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Mexico’s Bizarre Zone of Silence

There is no denying that this planet of ours abounds with strange wonders. From the highest mountains, to the most desolate deserts, to the eternal night of chasms at the bottom of the sea, there are anomalous places scattered throughout our world that have managed to elude our efforts to explain them, have challenged our views of reality, and have stoked the fires of our imagination for centuries. In the blazing, unforgiving Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico, one such place exists; a wandering mystery zone where all forms of radio and TV signals fail to penetrate and which has been ground zero for a variety of UFO phenomena and numerous unexplained events.

What has become known as the “Zone of Silence,” or La Zona Del Silencio, is located in a barren patch of desert in the Bolsón de Mapimí region in Durango, Mexico, around 400 miles south of El Paso, Texas. It is a remote area, with the nearest human settlement of any size being the quiet town of Ceballos, some 25 miles away, which ekes out a living in the harsh, parched landscape. The area once was under a vast ocean in prehistoric times, and marine fossils and shells can be found among the scrub, which has given the area its other nickname, the Mar de Tetys, or The Sea of Thetys. This is a desolate, lonely place seemingly as barren and alien as the surface of some other planet, and over the centuries has become synonymous with a wide range of strange, inexplicable phenomena.

The Zone of Silence

The Zone of Silence

Locals have known something was weird about the area since at least the mid-nineteenth century, when farmers would occasionally complain of searing hot pebbles that mysteriously rained down from the sky from time to time, even on perfectly clear days. It was also said that some of the plants and animals living here displayed mutations and deformities. There have also long been reports that the area has the effect of instilling a certain sense of deep unease, and can distort perceptions or cause visual and auditory hallucinations.

The region has been known as an intense UFO hotspot for many years. Over the years, many reports accrued of travelers and ranchers in the area seeing orbs of light or fireballs cavorting about in the sky or streaking across the horizon. On occasion, these lights were said to descend and set the scrub brush ablaze. Nevertheless, despite the weird stories, this bizarre swath of desert remained mostly unknown to the outside world.

The area first came into the public consciousness in the 1930s, when a Mexican pilot by the name of Francisco Sarabia reported that his plane’s instrumentation had gone haywire and his radio had ceased to function while on a routine flight over the region. In the 1970s, an Athena missile carrying containers of the radioactive element cobalt 57 launched from White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico and suddenly and inexplicably malfunctioned over the area and crashed. It was reported that the missile had suddenly veered wildly off course, almost as if it had been drawn by some mysterious force. Considering the rocket’s radioactive payload, a recovery mission was immediately launched. The missile was eventually found in a remote area and removed along with tons of irradiated soil. When the military went to investigate, it was also found that radio signals and all communications equipment failed to work there for some unknown reason. A few years later, it was reported that booster rockets used for the Apollo project broke up and crashed into the area as well.

An area within the Zone of Silence

An area within the Zone of Silence

An organic chemist by the name of Harry de la Pena had already documented the zone’s unique characteristic of creating a “dark zone” of radio communications in 1966 while on a photographic survey. While out exploring with some companions, it was noticed that walkie talkies ceased to operate in the area, and portable radios showed a dramatically diminished capacity, only barely audible even at full volume. It would be later found that television signals also failed to penetrate the zone, and to this day it is said that TVs will not work here. For whatever reason, the Zone of Silence seems to have the ability to severely dampen all television, radio, short wave, microwave, or satellite signals, rendering all devices utilizing these all but useless.

This phenomenon has since been studied by scientists from all over the world, yet no definite cause has been found yet. It is thought that perhaps the effect is created by magnetic anomalies caused by a large amount of the iron ore magnetite in the area, as well as a high level of meteorite activity, which has imbued the soil with various minerals and ores that could possibly create magnetic disturbances that have an effect on radio waves. There has also been discovered in recent years large reserves of uranium in the mountains facing the zone, although it is unclear what effect this would have on transmissions. One of the strangest things about the Zone of Silence is that it tends to move around, with its exact location shifting and unpredictable.

Magnetic anomalies and the inability of all manner of radio waves to work here are far from the only bizarreness of the Zone of Silence. For years there have been various strange accounts from people passing through the region of all manner of high strangeness. One recurring story is that of a trio of blonde-haired strangers that are occasionally seen wandering the landscape here. Allegedly the trio is made up of two males and one female who are dressed in clothes that are inappropriate for the desert environment. Those who have met them say they are very physically attractive, extremely polite and speak perfect Spanish with a slightly musical lilt. The strangers are said to sometimes ask ranchers for water, but never food or anything else. When asked where they are from, their typical response is to say “from above.”

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These beings, whoever they are, are said to be non-threatening and in fact are rather benevolent in nature. One scientist working at the desert “Biosphere” research station in the area reported how he had wandered away from the facility and became lost. It was then that he was approached by a trio of tall, blonde humanoids who guided him back to the research station before vanishing. Interestingly, the Biosphere itself has garnered a reputation for mystery. Although its official purpose is to study desert life, it has often been rumored to be doing secret experiments with animals, researching UFO phenomena, and conducting psychic research.

One bizarre account connected to the Biosphere and this strange trio comes from journalist Luis Ramirez Reyes, who visited the zone in November of 1978 as part of a news team covering the mysteries of the area. At the time, their destination was the mysterious Biosphere research station, but Reyes and his photographer got lost in the desert on their way. Since they had not brought food or water with them, the gravity of their situation was abundantly clear. As they drove along, Reyes saw a trio of figures walking ahead, and told the photographer, who was driving, to stop so they could ask for directions but the photographer didn’t see anyone and so continued on without stopping.

A short while later much further down the road, the truck again bizarrely passed by the same trio once again, and once again the startled Reyes told the driver to stop, but his companion still did not see anyone. Nevertheless, at the imploring of Reyes he stopped the truck. Reyes claimed to have asked the trio if they had seen a truck like their’s pass earlier but they said they had not. It was at this point that Reyes noticed that the people were not dressed or equipped at all for the harsh desert environment, despite the fact that they were on foot out in the middle of nowhere, far from any settlement. When asked where the Biosphere was, the odd strangers were only too happy to help, and pointed the journalists in the right direction. When they arrived at the Biosphere, they told the staff there of their encounter, but were met with the insistence that the research faculty were the only people out there for hundreds of miles. Who were those strangers? No one knows.

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There are other reports of strange beings here as well. Perhaps one of the most well known accounts comes from a couple by the name of Ernesto and Josefina Diaz, who ventured into the area to collect fossils on October 13, 1975. As they sifted through rocks, they noticed that a storm was brewing on the horizon. Aware of the danger of flash floods and sudden storms in the area, the couple hastily packed up and drove off, but were soon caught up in a deluge of rain. Their new pickup truck became swiftly mired in mud, the tires quickly sinking down into the muck. As the couple struggled to free their vehicle, they noticed two unusually tall men wearing yellow raincoats and caps approaching them. The two strangers instructed the couple to get in their car while they pushed. When they complied, the truck was soon freed from the mud, but when Ernesto got out to thank the men, they were nowhere to be seen even though the terrain was totally flat and devoid of places to hide. There were also allegedly no footprints of any kind in the mud to show that anyone had been there at all.

Yet another odd tale was related by a Ruben Lopez, who was on his way to visit a relative in Ceballos when his engine began to experience difficulties and stalled. He then noticed 5 small figures several feet tall by the side of the road, who he at first mistook to be children. Upon closer inspection, he could see that the figures were wearing silver outfits and wearing helmets that opened in front, revealing clearly adult faces rather than the children he had been expecting. The figures began approaching the truck of the increasingly unnerved Lopez, who gunned the engine until it sputtered back to life enough for him to leave the weird beings in the dust. As soon as they were out of sight, the truck allegedly began working normally.

The region in which the Zone of Silence lies also remains a hotbed of UFO sightings, with many high profile accounts made here. One impressive sighting in particular happened in September 1976, at around 8:59 p.m. Residents of the town of Ceballos reported a truly immense flying object hovering at the outskirts of town, which was estimated to be a staggering 300 meters in length. The craft was described as being rectangular, and ringed with pulsing lights that changed colors from green to white to blue. From deep within it, some inscrutable machinery produced a deep thrumming and humming noise from its bowels. Allegedly, all of the dogs in the area went berserk, howling and barking incessantly until the immense object finally floated over the landscape to disappear from view in the direction of the Zone of Silence.

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The heavy UFO activity reported in the zone has caused speculation running the gamut from plausible to fringe. Scientists tend to attribute the many UFO sightings here to the large number of meteorites that pass through the area. The Zone of Silence region boasts one of the highest concentrations of meteor strikes in the world, with small meteorites falling here practically daily. In fact, one of the largest known meteors to have ever struck the Earth crashed into the ground here at a place called Pueblito de Allende in February, 1969. What is now known as the Allende Meteorite came down at an estimated speed of 10 miles per second, creating a massive shockwave and cracking boom heard over vast distances that was one of the loudest sounds ever recorded. Witnesses said the flash produced by the meteor impact was like looking into a flashbulb. Another odd meteorite containing unusual crystalline structures estimated as being around 13 billion years old, far older than our solar system, crashed here in the 1950s, and there are constant falls of small, metallic orbs in the area that locals call guíjolas.

Incidentally, the presence of such spectacular meteorite activity may lie behind an archeological mystery to be found in the zone. Mysteries ruins that show no known link to known peoples of the area have been found that are estimated to be thousands of years old and are thought to have served as some sort of astronomical observatory, perhaps somehow linked with the intense meteorite activity. As of yet, no one knows the true purpose of this ancient observatory. It is also possible that the area’s magnetic aberrations have the ability to cause potent hallucinations, a phenomenon that has long been reported from here by locals and travelers alike.

Other theories point to aliens, with some theorizing that the zone represents a stopping zone for aliens or even a portal through which extraterrestrials or inter-dimensional beings travel. Magnetic anomalies such as those found in the Zone of Silence have long been associated with UFO activity and the ancient astronaut theory, with such travelers being said to be drawn to these potent magnetic zones for unknown purposes. Those that subscribe to this theory point out that Mexico’s Zone of Silence is near the Tropic of Cancer and lies along the same latitude south of the 30th parallel shared by other mystical sites such as the Egyptian Pyramids and the Bermuda Triangle. Could the Zone of Silence be demonstrating phenomena similar phenomena that is seen with the Bermuda Triangle or other mystery zones?

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Although the presence of alien spacecraft and beings from another world cannot be supported by any evidence, it certainly seems that something strange is going on in the Zone of Silence. The area with its magnetic aberrations seems to have the ability to draw things into it, perhaps the reason for why so many meteorites and rockets have come down here and quite feasibly somehow connected to the various other phenomena reported from here. To this day, no one is quite sure just what is going on here, and TVs and communications equipment still fails to work properly when caught up in the roving, ever shifting zone.

What so imbues this patch of Mexican desert with its bizarre oddities? Does this have anything to do at all with ancient aliens, inter-dimensional portals, and travelers from other worlds? Or is this all merely an unexplained curiosity of the natural world, perhaps mixed in with a healthy dose of folklore and overactive imaginations? It seems this remote, searing land of brutal heat, scrub brush and parched earth seems to be a place that holds mysteries that continue to elude us, and perhaps always will.