Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Socorro Symbols - Redux

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
Ray Stanford.
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.


Bob Koford said...

" 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.

So I read that this describes the third one: upside down "V" with a line over it, a line through it, and a line under it. Is that correct?

KRandle said...

Bob -

That's the point. It can be interpreted that one of the lines was over the top, one through the V, and the last below it... which seems more likely to me. However, it can also mean that was one line was through the top of the V, the second through the middle and the last through the bottom which gives us another view. And, look how Hynek drew it. That doesn't seem to suggest that the lines were through the V and suggests to me another interpretation of it. That's why everything seems so confusing.

Bob Koford said...

Its funny, that one would be most like horizon indicator on the panel...middle line equals horizon

David Rudiak said...

(part 1 of 2)
Hobbs NM Daily News, April 28, front page
“State Police Sgt. Sam Chavez said he was told by Socorro policeman Lonnie Zamora that the UFO he saw Friday… had red markings on its silvery side. Chavez said Zamora told him the design was an inverted V with three bars crossing it, but that the Air Force had told him not to discuss the markings.”

I might note here for Ray Stanford bashers like Rich Reynolds, claiming that Stanford somehow manipulated Zamora into creating such a symbol, that Stanford didn't even arrive in Socorro until the evening of April 28, therefore could not possibly have anything to do with the Chavez quote. And why would the very gruff Chavez invent it?

Chavez was also the first to arrive at the scene (and was overlooking the scene while the object disappeared in the distance), getting to Zamora's side probably within one half to one minute later. He said Zamora was already scribbling down what he had seen.

Ray Stanford also has Socorro police dispatcher Mike Martinez on tape telling him that Zamora described it as "...un 'V' invertido, con tres líneas debajo," meaning "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it". The inverted V with three lines is still there, but nowhere else does anyone placing the lines “beneath” the V. Perhaps a misunderstanding on Martinez' part? Or it could be the bars were within but not all the way through the V but “beneath” the roof peak of the V. Note the Zamora quote further below and the Hynek Blue Book drawing, which has two of the bars “below” the V.

As for Hynek mentioning only one bar when interviewed by KSRC's Walter, Shrode, AP at about the same time quoted Hynek saying more than just a single bar, but multiple "barS":

AP Story, April 30 (e.g. Frederick MD News)
“The scientist [Hynek] also discussed the markings that Zamora said he saw on the side of the object, a red, inverted V with bars through it.”

And in the handwritten Hynek document that Stanford and James Fox found in the National Archives, Hynek drew the inverted V symbol with a slightly longer bar above, and two shorter bars within and below the V, one in the middle and one at the bottom, with these two bars not going all the way through the V.

Zamora also apparently gave a very similar newspaper description as the Hynek drawing, that AP quote from July 29. Another source of the AP story was the San Antonio TX Light, which also carried a drawing of the object with the inverted V and three bars going all the way through it, said to be based on "newspaper accounts:

“Officer Lonnie Zamora said the object he saw last Friday 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.”

In all, general early agreement that Zamora described an inverted V symbol, and three bars (or multiple bars), however they were placed w.r.t. the V.

As for the other symbol, Ray Stanford has said that first Army investigator, Cpt. Richard Holder, the uprange commander at White Sands who lived in Socorro and was talking to Zamora within an hour and a half, had Zamora create the alternate symbol to smoke out possible hoaxers, should copycat witnesses appear later, also instructing him not to discuss the real symbol.

However, obviously Zamora did discuss it with other police officers (Chavez's description is particularly important here) and apparently Hynek. Even reporter Shrode learned of it and asked Zamora about it when he interviewed him. Word got out and into the newspapers despite what Holder did. By the time AF investigators finally arrived on the scene 2 days after the incident, they seem to have adopted the alternate drawn Holder/Zamora fake symbol and placed it into Blue Book files, a source of confusion to this day.

David Rudiak said...

(part 2 of 2)
Incidentally, this isn't just Ray Stanford saying this. He has a 2014 letter from Holder's namesake son that his father told him many times that this is what happened:

"My father told me he had suggested to Lonnie not to release to the press the real symbol he had seen. They discussed and agreed if any other witnesses came forward, this would be a way to validate if they were telling the truth. Each time my father told me the story, he would draw the symbol they agreed to release, and the symbol Lonnie actually said he saw. I have not been able to locate any of his drawings, and the symbol I remember does not match exactly what you have in your book. But Lonnie and my father did agree not to release exactly what Lonnie said he saw."

Incidentally Hynek's letter to Blue Book 5 months later with the inverted-V/3-bars symbol had him requesting that BB try to track down a company with a matching symbol, so obviously Hynek believed this to be the true symbol months later.

(If Zamora had told Hynek the fake symbol with Army Holder's blessing, then it would have interfered with the A.F. Blue Book investigation. I don't think Holder would have done that.)

Craig McDaniel said...


Wasn't this inverted "V" with the 3 lines symbol also associated with another case? I recall something several months ago but don't remember the details.

KRandle said...

David -

All you repeat here is the same things being said, other than your emphasis on one symbol being the correct one. We have not only Hynek's description as repeated in newspapers but we have the illustration that he drew that was found in the Blue Book files. The only one that Lonnie Zamora signed is not the inverted "V" with the three bars across it, and yes, I know this is supposed to be the faked... but there is nothing in the file to suggest that. And there is the third illustration that is in the text of a letter that is difficult to see but is another version as well... Holder's son said that his father had drawn the real symbol for him on a number of occasions but that he could not locate any of those drawings.

The point is that some had seized on one of the symbols as the correct one, but I suggest that the proof is not there. We have other symbols offered and I see nothing that completely disqualifies them. You might argue that the evidence is strongest for one of them (inverted "V" with three bars through it) but that doesn't mean it is the correct one, given the statements made over the years. Besides, Hynek's drawing is not of an inverted "V" with three bars through it.

And please note that I linked to two of your web pages on this and one from Bill Chalker... but I say again, I don't think the case has been made for one symbol over the others.

RRRGroup said...

Again, David Rudiak mishandles the truth.

I never wrote that Ray Stanford manipulated Officer Zamora into anything, but I did imply that Mr. Stanford, an ET advocate, like David. gathered and presented his Socorro information, affected by his ET bias and, for some reason, the symbol, no matter which one is real, factored into his attempt to make the event into an ET incursion.

(Why did Ray Stanford go to Socorro in the first place? Because, I assume, like the newspaper accounts of my interest in the episode, the sighting had an ET patina.)

Amongst the machinations and confused investigation, by Hynek, the AF, the local cops, and Mr. Stanford, the insignia got short shrift, and it is the one thing that might explain the source of the object and "beings' spotted by Officer Zamora.


Shane said...


Thank you for following up on all these points - especially the situation surrounding the photo.

If the photo is genuine, it does rather raise a raft of questions around what the implications are for the provenance of the objects seen in the photo, and, by extension, the original object seen by Zamora.

I guess we'll never know unless the photo is released for wider study....

David Rudiak said...

Kevin, (1 of 2)

I wasn't criticizing you, but trying to point out there was additional evidence pointing to the inverted V symbol that appeared at the time.

I think the preponderance of evidence now indicates the inverted V with three bars (however they were placed) as being the correct symbol. First, it was the only symbol reported in the press immediately afterward and came from multiple sources: Chavez (& possibly Martinez), Hynek, Shrode, and even possibly Zamora, all within 5 days of the event. A UPI wirephoto drawing of craft with this symbol appeared on April 30, curiously said to come from six witnesses to the craft (not specified—perhaps second-hand statements from people like Chavez & Hynek).

Most convincingly to me is that Hynek was still using it 5 months later when he asked Blue Book to try to track down a company/project logo that might match. Also Chavez was giving the same inverted-V/3-bar description only four days after the event and Chavez was the first backup on the scene and saw Zamora drawing what he had seen as he pulled up.

All evidence points to the decoy symbol being the idea of first Army investigator Cpt. Richard T. Holder right after the sighting or the next day as a ploy to distinguish true reports from hoax ones should a symbol be reported again by other witnesses. The drawing signed by Zamora had a heading written in Holder's handwriting. Holder's son recently went on record saying his father told him this is what happened (while unfortunately not making it clear which symbol was which).

We also know that Zamora admitted he was told NOT to discuss the symbol. He stated as much in his Shrode interview (perhaps 2 days later on April 26) and as reported in the first Socorro newspaper article (El Defensor-Chieftain) on April 28. The Lorenzens in the May 1964 APRO Bulletin likewise reported that Zamora told them the early afternoon of April 26 (along with the Defensor-Chiefain reporter) that Cpt. Holder told him to not discuss the symbol. The Lorenzens then called Holder, who confirmed this, saying that keeping the markings secret "could help to determine whether or not other future sightings were genuine." We further know that Hynek was quoted April 29 that the Air Force never told Zamora to not discuss the symbol. (True, it was instead Cpt. Holder of the Army.)

The main thing that continues to puzzle me is why BOTH symbols appear in BB records as authentic, without distinguishing which was the true one. If Holder got Zamora to do the alternate symbol symbol, I would presume Holder would have informed the Air Force that he had done this, so they wouldn't go off on wild goose chases trying to find the wrong symbol. Also, it would seem the ploy failed miserably, in that the alternate symbol did not get planted in the media right afterward. Instead it was the UFO organizations like NICAP and APRO that seemed to adopt it. (More below)

I suppose the situation is still confusing enough that it could be reasonably argued that Holder's ploy DID work, and the false inverted-V/3-bar symbol did get planted in the newspapers as planned. But then this would also have required the cooperation of people like Chavez who witnessed Zamora writing down what he saw right after the object departed, well before Holder got involved. Zamora would have had to feed the false symbol to other Socorro police, such as Martinez (or gotten them to cooperate with the deception as well). And Zamora would have had to deceive Hynek, who remained deceived 5 months later when he wrote BB to run down the alt-symbol. So this alternate scenario doesn't make much sense.

David Rudiak said...

(2 of 2)
We also know that after the initial inverted-V/3-bars press reports, Zamora supported the alt-symbol, the arc on top with arrow underneath and line at the bottom, I believe to the end of his life. However, I don't know when Zamora first began to PUBLICLY report this. From my search of newspaper, it was NOT immediately afterward, unlike the inverted-V/bars symbol. The May 1964 APRO Bulletin has a drawing in it of the object plus alt-symbol, said to be by a 14-year old son of a Socorro lawyer and endorsed by Zamora as the most accurate representation of what he had seen. They have a second drawing of the object with symbol, but a slightly different version, making it appear more like a double hatch (top arc continues down on the sides to the bottom line). This they said was "based on the description given by Zamora," which would seemingly contradict that Zamora refused to tell them what the symbol looked like.

I'm going to speculate here that the Lorenzen's said they thought Holder's symbol deception was a good idea in determining true reports, so perhaps they decided to play along and went with the alt-symbol, which they eventually got from either Holder or Zamora.

There's another interesting angle on all this reported by the Lorenzen's in the July 1964 APRO Bulletin, namely ANOTHER Socorro-like craft (white, egg-shaped) that landed near Stallion Station (~20 miles south of Socorro) only 6 days later, a military B-57 sighting. The Lorenzen's say they got this from three different sources, including two reporter's, who said they got it from a ham radio operator who overheard the B-57 conversation with ground control. Allegedly the ham operator reported the B-57 crew said the object had the same symbol as reported at Socorro. In addition, the Lorenzens reported 2 days after the new landing, civilian pilots had put down at Holloman AFB and said that a major showed them a drawing of the Socorro symbol and asked them if they had ever seen anything like it. If these stories are true, then Cpt. Holder seemingly made the drawings available throughout White Sands testing grounds.

And if this weren't enough, the Lorenzen's wrote additional UFOs were picked up on radar (also seen visually by radar operators in one case—egg-shaped but brown) near Stallion Site on May 15 and 22. This would have added to a number of very similar newspaper-reported N.M. UFO sightings that followed Zamora’s in the days immediately afterward.

Mark said...

I'm curious: has anyone managed to dig up anything on this Astropower company?

David Rudiak said...

What Ray Stanford wrote about Zamora and the Socorro case right after the death of Zamora in 2009:

"...about the red shape Zamora saw on the middle-side of the ellipsoid-shaped craft: ZAMORA HAD, in his own mind, TAKEN ANOTHER OATH TO THE GOVERNMENT HE LOVED: On that same April 24, 1964, evening, Captain Ord/C, Richard T. Holder, U.S. Army, 095052, Up-Range Commander at White Sand's Stallion Site, had told the witness, as Zamora described to me, after much coaxing, on April 29, 1964, "If I were you, I wouldn't describe the symbol you saw on the side of the vehicle to anyone except official investigators."

"Well, ZAMORA AGREED. Then, I have reasons to believe, Holder drew the now familiar vertical arrow with an arc over it and a line under it [A copy of that original, clearly drawn in its first version by Holder -- just compare it to Zamora's copies of that fake symbol -- is in my files.] and then Holder had Zamora sign under it, as though THAT were what he saw. I am now convinced enough to tell anyone -- since Lonnie Zamora is now gone, and there is no risk to embarrass him for participating in the cover-up -- the vertical arrow with an arc over it and the line under it IS NOT WHAT ZAMORA SAW. Lonnie kept that promise to Holder, not to reveal what he actually saw, for the rest of his life. Zamora had agreed with Holder that putting out the fake symbol would conveniently identify any copy-cat hoaxers because they would describe the fake symbol instead of the REAL one. I agree that Zamora made the right choice, in that case, because it surely set a trap for hoaxers and even for hallucinating persons.

"Every law-enforcement officer who talked to Zamora within minutes to an hour or so after the event, including police dispatcher Mike Martinez, told me unequivocally that what Zamora really saw on the object was, as Martinez quoted Zamora in Spanish, "...un 'V' invertido, con tres líneas debajo," meaning exactly what it says, "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it", and not the thing he was drawing and telling others that he saw, after Holder's request..."

Although many try to bash Ray Stanford in order to discredit Socorro, we have totally independent confirmation of Stanford's version, such as Jim and Coral Lorenzen telling us the EXACT SAME thing the month after the incident in their APRO Bulletin (May 1964). Holder suggested using a false symbol to smoke out copy-cat hoaxers and Zamora agreed. The Lorenzens wrote they got this directly from Zamora, then called Holder, who confirmed it. The Lorenzens also wrote they thought this a good idea, and then apparently went along with it by using the Holder version in two illustrations published in the same APRO Bulletin.

Gianfranco said...

Hi all.
I read somewhere that Blue Book made a model based on Socorro's craft and Aime Michel showed a photo of this model to Maurice Masse (the guy of Valensole CE III encounter). Mr. Masse said the photo showed the craft that landed in its field.
Aime Michel wrote about this in one issue of Flying Saucer Review.

(This is my first comment... sorry for my english.
Thanks to Mr. Randle for his great blog)

Craig McDaniel said...


I spent more than a couple of days looking on the net for the inverted "V" with the three line combination. In one sense the good news I didn't find anything that remotely looked close. I looked for religious symbols and even some cult related pages. There was no languages that uses symbols (like Mandarin) that I could find either.

Since Zamora didn't have the internet back in 1964 he didn't come up with the inverted V from there.

In short I looking for ideas that he might have copied the inverted V from somewhere in print. If there was an exact or close match, I couldn't find it prior to this case started in 1964.

I don't think Zamora made up the story about the craft or symbols the more I read about the case in it's totality.

Paul Young said...

Looking at the Astropower symbol, the circle and the square are just as prominent as the inverted V, yet in all of the permutations considered as the true insignia on the Socorro vehicle a circle, or square, are not included.
For me, that points toward Hynek only mentioning the Astropower insignia as a demonstration that he had been looking for similarities with various companies logos but had pretty much drawn a blank.
In short, except for the inverted V, the Astropower logo looks nothing like any of the suggested symbols on the Socorro craft. It's a non-starter!

The interesting point, as mentioned above by both KR and DR, is the fact Blue Book included two sketches of the supposed symbol. It seems absolutely obvious to me that they are showing both the actual symbol, as described by Zamora, and the one that he devised after taking advice from Holder.
It just seems that the editor of BB simply didn't explain that too well in the written passage accompanying the sketches.

For the life of me I can't understand why anyone has spent more than five minutes pondering the other permutations of where the lines are positioned, around or within the inverted V.
The insignia Zamora saw can only be one of the sketches displayed in BB.

Anthony Mugan said...

Hello all

I realise I won't be popular with this but it seems to me that:
a) In terms of the symbol specifically, we can't say with confidence exactly what Officer Zamora said he saw. However symbols of this general form are not commonly reported in the stronger cases (indeed symbols generally are not often reported).
b) A lot of this case depends on accepting Officer Zamora's word. Can we be totally certain, for example, that he actually saw this device whilst chasing a speeding car and headed up towards it only minutes before Sgt Chavez arrived on the scene? How can we be sure that he wasn't up there a bit earlier 'setting the scene' for whatever reason? (I don't think that is very likely, I just don't see how to rule it out as a possibility).
c) The ground trace evidence largely depends on assuming the sequence of events as described - there is nothing intrinsically unusual about the traces that precludes a human origin unless you completely accept the timeline in Officer Zamora's report (and / or accept verbal claims of other ground effects for which we don't have actual evidence).
d) Reports of other witnesses do not seem particularly robust (3rd party reports of unidentified witnesses don't seem that great to me).
e) There's an outside chance it could all have been a test device but that doesn't seem all that secure either.

I have no reason to doubt Zamora's honesty, but I can't see how the evidence can be considered strong enough to consider this as good evidence for the ETH, as there is insufficient evidence to positively rule out either a hoax or a misidentification.

I suppose it just boils down to the threshold of evidence you want - and for me it just isn't there in this case. A priori, conventional possibilities are far more likely than an ET spaceship and for me I need to see some concrete reason to positively exclude conventional explanations before going on to consider evidence for a technological device of unknown origin. There aren't many cases that meet that set of requirements (examples might include the 1964 USS Gyatt case, Trans-en Provence from 1981 and Stephenville from 2008 and a handful of others).

Mark said...

I got bored waiting for someone to respond to my comment, so I did some digging on Astropower myself. Of course, _if_ this was an experimental military vehicle, that vehicle was classified, so it's impossible to disprove that Astropower built it - but they don't seem like the sort of organization I would expect to be flying prototypes around the New Mexico desert.

In brief: Astropower was founded in early November 1960 by Y. C. Lee, Dr. George Moe, and E. W. Smith as a subsidiary of Douglas Aircraft. It's described as an "outgrowth" of Aero-Space Technology, Inc., previously formed by those three. It's not clear what they mean by an "outgrowth", but I'm not sure that's all that relevant. I found no explicit record of when the company closed, but the last mention I found of their existence was in 1972.

The press release for Astropower's formation says they will develop "electrical, nuclear, and high-energy chemical propulsion systems for spacecraft". This may sound like the sort of organization that would build a secret military prototype - but in February 1961, i.e. before there had been any time to build anything, they announced they would specifically focus on "electrical propulsion systems, nuclear propulsion, solid-state devices, and SNAP." (SNAP: Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power - miniature nuclear reactors and batteries, mostly for powering satellites.)

Electrical propulsion systems are awesome, but their T/W is way, _way_ too low to lift something off the desert. I don't think a nuclear thermal rockets could have plausibly been kept secret - we know what the AEC and NASA were doing in that area at the time - and other forms of nuclear propulsion either could not be hidden (Orion), or would not be suitable for atmospheric thrust (fission fragment rockets).

Furthermore, judging by their publications, they actually functioned more as a contract research shop. A sampling of their work:

Studying chemical interactions between halogens and fuel tank walls for the Air Force.
Studying improved membranes for water treatment for the Department of the Interior.
Developing battery technology for NASA and the US Army.
Developing supercritical CO2 turbines for the Air Force.
Developing a "tunnel diode inverter" (some kind of electronics gadget).
Developing pattern recognition algorithms for image processing.
Finding ways to tell levels of alertness from EEG readings for the Navy.
Some stuff having to do with polymers that I don't really understand.

This doesn't look like the output of a group that's building secret military prototypes.

Anyway, this isn't proof of anything, but it's enough to make me think that, if Socorro _was_ an experimental vehicle, it _probably_ wasn't built by Astropower.

Brian Bell said...

It's hard to believe, at least for me, that we can claim Zamora a fantastic witness and dismiss his signature on a drawing he made. If the man's word was his bond, I doubt he would've falsely signed an official document. If he did, we might question the entire man's career - perhaps he falsely arrested people or wrote them tickets illegally. And yet I think that's not true at all. I think he signed what he drew to authorize and certify the illustration.

So we can't have it both ways -- "he's a fantastic witness AND he signs false documents."

By the way, the inverted TRIANGLE with a single line through it is an old alchemy symbol meaning "air". There's another version with FOUR lines running through it as an inverted V meaning "essence", and yet another inverted V with TWO lines running through it for "air".

These are often combined to represent a mixture of elements. So the closest thing to an inverted V with three lines through it is a pagan alchemy symbol from the days of sourcery and magic.

Now isn't it more likely the USAF or FBI might have conjured up that symbol as a cover?

Or are we to assume space beings gave us alchemy because they're sourcers of magic?

Wayne Patterson said...

I will try to leave a serious comment, but it is difficult for the following reason.......Ray stanford continues to resurface on ufo discussion sites, and for the life of me I cannot understand why..this man, who started out with George adamski, has plagued the world with claims for of an enormous saucer above a freeway at rush hour, to an enormous ufo hovering over the gulf coast in front of an office building full of people, on and on..recently I read an exchange on the message boards of a radio show well known to ufo followers, where the head of a states chapter of a mufon group,who was apparently a former usaf intelligence officer, attacked and insulted anyone who doubted any of Stanford's claims....
Stanford's defenders, who include an individual mutilation "researcher" who kevin exchanged some info about copper levels in cattle, insist he has the holy grail of ufo info...but you must take his word for it.....You aren't important enough to's time people stopped listening to ufo snake oil salesmen.....I am a witness to a metallic disc, seen in a group, at less than a hundred yards..but people like this have no answers.....only followers..and they hurt the subject...maybe, we should all say, don't reference this man until he shows something we can see......the roswell "slides" are not the only thing hurting the field......You see the clown scares in the news lately......we have our own clowns

David Rudiak said...

Anthony, (1 of 2)

Zamora was hardly a criminal mastermind. He had been on patrol for hours and his movements and activities logged, thus not giving him the time to prepare the site in any way. And the physical evidence at the site does not support such a scenario:

1) Sgt. Chavez of the State Police arrived where Zamora was probably less than a minute afterward. He found Zamora in a state of shock, ashen in color, clearly badly shaken and frightened.

2) More importantly, Chavez said he immediately turned the site into a crime scene, looking for physical evidence. Additional police arrived within minutes (the site was only a mile from the Socorro police station). They could find zero evidence of anyone else being there, such as tire tracks or footprints. Chavez and Zamora walked together before others arrived to the bottom of the arroyo, where they found no footprints around the rectangular, wedge-shaped landing impressions and freshly burned ground and foliage.

3) The landing impressions and burning being fresh was critical, NOT something that could be prepared hours before. Hynek said 9 people he spoke to mentioned the landing impression penetrating into the moist subsoil, the key word being the soil was still moist at the bottom when they observed it soon afterward. (Also, the impressions could not be reproduced by simple digging, with the soil compressed and mounded to the sides as if something of great weight had set down there. The impressions lasted for decades.) The ground, grass, and greasewood bush burned in half were still smoldering, according to Chavez, Zamora, and other police, who arrived even 10 minutes later. Again, something that would have had to be prepared immediately before everyone arrived. Greasewood plants are also notoriously difficult to burn. It would have taken time to burn with something like a propane or acetyline torch, which should have left organic residues behind, which were NOT found by the Air Force lab that went looking for them in samples. (Again, something well beyond Zamora's ability to carry off.)

4) And whether you put any credence in it (since it was never documented in writing), photos taken about 10 minutes after by one of the police were taken by the Air Force and never returned. Hynek told Stanford (on tape) that he was told by the Air Force that the photos had been fogged by radiation. Photos taken the next morning by Chavez turned out fine, indicating very short-lived radiation at the site. This is next to impossible to fake and light years beyond anything Zamora could have done.

5) There was also Dr. James McDonald's comments about interviewing Mary Mayes, who was a grad student in radiation biology at the Univ. of NM in Albuquerque and brought out the next day to take samples and analyze them. According to McDonald, Mayes said a triangular piece of fused sand was found in the primary burn area, something that can't be done with torches and would require something like a glass-blower's furnance to create. There was also a blistered rock found in the primary burn area, again all FAR beyond Zamora's abilities to hoax.

David Rudiak said...

(2 of 2)
6) There were other oddities, such as perpendiculars drawn from the middle of the lines connecting the landing marks meeting at right angles and right in the middle of the burn area where the plant was burned in two. There is a geometric theorem that the quadilateral formed by the landing impressions will enclose and touch a circle at four points only if this is true. From an engineering standpoint, this means if the center of gravity was at the primary burn area where Zamora said he saw the blue flame, equal weight would be placed at the midpoints of the connecting lines, and by extension, each landing pad would carry equal weight, or good engineering design for a 4-point landing system. I was pretty darn good at geometry and I seriously doubt if I would have thought of such a touch. Zamora--no way!

So Zamora is completely out as a solitary hoaxer. As Hynek repeatedly commented, the only way Zamora could have been part of hoax is if all first investigators were also in on the hoax and lying about the evidence, such as Chavez and the rest of the Socorro police, plus Army Cpt. Holder, and FBI agent Bynes, all very hard to believe. Holder went on public record many years later that he was totally convinced that Zamora was telling the truth and the physical evidence supported what he said he saw. And for Hynek, Socorro was a tipping point for him that UFOs were indeed nuts and bolts physical flying objects.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell said:
It's hard to believe, at least for me, that we can claim Zamora a fantastic witness and dismiss his signature on a drawing he made. If the man's word was his bond, I doubt he would've falsely signed an official document. If he did, we might question the entire man's career - perhaps he falsely arrested people or wrote them tickets illegally. And yet I think that's not true at all. I think he signed what he drew to authorize and certify the illustration.

So we can't have it both ways -- "he's a fantastic witness AND he signs false documents."

Nonsense! Of course you leave out the context, that this wasn't Zamora's idea but early investigator Army Cpt. Holder's as a means of distinguishing possible future true reports from false ones. Zamora agreed this sounded like a good idea and went along.

In fact, this is very similar to what police often do--publicly withhold details of a crime or put out false details, knowing that only they and the "perp" will know what really happened. This way if someone confesses to the crime but provides wrong details, or reiterates publicly released false ones, they know they are lying. Or if someone provides details that have been withheld, they know they have the right guy (or at least was there).

Thus Zamora signing a document about a detail he knew to be false would be done with the best of intentions of COOPERATING with an official investigation, not of misleading it. Both Holder and Zamora confessed to the Lorenzens of APRO 2 days later (April 26) that this is what happened. The Lorenzens wrote this up in the APRO Bulletin the following month, and agreed this sounded like a good plan to distinguish true reports from hoax ones. They also published illustrations of the symbol that Holder/Zamora devised and Zamora signed his name attesting to it, thus the Lorenzens were apparently going along with the scheme. (However, it seems they got the alt-symbol indirectly and not directly from Holder or Zamora. One instance, they wrote, was a drawing of the object and symbol by a 14-year old Socorro boy that was endorsed by Zamora as being the closest to what he had seen.)

In addition, Zamora also told the Lorenzens that Holder told him not to discuss the true symbol publicly (thus we have quotes from Zamora on the radio and in the newspapers refusing to discuss the symbol because he was instructed not to), but was free to do so with official investigators. When Hynek, an official investigator, arrived April 28, he apparently got the other symbol from Zamora, which he eventually conveyed to Blue Book 5 months later, to have them look for it in secret projects. Hynek also was publicly discussing the inverted V symbol publicly April 29 to the newspapers and on the radio, possibly not being aware of the Holder scheme at that point.

Before Holder arrived about an hour and a half after the event, Zamora had already discussed what he had seen with various Socorro police, such as Chavez and Martinez. Chavez, probably unaware of the Holder/Zamora plan, was quoted in the newspapers April 28 that Zamora had seen the inverted V with three lines, and then a similar description was attributed April 29 to Zamora himself in newspaper quotes (close to Hynek's BB diagram), but possibly coming second-hand from someone or persons who had spoken to Zamora rather than directly from Zamora.

So the situation was much more nuanced than your usual overly simplistic cartoon sketch of what happened.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell wrote:
These are often combined to represent a mixture of elements. So the closest thing to an inverted V with three lines through it is a pagan alchemy symbol from the days of sourcery and magic.

Not picking specifically on Brian Bell, but there have been numerous theories about the meaning of either symbol (such as CIA or International Paper), which is pretty useless without knowing the actual origin of such a craft. Even with humans, the same symbol can represent many different things in different cultures and different times. And if the symbol was alien in origin, knowing the true meaning is next to impossible. Speculation gets us nowhere.

Now isn't it more likely the USAF or FBI might have conjured up that symbol as a cover?

Now isn't it more likely what the Lorenzens of APRO heard directly from Zamora and Army Cpt. Richard Holder only 2 days later (and put in writing the next month), that Holder with Zamora's cooperation created a second symbol to help distinguish copy-cat sighting hoaxers from true sightings? Thus it was the ARMY, not the Air Force or FBI, who came up with the "cover" symbol. The Lorenzens also wrote Zamora told them Holder didn't want him discussing the correct symbol publicly, but he could talk about it with official investigators, such as Hynek. (Thus Hynek got the inverted-V/3-bar symbol from Zamora 4 days after the event.)

On the other hand, for reasons unknown, it seems Holder was not fully cooperating with the Air Force Blue Book investigators, who arrived very soon after the Lorenzens April 26. According to AF Sgt. Moody's Blue Book writeup, when he asked Holder about the red symbol, "Capt Holder claimed no knowledge of the red mark." Moody instead said he attached the Zamora diagram, which we know from the Lorenzens was really devised by Holder/Zamora.

Or are we to assume space beings gave us alchemy because they're sourcers [sic] of magic?

Or are we to assume that the Brian Bell being gave us the true meaning because he is the sourcerer of psychic divining of true meaning, that apparently he has also divined would be identically used by space beings?

E.g., the swastika goes back at least a few thousand years, has been used in multiple cultures, generally as a sacred or religious symbol meaning peace, good fortune, or well-being, adopting a very different meaning in the 20th Century as a symbol of Nazism.

Try guessing what a swastika might mean to an alien culture if they used it. Pointless speculating, as I said. Same with either of the Socorro symbols.

Craig McDaniel said...


I reviewed your Alchemical symbols and fail to see one symbol that matches Brian's inverted V with three lines fully in the middle and breaking the edges. Did I miss it? I did see some triangle but they were not close in appearance.

You seem to be suggesting that what Officer Zamora was not actuate in everything he saw and not just the symbol? So do you believe or disbelieve he saw a craft that took off from the desert as Officer Zamora described?

Anthony Mugan said...

David and others
Thanks...I will think carefully about a number of the points you raise.

RRRGroup said...

Lonnie Zamora was an exemplary witness. He saw something odd and reported it accurately.

We might all have a clue as to the source of his observed "object" if the military (Captain Holder) hadn't screwed around with the insignia that Officer Zamora saw.

What was the real reason for fudging the symbol? Did the military expect other sightings? With insigniae on them?

And let's keep Ray Stanford out of this. His UFO credentials are murky and compromised.


Wayne Patterson said...

The reason I often feel the Zamora case is something both strangely different than most ufo cases, and perhaps some elaborate counter intelligence operation, is the non conformity to most anything else.....the vehicles description, seems frankly so odd and crude compared to discs, triangles, even the heel shaped objects that have been described or photographed, that it has more in common with 1960s technology than off planet visitors. Off course we know of no power plant available at that time to move this thing around. The bizarre nature of the thing just makes the possibility of something professionally staged ( ie white sands level, not college kids) seem a real option. The discussion of the symbol, while fun for all, seems to be sort of pointless...why stage something like this? Maybe because the target wasn't the public, or ufo people, but to give our soviet gru friends reason to believe IF we have a recovered craft, white sands is learning to utilize its principles...I feel certain new mexico had more than its share of soviet controlled assets.....and this would make them tingly all over. Odd flight abilities, one off, test bed design type description, maybe throw in cpt holder,, and you have the makings of a stage managed, look what we are working on, showcase........and even more important if you did recover something, a few years before, and can't make heads or tails out of it.....You use it the best way you can.....and the kgb and gru run around the country looking for that acme flying object symbol, courtesy of uncle sam

Brian Bell said...

@ Craig

As I wrote, the three symbols I referenced on the two links show three different variations of triangle-inverted V symbols. A triangle with a line through the top, an inverted V with two lines through it, and an inverted V with four lines through it. As I said, sometimes the symbols were merged to illustrate a combined element or physical property which MAY produce an inverted V with three lines.

As for David's comments, well anything that remains a mystery but has something similar in a terrestrial sense is quickly eliminated by him because he can't fathom NOT having these sightings prove aliens exist.

Every mystery on earth must be attributed to aliens according to David - or at least it seems.

Craig McDaniel said...


I actually saw the alchemical symbols before you commented on them. I dismissed them outright and not worth even bringing up. Simply there was nothing there. I did do my homework. Period.

Several months ago you made a passionate augment about the test vehicle in a hanger that still had the tie-down to the legs. The craft clearly had the American Flag on the side of it.

So which story do you want us to us belief?

I still believe the inverted V with the three lines. If for any reason, this symbol is simple to remember and Zamora had not mentioned anything about ever some magical alchemical background or understanding of the subject.

Anthony Mugan said...


Two specific areas that I'm trying to find out about and wonder if, from your comments above, you have a specific insight into.

a key thing for me is if there is some evidence that really rules out the idea that someone could have created the physical trace evidence in this case:
a) Is there a copy anywhere of the original lab report where they found no evidence of accelerants etc? It would be interesting to see what exactly was tested for and what wasn't.
b) I'm not sure why you suggest the holes in the ground could not have been created that day by someone with a spade and a degree of effort? Is there information on the hardness of the ground etc. that would lead to that conclusion?

If there is a way to rule out one or both of the main physical traces as being created by a hoaxer then, OK, we are looking at a real object, but...

Ben Moss said...

Astro Power made software, not crafts. The 4 holes were made by a considerable weight. The Air Force immediately looked for evidence of accelerate's and found none. Most of the post here about Socorro have done no homework so its best to read the whole thread before commenting. Kevin and Dave have done their's as have I in investigating this case for over 2 years now.
There is zero chance that this was a hoax. Really, thinking that someone with a spade fooled the Air Force and many other investigators is wishful thinking and ludicrous. I think that Dave has made a solid argument for the inverted v with 3 bars, as have I in my presentation. The important part of all of this is that nobody on Earth made this craft, had or has anything like it, and every possible company was checked and asked to report by the White House, CIA, Air Force, and FBI. That's why it is, to this day, a Blue Book UNKNOWN. There were several egg shaped craft sighted in this area in this time frame, Hollerman being a main one. Most of the Socorro officers saw the craft but never reported it due to Lonnie's treatment. The many digs on Ray are typical of uninformed people who judge him by his association with Adamsky, which Ray regrets.

David Rudiak said...

Anthony Mugan wrote:
a key thing for me is if there is some evidence that really rules out the idea that someone could have created the physical trace evidence in this case:
a) Is there a copy anywhere of the original lab report where they found no evidence of accelerants etc? It would be interesting to see what exactly was tested for and what wasn't.

I agree, the original lab report might have important information, but that was not published in Blue Book, only a mention that the lab analysis was negative for organic accelerant traces.

b) I'm not sure why you suggest the holes in the ground could not have been created that day by someone with a spade and a degree of effort? Is there information on the hardness of the ground etc. that would lead to that conclusion?

The key point in my mind is that the "landing traces", like the burned ground and brush (that were still hot and smoldering for minutes afterward), were completely fresh, namely that the holes penetrated into the moist subsoil and the moisture was still evident in the bottom. Hynek mentioned 9 people he spoke to who were out there soon afterward that mentioned this. In the case of the holes, this means, however they were prepared in a hoax, it could not have been long before Zamora and others arrived, or the exposed subsoil would have dried out in the daytime. Then they would have had to somehow quickly clean up after themselves (completely remove footprints, tire prints, etc., to suggest nobody had been out there). Sgt. Chavez and other police made a big point of looking for such track evidence, and didn't find any.

Another key point is that everybody agreed that the soil appeared to be compressed by great weight. (So much so, as it turned out, that traces of the depressions lasted for decades before finally filling in.) In addition, soil at the edges formed raised burms, again as if something had pressed down, then lifted up. I know that an attempt was made to try to replicate the holes/burms the next day using a spade, and it could not be done.

When Ray Stanford went out with Zamora and Hynek on April 29, Zamora pointed out a crushed rock at the edge of one of the holes with metal scrapings on it. Stanford collected the scrapings, with Richard Hall's assistance had it analyzed by X-ray diffraction at NASA lab (Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland). The scientist doing the analysis (Dr. Henry Frankel) initially told Stanford the metal was a zinc/iron alloy with trace elements that didn't match any known alloy in their large database. After that, Frankel became permanently unavailable, with the official story then changing to silica, or common sand, which isn't metallic at all.

Going with the original NASA analysis of unknown alloy (in which NO WAY could X-ray diffraction have confused such an alloy with common silica), hoaxers would have had to create a new alloy and then plant it at the site, as if some object had crushed the rock and had some metal scraped off it the process. IMHO, not only a very far-fetched scenario, but a bit over-the-top for a hoax.

However, the real biggie for me I can't get past was Zamora's description of the object taking off right in front of him, then going dead silent, zipping off against the wind at high speed in a highly controlled manner hugging the ground, rising rapidly when it reached the mountains 2 miles away, and disappearing miles away in tens of seconds.

Regardless, Zamora could not have partaken in planting FRESH physical evidence without confederates. Another interesting point raised by the Lorenzens in the May 1964 APRO Bulletin, is that Zamora would not have had the time to have done this because his police log book was filled with his patrol activities (plus, no doubt, checking in with dispatch at regular intervals). Thus no opportunity and no motive that I or anybody else can think of. Also completely out of character for those who knew him.

David Rudiak said...

Brian Bell
As for David's comments, well anything that remains a mystery but has something similar in a terrestrial sense is quickly eliminated by him because he can't fathom NOT having these sightings prove aliens exist.

Every mystery on earth must be attributed to aliens according to David - or at least it seems.

No Brian. I don't have to invoke "aliens" to answer the great mystery of why you perpetually makes such nonsensical, pointless arguments.

Back on planet Earth using critical thinking and rational, logical argument, any conventional explanation has to explain actual details in a conventional way and have actual evidence to back it up. To fit the details a human craft would: 1) Have to land and take off vertically emitting a blue flame and a roar, without excavating a crater like a conventional jet engine or rocket (while leaving no organic residue behind but perhaps creating short-lived radiation like a particle accelerator), 2) hover and go completely silent, then zip away AGAINST THE WIND at high speed hugging the ground, without rotors or wings to create lift, 3) be capable of going into a steep, high-speed climb to clear a mountain, 4) fade out in the sky approximately six miles away, all in probably half a minute (average speed about 700 mph). I might add that it departed AWAY from White Sands flying out into open country where there are scarcely any humans much less test bases to return to. (I might also add, based on what Zamora observed, the crew seemed to composed of midgets only about 4 feet tall.)

Now NOBODY then or now knows of a CONVENTIONAL aircraft that can do these things. What exactly was its propulsion system? How did it work? Even you acknowledge Zamora observed a real craft and being the work of hoaxers was out of the question since you visited the site and realized there was no where for hoaxers to hide.

You can bet if we had such marvelous VTOL, high speed, silent aircraft back in 1964, it would have revolutionized military warfare and we would now have thousands of them deployed by the Air Force, Army, and Navy. Where are they?

So you can speculate all you want about alchemy symbols, or any other human symbols. If humans then or now couldn't create such a craft with the given characteristics, then what does alchemy have to do with anything?

Anthony Mugan said...

Thanks David - agreed it does seem very likely that the holes were created shortly before they were observed by the witnesses and that there at lot of indications that this was probably a genuine event. I do still remain uneasy about it for reasons previously discussed. Anyway - I'll leave it at that

Wind Swords said...

If there has been no other sightings of a UFO with ANY of these symbols (fake or real) then it seems a rather moot point, except for the purposes of historical accuracy. After all the whole point of obfuscating the "real" symbol was to weed out copy cats and hoaxers (and maybe to see if the "real" symbol was spotted again. But to my knowledge there were no future sightings of the "fake" or the "real" symbol. If the object Zamora saw was extra terrestrial then one can only conclude that the particular craft/race has never come near the earth again.