Otherworldly Phenomena

Forgotten UFO Stories of the 1970s

Flying saucers, cylindrical objects, orbs.  These are some of the shapes of mysterious flying crafts that have been spotted in Mexican skies for most of the 20th Century up until the present day.  With the advent of the camera phone and with that technology readily accessible to Mexicans today, YouTube and other parts of the internet are flooded with countless videos of UFOs over Mexico.  Before the built-in camera phone and even the older and rarer camcorder, people had a difficult time recording anomalies in the sky.  In the 1970s, for example, a person seeing a UFO would have been considered very lucky to have had a camera in hand and at the ready to document a sighting.  As a consequence of little photographic evidence in existence from that time, all that has been passed down through the decades from the ‘70s are stories based on eyewitness testimonies and some of that poorly researched or explained.  An interesting wealth of information on the UFO phenomenon exists from that decade in Mexico that few people know about.  Here are two stories of Mexican UFO encounters from the 1970s.

The first sighting took place on the outskirts of the city of Toluca, located in the central Mexican state of México.  Four friends, young men in their late teens and early twenties, went for a leisurely walk through the streets in the early evening.  The date was Sunday, March 25, 1978.  At around 6:00 they found themselves engulfed in a massive cloud of dust.  This phenomenon was not localized, it was a large dust storm that descended upon the city with a vengeance much like haboobs of the Middle East and North Africa.  The four friends wanted a better view of the storm, so they hopped in their car – a typical Mexican-made VW Bug – and drove to an overlook in the Lomas Altas district.  From Lomas Altas the group had a great view of the show of dust descending upon Toluca.  As they sat outside and watched, to them, the cloud seemed more black than sandy brown, which indicated that it carried rain with it and was not merely a dust storm.  As the skies got worse, the four friends retreated to the safety of the Volkswagen.  Large drops pelted the windshield, lightning crashed out of the sky and the wind blew with great ferocity.  Dust and other larger pieces of debris swirled around the tiny car.  The four decided to hunker down and wait out the storm at Lomas Altas.  At least the radio in the car worked and they could listen to music despite the chaos around them.

One of the friends suddenly noticed a bright red light in the rearview mirror of the car.  They immediately thought the lights came from a police car, but couldn’t believe that a police cruiser would be out at the remote overlook at that time of night and during a bad storm.  The four noticed that the red object began rising, and at the same time the light started to move, the radio in the car went dead.  The light hovered over the hills and the friends sat transfixed in their car, just watching the light.

The only witness to this event who would go on the record with researchers was also the oldest of the four friends at age twenty-two.  His name was José Brito.  Right from the get-go Brito told investigators that it was very difficult to get a really clear view of the object emanating the red light because of the storm.  The object also was emitting a type of smoke that swirled around it and made it even harder to see.  Nonetheless, Brito went on to describe what he and his friends saw the best he could.  He said the object was about the size of a bus with a red chrome sphere on top.  The sphere had a ring of small portals.  A bluish light shown from these portals.  While they appeared to be some sort of windows, they could not see any occupants of the craft peering through them.  Brito also noticed what seemed to be landing gear, or “legs” sticking out of the bottom of the craft, although the object was not near the ground.  Along with these legs, on the bottom of the craft there existed some sort of engine that spewed jets of fire and made a thunderous noise.  From his testimony to researchers Brito stated:

“It spun so quickly that we lost sight of the details. We couldn’t see if it had retracted its legs or closed its portals. All we could see was a source of light suspended in the air.”

When the object took off, the dust storm intensified, even sending sizable rocks flying in the direction of the little Volkswagen.  The four friends sat in the car, terrified, hoping that they would not be hit with a larger piece of debris.  When the object disappeared the storm died down, and the raging winds were replaced by a gentle rain.  When the rain ceased, the young men got out of the car and walked over to the area behind the car where they originally saw the object.  As they walked closer to the site, they noticed the ground getting warmer and then they also noticed burn marks in the low brush and shrubs.

Did anyone else see this strange object over Toluca?  There were a few other witnesses in the city proper who described the craft as a bright and colorful spinning top, but there were no photographs.  Although moderately investigated, no one knows what the craft was or how it was related to that terrible dust storm that night in March of 1978.

The second story hails from the Mexican state of Querétaro around the small town of San Joaquín.  An article written in Diario de Querétaro dated May 7, 1975, told of how 4 objects were spotted over the town sometime between 9:00 and 10:00 pm on May 6th.  Among the witnesses was Ricardo Ledesma, a local tax collector and district attorney, who was quoted in the article.  He said that he saw four strange objects which “flew at an altitude higher than that of private planes.”  His wife had called him to the window to see these unidentifiable craft.  She had seen the objects for longer than her husband and told reporters, “I had the chance to see the objects twice, since they flew around the community a few times. They flew in from the east and returned in the same direction.” She also said that they looked like the small saucers used in old scales or balances attached to chains used to weigh things.  Another witness, town councilmember Manuel Martínez, said basically the same thing, that the objects looked like small pans.  He also added that they made a slight buzzing sound.  Yet another witness, a woman named Guadalupe Saldívar told reporters this: “At first I saw what lights that appeared to be stars, but as they drew closer and flew overhead, I saw they were circular objects like weighing platforms, with dangling wires, grey in color.”

The next month, June of 1975, strange anomalies in the sky returned to the small town of San Joaquín.  Witnesses reported seeing a massive object flying low and slowly over the town hall, almost clipping a radio tower.  This object was similar to the ones seen in the previous month, with its disc-shaped appearance like the saucers of an old-fashioned scale.  This large object had lights coming off the top of it that converged to a point, which made the craft look even more like a balance of a scale, suspended by chains.  This bizarre craft had hundreds of witnesses.

This sighting caught the attention of famous paranormal researcher Salvador Freixedo Tabarés, a Spanish-born former Jesuit who was expelled from the order in 1959 and devoted the rest of his life to exploring paranormal phenomena.  Freixedo wrote over 30 books, most of them covering the complex subject of UFOs and how they related to religion and human history.  While in Mexico, he founded an organization called The Mexican Institute of Paranormal Studies.  Freixedo mentioned the 1975 San Joaquín, Querétaro UFO sightings in his 1984 book, Defendámonos de los Dioses , which translates to English as “Defending themselves from” or “Beware of” “the Gods.”  He focused on eyewitness accounts of the incidents.  Here is an excerpt from his book:

“One day in 1975, a young man from a humble background told me how, two months before, at night, he had witnessed a UFO flying very slowly and at low altitude over his house (located on the outskirts of town). Excited by what he had seen, he ran after the UFO, following its trajectory into a deep gully outside the city, not far from his home. When he reached the gully’s edge, he saw a large lens-shaped object on the ground. emitting a fantastic white light. Frightened by the sight, he crouched amid some shrubs. From his hiding place he was able to see several ‘midgets’ with objects resembling ‘flashlights’ in their hands. These flashlights emitted thin, concentrated beams of light and the ‘midgets’ were having a good time hacking down plants with them, enthusiastically, cutting one down after another.

“After a while, my friend, who had remained concealed and motionless behind the shrubs, saw the object change colors and moments later, begin to ascend very slowly, balancing itself repeatedly some five meters over the ground until it shot off heavenward. While engaging in this back and forth motion, the object struck a large cactus and toppled it.

“Months later, when I accompanied the young man to the site, I asked him to show me where the cactus had been felled. We headed in that direction, and sure enough, there lay a large, half-desiccated cactus. In spite of the time that had gone by, we were able to see without any difficulty the large rounded imprints of more than one landing on the gully floor. Later on, back at his home, the young man gave me fused rocks that he had collected from the landing marks while they were still hot; he had placed them in a jar, and after a while, the inside of the jar had been covered in a yellowish dust that resembled sulfur. All these details are more or less common to many other UFO landings, but what was new to me here was the half-desiccated coyote I discovered not far from one of the landing sites. What attracted my curiosity were certain strange characteristics that could be made out along the animal’s carcass. Strangest of all was the fact that the entire body had been wrung, much like a rag is wrung to extract water from it. Yet in spite of this, its bones remained unbroken. Furthermore, it was also interesting to see that no ants or any insects whatsoever could be found beneath or around the carcass, while there was a good amount of the animal’s flesh still stuck to the bones. It had dried up in an unusual manner, without rotting and disintegrating as is commonly the case with animals that have died in the field.”

An often-overlooked decade, the 1970s has many UFO cases that are due for a second look by researchers today.  Old newspapers and other archival sources may provide fertile territory for modern-day investigators to explore and learn from.


Freixedo, Salvador. Defendámonos de los Dioses. Mexico City:  Diversa Ediciones, 2015. (in Spanish)  We are an Amazon affiliate.  Here is the link to buy the book on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3dps9LJ

Inexplicata – The Journal of Hispanic UFOlogy

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