Sunday, November 22, 2009

Socorro UFO Landing Analysis

I thought, given the tenor of the conversation, that I would attempt to establish some common ground. I believe there are some facts on which we all can agree, and I believe there is some analysis that we can make which would provide a jumping off point.

I believe that we can all agree that Lonnie Zamora saw something in the desert on April 24, 1964. We can agree that he described, as accurately as he could, what he had seen at that time. I’m not going to talk about apparent changes, additions, deletions from his testimony over time because human memory, being what it is, allows for these adjustments that are neither right nor wrong, but often just different.

We all seem to agree that it was more or less egg-shaped, with a red symbol on it. We all agree that he saw two figures near it, that he described as humanoid, that were dressed in white, and that they disappeared behind the object, whatever it might have been. This object lifted off in short order and disappeared, flying into the strong wind. There were no other reliable or identified witnesses to the sighting (and yes, I know about Opal Grinder’s tourist and the two men from Dubuque, Iowa who reported they had seen the craft).

There are a limited number of possible explanations for the case. It was a hallucination. It was a illusion. It was a misidentification. It was an experimental craft from White Sands (or somewhere else that is terrestrially based). It was a hoax. It was a craft from another world.

I have tried to think of any other alternatives, but haven’t come up with anything. By saying this, I hope to draw out someone who might have thought of something different.

Let’s look at the solutions. I discount hallucination because of the physical evidence left behind. I see no reason for Opal Grinder to have invented a tourist and am disappointed that this witness, who surely heard about the case, has refused to ever come forward. The two men from Dubuque, if they accurately reported what they had seen also argue against hallucination. Their reliability is another question.

The problem with illusion is that there is no real good source for the illusion. Some, or maybe one, thought, given the time and location, a bright star near the horizon, seen though the dry air, might have given the impression that it was on, or near the ground. There are many factors that argue against it including the markings left on the ground, and given the history since the sighting, it has little viability.

There is a possibility that it was a misidentification and this is the explanation favored by some such as Charles Moore. Arguing against it is the nearly fifty year history since the sighting. Even a top–secret vehicle would now be known and the records for White Sands, easily available now, have been accessed to no avail. If it was a vehicle from another installation, the same applies. The records would now be in a public arena and someone would have found them by now because there have been a number of people looking for that sort of thing. This seems to have little viability.

There was also a discussion that what he saw was a lunar lander being transported under a helicopter in some sort of test. Of course, Zamora never mentioned the noise that would be generated by the helicopter, the clouds of dust that would have been thrown up by the rotor wash, or that what he saw was lifted under something else. Of course the records don’t support this explanation. There seems to be little reason to accept this as an answer either.

I should point out here that some have suggested the misidentification of a dust devil, which is a whirling cloud of dust blow up by the wind... or stirred up by the rotors of a helicopter. The same reasoning applies here as it does to the lunar lander and I mention it only because someone suggested it.

There was a suggestion, briefly, that Zamora had seen a hot air balloon. This would have explained the blue flame and the roaring sound, but doesn’t explain how the balloon envelop, which would have had to be larger to lift two people, even small ones, could have fooled him or how the balloon would have lifted off into a strong wind. Hot air balloons do not do well in any windy conditions anyway. While the idea is somewhat interesting, given the reported wind conditions, it doesn’t seem plausible.

Of all the solutions, only hoax and extraterrestrial seem to have any real viability, and frankly, and offending my pro-extraterrestrial friends, hoax would seem to be more likely. It is a question of logistics more than anything else. You have to come a very long way to reach Earth from another world, so it is easier for it to be hoax than a question of interstellar travel.

Yes, there are many arguments in favor of this explanation and I won’t go into them all here. Tony Bragalia and his colleagues have already done that, and they have offered some evidence in support of it. They have latched onto the claim that this was done as revenge against Zamora for his alleged harassment of New Mexico Tech students and that the charred cardboard found on the site is proof.

Well, it is evidence, but I’m not sure that it is relevant, given the statements by the man who picked it up, but it is out there. Each person is going to have to decide what significance he or she attaches to this particular and rather isolated evidence.

And then the extraterrestrial... this too, has viability. Arguing against it are the vast distances in space and the complex technical problems that must be solved to travel interstellar distances. Then there is likelihood they would land on the outskirts of a small city in New Mexico only then take off when approached by a local resident.

To me, this boils down to either a hoax or an alien visitation. I can’t see any other explanation, given what we know and the evidence that is available in a variety of sources. The arguments seem to fall into one of those two categories as well. Some believing it to be a hoax and some believing that it was alien visitation.

What is left for us to do is a dispassionate examination of the evidence and that is what has been lacking... not the examination, but the dispassion. It is quite clear to me that those involved in the debate are very passionate about their positions, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. The problem arises when one side or the other refuses to look at all the evidence or begin to call one another names...

That is what we need here, an examination of all the evidence and I have seen both sides picking the evidence that suits them and forgetting some of the rest. I will note that Ockham’s razor states that the simplest solution that accounts for the facts is probably the correct answer. But note, it must account for the majority of the facts, not just those that point in one direction or the other.

Now, nearly fifty years later, we have yet to arrive at a point where we can all agree. And yes, I know that we’ll never get to that point because no matter what evidence is provided, there will always be some on the other side who refuse to accept the truth when they see it. We can point to examples throughout history where people have refused to believe the truth even when confronted by it with their own eyes. I have no hope that this will turn out any different.

But by looking at this, somewhat dispassionately, we now know why this case was labeled as unidentified. There simply isn’t the evidence necessary to make the proper call. Sometimes, that is the only solution that we can find and it is not a satisfactory one. It leaves us guessing and in a vacuum.

67 comments:

starman said...

If it couldn't have been a balloon, then it couldn't have been a hoax either, for what other prosaic thing would've better matched Zamora's description? Interstellar distances make an ET visit seem implausible--based on our current knowledge. Since our own progress is accelerating, eventual interstellar travel doesn't seem so far fetched, and it wouldn't be surprising if an older ET race already has it. Like a multitude of other cases featuring strange craft and beings, Socorro is unidentified. Unidentified just means there is no prosaic or earthly explanation for something technological. Ergo, an ET exlanatioon is by far the most reasonable, or the only reasonable one.

David Rudiak said...

The hoax angle was worked to death by Hynek and the Air Force. They could never come up with a single credible piece of evidence to suggest a hoax. Quintanilla and Hynek both agreed that the only way Socorro could have been a hoax was if Zamora, all the police involved, and even the FBI agent Byrnes were in on the hoax. They would have all had to lie about the absence of track evidence and hoaxing paraphernalia at the site, or conspired to clean it up.

Zamora would have had to totally fabricate his story of seeing the wingless, egg-shaped object and small humanoids there, seeing the object take off with a flaming roar, go completely silent, then depart very fast towards the mountains against the wind. No human craft then or now can do these things.

And of course, somehow the primary hoaxers would have had to fabicate all the physical evidence, the freshly burned soil and vegetation (or lied about it still being hot and smoldering when they arrived), the absence of any chemical traces on the burned plants and soil when the AF tested them, the unusual landing marks that seemed to compress the soil, that intersected at right angles, implying certain things about the distribution of weight and the center of mass, which just happened to correspond to where the primary burn area was, which just happened to have anomalous rocks there. They would have had to plant a broken rock at the edge of one landing mark that Zamora pointed out to Stanford, which had metal traces planted in it, which just happened to not match any known catalogued alloy when tested at NASA.

Now I have absolutely no idea how small-town, unsophisticated cops could have come up with all of this. Some criminal mastermind would have had to be behind it, and gotten the cops to go along.

Opal Grinder would have had to conveniently jump on the bandwagon and fabricate the story of the tourists and their car nearly having its roof taken off by the approaching UFO. Kies and Kratzer, the two Iowa tourists unknown to Hynek or the AF at the time, would also have had to jump on the bandwagon and fabricated their story of seeing the object take off or land.

The aural witnesses Stanford interviewed saying they heard two roars about a minute apart would have had to lie (or somehow the hoaxers would have had to create such roars at precisely the right time), and so would Ned Lopez, the police dispatcher and his story of at least 3 other citizens calling in saying they had witnessed something.

It would take all these elements to create a hoax. I would say the probability was zero, and that was Hynek’s and Quintanilla’s assessment too. Hoax was ruled out conclusively a long time ago by the primary investigators and only the die-hards or uninformed are still clinging to it. Sterling Colgate’s say-so is not evidence of anything, since he refuses or can’t come up with the names of the alleged hoaxers or how they supposedly did it. He probably made up the whole thing in his mind or was just passing along rumors.

And despite what some people are arguing, even supposed NM Tech hoaxers would still need the cooperation of Zamora and the cops to pull it off. There is still no plausible explanation of how hoaxers could flee the area and leave no prints or hoaxing paraphernalia behind, right under the nose of Zamora or the first responders, or how the craft could fly off like Zamora described.

These are all issues the hoax pushers refuse to address in a plausible, scientific way. Instead we get impossible nonsense like balloons that fly against the wind and pole-vaulting students that leave no tracks behind.

Frank Stalter said...

"Quintanilla and Hynek both agreed that the only way Socorro could have been a hoax was if Zamora, all the police involved, and even the FBI agent Byrnes were in on the hoax."

They were wrong about that. Hynek made a number of assumptions about hoaxers in general evidenced in his letter to Menzel that are only assumptions.

"the primary hoaxers would have had to fabicate all the physical evidence, the freshly burned soil and vegetation (or lied about it still being hot and smoldering when they arrived)"

Not accurate. Sgt. Moody's report has been discussed.

"the unusual landing marks that seemed to compress the soil, that intersected at right angles, implying certain things about the distribution of weight and the center of mass, which just happened to correspond to where the primary burn area was"

Where that burning was reported by Hynek to be "sporadic."

"Sterling Colgate’s say-so is not evidence of anything, since he refuses or can’t come up with the names of the alleged hoaxers or how they supposedly did it. He probably made up the whole thing in his mind or was just passing along rumors."

Stirling Colgate isn't credible:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_Colgate

But Ray Stanford is?:
http://tinyurl.com/yfw7uz5

Bob Koford said...

There are two constants that continue to confound the situation:

1. The dynamite shack.
What is with this? It is in every part of the testimony... from the reason chosen by Officer Zamora to investigate, to the craft just barely clearing it on departure.

Has anyone said anything about close examination of the shack? Did it really contain dynamite? Was there any dynamite missing? Was it locked, or could someone have ducked inside?

Were there any mines close by...i.e., other temporary hiding places?

2. The black sedan.
Since the whole episode, from Zamora's perspective, hinges on this so-called speeder, what of it? Where did "he" go? If not part of a hoax, then where did he get off to? There is so much in the data that seems to suggest it was not a hoax, but this part of the story seems to beg for it to be one...admit it. Why isn't "he" part of this story?

Didn't one other witness claim to see the object, or flames, and the police car chasing it? Zamora claims to have not been chasing a UFO, but a speeder. Where did thi-s-car-go???(eh-hem...just a little snail humor there)

cda said...

To Frank Stalter:
Is Stirling Colgate's Wikipedia entry supposed to indicate he is an authority on UFOs, or even on a particular sighting?

To David Rudiak:
Who made the calculation, based on the indentations, of a weight of 4 to 10 tons for the UFO? Is he credible?

David Rudiak said...

Bob Koford wrote:
There are two constants that continue to confound the situation:

1. The dynamite shack.
What is with this? It is in every part of the testimony... from the reason chosen by Officer Zamora to investigate, to the craft just barely clearing it on departure.

Has anyone said anything about close examination of the shack? Did it really contain dynamite? Was there any dynamite missing? Was it locked, or could someone have ducked inside?

Were there any mines close by...i.e., other temporary hiding places?


Being a dynamite shack, it probably would have been locked. (It was also made of metal) Was there dynamite there? I don’t know. I don’t see that it matters much.

Was it examined closely? Yes, but no mention of it being locked or having contents. Both Hynek and Stanford examined it closely (I have one of Stanford’s closeups), and Hynek below says the same thing.

Stanford also told me he took compass measurements of the metal siding making up the shack to see if there might be magnetic anomalies. He literally crawled on top of the shack to make measurements of the roof.

Hynek’s comments to Menzel a year later about any possible role of the dynamite shack in a hoax:

“Pranksters could have hidden behind the knoll directly to the south, particularly had they lain prone. The dynamite shack is too small and too far away to have risked hiding behind it.”

(Not to mention no tracks leading away from the site to the shack for fleeing hoaxers. Hynek also does not fully consider the timing to run 150 yards to the shack, uphill, in sandy, uneven soil with shrubs in the way. Between the time Zamora first spotted the UFO 800 feet or less away, and then raced to the scene, thinking an auto accident, there would be no possible way for hoaxers to flee unseen in the very limited time frame.)

“Zamora knew exactly where the dynamite shack was, because this is precisely why he left the road when he heard the noise. He though there had been an explosion in the dynamite shack.”

“The dynamite shack does not stand on legs as I have inspected it closely and have taken photographs. The shack and the reported UFO must be considered distinct.”

Hynek then goes on with multiple negatives AGAINST the hoax hypothesis:

“…the things that would seem to militate against a hoax are the fact that no tracks coming to or going from the region were found, minutes after the sighting occurred; paraphernalia was not located, again within minutes; Chavez and the FBI agent would have to have been in on the hoax; and finally, the object took off crosswind. Paraphernalia I refer to would have been ropes, launching equipment, gas tanks, etc. which would have been difficult to dispose of in a few minutes and certainly without making any tracks. You say "the whole thing could have easily been planned to come off as it did." I think otherwise; it would have been quite difficult to have a thing like this come off, even as to the original timing. Zamora did not have a regular patrol route so his approximate whereabouts would not be known at a given time. I questioned Chavez on this, and Zamora patrols the whole town in an unscheduled fashion…The fake UFO would have had to have been rather sizeable since I looked to Zamora line an overturned car, upended, first off from a considerable distance.

“You [Menzel] suggest that when Zamora's car crested the hill, the hoaxsters triggered another blast of flame and released the UFO, and ran like hell. The terrain is such that when a car crests the hill, it suddenly comes upon the site. There simply would not have been time to wait until this happened to release the UFO and then hide; not unless there were elaborate ropes and wires running over some distance on the ground.”

(cont. next post)

David Rudiak said...

2. The black sedan.
Since the whole episode, from Zamora's perspective, hinges on this so-called speeder, what of it? Where did "he" go? If not part of a hoax, then where did he get off to? There is so much in the data that seems to suggest it was not a hoax, but this part of the story seems to beg for it to be one...admit it. Why isn't "he" part of this story?

Didn't one other witness claim to see the object, or flames, and the police car chasing it? Zamora claims to have not been chasing a UFO, but a speeder. Where did thi-s-car-go???(eh-hem...just a little snail humor there)


I consider the black sedan, speeder question to be another minor issue on the whole affair. Who was it? Where did he go? Who knows? Does it matter? Nobody knows the identity of the driver, so where do such questions lead us? Nowhere ultimately.

The hoax hypthesis includes the speeder allegedly luring Zamora out of town. But Hynek noted that Zamora didn’t follow regular routes. So somebody would have to tail him and then communicated the information to fellow conspirators. Obviously the number of hoaxers involved continues to multiply, all of whom have kept their mouths shut for 45 years instead of bragging about their incredible, seemingly impossible hoax that fooled everybody.

Nobody has come forward claiming to be the speeder or being a part of the hoax. Until that happens (probably never), all we have is more unsupported speculation that the speeder was part of the hoax.

How would hoaxers know that Zamora knew about the dynamite shack, or how would they know a loud roar and a bright light would suggest to him a dynamite explosion, such that he would turn off onto the dirt road? The hoax hypothesis also seems to include a lot of lucky guessing on the part of the hoaxers (that Kevin has already mentioned) that Zamora would perform in just the right way.

And such minor side questions still don’t deal with the BIG questions about how a hoax was carried off. What was the object that Zamora saw take off vertically, then fly at high speed into the wind, disappearing in the far distance? How do you “hoax” that? Or how do you trigger everything just when he gets there, yet remain totally unseen, leaving no tracks or hoaxing paraphernalia behind, plus all the other hoaxing problems Hynek mentioned, plus a myriad more he didn’t address in his Socorro letters.

Joseph Capp said...

My answer to all this is here we go again. I want to say I respect you Kevin and Tony but I have one question. Is either one of you working on any UFO sightings that are happening NOW.
Honest to God I think that most of the UFO researcher and UfOlogist spend more time going over old cases than coming into the 21 century. There are exciting cases out there in the world now. I could not do what you people do. But I know in my gut this is not helping to get to the bottom of UFO issue. If there is to be an explanation to this phenomenon and to the many reports of occupants then it is out there people in the real world happening today. We have technology the old timers could only dream of, but it seems we have no leaders to fulfill those dreams.
I feed sad about the state of the future of the investigation of UFOs. We have great people with no vision.
Joe Capp
UFO Media Matters
Non-Commercial Blog

Frank Stalter said...

"Is Stirling Colgate's Wikipedia entry supposed to indicate he is an authority on UFOs, or even on a particular sighting?"

It certainly indicates he's a well regarded scientist of significant accomplishment. He also confirmed to Bragalia he KNEW it was a hoax, something he apparently did not know for sure at the time he corresponded with Pauling.

"I consider the black sedan, speeder question to be another minor issue on the whole affair."

Zamora described the driver as about 17 years old. He couldn't have been much younger or he wouldn't have had a license. Much older makes him . . . . college aged. Of course, it's significant.

"The hoax hypothesis also seems to include a lot of lucky guessing on the part of the hoaxers (that Kevin has already mentioned) that Zamora would perform in just the right way."

He was a cop on duty. How should he have performed? Blown off a possible serious accident over someone who may have been speeding?

Hynek's report-"His complaint about the UFO sighting was that it did not allow him to give out his full quota of tickets for the day."

David Rudiak said...

Cda wrote:
To David Rudiak:
Who made the calculation, based on the indentations, of a weight of 4 to 10 tons for the UFO? Is he credible?


I don’t know his name. He was said to be a physicist who did the calculation. Coral Lorenzen of APRO was at the site within 2 days, and I would hazard a guess that one of the PhD scientific advisors affiliated with APRO made the calculation. I’ll contact Ray Stanford and see if he knows.

I have read various accounts that the penetration into the soil ranged from only 2” to 6 to 8”. I don’t know the truth of the matter, and also there would be inevitable measurement error, since it is hard to determine what your starting point is with a mound of earth pushed up around the depression. From the photos I’ve seen, there was more than 2”, but I can’t tell how much “more” is.

Hynek also complained about the Air Force’s seeming lack of interest in determining what sort of force or weight would be needed to create the marks in the soil, an experiment they could have easily carried out had they conducted a thorough investigation. It would have revealed important information.

We could carry out experiments of this sort ourselves. E.g., make a wedge-shaped model landing pad about 8” x 16” out of wood, find some similar soil as in the bottom of an arroyo, and place various weights on it. I’d wager it would take something on the order of a tire from a heavy vehicle resting on it to press it into the soil sufficiently. You won’t get the compression, penetration, or mounding just by standing on it and putting only 150-200 pounds of weight on the model pad.

All investigators and the Socorro newspaper article mentioned how the marks seemed to be made by something of great weight gently pressing down into the soil, pushing aside the top soil into a mound around the landing impression, and penetrating far enough that moist subsoil was exposed.

Attempts by Zamora and Chavez to duplicate the rectangular, wedge-shaped landing marks by simple digging were unsuccessful. The landing marks held their shape and traces are still there to this day. The mark made by digging quickly filled in with loose sand.

A large broken rock with imbedded metal particles was found next to the least distinct landing pad. The guess was that this landing pad landed on the rock, breaking it, scraping off metal, and also pushing the pad to the side so that it didn’t come straight down and make a clear impression, like the other three pads. These are exceedingly subtle details for a hoaxer to have created, all easy to overlook. Also when Stanford and Richard Hall took the rock to NASA for analysis, the NASA analyst initially said the metal alloy didn’t match anything on the books, another incredible detail for haoxers to create.

Other peculiarities, as discussed before: The rectangular marks were all parallel. Why would hoaxers bother? The diagonals intersected at right angles, with mathematical implications about engineering of distribution weight onto the landing pads (equal distribution) and where the center of mass would be (directly over the main burn mark where Zamora saw the roaring flame. Again, why would hoaxers bother with such subtle details, again easy to overlook?

Also later documents indicate the Air Force found an anomalous rock in the burn area (bubbled appearance with chaulky surface. This was unknown to both Hynek and Stanford at the time. Stanford digging under the burn area years later found another anomalous rock: large quartz crystals on it were remelted, but smaller ones weren’t. Also unknown to Hynek and Stanford was a vitrified area of sand about 3 feet across found by the Air Force, removed, and secretly analyzed. This was uncovered by Dr. James McDonald and is in his papers.

(last paragraph next post)

David Rudiak said...

(part2)

But all this is still a sideshow to the bigger questions of what exactly was the UFO Zamora reported that flew away in such a spectacular and anomalous fashion, why no chemical traces at the site for what burned the area, and why no track evidence or paraphenalia of hoaxers found?

steve sawyer said...

One aspect of Socorro that has so far gone unmentioned is a related sighting by George Metropolis of a very similar object in flight, glowing, sometime between 7 and 8 pm the same evening as Zamora's sighting, which he reported. How close to sunset would that time range have been?

Anyone know much about this witness and/or the legitimacy of his sighting?

The reference comes from footnote.com, after doing a search on "Zamora" in the PBB files there.

David Rudiak said...

One aspect of Socorro that has so far gone unmentioned is a related sighting by George Metropolis of a very similar object in flight, glowing, sometime between 7 and 8 pm the same evening as Zamora's sighting, which he reported. How close to sunset would that time range have been?

Sunset in Albuquerque was 6:47 p.m. MST (didn't switch to Daily Savings until April 26). Twilight would have been another hour or so.

steve sawyer said...

Another aspect of the "landing process" that Zamora reported, in addition to the initial loud roar sound that first attracted his attention, is the description of the flame he saw in the sky from hundreds of yards away.

Oddly, he was able to describe the flame as to relative shape and dimensions, colors, that it seemed to be a steady state or non-flickering flame, but he saw no object above or in any way attached to the jet of flame as it slowly descended into the arroyo. Or at least that's what one of the original government records says.

Now how could that be? Did his report, taken by someone else, have retrospective elements that may have been based on recalling or mixing up the description of the flame from the second incidence, when the second loud roar occurred at close proximity, followed by Zamora's much closer observation of the jet of blue and orange flame as the object rose from the ground?

How much of these discrepancies could be attributable to those who took testimony from Zamora, perhaps in note form, and later composed more formal reports?

You'd think that if he saw the flame descending slowly, when you compare its relative size to the object, which was much larger, that he should have seen the object descending, also. I suppose one could suggest some cloak of invisibility, but that seems far less likely than simply mistaken recall or flawed second-hand reporting of witness testimony.

It seems there are some odd internal inconsistencies within Sgt. Moody's report--could this have been an artifact of bias on behalf of his anti-ufo boss Quintanilla's expectations? Or Moody's own? Or just poor reporting, recall, and transcription of testimony?

David Rudiak said...

Steve Sawyer wrote:
Another aspect of the "landing process" that Zamora reported, in addition to the initial loud roar sound that first attracted his attention, is the description of the flame he saw in the sky from hundreds of yards away.

Oddly, he was able to describe the flame as to relative shape and dimensions, colors, that it seemed to be a steady state or non-flickering flame, but he saw no object above or in any way attached to the jet of flame as it slowly descended into the arroyo. Or at least that's what one of the original government records says.


Zamora was about 0.5-0.6 miles from the object at the time as it approached its landing site. So its size was like looking at a van at that distance.

In addition, the sun was very low in western sky (5 deg. above horizon and 11 deg. North of West). Zamora was about 40 east of north of object, thus angle between sun and Zamora relative to UFO about 120 deg.

The point is the side of the UFO facing Zamora would have been brightly illuminated by reflected sunlight off the object. This, in addition to small angular size, would have increased difficulty in distinguishing the body from the bright blue flame.

In addition, Zamora was wearing green sunshades over his glasses, reducing color contrast between whitish object and bluish flame, again reducing ability to distinguish body from flame.

There are certainly some uncertainties here (exact position of object--probably near landing site--Zamora’s exact position, how reflective the object was, etc.), but I’m just pointing out various factors that would reduce contrast and visibility between flame and object.

You'd think that if he saw the flame descending slowly, when you compare its relative size to the object, which was much larger, that he should have seen the object descending, also. I suppose one could suggest some cloak of invisibility, but that seems far less likely than simply mistaken recall or flawed second-hand reporting of witness testimony.

I don’t think it's safe to assume object was “much larger”. When it took off, the flame was limited to distance between bottom of object and ground, never more than 15 or 20 feet (same as length of object), before it disappeared and object went to silent mode. If the object was higher up on approach, the cone-shaped flame could have extended down and spread out further, becoming larger than the object itself.

David Rudiak said...

Steve Sawyer wrote:
It seems there are some odd internal inconsistencies within Sgt. Moody's report--could this have been an artifact of bias on behalf of his anti-ufo boss Quintanilla's expectations? Or Moody's own? Or just poor reporting, recall, and transcription of testimony?

I noticed that too. There are lots of obvious mistakes and internal inconsistencies in Moody’s report. Maybe all your reasons are in play.

From Quintanilla’s unpublished book, both were extremely hostile to UFOs, with Quintanilla quoting Moody saying it was all “bullshit.”

Some of Moody’s reporting is so screwed up, you wonder just how careful, observant, honest, or even intelligent he was. Some of his worst errors concern Zamora’s driving up the road, spotting, and approaching of the object. His timing of events is grossly inconsistent with Zamora’s own story and he has whole sequences and locations out of order, e.g., placing Zamora’s parked car 150 yards from the UFO and then walking to within 100 feet.

In reality Zamora said he stopped for a second or two to observe the object and small people when he first spotted them from about 150-200 yards away, then drove rapidly the rest of the way to render assistance. The road above the UFO was about 100 feet above the object, which is where the AF map places it. (Stanford and Hynek photos place Zamora much closer than that, and Zamora was initially quoted in the Socorro newspaper saying he got to within 50 feet.)

As to timing, Moody claims the whole sequence of events lasted no more than 10 minutes, a gross exaggeration. He also claims the object’s departure required 3 minutes. Zamora’s AF transcript has him estimating 20 seconds, an order of magnitude difference. Then he adds Chavez showed up 3 minutes later.

So let’s do the math. To get 10 minutes total, it would have taken Zamora 4 minutes to drive about .6 miles. That’s less than 10 mph average, pretty damn slow for a traffic cop who initially thinks he’s investigating an exploded dynamite shack, then a car crash. Then his 3 minute departure time, at least 3 times greater than Zamora’s estimate, even if you increase Zamora’s 20 second estimate by a factor of 3 to 1 minute.

And despite Zamora having radioed for Chavez’s backup when he first spotted the object, and Chavez was about a mile away, Moody was claiming it took Chavez 6 or more minutes to drive a mile to render backup, another very slow-driving cop averaging 10 mph in an emergency. These were very laid back cops.

These numbers make no sense and suggest Moody was deliberately extending the time sequence.

Some of Moody’s confusion I could understand from just an oral interview, but Moody also says he had Zamora take him out to the site. You’d think he could figure out the proper timing, sequences and correct lay of the land from that.

steve sawyer said...

David Rudiak said:

The point is the side of the UFO facing Zamora would have been brightly illuminated by reflected sunlight off the object. This, in addition to small angular size, would have increased difficulty in distinguishing the body from the bright blue flame.

In addition, Zamora was wearing green sunshades over his glasses, reducing color contrast between whitish object and bluish flame, again reducing ability to distinguish body from flame.
...
I don’t think it's safe to assume object was “much larger”. When it took off, the flame was limited to distance between bottom of object and ground, never more than 15 or 20 feet (same as length of object), before it disappeared and object went to silent mode. If the object was higher up on approach, the cone-shaped flame could have extended down and spread out further, becoming larger than the object itself.


OK, those are reasonable explanations. I also liked the analogy of viewing a van from a 1/2 mile away--I can see how the object might not have been visible at that distance and lighting angle. And the jet of flame may have been more self-evident at that distance than the object itself. It would seem Zamora may have only looked at the flame in the sky relatively briefly before hurriedly driving toward the arroyo, so I can understand, when you also included the aluminum white color against a neutral background sky and when viewed through green sunglass clip-ons how these all in combo might have attenuated the visibility of the object compared to the flame.

It occurs to me that there is some possible discontinuity though: the loud sound, followed by the view of the flame high in the sky (just how high?) when Zamora was first distracted, is rather different from the reverse of that sequence when later lifting off--the flame shut off after rising to about 15 feet or so and hovering before going silent.

BTW, didn't I read in prior comments where you noted the complete PBB file on Socorro was close to two hundred pages? There's virtually nothing other than a couple mentions in reports and some newsclips of the Socorro incident when you search under "Zamora" or "Socorro" over at the
www.bluebookarchives.org site--
why is that? I noticed the Socorro case was kept in a "separate folder" (not with the other files?) as opposed to all the other PBB files from the month of April, 1964 from one of the few scanned files available through the archives website. Did the case file of the Socorro incident not get scanned? Is it in the original PBB microfilm rolls?

Is there anywhere online where the entire or a major portion of the PBB files on Socorro is available? It would be useful to be able to access additional source documents to advance the analysis.

Frank Stalter said...

"I don’t think it's safe to assume object was “much larger”. When it took off, the flame was limited to distance between bottom of object and ground, never more than 15 or 20 feet (same as length of object), before it disappeared and object went to silent mode."

Zamora never described, drew or even said he saw any sort of engine nozzle or aperture through which flame could have emanated, even when the vehicle was above him and flying away. Another major point for the hoax explanation.

Billy said...

I agree with the article's assumption that there is not sufficient evidence to conclusively prove hoax or ET visitation 100%.

I would like to mention one thing, however. A little over a year later, there was reportedly a landing in Valensole, France, as reported by farmer Maurice Masse, who also claimed that he saw two "small beings" near a landed object.


During an interview, he was shown a drawing of the Soccorro object, and exclaimed:

"Someone else has seen my UFO."

This information was gleaned from one of Hynek's books. Also see:
UFO Landing in Valensole, France.

David Rudiak said...

I wrote:
"I don’t think it's safe to assume object was “much larger”. When it took off, the flame was limited to distance between bottom of object and ground, never more than 15 or 20 feet (same as length of object), before it disappeared and object went to silent mode."

Stalter responded:
Zamora never described, drew or even said he saw any sort of engine nozzle or aperture through which flame could have emanated, even when the vehicle was above him and flying away. Another major point for the hoax explanation.


On the contrary, from AF own transcript of interview with Zamora
“’Flame’ looked to be coming from the underside, middle of object. Maybe the opening where it came out was four feet—rough guess.”

From Sgt. Moody’s report (which seems to be Stalter’s Socorro Bible, despite its many obvious mistakes):
“…a blue flame like an arc welder … came from the center of the bottom.”

Maybe our resident genius can explain to us exactly what generated the blue flame and what burned the area right in front of Zamora and as the object lifted off into the air 15 to 20 feet. If it was some sort of conventional burner (which also left no chemical traces behind, ruling out most conventional propellants and burners), then it had to be attached to the object and gone up with it (which presents problems in itself).

Some sort of nozzle was ejecting some sort of flame out of some sort of aperture, fanning out and creating about a 3 foot diameter primary burn area beneath the object and slicing the greasewood bush at the edge in half. Zamora himself in his statement says that bushes were still burning when he went down into the gulley with Chavez.

So everything can be burned, but there was no burner in the object and no aperature, because Frank Stalter says so.

Obviously this is more of Stalter’s magic act in effect, that also magically levitates the object into the air and magically vanishes everything, like fleeing hoaxer footprints and hoaxing paraphernalia, as if this was a stage with wires and trapdoors rather than out in the middle of the desert.

Frank Stalter said...

Good job making up stuff David.

Zamora-"Flame might have come from underside of object, at middle, possibly a four feet area--very rough guess."

Zamora couldn't even say for sure the flame came from the underside/middle of the vehicle, he's describing the size of the flame.

"Maybe our resident genius can explain to us exactly what generated the blue flame and what burned the area right in front of Zamora and as the object lifted off into the air 15 to 20 feet."

The bushes were cold by the time Chavez got there, a fact you choose to ignore. Proof that most of the burning was part of advanced site preparation . . . . and that means hoax. Better luck next time.

Oh he's the finding on your mysterious substance in the cracked rock from the Saturday Review, dated August 6, 1966 . . . .

http://tinyurl.com/yajk2qe

Stick to the facts and quit making stuff up David.

cda said...

Perhaps we can have the name of the NASA scientist who said that the analysis of the rock taken to him showed up unknown alloys.

I recall another case, the Ubatuba fragments, where some analyst said they contained 100% pure magnesium, which was impossible to create at the time (1957). This later turned out to be false. It was not 100% and it was possible to produce at the time.

I expect the unknown scientist in the Socorro rock case (as well as the one who claimed the UFO had a mass of between 4 and 10 tons) have both made false initial analyses.

starman said...

cda: The "unknown" NASA scientist was Dr. Henry Frankel. See page 372 of Good's ABOVE TOP SECRET. He had some interesting things to say.

cda said...

Oh dear!
I have reread Good's pages. This sounds like another tale of possible official 'cover-up'. First we are told one thing then we are told another. I am not prepared to accept that this analysis was part of a cover-up, though Tim Good, and presumably Ray Stanford, obviously interpret it in this way. First we get a private analysis, then an 'official' one. I would merely say that Dr Frankel had obviously discarded his first analysis and withdrawn from the case. Someone else then took over and disagreed with him. ETHers will claim it was all hushed up and that NASA possesses physical evidence of an ET visit.

There was no hush up over the Ubatuba fragments (which APRO so vigorously promoted for years), so why should there be over the Socorro rock?

Just another tale, and another trail, that has gone dead. From the story as given in Good's book I take the view that, as far as evidence of the strangeness of the Socorro case goes, the rock analysis was worthless.

Bob Koford said...

I think maybe they found traces of THC in the rock samples, which could explain their need to land suddenly, AND their paranoia!
"@#$%...it's the cops!! :)

David Rudiak said...

Another of Frank Stalter’s inane responses:
Good job making up stuff David.

Zamora-"Flame might have come from underside of object, at middle, possibly a four feet area--very rough guess."

Zamora couldn't even say for sure the flame came from the underside/middle of the vehicle, he's describing the size of the flame.


And I’m the one “making up stuff?” Notice how Stalter tries to spin the statement and ignores the Moody statement that I also gave:

“…a blue flame like an arc welder … came from the center of the bottom.”

I wrote:
"Maybe our resident genius can explain to us exactly what generated the blue flame and what burned the area right in front of Zamora and as the object lifted off into the air 15 to 20 feet."

Now more spin by Stalter:
The bushes were cold by the time Chavez got there., a fact you choose to ignore. Proof that most of the burning was part of advanced site preparation . . . . and that means hoax. Better luck next time.

More lying, distortion, and making stuff up by the ever-disingenuous Frank Stalter. In Moody’s flaky report, Chavez said that “smoke appeared to be coming from the bush”, but the charred part was “cold to the touch”.

This is Stalter’s ENTIRE case for the area being pre-burned by hoaxers. He ignores all the other quotes, including from Chavez, that the area was still hot and plants were still smoldering.

This includes the Socorro newspaper: (“Chavez and [under-Sheriff James] Luckie said the burned clumps of green grass and the greasewood were still hot when they arrived.” )

--the FBI report: [Chavez and Luckie advised] “they noted several small burning areas at the site.” ; Also, “[they] noted four small irregularly shaped smouldering areas”,

--state trooper Ted Jordan’s affidavit: “When I arrived, greasewood branches were still smoking” )

And a few statements from Zamora himself, e.g., his AF statement:

"Went down to where the object had been and I noted the brush was burning in several places.… Then Sgt. Chavez came up... I asked the Sgt. [Chavez] to see what I saw, and that was the burning brush.

Here’s a newspaper quote from Zamora (Albuquerque Journal, April 27):

“On the spot where the object supposedly sat was a once-green bush, most of it burned bare by exhaust heat. Zamora said it was still smoking several minutes after the craft’s departure.”

And another from Chavez (Alamogordo Daily News, April 26):

“State Police Sergeant Sam Chavez… was summoned to the scene by Zamora … and said he arrived at the site within three minutes after receiving the call. He said dry grass at the obvious point of landing still was smouldering, apparently from a jet-like blast on takeoff, and that mesquite bushes in the vicinity were singed.”

But what the hell. Just ignore all the other statements, right Frank? Nope, blue flames like from an arc welder can emerge from the bottom of the object, but nothing remains hot or burning afterward, because Frank Stalter says so, more of his magical thinking, denial, and careful massaging of evidence at work.

Here's the BIG POINT Stalter is dodging: How do you freshly burn the area like that right in front of Zamora, with Chavez there within minutes, yet there is no necessary burning paraphernalia anywhere to be found no tracks of who did the burning or any of the other hoaxing? Further, the AF found no chemical residue in the soil and plant samples to explain the burning.

Remember, Stalter’s day job is marketer, and that is all he is doing here, carefully marketing his product with a bunch of half-truths and deliberate distortions of evidence. Notice he never responses directly to the BIG QUESTIONS, because he can't. That's why he plays these games.

(cont. next post)

David Rudiak said...

(part 2)
Stalter has played this stupid little game before, claiming there was no evidence of fresh burning. After multiple quotes to the contrary and pointing out that Zamora couldn’t witness a flame without such burning, listen to what Stalter had to say back on another of Kevin’s Socorro blogs earlier this month:

That some of the bushes were still hot? Why wouldn't they be? Zamora had just seen a flame in the area. But Chavez reported at least one was not and Hynek reported that the burning was sporadic which evidences advance site preparation and some very human randomness which would equal hoax.

To which I responded:
“This is typical of how disingenuous Frank Stalter can be and the games he likes to play. Before on his blog, even yesterday, he was arguing there was no evidence that anything was hot or smoldering afterward. Instead he was using a single quote, “cold to the touch” to claim nothing was hot afterward and demanding citations to the contrary, all of which I provided, twice. He ignored them. Now he acknowledges that the area was still indeed hot and smoldering immediately afterward.”

This is how Frank Stalter talks out of both sides of his mouth. I can’t believe anybody takes this clown seriously anymore.

David Rudiak said...

Frank Stalter wrote:
Oh he's the finding on your mysterious substance in the cracked rock from the Saturday Review, dated August 6, 1966 . . .

http://tinyurl.com/yajk2qe


Very old news Frank. Frank loves to oversimplify everything (more of his marketing). But the story of the analysis of the metal on the rock was covered in great detail in four chapters of Stanford’s book, including photos of the particles in the rock. (not one line from a Saturday Review article with the final “official story”)

Stanford also relates how NICAP and Richard Hall passed on the misinformation about the final official “silicon dioxide” statement. They published the official story in their Sept.-Oct. 1964 issue without providing any of the back story that Stanford details. (Saturday Review was quoting the NICAP newsletter, but there is much, much more to the story.)

Apparently Hall, who got the NASA analyst to begin with, Dr. Henry Frankel, could not initially believe that NASA and Frankel would participate in a cover-up. There could also have been a NICAP cover-up, with Hall and NICAP not wanting to admit to membership they had delivered critical physical evidence about Socorro into the hands of the enemy, only to have it disappear.

Stanford wrote that all who looked at the particles agreed they were metallic in appearance, not silica or common sand, which would have been indistinguishable from the rock itself. One metallic sliver appeared to be rolled up, as if scraped off of something. (photo in Stanford’s book)

Stanford, under advice from Hall and NICAP scientific adviser Walter Webb, took the rock to Frankel at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (not a “private Washington DC laboratory” as erroneously reported by NICAP, then Saturday Review—this was a GOVERNMENT lab) Hall thought they could trust him and hoped to work with Frankel in the future on other analyses. (Maybe another reason Hall was unwilling to rock the boat and admit what really happened to membership.)

Hall made introductions. Much of what Stanford relates was witnessed by a fellow named Robert McGarey, who accompanied him. Frankel looked at the rock under a high quality microscope, and commented that some of the metal appeared to have been deposited in a molten state. He agreed to use only half the particles in his X-ray diffraction analysis and leave the remaining ones for Stanford, but once the rock was in Frankel’ possession, he violated the agreement and removed everything. Later Frankel claimed he needed to remove everything to get a large enough sample.

A week later, Stanford managed to get Frankel on the phone. Frankel said he had already phoned Richard Hall with the news. The metal was an alloy of zinc-iron with other trace elements, but that the alloy didn’t match that of any such alloy manufactured anywhere on earth, at least in their extensive catalog. He added it would be an excellent, malleable, corrosion resistant metal for a landing gear. (Hall and NICAP never reported any of this.)

Frankel told Stanford to call back in a week when he had done a more complete analysis, but Stanford was never able to reach Frankel again, despite repeated phone calls. Instead, he was finally contacted by Thomas Sciacca of NASA, who informed him that Frankel was no longer involved, that everything Frankel had told him earlier was a mistake, and that the final official conclusion was that it was nothing but common silicon dioxide or sand.

When Stanford told Hynek about this, he commented it was preposterous (as did a chemist he contacted). It was quite impossible to confuse the X-ray diffraction pattern of zinc-iron with silica or silicon dioxide. Hynek advised him to accept Frankel’s initial analysis and forget the later official disclaimer.

Of course, Stalter will just ignore Stanford’s detailed account of what happened and repeat the final official story of common sand.

But what happened was obviously nothing more than another cover-up. Frankel was told to shut-up and made incommunicado.

David Rudiak said...

(part 2)
We certainly know of other “official stories” that later turned out to be cover stories. The first A-bomb test at Alamogordo was an ammunition dump explosion. The Mai Lai massacre never happened. The White House had nothing to do with the Watergate burglary. Illegal radiation experiments were never done on American citizens. Our government had absolute proof that Sadam had weapons of mass destruction.
All were eventually exposed as official lies.

NASA has also been involved in government coverups. The classic example from 1960 involved the shot-down U2 spy plane. The "official story" was that the U2 was nothing but an errant NASA weather plane. NASA played along, even issuing phony transcripts of the pilot’s last moments, supposedly passed out from oxygen deprivation. A U2 was repainted with a NASA logo and phony plane ID and shown to the press. Within a few days, the Russians displayed the spy cameras and the very-much-alive pilot and the "official story" was blown apart as a big lie.

And recently NASA got caught in another likely cover-up of evidence in regards to the 1965 Kecksburg case. After 40 years of claiming Kecksburg was nothing but a meteor fireball, a NASA spokesperson in 2005 said they had in fact analyzed debris from a "Russian satellite". The problem was Leslie Kean had already contacted NASA's top expert in orbital debris, Nicholas Johnson, who told her orbital mechanics made it absolutely impossible for anything orbiting at the time to have come down at Kecksburg.

In addition, the NASA spokesperson said all the relevant documents had been lost or destroyed. After four more years of legal wrangling and a more diligent court-ordered search for documents, NASA still came up empty-handed. (just reported by Kean)

So this is the way the cover-up game is played. Issue lots of denials, doubletalk, or put out cover story "explanations", and always make the best evidence conveniently disappear if you can.

Thus an unexplained metal alloy suddenly becomes "sand" and the chemist who did the initial analysis becomes permanently unavailable for comment.

Frank Stalter said...

"More lying, distortion, and making stuff up by the ever-disingenuous Frank Stalter. In Moody’s flaky report, Chavez said that “smoke appeared to be coming from the bush”, but the charred part was “cold to the touch”.

This is Stalter’s ENTIRE case for the area being pre-burned by hoaxers. He ignores all the other quotes, including from Chavez, that the area was still hot and plants were still smoldering."

David, do I need to explain what "mutually exclusive" means?

Obviously, I do. In logic, two mutually exclusive propositions are propositions that logically cannot both be true.

Well, in this case burning bushes can both still be hot, because I certainly accept that Zamora saw flame on his closer encounter, and others can be cold which evidences advanced site preparation. They are not mutually exclusive, but advanced site prep mean hoax.

You keep trying to tap dance around that smoking gun or bush and just revert to childish insults and personal attacks, which is what people who are getting their ass kicked in a debate do. If you thought you were winning, you wouldn't be doing it. You know you're losing, and I'm sure it's a familiar feeling for you.

Did my little lesson help you? I doubt it. Go back to polishing your Mr. Magoo award, it's all you're good for.

Bob Koford said...

"You keep trying to tap dance around that smoking gun or bush and just revert to childish insults and personal attacks, which is what people who are getting their ass kicked in a debate do."
+
"Did my little lesson help you? I doubt it. Go back to polishing your Mr. Magoo award, it's all you're good for."

Hmmmmmmmmmmm....strange indeed.

Frank Stalter said...

"Hmmmmmmmmmmm....strange indeed."

Not strange at all. I'll put up with it for a bit, but my patience with David is not unlimited. If he wants to act like an ass, I'll treat him like one.

cda said...

Let me put this point blank to David Rudiak: Are you claiming that NASA (and therefore the US government) has proof, or at least very powerful evidence, that the object that came down at Socorro was of ET origin?

Do you really think that the official body which, above all, has been in charge of the whole US space program for the past half-century (incuding the research & detection of life elsewhere) is guilty of a huge cover-up?

I do not believe one word of it. I suggest that the Socorro rock analysis was a big story for Stanford and his book (and Tim Good and his book), but amounts to nothing of value to science.

David Rudiak said...

cda wrote:
"Let me put this point blank to David Rudiak: Are you claiming that NASA (and therefore the US government) has proof, or at least very powerful evidence, that the object that came down at Socorro was of ET origin?"

First of all, there is one very well-documented historical example where NASA participated in an attempted US government cover-up, namely the 1960 U2 spy plane shootdown. And Kecksburg is very suspect too, judging by the disappearing metal samples they admitted to analyzing and the associated documents.

Now to the official conclusions of the USAF about Socorro:
*It wasn't a hoasx
*It wasn't a secret U.S. craft
*Something real had happened but they had no explanation

There aren't a lot of alternatives left. I can think of only one.

Of course they can't come out and say, "It may have been an ET craft." So they use weasel words, "It was an unidentified flying object."

Incidentally, there is one USAF document written to Robert Barrow in 1965 where they admit it was a "vehicle" of some sort (with the added weasel wording that there was no evidence it was from outer space). But what "vehicle", if it wasn't one of ours? No super-secret vehicle has shown up since then either.

See:
http://nicap.org/zamora6.htm

As for the metal analysis, Dr. Frankel’s statement that X-ray spectroscopy showed a zinc-iron alloy that didn’t match any on the charts doesn’t 100% prove ET origins either. But it is added confirmation that the metal didn’t originate from one of our own “vehicles.” It didn’t match known Russian zinc-iron alloys either. So again, the alternatives are rather limited here.

“Hoaxers” would have had to cook up a whole new zinc-iron alloy and cleverly plant it on the rock, along with the myriad of other details, some of them simply unexplainable, such as the “vehicle” itself that flew away SILENTLY in a straight line into the wind. How did “hoaxers” do that? That is just one reason even the debunking AF didn’t use a hoax “explanation.” (Notice how our resident debunkers still refuse to address this in any plausible way)

Incidentally, Ubatuba fragments didn’t match up with any known manufactured magnesium either, either coming out 100% pure magnesium in some testing on some fragments, or having trace elements that shouldn’t have been there in ordinary purified magnesium. For the most complete accounting of the testing of the Ubatuba fragments, see Peter Sturrock’s article:

http://www.nicap.org/ubatubanal.htm

Sturrock’s conclusion: “As far as one can tell from analyses carried out to date, there is no case for believing that the Brazil magnesium specimens had an extraterrestrial origin. On the other hand, it has not proved possible to identify where the material was produced.”

In addition, note some examples of disappearing Ubatuba fragments, some by the Brazilian authorities, and one case where an MIT scientist replicated the 100% purity lab reports of the Brazilian labs, then some unknown person came to the lab and took the remainder of the fragment under false representation of who he was. That fragment has never been seen again.

KRandle said...

Gentlemen -

Tone down the rhetoric. You can make your points without reverting to insults. Let us assume that those on all sides of the issue are passionate in their beliefs. Let us assume that all are looking at the data from multiple sources and are interpreting it through the filters of their personal belief structures. Let us not call one another liars. Let us not resort to name calling.

Thank you.

KRandle

David Rudiak said...

Cda wrote:
“I do not believe one word of it. I suggest that the Socorro rock analysis was a big story for Stanford and his book (and Tim Good and his book), but amounts to nothing of value to science.”

A few more points:
*A number of people witnesses the metal fragments on the rock besides Stanford, including Richard Hall and Walter Webb of NICAP. It is quite impossible to mistake metal for the official conclusion of “silica” or silicon dioxide, or basically grains of sand.
*Hall arranged for the analysis with NASA scientist Frankel. Hall would not have done this unless he believed there really was metal there possibly scraped off by one of the landing pads.
*Hall and NICAP admitted that an analysis had taken place (thus it isn’t just Stanford in his book) in their Sept.-Oct. 1964 newsletter. They misrepresented who carried it out, however, claiming it was a “private” Washington lab. But there was nothing “private” about it—it was a NASA lab, which gets all their funding from the government.
*Hall and NICAP echoed the official final NASA conclusion of “silica” issued through a spokesperson. Then why did Hall arrange for the analysis to begin with? Was everybody at NICAP, including scientific consultant Walter Webb, himself a chemist, a drooling idiot who couldn’t distinguish metal from sand?
*It is also quite impossible for X-ray spectroscopy of zinc-iron to be confused with “silica”. A scientist like Frankel wouldn’t make such a mistake. He would have had to be totally incompetent.
*NASA in at least one instance has clearly been involved in a government coverup, the 1960 U2 incident. If not once, why not again? And then there is the 1965 Kecksburg incident, again with missing documents and physical evidence that NASA themselves admitted analyzing. Clearly an agency that is 100% funded by the government is going to go along with official policy dictated from above.

Frank Stalter said...

"*A number of people . . .
*Hall arranged for the analysis . . .
*Hall and NICAP admitted that an analysis . . .
*Hall and NICAP echoed the official . . . "

What are your sources for any of this?

David Rudiak said...

Here’s another instance of NASA issuing cover stories and playing along with our intelligence agencies (like they did in the 1960 U2 spy plane incident). There is nothing independent about them.

PBS NOVA series recently did a show (“Astrospies") on a top-secret USAF program in the mid 60’s to early 70’s consisting of secretly trained astronauts (said to be regular NASA astronauts) who were really going to be orbiting spies.

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2008/02/nova-documentar/

“The public was told that the project was to place military astronauts in space to conduct scientific research, when in reality MOL was designed to be an orbiting spy station, complete with two astronauts manning intelligence-gathering instruments like a telescope that could focus on a three-inch blip back on Earth.”

“We did have a joke in the program,” reminisces Richard Truly, “that one day, there was going to be a little article back on page 50 of a newspaper that said, ‘an unidentified spacecraft launched from an unidentified launch pad with unidentified astronauts to do an unidentified mission.’ That’s the way it was.”

Ultimately the program was canceled because unmanned spy satellites could do the job a lot cheaper and easier.

NASA can’t serve two masters: the scientific, civilian one of being completely open with the public, and the sometimes covert one, not when the government is paying all the bills and it is 100% a government agency.

cda said...

I see. "UFO physical evidence": A story in several parts.

Part 1.
The Socorro rock sample had its strange metal alloys confiscated (so we are told) by NASA.

Part2
The Ubatuba frgments were confiscated in part by the authorities in Brazil.

Part 3
A scientist who tried to duplicate the Ubatuba fragments had his piece stolen by an unknown person, moreover someone who was not who he claimed to be.

Part 4
Wilbert Smith (didn't he?) claimed a fragment from a UFO that he handled was never returned to him by a US intelligence agent he showed it to.

Part 5
Roswell hardware? Of course it has been in USAF custody for 62 years.

Part 6 (just in case we forget)
The Maury Island fragments were stolen from Ray Palmer's office by someone he claimed was an FBI agent.

So all you ETHers, what hope is there of ever obtaining proof of extraterrestrial intelligence when this sort of thing happens each and every time the relevant hardware turns up?

Whew! What amazing examples of how science, and government, conduct themselves. Maybe that's what we pay our taxes for.

David Rudiak said...

The NOVA "Astrospies" program, involving NASA complicity in a top secret USAF spy program:

http://video.pbs.org/video/980042464/program/979359664

Still mostly classified, apparently. Originally uncovered by investigative reporter/author James Bamford, who has also published books on the CIA and NSA and other U.S. espionage.

Frank Stalter said...

"The NOVA "Astrospies" program, involving NASA complicity in a top secret USAF spy program:"

Which has absolutely nothing to do with Socorro.

Frank Stalter said...

"We all seem to agree that it was more or less egg-shaped, with a red symbol on it."

THIS END UP . . . . that's all the symbol is. ;O)

David Rudiak said...

"The NOVA "Astrospies" program, involving NASA complicity in a top secret USAF spy program:"

Frank Stalter:
"Which has absolutely nothing to do with Socorro."

Discussion: Ray Stanford said NASA scientist Frankel removed all the metal on the rock recovered from Socorro (in violation of their prearranged agreement). NASA then covered up the initial result of Frankel that it was a zinc-iron alloy that didn't match anything manufactured in their extensive catalogs of known alloys. After that, Frankel could no longer be contacted, a NASA spokesman said he had been "replaced" and changed the conclusion to "silica" or common sand.

Stanford accused NASA of participating in a cover-up of the physical evidence found at Socorro.

Discussion then went to other well-documented instances of where NASA participated in government cover-ups, including the 1960 U2 spy plane incident, and then the very secret "Astrospies" program run by the USAF.

Also the Kecksburg UFO incident of 1965 is very suspicious, since a NASA spokesman admitted they had analyzed metal samples, supposedly from a Russian satellite, but the samples and the documentation had all been allegedly "lost" or "destroyed." In addition, NASA's orbital debris expert had previously contradicted the other NASA story of a "Russian satellite", stating that orbital mechanics made it absolutely impossible.

I think this proves that NASA has participated in government cover-ups, which strengthens Stanford's allegations of a similar cover-up of physical evidence found at Socorro.

I think everybody else got the point being made.

David Rudiak said...

Here's another example of physical evidence suppression at Socorro, that came not from Ray Stanford, but Dr. James McDonald:

http://www.fufor.com/case640424.html

"In 1968, Dr. James E. McDonald, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Arizona, said that he had learned of an alleged patch of "fused sand" at the Socorro landing site:

"'A woman who is now a radiological chemist with the Public Health Service in Las Vegas was involved in some special analyses of materials collected at the Socorro site, and when she was there, the morning after [Apr. 25, 1964], she claims that there was a patch of melted and resolidified sand right under the landing area. I have talked to her both by telephone and in person here in Tucson recently.'

"She had analyzed plant fluids exuded from the scorched greasewood and mesquite plants, and told McDonald, 'There were a few organic materials they couldn't identify,' but most of the sample was just sap. 'Shortly after she finished her work,' she told him, 'Air Force personnel came and took all her notes and materials and told her she wasn't to talk about it any more.' Analysis reports of physical evidence at the site have never been released to the public."

Reference used:
Letter from Dr. James E. McDonald to Richard Hall, Sept. 5, 1968, re: "fused sand" at Socorro site.

cda said...

DR mentions the Kecksburg UFO of Dec 1965. I recall a presentation by John Keel during a conference in Sheffield (UK) in 1992 where he said quite emphatically that the object was an H-bomb! He implied it had fallen out of a plane and thus the intense official interest in recovering it. However, I have yet to meet anyone or read anything that gave the slightest support for this idea.

But as Frank Stalter says, it has zilch to do with Socorro.

Frank Stalter said...

"Ray Stanford said . . .

Stanford accused . . .

Stanford's allegations . . . "

Stanford is a career faker. Nothing he brings, in my opinion, is the least bit credible, which is unfortunate, because if he did turn up some compelling and real material, it's lost in his decades of tall tales.

McDonald is certainly better . . . but how is his anonymous source, with no corroboration, better than Colgate's anonymous source with loads of corroboration?

David Rudiak said...

Frank Stalter wrote:
"McDonald is certainly better . . . but how is his anonymous source, with no corroboration, better than Colgate's anonymous source with loads of corroboration?"

OK, fair point for once, though McDonald at least said he spoke directly to the actual person involved. This is quite different from the whole Bragalia set of sources who never claim to be directly involved, only claim they were told by never-named somebodies that some other never-named somebodies did the hoax. This is Stalter’s “loads of corroboration.” Let’s examine it again.

Sterling Colgate letter to Linus Pauling: "I have a good indication of the student who engineered the hoax. Student has left.”

So all Colgate has is an “indication”. No name of alleged student and no details.

Colgate contacted by Bragalia: Now claims he knows it to be a hoax, how it was done was a “no brainer”, but again never provides any names or details. He promises to get back to Bragalia, but never does.

Another professor (Frank Etscorn) said he was told by an unnamed former student of his, who made inquiries, and was supposedly told by another unnamed student, “believed” to have been involved that it was a hoax. Etscorn indicated it had been 25 years and his memory was “a little spotty” on exactly what he had been told.

Again no names of anybody provided and no details of how hoax was supposedly done.

Another former student, Dave Collis, said that an unnamed Professor told him it was a hoax, but gave no names or details. When told that Sterling Colgate had said it was a hoax, Collis said that if Colgate said it then it must be true. Wow!

So again, no names of the alleged hoaxers, names of alleged informants, and no details. This passes for “corroboration” in Stalter and Bragalia’s book. But as Frank Warren pointed out, it is the worst form of hearsay that wouldn’t even be admitted in traffic court.

We will never find out the names of the alleged hoaxers or how it was done, because there was no hoax. Sterling Colgate boxed himself into a corner and wisely is saying no more lest his allegations be exposed as totally empty. He too has no names or details. At best, maybe he has suspicions, or just heard rumors, maybe from students passing on rumors of their own or bragging to impress other students.

And of course, we still have no plausible explanation of how such a hoax could possibly be carried out. What exactly did Zamora see, that burned everything right there in front of him, took off with an ear-splitting roar emitting a brilliant blue flame, then went DEAD SILENT, and departed AGAINST THE WIND in a straight line for 2 miles hugging the ground, before angling sharply up and disappearing in the far distance. What human craft, hoax or otherwise, can do all that?

And how did the “hoaxers” manage to leave absolutely no traces of their presence there: no tracks, no chemical residues, no necessary hoaxing paraphernalia or traces of same? These BIG questions are perpetually dodged by the hoax pushers. All they can do is wave their arms and shout , “hoax”, “hoax”, “hoax”.

Frank Stalter said...

"So again, no names of the alleged hoaxers, names of alleged informants, and no details. This passes for “corroboration” in Stalter and Bragalia’s book. But as Frank Warren pointed out, it is the worst form of hearsay that wouldn’t even be admitted in traffic court."

Well, there's a little more but it's been ground that's been well covered.

"What exactly did Zamora see, that burned everything right there in front of him, took off with an ear-splitting roar emitting a brilliant blue flame, then went DEAD SILENT, and departed AGAINST THE WIND in a straight line for 2 miles hugging the ground, before angling sharply up and disappearing in the far distance. What human craft, hoax or otherwise, can do all that?"

No craft could do that and no UFO, to my knowledge, has ever been reported doing that. I accept the wind information as being accurate. At this point it was one of two things: a craft more sophisticated mocked up by the students, or Zamora was simply so shaken up by his closer encounter that he never got a look at the vehicle leaving the area beyond a quick look as it elevated. He just didn't want to admit he was that scared and filled in some gaps.

David Rudiak said...

I wrote:
"What exactly did Zamora see, that burned everything right there in front of him, took off with an ear-splitting roar emitting a brilliant blue flame, then went DEAD SILENT, and departed AGAINST THE WIND in a straight line for 2 miles hugging the ground, before angling sharply up and disappearing in the far distance. What human craft, hoax or otherwise, can do all that?"

Frank Stalter:
I accept the wind information as being accurate

Progress, I guess. So we can finally rule out any sort of passive balloon? Yes?

No craft could do that and no UFO, to my knowledge, has ever been reported doing that… At this point it was one of two things: a craft more sophisticated mocked up by the students,

Whoa, Nelly! Wait a second! No human craft made by our best engineers could do all that, but the students built one that could?

or Zamora was simply so shaken up by his closer encounter that he never got a look at the vehicle leaving the area beyond a quick look as it elevated. He just didn't want to admit he was that scared and filled in some gaps.

Or, the old debunking standby: the lying or unreliable witness, in this case one who apparently went temporarily blind and deaf with fright, or confabulated an egg-shaped craft leaving on a totally consistent departure route to the SSW with numerous unmistakably landmarks indicating the route (gully direction, dynamite shack, mine at base of mountains, and two canyons where object disappeared over).

Of course, Zamora was interrogated numerous times by different people trying to shake his story. Everybody came away impressed that he told the same story over and over again and there was no indication that he was making up anything or exaggerating.

In addition, the student craft doesn’t explain how Sgt. Chavez wouldn’t have noticed the object departing somewhere in the area. He was already driving up the same dirt road Zamora had come on and was on top of the first mesa overlooking Zamora’s position at about the same time that the object vanished in the distance.

And the noise of any powered craft that could buck a strong wind and disappear in at most “3 minutes” (according to Moody’s report) would have been quite noticeable. Just try powering a bulky balloon or any aircraft against the wind like that. And a conventional airplane-type design would have required airfoils to provide lift. This was just a smooth egg-shape with no external wings or obvious means of propulsion.

As Hynek and Quintanilla both agreed, Chavez would have had to play along with any made-up story by Zamora, as would others there within minutes, or Holder, the White Sands Army investigator and FBI agent Byrnes, out there later that evening. They would have had to all lie about the total absence of track evidence and necessary paraphernalia to create such a hoax.

Zamora spoke of the roaring blue flame, and we have testimony from multiple first responders of the area still being hot and smoldering when they arrived. What did the burning? You can’t burn like this and not leave the agent of burning behind, unless the magical student craft also carried it away. (And a “balloon” that size doesn’t have much lift to it.)

What held the craft on the ground in a stiff wind when Zamora arrived, and how was the burning triggered to coincide with his arrival? Zamora also spoke of the three loud bangs when he first got there, like tank lids being slammed shut. Who did all that?

All these details require people still at the site or very close by hiding in some way, plus necessary paraphernalia. And then there was the two small “people” Zamora saw in the distance. They too vanished, leaving no footprints behind.

Nothing was ever found remotely indicating any hoaxers out there. That still can’t be explained, just as the craft can’t. And that ultimately is the crux of the matter, along with many, many other lesser details.

Frank Stalter said...

"Or, the old debunking standby: the lying or unreliable witness, in this case one who apparently went temporarily blind and deaf with fright, or confabulated an egg-shaped craft leaving on a totally consistent departure route to the SSW with numerous unmistakably landmarks indicating the route (gully direction, dynamite shack, mine at base of mountains, and two canyons where object disappeared over).

Of course, Zamora was interrogated numerous times by different people trying to shake his story. Everybody came away impressed that he told the same story over and over again and there was no indication that he was making up anything or exaggerating.

In addition, the student craft doesn’t explain how Sgt. Chavez wouldn’t have noticed the object departing somewhere in the area. He was already driving up the same dirt road Zamora had come on and was on top of the first mesa overlooking Zamora’s position at about the same time that the object vanished in the distance.

And the noise of any powered craft that could buck a strong wind and disappear in at most “3 minutes” (according to Moody’s report) would have been quite noticeable. Just try powering a bulky balloon or any aircraft against the wind like that. And a conventional airplane-type design would have required airfoils to provide lift. This was just a smooth egg-shape with no external wings or obvious means of propulsion.

As Hynek and Quintanilla both agreed, Chavez would have had to play along with any made-up story by Zamora, as would others there within minutes, or Holder, the White Sands Army investigator and FBI agent Byrnes, out there later that evening. They would have had to all lie about the total absence of track evidence and necessary paraphernalia to create such a hoax."

I don't like questioning Zamora's veracity on this. But, as you mentioned the lack of airfoils, Zamora said it looked like a balloon, there's one piece, and only one piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit with a prank balloon and that's the wind.

Hynek's not embracing hoax is not significant in my view. His writing betrays a bit of arrogance.
He seems to think he could not be fooled, that he was too smart for that, smarter than cops, smarter than hoaxers.

"Zamora, though not overly bright or articulate is basically sincere, honest and reliable.

I doubt very much whether a hoax could have been kept secret this long. If a hoax comes off well, perpetrators like to gloat abit, and there would have been no point about getting even with Zamora if they couldn't have gotten some kudos out of it. La Paz once told me of an instance in which some college students wanted to get even with a geology professor so they planted a "meteorite" and contrived and explosion at some distant part of the state, and had this poor professor running around ragged chasing a meteorite. The perpetrators, however, were caught and expelled from school because they simply couldn't keep their secret. They "confided" to friends who in turn confided to others, and there you are."

There you aren't. You never know what secrets ARE kept, do you?

Larry said...

Gentlemen (I notice there don't seem to be too many ladies participating in this discussion):

Since this is my first post, I suppose an introduction is in order. First of all, I was born in 1947 and have followed the UFO phenomenon all my adult life which, I suppose puts me in the generation of the UFO geezer brigade. Along the way, I have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Portland State University, and Master of Science and Engineer in Aeronautics and Astronautics degrees from Stanford University. As a student I have worked as a nuclear reactor operator and as a research assistant on a superconducting linear accelerator. I am a private pilot and for the last 30 years or so I have been a NASA aerospace engineer working on advanced aerospace missions and systems and developing space technology. I mention this background because I tend to make claims based on scientific and engineering analysis and I want to give some indication that I am technically qualified to do so.

Frank Stalter said: "...No craft could do that and no UFO, to my knowledge, has ever been reported doing that."

I agree that no conventional craft could do what Zamora described (and I could explain the quantitative reasoning as to why I think so), which is why I and others entertain the hypothesis that it was an unconventional flying object. That, by the way is the terminology that Paul Hill defined and used in his excellent book, "Unconventional Flying Objects a Scientific Analysis".

Contrary to Frank's claim, Paul Hill shows that the Socorro sighting is one of a class of sightings (for example, Aluche Spain, Feb. 6, 1966, Quaroble, France, Sept. 10, 1954) which share common characteristics and whose performance can be economically described by invoking only a small number of assumptions regarding the cryptic scientific and technical principles on which they operate.

Among the common characteristics are a mass density great enough to leave deep landing pad indentations even in hard packed surfaces, and the emission of penetrating, ionizing radiation.

With regard to this last point, I am surprised no one on this blog has discussed it. The blue "flame" (which wasn't really a flame), the Trinitite rock, and the burned bushes can all be explained by the presence of ionizing radiation, and not easily by any other physical process. For those who may not know, Trinitite is a form of fused silica sand which was first seen and recognized directly underneath the fireball of the world's first nuclear explosion at the Trinity site in July, 1945. The reason it was never seen before is because it requires a brief (almost instantaneous) deposition of energy throughout the mass of the silica being fused. This can not be achieved by normal processes of heat conduction such as would occur by applying, for example, a torch flame or rocket exhaust to the sand. (If it could, the flame trench at the Space Shuttle launch pad would be full of Trinitite after every launch).

(To be continued).

Frank Stalter said...

"Contrary to Frank's claim, Paul Hill shows that the Socorro sighting is one of a class of sightings (for example, Aluche Spain, Feb. 6, 1966, Quaroble, France, Sept. 10, 1954)"

No flames, no noise recounted in either case. Not similar to Socorro in that regard.

"The blue "flame" (which wasn't really a flame), the Trinitite rock, and the burned bushes can all be explained by the presence of ionizing radiation, and not easily by any other physical process."

No finding of trinitite at Socorro.

David Rudiak said...

Larry wrote:
"The blue "flame" (which wasn't really a flame), the Trinitite rock, and the burned bushes can all be explained by the presence of ionizing radiation, and not easily by any other physical process."

Frank Stalter:
“No finding of trinitite at Socorro.”

Finding of fused sand, according to Dr. James McDonald, whatever you call it. Mcdonald wrote about his interview with the woman he says was called in to help analyze physical evidence and reported the fused patch of sand (roughly triangular, about 25-30 inches, tapering down to about 2 inches, and about 1/4 inch thick). If it was fused by intense ionizing radiation instead of simple heat, then it is similar to trinitite.

The woman also has a name: Mary G. Mayes. (This is quite unlike all the ghost hoaxers from NM Tech, none of whom ever seem to have names. Being ghosts, however, would help explain how they could levitate and fly away a craft and leave no footprints or other tracks behind.)

There are two academic papers in 1964 and 1969 from “MG Mayes” that I found published from Univ. of N.M., having to do with biological/physiological effects of radiation. According to Ann Druffel’s book on McDonald, however, Mayes was a doctoral student in radiation biology from the University of Arizona. I suspect the latter is a mistake, and Mayes was really at UNM in Albuquerque, which makes more sense (a lot closer).

She is reported arriving the day after the event and taking plant samples for analysis. What I find interesting, is that given Mayes specialty, earliest investigators were already considering the possibility of ionizing radiation at the site.

She is possibly pictured here collecting samples:

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/ufo-reports-030b.jpg

Frank Stalter said...

"Finding of fused sand, according to Dr. James McDonald, whatever you call it. Mcdonald wrote about his interview with the woman he says was called in to help analyze physical evidence and reported the fused patch of sand (roughly triangular, about 25-30 inches, tapering down to about 2 inches, and about 1/4 inch thick). If it was fused by intense ionizing radiation instead of simple heat, then it is similar to trinitite."

No reason to think that samples of Trinitite would not have been available for planting at the site, just no solid evidence it was found there.

Larry said...

David: Thank you for providing the reference for the scientist who did the analysis; I agree that that makes that particular piece of testimony more solid than if it had been a nameless individual. In principle, one could follow that evidence trail to see if there was ever a report written, etc. I notice a tendency in this discussion to treat every bit of contested fact or interpretation as though it had equal value. It seems to me that the question of the existence or otherwise of vitrified glass at the landing site, if validated, would be conclusive in distinguishing between the hoax hypothesis and the hypothesis of an unconventional craft actually having been there.

I suppose I could have been more clear and precise in my use of the term “Trinitite”. Strictly speaking, the term Trinitite should only be used to describe vitrified silica produced by a nuclear fission fireball. I only mentioned that particular possibility to address Anthony Bragalia’s suggestion that the New Mexico Tech students might have stolen some from the university’s collection and “salted” it at the Zamora site. I agree with Frank Stalter that there is no specific evidence that that happened, but disagree that that there is no reason to think that it could not have occurred—at least not easily. For one thing, the Trinity site and the Nevada Test Site and Socorro lie on different geological units, with different soil chemistries and morphologies. If a piece of Trinitite had been retrieved from Trinity site or Nevada Test Site and planted in the Rio Grande valley and subsequently investigated by a technically trained specialist under a microscope, I would think it would be obvious that it was out of place. The Air Force could have used that fact to conclusively solve the case as a hoax, but they did not. Also, in 1964, Trinitite that was recovered from underneath a nuclear fireball would probably still be mildly but measurably radioactive from fallout contamination. I would expect that the university would treat it as such, by storing it in a secure, shielded container and accounting for it strictly. If some had been stolen, it probably would have been a big deal. Of course, these are all circumstantial arguments; if someone could show conclusively that the university’s collection had been pilfered then the case for hoax would be greatly strengthened.

My hypothesis is that any vitrified glass recovered from the Socorro site would have been produced not by a fission fireball but by the much more localized penetrating radiation emanating from the flying object and causing the blue “flame” Zamora described. It has recently been shown by nuclear weapons effects modelers from Los Alamos that the vitrified glass scattered over the northern Libyan desert and worked into jewelry by the Egyptians was probably produced by the radiant energy emanating from a fireball resulting from the airburst of a large asteroid disintegrating in the atmosphere. The source of the radiant energy is not important as long as the effective absorbed energy dose is sufficiently large and absorbed over a sufficiently short time that the heat cannot be dissipated by conduction or convection.

Larry said...

On another topic: Previous posts have discussed the flight path of the object that Zamora described, primarily from the viewpoint of the wind direction and speed. A more important and significant consideration is the actual flight speed.

I accept D. Rudiak’s engineering estimates as being at least approximately correct. Even if Zamora was not wearing his glasses, that does not mean he was suddenly blind as a bat. Even if his uncorrected distance vision was half as acute as 20/20, he still could have detected an approximately 20 foot long object at 6 miles, especially if he had maintained visual contact with it from the time it was near him. It would have fuzzy boundaries, maybe, but it would still have been emitting or reflecting light and not have been invisible.

In Stanford’s book, he recounts walking with Zamora through the site and recreating the timeline, and arrives at a duration of no greater than 2 minutes. Others have arrived at an estimate of 3 minutes. However, this duration included all of Zamora’s actions, from the time he turned off the road until Chavez arrived. The time Zamora had the object in sight as it flew off could not have been much greater than about half this time, or 1.5 minutes. Six miles in 1.5 minutes equates to a ground speed of 240 MPH. Zamora was quoted as saying it was “moving away fast”. To me, 240 MPH (about the speed of a high-performance, twin engine airplane) would qualify as fast, whereas 120 MPH (a number developed by D.Rudiak in a previous post, and about the speed of a Cessna 172) would not. I recognize that reasonable people can disagree with this assessment. For conservatism, in the calculations that follow, I will use the figure of 120 MPH ground speed, but recognize that if a higher ground speed is admitted, then the argument that follows gets stronger.

Now let’s consider the wind speed, again. Ray Stanford, in his book 1976 “Socorro Saucer in a Pentagon Pantry” quotes Zamora from an interview he conducted a few days after the sighting as saying “…The wind was blowing hard. … Wind was blowin’ against me from about the south-southwest or maybe the southwest, ‘cause I could tell from the way dust [from spinning tires] flew off…” I consider it significant and the sign of a good observer that Zamora cites two sensory observations (wind blowing against him, when he was facing toward the object, and watching the dust kicked up by the tires blowing away from the car) and draws the appropriate conclusion, i.e., that the wind was blowing hard from the SSW or SW. In other words, he not only gives his conclusions, but also the reasoning by which he reached them. I see no objective reason to doubt this particular piece of Zamora’s testimony. Rejecting it, as some do, because Ray Stanford said it is an ad hominem argument and does not qualify as an objective reason. If someone can produce a reasonable alternative piece of evidence or interpretation, I would certainly be open to reconsidering, but in the mean time I think it was pretty clear that the wind was coming from approximately the SW. What constitutes a “hard” wind? This is a matter of judgment, and reasonable people can differ, but I would say greater than 10 knots and less than 20 knots. I will assume the average wind speed was about 15 knots (17.25 MPH). (Since the ground speed is about an order of magnitude greater than the wind speed, the wind speed does not have much effect on the following considerations, regardless of direction).

To be continued.

Larry said...

Continued from previous post.

The air speed that the object would have encountered would have been the ground speed plus whatever component of the wind speed was antiparallel to the flight path. This may not have been the entire 17.25 MPH, so I will estimate it at around 15 MPH. Thus, the airspeed the object would have encountered would have been a minimum of about 135 MPH. Assuming an airspeed of 135 MPH and a standard atmosphere at Socorro’s elevation, the object would have experienced a ram air pressure at its stagnation point (i.e., the nose) of 40 Pounds per Square Foot (PSF). If the object was a balloon with a pliable skin, the internal pressure of the balloon would have to have been greater than or equal to this to avoid flattening the nose, causing a huge drag rise, and causing aerodynamic instability. 40 PSF is a large number. For reference, the Goodyear blimp experiences only about 5 PSF at its top speed. If the outer skin was pressure stiffened to resist the dynamic pressure of forward flight, that would eliminate from consideration the possibility of the object having been a hot air balloon, since they require an opening in the skin for air heating and therefore operate at zero internal pressure. Whether the skin was stiffened by internal pressure, or by intrinsic stiffness in the material (such as fiberglass) the skin would have to have been much thicker and therefore heavier than simple plastic film or sail cloth. A volume the size that Zamora described would displace only about 62 lb of air if filled with the lightest gas possible—hydrogen. The surface area of the object would be about 57 square yards. A two-ply fiberglass skin of the type commonly used in aircraft construction has an areal density of around 24 oz per square yard. Thus, a fiberglass skin capable of withstanding the pressure of forward flight would weigh about 85 lb, which is more than the buoyancy of the object.

The object’s shape can be modeled approximately as a prolate spheroid about 20 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. If the object, in horizontal flight, were flying with its long axis parallel to the direction of flight (the minimum drag direction) its cross sectional area would be about 76 square feet and its drag coefficient would be about 0.25 (about like a highly aerodynamic passenger car). The minimum amount of force required to move this object through the air at 135 MPH is about 750 lb (the force would be greater if the body was developing aerodynamic lift). This is another reason the outer skin would have to be stiff. Moving a body through the air at 135 MPH with 750 lb of thrust requires about 695 hp of continuous power. Can anyone suggest a power or propulsion system available in 1964 that could produce 695 hp without itself weighing hundreds of pounds?

If there was a single object, of conventional construction, that ascended from the arroyo floor to an altitude of 20 feet, leveled off, and then flew off horizontally for a few miles at a speed of 120 MPH or more, it was not a simple balloon and it was not even lighter than air at all.

David Rudiak said...

Larry said...
First of all, finally an intelligent discussion with somebody who understands scientific concepts, engineering principles, and isn’t afraid of using numbers based on same.

Even if Zamora was not wearing his glasses, that does not mean he was suddenly blind as a bat. Even if his uncorrected distance vision was half as acute as 20/20, he still could have detected an approximately 20 foot long object at 6 miles…

Zamora lost his glasses temporarily running away from the roaring object. When it went silent and then began its rapid departure, he ran back to his car (maybe 50-100 feet), picked up his glasses, then watched the bulk of the departure with his glasses on. So lack of glasses wasn’t really the issue.

In any case, I think perhaps the single most important observation of Zamora had nothing to do with vision, but with his hearing. The object went dead silent as it left the area. Below Larry details with an engineering analysis how a “balloon” would require a high-power engine to fly against the wind. But any conventional engine would make a lot of noise. Furthermore, the Socorro object was much too small to be a balloon yet carry a heavy engine. So more scientifically impossible strikes against Socorro being either a balloon or a conventional aircraft of some type.

To me, 240 MPH (about the speed of a high-performance, twin engine airplane) would qualify as fast, whereas 120 MPH (a number developed by D.Rudiak in a previous post, and about the speed of a Cessna 172) would not.

Actually this wasn’t a number developed by me, but a low-ball number originally put out by Major Quintanilla of Blue Book and then recited as gospel by resident debunkers. It could also be argued that if it took 3 minutes (Sgt. Moody's inflated number) to fly 6 miles, this works out to 120 mph average.

I have always argued for a higher departure speed based on Zamora’s own statement plus the recreation by Stanford based on on-site questioning of Zamora by Stanford. Zamora guessed the entire departure time from lift-off to fade-out was only 20 seconds. Stanford upped the 20 seconds for the time to fly 2 miles to the base of the mountains where the perlite mill was. That would work out to 360 mph average speed for that leg of the departure.

I recognize that reasonable people can disagree with this assessment. For conservatism, in the calculations that follow, I will use the figure of 120 MPH ground speed, but recognize that if a higher ground speed is admitted, then the argument that follows gets stronger.

Right! No matter how conservative you are and low-ball the speed, it still doesn’t work in any hoax or conventional craft scenario. The numbers aren’t even remotely close.

Now let’s consider the wind speed, again. Ray Stanford, in his book 1976 “Socorro Saucer in a Pentagon Pantry” quotes Zamora from an interview he conducted a few days after the sighting as saying “…The wind was blowing hard. … Wind was blowin’ against me from about the south-southwest or maybe the southwest, ‘cause I could tell from the way dust [from spinning tires] flew off.” …I see no objective reason to doubt this particular piece of Zamora’s testimony. Rejecting it, as some do, because Ray Stanford said it is an ad hominem argument and does not qualify as an objective reason.

Larry, I recently looked up the local weather records and historical wind data from NOAA. The conclusion is that the wind was probably blowing from the SSW or SW, just like Zamora said and the evil Ray Stanford CORRECTLY reported. Hynek also reported the wind either out of the S or SW. Weather map and analysis at:

http://www.roswellproof.com/SocorroWinds_April_24_1964.html

(cont. next post)

David Rudiak said...

(part 2)
Larry wrote:
What constitutes a “hard” wind? ...I would say greater than 10 knots and less than 20 knots. I will assume the average wind speed was about 15 knots (17.25 MPH). (Since the ground speed is about an order of magnitude greater than the wind speed, the wind speed does not have much effect on the following considerations, regardless of direction).

The NOAA data indicates hourly average wind speeds in Albuquerque of 9-10 mph between 5 and 7 p.m. An Albuquerque newspaper reported wind gusts of 25-30 mph expected at noon, picking up to 40+ mph at night. Socorro probably had wind speeds a little less than Albuquerque, or less than your estimate. But gusts could easily have been 15 knots or much higher. But it doesn’t matter that much, because, as you point out, it is the object’s airspeed that heavily dominates.

…Assuming an airspeed of 135 MPH and a standard atmosphere at Socorro’s elevation, the object would have experienced a ram air pressure at its stagnation point (i.e., the nose) of 40 Pounds per Square Foot (PSF). If the object was a balloon with a pliable skin, the internal pressure of the balloon would have to have been greater than or equal to this to avoid flattening the nose, causing a huge drag rise, and causing aerodynamic instability. 40 PSF is a large number. For reference, the Goodyear blimp experiences only about 5 PSF at its top speed.

The top speed of the Goodyear blimp is only about 50 mph in calm air. Cruising speed is around 30-35 mph, hardly stuff of Socorro departure speed, even badly low-balled. Also, when you factor in weight of balloon envelope, cabin, motor, passengers, etc., the Goodyear blimp is actually a heavier-than-air craft. It can only get off the ground because it is powered.

If the outer skin was pressure stiffened to resist the dynamic pressure of forward flight, that would eliminate from consideration the possibility of the object having been a hot air balloon, since they require an opening in the skin for air heating and therefore operate at zero internal pressure. Whether the skin was stiffened by internal pressure, or by intrinsic stiffness in the material (such as fiberglass) the skin would have to have been much thicker and therefore heavier than simple plastic film or sail cloth. A volume the size that Zamora described would displace only about 62 lb of air if filled with the lightest gas possible—hydrogen.

I used a slightly smaller size estimate of the Socorro craft (18’ x 8’) and came up with only 35 lb of maximum buoyancy filled with hydrogen. (This ignores the inevitable weight of balloon envelope, framework, etc.) But the point remains the same. No balloon that size has remotely near the buoyancy to do all the things required of the Socorro object witnessed by Zamora.

The surface area of the object would be about 57 square yards. A two-ply fiberglass skin of the type commonly used in aircraft construction has an areal density of around 24 oz per square yard. Thus, a fiberglass skin capable of withstanding the pressure of forward flight would weigh about 85 lb, which is more than the buoyancy of the object.

Just to give a “balloon” theory every chance it can get, I assumed 2 inflated 350 gm rubber weather balloons to contain the hydrogen and an outer skin of something like very shear nylon fabric to give it an elliptical shape: net weight an extremely unrealistic 5 pounds. But if you factor in some sort of flame thrower to produce the observed flame (maybe a hydrogen gas tank that would also leave no chemical residue behind) plus triggering equipment, plus framework for flying away, obviously something much heavier would be the required. There is just no way to silently loft all this with a Socorro-size “balloon.”

Also, how do you anchor something like that on the desert floor in a stiff wind and keep it from obviously bobbing around? Then you also magically have to get rid of the anchoring cables and pylons (or human wranglers) as the object flies off.

(cont.)

David Rudiak said...

(part 3)

Larry wrote:
The object’s shape can be modeled approximately as a prolate spheroid about 20 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. If the object, in horizontal flight, were flying with its long axis parallel to the direction of flight (the minimum drag direction) its cross sectional area would be about 76 square feet and its drag coefficient would be about 0.25 (about like a highly aerodynamic passenger car). The minimum amount of force required to move this object through the air at 135 MPH is about 750 lb (the force would be greater if the body was developing aerodynamic lift). This is another reason the outer skin would have to be stiff. Moving a body through the air at 135 MPH with 750 lb of thrust requires about 695 hp of continuous power. Can anyone suggest a power or propulsion system available in 1964 that could produce 695 hp without itself weighing hundreds of pounds?

No. And also you need a SILENT propulsion system, so double no. Once again, thanks for demolishing the whole balloon idea with more solid aeronautical engineering numbers.

If there was a single object, of conventional construction, that ascended from the arroyo floor to an altitude of 20 feet, leveled off, and then flew off horizontally for a few miles at a speed of 120 MPH or more, it was not a simple balloon and it was not even lighter than air at all.

I tried to get rid of the heavy, noisy power unit with a tow line, the idea being that the “balloon” got towed by a hoaxer car parked down the road and out of sight of Zamora. Even if you ignore all the other problems, even more crop up with this dumb scenario. You can probably drive a car down that bad dirt road no faster than 30-40 mph tops. Worse, Zamora reported the object traveling in a straight line and keeping a constant altitude of 15-20 feet above the ground (and also bucking a partial side wind). How do you keep a towed balloon from bobbing badly in the wind and maintain a perfect altitude? And how do you make it travel in a straight line for 2 miles when there is no corresponding straight road? More debunker magical thinking would be needed here.

This object very obviously made a controlled, powered departure, probably at high speed, and did it in dead silence too. No conventional flying object, then or now, could do this. That’s the bottom line.

Larry said...

David said....

"finally an intelligent discussion with somebody who understands scientific concepts, engineering principles, and isn’t afraid of using numbers based on same."

Thanks. Here's some more:

finally an intelligent discussion with somebody who understands scientific concepts, engineering principles, and isn’t afraid of using numbers based on same.

Larry said...

David said.....

"finally an intelligent discussion with somebody who understands scientific concepts, engineering principles, and isn’t afraid of using numbers based on same."

Thanks. Here's some more to think about:

A number of different thermal effects were observed or alleged, including scorched bushes, scorched cardboard, vitrified sand and rocks, and the perception of heat emanating from the object by Lonnie Zamora. Are these effects internally consistent and believable?

The key is the perception of heat that Zamora reported while he was on top of the rise overlooking the arroyo. He is quoted as saying he “…had felt some heat against my body from the ‘flame’…..Wasn’t strong heat, though.”

Perceptual psychologists have studied quantitatively the levels of radiant energy on human skin that produce qualitative descriptions of varying levels of heat, ranging from no heat at all, barely detectable, definite heat, onset of pain, and strong pain. (“Cutaneous Discrimination of Radiant Heat”, Warren Teichner, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 6, 1957). For exposure durations in the range of a few seconds or less, the threshold for perception of heat appears to be about 0.6 calories per square centimeter. This amounts to a calibration of the amount of radiant energy emanating from the surface of the object and falling on Zamora’s skin. Zamora was no closer to the object than 50 feet, and perhaps a little farther, when he made this observation. Radiant energy diminishes with distance from its source proportional to distance, squared. Thus, a surface twice as close to the source as Zamora would absorb 4 times as much energy, and so on. In particular, if Zamora’s skin absorbed 0.6 cal per square centimeter at 50 feet, then a surface at a distance of 6 feet from the object would have absorbed at least 40 calories per square centimeter.

According to Samuel Glasstone’s reference book, “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons”, 40 calories per square centimeter is enough to cause ignition and charring of used cardboard, under the most conservative assumptions. A level of 35 calories per square centimeter causes the onset of sand vitrification. A level of 21 calories per square centimeter will ignite all manner of plant material, such as deciduous leaves and grass.

If this estimate of the amount of radiant energy falling on Lonnie Zamora is approximately correct (and I wish someone would check it), then all the putative thermal effects reported could have been caused by a single radiation source operating at different distances from the affected materials.

David Rudiak said...

Larry wrote:
A number of different thermal effects were observed or alleged, including scorched bushes, scorched cardboard, vitrified sand and rocks, and the perception of heat emanating from the object by Lonnie Zamora. Are these effects internally consistent and believable?

The key is the perception of heat that Zamora reported while he was on top of the rise overlooking the arroyo. He is quoted as saying he “…had felt some heat against my body from the ‘flame’…..Wasn’t strong heat, though.”

Perceptual psychologists have studied quantitatively the levels of radiant energy on human skin that produce qualitative descriptions of varying levels of heat, ranging from no heat at all, barely detectable, definite heat, onset of pain, and strong pain. (“Cutaneous Discrimination of Radiant Heat”, Warren Teichner, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 6, 1957). For exposure durations in the range of a few seconds or less, the threshold for perception of heat appears to be about 0.6 calories per square centimeter. This amounts to a calibration of the amount of radiant energy emanating from the surface of the object and falling on Zamora’s skin.


An older study I found from the 1930s found discrimination of painful heat for 3 seconds exposure to near infrared radiation was about 0.23 cal/sq cm (on the face, the most sensitive area of the skin to heat). Blistering heat and maximum pain was double this. No number was given for threshold heat.

There is obviously a problem of different thresholds here, possibly the older study had calibration problems or different skin areas were being compared or methodologies weren't exactly the same. But let’s assume for argument sake that the threshold for perception of heat was only 1/3rd or 1/4th of your value.

Zamora was no closer to the object than 50 feet, and perhaps a little farther, when he made this observation. Radiant energy diminishes with distance from its source proportional to distance, squared.

Ray Stanford placed Zamora as close as 35 feet from the object, based on Zamora showing him where he dived to the ground initially fearing an explosion. I don’t know if this number represents to the closest part of the craft, which would have been the landing pad, about 10’ from the edge of the primary burn mark, or from the burn mark itself at the center of gravity. I suspect it was the former, which would have placed Zamora about 45’ from the edge of the bluish “flame”.

The point is that with inverse square, if 35 feet was the more correct number, the amount of radiant heat would again have to be cut by a factor of 2.

So overall, possibly the amount of radiant heat would have to be cut by a factor of 6 to 8, though there is a lot of uncertainty here.

(cont. next post)

David Rudiak said...

(part 2)

Larry wrote:
Thus, a surface twice as close to the source as Zamora would absorb 4 times as much energy… In particular, if Zamora’s skin absorbed 0.6 cal per square centimeter at 50 feet, then a surface at a distance of 6 feet from the object would have absorbed at least 40 calories per square centimeter.

According to Samuel Glasstone’s reference book, “The Effects of Nuclear Weapons”, 40 calories per square centimeter is enough to cause ignition and charring of used cardboard, under the most conservative assumptions. A level of 35 calories per square centimeter causes the onset of sand vitrification. A level of 21 calories per square centimeter will ignite all manner of plant material, such as deciduous leaves and grass.


Although radiant heat could have been less than in your assumption, we could also reduce the distances and boost it up again. Thus 3 feet away instead of 6 would increase it by a factor of 4. And directly in the path of flame or right at the edge (like the greasewood plant cut in half), much more intense still.

If this estimate of the amount of radiant energy falling on Lonnie Zamora is approximately correct (and I wish someone would check it), then all the putative thermal effects reported could have been caused by a single radiation source operating at different distances from the affected materials.

Even with all the uncertainties, I think this is still a useful exercise by Larry in that it seems to indicate radiant heat could probably account for most of heating and physical burn effects at the site.

There are also other wavelengths of light energy (e.g. microwave or UV) or other forms of radiation that could cause damage, not even considered here.

Larry said...

David:

Thanks for your considered response to my analysis of thermal effects associated with the Zamora sighting and for correcting my error in the distance between Zamora and the heat source.

I carefully re-read Zamora’s testimony after my previous post, and I agree with your line of reasoning that places him closer than 50 feet to the flame—probably the 45 feet that you estimate. Zamora is quoted as saying “….had felt some heat against my body, from the ‘flame”, I guess.” In other words, he associated the heat with the ‘flame’, as opposed to the apparently metallic surface of the object.

I should probably give a little more information on how much energy it takes to ignite or char materials lying around in the arroyo and to create the sensation of heat on the skin, because most readers probably don’t have access to the Glasstone reference. What I didn’t mention in my previous post is that the total amount of energy required to produce a given effect on a particular material varies according how rapidly that energy is applied. Glasstone explains that “…For a given total amount of thermal energy received by each unit of area exposed material, the damage will be greater if the energy is delivered rapidly than if it were delivered slowly. This means that, in order to produce the same thermal effects in a given material, the total amount of thermal energy (per unit area) received must be larger for a nuclear explosion of high yield than one for the lower yield…”. The figures I quoted for causing thermal effects on cardboard, silica sand, and foliage (40, 35, and 21 calories per square centimeter, respectively) refer to high yield devices (i.e., tens of megatons) corresponding to an exposure duration of about 3.2 seconds. The equivalent figures for low yield devices (i.e., tens of kilotons) are 16, 10, and 11 calories per square centimeter, respectively—about half the energy density of the high yield devices—and corresponding to an exposure duration of about 0.2 seconds. I don’t know of any information that would allow a quantitative estimate of the time interval during which the radiant energy emanating from the flame and Zamora’s face were pointed directly at each other, but I guess that it would probably have been somewhere in the interval of 0.2 to 3.2 seconds. It was the time it took him to retreat back to the shelter of the car after he “hit the dirt” and “got up fast, with roar still goin’….”. Thus, we might infer that the amount of absorbed energy required to char cardboard, for example, was somewhere between 40 and 16 calories per square centimeter, and so on, for the other materials, depending on how long the materials were exposed to the radiant energy.

(to be continued)

Larry said...

Now, about the level of heat required to cause the sensations of ‘warmth’, ‘heat’, and ‘pain’. From my understanding of the cutaneous perception of heat, there are no specialized skin sensors that detect electromagnetic radiation directly. Electromagnetic radiation has to be absorbed by the skin and surrounding tissues and get turned into heat, which raises the temperature of the skin. It’s the temperature rise that stimulates specialized temperature sensors in the skin to activate. So, the same inverse relationship that Glasstone describes regarding the rate of energy deposition and the total energy required to create a given temperature rise should apply equally well to skin as to other materials lying in the arroyo. Indeed, this is exactly what Teichner reports in the reference I cited; 0.6 cal per sq cm, when produced by 240 cal per sq cm per sec acting for 2.5 seconds generates the same qualitative perception of heat as 1 cal per sq cm when produced by 100 cal per sq cm per sec acting for 10 seconds. Additionally, Teichner basically reproduced a data point from a previous study (Hardy, Wolff, and Goodell, 1952) which determined the threshold for ‘pricking pain’ as occurring somewhere above 0.625 cal per sq cm, when administered over 2.5 sec.

The only possibility I can think of right now that could explain some of the discrepancy between the 1930s study and the more modern ones is, as you suggest, differences in methodology. I notice that the 1930s study is described as having utilized near infrared radiation as the stimulus. The 1957 study utilized used full spectrum illumination from a 100 W projection light bulb, which would have included but not have been limited to the near infrared portion of the spectrum. This is identical, by the way, to how Glasstone defines ‘thermal radiation’ in his reference. Is it possible that the earlier study considered only the infrared component of a broader spectrum as being important? If the 0.23 cal per sq cm was only a fraction of the total spectrum used, then the total amount of radiation would have been closer to the levels reported by Teichner. Pending further information, I would have to think that the Teichner and Hardy, et. al. results carry more weight than the earlier one, since they are mutually reinforcing. However, one can argue that, since Zamora said the heat “wasn’t strong” that it was perhaps midway between ‘warm’ and ‘painful’, on Teichner’s scale, which would put it around 0.375 cal per sq cm.

(to be continued)

Larry said...

When I use a distance of 45 ft from Zamora to the ‘flame’, a value of 0.375 cal per sq cm for the radiant energy falling on his face, and a value of 28 cal per sq cm (midway between 40 and 16) for the level causing onset of thermal effects on the surroundings, I get a distance of a little over 5 ft.

As you point out however the main point of this exercise is to show that if there was enough radiant energy floating around in the environment to cause the perception of heat in Zamora’s skin at a distance of 10s of feet, then there was enough to cause melting and charring at distances of a few feet.

You also said: “There are also other wavelengths of light energy (e.g. microwave or UV) or other forms of radiation that could cause damage, not even considered here.”

Exactly right, and maybe this is the time to consider them. Briefly, I will simply state (without going into why, right now) that the blue ‘flame’ that Zamora described actually fits the description of a high energy particle beam better than it does a flame. In particular, I would speculate that it could have been a beam of electrons exiting from the opening he described at the bottom of the object. Their energy may have been such as to stimulate a fluorescence interaction in the air molecules centered in the blue part of the spectrum. Alternatively, they may have been emitted with an energy level above the threshold for causing Cerenkov radiation in air (about 21 Mev). Cerenkov radiation is centered in the blue part of the spectrum. Such particles would travel in straight lines and thus could generate the truncated cone shape that Zamora described. Depending on the exact energy they start with, the electrons could lose enough energy to cease emitting blue light within a distance of a few meters from their origin. This would give the appearance of the cone of light having a definite end (i.e., the illumination would not go on indefinitely, like electromagnetic radiation). However, the range of high energy electrons can be a few tens of meters in air, probably a few tens of centimeters in soil and plant materials. The energy would appear to penetrate the surface of the ground (as Zamora described) because that is exactly what it would be doing. Even though the visible light might disappear after a few meters in air, the electrons would continue to deposit energy in whatever matter they hit, typically through Bremstrahlung radiation, which could come out as x-rays, which would ultimately degrade into infrared radiation. This energy deposition process would probably be more directional that simple omnidirectional heat radiation, meaning that more energy might be deposited in the material directly in line with the beam than off-axis. And finally, if the electron energy is high enough, there is the possibility that nuclear reactions could have been stimulated in the directly irradiated material that would have created enough residual radiation at the site that photographic film could have been fogged a day or two later.

I don’t say any of this is proved, but I simply note that a single physical process may be able to explain a plethora of observations, which otherwise might appear to be totally disconnected.