Who killed and what two men were doing on top of a hill, wearing lead masks, in a common dawn in Rio de Janeiro are questions that have not yet been answered.
Known as “The Mystery of the Lead Masks”, the case of the death of electronics technicians Miguel José Viana, 34, and Manuel Pereira da Cruz, 32, is marked by a lot of mystery, unusual hypotheses and has never been properly clarified. .
On August 17, 1966, the two left the house and told the families that they would go to São Paulo to buy a car and electronic equipment, but they never reached the expected destination.
They were found dead the next day, at the top of Morro do Vintém, in Niterói. The two were dressed in overcoats, carried in their hands strange lead masks, used to handle radioactive material, and carried the following note: “16.30hs are in the designated place 18.30hs ingest capsule, after effect protect metals, wait for mask signal” .
The bodies showed no signs of violence and it was not possible to determine with the naked eye what the cause of death was. They were taken to the Legal Medical Institute of Niterói, however, a toxicological test was not carried out to prove if they had ingested anything. In the report, it said that the cause of death was undetermined and the case was never really clarified.
However, there was no shortage of theories to explain the strange circumstance of the deaths. The hypothesis that they had been killed by extraterrestrials was raised and aroused the attention of several ufologists. This theory gained even more traction when a housewife claimed to have seen a strange object with red and orange lights flying over the site on the same day the two men died. Also, the police discovered that they were reading books about extraterrestrials.
Another theory, considered more plausible, was put forward by a friend of the two victims. According to him, they were members of a scientific-spiritualist religious sect and used psychotropic drugs, which could have led to their death.
The fact is that no hypothesis was proven and the case remains a mystery to this day. In the reconstruction that the investigators made of the steps of Miguel and Manuel, they discovered that the two left Campos taking a significant amount of money, which was not found; visited an electronics store; they bought raincoats and entered a bar, near Morro do Vintém, where they bought water and showed signs of nervousness, always keeping an eye on the clock. After that, they were only seen again when their bodies were found by a young man who went up the hill to fly a kite.
The unusual story made the pages of newspapers and aroused the curiosity of many people, but the crime was never solved and to this day the mystery continues to surround the case of the lead masks.