One of the most intriguing cases of a UFO sighting with physical trace evidence is that of the 1964 landing of an unknown craft witnessed by policeman Lonnie Zamora. This event has been a mainstay of Ufology for almost 40 years and is definitely one of those cases which will not go away. The incident began at 5:45 P.M. on April 24, 1964, in Socorro, New Mexico. Thirty-one year old policeman Lonnie Zamora was on patrol when he was passed by a car which was obviously speeding. Zamora took off in chase of the vehicle, but suddenly heard a loud roar in the distance, accompanied by a bluish, orange flame rising into the air. He knew that there was a dynamite shack not too distant from him and he thought at first that there had been an explosion there.
Policeman Makes Twilight Zone Excursion
Abandoning the chase for the speeder, he pointed his police car in the direction of the shack. He radioed his activities to the dispatcher. As Zamora proceeded towards the rising smoke and flame the aftermath of the explosion seemed to disappear and reappear because of the rising and dipping roads he traveled. The route he was on was a narrow gravel one and it wound around a small gully. As he approached the location of the shack, he noticed in the distance a shining object, anywhere from 100 to 200 yards away. His first reaction to this sight was that it was an automobile which had overturned and its gas tank had exploded. Upon a closer look he discovered that it was an oval-shaped object without windows or doors. He stated that the object was about the same bulk of a medium-sized car.
Children Turn Out To Be Very Small Humans
He was drawn to an unusual red insignia on the side of the object and then noticed two beings that he thought at first to be children, dressed in white overalls. He recalled that one of the children seemed to jump upon noticing him. Regaining his composure Zamora immediately radioed the sheriff's office the details of the incident. He decided to get a closer look at the strange scene before him. He then heard a loud roar and saw a bluish flame shoot out of the underside of the object. Afraid that it was going to explode he fell to the ground to protect himself. Next, he saw the object lift off the ground, and head southeast, flying in a straight line for about 10-15 miles. The legs that he had seen earlier had disappeared.
State Lawmen Drawn Into UFO Web
Having intercepted the earlier radio transmission, State Police Sergeant Sam Chavez arrived at the scene just after the craft disappeared into the sky. The first military investigator on the scene, on April 25, was Army Captain Richard T. Holder, Up-Range Commander of White Sands Proving Grounds, along with an FBI agent, D. Arthur Byrnes, Jr., from the Albuquerque office. Major William Connor from Kirtland AFB and Sgt. David Moody, who was in the area on TDY, investigated for Air Force Project Blue Book on April 26. Dr. Allen Hynek arrived on April 28. Hynek also conducted a follow-up investigation on August 15, 1964.
UFO Champion James McDonald Makes A Discovery
In 1968, Dr. James McDonald, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Arizona, said that he had learned of an alleged patch of fused sand at the landing site. Two additional witnesses, Paul Kies and Larry Kratzer of Dubuque, Iowa, submitted statements to Hynek on May 29, 1968. In May of 1978 Ralph C. DeGraw, an Iowa investigator, interviewed them. They were driving just southwest of Socorro at about 6:00 p.m. that day when they noticed something shiny and a cloud of smoke near the ground in the vicinity of the town. Later they heard a newscast about Zamora's sighting and the significance of what they had seen became apparent. Kratzer said he watched as a round, saucer or egg-shaped object ascended vertically from the black smoke... After climbing vertically out of the smoke, the object leveled off and moved in a southwest direction. He said the object was silvery and had a row of apparent portholes across the side and a red Z marking toward one end. At the time he thought it might have been an experimental vertical-lift aircraft. Kies saw only a shiny spot and the smoke.
Project Blue Book Completely Stumped Even Years After Incident
Two years after the sighting, Major Hector Quintanilla, Air Force Chief of Project Blue Book at the time of the sighting, confided to intelligence specialists in a classified CIA publication that the Socorro case remained puzzling. With the help of many other agencies, he had conducted an exhaustive check of military activities looking for an explanation, but none could be found. As other officers and investigators arrived, they discovered deep landing marks and footprints on the ground. FBI and Air Force personnel soon joined local authorities in the investigation, and found bent and burned brush in several places surrounding the spot where the object had sat. Measurements taken by police verified that there were 4 indentations on the ground; the distance between them formed a quadrilateral whose diagonals intersected at exactly 90 degree angles.
Zamora Character Above Reproach
Zamora was known as a well-respected, reliable police officer with no hint of impropriety in his life, personal or professional. He described the event in detail to all who reviewed this case, including renown UFO investigator J. Allen Hynek, who represented the Air Force at the time of Zamora's sighting. Immediately after the incident, he made a drawing of the insignia he saw on the side of the craft. The case received a great deal of press, and a lot of attention by UFO groups around the world. The one negative aspect of the Socorro incident, however, is that Zamora, though considered reliable by everyone who knew him, was the sole witness of the event. Naturally, any report is given more weight when multiple witnesses are involved.
Ridicule From Ignorant Follows UFO Landing
Zamora took such ridicule and kidding from members of the police force and local community, that he retired only two years after the incident. The case does not prove the existence of extraterrestrial life, but there is no doubt that some type of unusual craft with occupants did land, and take off again. Hynek, who interviewed Zamora on more than one occasion, believes every word that Zamora said.