I’ve been putting off writing about the next one in line, slightly intimidated by the amount of material that exists about it. Lonnie Zamora’s encounter with a strange flying craft and its two occupants is legendary, and is one of the few single-witness cases given credibility – largely due to the physical evidence from the scene and Zamora’s status as a level-headed police officer.
The main points of the story are: that at about 5:50 pm on 24 April 1964 police patrolman Zamora was giving chase to a speeding driver when he saw a blue-and-orange flame descending towards a nearby dynamite shack. Afraid that the shack might explode, he gave up the chase and went off-road towards it. After three attempts to drive up a hill, he finally managed to climb it and saw a metallic object resembling a car on its end. Next to it were two figures, four feet tall and dressed in white coverall-type outfits. One of them saw Zamora and appeared to jump. Zamora drove towards them, thinking they might need help. The object, he saw, was roughly oval or lozenge-shaped, standing on four legs and with strange insignia on the side. Zamora got out of his car (the ground now being too rough to drive on), and heard two or three loud thumps, like hammering or a door closing. He was almost at the object when a flame appeared and the object took off, presumably taking the two figures with it as they were nowhere to be seen. Zamora went back to his patrol car and called for backup. while waiting for sergeant Sam Chavez to arrive, Zamora drew the insignia.
The two police officers went to the spot the craft had stood on (which was on fire), and they saw a quadrangular arrangement of depressions in the ground, later estimated by an engineer, WT Powers, to have need one ton of force to create. Four smaller marks within the quadrilateral were described as “footprints”.
Project Blue Book, when it came to investigate, was for once stymied – the object appeared to resemble no known craft or natural phenomenon.
So, to explanations: the best candidate, according to this site, is a test run of the Surveyor-3 lunar probe; it was certainly being tested in the area that morning, and operational snags could have held up tests until the late afternoon. The surveyor, though. has three feet, rather than four, but perhaps this was an early design that was later changed. What puzzles me, though, is that the craft had to be carried about by a helicopter, which Zamora did not report seeing. That Zamora could read and draw the insignia but not see helicopter rotors (or hear them when he was just fifty paces away) is just a bit too much of a stretch for me.
In recent years it’s been suggested that the incident was a hoax. Here, the idea of a lit up balloon is the main prop. Well, ok. And somehow the two people alongside it went with it? or something. All explanations and theories must explain the main points of the case: the two beings/people; the descending and ascending flame and object; the roaring noise; and the marks on the ground. The comments are especially good, especially because they never descend into the idiotic name calling etc that passes for debate elsewhere on the bottom half of the internet.
This is one the most famous and most picked-over cases, and yet over 50 years later no explanation really satisfies. I’m going to go for a real, unknown craft, and as to whose craft it was exactly, that one I’ll leave open.