Last night, while appearing on Martin Willis’ Podcast UFO (see http://podcastufo.com/about/) 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
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: