The city of Tampico is located at the center/east of Mexico, at a side of the Gulf. It is one of the most important cities at the south of the Tamaulipas state. The other two are Ciudad Madero, which you have to cross to get to the beach, and Altamira, a few miles to the north, that is center of the industrial area.
Here, there's a urban legend that says Tampico is protected by an alien base located a few miles inside the Gulf. This base, according to the more informed guys in the subject, spreads a kind of magnetic field that makes hurricanes take a detour and hit the ground either more to the north or more to the south, but never affecting the Tampico/Madero urban area.
This legend started spreading when the Hurrcane Gilbert hit the Mexican's Peninsula (the small tail at the east, near Cuba) devastating everything on its past, then getting into the water in a straight direction to the center/south of the Tamaulipas state. Everyone at Tampico thought Gilbert was going to hit the area, but in a surprising turn of events, it went more to the north and reentered ground, going straight to sweep the Monterrey city in the state of Nuevo Leon (northern/center Mexico), a city that was the least obvious point for a hurricane to hit.
The devastation of Gilbert was so big that the entire country thought Tampico was going to be swallowed by it... but nope. It didn't. Then, local hobbyist ufologists started to forge a relationship between UFOs and the supposed deviation of Gilbert. Thus, the legend born.
In a small survey among my fellow Tampiqueños, most of them -between the twenties to the forties- agree that the legend started with Gilbert. A few older ones say that the so called alien protection started before 1988, sometime after Hurricane Hilda directly hit ground on Tampico back in 1955. This was the last hurricane that affected the city and its surrounding areas, so, it makes sense for the alien base to have landed or it was built somewhere in the late fifties, starting to protect the shores around it.
The legend has several notations on its behalf, here, a few of the most relevant ones:
- It is located about 24 miles from the shore.
- Some people claimed to have seen UFO lights in the night sky going from land to the Gulf waters.
- Some other people claimed to have visited the base in Out of Body Experiences (you know, when you go into deep meditation and some alien comes, grabs your soul by the hand and takes you to the base to take the official tour).
In a weirder tone, some people say there aren't aliens, but divine powers that drive the hurricanes away. This claim is rooted on the building of a monument to the Virgin of Carmen, patroness of the sea and the sailors, erected back in 1967.
With all that, during recent years, the legend became more like a local meme that is summoned on every hurricane season, and when any hurricane starts to form either on the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean and starts to walk towards the Gulf, everyone starts to talk about how the aliens will make it go away.
Sources and further details:
- "The Mexican city that claims to be protected by aliens", an article (in Spanish) from April 2015 in BBC World in Spanish.
- "The Mexican city that believes to be protected by aliens", an article (in Spanish) featured in the History Channel Mexico back in June 2017.
- "Tampico: UFOs with me, Who's against me!", an article (in Spanish) by Luis Baylón from The Huffington Post Mexican Edition.
- "Leaving Tampico and Leaving Hurricane Dean Behind", an article by Maggie Lineback for Fox News published in August 2007.
- "The Mexican Town Protected by Aliens", an audio clip from BBC's "The Fifth Floor" broadcasted in April 2015.