UFOs, the Little People, and Ancient Shamanic Wisdom

by Brent Raynes

In the summer 1993 (number 32) edition of the highly respected Shaman’s Drum magazine, a publication devoted to articles and reports about aboriginal peoples, their ways of life, and their spiritual practices throughout the world, American ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin described his fascinating experiences among the Yanomamo Indians of Venezuela. While he was visiting with them he tried first-hand their hallucinogenic snuff that was called epena. During his epena-induced entrancement he would glimpse “little men” at the edge of his visual field dancing. When he questioned a shaman there about what he saw he was told that they were known to them as the “hekura,” who are the “spirits of the forest.”

Describing the two hallucinogenic snuffs that the Yanomamo Indians prepare, Plotkin referred to the “chemical sophistication of Amazonian Indians.” He wrote that these people used two hallucinogens that they gathered from two different trees. One was a nutmeg relative and the other a legume. Biochemically, he noted, they were tryptamine alkaloids. It was explained to Plotkin that one was to help you to see things like the kekura, and the other plant was to help you to hear things. He pondered how incredible it was that so-called “primitive” people could isolate two specific plants from the world’s greatest forest where there existed tens of thousands of different trees, and be able to access the realm of their spirits as a result.

In their book Mound Builders: Edgar Cayce’s Forgotten Record of Ancient America, Doctors Greg and Lora Little, and John Van Auken quote author Jeremy Narby on the subject of Amazonian shamen and the hallucinogenic ayahuasca (See interview with Dr. Rick Strassman in this issue!). “The brew is a necessary combination of two plants, which must be boiled together for hours,” Narby wrote in his book Cosmic Serpent. “The first contains a hallucinogenic substance, dimethyltryptamine, which also seems to be secreted by the human brain; but this hallucinogen has no effect when swallowed, because a stomach enzyme called monoamine oxidase blocks it. The second plant, however, contains several substances that inactivate this precise stomach enzyme, allowing the hallucinogen to reach the brain. So here are people without electron microscopes who choose, among some 80,000 Amazonian plant species, the leaves of a bush containing a hallucinogenic brain hormone, which they combine with a vine containing substances that inactivate an enzyme of the digestive tract, which would otherwise block the hallucinogenic effect. And they do this to modify their consciousness.” In addition, when asked how the shamen knew to select these particular plants they replied, “The plants tell us.”

Author Micheal Craft, in his book Alien Impact (1996), (SEE BELOW) touches upon the effects of the DMT (dimethyltryptamine) containing ayahuasca and Peruvian shamanism. “In 1990, I began working with anthropologist Luis Eduardo Luna to develop a conference on botanical shamanism,” Craft wrote. “Luis had been working closely with the Peruvian shaman, Pablo Amaringo. Amaringo was an ayahuascero, or healer skilled in preparing the hallucinogenic brew, ayahuasca. Containing the high-powered hallucinogen DMT, ayahuasca is a necessary component of the fairy-rich Peruvian shamanic tradition. ...As a child, Amaringo heard tales of his grandfather, who was said to have joined the world of spirits through high doses of the visionary substance. Later studying the family tradition himself, Amaringo had countless visions of fairies, UFOs, and plant spirits in his role as community healer.”

Craft also shares how he once smoked a synthetic version of DMT and soon found himself in “bejeweled ‘gardens’ filled with dancing fairies and elves.” Although it seemed like an hour had passed, he writes that only about ten minutes had elapsed. “It did not seem imaginary or hallucinatory at all,” he added. This is a familiar comment from many who have returned from the DMT experience.

Two American researchers, Terence McKenna, described as an ethnobotanical philosopher and his brother Dennis, a molecular biologist, were on a Peruvian Amazon expedition back in 1971, searching for evidence of an authentic shamanic experience, when they ingested psilocybin mushrooms and had “encounters” with UFOs and strange beings.

Dr. Rick Strassman, author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, explained to me, “Psilocybin is quite similar to DMT--it’s changed into the active compound psilocin in the gut, which differs from DMT by only one oxygen atom.” In his book, Dr. Strassman describes how during his government funded DMT research at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine in Albuquerque he had conducted a five years study of DMT, between 1990 through 1995, on some 60 volunteers administering some 400 doses. Although he had “expected mystical and near-death” images to be described by his DMT volunteers, unexpectedly, many described “beings,” some who were quite similar to the aliens from UFO entity accounts. “I spent some time trying to figure out what to call the things: beings, entities, non-corporeal life forms, aliens, what have you. Beings seemed most generic but also captured the sense that these things that people encountered on high doses of DMT had intelligence, awareness, will, and often interacted at various levels with the volunteers. This interaction may have been limited to just a sense of being aware of the volunteer’s observing presence. On the other hand, some beings were ‘expecting’ the appearance of the volunteer, and got down to business with them right away. Some beings probed, had sex with, communicated with, demonstrated the future or how various complex processes work too, and requested help from volunteers—the whole gamut. A handful were more typical ‘alien abduction’ scenarios, with being transported through space into hypertechnological vessels or laboratories, being tested and probed, having things inserted, and the like.” (See interview with Dr. Strassman)

Dr. Strassman also has some fascinating thoughts on how DMT may allow people to see things not normally visible to us. “At least 95% of the mass of the universe is dark: doesn’t reflect or generate light,” he shared in our interview. “We know it’s there by its effect on the shape of the universe; that is, by its gravitational effects. It makes sense to me that this matter, which is most likely streaming through us at all times, is inhabited. We’re spending trillions of dollars trying to find dark matter with high tech machines buried miles underground. Our brain is much more sophisticated than any machine we can build, and if consciousness can change through changing brain chemistry, I wonder if indeed we might be able to perceive, with the aid of DMT’s effects, things we normally don’t see, but which are around us all the time.”

Back in 1965, Peru, like many other parts of the world, was engulfed in a tremendous wave of UFO activity. In addition to UFOs though, a wave of dwarfish UFOnauts (unusually small, about 32-34 inches in height) caught global attention and ended up being written about and speculated upon by top UFO researchers in the field at that time, including Jim and Coral Lorenzen, Jacques Vallee, Otto Binder, Gordon Creighton, and James McCampbell.

Here were some of the most dramatic incidents:

August 20, 1965, shortly before noon, just outside Cuzco, a silvery disk about 5 feet in diameter was seen to land on the terrace of the ancient Incan stone fortress of Sacsahuaman by an engineer named Alberto Ugarte, along with his wife, a Senor Elwin Votger, and “numerous” other witnesses. Allegedly two small “beings” with bright dazzling uniforms emerged briefly, seemed surprised to see the humans present, got back into the disk and flew off into the western sky.

September 1, 1965, about 5 a.m., near Huanuco, a workman at an airfield saw an oval-shaped UFO land and a 34 inch tall entity with a head some twice the size of a normal human’s head, emerge from the craft. Four others allegedly also saw the UFO. The workman claimed that the entity made gestures, but he was unable to understand what it was trying to convey. The being then re-entered the UFO which became illuminated, rose vertically into the air, and then moved off toward the west.

September 8, 1965, around 10 p.m., a 7-year-old boy in Puno excitedly ran up to his family describing seven creatures he had seen with one eye, standing about 80 centimeters tall, which had emerged from a luminous object. The family claimed that they then saw a very bright light rising quickly into the night sky. Around about this same time, a sports writer named Jorge Chaves was driving with his family in adjacent suburbs of Juli and Pomata, when he claimed that they saw a UFO gently settle down on the road ahead. Chaves allegedly tried to approach it but the UFO rose into the air and soon was lost to sight as it departed at great speed.

September 12, 1965, in the area of Santa Barbara, near Lake Ceulacocha, a Lt. Sebastian Manche reportedly saw two 32-inch tall beings walking on the snow. That same night, many in Huancavelica watched for some two hours as two UFOs flew about above the town.

September 20, 1965, about 4:30 p.m., near the town of Pichaca, the district of Puno, a shepherdess allegedly saw half a dozen 32-inch tall beings emerge from a landed UFO. They spoke, the witness claimed, in a language that resembled “the cackling of geese.” They wore white clothing that produced intermittent flashes of light. The girl was very frightened and fled the area and hid. Later, in the area of the landing site, a liquid resembling oil was found, which may or may not have been related to the sighting.

As synchronicity would have it, I was studying and puzzling over these curious Peruvian alien accounts from yesteryear when I stumbled upon a paper that had been posted by one Douglass Price-Williams, Ph.D., of the Dept. of Anthropology, UCLA. His paper was entitled Shamanism and UFO Abductions. (It can be found at:


In this fascinating paper, the author compared many shamanic descriptions of strange lights, sky spirits, and “little men,” to the modern phenomenon of UFO abductions. In fact, toward the end of his paper I read where Professor Price-Williams had learned from a colleague that “on the island in the middle of Lake Titicaca... ‘little men’ are said to live side by side with ordinary people.” Puno (the site of some of the dwarfish ufonaut accounts from 1965) is located on the shore of that sacred Incan lake.

Coincidence? Or do some moderns understandably have a difficult time telling the difference between the mythic “little men” who have lived “side by side” with their “primitive” forefathers and the “modern” notion of extraterrestrial visitors coming to their planet?

How do we discern what is real, what is delusion; what is truth, what is deception? The old questions - the ancient mysteries - continue to haunt and puzzle us. When will we finally become sophisticated enough to discern the objective reality that lurks within the shadows of our mythologies and religious beliefs, our fears and superstitions? When will we finally become truly liberated and live in a New Age of enlightenment and understanding, instead of living the way the vast majority of us do by simply paying lip service to such ideologies?

Alien Impact