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The UFOLOGIST Articles and Editorials
Article and Illustration
By Billy John Booth

Socorro UFO

The Zamora Incident
In relating the alleged UFO sighting of New Mexico policeman Lonnie Zamora, it is not my intention to promote nor debunk the validity of his statements, but to provide facts relating to the incident, and keep this case in the public knowledge. As I have stated in earlier documents, I fully understand that at least 95 percent of all UFO sightings are either hoaxes, or, are explainable by common means. There are, however, those cases which will not go away. The Socorro, New Mexico case is one of those.

The Zamora 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 this vehicle, when he 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. Abandoning the chase for the speeder, he pointed his police car in the direction of the dynamite shack, supposing that it had somehow exploded. He radioed his activities to the sheriff's 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 road he was on was a narrow gravel one, and it wounded 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 in the distance.

His first reaction to this sight was that it was an automobile which had overturned, and it's gas tank exploded. Upon a closer look, however, he discovered that he was looking at an oval-shaped object without windows or doors. He stated that the object was about the same bulk of a medium-sized car. He was drawn to an unusual red insignia on the side of the object, and then noticed two beings that he thought to be children, dressed in white overalls. He recalled that one of the "children" seemed to jump (become frightened), upon noticing him.

Regaining his composure, Zamora immediately radioed in to the sheriff's office the details of the incident. Deciding to get a closer look, he was surprised to hear a loud roar, and see 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 noticed that the object lifted off the ground, and headed southeast, flying in a straight line for about 10-15 miles. The legs that he had seen earlier, now had disappeared. Having intercepted Zamora's earlier radio transmission, State Police Sergeant Sam Chavez arrived at the scene just after the craft disappeared into the sky.

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, 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 was known as a well-respected, reliable police officer with no hint of any 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 on the side of the craft.

Although the Air Force's Bluebook was notorious for either debunking or misrepresenting cases they looked into, I was surprised when I read the CIA evaluation of this incident as provided by the Freedom of Information act. The following document was made available for public inspection on January 2, 1981. It was originally included in the CIA publication, "Studies in Intelligence," released in 1966. The brief, "Policeman's Report," was written by Hector Quintanilla, Jr., the former head of Project Blue Book.

"There is no doubt that Lonnie Zamora saw an object which left quite an impression on him. There is also 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."

The case received a great deal of press, and a lot of attention by UFO groups around the world. One problem with 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. To this end, I would like to include another report made about a year later with strikingly similar evidence.

In July of 1965, In Valensole, France, a farmer named Maurice Masse claimed that he also saw two children standing in his field. Masse was attempting to find a solution to why his lavender crop had bare spots of ground. As Masse approached them, he noticed an usual object close by. Now with a much better view, the children were not children at all, but "strange looking beings." Masse described them as having large, bald heads, pasty faces, and huge, slanted eyes that stared out at him. He also related that they were wearing coveralls of some sort, and one of them was holding a tube-like device, standing by an odd-looking craft.

Masse swore, that as he approached the object, he was hit by some sort of ray, which disabled him for a time. When he awoke, he saw the object flying off into the sky. Fearing ridicule, he was reluctant to report his incident, but in time, he came forward with the facts. During an interview, he was shown a picture of a drawing representative of Zamora's object. Masse remarked, "Someone else has seen my UFO." According to the farmer, he was not able to grow anything in the area of the incident for years to come.

Neither of these two cases prove the existence of extraterrestrial life, but especially in the Zamora case, there is no doubt that some type of unusual craft with occupants did land, and take off again. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who interviewed Zamora on more than one occasion, believes every word that Zamora said, however, offers no explanation for his sighting. In Hynek's own words; "There is much more evidence to indicate that we are dealing with a most real phenomenon of undetermined origin." If what Zamora saw was not of extraterrestrial origin, then where did it come from? Why did it land? Who were the strange occupants?

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