Jorge Newbery: Did you intuit his death?

By Professor Antonio Las Heras
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Ladies and gentlemen: I toast so that fatalistic omens do not happen. We are thirteen at the table. One has to die ”. This was surprisingly expressed to those present, the pioneer of Argentine aviation, the engineer Jorge Newbery, at a tribute banquet that was given to him during what would be his last trip to Paris, since, in effect, the prediction person.

He was to die a short time later in an aviation accident that occurred in Los Tamarindos, area located on the outskirts of the city of Mendoza. Jorge Alejandro Newbery (1875/1914) was a remarkable personality, who achieved international recognition: aviator, sportsman, public official, engineer, outstanding in national science and technology

He was also the architect and founder of the Argentine Military Aeronautics; co-founder of the Aero Club Argentino and one of the first to warn that private commercial aviation would have a huge worldwide spread and was called upon to modify the forms of daily travel.

Did this man, so ready for extreme adventure, especially if it took place in the skies so little explored at that time, did he intuit his own death? Everything suggests that yes, because the anecdote that we have just referred was not the only one. There was more.

Newbery was sure of the existence of what was then known as “the jettatura”; that is, he accepted that there were situations or people that could, by their essence, cause harm to others without consciously wishing to do so. The theme of this possible type of “curse” became so famous that it even gave rise to a popular play written by the prominent Argentine playwright Gregorio de Laferrère (1867/1913), entitled precisely “Jettatore!”, Premiered in Buenos Aires on May 30, 1904.

To winnow such dark possibilities, his close circle was well aware that Newbery would not get on a plane or any hot air balloon without taking with him a small picture with the photograph of his mother, the one who had died from the depression caused by the disappearance of Eduardo, who, embarked on the “Pampero” balloon, it was never found. It was assumed that it fell somewhere far away on the waters of the Río de la Plata.

When she disincarnated, Jorge swore to himself that he would never undertake any aerial experience without having in the machine itself, as protection, that object. That’s how it went. In each of the feats that he starred in, Jorge Newbery carried that painting with the maternal photograph, like a real talisman and amulet that would protect him from any failure, disaster or problem. He was tied in the basket of the balloon “El Huracán” when he broke the South American record of duration and distance (550 km in 13 hours, joining Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil).

In the same way, but clinging close to the engine of the Morane-Saulnier monoplane, breaking the world altitude record reaching 6,225 meters. The same that November 24, 1912 when he crossed the Río de la Plata in the “Centenario” monoplane, a 50 HP Bleirot Gnome, to become the first to cross the river and return on the same day. Like this, always. When asked about it, he did not hesitate to respond emphatically: “I have the feeling that if I do not wear that portrait, I am going to die.”

In addition, in a gold matchbox she treasured white hair that had belonged to her mother’s hair. “I am always afraid of dying from the heart. But I have the feeling that if I keep my mother’s hair on my heart, I will die of something else … ”, he used to say. After the plane crash that led to his death, the matchbox, which had belonged to his father and bore a sapphire as its distinctive mark, was rescued along with the body.

And, inside, the hair, without having suffered any damage. His prophecy was doubly fulfilled. Carrying those relics would not die of a heart cause. It was also clear that the protection against hardship was the remembered portrait that, that time, the aviator did not carry with him, since he had left it on the plane he was using in Buenos Aires.

Are we to call this pure coincidence? A casuality? The wise man Leibniz well affirmed that “chance is the label we give to those events whose causes we ignore.”

Indeed, just as he expected, without that protection, his death could be accomplished. And it happened. It was at 6:40 p.m. on March 1, 1914 when the plane he was piloting crashed, after a failed maneuver, on the earth’s surface. Did Jorge Newbery intuit his own death?


I have seen a warning that could perhaps have a positive influence on a superstitious spirit. It is made of cigarettes and has an airplane drawn on it, on one of whose wings several names are read: Origone, Eusebione, Pérez Arzeno, Newbery, Fels, Mascias.

By the way, I have thought about asking the house that has posted that notice to modify it. Caramba! They could have separated with a dash, in any way, the names of the dead; Because thus, read in succession that list, which at the beginning is an obituary, made according to a rigorous chronological order, it would seem that, by simple consequence of my interpretation, of course, it is a death sentence. Will it be my turn now?

So Newbery said when a newspaper of the time published an advertisement for Trust’s Free cigarettes. Once again, the foreboding death. This annoyed the aviator so much that he instructed his secretary, who was also a good friend, Manuel Ramos Vivot, to send a letter with an energetic complaint to the tobacco company, for having foreshadowed his death! Those responsible immediately sent him a letter of apology and changed the notice.

Doctor in Social Psychology, philosopher and writer. Magister in Psychoanalysis. Pte. Asoc. Arg. Parapsychology and the Asoc. Junguiana Argentina

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