Rosa Lotti's CEIIIK: a pictorial predecessor

Usually I refrain myself from posting preliminary and still unformed thoughts on various fortean subjects. Most of the times, I make a mental note and promise myself that one day, given enough time and resources, here's a fascinating research subject to try and dive to the bottom of. One of those cases that for years remained buried deep but that has never quite gone away, was Rosa Lotti's CEIIIK.

Briefly, Italian woman Rosa Lotti-Danielli encountered two dwarflike beings and a spindle shaped craft in a clearing in some woods in the neighbourhood of the village of Cennina, on 1 November, 1954. It is a fascinating account, moreso by the remarks that Rosa was a housewife and a devout Catholic. These two words, one confirming her traditional role in society, the other demonstrating her staunch adherence to a socially acceptible beliefsystem in a time of cold war anxiety, give food for thought. Is this all that is known about her? In a Fortean mode we wonder, what else was peculiar, unusual or special about her? Did she have visions, strange dreams or premonitions? Or did she have, sometime before her strange 1954 CEIIIK, an experience that she had chosen to almost forget? All of this is pure speculation of course as I have to rely on the reports of the UFO investigators that came long before me, but I think John Keel asked similar questions concerning other UFO witnesses. What do we actually know about these early witnesses and experiencers of very strange events? Why do these events happen to some, but not to others? If the causeur of the event is intelligent, by what criteria does it seek out a housewife and Catholic, or, more objectively speaking, this particular human being? As long as we wrestle with these questions and no adequate answer is found, there will always be a discrepancy the size of a chasm between those who have actually lived through such a strange event, and those who have not. Empathy alone will not do; a solid grounding in such arcane areas as dreams, altered states, surrealist art and a very open mind may be of use, as these events present serious assessment problems since they exist beyond our scope of day to day experiences.

But, there's another aspect. That of the unconscious visual recognition. If, by any chance, you have read the account of Rosa's CEIIIK, there's a possibility that you have encountered the captivating image reenacting the event for the Italian weekly newspaper La Dominica del Corriere.

There's much Fortean weirdness found in this publication, still awaiting a proper index.

I saw the colour image on the front page of La Dominica del Corriere reproduced in this or that UFO book many years ago - I know it was one out of a series of those popular, highly illustrated books on mysteries that came out regularly in the 1980's - 1990's. But that image was strong enough to have stayed with me, all these years. While the image certainly can not be seen as a faithful reproduction of the event itself - the image is dramatised, almost filmlike, and serves to create a deep sense of curiousity. After all, that is what sells newspapers. But we don't quite know what sources the artist responsible for this image used. Did Rosa Lotti look like this woman? Was that spindle shaped craft really like that? And what about those two dwarves? So we ask ourselves how much of our conceptions of the various mysteries has been shaped by this kind of imagery, from the surgeon's photo of Nessie, to Adamski's famous flying saucer pictures, to the primal grey alien on the cover of Whitley Strieber's Communion.

When tonight I was checking up on the excellent French publication Le Boudoir des Gorgones, I couldn't help but note this interesting similarity in these two images. I present them here for your amusement. I have fired off an e-mail to its editor, Philippe Gontier, in the hope of learning more about that second illustration.

La Dominica del Corriere, 14 November, 1954

Le Boudoir des Gorgones, No. 20, February 2008


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