THE LEAD MASKS CASE
On August 17, 1966, two electronics repairmen from Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil left town saying they were going to buy supplies for work and a car. They allegedly had the money for a vehicle with them. They took a bus and arrived in Niterói at 14:30. They bought water proof coats at a small shop and a bottle of water at a bar. These men were Miguel Jose Viana and Manoel Pereira da Cruz -The bartender later said that Miguel appeared to be in a hurry as he was frequently checking his watch. That was the last time any one saw the pair alive.
Manoel Pereira da Cruz & Miguel Jose Viana
Three days later, teenager Jorge da Costa Alves out flying his kite found the bodies of the two men on Vintem Hill in Rio de Janeiro. He alerted the police. who decided to wait until the next day to collect the bodies and investigate, as it was already dark and the area was well known for being dangerous due to the presence of drug dealers. With the help of firefighters, a team of police officers led by marshal Oscar Nunes arrived at the scene on the next day, 21 August and conducted an investigation. They ascertained the last known whereabouts of the men and discovered the miscellaneous items that represent their last moments alive.
The bodies were next to each other, slightly covered by grass. They were wearing suits, lead masks and water-proof coats. There was no sign of violence to the bodies or to the surrounding area. Next to the bodies, the police found an empty bottle of water and a packet containing two towels. The masks were a type typically used for protection from radiation, and it is these masks that have given the case its name. Police also found a small notebook which contained a few notes in Portuguese. Translated, they read: “16:30 be at agreed place, 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask signal.”
The money for a car was never found. No obvious injuries were discovered at autopsy; however, a search for toxic substances was impossible as the internal organs of the two victims were not properly preserved.
The case has never properly been resolved, many theories have arisen through the years such as suicide, murder, time travel and alien abduction.
Both Manoel Pereira and Miguel José were avid UFO enthusiasts who were aware that 160 miles away was a recent UFO hotspot. Vintém Hill was known as a local UFO hotspot after many residents claimed to have witnessed strange aerial lights.
The Suits: The suits suggest that the men were meeting someone. However, without knowing their usual attire, it is hard to say.
The Lead Masks: The lead masks suggest that the men were expecting radioactivity. The problem is that no radiation was detected at the site. There is the possibility that Vintem Hill was not the “agreed place” and that the men needed the masks elsewhere.
The Towels and Jackets: The towels indicate that the men were expecting moisture, as do the jackets.
The Water Bottle: This one is easy. They were supposed to return the bottle to the bar. They drank the water, it seems, but were unable to return the bottle.
The Notes: Herein lies the biggest mystery. Who were they meeting at the arranged place? Were they meeting a person or hoping for an event? Was Vintem Hill the arranged place? We have no way of knowing. Then, there are the capsules. Most sources say toxicology turned up nothing because the organs were not preserved. Therefore, we do not know if the men took the capsules or what they contained. To be literal, we are not even sure if the notes refer to that day, though at least that seems likely. “Protect the metals” may refer to some metals they were meeting to get rid of. “Wait for mask signal” obviously means they were waiting for someone to tell them to put on their masks.
One explanation is that the men were meeting someone for a clandestine deal involving radioactive material. However, that would not explain the capsule mention, the towels or the jackets. Another explanation is that they were conducting an experiment, but there is no evidence of an experiment leading to their death, such as materials for said experiment. They may have been duped, murdered and dumped on the hill, though there was no evidence of violence or violent injuries.
Another mystery to ponder, again filed under unsolved.