Written by Peet Banks
One day, in August 1966, Jorge da Costa Alves was out flying his kite near his home on Vintem Hill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he came across the bodies of two men. Both were lying on their backs, dead, wearing water resistant trench coats. Each had a crudely made lead mask covering their eyes – the kind used to protect from radiation. There didn’t appear to be a struggle, so what happened?
The men turned out to be Miguel Jose Viana and Manuel Pereira da Cruz, two friends who worked as minor electricians. Three days before they were discovered they had told their families that they needed to go and buy supplies for their business, and hopped on a bus for the three hour journey.
When the police came to investigate the bodies, they noted a few other strange things nearby, such as two towels in a packet, an empty water bottle and a notebook with a cryptic message scribbled inside. Translated into English, the message said: “16.30 be at the agreed place. 18.30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask sign.”
So what did they take and why did they need protection from radiation? The autopsy reported that there was no known cause of death. Of course, it’s possible the tablets they swallowed killed them – but we will never know because for some reason there was no toxicology done on the deceased.
Investigations turned up a few more clues. The shop where they purchased their trench coats was found, and the bar where they bought their bottle of water. The waitress remembered the pair, and also remembered that they seemed very edgy, and always looking at their watches, as if they were running late for something.
There have been many theories over the years as to what happened. Was it just that they were simple and easily manipulated by somebody, making it simpler to rob them. They did not have any money on their persons when their bodies were found, so it could be possible.
Or did the victims have an interest and belief in time travel, thinking they had discovered some kind of doorway to other times? Did they buy the coats and lead masks to protect themselves from whatever they may find?
The most popular theory is that they were quite intense UFO believers, and that they were on the Hill to make ‘first contact’ with an alien race. It is well known that they were intrigued by the idea of alien life, had researched sightings, and that the Hill where their bodies were found was even a UFO hotspot.
Where the story gets really interesting is that because it created such media hype, many people came forward to tell of the strange things they had seen in the sky while on Vintem Hill.
Did aliens kill Manoel and Miguel? I guess we will never know.