see the ships, like nothing, like they are there frequently.

DARREN: What would you say to people that are skeptical? I mean, obviously there’s no physical evidence, right?

CESAR: Yes, there is, just come and see. Basically, the people from the press, we tell them, just come and see, uh, cause we have had at least 10 outings with the press and they have shown every single time. So if you want to see more, you’ve got to give more. It’s very simple, but you will be very welcome to one of the outings.

DARREN: Yeah, no, I think, I think that would be amazing to do. Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Oh my god.

NEIL: He’s so clear.

ANDRÉS: Utter, earth shattering. He has more confidence about that than I have in anything in my life. 

NEIL: I know. I would totally get in a car with that guy and drive out to the middle of nowhere. That’s how confident he is.

[Laughter]

DARREN: You wouldn’t come back to Passport. You would join Rhama.

ANDRÉS: It’s kind of incredible because there’s parts of what he says that he’s totally right, right?

That we’re at a moment of change, that the earth is mutating, that we have to be prepared, that you know, all this stuff in a way, he’s right. But then there’s this other side, of course, that instinctively for somebody who has some skepticism,

DARREN: Sure, yeah.

ANDRÉS: You’re, you’re thinking what, what’s going on.

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: All right guys, we’ll be back after the break with the Nazca lines and a personal UFO sighting.

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: Let’s go to a place in Peru that’s almost synonymous with the paranormal. The Nazca Lines.

Parked 250 miles south of Lima, the lines are giant geoglyphs. Huge drawings of plants and animals etched often with a single trace line into the desert plains near the city of Nazca. They’ve been left intact century after century, thanks to the fact that it almost never rains there.

DARREN: They are very mysterious. Why do people draw them? Why do they seem to be made only to be appreciated from the skies? It was a Swiss author called Erich Von Daniken who popularized the idea in the 1960s that the lines were made as alien landing strips.

Our friends Cesar tends to concur.

CESAR: You can see an astronaut there. I mean, this is quite amazing. All these things were like astral ports. So pretty much they can see these lines from the sky and Nazca has many, many, many more meanings that people maybe don’t know much about.

One of the places that was chosen for us to leave earth, if that would happen, which I don’t think is going to be the case, but I’m just telling you what I know, is Nazca.

DARREN: I asked Cesar what he made of the more, let’s say, scientific explanations for the lines.

CESAR: Uh, this was done back in the fourth century. So, you know, making this drawings, which were huge, it’s like the pyramids in Egypt.

I mean, people from there did them, but they were guided by, uh, by extra-terrestrials.

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: I think it’s time we come back to earth for a little.

LUIS: Uh, hi, my name is Luis Jaime Castillo, I am a professor at the Catholic University in Lima, Peru.

ANDRÉS: Luis is an archeologist who’s been studying the Nazca lines for the last few years alongside world renowned Peruvian archeologist, Johnny Isla.

Luis has developed a technique of using flying drones to record sites in enormous detail so as to closely study them.

LUIS: We, we have been finding hundreds and hundreds of new figures.

ANDRÉS: Luis explains that the lines date back to the first millennium with different cultures in the area, making lines since then. And the technique for making them is actually fairly straightforward.

LUIS: I mean they simply lift dark stones from a light color soil that lies below it.

And you reveal that white soil.

ANDRÉS: Ever since the lines were spotted by pilots flying over them in the 1930s, there’ve been different theories as to their origins. Some posited that they were astronomical representations, that they pointed to underground water supplies or that they were paths.

LUIS: I myself have been exploring the fact that the lines are actually put together to be seen at night. That contrast between light colored soil or dark stones in the middle of moon, full moon night, it looks fantastic.

ANDRÉS: While the theories are interesting for Luis, it’s the question of how the lines were designed that is really compelling.

LUIS: The actual world-famous Nazca lines, those beautiful figures, or particularly those hummingbirds and monkeys and spiders and whales, they use a very, very peculiar technique. And there is a single line that goes around.

It’s not one line that is cutting in another one that’s cut. No, it’s like an outline. The real question is how do you design them using a single line?

[Song playing]

DARREN: Luis believes that the designer of the most famous Nazca lines of animals must have been a savant, a true artistic genius.

LUIS: Before him, they were doing geometric designs. Pure geometry into these magnificent designs. And that jump from one thing to the other, I think, has to be done by somebody that is exceptionally gifted.

ANDRÉS: Could the jump have come another way? We want to know what an archeologist like Luis makes of the theories of people like Eric Von Daniken. That the Nazca lines were made by, or for aliens.

LUIS: I like you have fun with these ideas. I, I think that everybody’s entitled to have their own opinion and believe whatever they want.

ANDRÉS: Of course, there is a darker side to the alien’s theory.

LUIS: But the problem lying underneath that, the speculation is that somebody from outer space have to come here to bring us civilization, because the people here were not intelligent enough to develop things like education or culture. We always have to have somebody coming from somewhere else.

And of course, this is basically a justification of racism and a racist conception that basically we need a super natural being embedded with supernatural powers so that we can actually move forward.

[Song playing]

DARREN: It is so insulting though, isn’t it? Like oh, the ancient Egyptians couldn’t have made the pyramids.

NEIL: They didn’t even have iPhones, dumb asses.

We can’t work out how it was done, so, it just must’ve been, it must’ve been something else, I think.

ANDRÉS: Aliens.

We are kind of incredibles when we want to be, we can be such an incredible species, to look out at a field of sand and be like, this would look good with like a monkey in it.

[Laughter]

DARREN: He thinks they were maybe like people coming in and like literally like targeting the area like, oh, they probably didn’t live there.

NEIL: Like fuck you, spiders! We’re the penguins!

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: Many of the ancient cultures in the Nazca area like the Paracas culture used to mummify their dead. So some, on websites like gaia.com have claimed that the mummies unusual shaped heads show evidence of alien influence, ignoring that the skulls were altered according to ancient trepanning techniques.

These theories have even led to tomb-raiding and hoax videos of alien corpses with three fingers.

This is the ugly side of alien hunting.

[Song playing]

DARREN: At this point, I don’t really know what to believe. I felt a bit out of my depth talking to Cesar and it’s hard to contradict the important point Luis the archeologist is making. But I can’t forget my own encounter.

Five years ago, I went to Marcahuasi, which we mentioned at the start.

There are strange stories there from local people about creatures crawling out of holes in the ground to abduct people. There have been sightings of these really weird, tall beings. And there are frequent UFO sightings.

CESAR: Definitely, it’ss one of the most important places

DARREN: That’s Cesar again. Of course, he believes when it comes to Marcahuasi.

CESAR: One of the great wars, galaxy wars, you know, from the star wars, happened there, in Marchahuasi. They fought there.

DARREN: Marcahuasi has set on a mountain range about three hours inland from Lima. Then there’s about an hour’s hike to Marcahuasi.

There you find these strange rock formations in the shape of animals and human faces. With my girlfriend, I set up a tent for the night there and watched an other worldly sunset.

We cooked a basic dinner on a fire and set in for a night of stargazing. It was such a clear night sky, and then we saw it. A strange bright light. It would make this zig-zagging shape drawing the letter Z in the cosmos and then return to the starting point and do it again, over and over.

It wasn’t a plane, it wasn’t a star. So what the hell was it, a UFO?

ANDRÉS: So Darren and I have this in common. We both saw something in the sky on a very particular night. So I had to call Eva, the person that I saw this with and I needed to see if she remembered it in the same way that I did.

[Skype call ringing]

ANDRÉS: Hey you!

I think we probably haven’t spoken in twenty years?

EVA: We’re not that old.                                               

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: I’m not sure how to like… maybe I’ll give you my side of this moment. See if you even remember it.

You’re nodding. You’re nodding very vigorously.

EVA: It was 2000 I think. And we decided to go climb up this hill. I think we were just sitting up there for a while, just watching the city and then um, there was three lights that just turned on and they were really far away. They were over on the altiplano and I want to say like twenty or thirty feet by twenty or thirty feet, like they were big.

They turned off for a while, and then they all turned on for a while, and they kind of did that. Then I feel like one of them changed color. There was one that was kind of pink. Do you remember that?

ANDRÉS: Yes.

EVA: They moved. They actually like picked up and moved which I was not expecting. And I want to say it happened for a few hours. Or at least an hour. And I think at one point we were kind of just done and left.

Like I don’t think it actually ended.

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: You’ve never come to a conclusion as to what we saw.

EVA: No, I mean I can definitely say – I’m glad that we’re talking about it because I always wondered. There’s just mysteries in life beyond what we really know about I think.

I don’t have an explanation, but I know I saw that for sure.

ANDRÉS: So here’s a question. When I said I wanted to talk to you, did you think this is what I wanted to talk to you about?

EVA: Yeah, I knew.

ANDRÉS: I’ve been carrying around this little moment for quite a while. Thanks for talking to me.

[Laughter]

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: Well, in the case of my potential UFO sighting, we decided, we decided, we just didn’t talk about it cause I think, what do you say? It’s just weird.

DARREN: Like 20 years, right?

ANDRÉS: For 20 years, we didn’t talk about.

NEIL: It’s so odd to me. Cause you would like…

DARREN: Wait until you have your UFO sighting, Neil.

NEIL: You would just like go home, or go get like a piece of pie or something, or like go have a meal and just be like, so we, uh, are we cool? Like what was that?

ANDRÉS: Are we never going to talk about this again? No, I, I really can’t, I can’t explain why, but it seemed completely natural that it was like, this has to stay here.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Whatever this was, can’t be real maybe, or is, but what are we going to say about it?

[Song playing]

CORINA: We did have people taken to these energetic places where you can get strange energy.

ANDRÉS: That’s Corina Duran. She’s a tour guide based in Cusco, the city near the amazing Incan archeological site of Machu Picchu.

CORINA: If you’ve been in Machu Picchu, you probably have climbed to Huayna Picchu, right? In the half way, there’s an entry going to the temple of the moon. Oh my God. That place you have to go up prepared and you have to be a believer. And I saw people.

I don’t know if you heard about Annunakis?

ANDRÉS: The Annunaki are deities that appear in a number of ancient cultures’ myths, the most renowned of which are the Sumerians.

But some people, including Erich Von Daniken, prefer the ancient astronaut theory that the  Annunaki are extraterrestrials who guided human evolution some 50,000 years ago.

And Corina’s shamans claimed to have seen them.

CORINA: I can feel only energies, but they can see it.

Cuerpos ciestiales nos están mirando. Then they said, “Los Annunakis estan aqui,” they are here for us. So, it’s amazing. They always tell you yes, open your chakra to see this one.

I was scared, but not scared to run away. I was scared like, what is this?

DARREN: And so, so do you, do you believe in the Annunaki then?

CORINA: It is mysterious. I grew up with this one since I was little, because my grandpa was a great shaman.

I’m gifted by him.

DARREN: In your opinion, who are the Annunaki?

CORINA: They were the people who have come from other spaces. Definitely, definitely to help our people because we were not a good people, we were not good beings.

ANDRÉS: For those interested in these things, Corina recommends a certain interdimensional doorway on Lake Titicaca on the border with my home country, Bolivia.

It’s called Aramu Muru, and it’s a stone doorway cut into an enormous sheer rock face.

And some people think that it’s a real life stargate.

CORINA: That place is like, even when you are on the road it’s like some energy is pulling you, like said don’t pass without seeing me or don’t pass without visiting me. You have to go. Prepare for it, it’s… I’m having goosebumps right now. So strong really, it’s very strong.

DARREN: I decided to tell Corina about my own experience. When I tell Corina about what I saw, she’s totally unfazed.

CORINA: This I saw in Nazca. It was something calling me from the sky. And one of the things I couldn’t even speak up. They always used to call me, la brujita, what did you feel?

[Laughter]

DARREN: For the listeners that don’t speak Spanish, brujita is little witch, right?

CORINA: Yes. Yes. Yes.

[Song playing]

DARREN: Corina is proudly Quechua. It was her first language and she was still mastering Spanish at university, though she now speaks multiple languages and she listens carefully to what holy shamans say about giving offerings and carrying out ceremonies in sacred places.

CORINA: Los portales están abiertos. The sacred gates are open. So let’s give them food before people disappear or before we are punished by them.

DARREN: By this point in our hour-long chat, the line for me between believing in extraterrestrial beings and the spiritual beliefs of local people in rural places had become pretty blurred. Sightings are almost a part of their daily lives and increasingly so it seems.

CORINA: Something is happening. Of course, the media is going to say something else, that there’s something happening. Country people, they have, their histories generation to generation. And they always said, okay, they’re coming to claim their land because we have destroyed. So they are coming maybe to help us, or maybe they are going to just come back and took from us.

That’s what the local people says.

ANDRÉS: To us, it feels like you need a certain kind of heart and mind to be an alien hunter and also to feel them in your belly. Somehow this ancient land, this connection to the sky, Machu Picchu, the Nazca lines, well, all these things mirror the sky.

DARREN: They’re built based on the movement of stars and the moon.

We’ve been looking up for as long as we’ve been on two legs. And when you’re 13,000 feet high oxygen is thin and the stars are bright.

ANDRÉS: If there’s anything in the sky, anything that’s out of place, you’ll see it. And you’ll probably feel it too.

DARREN: Sure, the truth is out there, but isn’t the mystery, the fun part?

ANDRÉS: The Mayas, the Aztecs, the Incas, the Tiwanakus, all these civilizations reach this kind of crisis point that we’re in now.

DARREN: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: I know. I’m very sorry to put us there. Hopefully we’re not going to be doing human sacrifice or ripping beating hearts out of people’s chests.

DARREN: Well…

ANDRÉS: The elections are coming around.

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: But, I mean, not to say that all UFOs have to do with that, but the community and the feeling of making sense outside of our own world,

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Links to that for me somehow.

NEIL: The need to get the fuck out of here.

ANDRÉS: The need to get, but also the need to feel like there’s something beyond us and that we’re all part of something bigger.

DARREN: So what happens in Star Trek is that…

ANDRÉS: I thought we were done with Star Trek.

NEIL: Oh, never.

DARREN: is that the whole planet’s fucked up after a third world war and like humans are in poverty and disarray, but some guy like manages to build lightspeed travel.

It’s just, yeah, it’s this blue dot moment for humanity. And they’re like, wow, there’s like other beings out there. And they like start to look out and stop fighting. And within like 50 years, I think they’ve solved, yeah, they’ve solved poverty. They’ve solved hunger. And they started getting rid of money.

ANDRÉS: So, this is what Peru can teach us.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Basically

NEIL: Utopia

ANDRÉS: The end of capitalism, inter species alien —

DARREN: Mating.

NEIL: Absolutely.

ANDRÉS: That’s where I was going.

DARREN: Oh really?

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: It’s the last frontier. Da, Da, Da, Da…

NEIL: What kinds of weird mating.

ANDRÉS: I think, I think that’s a beautiful,

NEIL: I think it’s really good.

ANDRÉS: Those two sentiments are really beautiful. And the other sentiment that came out that I think is also really beautiful is the mystery of it all. The fact that we don’t know, is almost better.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: In a way. So we get this window before we actually come in contact that we should enjoy.

NEIL: the moment before you open the box and find out the cat’s dead.

ANDRÉS: Yeah,

DARREN: I think Andrés could kind of start,

ANDRÉS: I could…

DARREN: UFO hunting sex.

ANDRÉS: Should I try to, should I, should I try to woo you into my UFO sex?

NEIL: Yeah, I don’t know if you’re vibrating at the right frequencies.

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: I’m at a 2.2 right now.

[Laughter]

DARREN: Neil and I will let you guys know. We’ll see how it goes.

ANDRÉS: Maybe you guys could work in the marketing department.

NEIL: Start ordering the Kool-Aid.

[Laughter]

ANDRÉS: Ah, Passport Peru. That’s an ending right there.

[Song playing]

NEIL: This week, we’ve got five saved pins to give you a map of Peru’s most supernatural places. The spots you’ve got to visit in the world’s Mecca of UFO hunting.

ANDRÉS: Number one is Marcahuasi.

The Marcahuasi plateau, just 60 kilometers away from Lima, are some of the spookiest mountains imaginable and undoubtedly one of best spots to see UFOs in Peru.

It’s where Darren had his sighting. Come for the faces carved into the rock and the human sculpture park, stay for stories of creatures crawling out of the ground to abduct you.

NEIL: Number two, Chilca.

The area around Chilca, just south of Lima, is truly otherworldly. A Mars landscape. Marco told us it’s the Roswell of Peru.

So it’s another must visit if you want to catch some UFOs in action.

ANDRÉS: Number three is the Maria Reiche Museum. Once you’ve seen the Nazca lines, you’re going to want to learn a bit about their history. This museum contains a collection of curiosities that once belonged to German scientist Maria Reiche. She was known as the keeper of the lines and was one of the first people to bring them to international attention.

NEIL: Number four, Aramu Muru.

Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s most ancient and highest lakes is home to floating islands, traditional reed boats, and the interdimensional doorway of Aramu Muru. Locals see this abandoned stone carving as a portal to another dimension. The weirdest thing you’ll find in this part of the country.

ANDRÉS: Number five, the Laguna de Charo.

And for another known isolated spot, head to the stunning Charo lagoon, found in the tiny town of a Iquitos in Peru’s Amazon. It’s famous as the place where Peru’s ex-president Alberto Fujimori had a UFO sighting of his own.

NEIL: Thanks for listening guys. That’s it from us. If you’re a fan of what we do here, please take some time to rate and review our show on Apple Podcasts.

You can also follow us on social media at Passport Podcast on Twitter and on Instagram. For questions and how to continue the conversation, you can find us on Facebook and in our Passport Podcast Fans Facebook group. Next week on Passport, our conspiracy series continues as we head to a place called the world, but this world is in one place.

It’s in Dubai. Harry Stott looks behind the scenes of one of the most insane building projects in a city dominated by them. But in the city of gold, things aren’t quite as shiny as they seem. We’ll see you then.

This episode of Passport was written and produced by Darren Loucaides and Andrés Bartos and edited by me and Harriet Davis.

Big big thanks to Marco Barazza, Cesar Reategui, Luis Jaime Castillo and Corina Duran for helping us make this episode.

Our theme tune was written by our very own Ziggy Stardust, Nick Turner, with very special tracks from Enriquta Cerda Mendes.

Also very special additional music by Darren via his very own band, and drummer Jason Ribeiro, who currently go by the name of Time Cops.

 

Additional stuff from Lt. Fitgibbons Men, Foxey Bassey, Attitude and Auracle.

The show is mixed and mastered by Julian Kwasneski. 

Eliza Engel is our production assistant.

Stacey Book, Dominique Ferrari and Avi Glijansky are beings with intelligence far beyond our own, they also executive produce the show.

Which is hosted by me and a man who deals almost exclusively in close encounters, Andrés Bartos.

We’ll see you in the next place.

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© 2018, Frequency Machine Studios.
© 2018, Frequency Machine Studios.