The truth is up there
- Tuesday April 18, 2006
The truth is up there
by NICK RITCHICK
One April night, the Socorro, N.M., police department received
a radio call from Sgt. Lonnie Zamora. Zamora said that while
investigating a loud roar at a dynamite storage shack, he
encountered a strange scene.
What he first thought to be an overturned car with an exploded
gas tank turned out to be an oval-shaped object about the size
of a car, with legs that extended to the ground.
According to UFO Casebook magazine's Web site (ufocasebook.com),
Zamora reported the object had no windows or doors and had
a red insignia on the side. Two child-sized people in white
coveralls stood nearby.
Zamora told his dispatcher he was going to go closer to investigate.
But he heard a loud roar and saw a blue-orange flame at the bottom
of the object. Then the object rose into the air and flew away.
Air Force and FBI investigators arrived on the scene within a few
days, gathered evidence and spoke to witnesses. After two years,
Air Force investigator Hector Quintanilla, Jr., released his surprising
"There is ... no question about Zamora's reliability," Quintanilla
reported. "... we have been unable, in spite of thorough investigation,
to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to the point
According to the National UFO Reporting Center (www.nuforc.org),
there were 3,999 unidentified flying object (UFO) reports in the year
2005. Some of these reports, according to Bruce Maccabee, former
president of Mutual UFO Network, Maryland chapter, remain unexplained.
"Most cases - 70-80-90 percent - you can reasonably explain," said
Maccabee, of Thurmont, Md., in a phone interview last week. "But
maybe 5 percent do not fit."
Maccabee, a civilian physicist working with the U.S. Navy, said he
has been investigating UFO reports since the 1970s. He said the
U.S. government has investigated UFOs since the first sightings
were reported in newspapers a few years after World War II.
"The government thought maybe the Russians had leapfrogged our
technology. These craft were probably nuclear powered.
The government was naturally worried, at the beginning of what is
called the Cold War," Maccabee said. "Air Force pilots were also
involved. FBI was involved to find out if there was any communist
Government investigators discounted most UFO reports, but a few
were truly strange. But they told the public differently, according to
Maccabee has been interested in these unidentified aircraft since
he was a teenager in the 1950s. During this era, newspaper reports
of the UFO appearances caught the interests of many people. He
volunteered with the Washington, D.C., office of the National
Investigating Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and began
investigating reported sightings.
"That's where the rubber hits the road - witnesses who are telling
the truth as they know it, or just plain hoaxing," he said. "Where I
investigated, they were telling the truth as they know it.
"But it's possible to misperceive. You know there are stars and
planets up there - aircraft with lights on. If the light was traveling
along and made a right-angle turn, it wasn't a star, wasn't a meteor.
Sometimes it takes days or weeks or years. After you spend time
and you have no other explanation that fits, you can say it might
be unidentifiable. This is the scientific method."
Maccabee has published several books and reports on UFO
investigations, including "UFO FBI Connection," which details
early FBI investigations. To visit Maccabee's Web site, go to
Read about thought-provoking UFO reports such as Lonnie
Zamora's in "Mysteries of Mind, Space and Time: The Unexplained.
" And, for fun, find good UFO fiction in "Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens
1" and "Bruce Coville's Book of Aliens 2."
You can believe me or not, but there are reports of flying objects
that cannot be explained. Next time you're outside at night and
see stars, just think to yourself that maybe not all of those lights
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