Revealing 33 years of UFOs over Catalonia

Spain’s Defense Ministry has declassified reports of sightings between 1962 and 1995

More than 80 UFO sightings in Spain have been published by the Defense Ministry on its online library. Over 1,953 pages provide information about 33 years of investigations carried out to clear up the origin of strange lights spotted in the sky. But more than three decades of probing have failed to turn up any answers.

Part of a file about one sighting.
Part of a file about one sighting.

One of the best-known cases in the Catalonia region took place on May 13, 1969. At the Reus military base, near Tarragona, a motionless light was seen in the sky by air traffic controllers. It was spotted while a Boeing 727 flight bound for Düsseldorf, Germany was taking off.

An agile light aircraft that was in the area was ordered to approach the UFO, in an attempt to identify what it was. But as soon as the plane came closer to it, the light disappeared in the blink of an eye.

This is just one of the previously confidential cases that have now have been declassified. Sixteen sightings from a total of 84, documented between 1962 and 1995, took place in Catalonia.

In each report the circumstances surrounding the sighting are detailed. Time, place and meteorological conditions are included, and in some cases there are pictures, drawings, pieces of news or interviews that help to contextualize them.

Sixteen sightings from a total of 84, documented between 1962 and 1995, took place in Catalonia

Ufology enthusiasts believe that Montserrat mountain, one of the Catalonia’s most important tourist attractions, is a good place to see UFOs. A group meets there the on the 11th day of every month in a bid to spot new unidentified objects on the sky. The day was not chosen randomly.

One of the most famous ufology cases in Spain took place on November 11, 1979. A plane flying from Austria to Tenerife had to make an emergency landing at Manises Airport, close to Valencia. While the aircraft was flying over Catalonia, the crew was surprised by three red lights approaching dangerously close to it. Captain, co-pilot, crew and passengers all witnessed the incident. A military aircraft tried to identify the origin of the lights but when they came close to the UFO, it disappeared. It seems the only thing the pilot was able to see was a triangular object.

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In 1971 there is evidence of a sighting in Montserrat. The abbot of the Santa Maria de Montserrat Benedictine abbey reported seeing mysterious lights in the sky on on October 23. In fact, it was not an isolated phenomenon. That same day many warnings of sightings were received throughout the whole Iberian Peninsula.

Although some of these events have perfectly rational theories that would explain the sighting, some are not that easy to solve and serve to keep the mystery alive.

English version by Mireia Moles and Júlia Sánchez. in English

From November onward, the Catalan edition of EL PAÍS,, will include a selection of news stories in English.

The texts will be prepared by journalism students at the Pomepeu Fabra University (UPF), who will be adapting content from Catalan current affairs every week, adding extra information and explanation to these stories so that they can be understood in a global context.


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