Friday, September 16, 2011

Philip Klass and the Socorro UFO Landing

Although my posting had been about Philip Klass and some of his letter writing campaigns (which, of course, got nasty, his letters, not my posting), we have diverted into the Socorro UFO landing case and Klass’ investigation of it. We have gotten into arguments over semantics and site locations and just who owned what and when.


Philip Klass centered

First, the semantics. Some of us have suggested that Klass claimed the landing was a hoax created by the mayor of Socorro at the time, Holm Bursum and perpetrated by police officer Lonnie Zamora. Others suggested that Klass never said it, at least not in so many words.

Semantics.

Klass wrote, in his 1974 book, UFOs Explained (and I have a personalized, autographed copy), “The property where the UFO reportedly landed had, prior to the incident, been worthless ‘scrub land.’ But now, if the site became a long-lived tourist attraction, there could be need for refreshment stands, perhaps even a motel for those who might like to spend the night near the spot where an extraterrestrial spaceship had seemingly landed. By a curious coincidence, the property where the UFO reportedly landed was owned by Mayor Bursum, officer Zamora’s boss! The mayor’s principal business? He was the town banker and as such would not be unhappy to see an influx of tourist dollars.”

In his interview with Gary Posner published on the web at:


Klass makes this claim again. He said, “And I found out that Socorro's mayor owned the ‘landing site’ property and the town's only bank, and earlier had sought approval to build a new road to the UFO site for the benefit of tourists. So, when I wrote UFOs: Identified, I was confident enough to suggest that this case might be a hoax. And by the time my second UFO book, UFOs Explained, was published, I did unequivocally characterize the case as a hoax, as I've done subsequently regarding a number of other highly suspicious cases.”

For those of us who can understand this, Klass is saying that there was some kind of plot to develop a tourist attraction and the mayor was behind it. His subordinate was Lonnie Zamora. No, Klass doesn’t say they were working together on this, he just hints at it, knowing that we all can put it together. Since he is not actually making the allegation, he is safe from legal entanglements.

Posner (who is shown as “Skeptic,” in the online interview) said that the tourist attraction was never built. Klass has an answer for that, as well. He said, “Yes, but the plan had been initiated. On the first anniversary of the ‘landing,’ a newspaper article quoted a city official as saying outright that they intended to use it as a tourist attraction, and it reported that the road to the site had recently been upgraded. It also mentioned that a movie about UFOs had recently shot some scenes in Socorro. Perhaps when members of the City Council learned the truth, they opted not to proceed any further with the plans.”

But what is not said is that there is no evidence of this plan prior to the landing. They would have had no way of knowing that the landing report would get any sort of national publicity because most UFO sightings go unreported by the national media. They would have had to count on the Air Force investigation getting attention and that the attention would be from the media. If they were planning this all out, it was a very clever plan that worked... at least the part where they drew the national media attention.

The real flaw in Klass’ logic, however, is that the plan seemed to have been created after the media attention and someone thought there was a potential there. The real point is that even after they thought about it, the tourist attraction was never built.

Or maybe that’s not the real flaw... it seems that the mayor didn’t own the land in 1964. According to the Socorro newspaper, El Defensor Chieftain, which did a long story about the Socorro landing after it was suggested in 2008 that a historical marker be erected at the site, noted that the land in question had been part of the estate of Delia Harris in 1964. In 1968, the land was bought by the Richardson family and they apparently still own it. Mayor Bursum had never owned it. I don’t know where Klass got that idea. Maybe someone mentioned it to him and he believed it, figuring they should know.

Or maybe it was because in 1966 the Chamber of Commerce president, Paul Ridings, suggested they do something to promote tourism and thought the landing site would be a good place to start. They created a path lined with stones around a landing site, but it was in the wrong place. Apparently there was a lack of vegetation at the real site that frightened people. Some believed there was residual radiation, so they just moved the site over an arroyo or two. The mayor didn’t seem to have a hand in this aspect of it either.

But this leads to a second question. Which site did Phil Klass visit? If he was unaware that the Chamber of Commerce had moved the site, then his investigation would be flawed. His observations about the location and who could see what would be in error. Can we, at this late date, determine which site Klass “toured?”

Klass mentioned, in his book, “Although the policeman [Zamora] said the UFO’s [sic] roar could be heard over the noise of his speeding patrol car, from a distance of 4,000 feet, Mr. and Mrs. Felix Phillips, who lived only 1,000 feet from the UFO site reported they heard no such noise though they were home at the time.”

Klass also wrote (page 108, hardback, UFOs Explained), “During Hynek’s visit, he talked with one local resident who suggested that the case might be a hoax. The man was Mr. Felix Phillips, whose house is located only one thousand feet south of the spot where the UFO allegedly landed. Phillips said that he and his wife had been home at the time of the reported incident, and that several windows and doors had been opened – yet neither of them heard the loud roar that Zamora reported during takeoff... Hynek briefly mentioned the man’s suspicions in his second trip report to the USAF, but he strongly rejected all possibility of a hoax.”

In the online interview, Klass said, “When I interviewed a man who lived right near the landing site, and had been working in his garden when the UFO supposedly blasted off, he told me that he hadn't heard a thing, and that when he visited the site soon afterwards he saw no physical evidence to support Zamora's story and suspected that it was a hoax.”

Dr. J. Allen Hynek

Let’s answer the question about which site Klass visited. Based on this, I believe that Klass was on the correct site. He found the man who Hynek had interviewed. In the report that Klass cited, Hynek had written, “Although I made a distinct attempt to find a chink in [name redacted but is obviously Zamora] armor, I simply couldn’t find anyone, with the possible exception of a [name redacted, but I believe is Phillips] who has a house fairly near the site of the original landing, who did anything by completely uphold [again, the name is redacted but is Zamora] character and reliability, and I again talked with people who had known him since childhood.”

This then, suggests that Klass was on the right site. He is talking to the same man who Hynek interviewed. But then Klass slips off the rails, telling us the man was in his garden and that he saw nothing on the site.

One of the landing pad prints.

While I will give Klass the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he is talking from memory rather than inventing facts not in evidence, his claim that the man “visited the site soon afterwards he saw no physical evidence,” simply doesn’t make any sense. Why would he inspect the site if he heard nothing? What would be his motivation to walk over there?

More importantly, what about the claim that he saw nothing? This is in direct contradiction of the police officers, FBI agents, and Air Force officers who toured the site on the evening of the landing.

From Hynek’s first report (which I must assume that Klass saw since he was talking about the second report), “I questioned Mr Art Burns of the FBI, and several others who had been on the site within the first hours after the sighting as to the alleged freshness of the tracks. They were all of the opinion that the tracks were, indeed, fresh.”

Hynek also reported, “Although Zamora was the only witness to the actual sighting, nine people in all saw the markings.”

In Hynek’s second report, dated March 12 and 13, 1965, Hynek wrote, “All that seem definitely to agree on is that the green snakeweed and the green greasewood, which are notoriously hard materials to ignite, showed evidence of having been charred, as though they have been seared by a hot flame and not burned in an ordinary fashion.”

Regardless of the claim the Phillips saw nothing, there is good testimony that markings were there and that burning (or charring) of the bushes were there. Klass’ claims were in error, and if he had been speaking as one who thought that the UFO was extraterrestrial, these claims would have been challenged. They have not, until now.

Klass suggests that Phillips and his wife were home at the time. In his book, he wrote, “Phillips said that he and his wife had been home at the time of the reported incident, and that several windows and doors had been opened – yet neither of them heard the loud roar that Zamora reported during takeoff.”

In the Posner interview, he took it further, saying, “When I interviewed a man who lived right near the landing site, and had been working in his garden when the UFO supposedly blasted off, he told me that he hadn't heard a thing...”

This is a much more damaging statement. Rather than being inside with their doors and windows open, now Phillips is outside, where he should have been able to hear the UFO.

The maps that I have, crude though they all are, show that Phillips lived to the southeast of the landing site. This is important because, according to Hynek’s report, “The wind at that time was blowing very strongly from the south...”

Which means, of course, that the sound was blown away from Phillips. If he was inside, as had been suggested in the earlier accounts, including that by Klass, then there is a real possibility that he would have heard nothing. And, importantly, if he was inside, it would explain why he and his wife saw nothing. With no sound, they wouldn’t have gone to the windows so see what was making all the noise.

What we learn in this brief little study is that, semantics aside, Klass did hint that the mayor and Zamora were involved in a hoax to create a tourist attraction. It might be suggested that Zamora had been fooled, but the implication is clear. The fact is that no evidence has ever surfaced that anyone talked about a tourist attraction prior to the landing.

Klass was wrong about the ownership of the land and never presented any evidence that he knew who the owner was. He merely slung his allegation as evidence that the mayor wanted to create a tourist industry in Socorro, and by implication, make some money.

Klass has claimed the case was a hoax because Felix Phillips, who lived close to the site heard nothing. But Klass moves him from inside his house to the outside, working in his garden. He also claimed that Phillips walked the area of the landing but saw nothing.

But that doesn’t track with the evidence. There were a number of people who were there, who saw the physical evidence and who photographed it. While you might claim that the mayor and Zamora were involved in a hoax, you could not make a case for the FBI agent, Air Force officers and Hynek who did see the physical evidence.

Hynek, in his investigation made one observation that is important to us. He said the wind was blowing strongly from the south, and the map in Klass’ book puts the Phillips house to the southeast, meaning that the wind is blowing away from the witness. It is possible he heard nothing because of the wind.

For these reasons, we can reject the Klass conclusion of hoax because his evidence is, to put it kindly, quite thin. Does this mean that an alien craft landed in Socorro? No. It means that the case for a hoax, as identified by Klass, does not exist.

And, we’ve caught Klass in a couple of mistakes in his reporting of the case. I believe that there was nothing nefarious in his embellishments. It was, as the skeptical community is quite happy to point out, probably a problem with memory. Klass might truly have believed what he said in the online interview, but he was just as clearly in error.

But, I could say that Klass had accomplished his mission, which was to explain the Socorro landing. He said it was a hoax, and continued to say that far and wide. He said it enough that some people believe that it was a hoax. The problem is that Klass never proved it to be a hoax and he offered no evidence that it was.

25 comments:

Lance said...

Kevin,

I more or less agree with everything above. You still seem to (perhaps unintentionally) gloss over the possible confusion between the two landing sites. We can't know which site Klass was referring to and whether the Mayor owned the tourist site (or perhaps even referred to it as his but meant the town's).

Nonetheless, I just reread his full account in the same book and concur that his evidence of a hoax of any kind is very weak.

Yes, some of the argument is semantics.

But I note that some posters here did strongly state that Klass outright accused Zamora and the Mayor of fraud. That was the main thing I was arguing against and I am heartened to see that you agree.

Best,

Lance

KRandle said...

Lance -

I don't know why you would say that I gloss over the two sites. I said in one paragraph that Klass was at the right site and in the next say basically the same thing. Klass was on the right site.

And no evidence has been presented that the mayor owned the second site either... though that would be irrelevant because Klass knew where the landing took place.

It is clear to me, from what Klass wrote, from the Project Blue Book files, from the Posner interview, that Klass knew the right site. I see nothing to suggest that he was confused.

Klass never explained where he got the idea that the mayor owned any of the land around there. It fit into his belief structure and he ran with it.

Curtis Peebles, in his book, on page 184 (Berkley paperback, 1995) repeated this nonsense. He wrote, "The land itself was owned by Socorro's mayor." His endnote suggests the information came from Klass, but there is no indication that he attempted to independently verify it.

Frank Stalter said...

There's also a little conflation here on Klass' part. Just because it was an attention getting hoaxed UFO incident doesn't mean that any local who tried to cash in on it was party to the hoax.

Internally, there was strong USAF (Moody) feeling that it was a hoax. There's a big difference between thinking something and formally finding it. Hynek made, I think, some faulty assumptions about hoaxers and I'm sure Zamora being a cop and "authority figure" had some bearing on their ultimate non-finding.

The best evidence for hoax is the sporadic, cooled burning at the site and Zamora's own original account with an assist from the Colgate/Pauling letter.

David Rudiak said...

According to period topo maps, there was only one building south of the _true_ landing site, a good 2800' away, or over half a mile.

The nearest buildings (2 or 3) were actually to the east along Highway 85, still a good 1800-1900' from the _real_ Zamora landing site.

There were no buildings or homes only 1000 feet away from the landing site back then to the south, east, or southeast.

So how the heck does Klass come up with only 1000 feet for the location of Phillips' house? The best I can figure, is Klass was indeed talking about the phony Chamber of Commerce site, set up in 1966, which was NE and about half the distance from Highway 85 (about 1/4 mile) as Zamora's site. In this case, the 2 or 3 buildings W of Zamora's site along H85 are now only about 1200' SE from the C of C site. This might also explain why Phillips could go to the phony C of C site and see no physical evidence of any landing there.

Incidentally, refer to my map and commentary about wind directions at the time around the region:

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

which indicates the wind was most likely blowing stiffly out of the SSW at the time (but possibly also the S or SW.

This would tend to carry sound, northward to northeastward, especially up the arroyo to the NE which would act as a sound funnel. And Zamora was indeed patrolling up to the NE when he said he saw the bright light and heard the roar.

In addition, never mentioned by Klass but covered by Ray Stanford in his book on Socorro, other Socorro police told him there were "hundreds" of witnesses to the roar in Socorro proper, which starts about 3000 feet _downwind_ to the north. (Downtown Socorro is about 1 mile NNE of the Zamora site.)

Stanford mentions two of the "ear-witnesses" by name, who told him they heard two distinct roars about a minute apart. (presumably representing the landing and then the takeoff)

So one negative "earwitness" (Phillips), who was almost certainly not a mere 1000 feet away, but at least 1800' and not downwind from the real site, unlike some other citizens of Socorro, who DID hear the roars (at least 2 such people, if not possibly hundreds).

The same would be true if there were a shooting in a neighborhood. Some might hear the gunshots, but others would swear they heard nothing. That doesn't prove there were no gunshots, just that some were not ideally situated to hear the shots, were indoors, hard of hearing, etc.

Speaking of hearing, what was the state of Phillip's hearing? How old was he at the time? That might tell us something right there.

Lance said...

What were the names of those witnesses?

Does Stanford list a few hundred of them? Or any of them.

I have dealt with the dubious crazy claims of Ray Stanford before. He also claims that he has clear film footage of flying saucers so close that you can see inside the doorways of them.

The reason he hasn't released it after 30-40 years?
He is preparing it scientifically...

Yeah. I wouldn't bet too much on Stanford.

Lance

David Rudiak said...

Stanford discussed the subject of aural witnesses on pages 85-88, giving them as counters to Klass' claim that nobody on the south side of town heard anything. Stanford did not give the two women's names that he spoke to, saying they did not want to be identified. He said he was introduced to them by Walter Shrode (who, if I remember right, ran the radio station). Shrode I think is still alive and could possibly verify the information.

The two women said they heard two distinct roars about a minute apart, and others in the neighborhood did as well. Stanford added that a member of the Socorro sheriff's department subsequently told him that "hundreds of persons" on the south side of town heard the roars. Stanford said he didn't bother to try to run down any of the other witnesses.

As to Klass' witness (also name not mentioned, but presumably Phillips), Stanford commented he lived over half a mile to the south and was indoors at the time. This is probably the one isolated building I found on the topo maps 2800' south of the Zamora site. So where did Klass get 1000'?

In addition (I had forgotten this), Stanford did bring up the subject of the man's hearing. Stanford said various policemen told him the man was extremely hard of hearing. One policeman named Bates Stanford quoted as saying, "He is so hard of hearing that you have to shout in his ear to get much across to him. Everyone knows that! Who in hell does this Klass character think he's going to fool? Certainly nobody around here."

Stanford also pointed out that the witnesses on the south side of down were DOWNWIND of the site whereas Phillips was upwind. Also, the orientation of the arroyo (SW to NE) was such to channel sound to the northeast (as I also mentioned), but deflect it away from the south and southeast.

So Klass' "witness" was hard of hearing, upwind, indoors (maybe), over half a mile away and partly blocked by terrain. Great negative witness!

But, of course, we must accept Klass' account, even though he obviously got a lot of his facts wrong (such as distance to Phillip's house or the mayor owning the landing site), because those who want to believe in a hoax assert (without citing a single specific) that nothing Stanford writes about the case can be believed.

Whatever one might think of Stanford, he probably spent at least 100 times more time on this case than Klass ever did, including such things as carefully examining the landing site immediately after it happened and speaking extensively with all the principles, including Zamora. Did Klass?

Lance said...

Hi Dr Rudiak,

I am happy to say (and say above) that Klass' case was very weak. His witness not hearing anything means just about nothing.

Indeed I am not sure who is supporting Klass' case for the Socorro hoax. I am not. The only arguments I offered above were for specific claims made about Klass' accusations (and indeed some of the stuff was semantics and possibly rather silly to argue about).

But Ray Stanford is a terrible source for anything related to UFOs. He has proven himself to be comically unreliable in the extreme, a saucer zealot. He makes innumerable unsupported claims.

His friend of a friend statements mean just as little as the stuff you complain about for Klass. Why do you reject the problems of Klass' case but embrace the same sort of problems for Stanford?

This very thing gets to the heart of what I was really complaining about: Klass is treated as a lying devil while the same kind of bad research is supported IF it is pro-UFO.

Lance

Lance

Sourcerer said...

I took Lance up on his offer in the previous discusswion to send me some pages from Klass' second book. Thanks, Lance.

My understanding is that Klass either visited the site or had someone take photographs of it for him. He probably visited the site. He would know there was something to see there. That Phillips didn't see anything, he should have questioned. There was nothing much to see except some depressions in the ground.

When Klass was pointed to the town's plans by someone at NMT, he assumed the plans referred to the actual site. That seems to be where he goes wrong.

I don't know whether the city hall site was intended to be presented as *the* site. It may have been intended as a scenic overlook or viewpoint from which to see the actual site, including Zamora's route. Maybe someone who has studied the maps would know if that was possible.

Klass had material from BB, it seems. I wasn't aware it was available to the public at the time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if not, does anyone know how he got it?

Frank: "...the Colgate/Pauling letter"

I would like to know who found the letter folded into page 76 (the Roswell page) of Edwards' book and when. Thanks.


Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

Ray Stanford said he spoke to two women on the south side of Socorro who were aural witnesses to the roars, after being introduced to them by Walter Shrode, who ran the radio station. Stanford did not give their names in his book, saying they wished to remain anonymous.

However, in reviewing this, I again came across a Socorro El Defensor Chieftain article on the incident written in 2003:

http://www.dchieftain.com/news/news3_07232003.html

It mentions another Chieftain story from Feb. 9, 1965, where Shrode interviewed a number of people for a UFO documentary mentioning Socorro. People mentioned as interviewed for the film were "Mayor Holm O. Bursum Jr., State Police Sgt. Chavez, City Clerk Raymond L. Senn, Steve Torres Jr., Mrs. Howard Terry and Mrs. Vince Cardinalli."

My guess for the moment is that Mrs. Terry and Cardinalli were the two unnamed aural witnesses introduced to Stanford by Shrode, but I'll have to make some phone calls to see if I can confirm this hunch.

Does anybody know the name of the UFO documentary? If that is still available, it might include the interviews with the two women.

Lance said...

Dr. Rudiak,

I looked through my records for a 1965 documentary and don't have anything here.

If Shrode did the interviews, is it possible that the documentary was just for the local station?

I have definitely heard or read something more about this issue somewhere but I can't recall where.

One possible source of further info might be the interview done after Tony Bragalia's "expose" done by Stanford on the Paracast.

Lance

twas_brillig said...

Why are we STILL talking about this idiot????? Philip Klass should be smacked sideways, he's a professional debunker which equates to a bold faced liar. A LIAR!!!!!! PERIOD!

David Rudiak said...

I wrote:
"Does anybody know the name of the UFO documentary? If that is still available, it might include the interviews with the two women."

To partly answer my own question, the 2008 article by Paul Hardin:

http://www.caminorealheritage.org/PH/0808_socorro_ufo.pdf

...states the documentary was called "Phenomenon 7.7" (or "Phenomena 7.7" according to another site) by Mike Musto. (7.7 after the 7.7% of cases the USAF said were still unsolved) Apparently it turned out to be unusually cheesy, even by UFO documentary standards.

Netflix seems to carry it:

http://www.citwf.com/film269468.htm

I don't have Netflix, but if some reader could get it and check to see what it has on Socorro, it would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I'm hoping it carries the interviews mentioned with the two women, who might be aural witnesses to the roars.

Forteana said...

Lance, knowing what you now know about Klass do you really feel he is a more credible source regarding Socorro than Stanford? Before dismissing Stanford I think you should at the very least read his book. You can then point to all the places in it where he gets it wrong. :) From my standpoint, there is no question his research into Socorro was far more thorough than what Klass did. Will you be able to find significant problems with his research into Socorro? I doubt you'll be able to come up with anything resembling the balanced dismantling that Mr. Randle has done of Klass. As you seem to have a strong interest in Socorro, I would suggest you really owe it to yourself to read what I consider the most thorough book on the subject.

Lance said...

Dr. Rudiak,

I don't see the film on Netflix (the link you provided was not to Netflix, by the way). Sorry.

I would like to see the film anyway just because of the historical interest.

---

Hi Forteana,

Just to be clear, I think what Kevin has shown (and what I agree with) is that Klass overstated the meaning of what he found. The issue of who owns the land may have been a mistake by Klass but that is a rather minor error and very well may be mitigated if Klass was referring to the fake landing site all along (which despite the posturing, no one here has shown one way or the other).

I have heard Stanford speak on this sighting before. Dr. Rudiak's mention of Stanford's claim of "hundreds" of witnesses reminded me of his silly style. I'll tell you what, I will relisten to that Stanford interview and get back to you with some thoughts.

Best,

Lance

Lance said...

Dr. Rudiak,

Greg Bishop mentions having an album featuring the audio of Phenomna 7.7. He also calls it a Frank Stranges film.

Odd. I will write Greg and ask him about it,

Lance

Sourcerer said...

There are several BB mentions of a film being made in Socorro. The USAF and their consultants sometimes seemed more concerned about ufological publicity than the sighting , itself.

I hope David locates it. It has value as an historical artifact, but I think Zamora's statements stand on their own.

Regards,

Don

Forteana said...

I'm pretty sure that after the Stanford appearance on The Paracast someone posted a link to the film, which was available on YouTube. But I just did a search and can't find it. Still, I'm almost certain it was on YouTube at one point.

Lance said...

As promised, I have some comments in regards to Stanford's account (as heard on the Paracast):

http://www.theparacast.com/podcasts/paracast_091004.mp3

1. Stanford says he is "convinced" that Chavez also saw the object departing. Chavez says he didn't. Stanford says other people told him differently and he goes with the hearsay, always with the hearsay!

2. Stanford says that Walter Shrode told him that there were radar records of the departure. Has anyone seen the radar records? "Not to my knowledge," says crack investigator Stanford. Again he just accept ANY rumor that he hears as fact.

3. Says he and Shrode were eating in restaurant when two unnamed women overheard them and approached and claimed they heard the sounds rattling their windows. He immediately counts them as witnesses from that restaurant encounter.

4. Some film taken at the site apparently didn't come out. Stanford stretches this out into a coverup and evidence of radiation.

5. Says he "heard" that some of the soil was vitrified (heated to molten state). He accepts this but never confirmed it.

6. He goes into his dubious theory about some dirt he dug up there many years after the event. Something about crystals and energy etc. He says it is a "resonance phenomena" and calls this discovery "earth-shattering".

7. Stanford delivers a lot of conversation, giving back and forth quotes for many of the participants. It is highly unlikely that these "quotes" are accurate.

8. Says he found metal on a rock at site. Talked with Goddard Space flight center about it. They told him to go to lunch while they examined metal. They were supposed to take only half the metal from the rock but apparently took all of it. Said he was told at first that it was zinc-iron alloy (apparently this points to extraterrestrial origin and Frankel (sp.?) at Goddard supposedly confirmed this on phone) then later Goddard said officially that it was just silica or quartz with trace metal. Again Stanford gives us a lot of back and forth conversation in which he looks like a big hero and everyone else looks as thought they are covering up something. I am willing to bet that things didn't go down this way.

9. He tries to say that Sterling Colgate was a lying reckless immoral bastard by repeating many second-hand stories that Stanford, of course, accepts as gospel.

10. He then speaks of some of the problems with the Bragalia theory, much of which I agree with. Of course, ironically Stanford uses the same kinds of poor research methods that he complains about.

11. Stanford then goes into the nutty territory of the supposed films he has of clear close-up daylight discs that he won't release.


These are just quick notes and I may be slightly off-base or imprecise on some of them. I'm happy to discuss.

Lance

KRandle said...

Lance, David -

I believe that Klass was on the correct site. I believe this for two reasons. First, his description, including Phillips' house seems to be correct... though I believe that he underestimated the distance to it to give it more importance than it deserved.

Second, the real site was not that secret. In the July/August 1964 issue of NICAP's UFO Investigator (page 4, if you must know) there is a map that provides the location. True, it is crude, but I think it makes the real location fairly obvious, especially when you compare it to Google Earth.

But if he was at wrong place, the ownership of the land is moot. The mayor wouldn't have created a hoax to put the site on someone else's property and a friend in Socorro tells me that the second site was selected by the Chamber and not the mayor. Besides, the mayor's family was already wealthy and they did, and do, own quite a bit of land in Socorro.

So, we can logically deduce that the mayor would have choosen the first site to benefit him, if he was creating a hoax... and the second site was choosen by someone else.

Besides, if Klass was at the wrong site, then all his conclusions are wrong and we can dismiss his theories on that point.

Lance said...

Jesus, I realize that this point is belabored which is partially my fault.

But Kevin, you can't seem to see the forest for the trees.

It could be that the Mayor's plan was for the benefit of the town, not necessarily himself. Why you can't see that is perplexing. For instance, you don't think that when we say Obama's health plan, that we mean that he will personally benefit from the legislation?

Can it not be that:

1. Klass visited the real site while he was there.
2. After he was back home someone told him that the mayor was improving the landing site (actually referring to the new tourist site but calling it the landing site as apparently was common).
3. Klass was also told that the land belonged to the Mayor (possibly meaning the town).

Again, I don't think Klass proved any hoax but the stubborn refusal to admit when you are wrong or when something is unknown or unclear is unseemly.

Lance

KRandle said...

Lance -

I get it. I try to be reasonable. but here is the bottom line. Klass said the mayor owned the land. That allegation was picked up by others and repeated without critical comment (other than jerry Clark). It is untrue. The mayor did not own the land.

He said in his interview that Felix Phillips was outside in his garden and didn't hear anything.

But in other places he said that Phillips was inside.

He said that Phillips walked over but didn't see evidence or markings. If he heard nothing and saw nothing, what was his motivation to walk over...

Oh, he saw others there and wondered what was going on? Well, then he must have known that there were markings and the "burning" bush (okay, smoking bush or charred bush).

The point is that Klass invented the idea of a tourist attraction, and said the mayor owned the land as a way of rejecting the case. I say his reasons are flawed and it really doesn't matter which site he visited because there is no evidence of a planned tourist attraction prior to the event.

And, it really doesn't matter when he "learned" that the mayor owned the land... he didn't check to make sure he was right before slinging that allegation.

Sourcerer said...

Lance: "10. He then speaks of some of the problems with the Bragalia theory, much of which I agree with. Of course, ironically Stanford uses the same kinds of poor research methods that he complains about."

Stanford and Zamora, ufology's odd couple.

As for Bragalia (and Stalter), they don't seem to realize how they've unnecessarily complicated their investigation.

I've sworn off ufological (skeptic or advocate) investigations of Socorro. After nearly 50 years, with physical evidence, photographs, a good witness, and nearly everyone involved living into the 21st century, investigators have proved precisely nothing.

Regards,

Don

KRandle said...

All -

I said that Klass invented the idea of the tourist attraction, and that is just not right. Clearly that idea had been floated prior to Klass' arrival in Socorro. An El Paso newspaper floated the idea.

Just as clearly, Klass used the idea as a way of dismissing the Socorro case and that is just not right either.

Lance said...

Thanks Kevin!

Lance

Randall Hess said...

This is an excellent picking-apart of Klass' work, and a good indicator as to why Klass couldn't be trusted as a skeptical voice. It's one thing to apply Occam's Razor, it's another thing to use that razor to rip and rend an incident apart without concern for the facts. Klass was, quite simply, far too glib in his "solutions" to various famous UFO incidents (note his statements on not only the Socorro case, but on, for instance, the Kenneth Arnold sighting) and never seemed to care in the slightest whether these solutions made sense at all---as long as they contradicted the idea that UFOs might be actual unknown and/or extraterrestrial objects of some kind. This is not to say that the ET hypothesis should be given any more weight than any other set of explanations or ideas---but rather that it should never be a skeptic's purpose to exclude a theory or idea out of hand and replace it with another simply because of bias.