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Mapimí Silent Zone

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In July, 1970, the US military conducted a missile test in Green River, Utah. The missile, a multi-stage rocket, was loaded with a payload of two small containers, nominally containing radioactive cobalt-57. It was launched toward the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

However, the rocket malfunctioned somehow and ended up crashing into the Mapimi Preserve in Mexico. The US government launched an investigation that took several weeks to find the rocket, build a road to the site and haul out the wreckage. At least that’s the story.

How a rocket could overshoot its target by over one and a half time its intended distance when the fuel loads on missile tests are usually precisely calculated? This is only the beginning of the problems. Cobalt 57 is a marker isotope, usually used for medical tests, not so much for missile tests. The missile being used was one used for launching test payloads, not one that had any military application.

Over the years since then, stories about that area where the rocket fell have surfaced. The most prominent among these is the story that gives the area its nickname "The Silent Zone." Apparently, no radio waves can be received in certain areas surrounding the rocket's crash site. While areas devoid of radio signals are not unknown on earth, most of these are the product of altitude and mountainous terrain combined with a lack of transmitters in the area.

The Mapimi Silent Zone is located in flat terrain with only small foothills surrounding it. Moreover, it is well within the range of several "Border Blaster" radio stations, known for highly boosted signals designed to carry them well into US territory. None of these stations can be picked up in the silent zone. Not even static is present. Just dead silence across all radio bands until you leave these areas of radio void.

Physical oddities are also present. Plants in some areas have taken on strange colorations, especially among certain breeds of desert plants. Bright purple or dark violet versions of cacti that are normally green have been found, along with strange, abnormally large growth patterns in scrub vegetation.

The strange patterns are also prevalent in local animal species, with some tortoises in the area exhibiting triangular shell patterns, wild coyotes growing unusually large and small desert lizards growing to sizes unheard of in other areas. Blood work done on these animals, as well as on people living near the area, showed signs of blood cells that exhibited unusual properties, including rounded triangular structure in some cases.

The geology of the region is also highly unusual. Some pebbles and rocks in the Silent Zone feature an unusual content of rare metals including ruthenium, rhodium, and most notably extremely trace amounts of technetium. These technetium traces are most startling because technetium is not a naturally occurring element, and almost all isotopes decay to ruthenium in a matter of seconds or minutes.

The few pieces that have had a relatively stable isotope, Technetium-97, had a wide array of origin dates when their decay rates were analyzed, indicating that no single event could have been the source. Strange magnetic fields plague the area, causing compass needles to spin crazily. Ferrous rocks and pebbles can sometimes be seen to move, evidently being pulled by these magnetic anomalies.

This leads into a discussion of the most concerning aspect of the area: the unexplained activity in the region. Strange lights and unusual radio wave bursts have been observed in the zone. These lights and radio wave bursts occur both in the air above the Silent Zone and on the ground.

Some people who have traveled to the area claim that they are subject to strange visions and auditory hallucinations during their time there. A small research station, originally located on the site as a biological research station, undergoes a very high rate of personnel turnover and desertion, sometimes including researchers seemingly disappearing in the middle of shifts.

No video evidence of these occurrences has ever made it into the public record, but in April 2013, scans of a handwritten journal pages turned up on several conspiracy and paranormal image boards. These pages were from a personal journal kept by a researcher named Hector Alvarez.

In them, he chronicled the unusual phenomenon he saw while working alone on the graveyard shift at the station. He claims he started the journal after complaints about strange things he saw being ignored by higher-ups, and attempts by him to document them with a digital camera had been unsuccessful due to some malfunction of the memory of the system.

The journal itself details phenomena over the course of about three months of activity. Minor phenomena included some of those previously outlined. Additionally, he noted strange wind and barometric pressure readings on the station's weather sensors. These indicated extreme weather conditions despite the observable weather was nothing out of the ordinary. Unusual discolorations of the paint, both inside and outside the building, would occur seemingly at random. There was no pattern to the color or location of these discolorations, but they would always be vaguely triangular in shape.

Some of the 'disturbances' he reported were more severe. These included a few sightings of strange, glowing 'triangles.' He was unable to give an exact size, but he said that they appeared to be the same size each time, roughly 6 feet on a side. These triangles would appear suddenly, often accompanied by odd sounds and rushes of air.

These triangles were described as having borders of prismatic colored 'fire' while the interior of these triangles would contain translucent, undulating bands of shifting colors. Alvarez noted he felt that there was a pattern to these shifts, though he did not know why he felt this way. These triangles would remain in existence for several minutes before disappearing with the same odd sounds and atmospheric disturbances as with their arrival. Though he only recorded seeing half a dozen of these ‘triangles' he noted that all of them appeared to be equilateral, and all of them were either tilted at a 15 or 105 degree angle, seeming to imply an unseen, regular pattern.

He also detailed an event where the speakers of all the computers in the station suddenly began to blast a strange, garbled white noise despite the computers being off. This broadcast continued even after the speakers were unplugged from the computer. The next day, several of these computers would not turn on, and when tasked with repairing them, the technician claimed the motherboards and hard drives looked like they had melted under extreme heat.

The journal ends abruptly after three months. Officials at the Mapimi Preserve had no comment on the matter other than that Mr. Alvarez had apparently left his post the night of March 15, 2013, and did not return the following night for his shift. They had since referred the matter to the local police, whose investigation turned up no leads. Their investigation did turn up to interesting facts.

First, Mr. Alvarez’s car was still at the research station the morning after he disappeared. Second, a large, triangular discoloration on the wall discovered the next morning was found to be emitting trace amounts of radiation. When analyzed in a lab, the surface of the wall was found to contain technetium isotopes. The amounts of the isotopes present would place their time of origin at roughly the night Mr. Alvarez disappeared.

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