Lured by three self-styled mediums, about 1,500 people gathered at an airfield in northern Bulgaria on Monday, awaiting the arrival of eight spaceships piloted by extraterrestrials, police Maj. Stoyan Marinov said.
Among other things, state TV reported, the mediums promised that the aliens would help this poor Balkan country pay its $12.9 billion foreign debt.
The crowd gathered in Shtraklevo, 200 miles northeast of the capital, Sofia, after three local women - Radka Trifonova, Zdravka Krumova and Ekaterina Nikiforova - declared that spaceships from distant galaxies would land at 11 a.m.
The mediums waited along with the crowd.
Bulgaria’s BTA news agency said that 30 minutes after the scheduled arrival, the three told the crowd that warplanes flying in the region were scaring off the aliens.
After an hour had passed, they said the aliens weren’t coming because President Zhelyu Zhelev had declined to meet with them.
Police had to usher the women away from the angry crowd, although Marinov said there was no violence.
Like elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc, despair and uncertainty over the future has made Bulgaria fertile territory for would-be seers and psychics.
Self-proclaimed mediums who claim to communicate with extraterrestrials or to treat diseases are widely popular.