Mysterious New Mexico

Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment

Author: Benjamin Radford

New Mexico’s twin traditions of the scientific and the supernatural meet for the first time in this long-overdue book by a journalist known for investigating the unexplained. Strange tales of ghosts, monsters, miracles, lost treasure, UFOs, and much more can be found not far from the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Huge radio astronomy dishes search desert skies for alien life, and the world’s first spaceport can be found in this enchanted land; in many ways New Mexico truly is a portal to other worlds.

Mysterious New Mexico is the first book to apply scientific investigation methods to explain some of New Mexico’s most bizarre lore and legends. Using folklore, sociology, history, psychology, and forensic science—as well as good old-fashioned detective work—Radford reveals the truths and myths behind New Mexico’s greatest mysteries.

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Praise for Mysterious New Mexico

  • Phantom Performances at the Haunted KiMo Theater
  • Resurrection and Sacred Soil: Miracles at Chimayo
  • The Mysterious Crystal Skulls
  • The Great Aztec UFO Crash
  • The Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost
  • The Loretto Chapel’s Miraculous Staircase
  • Thunderbirds: Mysterious Giants in the Sky
  • The Haunted Old Cuchillo Bar
  • Miracles of the Hot Eye: Ojo Caliente’s Healing Waters
  • Labyrinths: Sacred Symbols in the Sand
  • La Llorona: Wailing Witches Haunting the Ditches
  • Murder on the Mesa: The Bone Collector Serial Killer
  • Santa Fe’s Haunted La Posada Hotel
Sneak Peek

New Mexico has a well-earned reputation for the mysterious and bizarre. It is a land of contradictions and stark contrasts, a place where the exceptional and the commonplace, the rational and the mystical, mix freely. 

Beyond the black-ribboned highways and the bustling cities lies the surreal New Mexico, where ancient riddles lurk under the sun-baked desert sands. Sometimes the strangeness is well-known—even world-famous—such as the 1947 Roswell crash. Other stories of ghosts, monsters, miracles, and magic are told in hushed whispers. 

It is no accident that the forty-seventh state is dubbed the Land of Enchantment. Mystics, artists, outlaws, dreamers, explorers, and scientists have been drawn to New Mexico for centuries. Spanish conquistadors were the first to come, searching for seven mythical cities of gold; many died in pursuit of the legend. Later, outlaws such as Billy the Kid and Jesse James were lured here by New Mexico’s reputation as a lawless land. Artists such as Georgia O’Keefe sought out this part of the southwest for its unique landscapes, natural beauty, and unusual light. Tens of thousands of New Agers and mystics have flocked to New Mexico, seeking the desert’s wisdom and earth energies. And, of course, countless UFO and alien buffs visit the most famous UFO crash site in the world. 

Yet while New Mexico is steeped in the strange and supernatural, science is also a big part of the state. The world’s top scientists came to New Mexico, developing (and then exploding) the world’s first atomic bomb here. The New Mexican desert is also home to a huge array of radio astronomy dishes, studying the heavens and searching the skies for signs of intelligent alien life. A spaceport—the first of its kind in the world—is being built in southern New Mexico, which will one day be used to take travelers into space. In many ways, New Mexico is truly a portal to other worlds. 

Mysterious New Mexico is the first book to blend these two parallel traditions, using science and scientific methods to explore the mysterious and bizarre. As a boy growing up in New Mexico not far from the Rio Grande river, I was always fascinated by the world’s mysteries, and especially those in my home state: Local ghost stories, monster sightings, and UFO crashes. Stories of miracles and mysteries, strange and wondrous events that seem to defy explanation. 

My interest is in exploring the mysteries, and, when possible, solving them. Everyone loves a good mystery—who doesn’t like to be intrigued and tantalized by the lure of the unknown? I certainly do. 

But as Mark Twain said, “Supposing is good, but finding out is better.” A story or legend may be fun and interesting, but is it true? With this book I try to find out, to separate the truth from the myths where possible. My purpose in all these cases is to find out the truth behind these stories. You may or may not agree with me, but I have made a sincere, legitimate effort to understand and solve these mysteries. I have tried to bring an unprecedented level of research and scholarship—not to mention investigative experience—to these mysteries. I take them seriously and investigate them thoroughly because I believe that they deserve it. We can’t plausibly deem these strange events unexplained until we have tried our best to explain them. 

I’ve investigated mysterious phenomena in sixteen countries on four continents, traveling the world in search of answers. With Mysterious New Mexico, I return to my home state to tackle some of its weird phenomena, including haunted hotels, healing waters, witchcraft, alien visits—and, of course, many legends of miracles and mayhem.