The Lonnie Zamora UFO sighting of 1964

By: Daniel Kendle

On April 24, 1964, officer Lonnie Zamora of Socorro, New Mexico encountered something strange during a police chase.

Being that 1964 was 58 years ago, along with the fact that supernatural phenomena are known to be somewhat difficult to dig up police evidence about, details and fine descriptions are somewhat muddled. But there is a clear story to see, believe it or not.

During said chase, Zamora had seen a sort of fiery object descending from the sky, accompanied by a loud “roar”. The roar is important to this case, as the officer had sworn that what he heard wasn’t a blast or eruption, but a roar.

Driving to where he thought the object landed, he was shocked to see not a wrecked vehicle, but instead a large, cylindrical water tank-like craft in the shrublands, an unrecognizable red marking on its side. Even more interesting was the account of two humanoids standing near an opened hatch. The two characters were the size of either kids or adults, though being either large or small of the two classes respectively.

Zamora says that the two beings stopped, staring at him. He watched them for a second, before turning back around to get a better view of them. But, just as he looked back again, they had seemingly climbed back into their vessel, because a few moments later the craft produced a purple flame from under it and slowly lifted itself into the air. Several hundred feet off the ground, it suddenly flew away at record speeds.

After the officer reported his findings, he and Sergeant Chavez, a fellow police officer, went back to the site with other officials. According to online files of the incident, found were several burnt shrubs and, strangely enough, footprints around the spot Lonnie Zamora had seen the vessel.

While the case was deemed into a group of sightings known as ‘The Unknowns,’ a list of UFO encounters unexplainable by the American Government, higher-ups at the US Air Force and a past president of the university New Mexico Tech, Stirling Colgate, gave a number of theories to the incident, such as it being a university student prank or weather balloon. Friends of Lonnie have stated that he was a very trustworthy and honest man, so lying for publicity would seem unordinary for him.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Lonnie Zamora on April 25, 1964, from KSRC Radio. The interviewer is Walter Shrode. This interview was archived from a collection of recordings of UFO sightings from Wendy Connor.

SHRODE: “…about the size of a car, I think someone said…”

ZAMORA: “Yes sir, it looked like a car that had turned over, therefore I would say about the size of a car.”

SHRODE: “And was there any kind of markings on it of any kind that you noticed?

ZAMORA: “Yes I did. Not from that far I didn’t see the markings. When I went up closer to it, I did see the markings.”

SHRODE: “And someone said that the markings that you saw was an upside-down “V” with three lines running through it.”

ZAMORA: “No sir, I couldn’t tell you that, because they don’t want me to say nothing about the markings.”

SHRODE: “They don’t want you to say anything about the markings. Okay, we won’t question you on that. And if we run into an area that they don’t want to talk about, you just say so. And this happened about 5:35 in the afternoon?”

ZAMORA: “It happened about 5:50, about ten minutes to six.”

SHRODE: “About ten minutes to six. And did you place a call to Sgt. Chavez of the State Police to come on out and help you with the investigation?”

ZAMORA: “From the time I saw this object, which I didn’t know what it was, I placed the call to Sgt. Chavez of the State Police, called him to come out here and help me on this. And he said, ‘Yes, I’ll be right there, in about two minutes.’”

After all was said and done, Lonnie Zamora decided on retiring as an officer and instead worked at a local gas station. Press and UFOlogists kept hounding him for details, and he didn’t want this incident following him around throughout his life. He died in 2009 due to a heart attack.

Due to the case’s credibility, there’s been a solid amount of traction around it. A mural depicting Zamora’s encounter with the UFO was painted in Socorro, and along with it is a developed area of where the vessel landed, turning it into a miniature attraction of sorts. Do take in mind that the monument was located about a quarter-mile from the actual site; it was believed that the original spot had been contaminated with radioactive material at some point.

When tackling a UFO sighting, the two main questions one asks are…

  1. Is this story believable-enough to be real?
  2. If so, what caused the sighting?

Zamora’s sighting is one of the few that have passed the first bar. A lot of times encounters with supernatural things can be boiled down to either a hoaxing prank or a misconception. I, and many others, would argue that Lonnie Zamora is telling the truth; there’s just no good explanation for the case’s details. How could college students create a military-grade spacecraft, capable of carrying multiple individuals and flying at the same time, and at sonic speeds too! How could one officer create such believable evidence of UFO-human contact (creating footprints and burning some shrubs too, as the scene of the encounter had some there as well) and not fudge a part of his hoax up?

The answer: He couldn’t. Probably.

I’d like to end this by saying that this article was NOT meant to make you believe in aliens and what not. I wanted to bring an analytical eye to this case, not some tinfoil hat nonsense. And in that sense, I hope you enjoyed it.

If you want to learn more about my sources and further reading, check out the links below.

2 thoughts on “The Lonnie Zamora UFO sighting of 1964”

  1. Nicely done providing the details and describing the case accurately. It still stands as one of the most compelling encounters to this day. (That’s my painting based on details Lonnie provided himself 🙂

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