Discover more from Getting Spooked
The Bosco in Brazil, Pt. 9
A Conversation with Mickey and Ines Nedelcovic
My series of articles “The Bosco in Brazil” has stemmed from claims made by Bosco Nedelcovic in 1978 to UFO researcher Rich Reynolds in which he alleged that the CIA was responsible for numerous high profile UFO sightings and abductions. Chief among these was the Villas-Boas incident—in which Nedelcovic played an auxiliary role—but he further implicated the CIA in many other UFO events, such as the Scoriton affair and the Hill abduction. Based in South America at the time of Villas-Boas’ abduction, Nedelcovic is not the only source for supposed UFO action by the CIA in the 1950s onward. Jacques Vallee wrote of Argentine Navy Captain Omar Pagani’s contention “that many publicized cases in Latin America were well-designed hoaxes, and that the CIA is definitely involved, playing its usual games.” Further, he emphasized that the Agency “keeps a sharp eye on everything that is done on this subject in Argentina.”While not fully corroborating Nedelcovic’s claims, the idea of manufactured UFO incidents in South America was floating around the ufological ether before he had ever spoken to Reynolds. If he were telling the truth, it would be an explanation remarkably more grounded (and thus more likely) than others put forward.
But the one question that has spurred my research into Bosco Nedelcovic forward is important to consider given the stunning nature of his claims: Who was this man who claimed to witness the CIA abduct Antonio Villas-Boas as part of supposed psychological operations testing? He was a complex, eccentric, and all-around interesting figure. Primarily a translator and linguist with the Inter-American Defense College, Nedelcovic was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia initially but spent his teenage years in Asuncion, Paraguay after his parents had to flee Yugoslavia. In South America, he worked with both USAID and Clarence Gamble’s Pathfinder Fund before moving to the U.S. to work at the IADC. This series has noted his constant correspondence with a variety of individuals promoting his idiosyncratic ideas for societal change that went by several different names, most commonly through his organization the Basic Livelihood Corporation. Letters to Alfred de Grazia, William Hewlett, Irving Louis Horowitz, Vernon Walters, Percival Goodman, Ed Lansdale, and others can be found in archival collections across the country. Despite his proposals never coming to full fruition, Nedelcovic pops up in several different countercultural contexts throughout the latter half of the 20th century—including Marion Pettie’s organization “The Free State”, known informally as the Finders. This exploration has tried to grapple with his status as a possible CIA asset and what that means for the various organizations and activities he was involved in. While this practice has required a substantial amount of speculation, I had the opportunity to straighten out at least some of the record with individuals very close to Nedelcovic.
Bosco’s wife Mickey and daughter Ines were kind enough to have a conversation with me about the husband and father at the heart of this story. They expressed a real fondness for Bosco who was a “kind and giving” individual who seemed to be able to make friends with anyone, regardless of social status. Both recall him as an impassioned man fighting to implement his proposals for different, more environmentally-friendly modes of living. “He was the first person I ever met in my life thinking about the way we’re living nowadays,” Mickey said, noting the awareness of pollution, climate change, and overpopulation that propelled his thinking forward. “That’s the side of my father that I know the most,” Ines reminisced. “Before he died, I had heard of global warming from him. So, he was pretty much ahead of the curve on that. He went to Belize and the Bahamas with an idea of ecotourism before it became ecotourism. He was always thinking about the environment and climate.”
While these projects were documented in previous articles, Mickey and Ines recalled just how important they were to him, being an all-consuming passion project whenever he had time available. Through endless searching for his philosopher king, Bosco wound up interacting with a wide array of individuals, including one that I was previously unaware of before talking to Mickey and Ines: Environmentalist science fiction writer Margaret Atwood. Mickey stated that even as he was dying of cancer, he wanted to give his projects for radical change as much attention as he could. Ines remembered:
Another thing about Bosco that is very characteristic is how (…) generous he was about money. He just had a very bizarre relationship with money. He refused to buy a house, He did not want to get into (…) mortgage capitalism, he was very stubborn about that. He would do this joke (where) he would go to the gas station (…) and they would say, “Mr. Nedelcovic, I'm charging you $400 to fix your car.” And he would say, “oh, only $400. Are you sure it shouldn't cost more? 600?”
True to his past with the School of Living and other projects which emphasized simple living, he expended immense amounts of time and energy searching for an “executor” for his ideas, often leaving him “frustrated and demoralized.” Ines said that “he was a great idea man” and “a renaissance man” always engaging people in conversation about broad topics. He was also a talented translator, being so quick and able to sense what the speaker was going to say that he would often finish simultaneous translations before the speech had ended.
Mickey and Ines were unaware of Bosco’s alleged involvement in the South American abductions until after his death in 1999 when the subject was brought up by Brazilian journalists wanting to talk to them. It was also at this time that they learned of his alleged affiliation with the CIA—something that was never talked about with his family while he was alive. While obviously not informed about the alleged UFO operation, Mickey did remember specific details from the family’s time in Buenos Aires sometime in the late 1950s/early 1960s:
He (Nedelcovic) was contacted by—I don’t remember his name. I remember his face, but I don’t remember his name. I think he was of German descent, he was a blonde man, light eyes. And one of the meetings we went to a restaurant, and they were talking, this man was intensively wanting to talk, and I recall him saying that there was a UFO going to the mountains in the Andes, like a station up there. They discussed a lot of things even though Bosco didn’t believe in UFOs.
It would be interesting to know who this individual was, especially given Nedelcovic’s later claims and the time period in which this blonde man contacted him, but his identity is for now unknown. “He was very skeptical,” Mickey would say of Bosco’s opinion on UFOs. She elaborated that she did not pay much attention to the subject or the conversations at the time because it did not strike her as important:
I knew about UFOs because there was a history in Buenos Aires and there were long discussions and meetings. I don't know what else was involved, I don't remember. But there was one person (note: assumedly the blonde man) who was very much in touch with him constantly, but there were other people as well. (But) I was very young, and I had two little kids.
Relatedly, Micky recalled that despite this lack of belief in UFOs, Bosco expressed at least some interest in the subject, watching some television programs about them. However, this interest does not appear as deep as one might suspect from his claims to Rich Reynolds. In those conversations he talked of both mainstream and obscure UFO events with a level of detail that would imply that he was either well-studied in the subject matter or genuinely witnessed the operations and briefings he said he did. In all of their conversations through his life, Ines felt that “the one thing that did not stand out” were those “about UFOs.”
While there is no official documentation of Nedelcovic’s status as a CIA asset—and it obviously was not talked about within the family—Mickey and Ines have some recollections that hint at possible covert activity behind the scenes. Mickey said:
We found out about his connections and the only thing that I know, because he used to do work for the War College, (…) he was constantly going to Department of Defense and doing a lot of trips with the college and sometimes those trips took six weeks. And the State Department would call me and say, “your husband wants to know how you're doing. How's the kids doing?” And I said—and I used to say we didn't have cellphones in those times—and I said, “well, if he wants to know, tell him to call me.” And they said, “well, I'm sorry there's no connection where he is.” (…) All this came back in my mind, that he was doing some research connected with the Pentagon and the CIA, maybe. This is something I just believe because (…) it was so interesting that he was almost incommunicado.
Hearing this scenario immediately reminded me of other stories of people with friends and family members connected with the intelligence community—long absences without immediate explanations. A more mainstream example of these secret background activities would be that of Reeve Whitson as described in Tom O’Neill’s CHAOS. An alleged intelligence operative with “eccentric habits and an eidetic memory,” Whitson infiltrated different countercultural communities in 1960s Los Angeles on behalf of some agency and seemed to “live(…) about eight lives simultaneously.”O’Neill writes: “He’d be dispatched to remote areas of the world for months at a time, returning with no explanation for where he’d been or what he’d been doing.” While not “in” nearly as deep as a figure like Whitson, Nedelcovic certainly had the intelligence and language skills befitting a prospective asset. Mickey felt certain that Bosco “was involved in something more” than just his translator/linguist duties and that “he was deep inside” the US Defense apparatus.
In a similar vein, the rumored connection to Marion Pettie and the Finders was confirmed. As I had deduced back in Pt. 4, the Nedelcovics spent time with Pettie on his farm at Old Rag Mountain while Bosco was involved with Mildred Loomis and Ralph Borsodi’s School of Living. The family had even rented one of their first properties in the United States from Pettie. Also rumored to be intelligence-connected, Mickey recalled Pettie as “a strange guy” who had served as a chauffeur for President Truman, although Mickey felt “he was a little bit more involved than just that” role. Pettie had an expansive network of his own through the Finders and other countercultural groups, making him immensely useful as a potential asset. “He was like a net, organizations and things like that,” Mickey noted. Bosco himself eventually had a falling out with Pettie over an undisclosed incident that nevertheless seems chilling. As Mickey remembered:
One day Bosco just cut completely off. “This is a very dangerous man,” he said to me. And I recall a little confrontation, because he said we had to get out of here because we were renting his house in Arlington. And he said, we have to get out in a week. We got out. (…) I don't know what really happened there. He never discussed it with me.
Pettie attempted to keep in contact with Bosco through other people, but they never spoke again. What these events indicate is that Nedelcovic was probably part of Pettie’s network but perhaps came to feel he was being used. As mentioned in the Finders memo, Pettie allegedly “deployed (Nedelcovic) to penetrate the Institute for Policy Studies.”This falling out may indicate that Bosco was unwitting in this intel venture, but it is also possible that the falling out was unrelated. Leaving this network left Pettie infuriated—Mickey said he looked ready to grab Bosco by the throat—undoubtedly giving him reasonable cause to fear for the safety of his wife and children. While Nedelcovic’s exact role within the network remains unknown, it leaves open the possibility that this work was connected to a larger DoD operation.
Regardless of the hints of shadowy work in the background, Mickey and Ines both remember Bosco as a loving husband and father who was an integral part of their lives until his passing in 1999. An intellectual who Mickey said “loved humankind,” he seemed to be a warm, inquisitive, and thoughtful presence in their daily lives. At his core, he seemed to be a one-of-a-kind human being, not easy to pigeonhole in the least. “I don’t find people like my father,” Ines admitted, highlighting his singular character. Mickey told me he had an incredible brain that could only have come from another planet via UFO. As the UFO subject is where this whole exploration started, it is fitting that Bosco was seemingly of another world himself—even if the ETs in the Villas-Boas narrative were the CIA.
Thank you for reading Getting Spooked. I also want to extend a very special thanks to both Mickey and Ines for taking time out of their day and having a very in-depth conversation with me about their fascinating family member—I cannot overstate their kindness. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, consider supporting the publication through a paid subscription. Not only will doing so help this research continue, but it will also give you access to older archived articles. Thanks again to Luke Marshall at the Things Observed podcast for having me on recently, part of our episode together is available publicly and the remainder is available to his patrons. Reach out to me at email@example.com with any questions, comments, leads, recommendations, paranormal stories, etc. You can find me on Twitter at @TannerFBoyle1 or on Bluesky at @tannerfboyle.bsky.social. Until next time, stay spooked.
Getting Spooked is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Vallee, Jacques. Forbidden Science 2: California Heretica – The Journals of Jacques Vallee, 1970-1979. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2008. Page 103.
O’Neill, Tom and Dan Peipenbring. CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties. New York: Back Bay Books, 2019. Page 188.
Ibid., page 194.
“Steamshovel Debris: The Finders.” Steamshovel Press 1, no. 16, 1998. Page 10. https://ia801009.us.archive.org/30/items/Steamshovel_Press_Issue_16/Steamshovel_Press_Issue_16.pdf.