Aliens in the Outlands

New Mexico and UFOs

The “Land of Enchantment” has many more associations
with strange things in the sky than just Roswell.
Plus, the Lonnie Zamora case solved? Or is it?

LAST UPDATE: 12/1/09

Alien NMNew Mexico had been at the heart of many of the most important technological developments of the twentieth centuries for decades even before the Roswell Incident. Ironically, this was because the state was so isolated and underpopulated. It has been a favorite place to hide out from the earliest days — from Jews escaping the Spanish Inquisition to Al Capone, who stayed briefly in the Jemez Mountains. In the1940s the federal goverment decided to hide its top-secret atomic laboratory there at Los Alamos. The mountains also soon became a preferred place for the Catholic Church to stash its sexually deviant priests in the quite tourist town of Jemez Springs where the head of the Chicago mob had stayed.

The state was so remote that supposedly there was a standing joke in Los Alamos that the address should read “Lost Almost, Near Mexico.” Even today, anecdotes about how New Mexico is believed to be separate from the rest of the United States are so common that the official state tourism magazine runs a column each month called “One of Our Fifty is Missing.”

Long before the notorious crash, Roswell had achieved fame as the site of Dr. Robert Goddard‘s pioneering rocketry experiments in the1930s. These provided the foundation for all future liquid-fueled rockets including the Nazi’s dreaded V-2s, as well as the state’s continuing aerospace role.

GoddardGoddard and the A-4 rocket, Roswell, 1935

By 1947, there was a lot here to interest any extraterrestrial visitor. Werner von Braun and other German scientists were busily launching all those captured V-2s. Along with the ongoing atomic research at Los Alamos and an intriguingly fresh radioactive crater at White Sands, there were several extremely powerful radars, acting like powerful beacons, which may have somehow contributed to the accident. And there was the 509th Bomber Wing stationed at Roswell, the sole operational nuclear-armed air wing on the planet.

In fact, there was enough R&D going on here in the1950s, that in several science fiction novels by such luminaries such as Jack Williamson and Frederic Brown, Albuquerque provided the setting for the future capital of the Solar System!

Unbelievable as that may seen, it could still ultimately happen. For New Mexico is about to start Spaceport America, the first very own private spaceport. Billionaire Richard Bransom has just signed an agreement with the state to begin work on a spaceport near White Sands for Virgin Galactic, the first non-governmental space tourism business.

Haunted earth

Land of EntrapmentSo it’s not surprising that the “Land of Enchantment” has had a rich history of UFO connections .

Albuquerque, the crossroads at which Bugs Bunny always somehow manages to make a wrong turn, is situated near the center of the state, surrounded by secrets. Scorched and scandal-ridden Los Alamos National Laboratory lies several hours north of town. It was plagued by numerous strange “green fireballs” in the early 1950s.

Dulce, famous for its cattle mutilations and an infamous alleged underground alien base, is further north.

Roswell lies to the southeast, east of White Sands Missile Range. WSMR is said to have the same flight restrictions as Area 51 and another possible location of the main crash site. The site for numerous rocket tests and an alternate Space Shuttle landing strip, it is most famous for Trinity Site, where the first atomic device was detonated in a stretch of desert aptly called the Jornada del Muerte, or “Journey of Death”.

Near White Sands is Alamogordo, home of Holloman Air Force Base, now the base for F-117 Stealth fighters, a space surveillance unit, balloon launches, and the German Luftwaffe. Holloman was also involved in the Roswell retrievals, and according to some, a possible site of a later landing and direct “first contact.”

Albuquerque itself is the proud host to Kirtland Air Force Base, with its long-rumored secret atomic underground “repositories,” an Air Force intelligence unit believed to have had a hand in several hardcore disinformation efforts, and Los Alamos’ rival Sandia National Laboratories, which some authors such as Michael Hesemann in Beyond Roswell (1997) have speculated serves as a prime coordinator of the whole alien research operation. It should be noted that it was from Albuquerque that the first of the MJ-12 documents, The Eisenhower Briefing Document, was mailed.

Falling saucers

The state is fairly littered with supposed crash sites. There could be ten or more, according to one list of crashes, which would indicate that UFO pilots are even worse than Santa Fe drivers. Hesemann points out one possible site of the “Roswell” crash as being in a canyon which serves today as a favorite rock-climbing area near Socorro for students from a nearby college .Possibly, but the site itself more resembles a shallow mine.

VLA dishAlong with at least three locations in the vicinity of Roswell that have been claimed to be “the” crash site or debris field, others have thought that the actual crash occured even further away than Socorro — somewhere in the empty Plains of San Agustin to the west. This is actually a giant bowl surrounded by radio-blocking mountains, that is dominated by the Very Large Array. A unique radio astronomical observatory of 21 huge dishes arranged in a Y-shaped configuration, the VLA is an immense, visually striking landmark. Though supposedly not involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, it has been used in movies dealing with such topics including 2010 (1984) and Contact (1997). Could it mark the place where a such an intelligence came down? (The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), by the way, starring David Bowie as a marooned alien from a Mars-like world, crashed in a lake in the Jemez west of Los Alamos.)

To the north, near Aztec, somewhat southwest of mysterious Dulce, is yet another alleged crash site. This one, however, has nothing to do with the Roswell event, supposedly occuring some nine months later, though it has been widely debunked.

Yet alien-built craft may not be the only Unidentified Flying Objects that have come down hard in New Mexico’s deserts.

Lonnie and the Bean

[Painting by Chris Lambright based on photos of the actual landing site removed by artist's request]

A while back I read a curious little book entitled Flying Saucers — Key to Creation? by a “George H. Eastland”. Despite the title, there’s no channeling, contactee lore or New Age blather. Instead, this gentleman seems to be an old aerospace engineer who’s seen a few things and thought long and hard about them. Very nuts and bolts type of guy, but with a surprising amount of insightful and intelligent speculation about the various ways flying saucers could work.

In this thought-provoking book, he tells an amazing story as a cautionary tale that things are not always as they seem and that there is more than one kind of UFO out there. Illustrated with diagrams from bar napkins and replete with fascinating technical details, the yarn was supposedly related to him by a biker called “Tea-Mex,” whom he met at a now long-vanished bar during a motorcyle rally in New Hampshire many years ago. They fell to talking about motorcycles, and thence other machines, which led to flying saucers, and then the guy causally remarked that he’d built one once.

A do-it-yourself flying saucer

With a little prodding, Tea-Mex explained he was a machinist who at one time hung out with a bunch of fellows from some unnamed contractor to the military in central New Mexico. (Most likely involved with White Sands, because not only were they able to get custom-milled aluminum and steel parts, but practical advice from on-site aviation experts. But that’s getting ahead of the story.)

Anyway, these guys started playing around with the design of a engine described in Popular Mechanics which consisted of two pistons on opposite ends of a rod shuttling back and forth between combustion chambers. Since the pistons didn’t do anything but make a lot of hot compressed exhaust gas, it was considered merely an impractical toy.

After melting a version cobbled out of old lawnmowers, the boys got serious. They machined parts at work, hiding them in a dumpster for later retrieval — “involuntary contributions from the aircraft industry” as Tea-Mex put it. By the time they were through, they basically had a vertically-mounted jet engine that spun like a gyroscope, powered by propane. Once they mounted a big fan atop it to increase the cooling airflow, the lift, combined with the thrust of the exhaust, was enough to allow the device to actually fly.

Of course, nothing for it then but to build a light frame with fixed landing gear, put a couple of chairs in for the pilot and engineer, and encase the frame in white aircraft aluminum. One sheet had an old logo on it which they attempted to paint over with abstract “characters” in red. They called their egg-shaped contraption “the Bean” because it looked somewhat like a lima bean mounted on four toothpicks.

Being essentially a really big flying gyro, the ship was quite tricky to manuever, requiring two people, who dressed in jump suits with motorcycle helmets. On one test flight going into a strong headwind, the guys had to land abruptly in an arroyo right off a highway. But being spotted and chased by a local cop, they quickly hopped back in and took off again.

They weren’t quite so lucky this time and some distance away suffered a crash landing that wrecked the Bean, though they were unhurt. But they were stuck: they couldn’t patent or sell the damn thing because all the parts had been scrounged or otherwise ill-gotten. Nor, having been totally unlicensed, dare they come forward. So they secretly trashed the ship but didn’t have the heart to junk the engine, which is still quietly rusting in somebody’s garage somewhere out there. End of story.

The biker finished his beer and rode off. Tea-Mex had never mentioned the policeman by name, though one of the guys had said he’d recognized him. Nor do any other identifying names whatsoever appear in the story.

Eyewitness drawingZamora’s sketch

But in all the annals of ufology, this tale could relate to one and only one case: the world-famous sighting by Socorro Police Sergeant Lonnie Zamora, who on April 24, 1964, saw and pursued a craft landing in a gully near Socorro. Two occupants emerged briefly but hastily re-entered the craft, which then took off with a flaming roar, leaving behind some of the best trace evidence ever collected.

The incident got a great deal of national attention. The head of Project Blue Book admitted that it was the “best-documented case on record.” The story of the Bean fits the details exactly, even down to the funny symbol on the side of the craft and its near collision with a green Cadillac on the highway just before the landing, details which are not that widely known.

And it sounds very plausible, especially with all the engineering detail in the full story. Indeed, people at the time wondered if it wasn’t some NASA lunar-landing gizmo being tested at nearby White Sands that had seriously gone astray. This was around the time the first prototypes of the LM were being experimented with there, after all. Plus the craft made a lot of noise and even started a fire in the bushes with its exhaust, which is not typical of most flying saucers.

Apparently, the vessel may have been a bit more astray from the military-industrial complex than anyone had thought, but not from anywhere near as far away as many imagined.


Or was it? Could the story of the Bean be disinformation to direct attention from another extremely important event?

According to Linda Mouton Howe's secret military sources, the very next day, April 25, 1964 there was the long-rumored landing at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamogordo. It's not that far away, and supposedly was the basis of the exchange portrayed in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Here's what one of her sources said:

The Ebens gave it [the so-called Yellow Book] to us back on April 25, 1964, when they landed at White Sands for a prearranged meeting and stayed for awhile. The day before when police officer, Lonnie Zamora, saw a craft and beings near Socorro was a coordination mistake of some kind. The Ebens landed twelve hours too early and too far west. We got it corrected somehow and they returned around 6 AM the next morning to the right place (at Trinity Site in northern end of White Sands). By the way, Zamora drew those Eben symbols perfectly.

R.I.P. Lonnie Zamora

Former Sgt. Lonnie Zamora passed from this plane of existance on November 2, 2009. Though controversy still swirls — even as he died, new articles were claiming it was a hoax by college students. However, the sole known witness to the event known as "the Socorro incident" never denied what he claimed to have seen. However, a leading investigator of the case has posted a eulogy at the same site, praising the officer's honesty; Officer Zamora's reputation reminds intact.

For information about New Mexico's secret role in Catholic clergy abuse
see Mysteries Linger in New Mexico.


Goddard Gallery — pictures of his rockets

Roswell Incident

International UFO Museum and Research Center — in Roswell, natch

Roswell Proof — the Ramey telegram

UFO Crash at Roswell

The Other UFO Crash

Lonnie Zamora’s Big White EggA posting from Flying Saucers, a LOOK Magazine Special Edition from 1967

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