In 1970, a U.S. Athena missile was fired from a location in Utah, scheduled to land in the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico. However, it went about 900 miles off course, without apparent explanation, and crashed in the Sonora Desert in Mexico, over a hundred miles south of the Big Bend area in Texas.
A few years later, a Saturn booster rocket used in the Apollo program broke up over the same area.
The U.S. military sent a team of engineers to investigate the area, which starts some 25 miles north of the tiny community of Ceballos, Durango.
One of the first things the engineers discovered was that it was impossible to transmit radio waves in the impacted area -- walkie-talkies and portable radios would not work, television signals could not be received in the scattered neighboring ranches, microwave or satellite signals failed to penetrate. Even airplanes flying over the region experienced instrument malfunctions.
Apparently, some sort of magnetic anomaly stifles radio waves in the region.
Thus, it became known as the Zone of Silence -- about 1,500 square miles of uninhabited flat terrain, loaded with thorny desert plants, infested with poisonous snakes and containing bizarre animal mutants.
For example, insects and tortoises are known to grow to three times normal size. Centipedes are a foot long with purple heads. The tortoises have no tail. And it is the only region where cactus grows in specific shades of purple and red.
In the 1800s, scattered farmers attempted to eke out an existence in this region whereupon they became aware of the "hot" stones that fell nightly from the sky.
Apparently, the Zone of Silence is like a bizarre magnet for meteorites. Within the Zone, there's a stunning "field of meteorites" area containing millions of meteorites scattered everywhere.
In the 1950s, a scientifically significant meteorite crashed in the vicinity. According to researchers, it contained material as old as the universe.
On February 8, 1969, the largest meteorite ever found on Earth (the size of a Buick) crashed into the Zone of Silence. It's known as the Allende Meteorite.
The 1970 U.S. military team of engineers discovered the area to be a hot bed for meteorites. The soil contains significant magnetic ore, possibly due to eons of meteorite bombardment from above. Plus, the mountains that surround the Zone of Silence also have various uranium deposits.
The Zone of Silence lies south of the 30th parallel, just north of the Tropic of Cancer -- the same latitude as the Bermuda Triangle and other bizarre planetary anomalies.
Ancient ruins have been located in the Zone of Silence but archeologists have been unable to determine the age and exact purpose of these structures, which were possibly utilized as an astronomical observatory. Furthermore, there have been discoveries of six-mile long man-made platforms, a man-made hill in the shape of a pyramid, and carved stone statues of animals.
Not surprisingly, the Zone of Silence is also a Mecca for UFO activity.
In 1976, a huge rectangular UFO passed over the town of Ceballos, witnessed by virtually everyone in town.
The same year, a photograph was taken (by a tourist) of a UFO that had landed on a hill within the Zone of Silence.
Travelers through the Zone of Silence have reported seeing strange lights maneuvering at night, floating motionless, changing colors, then taking off at great speed. Other witnesses who have spotted these mysterious lights at night have discovered vegetation the next day that appeared to have been burned by fire.
Encounters of mysterious beings have also been reported within the Zone of Silence. The most typical encounter has been with Nordic types -- a common UFO entity that is around 7 feet tall, with long blond hair and blue eyes. In UFO terminology, they are often referred to as Pleiadians.
Reportedly, two months before the U.S. Athena missile crashed into the Sonora Desert, Wernher von Braun (premier U.S. rocket scientist) made a visit to the Zone of Silence, creating speculation that the missile may have been purposely fired into the Zone of Silence to give U.S. personnel an excuse to enter the Zone for some undisclosed purposes (such as exploration or experimentation). The U.S. military even built a special railroad spur into the Zone to haul away the remains of the rocket, tons of magnetic dirt and perhaps other items.
Life is a mystery. You can accept it as is, leading to the bliss of ignorance -- or you can explore it, leading to the next mystery.
"Hello darkness my old friend...
I've come to talk with you again...
Because a vision softly creeping...
Left its seeds while I was sleeping...
And the vision that was planted in my brain...
Within the sound of silence."
(lyrics by Simon & Garfunkel)
If you want to explore a true mystery, spend your next vacation in the Zone of Silence. Leave your cell phone at home, keep an eye out for snakes and be very polite to seven-feet blond Nordics.
Quote for the Day – "Silence is refreshment for the soul." Wynonna Judd
Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where silence is a valuable commodity.