“ We have to stop and be humble enough to understand that there is something called mystery” ( Paulo Coelho )
“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth asking.” (Arthur C. Clarke )
I am looking forward to my return to Chile this month for lectures, seminars and a chance to learn more backstory concerning a mysterious entity now known as the Atacama Humanoid” . The Atacama desert, possibly one of the driest places on Earth. This area stretches some 600 miles (1,000 km ) from Peru’s southern border into Northern Chile and rises from a thin coastal border to the pampas descending into river gorges layered with mineral sediment from the Andes. Owing to its extreme aridity, the landscape has been likened to Mars and once served as a location for filming Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets.
As the story goes, in 2003 Oscar Munoz, a treasure hunter digging in around the grounds of La Noria, a ghost town in Northern Chile, discovered mummified remains of a strange little being only six inches (150mm ) in length. This tiny desiccated corpse was found near an abandoned church yard , tucked into a burlap pouch, carefully tied around with a violet ribbon. Huaqueros and hobbyists often frequent such gloomy ghost towns looking for bottles, tokens and other objects of historical value. During the late 19th century, La Noria was once a thriving mining town at a time when extraction of nitrate was a booming industry. The boom ended just prior to World War I when the Germans discovered a way to manufacture synthetic nitrate. Chilean historians note that naturalist Charles Darwin visited in1835. The now isolated and deserted town is widely believed to be haunted as a result of harsh treatment of miners and other workers who slaved under gruesome conditions. La Noria’s spectacularly creepy cemetery features many open graves, strewn with partially clothed skeletons which add credence to local legends of walking dead, moving apparitions and other paranormal activity.
The appearance of the La Noria anomaly closely resembles some of the popular media ‘s depiction of small , child- like space aliens with large eyes and over sized heads. As a result, this mysterious figure was eventually sold to Ramon Navia-Osorio , Head of the Institute for Exobiological Investigation and Study in Barcelona . Some time later the find came to the attention of Dr. Steven Greer , retired American medical doctor and Ufologist. Dr. Greer founded the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI) and The Disclosure Project which seeks to reveal government classified and otherwise suppressed information about extra-terrestrial visitors to this planet. In his documentary film Sirius, the enigmatic figure from the Atacama desert was prominently featured as potential evidence of the presence of off world visitors. Prior to this time various medically trained and other forensic experts ventured opinions as the nature of the specimen which they variously believed to be an aborted fetus, some form of dwarfism, a child with progeria (premature aging ) or even a hoax cobbled together from bird bones and glue, or maybe skillfully carved from a remnant of human or animal thigh bone.
As a scientist, Dr. Greer felt that the next step in the discovery process should involve genetic testing and therefore engaged the services of immunologist Gary P. Nolan Ph.D Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Proteomics Center for Immunology at Stanford University. The specimen also received a computed tomography scan and as well as a complete series of x-rays. This CT scan clearly indicated traces of internal organs including heart and lungs of a biological entity thus eliminating the likelihood of a finely crafted hoax. Upon initial examination, Drs. Greer and Nolan observed the desert mummified, skeletal remains contained an oversized , strangely configured cranial vault with marked sagittal crest together with 4 skull bones, in contrast to our 6 major cranial plates , as well 10 rather than human 12 ribs . The aborted fetus theory lost credulity with a revelation that both the epiphyseal plates , bone density studies, and presence of a tooth indicate that this subject under study had lived to the ages of between 6 and 8 years. No traces of genetic material for progeria or any known form of dwarfism were found. Dr. Nolan was sufficiently intrigued with such skeletal anomalies that he sought a consult with pediatric radiologist, Ralph Lachman M.D. Professor Lachman is the Internationally revered expert on bone dysplasia and Co-Director of the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry . Dr. Lachman reported his finding that this specimen was consistent with no known category and that he had “never seen such a thing”.
Meanwhile, the still incomplete genetic testing results have revealed that the tiny creature was male , lived no more than a few decades ago, and his mother likely to have been an indigenous woman from the Chilean region of western South America.
Dr. Nolan’s report, as a result of complex genetic testing, which is still underway, reports that the mysterious boy from the Atacama desert was 92 % human and thus he became known as the Atacama Humanoid. Our mainstream media chose to run with this rather simplistic, unexamined story, as they were all too eager to report that, “Ata”, the tiny boy from the desert, was indeed , only human. Dr. Greer however, takes exception to this blithe assumption . In truth, the genetic results from Dr. Nolan stated that the DNA material is in excellent, abundant and fine condition and the specimen was 92 % human. While that might appear definitive, we need to bear in mind that we have 99.5% of genetic material in common with Neanderthals , 96-97% in common with Chimpanzee and other primates and only 92 % with the Atacama discovery. …significantly less than primates? How to account for the missing percent of unknown DNA ?
These puzzling DNA results now present a possibility that “Ata” may be a hybrid result of an interaction between a human woman and an off world entity, or then again, maybe not. We have reports of tiny “little people” of various sorts from historical and recent times , from all over our globe. While some are considered friendly , even helpful, others are held to be mischievous and even malevolent. In Cornish tradition, with which I am the most familiar , we had our local pointed cap pixies, and there was no agreement about either their nature or their intentions. Overall, family and other local advice was rather consistent, “Don’t venture alone , out into the moors, you might be ‘pixalated’, lose your way, and never, ever , be found again”. As a result, I chose to observe their local wisdom along with that inevitable price of always knowing that my undue caution might have passed up yet another great adventure.