The history of Spanish ufology in the letters between Antonio Ribera and Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos

A huge book collection of a 30 years long correspondence by the father of Spanish ufology


Published 2024-02-21 at 04:32

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by Gian Paolo Grassino

Antonio Ribera i Jordà (1920-2001) was one of the fathers of Spanish ufology and perhaps the best known Spanish ufologist in the world.

A translator and writer (also outside ufology: from science fiction to poetry), he was an eclectic character: an activist for the Catalan cause, consul of Romania in Barcelona, and an expert diver to the point of being, in 1953, one of the founders of the Center for Recovery and Underwater Research (CRIS).
Interested in Flying Saucers since 1947, he was one of the founding members of the pioneer ufological association, the Centro de Estudios Interplanetarios (CEI) in Barcelona in 1958.
He collaborated with a wide range of periodicals about mysteries and wrote several books about UFOs, some of which also translated in other languages ("El gran enigma de los platillos volantes”, “Un caso perfecto”, “Proceso a los Ovnis”, “Platillos volantes en Iberoamerica y Espana”, “Los platillos volantes ante la cámara “, “Treinta anos de Ovnis”, “Secuestrados por extraterrestres” etc.).

From right to left: Antonio Ribera, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos and Edoardo Russo at the First London International UFO Congress, August 26, 1979

In all his writings and activities Antonio Ribera was a reference for what we can call a "classical" ufology. A firm supporter of ETH (Extra Terrestrial Hypothesis), he never abandoned that point of view and, indeed, devoted himself completely in favor of the controversial Ummo case (letters sent by self-styled extraterrestrials), which later turned out to be something between a sociological experiment and a plain hoax.
It may therefore seem curious that it is Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, a champion of the rational approach to the UFO phenomenon and often very critical of ufology itself, who is now dealing with Ribera with a whole, thick book.

What linked the two of them was a strong personal relationship of friendship and respect that lasted decades, during which the young Ballester Olmos grew up and gradually detached himself from Ribera's father-like figure without losing their relationship.
With the aim to historicize this relationship, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos collected in a huge volume (nearly 700 large-format, richly illustrated pages) the full collection of the letters exchanged between them over thirty years: three decades of facts and opinions outlining the history of Spanish ufology and, in some ways, the very evolution of ufology from the naïve and pioneering 1960s to today's attempt to make it an object of serious and rational study.
The book "Mi correspondencia con Antonio Ribera" (entirely in Spanish) is published by UPIAR Editions (Torino, Italy) and can be purchased at the Upiar Store online bookstore.

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GianPaolo Grassino

Gian Paolo Grassino has been active in Italian ufology since the mid-70’s, has been a secretary of Centro Ufologico Nazionale, then secretary and later president of Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici, editor-in-chief of Ufologia (1979-1985) and of UFO – Rivista di informazione ufologica (1986-).