I lived in Socorro in the early 1980s, and was always fascinated by the sky at night. The dazzling stars against the dark sky made me think of diamonds displayed on a jeweler’s velvet cloth.
Working for an attorney in the small town, I made many trips to the courthouse to file papers. Passing by the Sheriff’s Department daily, the friendly officers always smiled and waved and made small talk. No one ever mentioned to me that in 1964 one of their very own men had been responsible for one of the most famous UFO sightings in the United States.
On an early evening in late April of 1964, Lonnie Zamora was in his patrol car preparing to chase a speeding vehicle when he heard an explosion. Thinking the nearby dynamite shack might have blown up, Zamora headed in that direction to check it out.
The shack was not the cause of the noise, but several hundred feet away, he noticed a shiny object about the size of an average car from the ‘60s. He could see no openings of any kind on the smooth, aluminum-colored entity, “no doors or windows.” He did see red markings on the side of the oval-shaped vessel.
As Officer Lonnie Zamora got closer to the object, he also saw two beings about the size of large children, dressed in white one-piece articles of clothing. They appeared to be alarmed at the sight of him.
Getting out of his car, he heard a loud roar that went on for several seconds, and blue and orange flames were shooting out from underneath the craft. It was frightening to him. He lost his eyeglasses as he ran across the desert. The roar turned into a whining sound then stopped. The object slowly lifted into the air, and then abruptly took off and traveled rapidly toward the southeast for ten or fifteen miles.
There were several calls received at the Sheriff’s Department in Socorro that night regarding the sighting of the UFO. Experts and official United States government investigators came to town to check out the story.
Odd imprints, footprints, and markings in the desert sand were discovered at the site. A radiological chemist collected samples of “melted and resolidified sand” at the sight of the landing. Air Force personnel collected these materials and research notes from the chemist, and she was told to not speak of the incident.
Reports of the incident have still not been released to the public. Officer Zamora retired from his position with the Sheriff’s Department two years later.
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