Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico and UFO subculture

by Norio Hayakawa
April 27, 2011

New Mexico is officially the Land of Enchantment.
However, it seems that there are some who take this state motto almost literally and even believe that it is indeed the Land of Enchantment in more ways than one.

Some even seem to regard New Mexico as a state that has always been  (and continues to be filled with unexplained mysteries, especially when it comes to UFOs and paranormal phenomena.

Of course New Mexico has Roswell, world famous for its alleged 1947 "crash" incident.
What really took place in July of 1947 outside of Roswell no one knows for sure.
Perhaps there may be prosaic explanations to that incident.
But, again, no one knows for sure.
Yes, we have also heard about similar, alleged crashes near Corona, also near Magdalena and even in the Plains of San Agustin, all in New Mexico.

The bottom line to me is that whether it really took place or not  i.e., the alleged crash of an "extraterrestrial" spacecraft, as had been so claimed and described by witnesses at that time) is really not what matters the most.
Besides, it seems that we do not have a single publicly acknowledged solid, tangible, physical, irrefutable documentary evidence that we have ever been (or are being) visited by physical extraterrstrial aliens in physical extraterrestrial spacecraft.

But this does not mean at all that the UFO phenomenon does not exist. 
In fact, the UFO phenomenon seems to remain a great mystery, even from time immemorial.
It's just that we cannot come to any hasty conclusions equating this phenomenon with physical extraterrestrial visitations.
That's the bottom line.

But what is more important than all this is the indelible psychological imprint this type of alleged incidents has left in the "psyche" of a segment of the population and created a subculture of its own.

Besides Roswell we also have Socorro, site of a well-known April, 1964 alleged landing incident, allegedly witnessed by a Highway Patrol officer by the name of Lonnie Zamora. 

(Speaking of April of 1964, some "ufologists" even seem to claim that a contact/landing incident had also taken place at Holloman Air Force Base at White Sands Missile Range.)
And, just east of Socorro and next to the northern limits of White Sands Missile Range is a small town called San Antonio where rumors have existed of a crash of what was then described as a mysterious object in the summer of 1945.

(By the way, it is said that in 1945, immediately after the conclusion of World War II, hundreds of German scientists, engineers and even some former SS intelligence officers were brought to the U.S. through a program called Operation Paperclip.  Many were said to have arrived from Ohio's Wright Patterson Army Air Base and temporarily housed at Albuquerque's Kirtland Army Air Base  -  Kirtland AFB today.  Some of these German scientists were then transferred to Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Some were transferred to White Sands Missile Ranges for various testing projects such as rocketry and other military technological projects.  So, they say....)

And if we look towards the Four Corners area we have Farmington  (site of an alleged mass sightings of UFOs in March of 1950)Aztec  (site of an alleged 1948 "crash" outside the town) and Dulce (site of an alleged underground base and bio-lab, as well as being the site of numerous "cattle mutilations" that took place especially between the mid 1970s and the 1980s) and many other places filled with UFO lore.

In northern New Mexico we also have Taos, site of the many claims of strange "hums" reportedly heard by many residents in the early 1980s.

In northeastern New Mexico we have a small town of Cimarron where, in 1979, a lady by the name of Myrna Hansen claimed to have experienced an alien abduction, the first of its kind in New Mexico.
This case had received quite an attention, especially since an Albuquerque scientist and defense contractor, the late Paul Bennewitz of Thunder Scientific Corporation (that still does business with Kirtland AFB), investigated this case and led him to theorize that she may have been temporarily taken into an underground facilty in Dulce.

(Or was this all part of Psychological Operations program created and manipulated by the OSI at Kirtland AFB?)

Yes, this all sounded too bizarre  (and continues to be so)  to most people who are in the mainstream of society.

Everything discussed so far has been brought up with the important qualifer, "alleged".

But from here on, let me give you some facts, not allegations.

New Mexico is home to Los Alamos National Laboratories, probably the nation's most advanced conglomerate research community, even in the field of DNA/genetics research.

(By the way, here is an interesting fact.  Most people today haven't the slightest knowledge that in December of 1967, the U.S. government had exploded a nuclear device in northern New Mexico, a mile and a half underground, just southwest of Dulce, purportedly to ease the flow of natural gas thought to have been entrapped beneath beneath layers and layers of hard rocks. That experiment was called Project Gasbuggy.  The Ground Zero site of this 1967 experiment is open to the public today. There is a government plaque there that marks the exact spot.  A few years ago I had a privilege of visiting this site, guided by a Jicarilla Apache person from Dulce.)

In Southern New Mexico, there is the White Sands Missile Range where America's most advanced directed energy weapons (laser/microwave) systems are being tested.

But there is more to it.

Albuquerque itself is the site of Kirtland Air Force BaseManzano Underground Nuclear Storage Facility, as well as Sandia Labs and Phillips/Air Force Research Labs, probably two of America's most advanced military technological research labs.

Yes, there is a large presence of defense contractors, engineers and scientists who live in the Albuquerque area.
They say that in New Mexico there are more scientists and engineers per population than in any other state.
(Despite the ironical fact that when it comes to public education, New Mexico ranks about 48th nationally).

Whether one is a believer or a skeptic in all this, it is nevertheless fascinating to observe how a segment of the population's beliefs have impacted the society, culture and subculture, especially here in the Land of Enchantment.
This is all about beliefs.
It is similar to religious beliefs.
It is human nature to have religious beliefs and it has little to do with educational levels of the person.
Even a nuclear physicist may have no qualms about believing in God or in angels or demons.

What is "reality" to one person may not be the same as another person's view of "reality".
The study of various levels of "reality' as well as "dimensions and time" is a very important aspect of quantum physics today.

The bottom line to all this is that we still do not know for sure what "reality" is.

Norio Hayakawa



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Here's a link to the San Antonio, NM saucer story (1945).

Excellent article, Ben!

Yes, I did read your article several years ago on Jeff Rense's site.

It is indeed a fascinating account.

//But what is more important than all this is the indelible psychological imprint this type of alleged incidents has left in the "psyche" of a segment of the population and created a subculture of its own.//

Wow, for once I actually agree with you.  I tend to find conspiracy theories - especially those with no real impact on people's day-to-day lives - to distract from far more important and pressing topics.  To be sure, it can be fun to speculate on the nature of extraterrestrial intelligence, but those who devote their lives to haranguing government officials about some imagined coverup are wasting valuable resources.  


There are much more significant topics with a much greater real-world impact about which to petition the government, and I find these sort of wild goose chases to be a distraction from these issues.  This is a timely topic, as the President today just released his long-form birth certificate on the White House webpage in an effort to redirect citizens' efforts away from "birther" conspiracies and more towards matters that concern the well-being of the public.


As for Mr. Vigil's photograph, let him know that I've got some lens cleaner and bug spray for him.

Thanks, Benny.  I am glad you agree with me for a change.  :)

By the way, as I stated, Mr. Vigil used his cellphone, not a regular camera.  Do you have a lens cleaner and bug spray for his cellphone lens?   :)

Yes, I am glad that you brought up this subject of how beliefs can affect society, and even politics.

As you said, even the President had to finally convince the people that he was born in the U.S.

Even with the birth certificate there will be people who still will hold on to their belief that Mr. Obama was not born in the U.S.

I also heard that more than half of Americans still believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim and not a Christian.

So, "beliefs" can be very frightening in some cases.



"It is human nature to have religious beliefs and it has nothing to do with educational levels of the person."


well, no actually.

statistically mapped to the general population, religiosity is inversely proportional to education level, particularly in the U.S.

Thanks, Jeff, for your reply.

I know two of Los Alamos scientists who seem to espouse typical Fundamentalist Christianity.

They told me that there is a group within the scientists circle who are Fundamentalists to the tee.

Sometimes, though, it is difficult to distinguish religiosity from self-proclaimed spirituality.


i had a feeling you'd cite individuals, which doesn't really contradict what i said above since statistical generalizations don't preclude outliers.


for example, something like 95% of the members of the national academy of sciences are non-believers of any faith.


what is the difference between religiosity and self-proclaimed spirituality?

O.K., Jeff, thanks for the JSTOR 1984 and 1962 study.

I didn't have time to read them thoroughly.  It's highly academic and fine and dandy and I respect those studies.

When you said above that 95% of the members of the national academy of sciences are non-believers of any faith, you are saying that 95% of those members do not espouse any concept of an intelligent desiger or a  "creator" of this universe, i.e., everything just happened spontaneously with no explanation?

O.K., I ask this because I personally tend to think that even though the vast majority of them could be agnotics, perhaps there could be a large percentage of those who COULD consider that there could be a "god" somewhere or some intelligence who may have had a hand in creating some sense of order in the universe?   There could be a large number of those who have nothing to do with organized religion but personally are open to asking questions?

could, but why?

in other words, what's the cosmological value in a non-intervening deism? and even then, there's no evidence pointing to it. it just leads to an infinite regression of who created the creator.


asking questions is fine, it's just that not all questions are meaningful. "what's the purpose of the universe?" is one that springs to mind.

I feel compelled to respond, though this is getting pretty far off topic.

The fact that we are but a tiny, insignificant speck in a cold, uncaring universe does little to detract from the fact that the universe is beautiful and awe-inspiring.  To quote Douglas Adams, "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"


//the vast majority of them could be agnostics//

I would assume that most of them, if pressed to place a fine point on their religious affiliation, would describe themselves as "atheist agnostics" or "agnostic atheists."  The two terms are not mutually exclusive.  Though claiming that a god is possible (but highly improbable) is a far cry from claiming that one exists.  The same could be said of unicorns, leprechauns, or factual conspiracy theories.

Jeff - Do you have a cite? I'm aware of several studies that look at specific populations (professors, scientists, etc and the Pew studies) but I was under the impression that the type of degree was a factor. This is not to contradict your claim, just a request for more information.


Here's a first page from JSTOR on a 1984 study.

Here's a first page from JSTOR on a 1962 study.

Here's an Evolutionary Psychology article from 2009 that doesn't address it directly, however it seems pretty easy to me to infer the negative relationship since they talk about socioeconomic conditions.


thanks for holding my feet to the fire, as it were...


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