1966 Edinburg UFO Incident

UFO Shoots Beam of Fire at Construction Workers

by Noe Torres

The Edinburg UFO Conference & Festival was inspired, in part, by a very strange event that occurred north of town in 1966. Here is a presentation that was done at the location of the incident by author Noe Torres and Joe Ponce, son of the deputy sheriff that investigated the original case:

And here is a report about the incident from one of the local TV stations:

Report on Edinburg UFO Incident from KRGV-TV in Weslaco, Texas. Click Here.

Now available as a book by Noe Torres:

Fire From the Sky

Below is the full report on what happened.

Number of witnesses: 8
Location: Farm to Market Rd 490, approximately 4 miles west of U.S. Highway 281.
Just North of Edinburg, Texas
Date: October or November 1966 (exact date unknown)
Time: Approximately midnight

In October or November of 1966, J. R. “Milo” Ponce, a deputy sheriff with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, received a phone call at around midnight from the sheriff’s department dispatcher, George Rapp. The dispatcher stated that someone had called in to report a group of “disturbed” men standing alongside Farm to Market Highway 490, north of Edinburg, Texas, near Laguna Seca Road.

Joe Ponce

The eight men, who were digging a gravel pit in the area for a company out of North Texas, were greatly agitated. They were yelling and screaming for help alongside the road. A motorist must have seen them and then driven them to a nearby truck stop, from where they called the sheriff’s department.

According to Joe, “When my father received a phone call from the sheriff’s department, I heard him asking George Rapp, the dispatcher, if it was serious or if it was a prank call. Rapp told him that the men seen along Highway 490 appeared to be very frightened about something they had seen, and they also said they needed help putting out a fire. My father got dressed, got in his vehicle, and responded to the call.”

The site in question is a ranch located approximately four miles west of Highway 281, owned at the time by Samuel Gonzalez, now deceased, and now owned by Mary Moya. The charred and burned area was about one quarter mile into the ranch next to some very large gravel pits.

The pits were being dug out by a crew of eight men from north Texas. The men, who were all “Anglo” and whose identities are not known, were “roughneck” types. All of them told the same story of that eerie night. One of the men had been so frightened that he urinated in his pants. The men were later taken to the sheriff’s office, where they were interviewed and then allowed to spend the night. They told sheriff’s deputies that they would never return to the site of the incident, and they reportedly left town the next day, happy to escape with their lives.

Sheriff's Department

Sheriff’s Department in 1966

Milo Ponce’s son, Joe Ponce, says, “Although I did not witness this incident, I heard several different people give the same details about it at separate times. There was a police report filed, but I don’t know if it would still be around. I will tell the story as I heard it from my father.”

The workers told deputies of having seen bright lights in the sky and of hearing a loud humming or throbbing sound. They also experienced sudden, strong winds on an otherwise calm night, and they saw flames shoot down out of the sky, presumably from one of the UFOs that had been previously seen hovering in the area. The beam of fire set ablaze all the surrounding area, including their vehicles and their mobile home.

A local resident, known as “Manito,” who lived near the caliche pit, reported seeing a “cigar-shaped object” that hovered over the field that night. Manito had seen this and other bright lights hovering over the surrounding fields prior to the night of this incident. The gravel pit workers themselves stated that they had seen strange lights hovering around the area on other occasions, prior to the night of the fire. Spanish-speaking people who lived near the area called these eerie night lights “La Luz del Llano,” which in English means “the light in the fields.” According to Joe Ponce, this area has been known for years as the site of strange phenomena.

Firefighters eventually arrived at the scene of the fire, but by the time they got there, the flames had mostly died out. Ponce’s dad said that, on the following morning, he and another deputy returned to the scene and found everything, including the crew’s sleeping quarters, destroyed by fire.

Gravel Pit

Joe Ponce Points at Gravel Pit

Among what was damaged or destroyed by the fire was: a 12’ x 60’ mobile home that the crew were using as sleeping quarters, a couple of pick-up trucks, a bobtail truck, and an excavating machine. “It was all charred,” Joe Ponce remembers, “All that stuff had been burned.”

Now available as a book by Noe Torres:

Fire From the Sky