On December 22, 1996, Israeli television news announced that the body of a small, strange creature had been found in the Galilee farming village of Achihod. The previous evening, villagers had seen many UFOs, the story said -- and this body reportedly fell from one of them. Other media picked up the tale, and soon it became a sensation.
CNI News first heard of the story a few days later when we received email, forwarded through several intermediaries, from one Miles Johnston in London:
"I am currently co-ordinating scientific analysis of a now deceased EBE, from Northern Israel," Johnston proclaimed.
"Every step is being taken to ensure that the Santille [sic] circus from last year is not repeated.
"For this reason the scientists are being kept advised.
"PLEASE MAKE THIS CLEAR: The scientists can only verify the evidence, if they are left alone. For this reason the usual UFO circus PLEASE STAND BY, and Keep OFF! EVERYONE WILL BE ADVISED OF THE FACTS, and not the GOSSIP, IF AND WHEN POSSIBLE.
"The material :
1> Is on Ice, in a secret location.
2> Video material of the EBE exists.
3> Photographic Material exists.
4> Physical samples, one internal, one external has [sic] been analysed.
"It is NOT a Grey, but of a type, of which a number are already in scientists' hands in Europe, and this one is yet to be confirmed.
"I hope to have European and US science teams to make secondary and tertiary analysis, as requested by the Israel team.
"As the situation is still subject to firm scientific confirmation, by examing the evidence, rather than commercial hokus pokus, all is subject to verification." [end message]
At first blush, we at CNI News suspected that Mr. Johnston had already jumped to several gravely unfounded conclusions regarding the alleged "EBE." We therefore decided to seek confirming information from other, unrelated sources. We put out some inquiries, and further information was soon received.
A long article by Israeli journalist Barry Chamish regarding the unusual little corpse, plus additional comments by Israeli researcher Dr. Rachelle Fishman, appeared on the internet on December 27. Both Chamish and Fishman were on the scene of this latest controversy. As of our latest information, Fishman remains undecided as to the nature of the mystery creature, but Chamish has drawn some firm conclusions.
In the words of Dr. Fishman, "Mr. Chamish and I both had access to the same information, but the difference is that he stopped three days ago and decided the whole thing was a hoax. I, despite the spate of journalist's coverage, am more interested in the process of discovery or interference with it, so such a conclusion is not helpful, although this story has had lots of news coverage, well out of proportion to the findings allowed to be available, or as yet available."
Fishman acknowledges the speculation of some ufologists that the small body may be that of an extraterrestrial creature. She laments the fact that an apparent comedy of errors prevented qualified scientists from examining the body until after it began to decompose. However, she states "that the description of the creature's body size, the hands without fingers, mucous membranes, and convulsive flexion movements, etc, fits that of an aborted fetus or newborn of a non-human vertebrate; I wouldn't venture a guess as to the specific class of vertebrates." In other words, Fishman herself leans toward a terrestrial solution to the puzzle.
Nonethless, she accuses journalist Chamish of prematurely rushing to judgment. Perhaps she's right; but Chamish himself tells a complex tale of a mysterious event, perhaps (though not necessarily) explainable as a case of mistaken identity, that quickly became a farce driven by visions of sudden fame and fortune. Here is his report (somewhat edited for length), reproduced with permission:
IT'S A BIRD, IT'S AN ALIEN, IT'S A FRAUD
by Barry Chamish
On December 22, Israel Television's First Channel Evening News program broadcast an exciting report. It seems that on a night of intense UFO activity in the Galilee farming village of Achihod, an "alien" fell from a craft and was captured by a local resident.
An attractive woman, Tziona Damti, was interviewed and described coming face to face with the alien the evening before, standing motionless just outside her father-in-law's barn. She showed her father-in-law the weird "being" and he said it was nothing. She went to sleep but in the morning returned to find the "alien" standing in the same place.
So she called the police, [who] sent two officers to investigate. According to the conventional story, journalists monitoring the police band picked up the call and this was the start of a media event. The cops arrived and when one bent down to put the "alien" in a bucket, it jumped on his back. Officer Asher Ben Ezra told the press that the volume of bodily fluids left on the ground by the creature was abnormal and persuaded him that there was something suspicious about it.
The police, apparently deciding the creature was no danger to the public peace, returned it -- and [the] media circus was on. Besides the report on TV, the newspaper Maariv printed a photo of the "alien" on its front page while Yediot Ahronot devoted two pages in the center of the paper to the encounter.
On the night of the TV report, I called Michael Hesemann, editor of [German] Magazin 2000 and told him the news. He asked that I hire a cameraman and cover the story in depth. I immediately called Tziona's home and spoke to her husband Yisrael.
"You'd better hurry," he said. "The body is disintegrating quickly. Most of the head has melted away."
"Please," I replied, "Put the body in a nylon bag and freeze it."
The next day, the Jerusalem Post reported that an "alien" was being kept in the freezer of the Damti home. The Hebrew papers also reported on UFO activity over and nearby the village. Maariv connected the UFOs with a recent wave of mysterious livestock disappearances.
I arrived on time, after a three hour journey, and Yisrael Damti was not at home. Tziona invited me inside and called his cellphone. He was at a laboratory of the Technion Technological Institute with fifty journalists and observers, including Uri Geller. He apologized for not meeting me, but the "alien" was about to undergo a thorough autopsy.
"Are you filming it? " I asked. The answer was no.
"Well," I replied, "If you don't, the first link in the chain of evidence will be destroyed. You won't have a creature or proper proof that it was examined scientifically."
He told me that he would ask for permission to allow me to film the examination. Why he needed permission, I don't know -- but a few minutes later one Debby Segal phoned back. I knew her as a UFO groupie who had organized a failed conference some months before. She denied me permission to film. I tried a new tack, which I came to regret very shortly after.
"If this is really a space being," I said, "it's about to be chopped into pieces and you'll have nothing to show anyone. Whole, it may be very valuable to science and the Damtis. It will be a huge loss if you cut it into strips."
She handed the phone to one Uri Avishai. "Yisrael [Damti] only wants money, money, money," he explained. "I'm interested in truth. But let's talk money anyway. How much can he get?"
"I don't know, "I answered. "My editor informed me that if I could acquire a real alien, he could bring a well known financier of UFO research into the picture."
"We'll be back in half an hour. Give me Tziona."
He then instructed Tziona not to allow us to film her til they arrived. It was already 2:00 in the afternoon and we had two and a half hours of sunlight left.
I spent the next hour interviewing Tziona and talking UFOs. She told me the alien appeared out of nowhere and had large, black eyes. It was originally 20 cm. long [slightly less than 8 inches] but after purging itself of an enormous volume of body fluids, had shrunk to 5 cm.
The pictures I had seen had shown a green creature with lizard-like features. There were four limbs but no fingers. Five cm. is the length of a human finger, and Israeli ufologist Doron Rotem was quoted in Maariv and Yediot Ahronot saying no alien yet reported was only five cm. tall. The next day he was on the early evening news program of Channel Two television debunking the incident point by point. He later told me, "After that interview, I received actual threats from the UFO community. They want an Israeli Roswell, and I had the nerve to say this wasn't it."
Tziona went on. The creature had a human-like face and jumped away whenever anyone tried to touch it. The same night, December 21, that she discovered it, blue luminiscent discs were seen by numerous residents of the village. I took down the name of one witness. And that night, a sheep farmer, also from the Damti clan, lost fifteen of his animals without a trace. Again, I wrote down the name. Further, Uri Geller told her that in the nearby Arab town of Tamra, he was invited to see a small UFO flying inside someone's home.
Clearly, there was real UFO activity in the area. And why not? Since 1987, Israel has been in the midst of a UFO wave that intensified profoundly last February. In big cities and small towns, UFOs had been filmed, physical evidence left behind, and one highly likely abduction widely publicized. [The unusual abduction case of Yuri Isaacov was reported in CNI News, vol 2, no 14, dated October 1, 1996.] Until now, almost every reported incident was factual. But there were probable hoaxes.
The best known example was silicon shards found in the famous landing circles of Kadima. Between March 1993 and February 1995, at least fifteen very real landing circles were indentified in Kadima and one UFO successfully filmed. The flattened grass within the circles was imbued with a red fluid, later tested and found to be cadmium-based.
Also found were shards of silvery rocks which the National Geological Laboratory director, Dr. Henry Fohner, found to be of "elemental silicon which does not exist in nature." While researching Kadima, two people reported that they saw a local resident spreading the rocks into circles. Further, I saw him lead a group of researchers to an obscure circle where he told them to dig in a muddy puddle in the center. Lo and behold, silicon emerged. So I took samples to a microbiologist, Dr. Rachelle H.B. Fishman [the same Dr. Fishman quoted above -- ed], who is the Israeli correspondent for the respected medical journal, The Lancet. She had them tested by two geologists, both of whom concluded that they were composed of industrial-grade silicon. In June of last year, ufologists found the likely source of the "alien" silicon -- a dump outside an electronics factory near Holon.
Yisrael Damti returned with Uri [Avishai], Debby and two very strange women. The first thing I said to him was, "There's ninety minutes of sunlight left. We have to start filming."
Uri interrupted and said, "Relax, have some lunch first. Maybe talk to the ladies."
The ladies were allies of Yuri Isaacov of Nazareth. Last summer, he was [reportedly] abducted by small greys who lifted him into their spacecraft and ultimately threw a yellow powder on him, which made him pass out. The powder, composed of 55% aluminium, was unknown in Israel and made his case believable. But it turned out the powder burns could not be cured by conventional medicine, and he was in great pain. [CNI News was previously unaware of the claim that Isaacov suffered "powder burns" in connection with his alleged abduction -- ed.] He needed expensive medical care. Could I help? I said I'd interview him and publicize his ordeal. That's not what the ladies wanted to hear. They wanted someone to pay for an exclusive interview. When I refused to become a checkbook journalist, they left.
Next was Uri's turn. He claimed he was in the Israeli UFO research business for the past 25 years, a good trick since the first recorded landings began ten years before. What he wanted more than anything else was the right to negotiate with my editor for the rights to the film and possession of the "alien" itself. I turned this huckster down twice.
Clearly, UFO madness had hit Achihod.
[Chamish laments that similar cases of UFO madness had previously hit several other Israeli towns, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a frenzy of greed and wild hopes. See additional story below.]
Whoever Uri [Avishai] was, he had persuaded Yisrael Damti that he was going to make him rich. And it was Damti who offered to allow me to film the creature and his wife if I promised him future payment for selling it to my editor. I refused and explained that no one, including my editor, would ever offer money without a thorough preliminary report. He agreed to bring the creature to me to be filmed. Again I waited half an hour, this time outside, until Uri announced that I would not be able to even see it, let alone film it, because "I would spread doubt about its authenticity."
At that moment, I knew I was dealing with a hoax. The Achihod "alien" incident appeared to be stage-managed. Yisrael and Tziona are simple villagers and Segal and Avishai, the big city shysters. Everything was aimed at making money. I refused to play the game and walked out of the play. The next day, Segal appeared on the news and announced that an "unnamed" laboratory would offer proof of the veracity of the alien nature of Tziona's creature soon. In the meantime, Tziona announced that the alien would be put on the auction block with bids beginning at $10,000.
On the way back, I stopped in Zichron Ya'acov and visited Dr. Fishman. She had seen the gel of the so-called alien on TV and pictures in the paper. "It's my opinion," she said," that a simple needle biopsy would have revealed what this is in a few hours. What you have here is probably an aborted vertebrate embryo or newborn, still covered in a multi-layered gelatinous sac. When the sac breaks or it sheds the sacs, amniotic fluid leaks out. The jumping or flipping is typical flexional and convulsive reactions of a newborn or aborted embryo, such as a salamander. Pity it was frozen. That would destroy any cell membranes of a water-based, earth-based, creature."
Doron Rotem agrees, "I thought it was an embryo, but of a chameleon. I reached the conclusion the whole thing was a hoax from Tziona's testimony. She told me the thing was dead from the minute she saw it. When she started talking to reporters, it miraculously came to life. And originally, she told me the creature was 5 cm tall. Suddenly it's grown to 20 cm. but it shrunk later on."
My opinion is that initially Tziona was caught in UFO hysteria and imagined a lizard embryo to be an alien. Then the hucksters arrived at her door and the hoax began in earnest.
[Barry Chamish notes that a laboratory analysis is expected soon on the controversial "alien" body. If and when further information on this case is released, CNI News will report it. Barry Chamish can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Rachelle Fishman can be emailed at email@example.com and Miles Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Original file name: CNI - Alien corpse in Israel??
This file was converted with TextToHTML - (c) Logic n.v.