Riverbed circles spawn UFO speculation

Antonio Padilla is not a believer in UFOs, but a set of unexplained circles found this week in the middle of a dry Rio Grande has him wondering.

The sand circles -- no crops involved -- could be a sign of aliens in the borderland or a not-so-elaborate hoax in a spot of dry riverbed between Texas and New Mexico.

"I know it's hard to believe. I don't know. It's pretty weird," Padilla, 26, said while looking over the 35-foot-wide series of circles in the riverbed.

The largest circle contains three other circles, each made by 8-inch deep trenches on a sand berm between Artcraft and Borderland roads in the Upper Valley.

Padilla, of Sunland Park, learned of the circles from a co-worker at a plant in nearby Santa Teresa. Padilla said a friend of a friend claimed to be walking in the area Tuesday night when he saw a mysterious light. The friend could not be reached for comment.
"This guy was saying all day that he had seen something land and take off right away. We thought it was bull ... ," Padilla said.

To settle the argument,

the group went to the supposed landing site during their lunch break and discovered the circles.
El Paso police spokesman Javier Sambrano said there were no reports to police of strange lights.

The circles are next to a subdivision under construction, and bicyclists ride along the river levee as ducks frolic. A stiff dead cat lay on a levee road.

Whether the circles were man-made, water-made or the work of space aliens is up for debate.

Tales of strange lights in the sky and bizarre occurrences are not uncommon in the vast lands of West Texas and New Mexico, which is home to the most-famous UFO incident in the purported UFO crash site near Roswell. The Roswell incident celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Local UFO investigator Yolica Stone is skeptical.

Stone hasn't seen the Rio Grande sand circles yet but she has seen her share of hoaxes. Stone used to be a member of the now-dissolved El Paso chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON.

The only UFO sighting in El Paso listed on the MUFON Web site was on Sept. 9, 2001, when a person leaving the Sam's Club on North Mesa spotted an object that looked like a "bucket or cylinder hanging in the sky and it glowed and appeared to have flames from the top."

There haven't been any recent UFO reports, but they are not uncommon along the fields and farms roads of Upper Valley. "There are a lot of sightings over there," Stone said.

Daniel Borunda may be reached at dborunda@elpasotimes.com;546-6102.


By: neverknwo (2509.76)

Tags: UFO, Mystery, Sighting

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