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Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2017

1964 - The “Forgotten Flap”

by: Rick Hilberg

It's really hard to believe that it has been more than 50 years since the Socorro, New Mexico sighting by Lonnie Zamora on April 24th of 1964. It was such a highly publicized incident, not to mention the first “landing” case to receive serious consideration by those more conservative ufologists, that many of us fail to realize that there was a very intense UFO flap going on at that time from just about all regions of the country. And while the sheer numbers of cases from the huge flap years of 1965 and 1966 tend to eclipse 1964, there were some very interesting cases from that year that have been pretty much forgotten in the passing years.

Many residents of Del Norte County in California reported sighting a ball-shaped object on the evening of February 8th. The Sheriff's office and FAA reported a call from a person at Fort Dick Beach stating that he and a group of 17 others sighted the UFO flying from north to south over the beach. The object was reported to be glowing and changing in color from orange to gold to white and seemed to have a long tail which did not glow. A fisherman tried to catch the object with a flashlight beam, but the UFO sped off as the beam was pointed towards it.

Another witness at Ninth and L Streets in Crescent City reported to the FAA that he sighted a similar object at about 8:55 p.m. over the nearby foothills. The FAA also stated that additional reports were received from the Cave Junction, Oregon area at about 8:00 p.m. of what may have been the same object sighted in California.

Hardly 48 hours after the Zamora encounter at Socorro, Orland Gallegos and his family had just arrived at his father's house outside of Lamadera, New Mexico at about 12:30 a.m., on the 26th, when the younger Gallegos went outside to chase away some horses.

He was startled to see a strange object resting on the ground in a gravel area about 200 feet away. He reported that at this point he was afraid to approach any closer.

When he first sighted it, there was a ring of blue flames erupting from numerous jet-like openings around the bottom of the UFO, he said. There was no noise as he watched the thing, then the flames were suddenly turned off. He reported that he saw no signs of life or movement near the object.

Gallegos returned to the house and told his family, but no one ventured outside to have a look. His wife described him as being “badly shaken” when he entered the house. He returned outside twice more to have a look at the object he described as being a bright metal without windows, as long as a telephone pole and about 14 feet in circumference. He said it was egg-shaped and resembled a large butane tank, very simlar to what Zamora reported two days before at Socorro.

He said that upon going outside after the sun had come up that morning the object was gone, but the ground was still smoldering. Gallegos said he stayed away from the landing site all day, and later in the afternoon as he was returning to his home in Santa Fe he stopped Espanola Police Officer Nick Naranso and told him about what he saw. “I just had to tell somebody,”Gallegos said. Espanola Police notified the New Mexico State Police, who twice inspected the landing site over the next 24 hours. Said Capt. Martin Virgil, State Police District Commander, “The ground was still smoldering and was charred over a large area.”

Virgil said what looked like paw prints were found at the scene and depressions, similar to those found at Socorro, were also found. Virgil further stated that he thought the depressions may have been made by some sort of landing gear, and that he was certain Gallegos had seen something real.

“If you told me you saw it, I wouldn't believe it, but I saw it,” said George Mitroplis of Albuquerque after his encounter with a UFO on the evening of April 26th.

“It was up ahead of me and to the right when I saw it come over the crest and then drop back behind the mountain,” Mitroplis said. He said he was driving north on U.S. 85 one mile south of the New Mexico 180 junction about 10:30 p.m. when he sighted the UFO. “I wasn't just seeing things, because I stopped the car and after it went behind the mountain I could hear the noise like muffled jets. This thing was glowing like it was luminous. There were no lights,” said Mitroplis. There was a glow underneath like exhaust fumes also.

He described the thing as appearing like an upside down bathtub. Mitroplis said he caught up with another car that had been ahead of him. “I caught up to them and stopped them because I wanted to know if they had seen it too. There were two young men but they denied seeing anything...but they were acting strangely.”

He said he first reported his sighting to the Truth or Consequences Police but they just laughed at him. He said he then went to Socorro where he learned of the Zamora encounter, and felt better that he was not alone in his reporting a strange aerial object.

On Friday, May 15th, a UFO was seen to take off from the side of Route 90 near Ashtabula, Ohio. The Highway Patrol reported that a man from California called to report on the object. He said it was as big as a tractor truck. The caller said the object changed color, turning to a bright orange color, hovered about eight feet off the ground and then took off and soared to about three or four hundred feet.

At this point the flame color became a blur and the object zoomed into the sky. This incident happened at about 11:30 p.m.

The motorist said a driver of a semi-trailer rig also saw the UFO and stopped to look. A source that had always been reliable told me that after the sighting, several Air Force cars were seen parked near the reported landing area with their lights on.

An orange-colored UFO was reported by an Industry, PA woman and her son at 11:05 p.m., on May 20th.

Mrs. Helen Jones, an employee at Snyder Elementary School told authorities that she and her son, Robert, 19, had seen the object for a period of time from four to five minutes. Attracted by a flickering light in the sky at a great distance, Mrs. Jones said she got a pair of binoculars and focused on the slow-moving object, which appeared to be oval in shape and with lighted windows.

The UFO was bright orange in color and the windows reflected a pale yellow light. The object appeared to be rotating continually while it moved across the field of view of the two witnesses. “It seemed to be spinning around like a top and I could see little windows, two of them,” said Mrs. Jones. “It made no noise. It was such a funny looking thing. It didn't move very fast. It didn't look like it had any wings. I knew it wasn't a plane, they go over our house all the time,” she said.

Yes, there were some very good multiple witness UFO sightings in the “forgotten flap” of 1964.

Saturday, April 13, 2024