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by Scott Corrales

There exist a number of "accursed sites" on the surface of our planet. Some
of these locations are the sites of gravitational or atmospheric disturbances
that still remain unexplained by twentieth century science. Such anomalous areas
possess properties which interfere sporadically with humans and their equipment.
One area worthy of mention surrounds the Mediterranean island of Elba (famous for
being Napoleon's first place of exile), and is the bane of maritime aviation in
the Mediterranean; another spot is Mt. Stredohori in Czechoslovakia, where an
unknown force drains car engines of power throughout the length of a 75-foot
stretch of road.

However, we need not travel so far to encounter a part of the world that
is even more perplexing than these others, although it remains little known to
most people: Mexico's mysterious, magical zona del silencio--the Zone of Silence,
just four hundred miles away from El Paso, Texas. Deserts are often considered
to be mysterious enough without the added weirdness that this patch of earth some
four hundred miles from El Paso has to offer. It is a place which gobbles up
radio and TV signals, and which has of late been associated with the UFO

Centuries of Mystery

According to Dr. Santiago Garcia, there has been an awareness of the
unusual properties of the area since the mid-nineteenth century, when farmers
trying to eke out a living in the forbidding environment became aware of the "hot
pebbles" which routinely fell to earth from the clear sky. In the 1930s,
Francisco Sarabia, an aviator from the northern Mexican state of Coahuila,
reported that his radio had mysteriously ceased to function, earning him the
distinction of being the Zone of Silence's first victim.

Nonetheless, it wasn't until 1970 that the zone first entered public
awareness when an American missile, an Athena, fired from the White Sands Missile
Base, went off course inexplicably, heading for the Zone of Silence, where it
ultimately crashed. A few years later, an upper stage from one of the Saturn
boosters used on the Apollo project broke up over the very same area. The U.S,
military sent a team down to the region to investigate its surprising natural

Engineer Harry de la Pena was the first outsider to discover the zone and
its perplexing radio interference properties. Humans have been resided in and
around the scrub and cactus filled desert area since Prehistoric times, when an
unknown tribe of natives clustered around a watering hole which is still in
existence. The community of Ceballos, Durango, some 25 miles away, is the
settlement nearest to the zone, and it is the starting point of any venture into
its unreal atmosphere. The visitor will find vast expanses of flat terrain,
pinpointed with thorny desert bushes and infested with poisonous snakes. No
different from any other desert in that respect.

Pena and his group became aware of the "silence" when they found that it
was impossible to communicate with one another via walkie-talkies: radio waves
are not transmitted at the accustomed speed and frequency. Portable radios would
emit but the lightest whisper when turned on at full volume. To this day,
television signals cannot be received in Ceballos or in the neighboring ranches.
Some magnetic force, with the power to dampen radio waves, seems to exist in the

Since the engineer's initial visit, scientists from around the world have
visited the zone, flocking to the research facility erected at its very heart by
the Mexican government. The zone's somewhat foreboding name has been changed to
Mar de Tetys--The Sea of Thetys, due to the fact that it was once under water
millions of years ago--and the research lab has been dubbed the "biosphere".

Curiously enough, the zone lies just north of the Tropic of Cancer and
south of the 30th parallel, which places it in the company of a number of other
planetary anomalies such as the Bermuda Triangle. UFOs and the presence of
nonhuman life have been recorded in this anomalous region. Until a few years ago,
there were people still alive who could remember having had encounters with
allegedly extraterrestrial creatures in the early decades of this century.

Close Encounters

On October 13, 1975, Ernesto and Josefina Diaz, an enterprising couple,
drove into the zone in a brand new Ford pickup to collect unusual rocks and
fossils which can be found in great abundance. As they busied themselves in their
activity, they noticed that a desert rainstorm was heading toward them. Hoping
to avoid being caught in a flash flood, they wisely packed their vehicle up and
sped off, but not fast enough to avoid the relentless rain: the track ahead of
them turned into a swamp: the pickup was quickly trapped and began to sink in the
soft terrain.

While the couple struggled to keep their vehicle from submerging into the
mud, two figures approached them, waving at them amid the torrential rain. Two
extremely tall men in yellow raincoats and caps, with unusual but by no means
alarming features, offered their assistance to help them get underway again. The
men instructed the totally drenched couple to get inside the pickup again while
they pushed. Before the couple realized, their vehicle had popped out of the hole
and on to firmer ground.

When the husband got out of the pickup once more to thank the two men, he
realized they were gone. There were no footprints in evidence or any surface
feature that could have concealed their departure.

Travelers crossing the zone regularly report seeing strange lights or
fireballs maneuvering at night, changing colors, hanging motionless and then
taking off at great speed. Two ranchers heading back from a festivity witnessed
how a coruscant light floated down from the dark sky and disgorged humanoid
occupants, who glowed with the same eerie light and were walking toward them. The
ranchers broke into a frantic run.

Physical traces of these nocturnal visits can be found. One witness
returned one morning to the site where he had seen the mysterious lights
cavorting the previous night, and found that the scrub vegetation "had been set
on fire". Dozens of similar reports emerge from the zone, told by reliable

Dr. Santiago Garcia, who has devoted much of his life to the investigation
of this anomalous region, has speculated that some of lights seen by the
residents could well be from a roving vehicle left behind by the U.S. military,
recharging its solar cells by day and conducting furtive analytical missions
under cover of darkness. Garcia points out that when the Air Force came to
collect the Athena missile's wreckage, they took along several truckloads of
desert sand for analysis. There is the widespread belief that huge deposits of
magnetite exist in the area, and that this iron ore is responsible for the
dampening of electromagnetic waves. It has also been proven that considerable
deposits of uranium exist in the mountains ranges fencing the Zone of Silence.
In 1976, a visitor to the region took the first photograph ever of a UFO
landed near a topographic feature known as "Magnet Hill" by the locals. The
photos clearly show a shiny silver object resembling a large stewing pot. The
lucky shutterbug was able to take more shots of the UFO as it rose upward with
a roar, disappearing toward the west.

Yet not all of the "extraterrestrial" visitors have been as elusive. The
staff of a small local ranch was visited regularly by three tall, blond, long-
haired visitors--two males and one female--who were described as being polite to
a fault, extremely handsome and dressed "in a funny way". Their Spanish was
flawless and had a musical ring to it.

The reason for these visits was to secure water from the ranch's well: the
"funny" visitors would ask their hosts to please fill their canteens with water,
never requesting food or anything else. When asked where they came from, the
visitors would limit themselves to smiling and saying "from above." Could these
visitors be the "nordic" types referred to by ufologists? Spanish researcher
Antonio Ribera described similar "Blonds" operating in the vicinity of Rosellon,
in the Pyrenees, where they would only trouble their human hosts for bread and
milk, paying for them with gold nuggets. Almost white-haired "nordics" were
reported along the Sierra Nevada, in California, were they would come down to
barter with townspeople every so often. There exists a connection of sorts
between certain enigmatic deserts and these angel-like creatures.

No experience in the Zone of Silence is easily forgotten, and journalist
Luis Ramirez Reyes will almost certainly never forget his own. During the month
of November of 1978, Ramirez visited the Zone as part of a news team assigned to
cover a story on the bizarre site.

Choosing to go ahead of the main team, Ramirez and his photographer charged
into the desert, navigating by intuition rather than by hard knowledge of where
their final destination was located: the "biosphere" constructed by the Mexican
government, a laboratory dedicated to investigating the unusual biological life
forms found in the area and to conducting psychic research.

No closer to their target than when their reckless impulse drove them into
the wasteland, Ramirez became painfully aware that he lacked water or the
provisions necessary to survive in this hostile environment should they become
hopelessly lost. Having reached a "Y" intersection in the unpaved desert road,
they had chosen the wrong one.

Suddenly, he noticed that there were three figures walking up ahead, coming
toward them. Hoping that these locals might be able to point them toward the
biosphere, the journalist told his companion, who was doing the driving, to slow
down to talk to them. He was startled when the driver passed them by, as if not
having seen them.

Ramirez began wondering if the desert hadn't gotten to him already. Thetrio
were ordinary people, clad in the outfits usually worn by the inhabitants
of that part of the country. As they drove along, he experienced the shock of
running into them again--in a different part of the desert! Sternly ordering the
photographer (who couldn't see anyone at all) to stop the car , Ram°rez got his
chance to speak to the three locals. He asked them if they had seen another
vehicle like theirs in the area. They said that they hadn't, but that if they
drove cross country amid the rocky desert terrain of the "Sea of Thetys" they
would reach the biosphere. The three locals claimed to be out looking for some
stray animals of theirs, but they had no water bottles or other gear that would
indicate that they were able to survive in the menacing terrain.

After completing the cross-country trek, both men were relieved to find the
structure of the biosphere rising in the distance. Upon arriving, and meeting up
with their team, they discussed their unusual encounter in the desert with Harry
de la Pena. In a sobering tone, Pena told them that there were no people in the
desert who weren't part of the biosphere team and certainly no flocks for
peasants to look for. An aerial survey in later days convinced the investigator
of the utter desolation of the region that stretched for hundreds of miles.
But if they weren't people, what were they?

"Nordic" visitors and other humanoids are not the only kind reported in the
region. There have been sightings of oddly clad beings only a few feet in height
as well. Ruben Lopez, driving through the zone one night in a van on his way to
visit to a relative in Ceballos, noticed that his vehicle's engine began to
sputter. This troubled him no end, as he had recently serviced the van. Abruptly,
he became aware of five small figures that were standing along the roadside some
hundred feet ahead. Lopez believed at first that they were lost children, until
he noticed that they wore unusual silver one-piece outfits.

The little beings' heads were covered by helmets resembling those used by
football players. Through the helmets' open front, Lopez could tell that they had
adult faces. They approached the stalled van with curiosity, filling the driver
with genuine fear: Lopez raced the van's engine in neutral, which caused the
dwarfs to scatter into the desert darkness. The van continued functioning
normally after the creatures had vanished.

The Archeological Enigma

The extremely ancient ruins in the Zone of Silence pose another disquieting
enigma of their own. Archaeologists have been unable to determine their age, but
they undoubtedly form an astronomical observatory thousands of years old.
There is no connection between this Mexican Stonehenge and the primitive
tribes that clustered around the watering hole which constitutes an oasis in the
arid region. At some point in antiquity, someone was quite active in the Zone.

Perhaps they were interested, as are modern astronomers and geologists, in the
large number of small meteorites that are attracted to the Zone's magnetic

A meteorite that crashed in Chihuahua in the late 1950s contained
crystalline structures that far outdated the Solar System itself. Researcher Luis
Maeda Villalobos concluded that the meteorite contains "material as old as the
Universe": Our solar system is some 6 billion years old, while the meteorite's
age has been estimated at 13 billion years.

Whether we are dealing with UFOs, dimensional visitors who find the
magnetic aberrations facilitate their journeys, or merely a poorly understood
part of our world with unsuspected properties, no easy answers apply to the
riddle posed by the Zone of Silence. The builders of the mysterious ruined
observatory would have probably agreed.

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