The following is a comparison between the San Luis Valley NORAD Event of January 12, 1994, and New Mexico’s Gallup Incident, January 12, 1983. Little-known outside of the Four-Corners region, both events may be two of the most important ufological events ever reported. The following is a comparison and analysis of the two events.
One of 1994’s dark-horse events occurred in Colorado’s San Luis Valley on January 12. 1994 Exactly 11 years before, an eerily similar sequence happened in Northern New Mexico. Both unexplained series of events feature green fireballs, mysterious fires, unexplained explosions and unusual attendant military activity. Obviously, no two ufological events are exactly alike but the parallels between these two cases are beyond striking.
The most comprehensive look at 1983’s Gallup Incident can be found in the Project Stigma publication, Pardon the Intrusion or UFOs Over, On & Under (?) The State of New Mexico, written and compiled by the late Tom Adams in 1992. When the NORAD Event occurred in ’94, Adams immediately noted uncanny similarities between the two events. The following are excerpts from Pardon the Intrusion and Secrets of the Mysterious Valley.
The Gallup Incident:
The Farmington, New Mexico Daily Times article on January 13, 1983 headlined: “Goodness Gracious – Great Ball of Fire.” Written by reporter Rex Graham it stated;
What investigators believe was a meteor smashed into the side of a mountain about 15 miles east of Gallop Wednesday night about 5:50 pm, starting a fire and causing a deluge of calls to the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office. The incident is believed to be part of a broad “meteor shower” that caused sonic booms in Gallup, Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield and north to at least Durango, Colorado. McKinley County Sheriff Benny Padilla said today that his office had received 126 calls after as many as seven “booms” were heard by area residents beginning at 5:50 pm and continuing until about 8:00 pm. Undersheriff Jack Graham quickly drove east of Gallup to investigate a fire burning on a hillside in the Springstead area, thought to be connected with the “explosion-like noises.” Padilla and Graham initially feared an airplane had crashed. Graham walked through an empty crater about 25 feet across and six inches deep. There was no sign of plane wreckage. Then, about 10:00 pm, Padilla and Gallup Police Chief Frank Gonzales were driving in the area when they saw a “green-object” traveling toward the ground. “It looked like a fireball,” Padilla said today, “and it disintegrated before it hit the ground; it was kinda scary.”
Reporter Chip Hinds wrote in an article for the Durango, CO, Herald, on January 13, 1983:
Durango police dispatcher Ruth Mastin reported that her office was told by Federal Aviation Agency officials in Grand Junction that the noise was created by classified military aircraft and that they had been instructed not to answer any further questions. McKinley County Sheriff Benny Padilla in Gallup said that a “green object” which “slowed, struck the ground and went out” was spotted near there. . . A Farmington man, Rick Wilkie, reported seeing hunks of a “meteor falling off” as the meteor came in from the western sky as he was watching from a point about 25 miles from Farmington. Research associate Norman Thomas of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona said authorities should be “skeptical of any meteor theory unless a full investigation is made.”
The United Press International release of January 13th reported, in part:
(McKinley County Undersheriff Jack) Graham said he and other officers trying to get to the fire site Wednesday night “saw a falling star or meteorite fall, and it burned longer than it should. I saw three or four falling stars, lasting longer than usual, about 15 or 20 seconds.”
One other report written by Rex Graham on Sunday, January 16, 1983, in the Farmington Daily Times stated in part:
McKinley County Sheriff Benny Padilla said the noises around Gallup ceased about 8:00 pm. At about 10:00 pm, Graham, Padilla and other law enforcement officials saw a “green fireball’ swing across the sky for about 15 seconds, then disappear. This time there was no sound as the meteor vanished. Residents in the Farmington area reported seeing a similar glowing object in the sky. To many, the booms, meteor sighting and explosion and fire seemed part of the same phenomenon.
Reporter Lynn Bartels wrote the front page story in the Gallup Daily on Friday, January 14, 1983, which contained the following:
Continental Divide resident Cheryl Meyers said today there have been numerous military helicopters and vehicles in the area (just east of Gallup) since the investigation began Wednesday. . . And Chip Hines, a reporter with the Durango Herald, said today that the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in Grand Junction, Colorado, still denies someone from its office commented on the booms Wednesday. Hinds said a spokesman on Wednesday (the 13th) said there was a classified military aircraft in the area, but not to ask any more questions as “it was over. . .”
On Thursday morning (the 14th), FAA authorities said no one from their office issued any statements about the noises. When Tom Adams contacted Lynn Bartles he found that Chip Hinds had unfortunately been killed in a “mountaineering accident” shortly after covering the Gallup-Farmington events for the Herald.
Other peripheral events and reports that accompanied the events in the Four-Corners area (northern NM) on January 12, 1983. These include, evidence of dynamite and blasting caps at the (possibly diversionary) burn-site crater, noxious gases 15 miles south of the burn-site, and rumors of some sort of crash-retrieval operation near Chaco Canyon.
Were the rumors heard by Tom Adams during and after his immediate investigation an indication of what actually transpired that cold January evening and during the following several days? He shares some of his information from his insider sources about the Gallup Incident.
Then we began to hear rumors, from sources previously reliable. Some of the bits and pieces were said to be ‘the word’ making the rounds among the military-intelligence-scientific community in New Mexico:
*Some of the confusion resulted from the deliberate injection of mis-or-dis-information. This was necessary to obscure the highly sensitive ‘truth’ to what actually happened.
*A ‘Top Secret’ operation was in progress that night, and a classified aircraft crashed or exploded.
*The aircraft was indeed a highly sensitive experimental military device or. . .
*An extraterrestrial craft crashed or crash-landed.
One account says that it sort of skip-crashed, bouncing into or along one site before finally coming to rest at another site.
*The primary crash site was somewhere near Chaco Canyon.
*A ‘retrieval’ operation ensued, while attention was diverted to Gallup and Farmington and Durango. ‘Something’ (be it terrestrial or otherwise) was removed from the side of the canyon or ravine into which it crashed. It was transported by air to Kirtland Air Force Base. It was set down and a protective structure was built around it.
*There were reports unconfirmed, of ‘silver spheres’ descending and ascending somewhere in the Gallup area.
*There were also reports of independent investigators in the technical community in Albuquerque (civilian scientists and technicians working at Kirtland AFB or Sandia National Laboratory) who were threatened and/or harassed or otherwise warned to stay away from the Gallup area, after they had expressed interest in pursuing their own investigations of the event(s).
Was this entire collection of reported events more than a synchronistic array of mundane coincidences? Compare the above to the following. My NORAD Event investigation was initially covered by Mark Hunter for the Valley Courier and in my article published later in the Crestone Eagle.
The NORAD Event
The most comprehensive look at The NORAD Event can be found in my book, Secrets of the Mysterious Valley which details a series of events in the San Luis Valley that occurred over a six-week period (including reports of two green, two blue, one white and two orange fireballs, two orange orbs, two mystery fires, mysterious booms, a flurry of Bigfoot reports, a documented unusual cattle death and many reports of accompanying military-esque activity) that began on the night of November 30, 1993, at 6:05 p.m., and continued until the early evening of January 17, 1994.
The height of these events occurred during the afternoon of January 12, when a NORAD official contacted the Rio Grande Sheriff’s office (RGCSO) at 3:40 p.m., and reported “a significant explosion” logged at 2:55 p.m., in the Greenie Mountain-Rock Creek Canyon area by a NORAD DSP satellite scope operator in Cheyenne Mountain. The RGCSO was told to “exhaust all efforts” to locate the source of the heat bloom. As the S&R personal neared the coordinates, Ron Regehr, an engineer who helped develop the DSP satellite system, confirmed to me (and later to the Sightings FOX television program) that he personally saw the detection data that prompted the NORAD phone call to the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Office. He mentioned that the event was unusual in that the event data did not lead to an explanation for the heat bloom.
The RGCSO and Search & Rescue personal, along with a private plane, were immediately dispatched to the coordinates. Maj. McCouch, FEMA supervisor of the NORAD scope operator, then called back and gave undersheriff Brian Norton new coordinates to search a rugged area nearly 25 miles from the original location—which was the probable impact site. The teams diverted to the new location and (you guessed it) found nothing.
Exactly two hours later, at 4:55 pm, Florence, CO, resident Lt. Col. Jimmy Lloyd (ret.), a 30-year veteran fighter pilot and self-professed UFO skeptic reported seeing “a battleship-sized,” glowing green group of “six or seven objects in close (crescent) formation” streak overhead just south of him that appeared to “go down into the San Luis Valley.” Upon arriving home, he immediately plotted the object’s trajectory and they appeared to descend into the Greenie Mountain area which matched the coordinates given the Sheriff by NORAD.
According to Lloyd, the objects were not mundane celestial objects, i.e., meteors, or any type of conventional craft, or missile and were completely silent. This effect-first, fireball-later aspect appears to have had the same two-hour time lag characteristic of the explosions and fireballs heard and seen in the Gallup Incident.
Going with the questionable assumption that all these objects were under intelligent control, (no aspect of the newspaper accounts or witness reports from either event suggests that they were) maybe in this January 12 event, for the sake of argument, the fireballs decided to arrive together, more inconspicuously, instead of separately over several hours as in 1983. Could the significant explosion that NORAD detected have been the heat signature of the tight formation of objects as they swept into the San Luis Valley two hours later?
The fireball jockeys must have figured out how to silence the boom part. The NORAD Event made no apparent noise. There were several curious reports of “booms” but they did not occur as the primary focus as in the Gallup case.
At noon on December 9, 1993, five witnesses in two houses about a mile apart reported a localized sound like “something huge hitting the ground.” Unsubstantiated reports of explosions were reported between January 13 and 15 in the Rock Creek Canyon area, on the northern side of the Greenie Ridge portion of Greenie Mountain. These booms did not appear to occur in conjunction with any of the other “fireballs” that were reported in the six-week period.
Portions of north-central Texas heard several loud boom-like noises on the afternoon of January 20. Could these reports be significant, or were they just another bunch of noisy Texans?
Aerial craft or helicopter sightings and rumors about ground activity were present at both the Gallup Incident and the NORAD Event, combined with probable misdirection by the government. Was this to allow a military search of Greenie Ridge with the B-52s and helicopters reported the following four days? Heavy-equipment and snowshoe tracks were reported by two UFO Institute members who also claim to have stumbled on huge “metal doors” in the ground a week after the NORAD story broke. The area is dotted with closed up, abandoned mine shafts.
To my knowledge, even though there were rumors, there is no verifiable evidence of a retrieval operation in either the Gallup Incident or the NORAD Events. Perhaps some other agenda was at work.
Eyewitness accounts, 11 years apart, are similar. Sheriff Padilla’s description of a “green object” breaking into pieces just before it appeared to crash echoes Al Koon’s description of a “green fireball” breaking apart before appearing to strike the valley floor. Both relate the unusual flights as slowing, making a 45 degree turn and then descended straight down towards the ground.
Most witnesses of the NORAD fireballs mentioned the long duration of the sighting. This was repeated by Padilla and Undersheriff Jack Graham in their observation of the objects near Gallup.
As usual, more questions are raised than answers. What are these fireballs? Are these the same type of fireballs that have been seen periodically in the southwest since the 1960s? Who, i.e., what agency, or group is conducting flights in and around the sites of these unexplained occurrences? How many unknown witnesses are there to the known events and do these known events represent the full-scope of the localized phenomena? Were the preceding booms and the two-hour later fireballs related? Were the Bigfoot sightings related?
January 15, 6:30 p.m., Capulin, CO:
As the glow of the setting sun faded, three Capulin residents: Jonas Archuleta, Clint Valdez and Randall Trujillo, were walking downtown. One looked up to see, hovering above, two bright orange globes.
“They hovered for two to three minutes over ‘Cap’ (Capulin) and at first they were pretty high and they looked just like two orange streetlights. Then they seemed to get closer. Man, when they took off it was like a streak! They went across the valley and disappeared over Romeo,” Archuleta told me. “It was pretty freaky, one of the guys was pretty scared about it and swore he would go to church every day!”
Several minutes later, Chama rancher, Dale Vigil observed “a very bright orange light,” west of San Luis. According to Vigil, who was on his way to watch the local high-school basketball team, the light hovered for several minutes. It was then joined by a second “bright orange light,” and both lights “shot straight up and out of sight. There is no way those were planes or helicopters, they moved too fast,” he said.
Who Done It?
A source close to the NORAD Event told me in March 1994, that a newly promoted captain, entering her third trimester of pregnancy, was found dead in her garage of carbon-monoxide poisoning, two-weeks after the NORAD phone-call to Undersheriff Norton. A note was allegedly left but no death notice was carried by local papers. I hit a brick-wall trying to corroborate the source’s claim.
Then, in April 1995, almost a year later, an unexpected source turned up. I was asked by Timothy Green Beckley to speak at the first annual Pikes Peak UFO Conference. I was scheduled to follow abduction investigator, Budd Hopkins’, one of ufology’s most eloquent speaker’s, keynote address.
I overcame my nervousness and championed the coordinated teamwork approach of investigation. My 20-minute talk was very well-received by the standing-room-only audience of 250 and I was included in a UFO talk show called UFOAZ, hosted by Ted Loman, right there at the conference.
During my workshop the next day, after fielding several questions about unexplained livestock deaths I quipped, “The Ancient Mariner had an albatross around his neck, I guess I have a dead cow around mine!”
So, I was enjoying the conference when a NORAD employee introduced himself. I mentioned the NORAD captain’s alleged suicide, hoping he could confirm it. “One death?” he asked. “There were three!”
He went on to tell me of two additional suspicious base suicides. He insinuated that the three deaths might be related. My initial NORAD source had also hinted that the pregnant captain’s death might be related to the Event call made to the sheriff’s office. What could be so secretive to warrant their deaths?
When “Varied Directions,” a film production company contracted by Ted Turner’s TNT network to produce the documentary UFO: The Search, told me they were planning a trip to NORAD to investigate the NORAD Event, I told the producer about the rumors of suspicious deaths. NORAD initially granted permission for the film crew to visit the secret base at Cheyenne Mountain. When it was revealed that they were interested in the NORAD Event, their visit was promptly canceled without explanation.
Varied Directions was the first film crew allowed aboard a Trident submarine to produce a documentary on the sub for the PBS program Nova. They had also worked with NASA on a documented history of the space-race, called Moon Shot. This is a well-connected production company. But even with these impressive credentials, permission to film inside Cheyenne Mountain was rescinded by NORAD, without explanation.
What actually happened that cold January afternoon on Greenie Mountain on the western side of the San Luis Valley and exactly 11 years earlier over the Four Corners? And why was there a two-hour time lag between the NORAD detected heat bloom and Jimmy Lloyd’s sighting of the flotilla of glowing green, “battleship sized” aerial objects that appeared to go down where the heat bloom had earlier been reported? And what about local’s assertion that some kind of recovery was performed on Greenie by military troops? As with the hundreds of thousands of UFO reports that have been investigated and pondered since the 1947 dawn of the modern age of UFOs, we are left with many questions and little, if any answers…