A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Ben Moss and Tony Angiola on the radio version of this blog. At the time they said a couple of things that I attempted to follow up on while we were on the air but didn’t get good answers. In the weeks that followed, I again tried to get more information and now have some of that. Ben Moss sent me a DVD copy of their presentation at the recent MUFON Symposium in Orlando, Florida, which provided some of the answers, and he has been sending me additional information through email. Here’s what I have learned.
First, they had mentioned a picture taken in Socorro though it wasn’t clear if there were pictures, plural, when they were taken, and who had taken them. The presentation answered all these questions. There is a single picture; it shows a number of objects, one of which has landing gear lowered and one that is six-tenths of a mile from the camera lens. The picture was taken by Ray Stanford some four months after the Zamora sighting. Although Stanford said they were “Zamora-like” objects, I haven’t seen the picture though both Ben Moss and Tony Angiola said they have. According to them, Stanford had been attempting to photograph the dynamite shed that Zamora had worried about and the objects were in the background. I don’t know why this information didn’t come out decades ago but I do know that Stanford said he would release the picture when he was ready. This, of course, worries me greatly given the history of claims of photographic evidence from important cases that we’ve dealt with in the recent past.
The Zamora symbol that has been featured as
the true symbol for decades.
Second is the claim that four newspapers of the time had printed either the upside down “V” with the bars through it or a variation of that or they had published a description of it. We’ve all seen the official version that has appeared in magazines and newspapers and we’ve all heard that Zamora was asked (ordered?) to change the design for security reasons. On KSRC radio Zamora told Walter Strode when asked about the symbol, “No, sir, I couldn’t tell you that, because they still don’t want me to say nothing about the markings.” You can listen to it here thanks to David Rudiak and Wendy Connors:
Zamora was also interviewed by Jim and Coral Lorenzen the day after the sighting. At the time they lived in Alamogordo which is not all that far from Socorro. When they asked about the design he had seen, he refused to tell them anything about it because he had been told not to by intelligence officers. While I’m not sure it was an intelligence officer who made the “request” it is clear someone in authority had. There were military officers in Socorro, representatives of the State Police and at least one FBI agent, who requested that it not be mentioned he was involved. (The Lorenzen’s take on this can be seen in the APRO Bulletin for May 1964.)
There are descriptions of the symbol directly attributed to Zamora. In an AP story on April 29, 1964, and carried in many newspapers around the country it was reported, “Officer Zamora said the object he saw last Friday night was a brilliant white. He said there was a red marking on it like an upside down V with three lines across the top, through the middle and at the bottom.” (One of the sources for this is the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald for Wednesday, April 29, 1964, page 1.)
A few days after the sighting, Dr. J. Allen Hynek was interviewed by the same reporter who had interviewed Zamora, on the same radio station, which is Shrode at KSRC. Hynek was asked what the marking was and Hynek replied, “He [Zamora] described it to me as an inverted ‘V’ with a sort of bar across it…” You can listen to this here:
This is actually at odds with the true symbol as has been suggested recently. Rather than three lines through it, Hynek said one line. Without a drawing, the many descriptions we now have can be interpreted in various ways. There are, however, drawings. There is the one that we all are familiar with which has the half circle over the inverted “V” with a single horizontal line under it. It is claimed that this is a faked symbol made up to keep the real one secret to weed out copycats. There is some support for this, with Zamora claiming that he was told not to talk about the symbol, and, according to the Lorenzen’s they couldn’t get him to tell then what the symbol looked like.
There is a hand-written letter by Hynek dated September 7, 1964, in the Project Blue Book files that seems to provide some corroboration. In fact, Ray Stanford made a big deal out of this when he found a copy on August 3, 2013. In an article published on Bill Chalker’s blog on June 4, 2014, Ray Stanford wrote, “James Fox asked to take that photo of me holding an important Hynek letter I had just discovered in the National Archives’s Socorro files.” These are, of course the Blue Book files which Stanford, for some reason, does not mention. You can read the whole article here:
But, the letter had always been in the Blue Book files and available to nearly everyone since the files were declassified and released to the public in the 1970s. Microfilms of them have been available since about that same time for purchase at the National Archives and Fold3 has put them up on the Internet.
Hynek's symbol that excited
The symbol that excited Stanford isn’t quite the one that is being pushed as the real one. It has a horizontal bar over the top of the inverted “V” and two other bars inside the legs. I’m not sure that it does much to corroborate the inverted “V” with three bars drawn through it. You can argue that Hynek didn’t see the symbol himself and might have created this from the descriptions that have been offered rather than seeing a drawing made by Zamora, but it does complicate the issue and isn’t really corroboration for the symbol being pushed by Stanford.
There is another version of the symbol, also from the Blue Book files, but given that it is from the microfilm and that it was hand drawn in the text of a letter, it is difficult to see. It looks more like the symbol we’ve all seen, but it has variations as well, and in this case, does look like the corporate logo of Astropower, Inc. I’m not sure of the relevance. It’s just one more complication in all this and leads us off in another direction.
|Another variation of the Zamora Symbol found in the Project Blue Book files.|
|The Astropower logo.|
The final complication, at least for me, is why the “faked” symbol is in the Blue Book file with no notation about it being faked. There is no reason to include it because, the file, in 1964, was classified as secret so no one who didn’t have a clearance, a need to know, and who wasn’t part of the Blue Book team would have seen it. While it might make some sense to put out a false version to help identify any other sightings for comparison, the “true” symbol had already been described, more or less, in newspapers. There is nothing in the Blue Book files to indicate that they had created a fake, just the various symbols provided by various people at various times with little in the way of identification as to which is right and which are wrong.
The only symbol that Zamora seemed to identify is the one that looks like an umbrella over an arrow. He signed the illustration and although it is his signature, the claim is that the other words on the paper were written by someone else. I don’t think that is a disqualification given the circumstances. It was merely the investigating officer identifying what the illustration showed.
Given the sighting is now a half century old and Zamora has died, many of those involved in the various investigations have died, I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to sort this out. A case can be made that the “real” symbol is the inverted “V” with the three bars through it, but the variations to that description and what is found in the Blue Book files does nothing to prove it. A good case can be made for the other symbols as well. It boils down to what you wish to believe about what Zamora saw on the side of the craft. After so many decades, this is going to end up as one more of those little mysteries that we just can’t solve today.
I need to thank Ben Moss for providing the links and other information I used here and to Bill Chalker for his analysis at his blog. David Rudiak indirectly supplied some of the links to the radio interviews that were supplied by Wendy Connors. This just shows that something as simple as attempting to verify the symbols requires a review of the work done by so many others.