Summary: One of the better documented cases of a UFO landing, and leaving evidence of landing occurred in Socorro, New Mexico on April 24th, 1964. Dr. J. Allen Hynek called it "one of the classics of UFO literature."
One of the better documented cases of a UFO landing, and leaving evidence of landing occurred in Socorro, New Mexico on April 24th, 1964. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, debunker turned proponent called it "one of the classics of UFO literature." On the evening of that day at about 5:45 P.M., patrolman Lonnie Zamora, a five year veteran of the Socorro Police Department was involved in a high speed chase of a black Chevy going north on U.S. 85 when he heard an extremely loud noise that changed from very high frequency to very low frequency and then stopped. He then saw a flame in the south-western horizon and became concerned that perhaps a dynamite shack that was owned by Socorro's mayor may have exploded. Zamora discontinued his pursuit, and turned off the road onto a rough gravel road leading to the direction that he could see the flame. He later described the flame as blue and orange, from top towards the bottom, being narrower at the top. Zamora had to travel slowly up a steep incline, but when he reached the top he saw a shiny object between 150 - 200 yards from his position. His first impression was that it was an over turned car, but upon further inspection, he realized it was an egg shaped object that appeared to be made of aluminum foil or some similar type of shiny material.
Then he saw two figures standing beside the object. They appeared normal in shape but diminutive, either "small adults or large kids." One of the figures turned and looked at the car and appeared startled, sort of jumping as it saw him. The pair seemed to be wearing some type of white coveralls. Zamora had to maneuver his car around the incline to reach the location and lost sight of the two and the craft for a few moments. When he reached the spot, the craft took off into the sky, making a roar that was "not like a jet." He was able to spy markings on the side of the craft, which looked like a stick arrow pointing up over a horizontal line enclosed in a semi-circle. Much later, UFO author Jacques Vallee would identify this symbol as the Arabic astrological sign for Venus.
As the odd colored flames came shooting out of the object, Zamora ran and hid behind his car. (Sacorro's finest) I'm joking, but it should be noted that as Zamora ran for protection behind his car, he lost his prescription glasses, which may have caused him to misidentify the markings or ensignia on the side of the UFO. The object lifted vertically to some height, and then took off horizontally "travelling very fast." Zamora said the craft left behind a smoldering circle, the burnt plants were oddly cold to the touch.
Shortly after Zamora was joined by Sgt. M.S. Chavez of the New Mexico State Police, and they both checked the area where the craft had rested, finding indentations there. The indentations were still there when Hynek arrived. "I visited the site several days later and verified the landing marks and charred plants. Chavez had, he told me in a long interview, verified the marks and the burned greasewood plants, which had still been smoldering at the time he first met Zamora at the site." And while Dr. Hynek was unable to convince the air force to make an in-depth investigation into the Socorro event, he personally continued to look into the affair for over a year. "My original investigations, directed toward breaking apart Zamora's account by seeking mutual contradictions in it and also to establish Zamora as an unreliable witness, were fruitless," wrote Hynek. "I was impressed by the high regard in which Zamora was held by his colleagues, and I am personally willing today to accept his testimony as genuine, particularly since it does fit a global pattern."
As impressive as Zamoras story was, this in no way held back the debunkers from attacking every aspect of the case. Dr. Donald Menzel, a famous UFO debunker whose name appears on the infamous MJ-12 list, stated that the speeding motorist who Zamora had been chasing was a decoy who led the patrolman to the remote area, then used a walkie-talkie to signal co-conspirators, who released a phony flying saucer attached to a balloon. The laughable theory was laid to rest by Hynek, who pointed out that the craft left travelling west, while there was a strong wind from the south that day. Phillip Klass, another notorious debunker, dismissed the entire incident because the landing mark indentations did not correspond to the symmetrical landing legs of a NASA spacecraft. I suppose that even this theory made Klass realize how ridiculous he sounded, as he later suggested that the entire incident was a hoax, conspired between Officer Zamora and Sacorro's mayor (whose property the craft landed on) for the purpose that they would try and make the landing site a tourist attraction.
What the debunkers did not take notice of, was that two days after the Socorro sighting, the Orlando Gallego family of La Medera, New Mexico reported almost exactly the same type of sighting that was reported by Zamora. While the family declared they had not heard of the Socorro event, and it might be argued that they could be lying, there is no denying the fact that the police and later ufo researchers found exactly the same type of charred vegetation and four landing indentations as what had been found in Socorro.