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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just came across another supporting paper, this time through freakonomics.

Thanks, Jeff, for your additional item on this.

However, it seems that this supporting paper was done in Canada.

I also see that there are quite a number of comments opposing that view.

Anyway, I think it is quite important to separate religious affiliation and organized , structured religion from personal esoteric concepts.

I would even go to speculate that there are more educated people who hold some type of personal esoteric concepts without any affiliation whatsoever with organized religious beliefs.

It is the Land of Enchantment, but the trick is it has infinite venues besides those you become aware of. Outer space visitations, the Manhattan Project, the wide number of military bases---the newer ones as opposed to the old ones. On the internet you can find the tales and fables of ghosts at Wingate, skinwalkers, La Llorrona (forgive my spelling), In the battlefields of old there are those that try to commune with those spirits to garner the special details, and others by culture are forbidden to assemble in those locations.... as this was a land in conflict for a historically long period. All that you provide above is a great start if you can understand the underlying powers that enabled the accomplishments that were spectacular. Can you envision a reality if you take a hike in the Bisti and suddenly sit down for a break and allow the badlands formations to stoke your natural embers of new thought in the strangely profound fixtures that surround you in that enchanted ambiance? Everyone should try that at least once or twice. I am wanting to see the Trinity site which I haven't done yet but it is near the White Sands another super unusual landscape event. Somebody needs to add to wikipedia what Enchantment really means in the state of New Mexico, but it sure would be a long definition.

Thanks, Victor, for your interesting comments.

Yes, I am also fascinated with the Skinwalkers stories, as well as the Llorona.

What I particularly enjoy about New Mexico is the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of the native Americans.

It seems to me that the "beliefs" in the paranormal are not strange to many native American cultures.   This is why I am interested in places like Dulce, New Mexico.

And places like Chaco Canyon.

A good thought provoking post Norio.  We all perceive the world differently.  That all humans perceive is a hard fact.  But what we perceive is not a fact of the same kind, because we learn what to perceive. 

Thanks, Jim.

You hit it right on the nail when you said "we learn what to perceive".

How true it is!

I don't think that religiosity or some human perceptions or beliefs are related in any way to the low resolution cellphone snapshot of a lenticular cloud.  Scientiific inquiry has brought civilization a very long way, and I see no reason to abandon it now.

Yes, scientific inquiry has brought us a very long way and I think that it is senseless to think that there are people who are abandoning that now.

Anything in this world (whether it is a snapshot of what could be a lenticular cloud) has something to do with perceptions and interpretations.   This is how religion starts.


It seems to me that by dogmatically claiming that the cellphone snapshot above is a snapshot of a lenticular cloud, I think you yourself may already be abandoning what you say as scientific inquiry.

Sure, it could be anything.  For all I know, that image may simply be some blemish on the lens.   Or, even a football, since it was purportedly taken near a football field.


Simply by stating that it is a lenticular cloud (without any analysis) is (to me) definitely abandoning scientific inquiry!

It then becomes a religious belief (to you) as far as you are concerned, since you seem to discard any other possibility and stick to your own belief that it is a lenticular cloud. LOL!!

I have never seen a white football high in the sky.  I have the experience of seeing many clouds, and can recognize lens shaped (lenticular) clouds through simple visual analysis.  They are in the sky very often, and command people's attention only when isolated in a photo. If one googles the phrase ufos and lenticular clouds, one will find over 170,000 hits, and some spectacular photos.   There is nothing new or interesting about the photo above, and nothing that requires rigorous inquiry.  If one wished  to discuss issues, we could discuss the difference between religion and cult.  Or the difference between religious faith and belief in conspiracy theories. If, however, one wishes to descend to personal attacks and insist that others share ones opinions, I am sorry.  I don't care to play that game.

Here are my latest thoughts on this:

January 18, 2013:

AMERICA'S UFO SUB-CULTURE......why it continues to affect a segment of the population:


Here is my newly revised view on 'Ufology' and Conspiracies.


I take a healthy, skeptical position on the subject matter, without becoming a debunker.

I am still very open.

I still keep an open stance on everything because life itself (as well as death) is a mystery and there could be things in this world that we still do not understand.

We still do not know fully what 'reality' is.

Physical 'reality' may not be the only 'reality'.

For all we know, there COULD be other 'realities' that co-exist with us.


I am not recanting but am simply taking a more rational approach to 'Ufology' as well as to the never-ending speculations about global conspiracies.

My favorite quote is from an English comic book writer, Alan Moore, who said that:


“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy theory because that is more comforting.

The truth is that the world is chaotic.

It is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12-foot reptilians from another dimension that are in control.

The truth is more frightening:  Nobody is in control.

The world is rudderless


I have spent more than 50 years in 'Ufology', including many years  investigating Area 51 in Nevada.

I also spent many years attempting to investigate and getting to the bottom of the never-ending allegations that there is an underground base in Dulce, New Mexico.

I reside in New Mexico and visit the Dulce area from time to time.


I have recently come to a soberingpersonal conclusion that there doesn’t appear to be any single, solid, tangible and irrefutable documentary evidence whatsoever that we have ever been (or are being) visited by physical extaterrestrial aliens in physical alien spacecraft of any kind.

Yet the UFO phenomenon seems to be real.

And, yes, so many questions still remain.

But to conclude that we are being visited by physical aliens in physical spacecraft of some kind seem like a stretch to me.


My late, beloved mother was a staunch skeptic about flying saucers and used to make fun of me for being interested in flying saucers when I was growing up.


But in 1975 I was so astonished when she excitedly informed me that she had witnessed a flying saucerthat instantaneously appeared over a train station Yokohama, Japan, during broad daylgiht and simply vanished in a couple of seconds!

She described the object as a typical flying saucer with a dome attached to it.   (Just like the ones you see in comic books and in Science Fiction movies!)


Do I believe her sighting?

Yes, definitely.


When I was growing up, my father used to tell me of his sighting of a strange greenish ball of fire slowly maneuvering itself over the bay of Yokohama, Japan, while he was night fishing.

That was one summer night, either in 1947 or 1948, according to my late father.


Do I believe his sighting?

Yes, definitely.


In the early 1990s I even had a few sightings of things I couldn't readily identify.


There are tens of thousands of first-hand personal accounts of people who claim to have witnessed what they could only describe as UFOs, and this includes highly qualified individuals.


But to conclude that what they had witnessed was a physical spacecraft piloted or maneuvered by physical aliens seems to be a stretch to me.


I am in total agreement with Dr. Jacques Vallee, one of the world's most highly respected researchers, who stated that the UFO phenomenon seems to be real.

But he also stated that to hastily jump to the the conclusion that it is an indication of physical extraterrestrial visitation is pre-mature.


The belief that from time immemorial, UFOs have presented (and continue to present) extraterrestrial visitations remains persistent, among a segment of the population.


But we must also take into consideration that some folks do not seem to be able to separate two distinct thoughts.

One is the conjecture that there are probably other civilizations elsewhere in the universe, and that we are not alone.

Most scientists and astronomers seem to support this speculation, including myself.

However, it is a totally different matter when it comes to the topic of whether such civilizations have ever physically visited (or are visiting) our Earth.

Even Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant minds of our time, while supporting the likelihood that we are not alone in this vast universe, confidently stated that no Aliens have ever come to Earth in UFOs.


I have nothing against some of those who are in the so-called 'paranormal/paranoia industry’ (TV producers, booksellers, authors, promoters and conference speakers) that continue to benefit from a segment of the population’s persistent beliefs in UFOs, Aliens and Conspiracies.

I respect everyone's right to make a living somehow.


(I myself maintain my personal belief in God, the creator, but that is simply my personal religious belief, which I keep to myself).


Like I stated in the beginning, this world we live in is still a mystery.

There could be other 'realities' that have always co-existed with us and continue to co-exist with us.


However, we still do not know for sure.


This controversy will go on and on….because, let’s face it, it is all part of America’s UFO sub-culture(which I am a part of, even though I am not too fond of the word 'sub-culture' , which is the mainstream description) and by further extension, a part of human 'belief' system.

Once again, the bottom line to me is that it is all about 'beliefs'.


-from Norio


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