Thursday, November 09, 2017

Zamora vs People

Last night, while appearing on Martin Willis’ Podcast UFO (see to talk about Encounters in the Desert, I had a chance to speak with Ray Stanford. I believe Ray is the last surviving investigator or witness who was on the site of the Socorro UFO landing in the days that
Martin Willis
followed. He provided some interesting insight to what he had seen and done but there was one point that he made, which is that Lonnie Zamora had never used the word “people” to refer to the figures he had seen near the landed craft.

I did know, based on my research, that FBI agent Arthur Byrnes had suggested to Zamora that he might not want to mention those creatures because he might find himself the butt of jokes. UFOs in the sky were fine, and landed craft were okay, but the actual sighting of the crew on the outside was just too hard for some to accept. This gave rise to the idea that Zamora had only seen white coveralls in the distance and had seen no real detail.

While I suggested that the official file did provide a number of words for the crew, Ray insisted that people wasn’t one of them. He objected strongly to that word, though I’m not sure why. He did say that in his discussions with Zamora, only the word “figures” had been used.

As they often say, “Let’s go to the video tape,” which, of course, doesn’t exactly apply here but we can go the documents created at the time. What do they say about this?

Coral and Jim Lorenzen had been in Socorro within 48 hours of the landing and had the opportunity to interview Zamora. In the May 1964 issue of The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, she wrote that she had asked Zamora about what he had seen. He said he hadn’t seen any “little men,” which is not the word people but does move us beyond “figures.”

When Lorenzen pointed out that he had already described them in the press and that description had been published, he expanded on it, saying that they looked like “young boys” or “small adults.” I will go out on a limb here and point out that the quotation marks are used in that article suggesting that they are the words of Zamora. Still not people, but moving us even closer.

In the Project Blue Book files there are various reports written by a number of men. In one of those documents, dated May 13, 1964, written just over two weeks after the event, it says, “At this point he saw two people in white coveralls…” That moves us directly to the use of the word. The document was written by Colonel Eric T. de Jonckheere. His name surfaces in a number of reports of UFOs besides the one in Socorro.

But the use of the term is not in quotation marks and it could be argued that de Jonckheere had interpreted what Zamora said to mean people although he hadn’t used that specific word. Fair enough.

In a report written by Major William Connor, who has been identified as the Public Information Officer at Kirtland AFB but whose job was probably a bit more significant, wrote in his report that Zamora said, “The only time I saw these two persons was when I stopped… These persons appeared normal in shape – but possible they were small adults or large kids.”

In another document, either written by Zamora, or dictated by him, he said, “Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled…”

Although it was argued that these weren’t exactly Zamora’s words, they are in quotation marks that suggest that they were. In that document, which is a partial transcript of what Zamora had told those first investigations, it seems that he did use “people” to describe the beings.

Other documents, however, seem to cloud the issue. T/Sgt David Moody, the Air Force investigator on the scene, wrote in his undated report, “…it [the craft] appeared to be a thing on four pronged legs and the two white things (described as coveralls) were no longer visible.”

This, of course, moves us away from people, but by the time Moody had arrived, Zamora had become reluctant to talk about seeing anything at all. But the newspapers were not reluctant to print stories about the landing. The Alamogordo Daily News reported that Zamora “saw two ‘men’ adjacent to it wearing white suits.”

The Albuquerque Tribune, on April 25, the day after the sighting, reported, “Moving close he [Zamora] saw two figures…”

Interestingly, the Albuquerque Journal reported on April 27, “Zamora denied that he had seen any little creatures around the object…”

Later in that same article, however, Zamora talked about seeing white coveralls near the craft. According to the article, “…whether anything was in them he did not know.”

Now we have moved from a debate about whether Zamora ever said “people” in relation to the figures he had seen to a denial that he had seen anything other than the craft and white coveralls. This, of course, reflects the confusion of the time and the suggestion by Byrnes that Zamora might be better off he said nothing about the alien beings.

The El Paso Herald-Post, reinforced the white coveralls without anything in them on April 27. According to that article, “Zamora said he also saw what looked like white coveralls but could not tell if anyone – or anything – was in them.”

Finally, the Socorro Defensor Chieftain reported that Zamora has seen two persons near the object in a gully. Given that it was the local newspaper, you would think that one of their reporters or the editor would have interviewed Zamora, but there are no direct quotes from him, though others, such as Captain Richard Holder are quoted. The only thing about the beings in quotation marks are the words, “child-like.’”

The point here, maybe unnecessarily, is that according to the documentation from 1964, within days of the sighting, Zamora had used a number of words to describe the beings he saw. One of those documents, in the Project Blue Book files, is a transcript of Zamora’s testimony and while it might not have been tape recorded, it is a transcript of his words. He said they were “people.” He also said they were “child-like,” and said they were “persons,” but he also said they were figures, and it is clear that after he talked with the government officials, he said that he had only seen “white coveralls.”

But the real point, one that is missed as we drive deep into the weeds, is that Zamora said he saw two beings, two humanoids, standing near the craft and that once they returned inside, it lifted off with a roar. We can argue about the precise words, but that only hides the real issue. Zamora was talking about something that was very strange and it frightened him badly.

You can read the full Socorro landing story and review the words of Lonnie Zamora here:


ilfakiro said...

hello Kevin, I find this discussion a little bit boring (sorry!); considering that you'talked with Ray Stanford why don't ask him about the alleged metal debris found on landing site?

KRandle said...

ilfakiro -

Sometimes it is necessary to explain things in detail. I wondered about the reaction of others to this as I was collecting the information for it. Thought some might not be overly interested.

A long discussion of the metallic debris and what happened to it can be found in the book. Thanks for the opportunity promote the book.

Steve Sawyer said...

In your interview, did the subject of which symbol on the "craft" was actually observed come up?

The reason I ask is because after Zamora's death, Stanford came out with a memorial article about Zamora on UFO Chronicles, where he stated the symbol was the inverted V with three horizontal lines through it, rather than the better known symbol he drew for the USAF at one point, and which shows an "up arrow" with one horizontal line underneath and a semi-circle above the arrow.

Stanford argues the symbol Zamora drew was at the behest of USAF Capt. Holder, as a means to eliminate later reports of similar sightings that indicated the "up arrow" symbol, or as a means to quantify related sightings in the area, which were reported, although I don't know of any reports that indicated either symbol, or any symbol, was seen by other sighting reports.

Could you briefly tell us what Stanford currently thinks about the symbol's morphology, and what your opinion is as to which symbol is the correct, real one?

Also, what is your opinion of Anthony Bragalia's conclusion that the Socorro incident was a New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology student prank, based on his interviews with two people who claim to have been involved in staging the alleged hoax? Bragalia has a couple articles about this at his website,, where he details his findings, and I've always wondered whether Socorro was either a genuine "unknown," as the USAF/Quintanilla concluded, or some bizarre hoax.

What is your considered opinion as to both the symbol and the nature of the incident?

Louis Nicholson said...

Hi Kevin. As usual, I enjoyed your interview on Martin's show as well as the one on the Paracast. Haven't listened to the one on Coast to Coast yet but I will sometime today.

I hear and understand your great frustration in the investigators' failure to try to find other witnesses in the few days after the event. However, as a retired Philadelphia criminal prosecutor and defense attorney, I can also understand why they probably did not. Quite simply, given the fact that Officer Zamora was a seemingly highly credible police officer who had a clear observation of what transpired, the thinking was probably (at least subconsciously) that there was no need to get corroborating testimony. In the real criminal legal world, for instance, if someone robbed a bank right in front of a credible police officer, more than likely neither the police, the prosecuting attorney's office nor the defense would care about what the civilians in the bank observed because in court the police officer's testimony alone would be more than enough to get a conviction. In fact, even if there were one or two civilian witnesses whose testimony conflicted with the officer's, more than likely the officer's testimony would believed over the civilians'. The testimony of police officers who have no history of being mendacious and had a clear view of the criminal act and criminal is generally given a tremendous amount of weight by judges and juries and in such cases the defense attorneys generally work hard to make guilty plea deals. That's just the way it is, fortunately or unfortunately. And yes, I too wish someone would have tried to find other witnesses, if no more than to see if they saw something Officer Zamora did not, but I certainly understand why none of those top notch investigators thought it was necessary at the time.

Did you ever ask Ray Stanford why he didn't look for witnesses?

KRandle said...

Steve -

All the questions you ask are detailed in the book and I don't want to spend time publishing the same things. I have talked about the symbol on various shows, and devote a chapter about it in the book. BTW, Holder was an Army officer and not an Air Force officer.

There is a chapter that deals with the various hoax answers as well, and I have published here some of that information.

And your final question is answered in the book as well.

KRandle said...

Louis -

No, I didn't ask him about that specifically, but I did try to learn the names of the two "audio" witnesses. While it is probably true they would no longer be available, I had thought we might some younger people who might have heard something and knew something about the events in 1964... though I suspect it would be useless because no matter how truthful their responses might be, many would reject them because the event was more than half a century old.

While I understand what you are saying, given that Zamora was alone in what he described, I would have thought that someone would have attempted to find additional witnesses. Holder, as an Army officer probably saw his role ended as the Air Force showed up. Byrnes, who didn't want it known that he was FBI probably bowed out as quickly as possible. I still think that Hynek and Moody should have looked, but more importantly, knowing Coral and Jim Lorenzen, I'm surprised that they didn't follow up on this. They weren't going into court and knew the value of corroboration given the nature of the sighting. They didn't live all that far away (though by 1964 they had left Alamogordo for Tucson), I can't see them dropping this, even with Zamora's testimony on the record.

cda said...

Louis N:

The observation of a vehicle crash or even a bank robbery is hardly the same as the observation of a highly anomalous occurrence like that described by Zamora. Of course we would all like to assume the police are wholly reliable witnesses, but the UFO HANDBOOK by Allan Hendry shows this is not so. The Condon Report, p.368, gives another example. A third example was in the UK where the same object (Venus, on the exact same dates as the Condon sighting!) was mistaken for a UFO by police officers.

The authorities were therefore very lax in not trying to find corrorobative witnesses in the Zamora case. Police can get as over-excited by such sightings as ordinary citizens.

Louis Nicholson said...


I agree 100 percent. I was not saying that the investigators were justified in not looking for the witnesses, it was just my theory as to why they didn't bother to. I, personally, even in criminal and accident cases, never blindly accepted a police officer's veracity over someone else. But unfortunately, most people do and I think that faulty thinking adversely effected the investigators.

I am EXTREMELY surprised that Ray Stanford, who I always thought of as brilliant, failed to look for the people. Since he didn't respond to that issue (but responded to other issues Kevin brought up) when he called in during Martin's show, I must assume he has no plausible explanation for not doing so.

Gilles Fernandez said...

Hello Kevin,

Your book was scheduled to be read by me, but a friend told me that James Easton's work seems to be not discussed in your book, not his name in the index... ?????????????
That's right or? If right, what was your reason(s)?

For someone having devoted a chapter on "debunking the prosaic hypotheses" and if the case, it "sucks" imho.



KRandle said...

Gilles -

Nothing like slamming a book without reading it.

Frankly, I forgot about this non-starter explanation, given the evidence in the case... including how the thing lifted off and disappeared in the minutes before Sgt. Sam Chavez arrived on the scene. At worst, it took him three minutes to get there. How does a balloon lift off and vanish in such a short time?

I devoted a chapter to debunking the ridiculous explanations that have no real basis in reality...

But everyone is entitled to his own opinion, even if that opinion "sucks."

Ben Moss said...

Regarding Gilles Fernandez post, since it appears you are not familiar with this case why would you even throw out James Easton weak balloon theory when he also called Kenneth Arnold's sightings a penguin? Have you been to the site? Do you know that this object took off into a still 35-40MPH wind and that there were no footprints found anywhere on site except Lonnie's? Nuff said as the hoax theory has been destroyed by many factual rebuttals. This just goes to show that debunkers 'hear' an explanation, then turn that into a fact, with out any due diligence, research, or knowledge of the actual event. Easton's laughable theory is bunk and I am sure Holder would have been aware, or told of any balloon launch, which of course would not have been done from an obscure site in Socorro, many miles from actual launch site. As we still investigate this case, I am amazed at the number of people who have an 'answer' for this craft, yet have no clue about the case, its many parts and witnesses, yet they 'armchair' an answer they read on the Internet. Jeez...

Gilles Fernandez said...

Hello Ben,

I'm a lot familiar with this weak case, as Arnold's weak case too... And All or many the "Gospels".

I was interested as investigator (and UFO-skeptic) to read Kevin'book because (or only because) two prosaic hypotheses are interesting me, and still working on them, for "long time", and wanted to know if they were adressed. And then, sif I could enrich /supplement them (element of validation or no-validation). They are not adressed, and I'm a little deceived (for only this personal point I admit). Period.

But Kevin wrote: "How does a balloon lift off and vanish in such a short time?"
It is interesting as counter-argument. (At first sight... only). Well maybe later in another place, because, when questioning the Gospels, wow, it seems you are not welcomed!


" Have you been to the site?" You did??? Excellent point!

"35-40MPH wind" : Ah ok you did, and with an anemometer in the exact place and time of the event! All my respect.

"I am sure": That's cool bro!

Good investigations, Ben,

My very best regards,

Gilles (from France and his famous English^^).

Bamm Bamm Bahama said...

I believe you were all hoaxed by the US government. If you take a step back and read all the information you really can not dismiss the fact that some of the information has been seeded.

I believe you could prove the point by conducting a simple experiment by bringing 3 to 4 non-residents to a site in a desert, and have an official in a government uniform seed them with information. What people don’t realize is that there is one actor in the non-resident that continues to move the conversation in the direction desired. Then you have these people have lunch in a local eatery and watch what happens in the following days as residents realize they are not in the “in”, and it is the non-residents that are in the “in” group.

Ben Moss said...

Giles, your dig is not appreciated, and as far as the weather goes, here is some homework done for you:

KRandle said...

Gilles -

It's more than just the balloon disappearing rapidly... and the fact that hot air balloons don't do well in high winds, which would have kept the balloon grounded... it's also about the physical evidence, Zamora's close approach to the object, and others who saw the object in the sky.