In a Chihuahuas desert patch near the Bolson de Mapimi in Mexico, there exists an eerie area of land called Mapimí Silent Zone (La Zona Del Silencio) or the Zone of Silence. In this area is the home of several rare, mutant species of animals including the purple cactus and a malformed version of the desert tortoise. The area’s name derives from an odd anomaly that prohibits radio waves from transmitting inside the zone. Just 400 miles south of El Paso, Texas, the Zone of Silence gobbles up radio and TV signals – and has a documented history of UFO activity.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, farmers who worked the parched land told of “hot pebbles” that fell to the earth from the sky. Many reports of extraterrestrial visitors were recorded from the early 1900’s. Scientists at the Mexican research center have dubbed the region, the Mar de Tetys, or The Sea of Thetys, because at one time, millions of years ago, the area lay at the bottom of an ocean (as evidenced by the fossilized marine life found in the area).
Radio signal blackouts and aircraft crashes
The first documented occurrence of the radio wave blackout occurred in the 1930’s when Francisco Sarabia, an aviator from the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, reported that his radio had mysteriously stopped working. It wasn’t until the 1970’s though, that the Zona Del Silencio entered the public eye. An American Athena missile fired from the White Sands Missile Base mysteriously veered off course and crashed into the Zone of Silence. When the Air Force came to collect the Athena missile’s wreckage, they noted that the area prohibited radio transmissions. They took along several truckloads of desert sand for analysis (some theorize that the sand’s bizarre properties somehow contributed to the United States’ stealth fighter military program).
A few years later, an upper stage from one of the Saturn boosters used on the Apollo project broke up and crashed in the very same area. Again, the United States military sent a special team to the area to investigate its mysterious properties. The U.S. military team noted that no radio signals could travel through the air. Television, radio, short wave, microwave, nor satellite signals are able to penetrate the zone. Inhabitants of the community of Ceballos, Durango, some 25 miles away (the settlement nearest to the zone) were quick to point out television signals could never be received in the town or neighboring ranches.
A meteor magnet
Scientists are still trying to understand the unique properties of the area. High levels of magnetite have been discovered in the Zone of Silence and scientist have also found that the area is a hot bed for meteorite activity, raising speculation that there may be some unusual magnetic properties associated with the minerals in the chalky soil. There is no question the area seems to attract metallic particles of extraterrestrial origin. In fact, throughout the year, there are near constant fall of small meteors known locally as guijolas.
On February 8, 1969, at 1:05 AM in the morning, a huge meteorite hurtled into the area known as Pueblito de Allende. Locals compared the sight of the meteor to “staring into a flashbulb”. The original stone was the size of an automobile and moved at a speed of more than 10 miles per second. The impact produced a massive shock wave that could be heard for many miles. To date, the Allende Meteorite is the largest meteorite ever found on earth.
UFO reports in the area
Travelers crossing the zone regularly report seeing strange lights, floating orbs, and burning bushes. Many reports describe fireballs maneuvering through the night sky, changing colors, hanging motionless before shooting off into the night sky at great speed. In one instance, two ranchers heading back from a festivity witnessed a fluorescent light floating down from the dark sky that “spit out” humanoid occupants who they say glowed with the same kind of eerie, fluorescent light as they shuffled slowly towards the ranchers.
The Ernesto and Josefina Diaz Incident
On October 13, 1975, Ernesto and Josefina Diaz drove into the Zone of Silence in a brand new Ford pickup to collect unusual rocks and fossils (which can be found in great abundance in the area). As they busied themselves with their activity, they noticed that a desert rainstorm was heading toward them. Hoping to avoid being caught in a flash flood, they packed up their vehicle and sped off, but not fast enough to avoid the relentless rain. The road ahead of them turned into a swamp and their truck was quickly trapped as it sank in the soft terrain.
While the couple struggled to keep their vehicle from submerging further into the mud, two figures approached, waving at them amid the torrential rain storm. Two extremely tall men in yellow raincoats and caps, with unusual but by no means alarming features, offered their assistance to help them get underway again. The men instructed the drenched couple to get inside the pickup again while they pushed. Before the couple realized, their vehicle had popped out of the hole and onto firmer ground. When the husband got out of the pickup once more to thank the two men, he saw they were gone.
The Luis Ramirez Reyes Incident
During the month of November of 1978, journalist Luis Ramirez Reyes visited the Zone of Silence as part of a news team assigned to cover a story on the bizarre properties of the site. Choosing to go ahead of the main team, Ramirez and his photographer charged into the desert, navigating by intuition rather than by hard knowledge of where their final destination should be.
Suddenly, Reyes noticed that there were three figures walking up ahead, coming toward them. Hoping that these locals might be able to point them in the right direction, the journalist told his companion, who was doing the driving, to slow down to talk to them. As they drove along, he experienced the shock of running into them again – walking in a different part of the desert!
Upon arriving at their destination and meeting up with their team, they discussed their unusual encounter in the desert with Harry de la Pena. In a sobering tone, Pena told them that there were no people in the desert who weren’t part of the reporting team.
Visiting the Zone of Silence
Coincidentally (or not), the Zone of Silence lies just north of the Tropic of Cancer and south of the 30th parallel, which places it in the company of a number of other planetary anomalies including the Bermuda Triangle.
To get to the Zone of Silence, go North from Torreon, Coah, towards Chihuahua on Hwy #45 for 83 miles. You’ll pass the road to Mapimi. You can also approach the Zona del Silencio from Chihuahua. It’s 190 miles south of the city on Hwy #45. Once you’ve turned off from the main road, you’ll be on dirt tracks. From time to time, you’ll see little wooden signs with arrows saying “Zona”. You can tell if you are going the right way by using a flat-topped mountain ahead of you as a landmark. Keep that bluff on your left going in and on your right coming back.