Lead Masks Case
The Lead Masks Case (Portuguese: O Caso das Máscaras de Chumbo) was the name given to the events which led to the death of two Brazilian electronic technicians: Manoel Pereira da Cruz and Miguel José Viana. Their bodies were discovered on August 20, 1966.
Sequence of facts
On the afternoon of August 20, 1966, a young man was flying a kite on the Morro do Vintém (Vintém Hill) in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when he came upon the bodies of two deceased males and reported them to the authorities. The Morro do Vintém had difficult terrain, and the police were unable to reach the bodies until the next day. When a small team of police and firefighters arrived on scene, they noted the bodies' odd conditions: The two males were lying next to each other, slightly covered by grass. Each wore a formal suit, a lead eye mask, and a waterproof coat. There were no signs of trauma and no evidence of a struggle in the surrounding area. Next to the bodies, police found an empty bottle of water and a packet containing two wet towels. A small notebook was also identified, in which was written, "16:30 estar no local determinado. 18:30 ingerir cápsulas, após efeito proteger metais aguardar sinal máscara" The phrase has been translated to English as, "16:30 (04:30 PM) be at the agreed place. 18:30 (06:30 PM) swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal".
The two men were identified as Manoel Pereira de Cruz and Miguel Jose Viana, two electronic technicians from Campos dos Goytacazes, a town several miles to the northeast of Rio de Janeiro.
After an investigation, the detectives reconstructed a plausible narrative of the last days of both men.
On August 17, they left their city, Campos dos Goytacazes, the stated intent being that they needed to purchase some materials for work. The two men then boarded a bus to Niterói, and arrived at 14:30 (2:30 PM). Evidence shows that the waterproof coats were purchased at a shop there, and one bottle of water from a bar. Upon being interviewed, the waitress from the bar described Miguel as "very nervous," and noticed he frequently checked his watch. That is the last time they were seen alive; it is presumed they went directly from the bar to the spot at which they were discovered. It has been noted that the area was the setting of several local UFO sightings.
Conclusion of the case
No obvious injuries were discovered at the scene, nor later at the autopsy. A search for toxic substances was impossible, as the coroner's office was very busy at the time, so when the autopsy was finally conducted, the internal organs of the two victims were too badly decomposed for reliable testing.
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Research by Charles Bowen of the Flying Saucer Review found a possible explanation. Bowen found that Cruz and Viana, with their friend, Elcio Gomes built some kind of machine in Cruz' back garden that exploded. Bowen also found that another man who worked as an electrician was found on top of another hill that was close to the hill where the two men's bodies were found four years earlier. This man was also wearing a similar lead mask to the two men in 1966. One of the things that linked the three men was that they belonged to a group known as "Scientific Spiritualists", people in the area who were known to take psychedelic drugs because they believed that the drugs would trigger spiritual experiences. The most likely cause of death, due to the notes and the group the two men belonged to, was an overdose of drugs. The men travelled to the hill where they took psychedelic drugs, overdosed and died. The lead masks can be explained by writings found in Viana's workshop, along with tools and crude masks cut from lead. Viana highlighted in his writings passages pertaining to "Intense Luminosity" related to spirits. It is likely the lead masks were to protect the men from the alleged luminosity.
- "10 More Mysteries That Remain Unsolved". Listverse. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- According to a 2004 TV special: Linha Direta Justiça - Máscaras de Chumbo
- The Lead Masks Case - forgetomori
- The lead masks case at Revista Vigília (Portuguese)