Zanfretta UFO Incident: The Italian Night Watchman Who Claimed He Was Abducted By Aliens Many Times

Updated: Jul 24

In 1978 it is claimed that an Italian man by the name of Pier Fortunato Zanfretta was abducted by aliens, 52 witnesses also confirmed they had also seen the UFO on the same night.

The truth story of Pier Zanfretta alien abduction
Pier Zanfretta claimed he was abducted by aliens numerous times of a several year period

It was the a cold night on December 6th, 1978, when 26-year-old night watchman, Pier Zanfretta was out on a routine patrol in the small village of Torriglia, Italy. This was the night that the married, father of two, life would change forever following a terrifying encounter with creatures he said were certainly not of this world.

According to Pier Zanfretta's report, he was negotiating some dangerous, icy roads in his patrol vehicle whilst on route to an unoccupied country property of a client, Dr Ettore Righi, when out of no where, the car engine, radio and lights on his car suddenly died.

At this moment Zanfretta claimed that he had seen four large lights manoeuvring around in the garden of the house owned by Dr Righi, his first thought was that he had stumbled across intruders attempting to break into his clients home, so with his flashlight and revolver in hand he jumped out the car and quietly went to investigate.

When Zanfretta was attempting to sneak up on what he believed were criminals, he describes feeling a touch on his shoulder, upon quickly turning round what he claims he saw was not a criminal, it was, as he described "An enormous green, ugly and frightful creature, with undulating skin… as though he were very fat or dressed in a loose, grey tunic… no less than 10-feet tall.”

Pier Zanfretta Alien Abduction Hypnosis
Pier Zanfretta described the alien beings as enormous, green, terrifying creatures

In a later interview that Zanfretta gave he would go into much more detail about the descriptions of the apparent alien entities that abducted him, he would describe in-depth features such as lots of hair, green coloured skin, rounded fingertips, unusual points on the sides of their heads and deep red veins on their forehead with yellow triangular eyes. Based on the descriptions that Zanfretta gave on the creatures, many people believed they matched the description of what are referred to within ufology as Reptilians.

Zanfretta was struck by both fear and shock of what stood in front of him, causing him to immediately drop his flashlight, but somehow he managed to compose himself, grab his flashlight, and sprint away, heading back for his car. As he got closer to his vehicle, Zanfretta testified how a brilliant bright light began to beam up behind him.

He turned and looked over his shoulder to witness a huge, triangular shape which he said completely blinded him with how bright it was. He covered his eyes with his arm and stared absolutely shell shocked at this gigantic UFO in front him, he reported that the craft was even bigger than the house.

Zanfretta told of how the UFO ascended up with a "hiss" right behind the property of Dr Righi, it was after this he claimed that he was blasted with an immense wave of heat, before managing to make it back to his car. Once back in his vehicle, he contacted the security centre of the company he worked for which was in nearby Genoa. It was exactly 12:15am when Carlo Toccalino, the security company's radio operator testified that Zanfretta was speaking in an extremely agitated and confused manner.

Toccalino claimed that what little he could discern of Zanfretta’s incoherent babbling consisted of descriptions of bizarre, inhuman beings. When Toccalino asked his comrade to describe who was assaulting him, Zanfretta’s shocking response was: “No, they aren’t men, they aren’t men… my God, are they ugly!” At that point, the communications were abruptly broken off and Toccalino called the chief of the security service, Lt Giovanni Cassiba. Cassiba who was massively concerned with both the welfare of his man and his client’s property sent another patrol out to check on Zanfretta straight away.

Due to the dangerous weather conditions it took the second patrol car approximately an hour to reach the scene, Walter Lauria and Raimondo Mascia arrived at around 1.15 am where they found Zanfretta lying on the frozen ground in front of Dr Righi's house. Zanfretta saw the night watchmen approach and quickly jumped up onto his feet, quivering with fear and pointed both his gun and flashlight straight at them.

Both Mascia and Lauria came to the conclusion that the usual calm and quiet man simply didn't recognise them, nor did he appear to understand their requests for him to lower his weapon, both of the men, whilst fearing for their own safety, rushed Zanfretta and managed to disarm him before there were any accidental causalities. The pair would both later testify as to their shock at how warm the clothes of Zanfretta remained considering he had apparently been laying on the frozen ground for just over an hour.

The event was so concerning that the Carabinieri (the Italian military police) were dispatched to the area almost immediately to investigate what had gone on.

The Carabinieri found two marks in the grass just behind the home, exactly were Zanfretta had claimed to have seen this craft ascend into the sky. The marks were measured to be 9-feet in diameter and were said to be shaped like horseshoes, this led many to speculate that these were created by the triangular UFOs landing gear.

Antonio Nucchi, who was the commandant of the Torriglia station and had known Zanfretta well for many years went on record to state that he believed everything that was said in the astonishing testimony.

When asked his opinion of the mental stability of Pier Zanfretta, Nucchi answered: “I can state with certainty that he is a clear thinking man with no strange fantasies in his head. When we went to investigate the scene the next day, he almost didn’t want to come, he was so scared. Only something exceptional could have frightened him so.”

Obviously, a large investigation proceeded this unbelievable night of events, Nucchi revealed that astonishingly 52 residents of Torriglia had also reported seeing a bright, gleaming light in the sky coming from the direction of the property of Dr Righi at exactly the same time Zanfretta had testified to witnessing the triangular UFO rise up into the sky.

As one might expect, it took no time at all before the press got to hear about the incident and descended on the village of Torriglia, the moment they heard about this outlandish claims of UFOs and huge alien visitors.

Once TV and newspaper crews arrived, so did the sceptics and those who just outright ridiculed Zanfretta for either being mentally unstable or for simply lying about the whole experience. This was the response from almost every journalist that got involved, apart from one reporter by the name of Rino Di Stefano, who worked for the Genoa local paper “Il Corriere Mercantile.”

Torriglia Italy Alien Abduction
The Zanfretta UFO Incident all started just on the outskirts of the small Italian town of Torriglia

Di Stefano was unlike most of his colleagues and was so intrigued by the Zanfretta UFO incident that he wrote several articles on the subject, he could not understand why a father, a husband, and a man who was in a respectable job would risk all of this as well as his reputation within a small, tight-knit community by making up such ludicrous statements.

The reporter decided to take it upon himself to get in touch with Zanfretta directly and attempt to solve this unbelievable mystery.

Di Stefano quickly claimed to have a strong belief in the sincerity of Pier Zanfretta, not only were there an additional 52 eyewitnesses who confirmed the strange light in the sky, he also spoke about Zanfretta's clear disdain for local recognition or fame. He said, “Zanfretta didn’t want to be famous. He refused the notoriety, because he was worried about his job and his family.” Zanfretta even admitted to Di Stefano that the crank calls he was steadily receiving were beginning to take their toll: “People call me on the phone at all hours just to play jokes on me. I don’t know what it was that I saw, but I saw it. I am not a liar… if I could have, I wouldn’t have reported my experiences, now that I see the consequences.”

Di Stefano managed to convince Zanfretta to undergo a session of hypnosis to try and make a conclusion about what actually happened on that night of December 6.

The session was held in Genoa and presided over by Dr. Mauro Moretti, a psychotherapist and member of the Italian Association of Medical Hypnosis. During the session, Zanfretta confirmed that not only had he actually seen beings from another world, but that these colossal fiends had actually abducted him. He further claimed, under hypnosis, that these terrifying apparitions had transported him into a hot, luminous location where they thoroughly examined and interrogated him. According to Zanfretta, these creatures did not speak Italian, but used a strange “luminous device” to translate what they were saying. During the same session, Zanfretta also indicated that the creatures came from the planet “Teetonia,” which was located in the “third galaxy” and that, perhaps most disturbingly, “they want to talk with us and that they will soon return in larger numbers.” It should be noted that “soon” could be a relative concept from species hailing from another world.

Sadly for Zanfretta, the horrific abductions did not stop here. At 11:45 pm., on the foggy, rain-soaked eve of December 26, just three nights after his first hypnosis session, Zanfretta claimed to have been snatched yet again. The guard stated that he was driving his patrol car through the Bargagli tunnel, near the Scoffera Pass, when he suddenly lost control of the vehicle. The panic-stricken guard immediately radioed in and reported that his car was now driving of its own accord and had emerged from the tunnel. The horrified Zanfretta desperately tried to engage the brakes and the steering wheel to no avail as the Fiat continued to barrel through the drizzly fog bank up a steep incline. After traveling in the presumably remote controlled vehicle for approximately a mile, the Fiat finally came to a bone-jarring halt. Zanfretta was thrust forward by the momentum and smashed his head against the steering wheel. It was then that his car was bathed in a white-hot light.

At this point the security company radio operator claimed that Zanfretta called in, speaking in what he described as a “very controlled voice,” stating: “The car has stopped. I saw a bright light. Now I am getting out.” Much like the first incident, Zanfretta and his vehicle were discovered at 1:10 am by another pair of security guards. The first man to spot Zanfretta was Sergeant Emanuele Travenzoli. Travenzoli stated that he found Zanfretta in a field near the road and, despite the continuing downpour his clothes were warm and dry. Travenzoli also claimed that Zanfretta was in a state of shock; quivering and crying. This time the men on the scene were disturbed to hear their companion declare: “They say I must leave with them. What about my children? I don’t want to… I don’t want to.” Once again the Carabinieri were called in. After they arrived on the scene, the military officers found, much to their befuddlement, that even though the Fiat had been exposed to the cold downpour for an extended period of time, the roof of the car was as hot as one that had been baking in the scorching sun. Equally inexplicably, the officers revealed that the auto’s interior was as “hot as an oven.”

As if that weren’t bizarre enough, the military police also discovered that the Fiat was surrounded by inexplicably large boot prints measuring 20-inches long, by 8-inches wide. These odd, bigfoot-like prints had a distinctive bare spot between the sole and the heel. This remains one of the most intriguing traces of physical evidence ever to have been left at the scene of an alleged alien abduction. The Carabinieri then came across Zanfretta’s revolver — a Smith & Wesson 38 Special — which had been fired five times. Amazingly, the still scared guard could not recall at whom or what he had fired the weapon. Needless to say — due to the unexplained firing of bullets as well as the public furor surrounding these abductions — the military police’s probe into these unlikely events required a full report. On January 3, 1979, all data in the case was collected by commandant Nucchi in a file labeled the “Report on the Sighting of Unidentified Flying Objects by Fortunato Zanfretta.” This file was forwarded to the magistrates court in Genoa with an inquiry as to what action should be taken. Finally, after the buck had been passed numerous times, the report was delivered to Magistrate Russo who, a year later on January 11, 1980, certified that it could be filed away with the declaration of: “No crime committed.”

The Carabinieri also informed the Italian Department of Interior and other military commands of the incident by two telexes sent respectively on December 8th and 28th of 1978. The Carabinieri defined the degree of reliability that these bizarre events actually occurred as: “good.” This concern on the part of the Carabinieri night does not seem so far-fetched when one considers the fact that in December of 1978, there were so many UFO sightings across Italy that Falco Accame — a former member of the Italian Parliament — asked both Italy’s Premier, Giulio Andreotti, and Minister of Defence, Attilio Ruffini, to inform the Italian Congress about their opinion concerning the nature of the recent UFO sightings and what threats they may pose to the citizens of Italy. Following his second encounter with the unknown, Zanfretta became somewhat of a reluctant celebrity.

His employers — concerned about all the publicity as well as the mental health of their armed employee — asked prominent neurologist, Dr. Giorgio Gianniotti, to examine Zanfretta. His diagnosis was: “The man is in a state of shock, but he is perfectly sane." Dr. Gianniotti’s conclusions helped to improve the credibility of this once unknown working-class man, but the naysayers were starting to make life a living hell for Zanfretta and his family. It was then that Zanfretta agreed to undergo hypnosis under the supervision of Dr. Moretti yet again, and this time he consented to allow it to be televised in an effort to prove he was not insane.

During this interview, Zanfretta recalled being stripped and forced by the abductors to wear a strange helmet, which enabled him to understand their language, but caused him tremendous pain. He also remembered one of the aliens taking his gun and firing the bullets into a “panel,” in what one can only assume was an effort to see if human weapons had the capability of harming them. Zanfretta then expressed fear over the fact that he may be required to leave his home and family behind: “I know that you need me, but I don’t want to. I like to be alone. I have two children. I feel good this way… and after all, you are not human beings. You are horrible.” Hundreds of thousands of viewers watched this extraordinary interview, but instead of clearing his name it only further exacerbated the scepticism of his critics and elevated his cult celebrity to a global level. Eventually, as is often the case in unexplained events, the furor died down… that was until Zanfretta was abducted a third time.

On the night of July 30th, 1979, Zanfretta was on a motorcycle patrol in the residential area of Quarto in Genoa — far from the lonely peaks of Torriglia — when he vanished once more. Again his fellow guards were the first on the scene. They managed to find him following a two hour search on the summit of nearby Mount Fasce. It should be noted that local eyewitnesses claimed that they had not seen the young guard or his motorcycle travel up the single road that led to the top of the mountain. This time a hypnotic regression was conducted at the International Center of Medical and Psychological Hypnosis in Milan where, on his own request, Zanfretta was injected with sodium penathol by Prof. Marco Marchesan. While under the “truth serum’s” effects, Zanfretta claimed that he was lifted from the ground into to the alien spaceship by a mysterious green light.

Following the procedure, Professor Marchesan confirmed that: “No human being can knowingly lie while he is under Pentothal treatment, so I think it’s very probable Zanfretta had these encounters.” Still, for poor Zanfretta — and an even more unfortunate co-worker — the worst was yet to come. At about 10:30 pm. on Sunday, December 2nd, 1979, Zanfretta disappeared for the fourth time while driving an Austin Mini in the suburbs of Genoa. This time, however, the 26 year-old would not be the only one to have a brush with the inexplicable. While driving in the hills of Genoa searching for their missing cohort, four patrol guards claimed to have clearly seen a very strange, cloud-like object floating above them. Suddenly, two beams of light seemed emanate from within the large “cloud,” illuminating the patrol cars below. The vehicles’ engines concurrently stopped dead and the frightened, yet curious, guards got out of their patrol cards to get a better look at this UFO.


Apparently the Chief, Lt. Cassiba, became so frightened by the sight before them that fired his pistol at the unknown object. It was then that the ethereal lights were extinguished and the UFO slipped away. Sadly, Lt. Cassiba’s frightened reaction would not be the most tragic result of this unusual eyewitness event. One of those guards, Germano Zanardi, was so traumatized by the implications of what they had seen that it was said he never fully recovered his mental stability. A few months following this encounter he ended his life with a self inflicted gunshot to the head.

Just when it seemed as if it were impossible, this case took an even weirder turn, when on Monday, December 3, of the same year, at approximately 9:30 pm., Zanfretta got out of his patrol car at a self-service gasoline station near downtown Genoa. Zanfretta claimed that he heard someone calling out to him from the shadows outside the station. He described an entity that was speaking to him as a tall, humanoid figure with a bald, “egg-shaped” head, who was dressed in a checked suit that included a chest plate made of “steel” where the shirt should have been.

Zanfretta swore that the sound of the outlandish individual’s voice physically compelled him to obey the request that would come next. Apparently, the voice, which may or may not have been telepathic, ordered him to drive his vehicle into a small cloud that was hovering just above the ground. Zanfretta did as he was instructed and claims that he and his patrol car were levitated within the cloud and deposited onto a huge spacecraft. Onboard the ship the guard was allowed to explore with the company of the oversized aliens. Within the colossal craft, Zanfretta claimed to have seen large, transparent cylinders filled with a weird blue liquid. One of the cylinders was said to have contained a “frog-shaped” body, which the aliens explained was: “An enemy of ours from another planet.” In two other cylinders, Zanfretta observed a large bird-like creature and another humanoid figure that he described as looking like a “caveman.”

Around this time these mystifying beings attempted to give Zanfretta a transparent sphere with what appeared to be an electrically charged pyramid inside. The aliens claimed that utilizing the sphere would enable human beings to comprehend who they were and how they live. Zanfretta tried to refuse the gift, stating that: “had enough of all these strange encounters and wished only go back to his normal life.” Nevertheless, the creatures insisted he accept it, informing him that he was to give the sphere to a man of whose name he had never heard before, noted American scientist and UFO researcher Dr. J Allen Hynek. Zanfretta, for reason only clear to him claims that instead of giving this prize to the now deceased Hynek, he hid the object somewhere in the hills near Genoa. Zanfretta disappeared again on February 14th 1980, after which he was found by his colleagues in a state of shock and suffering from mild hypothermia. A villager living nearby stated that mere minutes before the rescuers arrived, he spied a huge, radiant mass in the sky.

During the next hypnosis session, doctor Moretti found Zanfretta to be uncharacteristically uncooperative. While hypnotized, he claimed he was contacting the aliens and began to speak an odd, unknown language. His voice became guttural and he uttered cryptic phrases like: “Question with negative answers, tixel… you can’t work out anything in a case like this. To believe or not to believe doesn’t mean anything: each thing in its own time.” Against all odds, Zanfretta managed to vanish yet again on August 13, 1980. But this time, he was under close observation and was found before the aliens or anyone else could contact him. This was the end of his ordeal… at least until recently, when the now long retired security guard claimed the extra-terrestrials reinitiated contact. To what end remains to be seen. In 1984, Rino di Stefano wrote a book about these enigmatic events entitled: “The Zanfretta Case,” which details the harrowing events that took place between 1978 and 1980. That same year, the Italian state national broadcasting network, Rai Tv, made a two-part docu-drama based on the book. While there can be little doubt that the purported series of events that took place near Torriglia, Italy borders on the absurd, one cannot dismiss the fact that there were over 60 additional witnesses to this strange aerial phenomenon and at least one poor soul who lost his life because of it.

This remains to this day as one of the most fascinating UFO / Alien abduction stories that there has ever been. Let us know your thoughts on the experiences of Pier Zanfretta in the comments section below. Now you have read about the alien abduction of Pier Zanfretta, make sure you check out the A70 UFO Incident, Scotland's own alien abduction.


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