Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tucker Carlson Knows Nothing about UFOs

Tucker Carlson might be a wiz at political commentary (or he might not be depending on your point of view) but when it comes to UFOs, he knows nothing. He demonstrated that again just last night, November 13. He was discussing the report of a UFO by a couple of airline crews and played the tape of the discussion with air traffic control. He then brought on someone else who knows nothing about UFOs to discuss the case.

First, let me say that Carlson and his pal didn’t make fun of the sighting. In fact, Carlson suggested that we needed to listen to what the pilots said because they were, well, trained observers. While we can argue that point if we’re so inclined, I will say that a pilot who has flown all over the place at night should be more familiar with what is in the sky and what those things look like. This just means that they are probably more familiar with the sky than the average citizen who sits around inside watching television rather than being outside, or looking outside, into the night.

As they, Carlson and his pal, wrapped up the short segment, they both commented on the unidentified astronomer who thought what the pilots had seen was merely space dust, meaning, of course, a meteor. Carlson mentioned that he didn’t know of any pilots who had misidentified meteors, which, of course, was another proof that he knew nothing about the topic… but as a pundit on TV, he can comment on all sorts of matters of which he knows nothing.

So, let’s break this down.

The sighting sounds, suspiciously like a bolide, which is nothing more than a very bright meteor. CNN reported, that one pilot said, “"It came up on our left hand side
Daylight bolide over the Grand
Tetons, 1960s.
(rapidly veered) to the north, we saw a bright light and it just disappeared at a very high speed ... we were just wondering. We didn't think it was a likely collision course ... (just wondering) what it could be.”

Another pilot who saw the object (and even if it was a meteor it would be an object) said, “meteor or some kind of object re-entry appears to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory... very bright where we were." 

An aviation expert said that he thought the sighting was of a meteor.

And while that was my first thought as well, we get back to Carlson saying that he didn’t know of other sightings of meteors that had fooled people, or rather pilots. I’m thinking that he hasn’t looked at the Project Blue Book files, or the MUFON files, or read much of anything about UFOs. While I know that some of my colleagues will object, I will point out that I believe the July 1948 sightings by airline pilots, Clarence Chiles and John Whitted, was of a meteor. If nothing else, this suggests that pilots, just like others can be fooled by meteors.

I do think the astronomer was a little bit too dismissive when he called it a sighting of space dust. True, most meteors are very small but do glow brightly as they fall through the atmosphere. Most burn up long before they reach the ground. A meteor the size of a softball will light up the sky and often break up as they fall. Back in the day, as I was delivering newspapers in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I saw a very beautiful, blue-green meteor break into four pieces directly overhead, which is to say, miles and miles above me… but I digress.

Some of these larger meteors, as they break up, look just like a cigar-shaped craft with a lighted cockpit and a row of windows behind it. This, I believe is what Chiles – Whitted saw back in the 1940s. I mention this only to provide a perspective.

Anyway, it seems that what the pilots saw was a meteor, probably a little larger than dust, maybe the size of a grain of sand, or even a baseball, as it burned in the atmosphere. Such displays are rare, so that pilots who routinely see meteors, have not seen anything quite as spectacular as a bolide. When these are seen, newsrooms, sheriff’s offices and the military receive calls about UFOs.

While I will applaud Carlson for his reporting, meaning he didn’t use this to ridicule anyone one, he did display his ignorance. True, he mentioned that many reporters don’t bother with such stories because they don’t want to be ridiculed by their colleagues but he took it a step too far. He suggested that this fear was why reporters never followed up on such stories, implying that no one did. This is untrue. No matter what you say, MUFON, among others, do follow up on these sorts of reports, often identifying the true nature of the event.
For other views of this sighting see:

and many more can be found online for those who wish to look.

Ian Ridpath sent the following link for those with a more visual nature:

Tim Printy offered more on the fireball explanation at:

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Socorro Symbol Redux

I am sure that most of those who visit here do not wish to descend into another pit of minutia about the real symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw on the side of the landed UFO. My first thought was to just allow Ben Moss to have his say and let it go. My second was to respond in kind, but that seemed like an exercise in futility. My last, and current thought, was to post the information in a dispassionate fashion and let the readers decide which symbol is correct based on the evidence. Not exactly the most scientific of methods, but one that would allow those who had no strong feelings one way or the other to determine, from the information, which symbol is most likely the correct one.

The facts of the case are not in dispute. I think everyone agrees that there was something that landed near Socorro and that Lonnie Zamora saw it. Zamora was the one who raised the issue of the symbol. Within a couple of hours, maybe less,
Richard Holder
Zamora was interviewed by Captain Richard T. Holder of the Army and Arthur Byrnes, Jr. of the FBI. During that interrogation both Holder and Byrnes made recommendations to Zamora about withholding some of the information. In both cases, it seemed that the suggestions were not an attempt to hide information, but to provide a way of determining copycats and to protect Zamora.

According to Coral Lorenzen, writing in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, Holder had wanted to withhold the design of the symbol Zamora saw. He thought that if others came forward with a story of seeing the same thing as Zamora, they could weed out the liars by asking them to draw the symbol they had seen. Zamora, as a police officer, apparently agreed with this. When Lorenzen questioned him about it, he refused to provide any information.

As an aside, and of no real relevance to this discussion, it was Byrnes who suggested that Zamora not mention the two beings. It wasn’t for an official reason. Byrnes thought it would spare Zamora some cheap shots from reporters and others who routinely laughed at tales of, well, little green men. Lorenzen said that Zamora did tell her about the creatures but steadfastly refused to say anything about the symbol.

Given this, several different examples of the symbol have been published over the years. Most aren’t close to the two that have come into prominence. It’s those two that I’ll discuss here in no particular order.

The first is what I think of as the “Umbrella Symbol.” It is the one most often associated with the case. Here is the evidence for it:

According to the testimony from Lonnie Zamora, as the craft departed and before Sergeant Sam Chavez arrived, Zamora scribbled, on a piece of scrap paper, this
Zamora's first scribbled representation of the symbol.
symbol. He signed that.

During his questioning by Holder and Byrnes, he drew representations of the craft, and on one of them, he drew the symbol. He signed this one as well. The other writing on that illustration was not Zamora’s, which may or may not be relevant.

Jim and Coral Lorenzen interviewed Zamora within forty-eight hours of the sighting and published a long article about the case in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. That same Umbrella symbol is used on one of the illustrations, though a second stylized symbol is used on another illustration in that same issue. Neither of them resembles the inverted “V” with the three lines drawn through it.

Rick Baca, working with from information provided by Zamora, given in the city attorney’s office, produced an illustration of the craft. The symbol on that illustration was added later, under the direction of Zamora. It is, obviously, the “Umbrella” symbol.
Rick Baca's drawing of the craft with the "Umbrella" symbol on it.

In the Blue Book files is a report prepared Major William Connor, who had driven Hynek around the Socorro area in April 1964. Connor prepared a report about his interviews with Zamora. On page 3 of that report, he included an illustration of the “Umbrella” symbol that was reported by Zamora.
Major Connor's internal report from the Project Blue Book Files.
Ray Stanford, in a May 3, 1964, letter to Dick Hall, confirmed the arc and arrowhead symbol (Umbrella) as the correct one but also mentioned that the symbol of the inverted “V” with the lines through it was the “faked” one given to the press.

Stanford's Letter to Dick Hall.
Rich Reynolds, who interviewed Zamora’s wife around 2006, was told that the “Umbrella” symbol was the correct one, that is, the arc over the arrowhead.

Hynek, in a confidential interview with Isabel Davis on May 20, 1964, included this symbol as the correct one. He did mention the inverted “V” with the lines through it, but noted it was from the newspapers. It is clear that at that time, Hynek was aware of which symbol was correct and which one had appeared in the newspapers.

On the other side of the argument, there are those newspaper stories printed on April 29 and 30, which seem to be based on an Associated Press story in which Hynek seemed to suggest the inverted “V” with the three lines through it is the correct symbol. In the Project Blue Book files, there is a teletype message that is located with a number of newspaper clippings that does refer to the inverted “V”, but that teletype message seems to be referring to the newspaper clippings rather than any of the testimony given by Zamora. That is not part of the Air Force investigation.

James Fox has said that in conversations with the late Lonnie Zamora’s wife, she said that the inverted V was the correct symbol. Fox has spent time with her, in their house, and has been granted access to some material that might be unique.

The "top" two symbols in this discussion.
Ben Moss has reported that other members of the Socorro Police Department, when asked about the symbol, seem to uniform in their answer. The inverted V is the one that Zamora saw on the craft.

In the unofficial Blue Book information discovered by Rob Mercer, there is a hand written note that suggests that New Mexico State Police Officer, Sam Chavez, a close friend of Zamora and who arrived on the scene within minutes, provided more commentary on this. According to that, "Sgt Chavez says that the Socorro Policeman had told him that the sighting had markings on its silvery side. Chavez said that the officer told him that the design was an inverted [V] with three crossings on it, but that the Air Force had told him not to discuss the markings."

The page from the unofficial Blue Book files.

Ray Stanford said that he had recorded an interview with Mike Martinez, who said that the symbol was the inverted V.

Hynek also appears on this side of the argument. Interviewed by Walter Shrode at KSRC radio, told of the inverted V. Hynek said, “He [Zamora] described it to me as an inverted V with some sort of bar across it.”

There is a letter dated September 7, 1964, written by Hynek and found in the Blue Book files. There is an illustration on it of an inverted V but the three lines are between the legs of the V and do not extend beyond them.
Symbol from Hynek's September 7 Letter.

In those “unofficial” Blue Book files saved by Carmon Marano and ultimately obtained by Rob Mercer, there was the cursive note on a 3X5 card that reported the inverted “V” with three lines through it. There is a second card with the same information on it that is a hand printed version of the first note. Both seem to be 
Carmon Marano
derivative of the newspaper articles rather than information gathered from Zamora or that were part of the official Blue Book file. According to Marano, this file was made up of documents and information for use in briefing the press about UFOs and included newspaper clippings that were not part of the official file on the case, and was, in fact, kept in in a desk drawer rather than in the official files.

As I noted in an earlier post, the inverted V with the three lines through it is one of the many symbols used in alchemy which certainly gives it a terrestrial based source. I’m not sure how relevant that is, but it seems unlikely that a spacefaring race would paint such a symbol on their craft. (Yes, I have slipped from the dispassionate rail here but I think this fact is relevant.)

And to us all get back on track, I mention that Ben has said there is a letter from Richard Holder, written at some later date, that explains some of this. According to Ben, the correct symbol is the inverted V as pointed out in this letter.

There is one other fact that might be important. When Baca’s illustration was published in the Socorro newspaper, the symbol wasn’t on it. The symbol was added later. This might be the reason that some suspect that the inverted V had been on the drawing, removed, and the Umbrella symbol substituted for it.

These are all the relevant facts about the symbols, or so I believe. I might have missed a reference. If so, please send a comment and I’ll try to get it included. I’d be interested in what everyone thinks now, given this information. Let me know. If nothing else, it will be an interesting exercise.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

My Latest Outrage - Bielek, Allende and Several Other Things

I’m outraged… outraged, I say. In the last couple of days, I have been bombarded with nonsense in books, on the Internet and on television. Just when I think we have heard the last of some of the nonsense out there, someone feels the obligation to resurrect it with another half-baked, ignorant theory.

Let’s start with the book. I had ordered, through Kindle, a book on conspiracies, not that I’m enamored with them, but because the book was free and it touched on a couple of topics I find interesting. So, I plowed through the Kennedy assassination stuff, some of it, in fact, informative, but then I came to two things that I know something about and that I knew were wrong.

First, I was treated to the idea the William Cooper had been assassinated by Arizona deputies because he knew too much about UFOs and the secret studies. Cooper, who claimed that he knew all about MJ-12 because of his position in the Navy, was considered dangerous, according to the theory. He had some sort of gig as a briefing officer on highly classified material, or something like that. MJ-12 was part of it, or was something that he had seen. However, if MJ-12 is a hoax, and the smart money is on that, not to mention that the best evidence shows that, then Cooper’s claims were also a hoax.

There would be no reason for government assassins, in the guise of Arizona deputies, to gun him down. Of course, had he not fired at them first, the outcome might have been different. The point, however, is that the information about Cooper was badly flawed.

Second, in that same book, there was a short mention of the McMartin Preschool scandal of the 1980s. The McMartins were accused of dozens of crimes including child abuse, engaging in Satanic rituals, child porn (I think), and a host of other crimes involving dozens of children. In the end, the vast majority of the charges were dismissed and the case ended in a colossal boondoggle.

Children, for example, had claimed they were flown out of state for the rituals, taken to locations in which Satanists abused them, sexual abuse in a super market, blood sacrifices and other crimes. But investigation showed that most of the crimes and abuse could not have been committed as described because of timing or in the locations mentioned. In fact, most claims of the Satanic abuse faded at the end of the 1980s for the lack of any concrete evidence that there was a national, Satanic cabal that was protected at the highest levels of the government.

To prove the case, however, the book suggested that the children told of underground tunnels below the school. Once it was demolished, there was some sort of old dumping ground found. This was proof of the tunnels, or so it was claimed. The children had been right. The problem was that so many of the tales told by the children were impossible and no evidence in the form of pictures, which the children claimed had been taken, were ever found. That was the sort of thing that the author relied on… a short reference with a suggestion of proof that had been debunked long ago.

In keeping with my chasing footnotes hobby, I chased a number of footnotes in the book and they lead to a right-wing publication and no further. I didn’t find the source material particularly persuasive, and if the source is flawed, then the information is flawed. In these cases, I knew the source was flawed. Given that, I didn’t find much else in the book that was of use.

AOL, once again, treated us to the story of Al Bielek. I don’t know how many times they have recycled this story. It’s always the same one, provides no real analysis, and suggests that Bielek is a real time traveler who knows, or knew, what the future holds. I’m astonished that Bielek didn’t make himself rich with this future knowledge like Marty McFly attempted when he traveled from 1985 to
A young Brad Steiger
2015. A simple check of sports outcomes or trends in the stock market or commodities, should yield millions. Bielek didn’t have any of that information. Hell, a wager on the outcome of the 2016 election, information about the president surely available in the future, would have done the trick, but no, Bielek missed that bet.

I don’t suppose I have to mention that Bielek’s tale is based on the Philadelphia Experiment, the Navy’s alleged attempt to teleport a ship. Of course, that tale is untrue and first surfaced as part of the Allende Letters, another hoax, revealed as such by Robert Goerman. All this has been explored on this blog in the past. I think the best of those articles can be read here:

One other thing about all this. My late friend, Brad Steiger had befriended Bielek in the past. Bielek stayed at his house on a
The late Carlos Allende aka
Carl Allen.
number of occasions and Brad told me that he found Bielek to be a likable chap. Brad said that he was deeply saddened when he realized that Bielek was not telling the truth. Bielek’s story is a hoax… but AOL keeps alerting us to it without telling us that it is a hoax.

Finally, I saw another of the seemingly endless documentaries on alien abduction, telling us the same tired stories with almost no evidence of anything extraordinary happening. I was going to pussyfoot around this topic somewhat, but really, why?

We were told that many of the abductees “remember” some of the event without the use of hypnosis. We learn that Betty and Barney Hill had conscious memories of the event before they were hypnotized by Dr. Benjamin Simon. But what we weren’t told was that there had been no memories until they surfaced in Betty Hill’s dreams. These she shared with researchers such as Walter Webb and, of course, her
The late Budd Hopkins, a leader
in abduction research.
husband. That the memories first surfaced in dreams is, I think, an important part of the case.

And, when we begin to talk of memories prior to hypnosis, we find that many of them are from hypnopompic and hypnagogic hallucinations. These are sometimes terrifyingly real dreams upon waking or going to sleep. These accompany sleep paralysis and are often associated with a belief that some sort of entity is in the room. It is often only after hypnosis that the details begin to mimic those of alien abduction. Rather than go into this at length here, I’ll just point those of you who are interested to the following:

The real problem here, or at least part of the problem, is that those offering some opinion in passing, or creating a documentary, have some sort of agenda. The producers might wish to advance the idea that aliens are abducting people so they stay away from information that might challenge that idea. People writing about Bielek, are convinced that there was a Philadelphia Experiment, and he is confirming their belief. Doesn’t make it true, but they believe because they want to rather than because the evidence supports the belief. And those believe Bill Cooper about MJ-12 for the same reasons.

In our world today, there is so much misinformation available it is a full-time job to keep just a tiny segment of it straight. There is spin to underscore a belief, but spin doesn’t really advance knowledge. In our world we have to fight to keep everything straight. That is why, after several years, we read on various news sites that those who created the alien autopsy have “finally” copped to the truth, as another example from a recent story.


I have known this for years and published information about it in books that are now several years old and Philip Mantel had devoted an entire book to it… but the “news” is provided for us today. Let’s just keep the debate alive rather than acknowledge the truth and move on.

Anyway, we must remain vigilant to the heavily biased information presented as if it is the absolute truth. We must attempt to correct this false and faked information with facts, figures and other information rather than just ignore it. Having ranted long enough, I now return to the football game.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

The Source of the Socorro Symbol?

Just when you thought there would be no more to say about the symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw on the landed UFO near Socorro, New Mexico, a new candidate has entered the competition. This one is from Otis T. Carr, who most of us have never heard of, but who, apparently, in the late 1950s, claimed that he could create a flying saucer and set out to do it.

Carr's billboard announcing his spacecraft.
Carr claimed that he had worked with Nikola Tesla, which, I suppose is an excuse, or a reason for Carr to have slipped off the rails of more conventional science. (Please, no comments about the legitimacy of Tesla, he was a genius, Carr was not.) Carr founded OTC Enterprise, the OTC, are of course, his initials. He hired a business manager and then Carr, and Norman Colton, began to search for funding for his “fourth dimensional space vehicle.” This craft would somehow slip through space without really flying. It could travel to the moon and back in a matter of
Carr's business logo.
hours. It was designated as the OTC-X1, and the first flight would be in April 1959.

Before we get into the success of that flight, I’ll mention something that is always pointed out. Carr received a patent for his flying saucer, which is supposed to add some legitimacy to his invention. Oh, it  was not a spacecraft though, but an amusement park ride. He had partnered with an Oklahoma City theme park, Frontier City (which, if you’ve ever driven through Oklahoma City on the Interstate, you’ve seen), and it was from here that he was going to launch his flying saucer to the moon.

On Sunday, April 19, 1959, some 400 people assembled to watch the launch of the saucer. It didn’t fly… Carr was in the hospital with some sort of lung problem which meant he wasn’t there to promote his craft. He promised that the test flight would take place sometime later, but it never did. Instead, Carr found himself in trouble with the SEC because he had been selling stock in his company without the proper compliance with various governmental regulations. He spent some time in the slam for this. That should suggest something about his credibility, but there are always those who will claim the big, bad government shut him down… but the saucer never flew and his technology as never proven to be real.

None of his craft ever flew, and that is really the real point here. If the craft never flew, then it would be impossible for Lonnie Zamora to have inaccurately drawn the symbol that Carr had created for his company. Although it bears a slight resemblance to what Zamora reported, it is not an exact replica and really shouldn’t even be considered. I mention it here to make sure that no one believes it to be what Zamora saw.

I should thank my pal and fellow GoT enthusiast, Rich Reynolds, for telling me about this. Interesting though it is, there is really no reason to think that Zamora saw a Carr flying saucer with that strange symbol painted on the side.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Treasure Quest, Season Four, Speculation

I have been asked, a number of times, about the last episode of Treasure Quest. Though I would prefer to deal mainly with UFOs and other paranormal topics right now, I have reached a few conclusions about that show. If I have worked out the timeline correctly, the season just completed was filmed during our summer months in the northern hemisphere of 2017. That means that what we saw in those last episodes broadcast, ended with the beginning of the rainy season in November 2017.

That means, that while we were watching what happened about a year earlier, those guys were back
Quime, Bolivia
in Bolivia, digging and diving in the tunnel they had found last year. People wondered about them broadcasting information about the find before they had the chance to exploit it. But, if I have the timeline right, they had not released and broadcast the information until they were already back on the site.

We also know that the site isn’t quite the secret nor quite as remote a place as they would like us all to believe. The hints were in the show as they brought in heavy equipment using a “secret” road. When they were forced to leave as the rainy season, 2017, began, they packed their gear into a pickup truck that we’d never seen. Where did it come from and didn’t its very existence prove that there was at least one road into the Sacambaya valley?

The point of this short post is that while we were watching what happened last year, they were in the Sacambaya valley already. I can find nothing that suggests they have had a major success. Given that we all know what they found last year, and that they were back this year, had there been a huge success, I suspect that there would have been some sort of an announcement about it.  Had they found two billion dollars in gold and silver, that story would have leaked. They were too close to Quime and La Paz, and used too much equipment and were in contact with too many people from those areas for the story not to have slipped out.

I have been wrong before, but I don’t believe they have had a major strike. I don’t know what they found, nor how much what they found was worth, but I’d be surprised if it was more than the few silver coins displayed, and possibly a couple of gold bars that seemed to be indicated in that video taken for the last show.

Given that the rainy season begins in November, I would bet that they have already begun to leave the area this year. At best, they have just a few days left there. That means they’ve finished the second season (fourth if you count the original Snake Island version) and are on their way home. Post production and other work will begin shortly, and we’ll be treated to the show next summer (here in the northern hemisphere). As I say, I don’t think they’ve found a huge pile of gold and silver. The real money is in production of the show and not in the Sacambaya valley.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Robert O. Dean is Gone

Robert O. Dean, the retired Army Command Sergeant-Major, and the man behind the tale of “The Assessment,” has died.

Dean burst onto the UFO stage after his retirement from the Army. He told the tale, in several versions, as to how, as a senior NCO in NATO, he had been handed a copy of a document labeled “Cosmic Top Secret.” According to him, while on duty l
A somewhat pensive Robert Dean.
ate one night or early one morning, an Air Force colonel noticed that Dean was having trouble staying awake. The officer dropped a document on his desk, telling him that this would keep him awake.

This was “The Assessment.” It told of a recovery of a downed flying saucer, and the investigation of it. I have, in the past, reported on this claim, which I find troubling. Dean had said that it was highly classified, and the classification of Cosmic Top Secret seemed to suggest that there was something interstellar about the story.

However, the cosmic part of the classification has nothing to do with the cosmos, but with a label that identifies the document as belonging to NATO, or more accurately, was created at NATO. NATO, therefore, was the classifying authority, and declassification rested in the hands of those at NATO.

And let’s not forget that it seems highly unlikely that a high-ranking Air Force officer would pull a top-secret document from the vault in an effort to keep a sleepy NCO awake. It violates so many rules and regulations that it is not funny. Having served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, I know that such things are taken seriously. Once the flaw was pointed out, Dean altered the story slightly. You can read my assessment of “The Assessment” and Dean’s tale here:

 I did know Dean, somewhat, and I know that he was a little miffed at my portrayal of his tale. He once asked me why I hadn’t talked to him about it, specifically, and in a fit of blatant honesty, I told him I simply didn’t believe it.

The other thing that should be noted here is that Dean did retire as a command sergeant-major, the highest enlisted grade in the Army. Few soldiers reach that pinnacle. To do so is quite the accomplishment. Most soldiers flame out as sergeants first class or master sergeants.  A command sergeant-major is often as qualified to run a battalion or brigade as the officer in command. The command sergeant-major knows nearly everything about the unit and is often left to handle much of the administration of it. Responsibility remains with the commanding officer, but the real work is done by the command sergeant-major.

Maybe that was why I was so disappointed in Dean’s tale. He had achieved an important position in the Army, had served honorably for 28 years before retirement, and then had to clutter up all that with “The Assessment” … for which there is no independent corroboration.  

For those interested in such things, Dean was born on March 2, 1929. After his military service, he was an emergency services coordinator for Pima County, Arizona, and in 1992, sued his employer for discrimination, claiming that his belief in UFOs caused him to miss a promotion… though it might also have been a case of age discrimination. Whatever the real cause, he supposedly won and was awarded a hundred grand.

He died on October 11, 2018, at the age of 89.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Barrel Launches and the Socorro Landing

It has taken awhile, but I have now been able to follow up on the tale originally told to us by Kevin Ashley, as told by someone he knew. To briefly recap, Ashley said that he was talking about the Socorro UFO landing when another man entered the conversation, suggesting that this was an experiment by either staff or students at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. They had launched a barrel
Lonnie Zamora
about the time that Lonnie Zamora arrived on the scene. Zamora had seen their experiment, had seen them, and that these guys escaped later while leaving no trace.

Both Tony Bragalia and I communicated with Ashley, who provided additional information about what he knew on October 4, 2018. In fact, he produced a report about it, covering several of the points. He does suggest the balloon explanation isn’t viable because, as he wrote, based on his assumptions about the sighting, “… a balloon only ten feet long would not be large enough to support two individuals and if the balloon were left to float away by itself, then the question arises as to where the people who launched the balloon went considering that the site was examined immediately afterwards.”

In addressing the barrel theory, Ashely wrote, “This explanation also has the problem of where did the perpetrators go, since the site was examined immediately after the sightings by both Officer Zamora an Sgt. Chavez.”

And that has been my thinking as well. The people responsible for launching either the balloon or the barrel would have been seen leaving the area. There is no way for them to have escaped unless they were in the balloon.

Of course, these are Ashley’s thoughts based on what he knows about the case, but not based on first-hand observations. Remember, in the original story, he had accepted the theory that Zamora had seen something extraordinary. It wasn’t until the fellow he identified as Bruno gave him the details of what happened that he began to change his mind. The details, then, were second hand… but it does get worse.

As noted, Bruno had told Tony that he and another fellow were responsible for the sighting. They had been launching a barrel using explosives. It was some sort of an experiment. Zamora had stumbled onto it, and they had fled, fearing they might be expelled if their involvement was uncovered by the school. There were problems with the information and there were certainly questions left unanswered. Some of them were suggested by those who visit here on a regular basis.

According to Tony, Bruno seemed somewhat reluctant to talk about any of this, though in the world today, nothing that happened so long ago would adversely affect Bruno. He certainly wouldn’t be expelled. Anyway, there seemed to be nothing new coming, so I sent Bruno a rather benign email with a couple of questions. I didn’t expect a response, but on October 20, there was one.

About the first thing he wrote was, “I am not admitting that I was involved in this incident of the UPO (sic), and feel sad if it had caused any grief for the Zamora family.”

This is in conflict with what he had told Tony, but it could be suggested that he said this just so that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by UFO researchers asking for information… Or it could be the truth.

He then wrote, “I learned only recently that this UFO hoax had caused so much publicity.”

Hoax is not the correct word in this scenario. There was no intention to fool anyone. It wasn’t designed to convince anyone that some sort of alien craft had landed. It was, according to Bruno, an experiment, one seen by Zamora by accident.

According to Bruno, two students from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology were trying to produce an explosion that would resemble an atom bomb blast. He wrote:

Exploring old abandoned mines they found a military hand held blasting machine that was operated by twisting the handle.  The magneto inside the blasting machine produced enough current to set off 10 electric blasting caps in a series connection.  Also found in abandoned mines were several sacks of ammonium nitrate.  The plan was to pour some gasoline into a shallow pan, put a board across the pan to hold a sack of ammonium nitrate with a stick of dynamite inserted to set off the ammonium nitrate.  An electric blasting cap inserted in the dynamite was used to start the explosion.  The experiment was set up close to a dirt road, a safe distance from town, and far enough away so that nobody would see the experiment.  A 55 gallon drum was placed open end down, to cover the gasoline pan and explosives.  The idea was to let the hot sun beat down on the 55 gallon drum to produce gasoline fumes, thereby causing a fire ball that would rise up to form a mushroom cloud.  Just when the action was to take place, our scientists noticed a dust cloud on the road from an approaching vehicle, which turned out to be a police car. 
Given what we know about the location of the landing site, I’m not all that sure they were safely out of town. Watching Mythbusters, I know they routinely blew up stuff near Socorro with the help of the school, but I don’t think they were ever as close as this experiment had to be. There was then, and still is now, lots of open area around Socorro. I don’t think they needed to be as close to the town as they were.

Bruno wrote that with the police car approaching, they made the decision to detonate the mixture before the police car would be in danger, as opposed, I guess, as waiting until the police car was gone. According to Bruno:

The experiment was near perfect with a large red ball of flame rising up from the ground to form a nice mushroom cloud.  The police car came to a stop, the policeman jumped out of the car watching the result of the experiment.  The policeman got back in his car, turned the car around, and took off back to town.  Our happy scientists slowly gathered up the debris from the experiment such as pieces of 55 gallon drum, rolled up the blasting wire, and took all the stuff back with them on the jeep.
This is where the tale really slides off the rails. Those of us who have studied the case know that there was no mushroom cloud, that the site was never without someone on it from the time that Zamora saw the craft until much later that night.
Captain Richard Holder had ordered MPs to the site and it is unclear if they remained overnight. The next morning, there were all sorts of people there including Dorothy Landoll, who recently told me that she and her husband went out to look over the place. There is no way that the “happy scientists” could have returned to collect their debris.

The final bit of information was, “They got in their jeep, and as they were following the news directions, something started looking familiar.  It turned out that it was their experiment site.  Reporters had come in from Albuquerque, and were overheard talking about places where weeds were burned, and ground had been singed from the UFO takeoff.”

Although it is probably unnecessary, I will point out that samples were gathered by Holder that night and forwarded to the Air Force. Their analysis found no trace of any of the components of the “experiment.” Such residue would have been left, and Bruno tells us that the “happy scientists,” returned to confirm that their experimental site was the same as Zamora’s landing site. According to that Blue Book, “Laboratory analysis of soil samples disclosed no foreign material… analysis of the burned bush showed no chemicals which would indicate a type of propellant.”

While none of this proves that was Zamora saw was an alien spacecraft, it does eliminate this particular explanation. There are simply too many problems with this explanation, as I have noted. I think that we can close this particular chapter of the Socorro landing.