by Charles Lear
There are UFO cases noteworthy for their extreme weirdness that every UFOlogist is probably familiar with. There is the 1952 Flatwoods Monster Case, the 1955 “Incident at Kelly”, and this writer’s favorite, the 1966 Point Pleasant, West Virginia case involving the Mothman. Some might not be aware of a seriously strange case from Genoa, Italy known as “The Zanfretta Case.” This case is chronicled in a 2014 English translation of a book by Genoese reporter, Rino Di Stefano appropriately titled, “The Zanfretta Case.” The original 1984 Italian version was titled, “Luci nella Notte-UFO: il caso Zanfretta.” The translation is a bit clumsy, which gives the book a certain charm, and has a forward written by the late Wendelle Stevens. Stevens was a prominent UFO researcher and he wrote in his forward that he was excited by the case and invited Di Stefano and the principal witness, Pier Fortunato Zanfretta to his 1991 First World UFO Congress in Tucson, Arizona.
On Friday, December 8, 1978, a six column article titled, “Close Encounters in Torriglia” written by reporter, Enzo Bonifazi, appeared in the Secolo XIX, which was the “most widely read newspaper in the region of Liguria.” Di Stefano describes conversations about the case taking place in the offices of his own paper, Corriere Mercantile, as being mostly dismissive. Bonifazi had reported that security guard, Pier Fortunato Zanfretta had not only encountered a landed UFO, but had also come in contact with “a huge being, about three meters tall, with wavy skin as if it were fat or a loose sweatsuit and gray in any case.” Italian militarized police, the “Carabinieri” had investigated after being alerted by Zanfretta’s security company, “Val Bisagno” and stated in their report that there had been witnesses in the area who had seen a “great light” over Torriglia around the same time that the events involving Zanfretta had taken place. Di Stefano was intrigued by the case and asked permission from his extremely skeptical editor to investigate the case after hours, which was granted. Di Stefano, a press photographer and a fellow reporter drove to the site and were impressed by a landing trace that had been described in the Carabinieri report. On the frozen grounds of the Villa Casa Nostra, owned by dentist, Ettore Righi, was a semicircle approximately 3 meters across denoted by 15 centimeter wide line pressed 3 centimeters into the earth.