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The Mysterious San Luis Valley, Where UFOs Fill the Sky

Updated on August 31, 2017
Unexplained objects in lower right of photo
Unexplained objects in lower right of photo

"Flying Saucers Killed My Horse!"

For decades the residents of the San Luis Valley (SLV), located west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado and New Mexico, have seen in the sky strange lights, zigzagging orbs, triangular-shaped aircraft and saucer-like objects, all of which commonly called UFOs. These clichés from the best of Close Encounters of the Third Kind have been seen with regularity all the way back to 1928 when the first sighting in the area was documented. Many unusual animal deaths (UADs) have been recorded in the valley as well. People in the area have also reported seeing aliens and heard inexplicable rumbling or humming sounds. Bigfoot has been spotted too, and even the Devil himself has made an appearance or two!

The purpose of this article is not to document these anomalous phenomena or bizarre incidents, because many books, movie and TV documentaries have done so. Instead, the author would try to explain their origin, so we can perhaps learn more about our world and ourselves in the process.

(The incidents regarding the Devil will receive no comment from the author. As for Bigfoot sightings, ape-like creatures have been seen all over the US and Canada. Until one of them is captured, there's not much more one can write about the subject.)

Getting back to those unusual animal deaths, The SLV seems to be the “home,” so to speak, of UADs in the United States. Numerous domestic animals, particularly cattle and horses, have been found cut-up and dead at many different locations and with no apparent cause, such as predation by wild animals, lightning or any other act of nature. These butchered beasts also seem to have a similar pattern of mutilation – carved out rectums and eyes, as well as missing patches of hair and meat and de-fleshed bones. Criminals or pranksters are the most likely cause of the mutilations but nobody has ever been caught in the act. (Are there bad guys out there with a hankering for a free rib eye steak?) Unfortunately, the owners of this stock have lost thousands of dollars. Many locals think aliens have perpetrated these dastardly deeds, perhaps using lasers or other precision instruments in the process of dissection. A SLV rancher made the aforementioned quote after his horse Snippy was found mutilated in October 1967.

Christopher O’Brien, author of The Mysterious Valley, has studied various weird occurrences in the SLV for many years and may know as much about them as anybody in the world. Regarding the animal mutilations, he wrote, “They are the greatest unsolved crime spree in the twentieth century.”

People in the valley have also reported close encounters with archetypical aliens, or the so-called Greys, though no photographs of such beings have been offered for public perusal, and nobody has grabbed an alien carcass for scientists to study. To date, nobody in the world has found the body of ET, unless one believes the assertions regarding the Roswell Incident in 1947.

Many of the UFOs sighted in the SLV have probably been military or civilian aircraft, perhaps even experimental ones that resemble flying saucers or whatever. Others are probably optical illusions caused by temperature inversions or reflections of one sort or another. But many locals think there’s a secret Area-51-like base beneath the ground near the Four Corners area, and the aircraft of which could explain many UFO sightings. At any rate, Kirtland Air Force Base is located near Albuquerque, not far from the SLV. (Also keep in mind that the first nuclear bomb was detonated at Alamogordo in 1945.)

It’s also a known fact that the planet Venus is mistaken for a UFO more than any other celestial object. During World War Two, many anti-aircraft gunners tried to “shoot it down.” And Navajo sorcerers could have caused the animal mutilations – but more likely copycat pranksters have been having their fun. People love to fool others.

But on a much more psychological and experiential level, O’Brien wrote, “I feel that the individual, and his or her perception of an unusual experience, may be as important as the actually experiences themselves. Taken as a whole, these millions of perceptions melt into a cauldron of mythos. They may retain their original character but become part of the greater mythic whole. Data alone may not be able to solve these mysteries.”

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, place of many UFO sightings
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, place of many UFO sightings
Horse mutilation found in 1998
Horse mutilation found in 1998

UFO and UAD researcher, David Perkins, has a thought-provoking theory. He says that virtually everything that happens to humans can be viewed through the new science of “evolutionary psychology.” He suggests that UFOs and UADs and paranormal phenomena are being created by humans to prepare the species for the colonization of space, a definite eventuality given the population explosion and possible cataclysmic natural disasters for which we may be given some warning, such as an asteroid-strike or the explosion of a nearby star.

Expressing a profound mouthful indeed, Perkins states: “UFO mythology, something that’s pulling us into the future, is somehow geared into an evolutionary perspective of what we rationally and intuitively feel we need to do and to mobilize ourselves to get it done. If you look at the whole theme of science fiction, this hugely powerful mythology has many of the elements of classical religion. It has that much power. Just as the bleeding wounds of human stigmata are spontaneous manifestations of faith (miracles) for traditional Christianity, the animal mutilations could be the stigmata of a space-age religion. Both phenomena give their respective belief systems the transformative power needed to perpetuate themselves.”

On a related note, psychologist Julian Jaynes has written about the human mind’s apparent bicameral aspect. In his book, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, published in 1976, Jaynes wrote that as recently as 3,000 years ago one side of the human brain did the talking while the other side listened and carried out orders. Also, the side doing the talking could have produced hallucinations in order to get what it wanted, explaining perhaps some God-to-human interactions in ancient texts such as the Bible.

Keeping in mind that scientists tell us that the human brain is the most complicated thing in the universe, isn’t it possible that Jaynes’ hypothetical state of human consciousness has worked and continues to work on some level? We know that each hemisphere of the brain works somewhat differently – language skills in the left and perception in the right - so how differently is the billion dollar question. Is one side creating “visions,” while the other reacts and tries to rationalize in ways that may not seem terribly rational? Hence: Flying saucers killed my horse!

Since it hasn’t been proven that space aliens have ever set foot on the earth, or flown over it for that matter, perhaps one should pay attention to a more scientific explanation for UFOs, alien close encounters, animal mutilations and perhaps even Bigfoot sightings as well. After all, our very existence may depend on it.

At any rate, whether you’re in the San Luis Valley or elsewhere, keep looking up, for you never know what you might find . . . an alien presence or another aspect of yourself, either of which could lead to an enlightening encounter indeed!

For more details regarding the incidents mentioned in this article, please click on the link below:

UFOs spotted in the San Luis Valley

© 2009 Kelley Marks


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Ive seen strange animals, large wolf like dogs the size of ponies in this area.

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for the comment, Alienufonews. I wish I could direct you to some hot UFO spots in the SLV, but I've never been to the area. Keep probing the Internet and you should get an idea or two. Happy hunting. Later!

    • Alienufonews profile image


      9 years ago from Mars

      It was very interesting to read about this. I love when there is a UFO or Alien story to go around! Just like gweenies pen, i saw multiple UFOs when i was little, and i still do! I saw one so clear and close, I saw one so close, it literally made me jump out of my shoes! I even saw a little grey creature on the side of the turnpike late at night! Also creeped me out! If i was to go visit that place, where do you recommend looking for UFOs? I really want to go there now!

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for the comment, SantaCruz. I've always liked what this story has to say about UFO sightings. Later!

    • SantaCruz profile image


      9 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Thorough and well-written! Voted up... But now I need to read about kittens or something to get that poor cow's image out of my mind!

    • jhosler profile image


      9 years ago

      Great article.

    • mudassirikram profile image


      10 years ago from warburton

      strange but like it

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      10 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Christopher O'Brien, I don't recall using any photos from your Web site. If I did, which ones in particular did I use and, perhaps more importantly, do I have permission to use them if I give you credit in the caption? Otherwise, I'll delete the photo or photos. At any rate, you've left a promotional - your URL - in my comment section, isn't that enough credit? Let me know. Later!

    • profile image

      christopher o'brien 

      10 years ago

      I would have been nice for the author of this article to credit me and mention my website where he lifted most of the photos for this article for more... Also, you can access my entire database of SLV unusual events. It's free to sign up and learn more about one of America's most anomalous regions...

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      10 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks, gwennies pen, for your UFO story. I wish I had one to relate. Later!

    • profile image

      gwennies pen 

      10 years ago

      When I was a young girl of maybe ten, my sisters and I saw something fly through the sky out our upstairs bedroom window one night. It was not a plane, or bird or helicopter. We were told it was a UFO as it had lights in a circle around it. Seriously, it frightened us. I still believe in the things, no matter how many try to disprove it. It was not in Nevada, but in Grand Rapids suburb in MI.

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      10 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks a lot for your comment, Bluebird. Yes, the tale of Snippy the horse is certainly bizarre. Anyway, I've always wondered why this story hasn't attracted more readers. Please pass the word. Later!

    • bluebird profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for writing this. Good hub. I was born in Alamosa and lived there for 30 years. So it was fun running across this hub and reading comments from Katie and Tracy that posted comments about being born in the SLV as well. I remember the story about Snippy. It was a very strange case.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      i love to hear this kind of stuff

    • Tracy711 profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi, I'm a newbie and I was shocked to see this on my hub. You see I was born and raised in The San Luis Valley and I had no clue people there believed in UFO's. I myself have never seen one but then again I was never looking. So who knows but it's nice to know people actually know where the San Luis Valley is. Interesting reading I will read more of your hubs.

    • Kosmo profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelley Marks 

      11 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Well, did you see any UFOs or cattle mutilations in the SLV? You gotta let me know. Later!

    • KatieE39 profile image


      11 years ago from Colorado

      I was actually born in the San Luis Valley (Del Norte). This is an interesting hub.


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