The vast majority of UFO sightings in history have occurred in the continental United States. Wherever this is evidence of a preference for aliens when it comes to whom they probe, or a more subtle commentary on the psyche of that nation, it is nevertheless an interesting fact.
Almost all UFO sightings can be dismissed as either errors in observation or hoaxes, but some defy explanation. One of the most well-documented examples of the latter was an event witnessed by Lonnie Zamora, a police officer from Socorro, New Mexico.
The incident was later investigated by researchers and scientists, and many have concluded that the UFO sighting is strong and credible evidence that “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” exist.
Now the question is, what exactly happened on the 24th of April, 1964? Well, a very peculiar incident happened in the late afternoon and evening of that day.
In the late afternoon of the 24th of April, 1964, Lonnie Zamora was on duty and was in pursuit of a speeding car that was heading towards the South of Socorro. At 5:54 pm while speeding down the road, he heard a loud roar and witnessed flame in the sky at a distance of about half a mile to a mile (0.8 to 1.6km).
Initially, he thought it to be a dynamite shack which had exploded, and concluded it should be prioritized over the speeding car. So, leaving his chase, he went to investigate further. He informed Nep Lopez, his radio dispatcher, about what he saw and heard and then traveled towards the direction of the blast.
As he approached where he had seen the explosion, Lonnie Zamora saw an object at a distance of about 150 yards (137m) which he thought could be a vehicle that was in need of help. He contacted the Sheriff’s Office and informed that he would be investing a potential accident. He also reached out to Samuel Chavez, a police sergeant of New Mexico, in order to get some assistance for the investigation.
When he went closer to the area from which smoke was coming, Lonnie Zamora left his police cruiser and started walking towards the deserted area. After reaching the lip of a small valley, he was able to spot a huge white craft that he later described as being similar to a propane storage tank in terms of shape and size.
The craft stood on the dry desert ground on three legs, and had a red insignia on the side of an upward-facing arrow under an arch. But then, to his surprise, Lonnie Zamora saw two figures, similar to small adults, entering the craft.
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The figures wore white suits which appeared to resemble laboratory coveralls, and when they saw Lonnie Zamora, they rushed towards the craft. Expecting some kind of attack, Lonnie rushed for cover. However, then he heard a sound similar to slamming the door of a car and saw the craft taking off.
When the object or craft started lifting up, Lonnie Zamora again heard the loud roar and saw bright blue flames. The craft then quickly blasted off into the sky. Lonnie returned to his cruiser and reported what he had seen.
The possibility of this being a hoax or mistake on the part of Zamora was quickly discounted. After the incident, a number of local people went to the site and witnesses the depressions made by the landing gear, as well as burned ashes on the ground consistent with the police officer’s description of the launch.
Apart from Lonnie Zamora, there were a number of other witnesses who reported seeing something very unusual on the same day and same time. Many people reported seeing the “egg”-shaped craft or witnessing the bluish flame approximately at the same time when Lonnie Zamora saw them.
These witnesses had come forward to describe what they had seen even before Zamora’s report became public knowledge, adding to the credibility of the descriptions. Among the other witnesses who reported seeing the craft and the flames were two tourists named Larry Kratzer and Paul Kies and five further tourists from Colorado.
Additionally, many hundreds of people heard the loud roar of craft while it landed and took off.
After the incident took place, it was immediately investigated by a group of officers who arrived at the site and treated it as they would a crime scene. They took photographs of the footprints and other impressions that were left behind by the landers. The charred sand was also collected for the purpose of investigation.
However, federal authorities were quickly on the scene to take over, impounding all collected evidence and passing the investigation to the US Air Force. In due course the conclusions of this investigation were published, explaining the Lonnie Zamora incident as being due to natural events.
However, a second report was circulated by the US Air Force internally, as part of their classified Project Blue Book investigations. According to the second report, the public explanation was a cover and the Air Force was unable to reach a conclusion as to what the police officer had seen.
Project blue Book also concluded that there wasn’t any technology that could be responsible for the sighting explained. The incident remained unresolved.
A Test Flight or a Prank?
Over the years, a number of different explanations have been provided for the potential UFO sighting. One of the prominent explanations is that it was a classified test flight.
At the time when the incident took place, NASA was performing tests at the nearby White Sands Missile Range for the lunar lander. The supporters of this theory believe that Lonnie Zamora must have seen this test, and the two beings he saw could be the scientists who were there in the desert for the test.
However, this theory is not widely accepted as the place where NASA was performing its tests was about 100 miles away from where the flames were seen, and the sound was heard. Moreover, the lunar lander tests were conducted with the help of a helicopter. So, if the test was being performed, Lonnie Zamora should have also noted the helicopter’s presence.
Yet another explanation for the UFO sighting incident is that it was a targeted prank made by students of a nearby college. Other theories about the incident suggest that it could be a mirage caused because of heat exhaustion, a weather balloon, star formation, or even secret military technology.
Owing to Lonnie Zamora’s credibility as an observer and the fact that many others witnessed the same, the incident is recorded as a credible UFO sighting. While the full explanation of the entire incident is not available, the possibility remains that it is genuine.
Many UFO enthusiasts believe this to be an authentic sighting of aliens and alien technology. They believe that the beings Lonni Zamora saw were actually extraterrestrial life forms. Whether this is true or not, the entire incident seems to defy more down-to-earth explanations. Was this a UFO? We may never know.
Top Image: The UFO launching, as described by Zamora. Source: JMK and Jsayre64 / CC BY-SA 4.0.
By Bipin Dimri
Lonnie Zamora – UFO Sightings Like This Will Blow Your Mind. Available at: https://tilln.com/season-4/lonnie-zamora-ufo-sightings-like-this-will-blow-your-mind/
Socorro Landing: A UFO Story. Available at: https://www.socorronm.org/attractions/socorro-landing-a-ufo-story/
Investigating New Mexico’s less-famous UFO landing. Available at: https://www.cnet.com/news/investigating-new-mexicos-less-famous-ufo-landing/