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October 15, 2009
City Eyes UFO Memorial
|Councilor Gordy Hicks and Socorro Tourism Director Deborah Dean at the Zamora site.|
|John Larson photo|
SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- Local artist Patrick Richard asked the Socorro City Council to re-consider a previous request to allow a historical marker to be placed in the area of a Socorro policeman’s report of an unidentified flying object.
The location of Lonnie Zamora’s 1964 experience is in an arroyo about a quarter of a mile north of Park Street on Raychester Road. The report attracted the attention of the U.S. Air Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and related agencies.
According to official files, the sighting remains unexplained, Richard said.
Mayor Dr. Ravi Bhasker said the city was “ready to put it up,” but that questions remained on what the wording on the marker would be, and agreement between the city, the owner of the property, and a church which is adjacent to the site.
“The content of what [the plaque] says is instrumental in it going up,” City Clerk Pat Salome said.
Richard’s request comes at a time when the Zamora sighting has been challenged as an elaborate prank perpetrated by New Mexico Tech students in 1964. According to a copyrighted article by Anthony Bragalia that has been posted on several blogs on the Internet within the last month, a hand-written note to Nobelist Linus Pauling in 1965 by Stirling Colgate, Tech President from 1964 to 1973, indicates that Colgate personally knew the student who “engineered the hoax,” and that it was a “no-brainer.”
Although investigators from the Air Force and FBI found Zamora’s experience “unexplained,” the incident was interpreted by UFO researchers as the landing of an extraterrestrial spacecraft piloted by aliens.
Zamora, in interviews immediately after the incident, stated that he had radioed the police department as the object departed, telling Sgt. Chavez, the dispatcher, that the object looked like a balloon.
The decision on whether to install a plaque or marker near the sighting is now up the city council.
Bhasker said in order to move forward on the request it would be important to have an agreement in writing from Zamora.
In other business:
Former mixed martial arts promoter James Burleson proposed that the city promote itself more actively to the movie industry. He said if a movie studio chose to film here it would benefit the economy of Socorro. “It would mean the hiring of a lot of local people and help local merchants and restaurants,” Burleson said. “It would also mean more business for hotels and rental property for up to six months.” Chamber of Commerce Director Terry Tadano said the chamber has worked with the film industry, and have film location images on its web site, including Bosque del Apache, Fort Craig, the VLA, and other sites. “They have called, and we are ready if they are interested in filming in the area,” Tadano said.
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