Lonnie Zamora UFO encounter

Lonnie Zamora UFO Incident: A Police Officer, Blue Flames, UFO Landing & Small Humanoid Beings

Here’s a detailed look at the Lonnie Zamora UFO Incident one of the most famous UFO cases ever that have never been solved. Claims made by Lonnie Zamora relating to the UFO case were backed up by many reliable eyewitnesses.

It was Friday, April 24, 1964, and it was close to 5:50 p.m. in Socorro, New Mexico, when Lonnie Zamora, a police officer, had just seen a speeding car going south. As soon as he spotted the car speeding down the road, he sprung into action and headed straight for the rodeo grounds. It was not even a minute passed when he heard an explosion, which reminded him of a neighboring dynamite shack.

Police Officer Lonnie Zamora
Police Officer Lonnie Zamora

He changed his direction to the right onto a gravel road when he spotted a bright blue “cone of flame” off to the south-south-west in the direction of the shack. Despite the crunching tire sound, Zamora heard a loud noise that kept going on and on.

Finally, the flame was blocked by a hill as it went down towards it. Then the officer attempted to drive over the hill twice before succeeding on the third try, while the roaring sound subsided and eventually died out completely. Eventually, when he reached the summit of the hill, he noticed that everything had fallen silent and that the flame had vanished.

After exiting his car, he glanced around for a few moments until he spotted an object 150 yards away in a ravine to the southwest. The object was made of some kind of metal. At first glance, the object appeared like a white car that had flipped over, but later he “saw two figures in what resembled white coveralls, pretty close to the object on its northwest side, as if inspecting it. They were standing between it and good-sized greasewood (creosote) bush. One of the figures, – the one in front nearest me, seemed to turn as if it heard or saw my car coming. It must have seen me because when I turned and it looked straight at my car, it seemed startled – almost seemed to jump somewhat. “

From the distance, the figures appeared “normal in shape” and were small, “maybe the size of boys.” The object’s long axis was horizontally aligned, and it was oval in shape.

In his official report, Zamora reported that “at this time, I started moving my car towards them quickly, with the idea of helping. had stopped for only a couple of seconds. ” When he again started his and moved towards the object, the car went down a steep hill, and the object was out of view for a short time. At that moment, from his radio device, he contacted the police headquarters and told them the code “possible 10-40”. It is a police code for an accident. Even though he contacted the headquarters and reported the accident, he was still not sure what he was investigating. There could be a possibility that the object could be an experimental aircraft, as the neighboring White Sands Proving Grounds has a history of testing experimental aircraft.

He again stopped the car and came out of the car while he was still on the radio device. When he stepped out, the radio control device fell out of his hand. As soon as he picked it up, he heard two or three loud thumps, “like someone hammering or shutting a door or doors, heard possibly a second or less apart.” After placing the radio device back in its socket, the device fell out again. Then, suddenly, he heard a roar that trembled his ears.

“Started low frequency quickly, then rose in frequency (higher tone) and in loudness – from loud to very loud. At same time as roar saw flame. Flame was under the object. Object was starting to go straight up – slowly up… straight up. Flame was light blue and at bottom was sort of orange color. From this angle, saw what might be the side of object (not end, as first noted). Difficult to describe flame. Thought, from roar, it might blow up. Flame might have come from underside of object, at middle, possibly a four-feet area – very rough guess… No smoke, except dust in immediate area.

Object was smooth – no windows or doors. As roar started it was still on or near ground. Noted red lettering of some type… Insignia about 2 1/2 by 2 feet wide, guess. Was in middle of object… Object still like aluminum – white.”

Officer Lonnie Zamora’s statement in the police report

Zamora was within 50 feet of the object when all this was going on. As soon as he saw the flame, “I immediately thought the thing might explode,” he told ufologist Ray Stanford, “so I hit the dirt in a prone position there on the slope for a moment until I heard the roar continue and knew there was no explosion.” At that very moment, he felt a heating sensation because of the flame. While keeping a close watch on the object, he sprang to his feet and dashed to the car. As his concentration was on the object, he collided with the back of the car and fell to the ground. In this action, his spectacles and sunglasses also fell off. In order to get himself positioned at the back of the car, he stumbled to his feet and started sprinting.

“Kept running to north, with car between me and object. Glanced back couple of times. Noted object to rise to about level of car, about 20 to 25 feet guess – took, I guess, about six seconds when object started rise and I glanced back. I guess I ran about halfway to where I ducked down, just over the edge of hill. I guess I had run about 25 feet when I glanced back and saw the object about level with the car and it appeared directly over the place where it rose from.” I was still running and I jumped just over the hill – I stopped because I did not hear the roar. I was scared of the roar, and I had planned to continue running down the hill. I turned around toward the object and at the same time put my head toward ground, covering my face with arms. Being that there was no roar, I looked up, and I saw the object going away from me, in a southwest direction. When the roar stopped, heard a sharp tone whine from high tone to low tone. At the end of roar was this whine and the whine lasted maybe a second. Then there was complete silence about the object. That’s when I lifted up my head and saw object going away from me. It did not come any closer to me. It appeared to go in a straight line and at same height – possibly 10 to 15 feet from the ground, and it cleared the dynamite shack by about 3 feet. Shack about 8 feet high. Object was traveling very fast. It seemed to rise up, and take off immediately across country. I ran back to my car and as I ran back I kept an eye on the object. I picked up my glasses (I left the sunglasses on the ground), got into the car, and radioed to Nep Lopez, radio operator, to “look out of the window, to see if you can see an object.” He asked, “What is it?” I answered, “It looks like a balloon.” I don’t know if he saw it. If Nep looked out of his window, which faces north, he couldn’t have seen it. I did not tell him at the moment which window to look out of.

As I was calling Nep, I could still see the object. The object seemed to lift up slowly, and to “get small” in the distance very fast. It seemed to just clear Box Canyon or Six Mile Canyon mountain. It disappeared as it went over the mountains. It had no flame whatsoever as it was travelling over the ground, and made no smoke or noise.

Noted no odors. Noted no sounds other than described. Gave directions to Nep Lopez at radio and to Sgt M.S. Chavez to get there. Went down to where object was (had been), and I noted the brush was burning in several places. At that time, I heard Sgt. Chavez calling me on radio for my location, and I returned to my car, told him he was looking at me. Then Sgt. Chavez came up and asked me what the trouble was, because I was sweating and he told me I was white, very pale. I asked the Sergeant to see what I saw, and that was the burning bush, then Sgt. Chavez and I went to the spot, and Sgt. Chavez pointed out the tracks.”

Officer Lonnie Zamora’s statement in the police report

The whole incident hardly took two minutes, starting from the sighting of the flame to the disappearance of the object. Upon reaching the spot, Zamora’s distressed expression caught Chavez’s eye. Chavez stated, “You look like you’ve seen the devil.” On this, Zamora replied, “Maybe I have”. Now he wasn’t thinking about top-secret military gadgets.

On the site, there were trapezoidal imprints, which were arranged in four uneven rows to form the “tracks,” according to Ray Stanford (the writer of the book “Socorro Saucer”).

“They apparently made by wedge-shaped units being forced, by great weight, down into the rather well-packed soil of the ravine. The dimensions of each wedge involved must have been: a horizontal length of 12 to 16 inches, a width, horizontally, of 6 to 8 inches; and a vertical wedge – depth of possibly 4 to 6 inches, although the total depth is difficult to determine from the soil depressions.”

Description by Stanford

After the observation of the site, the local newspaper stated, “They did not appear to have been made by an object striking the earth with great force, but by an object of considerable weight settling to the earth at a slow speed and not moving after touching the ground.” The imprints also felt moist to the touch, unlike the surrounding soil.

Officer Lonnie Zamora's sketch depicting mysterious footprints near the UFO landing site in Socorro
Officer Lonnie Zamora’s sketch depicting mysterious footprints near the UFO landing site in Socorro.

Despite the fact that Chavez had known Zamora for years and trusted him implicitly, the scenario still seemed absurd to him. There was a greasewood shrub in the middle of the quadrangle that was examined by Chavez. Smoke or steam was emerging from it. Even though it appeared like it would be hot, when he felt the steam, it felt cool. Grass and rocks appeared to have been scorched. As an officer who observed the bush a few minutes later stated, “The flame from that damn thing just sliced that greasewood bush in half, just burned it off clean like a blade of fire had cut through it.” After secretly searching Zamora’s car for any drugs that could cause a state of trance, Chavez returned empty-handed.

In the moments before Chavez arrived, Zamora had sketched out the insignia and shown it to his coworker. It was peculiar: an arrow shape pointing upward from a straight-line base; a half-circle surrounded the arrow and came down nearly all the way to the base. Nothing like it had ever been seen before by either of them.

State Police Senior Patrolman Ted V. Jordan, Undersheriff James Luckie, and Cattle Inspector Robert White all showed up within a few minutes, having overheard the radio transmission and responding immediately. Using his Argus C-3 camera, Jordan took photographs of the site. It was around 7 p.m. when Chavez and Zamora left the site and headed to the state police office. After they got their nerves back, they made up their mind that the object was an aircraft that had come from White Sands, regardless of the size of its pilots. They were looking to get advice on what to do next. They reached the police state office at 7:05.

Other Witnesses Of Lonnie Zamora UFO Incident

In Socorro, a car arrived at the Whiting Brothers service station just before 6 p.m. on April 24. A man, a woman, and three boys were in the car. The oldest one of the three boys appeared to be aged 11 or 12 years old. The man said to Opal Grinder, who was the manager of the establishment, “Your aircraft sure fly low around here.” A few minutes earlier, an “airplane,” he said, “almost took the roof off our car”. When they spotted the aircraft, they had been on the south side of town, driving north on Highway 85, north of the airport, and near a junkyard. Additionally, the man claimed that the aircraft seemed to be in danger as he had observed a police car drive off the main road and travel up a hill along the flight path at the same time. The man laughed and exclaimed that it was a funny-looking helicopter when Grinder said that it could be possible that the man had probably seen a helicopter.

Later, after two days, when Grinder heard of Zamora’s enigmatic encounter, he realized his customer had encountered the same UFO. There was no way to trace the man as he had paid in cash. Grinder’s son, Jimmy, remembered seeing a Colorado license plate on the car. Even though Zamora’s story would be widely reported, no witnesses have come forward to say who they are.

“Socorro Saucer” by Ray Stanford is a book based on this incident. In his book, Ray mentions a phone call that was made to an Albuquerque TV station just before 5:30 p.m. According to Stanford, the caller stated that he had just witnessed an egg-shaped UFO heading southward at a speed comparable to that of a regular propeller-driven aircraft. Moreover, Stanford believes this might be the same UFO that Zamora saw less than half an hour later, as the caller reported that it was traveling at a slow speed and Socorro is 70 miles straight south of Albuquerque

A meeting with two women who were residents of the area south of Socorro was also mentioned by Stanford. Both these women claimed to have heard the roaring sound associated with the object, but they both said they had not seen the object. The woman told him that many other people in the area had heard the noises, and someone in the sheriff’s department told him that, too. However, he didn’t speak to any of these other witnesses.

Information that surfaced years later, after the people involved could no longer be located, indicated that additional witnesses were present. In a 1995 interview, Ted Jordan talked about a UFO sighting he was told about by Robert Dusenberry, a worker at Socorro Electric Corporation. It was told to Jordan by Dusenbeery that he and two other guys had apparently seen the UFO’s departure when they were driving near the landing site. Dusenberry’s ordeal was kept to himself, and later, Jordan was the only one to hear of it.

When a master sergeant was on his way south from the White Sands Missile Range’s up-range (northern) Stallion Range Center between 8 and 8:30 at night, he spotted a blue glow with orange at the bottom. The location of the glow spotted by him was in the mountains some miles to the west of his location near Las Cruces. The engine and the electrical system of his car failed as the glow intensified. Upon returning to find the car in fine working order, the sergeant, a master mechanic in charge of the center’s vehicle repair shop, was taken aback. Before the glow faded out, he observed it from the outside of his car. With the vanishment of the glow, the car again started. No problems were detected when he took the car to be inspected at the main station.

A few miles to the southeast of Socorro, the witness was standing. As mentioned in Zamora’s and other individual accounts, the glow could be the “cone of flame”. The glow was in the mountains to the southwest of Socorro. This is where when Zamora lost sight of it, to be precise, the sergeant could have spotted the same UFO that was spotted by Zamora. 

Investigation Of The Lonnie Zamora UFO Incident

Zamora and Chavez had a brief conversation with FBI agent Arthur Byrnes, Jr. when they reached the state police station early that evening. Byrnes had already heard about the incident over the police radio. Byrnes called White Sands just after 7 p.m., and the officer who answered promptly informed Army Captain Richard T. Holder, the commander of the up-range station. Holder was 28 years old and was the highest-ranking military official in the area.

A few minutes later, Holder and Byrnes were talking directly. After reaching police headquarters, Holder and Byrnes interviewed Zamora. Shortly, along with other police officers, they were at the site. After having a deep examination of the site, the group headed back to the station. Dispatcher Lopez then noted that three calls had come in from people who claimed to have seen a blue flame in the vicinity. According to him, these sightings took place around the time of Zamora’s encounter. It was unfortunate that he did not enter the reports in the dispatcher’s log.

“After being appraised of the situation, I attempted to determine whether White Sands Missile Range or Holloman Air Force Base had anything that might produce the conditions described. Neither had an object that would compare to the object described. There was no known firing mission in progress at the time of the occurrence that would produce the conditions reported.”

Captain Richard T. Holder told this to Socorro newspaper

From the Stallion station, Holder called in military policemen that evening. The military policemen roped off the area, took measurements, and gathered samples while working in the light of a flashlight. Holder remembered that “I saw rocks that were normal on one side and charred on the other.” There were bushes alive on one side, but when you’d touch them, the other side would flake to ash. When an object blasts off by rocket or jet propulsion, there’s usually damage or debris in the area. But there was no indication of that type of disturbance. Holder noted that the “Footprints” geometric pattern was strikingly comparable to that of the vehicle’s geometric prints. A footprint the size of a bigfooted teenager was some distance away from the object.

It came as a surprise when Holder received a call the next morning from a colonel who stated that he was contacting him from the war room of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. He contacted Holder in order to know whether he had prepared a report on the incident or not. Upon his claim that he had, he was told to read it into the scrambler. Just when he started to explain, the connection was lost. Having no idea what he was doing talking to a colonel who had such a high position in the national security apparatus, Holder called the war room, spoke to the colonel once again, and then got reconnected to the scrambler. Many years later, he was still thinking that “Why in the world were they so interested?”

Many hundreds of curious onlookers descended on the scene in the following days to obliterate much of the physical evidence that had remained since the story first hit the wires. The Tucson-based Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization’s (APRO) directors were in Socorro on Sunday, September twenty-sixth. Their names were Jim and Coral Lorenzen. Both Project Blue Book’s T/Sgt. David Moody and Kirtland AFB’s Major William Conner, both UFO-reporting officers, were also present. Nothing abnormal was found when Moody and Conner examined the area for radioactivity. Radar confirmation of the object’s passage was also not recorded, but this can be justified as the radars at Stallion, which are used for testing purposes only, not for air defense, were switched off on Friday evening. Even if the radars were on, it would still be impossible to trace an object that was moving against a mountainous backdrop.

To begin their investigation for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), Stanford arrived on Tuesday, April 28. J. Allen Hynek, Blue Book scientific consultant and Northwestern University astronomer, took a plane to New Mexico two hours after he got a call from the project’s commanding officer, Captain Hector Quintanilla.

Hynek had been working on Air Force UFO projects since the 1940s, and he was getting more and more unhappy with how the Air Force was handling the UFO phenomenon. Hynek, along with one of his graduate students, had been visiting Quintanilla at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, at the same time that Zamora’s meeting was taking place. Of course, none of them knew about it. The graduate student, Jacques Vallee, inspired the elderly man to take a fresh look at the UFO evidence. Hynek was now open to Vallee’s pleas, as well as the Socorro event, which looked like an unusually promising and evidence-based UFO case.

It was on May 20 when Hynek noted his dissatisfaction with the situation at the Blue Book. According to him, “the Air Force is in a spot over Socorro.” In order to get away from the congressional pressure, Quintanilla gave a “vague statement identifying the object as an unspecified U.S. experimental aircraft,” but in Hynek’s estimation, that “won’t go down.” The AF doesn’t know what science is. “

In the afternoon, when Hynek arrived at the Albuquerque airport, he was greeted by Major Conner. The Air Force vehicle tire got punctured on the way to Socorro, and the vehicle had no jack, because of which Hynek had to take lifts from the general public to reach his destination. This is almost perfect in terms of symbolism. When Hynek arrived, he was pleased to have arrived “before the AF people.”

“Found Zamora & Chavez were very anti-AF. I got rid of the AF people & got the story from them that night at the jail. (A slow process – they were not eager to talk at first.) The next morning we went & reenacted it at the spot. A NICAP person (Ray Stanford) was already there & lent me some bottles for taking specimens. I had brought nothing. Z. is an unimaginative cop of an old Socorro family, incapable of hoax, and pretty sore at being regarded as a romancer. It took at least 1/2 an hour to thaw him out…

The marks left on the ground: 4 rectangular scrapings as if a rectangular object had scraped along, digging into the ground – deeper at the end. The gouging was done away from the center in every case. The arrangement was not regular, but the diagonals were perfectly at right angles. When I was there this had been all tromped up in spite of a wall of stones that a Captain Holder, an Army “downrange officer,” had carefully built around them.”

A Memorandum by J. Allen Hynek

Even with all this, Hynek was still impressed and he further stated that “I think this case may be the ‘Rosetta Stone,” and “There’s never been a strong case with so unimpeachable a witness.”

Theories And Investigations

The Air Force released an official report on the case on June 8th, which was two pages long. From the start, the document was erroneous as it claimed that Zamora was traveling “north on US 85,” when in fact he was traveling south on Park Street, which is located west of US 85.

No other witnesses to the object reported by Mr Zamora could be located.

There were no unidentified helicopters or aircraft in the area

Observers at radar installations had observed no unusual or unidentified blips.

There was no unusual meteorological activity; no thunderstorms. The weather was windy but clear.

There was no evidence of markings of any sort in the area other than the shallow depressions at the location where Mr Zamora reported sighting the object.

Laboratory analysis of soil samples disclosed no foreign material or radiation above normal for the surrounding area.

Laboratory analysis of the burned brush showed no chemicals that would indicate a type of propellant.

There was no evidence presented that the object was extraterrestrial in origin or represented a threat to the security of the United States.

The Air Force is continuing its investigation and the case is still open.

Report issued by the Air Force on the investigation made by the Blue Book

There was no actual credibility to Blue Book’s claims about the absence of other witnesses. According to Hynek’s later writings, Hynek tried his level best to urge the officials of the project to look for potential witnesses, including the one Opal Grinder claimed to have spoken with, but “they evinced no interest whatsoever.”

Nothing fresh or significant was found by Hynek, even though he traveled to Socorro twice, on August 15 and again on March 12-13, 1965. Everyone thought the object was a secret experimental device, including Sergeant Chavez. This view became popular among those individuals who could not digest the fact that Zamora had encountered an alien spaceship. In order to avoid further discussion, Zamora remained quiet on this topic. In an investigation by Hynek, Zamora’s encounter was considered a hoax by all the residents of Socorro, except for one resident, even though Zamora was a well-respected man. Zamora’s claims were disbelieved by Felix Phillips and his wife because, despite the fact that they lived about a thousand feet south of the landing site, they did not hear the booming sound. This made Hynek skeptical, but he still believed Zamora’s claims.

“Phillips was directly downwind from the gully, there was a very strong southwest wind blowing, and the gully is on the opposite side of the hill from where Phillips was listening. This, of course, can make a tremendous difference in ability to hear. Further, there are trucks passing along the highway quite close to Phillip’s house, and he undoubtedly is used to hearing backfires and truck roars of one sort or another.”

An official memorandum written by J. Allen Hynek during his visit to Socorro

There would be no evidence or witnesses to the hoax. Even Blue Book chief Quintanilla said this about the case in the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence.

“There is no doubt that Lonnie Zamora saw an object which left quite an impression on him. There is no question about Zamora’s reliability. He is a serious police officer, a pillar of his church, and a man well versed in recognizing airborne vehicles in his area. He is puzzled by what he saw and frankly, so are we. This is the best-documented case on record, and still, we have been unable, in spite of thorough investigation, to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to the point of panic.”

Blue Book chief Quintanilla statements about the the case in the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence
Lonnie Zamora next to the apparent UFO landing site in Socorro
Lonnie Zamora next to the apparent UFO landing site in Socorro

Quintanilla neither supported the extraterrestrial interpretation nor doubted that the officer spotted some kind of strange aircraft. Several years later, after the incident occurred, in a memoir of his time with the Blue Book, Quintanilla hinted that Zamora had fabricated the encounter, bemoaning his inability to crack the case and the way “UFO buffs and hobby clubs” had exploited it.

But that didn’t stop two UFO debunkers from putting forth their own versions of a fake hypothesis in the face of a lack of evidence. The Harvard University astronomer Donald H. Menzel wrote to Hynek elaborating on how high school students, using a balloon and various chemicals, “planned the whole business to “get” Zamora.” Every resident of Socorro to whom Hynek showed the letter showed no interest. Zamora had probably seen a “dust devil,” stating this while debating ufologist Raymond E. Fowler on a Boston television show in June 1987.

Philip J. Klass believed that Zamora and Mayor Holm Bursum, Jr. (who owned the land where the UFO supposedly landed) had conspired together to make a UFO landing so that it would attract tourists to the town. Klass’s theory doesn’t hold up, and there is no reason to believe it. Klass earlier put forth a theory that Zamora could have misinterpreted a plasma phenomenon, associated with a nearby high-voltage transmission line, as a UFO.

Other Incidents

The Socorro incident was not the only single incident, but the fact that it quickly traveled across the country and became the most well-publicized example. A car heading at a speed of 10 or 15 mph to the east of Lordsburg, New Mexico, was chased by a huge circular light similar to a welder’s torch. It had many lens-like lights in it. As it passed about 10 feet above the top of the car, it lit up the inside of the car and made a whirring, whining sound. The UFO then rose, but it didn’t change its direction. It kept going on the highway. Then it went out of sight when it turned to the north. The sighting lasted two or three minutes.

Another U.F.O. incident occurred in the southeast of Socorro on the morning of the twenty-fifth. J.D. Hatch was driving on U.S. 70 near Tularosa when he saw a bright oval object fall from the sky and land on the other side of Round Mountain, east of Tularosa, near Mescalero. A strange object, not a plane, flew right at their car on U.S. 84 between Abiquiu and Espanola that night. Socorro is in the west-central part of New Mexico, which is where the object came from. A blue-flamed jet stream was all they could see.

No other such incidents received the same attention or investigation that Lonnie Zamora’s incident received. It was unfortunate that this negligence was also shown in the case of Orlando Gallegos. He was a 35-year-old boy who lived in Santa Fe. While he, along with his family, was heading to his father’s, he had a strange encounter. The ranch was just north of La Madera, a remote community a few miles north of the just-mentioned U.S. 84 sighting locations and 170 miles north of Socorro. He went outside at 1 am on the 26th to chase away some horses that had strayed into the yard. After completing the task, he looked out at the Vallecitos creek bank about 300 yards away. When he sat down in the middle of two places where people throw things away and on a dirt road, he saw a peculiar structure.

It looked like a butane tank that was “as long as a telephone pole,” but it was not. Made up of some sort of metal, it had no windows, was about 14 feet in diameter, and shot blue flames out of holes on the sides and the bottom. After one minute, the flame went out. There was never any noise coming from the object. When he went inside and reported it, he was mocked. Finally, he went to sleep, and when he checked in the morning, the object had been taken away.

In the afternoon, Gallegos told City Officer Nick Naranjo about the incident. Soon, he was telling his story to State Police Officers Marvin Romero and David Kingsbury about it. They then reported the same to the State Police Captain Martin E. Vigil, who sent another officer, Albert Vega, to the scene for investigation. At 7:30 p.m. Vigil and Kingsbury joined him there.

“At that time, the ground was still smouldering and badly scorched. Officer Vega advised that he had observed four depressions on the ground, one of which was quite clear, the others having been obliterated due to windy weather conditions. Officer Vega stated that this depression was approximately eight by twelve inches in size, about three or four inches deep, and sort of “V” shaped at the bottom.

There were also numerous oval-shaped, or “cat-paw like”, markings around the scorched area. These were approximately three and one-half inches in diameter.”

Martin E. Vigil

It was made sure by Vigil that Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, and the FBI knew about the incident. So did Major William Conner, who was also a member of the Air Force team that investigated the crash at Socorro. It was on the twenty-seventh that Conner and Gallegos were together at the site. On the same day, the spot was investigated by the Santa Fe New Mexican reporter, Doyle Akers.

“At the scene itself, the charred area was a peculiar shape, like two overlapping circles. It was about 20 feet across. Large rocks within the area showed evidence of extreme heat, while others within a few feet weren’t damaged at all. A soft drink bottle had melted while another five feet away was intact. An attempt to set fire to chamisa brush nearby failed.”

Doyle Akers

Vega remembered that on the previous day, in the late evening, he had sent back home a group of drunken young people from a dance in nearby Ojo Caliente. The group would have surely passed by the La Madera site, but on being questioned by Vega, they replied that they had not seen anything different. It was still smoking when he arrived. “That area just wouldn’t start burning from a match or a cigarette,” Vega said. You’d have to have some kind of gasoline or chemical to make it burn like that. But I don’t think anybody would be out starting a fire at 1 o’clock in the morning.”

As per the Blue Book, the incident was caused by a fire set in the dumping ground. The investigation into this case was short and Hynek was interested, but he was not allowed to investigate and was not allowed to go to La Madera. It was 1970, and a United Press International report quoted Emilio Naranjo. He had been the sheriff of Rio Arriba County in April of 1964. “Our investigation showed that three or four young boys had been washing a car at the river and started a fire to burn the rags they had used.” That was the flying saucer Gallegos saw. ” Nothing in Gallegos’s testimony or in the reports of the people who saw the physical evidence the next day backs up this claim, so it’s not very likely.

At first glance, a connection between the blue-flame-spewing UFO near La Madera, California, and the nearby UFO sighting just two hours earlier seems logical. It is unfortunate that any deep investigation has left the case hanging.

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