The Lonnie Zamora Encounter (1964)

Lonnie Zamora and an illustration of the strange craft he observed

A credible and well-documented UFO sighting is hard to come by, but the state of New Mexico seems to deliver the goods time and time again. In this instance we will examine the case of Lonnie Zamora, a police officer from New Mexico who, in the early evening of a spring day in 1964, had an extraterrestrial encounter that likely stuck by him for the rest of his life.

Zamora’s Experience

Shortly before 6pm on April 24 1964, Lonnie Zamora was involved in a high-speed chase in pursuit of a vehicle just outside the town of Socorro, when he heard a loud explosion off in the distance. He glanced over to where he thought the sound originated from and to his surprise, witnessed a blue/orange flame up in the sky. Shaped like a funnel, the light appeared to be bearing down on the ground.

Zamora described the noise he heard as being like a “roar” that lasted approximately ten seconds. Initially suspecting an explosion at a nearby dynamite shack, Zamora ceased his pursuit of the vehicle and went off to investigate, but what he found did not even remotely fit what he expected to see.

As he drove over a steep hill he was shocked to find a large, oval-shaped object sitting on the ground, some distance off the road. He noted that the object appeared shiny and white and resembled a large (American) football. Nearby were two small figures wearing white overalls, one of which seemed startled at the sight of Zamora.

Not knowing exactly what he had come into contact with, the on-duty police officer suspected some type of overturned vehicle. He radioed his dispatcher for assistance, then left his car to offer help to those he thought were involved in the accident. As he walked over, he dropped his radio by mistake. As he turned around to pick it up, he heard another loud roar and in the blink of an eye, the two small individuals he saw earlier had vanished.

The object then emitted flames which, along with the roaring sound, startled Zamora to such a degree that he took cover behind his police car. In his own words, Zamora stated the object was “Not like a jet […] Started low frequency quickly, then roar rose in frequency (higher tone) and in loudness – from loud to very loud. At same time as roar saw flame. Flame was under the object. Object was starting to go straight up — slowly up. Object slowly rose straight up.”

As the roar and flames subsided, he walked a little further down the road, keeping the object in his sight. Zamora noted that it hovered approximately 25 feet off the ground and that it had no doors or windows. He did notice a type of red insignia inscribed on the side of the object, however. The marking seemed to resemble a red arrow pointing upwards, with a semicircle on top of it. He estimated the insignia to be about 2.5 feet high and 2 feet wide.

Shortly thereafter, the object took off and disappeared from view, making no sound and emitting no flames or smoke as it traveled. Zamora then went back to the scene of the take-off, and noticed burned bushes. He was later joined by a colleague, Sergeant Chavez, who also witnessed the burn marks.

Agencies Get Involved

What is interesting about this particular case is that the local police as well as the FBI and U.S. Air Force investigated the incident. The scorch marks and strange tracks left behind by the object, which seemed to possess two legs that it rested on as it sat on the ground, were confirmed by the agencies. Metal scratch marks on nearby rocks were also identified.

A diagram of the situation Zamora found himself in can be found at the Central Intelligence Agency’s website, direct link (in new window) here.

The incident was documented within Project Blue Book and other witnesses in and around Socorro, New Mexico, confirmed the presence of the unknown object.

Such a well-documented sighting seems to also be a very plausible one – after all, Zamora was a very reliable witness and his story corroborated that of others in the area. The degree to which the incident was investigated also speaks volumes as to the credibility of the sighting. To this day, this particular mystery remains unsolved.

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