UFOs in Mexico


You may well ask why, of all the non-US sources of UFOs I could have picked, I decided to focus on Mexico. The most direct answer is that my doctoral research project dealt in part with the place of UFO investigation in Mexico, so it is both the handiest and the most interesting set of data for me at this time. To answer why the project should be set in Mexico in the first place, I will invoke a convention in social science for presenting or defending one's research topic: it presents a problem to be unraveled, one whose answers offer potential benefits to the social-scientific study of Mexico, science, UFOs, and modernization.

In Mexico we have a seeming paradox. A lot of UFO-related data in the form of sighting reports, folklore, and mass media production is being generated, yet by all accounts Mexico boasts relatively few ufological investigators. Why should this be? I can offer some preliminary guesses based on information about UFOs in Mexico not widely available in English.

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Historical Outline

Though videotape footage of saucers over Mexican cities has received airplay around the world and quite a few people know about the "chupacabras," little else is known in the Anglophone world about the study and lore of UFOs in Mexico. Therefore it will be beneficial to begin by providing the historical contours of the phenomenon. Some Mexican authors trace UFOs back to colonial (1521-1810) reports of aerial prodigies, while others go back as far as Aztec and Mayan codices in the tradition of "ancient astronaut" speculation. I will confine this chronology to the last century and a half of historical documents.

1883 Astronomer José Bonilla, using the telescope of the observatory at Zacatecas, reports large, opaque shapes crossing the sun on the nights of 12 and 13 August.

1950s Rumors circulate of a saucer crash near Monterrey, Nuevo León.

1950 Airline pilots in the vicinity of Mexico City's airport on three separate nights (3, 14, and 21 March) communicate with the tower that they see strange lights.

1953 Taxi driver Salvador Villanueva claims to have been visited by small alien beings in their spaceship on the highway north of Mexico City (more about the Villanueva contact below).

1955 First UFO book (William Jones, "Flying Saucers, Reality and Fantasy") published in Mexico.

1957 Landing at San Juan de Aragón is frontpage news in several major newspapers.

1965 Mexico experiences a "flap" (technical term for a dramatic, short-term increase in reports) in July and then again in September, possibly part of a global "wave" in that same year. Many landings and contacts make their way into Mexican and Spanish newspapers.

1967 Another flap, February through May, then another in November.

1970s Many photos of UFOs appear in newspapers and magazines. UFOs get more exposure in entertainment as well as in the news. The seventies also witness the appearance of UFO magazines Contactos Extraterrestres and OVNI.

1977 The first World UFO Congress is held in Acapulco, 17-24 April, attracting luminaries from US, European, and Latin American ufology.

1978 Photos of a sighting in Minatitlán printed in newspaper El Nacional in December.

1979 Journalist reports UFO over Guadalajara, Jalisco, on 10 January; Tepoztlán, Morelos, witnesses a flotilla of around thirty UFOs on 22 January.

1979-1981 "Foo fighters" (WWII military slang for UFOs) are reported in the state of San Luis Potosí.

1980s Stories of secret UFO bases in the central states of Guanajuato and Puebla begin to appear.

1987 Repeated mass sightings of a lighted UFO are reported in the area around Mesa Ibarilla, Guanajuato, in April.

1989 Major flap in the San Miguel mountains of San Luis Potosí in the summer.

1990 Series of sightings in La Zona de Torrecillas near Torreón, Coahuila, in April. Also, first of a two-year string of televised debates (Y Usted...Qué Opina?) between ufologists and skeptics hosted by Nino Canun.

1991 A famous series of sightings and organized ufological investigations take place in Atlixco, Puebla. The first home videos of daylight discs over Mexico City appear on Mexican national television news.

1996 More dramatic video and photographs of strange phenomena emerge from major cities like Puebla, Monterrey, and Mexico City.

1997 Sightings around the Popocatépetl volcano.

2001 Photo of eruption of Popocatépetl with luminous object circulated around world.

2004 Mexican Air Force pilots film formation of lights over Campeche Bay; video released later in year.

Some Notable Figures

Pedro Ferriz Santacruz - A former reporter, politician, and prolific author of UFO books (Los Ovnis y Yo).

Jaime Maussan Flota - TV journalist, former anchor of "Sixty Minutes Mexico" and staple of Mexican TV ("Tercer Milenio," "Grandes Misterios del Tercer Milenio") and radio talk shows. He is probably the best known Mexican ufologist outside Mexico.

Luis Ramírez Reyes - Well-known and widely-read paranormalist commentator, in the mold of Frank Edwards or Art Bell (Contacto: México).

Salvador Villanueva Medina Taxi driver who claimed he met diminutive aliens on 14 August, 1953. Repairing his broken-down taxi on the highway near Ciudad Valles, he was surprised by several small humanoids, one of whom spoke, in accented Spanish, about his people and their purpose on Earth.

Carlos Díaz Martínez - Contactee from the central vacation mecca of Tepoztlán, Morelos. Díaz runs the Center for the Diffusion and Comprehension of UFO Reality.

Major Current Issues & Cases


A great deal of reports and other types of evidence come from big cities. Of them, the biggest and most productive is Mexico City. This would stand to reason, considering it is the most populous urban area in the Western Hemisphere and home to the largest concentration of those educated and affluent enough to be considered the prime population for UFO interest in Mexico. But other locations and social strata produce reports and lore. Tepoztlán is a very good example of reports and interest coming from all socioeconomic and ethnic groups. At one time a favorite site for anthropological fieldwork (most prominently Robert Redfield, Oscar Lewis, and Claudio Lomnitz), the city is now a resort mecca for Mexico City residents and New Age tourists. People from all walks of life report seeing UFOs. Ghosts and religious apparitions are still of greatest interest for most Mexicans, but UFOs are not far behind.


Since the early 1990s footage of UFOs from a number of private sources and television crews has been widely aired and widely debated, and not just in Mexico. Images of daylight disks, glowing nocturnal objects, flying "rods," and even eerie figures have shown up in news broadcasts, tabloid programs, and talk shows. The first wave of videos in 1991 helped spur the airing of a series of debates on UFOs moderated by Nino Canun. A tape recently released by the Mexican Air Force only solidifies this aspect of the phenomenon.

El Chupacabras

This is the so-called "goat-sucker" reported all over Latin America and even areas of high Hispanic population in the US. It is functionally parallel to US cattle mutilations; farmers discover livestock wounded or dead from very sharp bites, and sometimes even report seeing a hideous, rather reptilian creature attacking their animals. Some researchers align the chupacabras with UFOs, portraying it as an alien. This parallels the chupa-chupas of the Brazilian Amazon, lighted objects that fly through the forest wounding people with beams of light and that many consider UFOs. It also provides a connection to other vampiric entities in Mexico, like the naguales which are also luminescent flying beings. The chupacabras also reinforces the idea that the alien Other is predatory and extracts some vital substance from terrestrial creatures.



Though interest in UFOs is high among the reading and viewing public in Mexico, a survey of booksellers' websites (Porrúa.com, for example) and ufological websites shows that materials from foreign sources equal - if not outnumber - Mexican-authored books. Nevertheless, a growing collection of books and magazines is available. Please note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather an incomplete and growing one. Feel free to send me other citations, so long as they were produced in Mexico and/or are about UFOs in Mexico.




Below you will find links to UFO investigative organizations in Mexico, as well as sites with information on Mexican UFOs. The former are exclusively in Spanish, the latter divided between Spanish and English.


Webpages and Cases



cau 3.0 | © 2001-06 ryan j cook, phd | last modified: 2005.12.31