Sunday, December 03, 2017

Socorro Solution - A Hoax?

In the last several days, there has been something of a controversy raging about the Socorro UFO landing. Although it started a couple of years ago when Ben Moss and Tony Angiola began a new investigation, the controversy exploded with the publication of my book, Encounter in the Desert and then Tony Bragalia’s web posting that he had solved the case, though the new information presented there wasn’t all that new or dramatic and the solution didn’t really answer the major questions. You can read his take on Socorro here:


To fully understand all of this, let’s take a look at the history of the Socorro case with an eye on the hoax explanations which is Bragalia’s “new” explanation. Dr. Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer who wrote a number of books explaining all UFOs as hoaxes, illusions, delusions, misidentifications and confabulations was quick to point to students as the culprits in this alleged hoax. On September 10, 1964, just over four months after the landing report, Menzel wrote to Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the Air Force consultant on UFOs, “It certainly sounds to me like a hoax or, perhaps a hallucination.” And then in a letter on February 19, 1965, to Hynek, Menzel and his partner Lyle Boyd suggested that high school students who didn’t like Zamora because he issued them speeding tickets, “planned the whole business to ‘get’ Zamora.”

Hynek responded, "Opal Grinder [owner of a gas station on the edge of Socorro] does have a high school student working for him, and I talked with him at length [meaning, of course, the teenager working for Grinder]. Teenagers generally hate Zamora’s guts, but it was added that they hate all ‘fuzz’ and that if they wanted to get even with Zamora, they would simply beat him up or do something more direct, like letting the air out of his tires or something with immediate results rather than resort to an involved hoax."

It does seem that such an elaborate hoax would have been beyond the capabilities of high school students no matter how bright and how clever they might be. It should also be noted that while Hynek was not thinking in terms of high school students, he did ask “My old friend, Dr. Jack Whotman, President of the New Mexico School of Mines (sic) [which is in Socorro], who said he knew of no geophysical or other types of experiments going on in the area at the time. He, as the rest of the townspeople, were puzzled by the event…”

That, of course, was not the end of it because in a new round of investigations suggested students at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology were now identified as the real perpetrators of the hoax. Tony Bragalia found a letter to Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling dated 1968 saying that the event was a hoax, but it should be noted that Pauling is only the recipient of the letter so his name here means very little in this context. In other words, that it was sent to Pauling is of little real note.

The letter, however, was written by Stirling Colgate, who was a reputable scientist, was at one time the president of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology following Whotman in that position, who said the case is a hoax and was a person of note. We don’t know what he really knew about the landing for certain and since he wasn’t there in 1964, he might not know of anything special. It might just be his opinion that the whole thing was a hoax because, well, it couldn’t be the landing of an alien spacecraft. He talked of pranks and unidentified students, and even that he knew who the pranksters were but we have nothing solid to corroborate this allegation. He wouldn’t release names, though so many years after the event, when he was in communication with Bragalia, I’m not sure what harm it would have done to the former students, their reputations, or the reputation of the school. It certainly wouldn’t do the belief that something alien had landed anything good, but the allegation is often enough in something like this.

Bragalia located another source, Dave Collis, who, as a freshman in 1965, or a year after the landing, had heard some stories from fellow students. He provided what some, at the time, have considered new evidence of a hoax. According to Bragalia:

Dave Collis was a freshman at New Mexico Tech in 1965, a year after the Socorro UFO incident. Collis went on to become a published scientist helping to lead the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at NM Tech. He is considered a world expert in researching blast effects and explosives. Collis explained that he himself enjoyed planning pranks when he was a student at Tech. In 1965, he and his friends had planned a "paranormal" prank and shared the plan with one of his trusted Professors. The Professor (who had been with Tech for years) told him that NM Tech had a long history of pranking- and that one of them was especially noteworthy. Collis then said that the Professor (whose name he does not remember or does not wish to offer) had "confidentially told me that the UFO sighting by the town cop was a hoax done by Techie students." Collis did not want to press the Professor on who did it - or how. Collis says, "he was telling me this in confidence, so I didn't ask for the details and he didn't offer."

When asked if the Professor could have been making up the hoax story, Collis replied that in the context of his conversation with him - there was no reason for him to lie. The Professor had told him the truth about the hoax, of that he was sure. Collis, when told about Stirling Colgate's confirmation that it was a hoax said, "Colgate is a brilliant man and he was a great College President. From what I was told by my Professor, it was a hoax. And if Colgate also says it was a hoax, it was." Collis (who is a pyrotechnics expert and often directed NM Tech's July 4 Fireworks) said that it always has surprised him that people didn't seem to realize just how "terrestrial" the reported Zamora UFO seemed to be in the first place.[i]

Finally, there are names attached to people who supposedly had some inside knowledge of the hoax but who weren’t involved themselves, weren’t part of the prank and therefore had no first-hand knowledge. They had heard about it from someone else who still isn’t named but was there (or might have been there) who believed it to be a hoax with no reason to lie, according to them and Bragalia. We then go back to Colgate who reaffirmed that it was a hoax, but again, it is from others that he heard this and he supplied no names of the perpetrators. More importantly, there are no details on how they pulled this off which is an important consideration.

Bragalia, in his new, 2017 article about this, does up the ante slightly. He interviewed a man who was apparently part of the hoax or claimed that he was. He offers this as further proof. Bragalia wrote:

This author [meaning Bragalia] has found and spoken to an involved perpetrator of the Socorro UFO hoax, a student at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1964… 

There is also major disappointment over what was not shared and what cannot be shared. I cannot tell you with 100% assurance exactly how the hoax was performed… And I am unable, due to the requested anonymity, to tell you the names of involved people. But what I did learn is perhaps equally as important, just as enlightening.

I will step in here to say that I do understand this. Bill Brazel, he of Roswell fame, told me that since his name had been released in 1980, he periodically received telephone calls from strangers, often late at night wanting know if he had been quoted accurately. During the Roswell investigation we (that is Don Schmitt, Tom Carey and me) were asked by some to keep their names out of it. Given the world we live in, especially today, I get this, but also note that anonymous testimony must be taken much more lightly than testimony of a source whose credentials can be checked. But an anonymous source who provided no names and no details is hardly “just as enlightening.”

Bragalia continued: 

The individual did not reach out to me – I contacted him by phone. Retired and in his 70s, he is a man of accomplishment. Though he never denied being a perpetrator, he also does not want his name associated with the event. How many of us would want to recount our youthful follies to our children? Who amongst us would wish our names on the net, revisiting embarrassing moments during our late teens or early twenties? Where are those of us who will come forward to publicly explain our tricks and lies from college?

Again, I step in to point out that many of those who were pranksters in their teens and early twenties have long ago owned up to their pranks. And if the students did pull this off, would it be embarrassing to them today? Since he is an older man, of accomplishment, it would seem that he had little to fear by revealing the pertinent information about the hoax even if he was involved in it. Without that information we have just another unverified rumor.

I once asked Dr. James van Allen, whom I was interviewing about UFOs, if such a discussion would be harmful to his reputation. He didn’t think so because his body of scientific discoveries and his work was impressive enough that he could express his opinion without fear of it damaging him. At that late date in his career he didn’t have much to fear. But I digress. Back to Bragalia:

As he pointed out, there is a ‘damned if you do or don’t’ dynamic to admitting publicly to the hoax. When one asks, how was it propelled and navigated? How many were involved? What were their roles? – no answer that a perpetrator may provide will ever be sufficient. They will be victimized as liars. They will be told that they must reunite on camera and reenact the prank. They will be forced to play the ‘20 questions’ game – a game that they do not need or want to play for us. They would be demanded to show physical proof. They think instead, “Why do I need to show proof of anything to anyone?”

Well, that answer should be self-evident. If they pulled off a prank, then how they did it would be important information and while there are always those who will not let go of a prime UFO case, even when good evidence is presented, there are more of us willing to embrace a solid answer when it is provided. So, yes, we do need a name and we do need to know how it was done and to suggest that “no answer that a perpetrator may provide will ever be sufficient,” is just a cop out because there are no answers at this point. 

In fact, he thinks about the event so much less than many of us do, that I got the sense that, although he knows of the continued interest in the case all these years on, he was not aware of Dr. Colgate’s statements on the hoax. That is how I got him to say anything about the event of substance. When I told him Colgate said it was a balloon, he agreed, “Yes, it was.” When I said Colgate knew it to be students that were involved, he said, “Well, yes, of course, but that is all I am about to say any further on any of this.” I was not to get from him details on who or how many were involved, what balloon was sent up, how it was powered and controlled, how they hid from Lonnie, etc. He was clearly not going to offer up the identities of the others, nor the details of what they did. All he really wanted to say was how only grief would come to him were he to do so. 

Robert Sheaffer, over at Bad UFOs, has looked at all this evidence. He, I believe, comes into the discussion as nearly neutral as possible. Though he is known as a skeptic, he seems to be quite reasonable in his skepticism, which is always a good sign and something that you don’t always fine in skeptics. You can read his analysis here:


Early hot air balloon showing the flame and
the people standing near it.
Sheaffer did mention that I had rejected the hot air balloon because I believed that it was a non-starter. Here’s the reasons I believe that, which I think too many have ignored. The flame in a hot air balloon points up, not down. There were other witnesses who called the police station as the object passed overhead. It was moving against the wind. Once it had landed, the roar stopped, but in such a case, a hot air balloon begins to lose heat and the balloon envelop begins to deflate. Once the two occupants saw Zamora they ran around behind and there was the sound of a hatch closing. The object began to rise, but the flame was apparently pointed down rather than up, at least to one way of thinking. I looked at a whole bunch of hot air balloon pictures, starting with some of the very first and didn’t see any where the flame would have been pointed down (which is to say that I didn’t see any as opposed that there are absolutely none). A flame pointing down would have burned the riders or set the basket on fire. Finally, Sergeant Sam Chavez of the New Mexico State Police arrived at the landing site about two minutes after the object took off, but there was no balloon seen in the sky. It had disappeared, according to Zamora, lifting off and then flying against a rather strong wind before shooting up at high speed.

This leads to another point, which isn’t exactly relevant to this discussion but one I think needs to be made. Nick Redfern wrote a review of Encounter in the Desert. You can read that review here:


Redfern suggests that there is much in the book that has nothing to do with the Socorro case. He views it as padding. I believe that majority of those reading the book would not be as well versed in the history of the UFO phenomenon as Redfern or me, and that this other information was supplied for context. It helps to understand the importance of the Socorro case by contrasting it to other, similar cases, showing an Air Force attitude about Socorro that wasn’t present in those other cases. And, importantly, it shows that the Socorro case was not stand alone but there were other, similar sightings in New Mexico in the hours and days that followed. That suggests something more than a hot air balloon and while it might be argued that such a balloon might not be recognized as such given the timing of the sightings, those who were flying it around would have been aware of the interest in their flights. Oddly, they never came forward and the Air Force investigation failed to find them and according to Hector Quintanilla, who was the chief of Blue Book at the time, he tried very hard to find a terrestrial explanation.

There is one other thing that Bragalia brought up as a way of validating his new theory and that was Lonnie Zamora drank too much. A closed web site set up by Dave Thomas who is described as an employee of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and President of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, to solicit comments from those who had some association with the school. Many of the comments were anonymous and few had a first name and last initial, suggesting that Zamora drank. This seems to be the cheapest of shots because, on the night of April 24, 1964, Zamora was questioned by Captain Richard Holder and Arthur Byrnes, an FBI agent. There is nothing in the official Blue Book file to suggest that Zamora had been drinking before going on duty or while he was on duty which they would have mentioned if he had been. I’d say, “So what?”  to that. Zamora drank sometimes but that does not make him out to be a drunk nor does it suggest that alcohol consumption had anything to do with the sighting. It is a red herring without merit.
 
And then there is this used as further proof. Bragalia points to a picture that is labeled,
The picture used by Bragalia
to illustrate his theory.
The Small Figures in White Coveralls: New Mexico Tech Physics Department in the mid-1960s.” But the figures are not in New Mexico. They are actually students from UC Davis, according to information found by French skeptic Gilles Fernandez. The photograph was taken during a visit to Intel. Bragalia sent out a note saying that the caption was wrong and blamed his web master, but as of December 1, 2017, the incorrect caption is still there. And, Bragalia had been using this as further proof of a hoax for several years, sending it to me with the same indication about who were the students in the picture.
 
All this argues against it being a hoax. We have flawed information, poorly sourced information, an interview filled with leading questions, and a solution that can be rejected by a careful study of the facts. There should have been some evidence left behind by the perpetrators but that there wasn’t doesn’t tell us that it was not a hoax; only that they found no evidence of it which is not exactly the same thing but is an important observation.

The only part that is impressive are the opinions of Sergeant Chavez and FBI agent Byrnes. There were others who drove to the landing site right away and who were later interviewed by Coral and Jim Lorenzen, Ray Stanford and, of course, Hynek. To make the hoax viable, they all had to be in on it at some point or at some level and, of course, the FBI wouldn’t engage in a dirty trick of this nature (please note the qualification here). There is nothing to be gained by either the Army or the FBI by participation.

Hynek finally does suggest the real problem with the hoax idea. He wrote, "If the hoax comes off well, perpetrators like to gloat abit (sic), and there would have been no point in getting even with Zamora if they couldn’t have gotten some kudos for it."

Or, they would have exposed the hoax after they learned of Zamora’s reaction to the sighting and his sudden world fame as a way of making him look gullible. What better way to get even than to point out he was the victim of a hoax and overacted in a very unprofessional manner? What better way to make him look bad by showing how he had been fooled by a student hoax.

Hynek finally wrote, "Both Quintanilla and I find it impossible to dismiss it as a hoax unless we have some evidence that there was a hoax." Note here, they were looking for evidence of a hoax within days of the sighting and that they found none. Unlike many of those who offered opinions, at least Hynek had been to Socorro.

Even those who came at this from the skeptical side of the house have rejected the student hoax idea. In an article for Skeptical Inquirer, and later posted to “New Mexicans for Science and Reason,” David E. Thomas wrote, "Yet another hypothesis is that physics students with a little too much extra time played a trick on the town, but that rumor doesn't have much credible support."

This does two things for any analysis. It again points out that this hoax idea has been floating around for decades because the Skeptical Inquirer article is from the July 2001 issue and the Internet posting is from May 2006. And, it suggests that the idea doesn’t have much support even with the skeptics who often embrace any explanation to avoid the idea that the case has no terrestrial solution. Maybe the hoax was the students taking credit for the landing but had nothing to do with it. That, at least, would make a little more sense.

The real point here is that the hoax explanation has not been established, the evidence for it is weak at best, including a letter to Linus Pauling and an anonymous source who would provide no real information, and didn’t even make a solid case for his participation. This is just another explanation that really goes nowhere and while it should be a footnote to the case, that’s all it should be – a footnote.

(Note: For those interested in the whole Socorro story or for more information about what is discussed here, please read my book found at:

https://www.amazon.com/Encounter-Desert-Randle-Kevin-ebook/dp/B072MQGD9K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1512420046&sr=1-1&keywords=encounter+in+the+desert




42 comments:

Anthony Bragalia said...

Hi Kevin-

The 'issue' of white lab suits is not an 'issue' at all. The text below the photo has been corrected to read "similar to" lab wear at NMIMT. In the same way that the black speeder car is merely illustrative of what was used, and is not the actual vehicle itself, so too is the picture of the white coveralls used in nearly every single chemistry and physics lab in colleges around the country, then and today! Not only that, but every single element of the hoax was available at the school, from the white coveralls, to the balloon, to the vitrified soil and rock samples (after all it is a Mining school!), to the sounds heard by Lonnie (pyrotechnics).

Again, you completely ignore what world-famous behavioral psychologist Dr. Frank Etscorn told me. Etscorn, inventor of the nicotine patch and a philanthropist for whom a wing of NMIMT is named, gave an "A" to his graduate student for uncovering the hoax and identifying one of the hoaxers. He is not in the habit of awarding A's for a thesis that he does not believe to be proven. You also fail utterly to explain why Collis, Etscorn, Colgate and many others would disparage their college and implicate their own students in the hoax were it not for the fact that they believe that the truth is more important.

You do not seem to understand and selectively quote. These Men of Science were not speculating. They knew it to be a hoax. Dr. Colgate new the names of the perps, tried to get them to come forward for me. I am frankly stunned that you do not tell your readers all that he said. You ignore the details that he provided me, you ignore that he is not 'guessing'- he knew it to be true as he said "then and now." You are essentially calling these men liars. You cannot obfuscate or pretend. Colgate and Etscorn were not embellishing or joking or confused. They speak with the certainty of scientists. To try to minimize their remarks, or to belittle them as liars is frankly incredible. You also fail to call attention to the previous articles that I did on the hoax where Stirling is absolutely unequivocal- the people who did the hoax were his friends and continued to be throughout his life. Coming forward for him was very, very difficult. He was very conflicted and it bothered him to have to do so. Why would he risk his illustrious legacy to lie about the hoax? You simply do not make even an attempt to explain why. Sorry Kevin, but I will take what a behavioral scientist and a world-class physicist ad former NMIMT President says over the likes of the kind of people that you quote, such as the vile fraud, Ray Stanford!

You know that I respect your very much Kevin. But, like many people who have privately communicated with me, we are stunned that you believe that Socorro represented "extraterrestrial contact in the desert." The whole event is so very "1960s" and so terribly "terrestrial" that many cannot understand how you can possibly reach the conclusions that you do.

Best,
Tony

KRandle said...

Tony -

First, the post was already 3500 words, which is very long.

Second, you engage in hyperbole. I called no one a liar here. I suggest they could be wrong, which is not the same thing. I will note that while you know who some of the alleged participants are, you provide us with no evidence at all. You overlook the physical evidence, that the landing site was occupied from the moment that Lonnie Zamora arrived until well after dark. And then you suggest that Zamora was a drunk whose observations couldn't be trusted when there is absolutely no evidence that he was drinking before going on duty, while on duty, or afterwards. And then you label Ray Stanford a vile fraud. Shouldn't you apologize for that characterization?

Finally, I'm not alone in my rejection of the hoax theory, which, BTW, doesn't lead us to the alien landing theory... only that this hoax idea is not quite as solid as you might think.

Lance said...

It should always be remembered that this pretend researcher was the head cheerleader for the Roswell slides fiasco and showed only the poorest judgement in that case. Even after we had deblurred the slide, this guy was still writing letters claiming that we were lying, etc.

His penchant for clumsily attempting to spin facts to support his half-baked ideas and his numerous childish errors would have ended his career in any legitimate endeavor. UFO belief is a steaming cesspool so he fits right in there.

Skeptics and non-skeptics have come together to say the same thing you say above, Kevin: this explanation (as presented here)falls short. It could be true that the Socccoro case was a hoax but we don't have the evidence right now. And it is a fool's errand to trust the shrill and grade-school-level musings of someone known to be terrible at analyzing anything.

Anyone who knows anything about science can see that the cringe-worthy dialog of pleading and false accusations between this absolute nobody and one of the country's best scientists is surely one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen in the sorry history of UFO-dumb. How embarrassing it would be if this "researcher" was just a little smarter to see how ridiculous his childish demands really are.

I say the same thing here that I was saying during the Slides fiasco. As a source of truth, this guy is one of the worst possible in a field full of horrible choices.

UFO believers get what they deserve. But the work of this particular UFO buff does make the world a little worse place to live.

Lance







purrlgurrl said...

Maybe Bragalia is all wrong in his explanation, maybe only the smallest piece of it is correct, or maybe (even though Lance Moody despises him) this time Bragalia got something correct. Yeah, there's a lot of irrelevant stuff in Bragalia's explanation - Zamora liked his beer (there's never been a hint he was drunk at the time), Zamora wasn't very bright (that's an assertion from arrogant young science students), the photo of the guys in protective suits was from another institution (but those types of protective suits were pretty standard at the time for working with hazardous materials).

Zamora wasn't wearing his prescription glasses when he had the sighting. That's an agreed on fact, which is actually a pretty big deal casting doubt on everything he reported to have seen. Not having those glasses on makes him an unreliable eyewitness, especially since there is also agreement that his glasses were notably thick, indicating the lens prescription was a pretty strong one.

Socorro is an unreliable single eyewitness case. All the folderol about some unsubstantiated other witnesses is just that, folderol, until they can be proven to have ever existed. They lend no credence whatsoever to a questionable testimony. I'm just not buyin' there were aliens or anything exotic at Socorro, with or without Bragalia's claims.

KRandle said...

purrgurrl -

Sorry, but Zamora had his glasses on throughout most of the sighting. It was only after he had approached the craft and was retreating as the roaring began again that he lost them. So, he wasn't unreliable, given the facts of the sighting.

Socorro isn't actually a single witness case. We know that three people called the police station prior to Zamora's approaching the craft. This is documented in the Project Blue Book files. True, we have no names, but we do have the report written by Captain Richard Holder that very night that makes reference to them. We also have the physical evidence left behind, and other, similar sightings that happened within hours.

Clearly there was something exotic at Socorro. The question is if it was of terrestrial manufacture or not.

purrlgurrl said...

Nope. As long as Zamora went back and forth from seeing through his glasses, to seeing without them, then back to seeing through them there are focal delays in his vision (it takes time for eyes to adjust focus). I simply don't consider his testimony as an eyewitness credible, especially if he wore strong corrective lenses.

I think Bragalia actually stumbled onto something (not because he's all that great a researcher, but because he was lucky) a couple of years ago. And now the case seems significantly weaker, when it wasn't that strong to start with.

There are far more compelling cases than Socorro with multiple eyewitnesses that defy explanation. This one is just too shaky now to continue to take seriously.

Lance said...

I, of course, love you, Purrlgurrl and you are right.

It isn't that inconceivable that this might have been a hoax. And some of the evidence leans that way.

But the blustering buffoonish presentation by someone who is proven to be unable to do even low level thinking, is where my objections lie. All we have are some slightly interesting leads.

An actual proffer of what might have happened that day isn't even offered and supposedly this "journalist" (and that is surely one of the greatest tortures of that word ever) doesn't even seem to have asked the question, "how?".

couldbebetter said...

The hoax theory is not plausable. First, the figures that Zamora saw were around 4 feet tall.
Second, when the craft zipped off it was moving to fast to be a balloon. Finally, the point of a hoax is to have that "ha-ha" moment. That did not happen in this case. Zamora is a
credable witness who reported accurately what he believed he saw. If it was an intentional hoax, why would it be so far off the road. Zamora broke off a car chase because what he saw
initially he thought was a car accident. He was a skilled observor who investigated what he
found to be something that certainly was not a car. That does not seem like the right set-up
for a hoax. Of course, maybe it was the Russians using deformed children to scare us like they did at Roswell! It worked so well then, why not do it again.

Adam S. said...

My problem with the the above vision argument is, like Kevin pointed out, the timeline. If Zamora had lost his glasses before the incident and was struggling with them during, then we could argue his testimony is suspect based on vision. But, we shouldn't outright discount what he claimed he saw BEFORE he dropped them. In addition, there were no other factors which could cause an initial focus issue (going from inside to outside, dark to light, or even the object being particularly "shiny" in the late afternoon sun).

Louis Nicholson said...

To me, the biggest problem with the hoax theory is how in the world would any hoaxers know that Officer Zamora would be in that exact place at that exact time??? There was no way they could have predicted where he was going to be at that time so that they could pull it off when he was present. (Or maybe they followed him around all day in their balloon..)

I really would like a skeptic's response to this.

Lance said...

Hi Louis,

Part of the hoax story seems to be that Zamora was lured out by following a car driver by folks in on the hoax (at least that is one story I have heard). This is plausible (even while not being supported by any real evidence).

Some of Kevin's objections likewise don't consider equally plausible ideas, for instance:

1. Part of the hoax team called in those UFO reports--this makes perfect sense. Kevin the way you write this up: "There were other witnesses who called the police station as the object passed overhead."

No. There was an unnamed person on the phone who SAID they saw what you claim.

This kind of writing is the bane of UFO literature.


2. The upside down flame thing is a particularly poor point. One can easily see that the flame in a hot air balloon system can be very hard to distinguish the top of the flame from bottom. Particularly when scared, etc.

For instance: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/3fQZh_xJw4g/maxresdefault.jpg

3.FAR FAR too much reliance is placed upon Zamora's testimony when Zamora himself gives clear indications that, at least, parts of it are hazy (the occupants, for instance).

The idea of a hoax, as advanced by this one particular unreliable blowhard, isn't hashed out enough to be convincing. I should also mention that however much I disapprove of that one author, if Ray Stanford told me I was on fire and I saw the flames and felt the heat, I would STILL want another opinion. It does not get any lower than Stanford.

Lance

Louis Nicholson said...

Those are all good points Lance with the exception of the comment denigrating Ray Stanford. I don't know the man, so I can neither agree nor disagree with that statement.

jamesrav said...

"Zamora wasn't wearing his prescription glasses when he had the sighting. That's an agreed on fact,..". As a person who is extremely near-sighted (and based on the 'thick glasses' so was Zamora), if he didn't have on his glasses during any part of the sighting, I'm sure he would have mentioned it and said during those seconds I can state nothing with any accuracy. (I certainly would have ; with my contact lenses I'm as good a witness as anyone, without them I'm helpless). The "focusing" issue seems a stretch, we're not talking binoculars here, it's eyeballs. They focus pretty fast.

Larry said...

Before going too far down the "Socorro was a hot-air balloon" rabbit hole, it might be useful to consider what professional hot-air balloonists think.

From the Light Flight Hot Air Balloons, Inc. website:

"During inflation the balloon is filled with cold air using a fan. The balloon fabric is just a giant sail, and winds approaching 10 mph make it almost impossible to fill the balloon. The wind will cave the side of the balloon in and the resulting sail effect places tremendous loads on both the fabric and the basket. These forces can be 3-10 tons depending on the size of the balloon. The balloon will roll around, sometimes violently. It is tied off to keep even a gentle breeze from causing it to drag downwind, but we have seen a gust cause the balloon to drag the trailer and van it was tied to across the grass! Pretty impressive to watch - not much fun!"

Because hot air balloons in general are very sensitive to wind conditions most professional balloon outfitters plan to launch exclusively at dawn (and sometimes just before sundown) when wind conditions are typically the calmest they are going to be during that day.

The Zamora sighting took place in late afternoon, when average winds at nearby locations in the Rio Grande Valley were around 20 MPH, with gusts to 30 mph.

Just sayin ..........

Adam S. said...

Hi Lance,

I am just curious as to why you feel that way about Stanford?
I am not very familiar with his research except from the work of others, but he features prominantely and favorably in the first half of "X Descending" by Christian Lambright. Though, it is very suspicious that Stanford has never released the film discussed in that book.

Thanks,

Anthony Mugan said...

Leaving aside any personal criticisms I find myself agreeing with the substance of Lance's comment above.

The problem of positive identification has been an issue from the beginning and this case just doesn't have enough to allow for a firm conclusion.
The description is similar to a lunar test vehicle of the period but it can't be placed in the area at the time.
It could have been a hoax played on Zamora - a very complex one if so and the claims put forward seem to lack substance as highlighted in this discussion.
Zamora could have been the hoaxer - an awful lot simpler as it would then just be the ground traces that would need to have been set up (allowing for the tendency of fake witnesses to come out of the woodwork and make various claims after the fact). Again however there is zero hard evidence to support that and he seems to have had a good reputation.
Or it just could have been a nuts and bolts UFO -but the description is unusual and the a priori probability low. Again - how do you positively identify such a thing?

Overall - probably a hoax but insufficient evidence and I wish people would stop claiming this case is something important - I simply can not understand why Hynek was even remotely impressed by it. The whole thing depends on accepting the word of a single witness.

Ben Moss said...

Wow, so many incorrect statements here. I do not know of any balloon in 1964 that could go into a 35 MPH wind, then increase speed into that wind, and then go almost straight up. Anthony's tall tale, and that is what it is, of a hoax has been covered and is impossible, as anyone who has been onsite would know. Yet he continues to promote his own 'hoax', which is laughable. Zamora had his glasses on the whole time until he ramed into his car, and he was only 35 feet away, so that whole argument is also bogus. So Anthony has this guy, who has no name, who cannot prove any hoax, yet he believes him. That pretty much sums up an unscientific proposal backed up by zero evidence, yet I can show a lot of evidence that it was not a hoax. NO ONE CAN PROVE THAT BALLOON FICTION, and it would not make impressions estimated to be from a 9 ton vehicle. But I guess Anthony needs visits to his web site, so he continues to push this tall tale in spite of a large amount of evidence to the contrary. I bet he has never been to the site, as most armchair debunkers work from their sofa.

Ben Moss said...

Mr. Mugan, you obviously have not studied the case if you think it was a single witness.
And Lanece's comments are always an attack on someone he does not know, so take that with a grain of salt.

Ben Moss said...

This has all been covered by Ray's book, by Kevins book, and by Tony Angiola and I's investigation. Many post here are showing a serious lack of knowledge about this case, but that is how Anthony B has looked at it, with blinders on. There is absolutely no place for a student to hide anywhere on site and not be seen. There were no human footprints right after the event, no evidence of fuel or pyrotechnics. Students, no matter how 'smart' Anthony believes them to be, could not have fooled the Air Force, FBI, etc. The creosote bush sliced and burned in half is no easy task, as they are full of resin and the heat required, AGAIN, would have required some type of flammable material, none of which was found at the site. The weather conditions at that exact time are well known, steady winds of 20-30MPH with gust even higher. The car full of witnesses described saw the object, THEN saw Lonnie going after it. 3 separate calls into Socorro dispatch were from individuals who saw the object approaching Socorro, many heard the load roar, and several officers admitted the craft had been seen before and after the event. Blue Book officers walked the entire area and FOUND ZERO EVIDENCE OF A HOAX, no footprints, no balloon,no fuel, no nothing. I believe, because of Kevins book, Rays and our ongoing investigation, and the existing evidence for this being a non human event, that Anthony put up his tale of fiction to try and stay relevant to this case, when he actually does the opposite, showing his complete lack of knowledge about this event. But because he quotes a "world-famous behavioral psychologist" we must believe him. LOL that is so bad an analogy as to be sadly funny. In cases like this, those who have done no due diligence always stand out because their arguments are based on opinion, conjecture, and fiction.

Lance said...

Ben Moss demonstrates the fuzzy thinking that has plagued this case and plagues UFO belief.

Here's an example:

Moss says: "I do not know of any balloon in 1964 that could go into a 35 MPH wind."

This is like a textbook illustration of the Argument from Ignorance, perhaps the most widely practiced fallacy of UFO true believers: "I can't think of an explanation THEREFORE the cause must be my UFO religion."

What about a balloon being pulled along by a thin wire?

This is just one example of what we are really dealing with: a UFO zealot practicing his religion.

The hubris of a statement like "Students, no matter how 'smart' Anthony believes them to be, could not have fooled the Air Force, FBI, etc. " is laughable. The world is full of folks fooled by all sorts of hoaxes. And with the kind of thinking Moss brings to the table, it is super easy to fool some people.

Kevin, you will find it interesting that Moss looked at a print of the black and white Trent photos and claimed that he could see a plasma vortex emanating from the saucer! This is why UFOs are most worthy of laughter. Here we have a complete layperson, taking a pseudo-scientific term he likely heard on a TV show and pretending to somehow possess enough expertise to declare that he could see an effect in a multi generation print of a black and white photo of a phenomena that isn't even known to exist! Anyone with a lick of sense could see the folly of this. But Moss, a Hangar One MUFON Star Level Double Nought Saucer Response Agent knows his audience--and it's hard to find that lick of sense amongst most of them.

===

Adam S. I will just mention one thing about Stanford that perhaps will illustrate why I hold him in such low esteem.

Stanford claims that he has 1970's era motion picture footage of flying saucers that are so clear and so close-up that you can see the the occupants waving through the windows.

This would be footage unlike any evidence ever produced for UFOs.

You have never seen that footage. Why?

Stanford's excuse is that he wants the footage to be presented in the proper scientific context (or some BS like that). Keep in mind that Ray has released tons of his silly unconvincing footage of blurry blobs and dubious magnetic or audio "evidence". All of that crap is completely worthless. That stuff he pours out in buckets.

So why would he wait 40+ years to release the good evidence, evidence that (if he isn't lying about it) could change the whole paradigm and put skeptics like me out of business?

Spoiler alert: because it doesn't exist.

That is just one example of the imposture of Stanford. You knew he was also a channel for aliens at one time, right? The stupidity parade just never ends.

That Ben Moss eats up every word of the guy is no surprise.

UFO Belief Makes the World a Worse Place to Live.

Lance




KRandle said...

All -

As so often happens, as I'm looking for one thing, I discover another that it important to this discussion and it should close one aspect of it. Remember that Tony Bragalia suggested that Lonnie Zamora had been seen in local bars or taverns and that he was known to have had a beer or two. I found this allegation outrageous and suggested that Bragalia not mention it in his hoax analysis. He chose to ignore this advice.

In a document in the Project Blue Book files, which seems to be a transcript of an interview conducted with Zamora, but is unsigned (though I suspect that Richard Holder and Arthur Byrnes were involved) Zamora said, "Feeling in good health. Last drink -- two or three beers -- was over a month ago."

That should kick the alcohol as a factor leg out from under the stool.

Don said...

Kevin: "In a document in the Project Blue Book files, which seems to be a transcript of an interview conducted with Zamora, but is unsigned (though I suspect that Richard Holder and Arthur Byrnes were involved) Zamora said, "Feeling in good health. Last drink -- two or three beers -- was over a month ago.""

That's Holder's "Tab A". It may be the earliest statement by Zamora, but I don't recall the time Holder might have interviewed Zamora.

It may be a transcription. It is does read like a spoken account. Space was left for the drawings, which suggests there was some involvement with it by Zamora.

It is unsigned. This may indicate it is a copy of something Zamora wrote, and the signed original is not in the file.

Regards,

Don

Anthony Mugan said...

Ben
If you take Zamora’s testimony out of it what have got....?
Some ground traces, Sgt Chavez (who didn’t claim to actually see the object) and some rather low grade claims of sightings in the area.

In other words, without Zamorra’s testimony there isn’t much to it. The ground traces in this case leave me distinctly unimpressed.

Now, the Trans-en-Provence or even the Florida Scout Master cases are much more interesting when it comes to ground traces, but Socorro...a waste of time as far as I can see.

What would make me interested is if some documented feature of the ground traces would be exceptionally difficult to set up without very sophisticated equipment...As always open to persuasion on that but some holes and some burning....well!

Larry said...

Anthony:

You wrote:

"What would make me interested is if some documented feature of the ground traces would be exceptionally difficult to set up without very sophisticated equipment...."

I don't know how many times we have to go over this, but the "fused sand" reported by Mary Mayes to James McDonald and the melted "bubbles" on rocks reported by others are exactly such features. These kinds of features were basically unknown to science until after the detonation of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity site, when they were discovered, respectively, underneath where the nuclear fireball had been and at some distance from ground zero.

The phenomena were well studied by the physicists of the nuclear weapons labs and found to be reliably produced by the intense radiant energy of a nuclear detonation. They are discussed in the open literature in, for example, Samuel Glasstone's famous series, "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons".

The key point is that these effects can only be produced by the sudden application of high power radiant energy (IR, visible, UV, etc.) and NOT by the application of conductive or convective heating (such as would be produced by, for example, an oxyacetylene torch) . It has been tried.

The reason they were unknown prior to Trinity is because no one had ever created an open air radiant energy source of that intensity before. However, in recent times modeling by Mark Boslough (of Sandia labs) has shown that the Lybian Desert Glass that has been a geologic mystery for a long time is well explained by a similar level of radiant heating created by the shock front of a cometary body entering the Earth's atmosphere.

I'm not sure why you are either ignoring this or dismissing it.

Lance said...

Where is that fused sand? Where are the original reports about it? What are the names of the other folks who worked with Mayes?

Larry, by going on and on about dubious evidence that isn't available, you underline the pseudoscientific stink of UFO belief. Evidence that cannot be produced is always the very best evidence in the UFO game. The stuff we have in hand... not so much. All the blah blah about "the literature" (referring to unrelated REAL scientific work) is just a dirty bait and switch since the Mayes claims have never had any testing at all because the supposed evidence doesn't exist.

Claims submitted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Is that clear enough to you?

Lance

KRandle said...

Lance -

I should tell you, and may of the others, that the answers to your questions can be found in my book. The tale of the fused sand was in a letter from James MacDonald. He received the information from a scientist who said that it had been her job to analysis the material... but, the tale was second hand and it doesn't seem to be grounded in reality. As I say, I explored this in the book and I rejected the information because it didn't seem to be accurate.

Anthony Mugan said...

I think Kevin and Lance have summed up the situation regarding the fused sand claim. Unfortunately, whilst it may or may not have been present it can not be used as evidence as there is no solid evidentiary record.

Lance said...

Thanks Kevin. I am aware of the back story.

My real point is that when people dredge up such dubious stuff (and add on lots of irrelevant information like the Trinity tests) they position UFO discussion further and further away from any search for truth.

UFO's are now almost exclusively a religion for many folks. And Larry recites the verses above by rote.


Brian Bell said...

Well....I wonder how many bars Bragalia visited before he convinced himself the slide of a well known child mummy was proof of alien visitation?

Many good things on Socorro said here on both sides. I will add only one thing.

If you have ever walked the actual Socorro site, and many here are offering opinions without ever having done so, I can tell you that a hoax is very, very unlikely so much to be almost nonexistent in possibility.

I’ve walked it myself to get a feel for the place. Zamora would have easily seen a group of student hoaxers long before he ever parked his car. The arroyos there are shallow; even if hoaxers were prone they would have been visible and very unlikely to have operated the sort of device Zamora reported.

I’ve read that some skeptics believe the students actually used stilts to cover their tracks. That’s ridiculously impossible on that terrain and it would’ve made the hoaxers even more likely to be identified by Zamora.

Ironically a die hard ET’er like Bragalia is using the same explanatory tactics he criticizes all skeptics for using.

I have no idea what Zamora saw. I also tend NOT to lean towards the ET conclusion. But I have to say beyond any doubts I’m convinced this wasn’t a hoax perpetrated by some students.

Kevin (and others) has articulated a very clear logic as to why it couldn’t have been a hoax. Based on his recent book he has confirmed whatever landed there remains a mystery.

These anonymous hoaxers and self proclaimed participants have NOTHING to lose by coming clean (assuming they did it).

I’ve known very prominent and accomplished people who wouldn’t bat an eye at telling stories about their college years and the pranks they pulled off.

As we know there’s no real joy in pranking your home town police officer with an elaborate scientific hoax if you never tell the guy he was made a fool of by you and your friends.

These so called hoaxers (if they even exist) and those claiming to know them are likely repeating what they think it was themselves. They have no proof and they offer no evidence other than anonymity.

That hardly makes them believable.

Larry said...

Kevin, I don't know if you are still monitoring this particular discussion, but you wrote:

"I should tell you, and may of the others, that the answers to your questions can be found in my book. The tale of the fused sand was in a letter from James MacDonald. He received the information from a scientist who said that it had been her job to analysis the material... but, the tale was second hand and it doesn't seem to be grounded in reality. As I say, I explored this in the book and I rejected the information because it didn't seem to be accurate."

I downloaded the Kindle version of your book and read the relevant portions discussing the "fused sand". I wonder if you will answer a few questions regarding how you came to your conclusions?

First of all, from what I can tell, the scientist who told the story to McDonald supposedly was identified as Mary Mayes--at the time a graduate student at University of Arizona. You did not mention in your discussion that the alleged witness had been identified. I bring this up because you appear to accept the testimony of Nep Lopez that he was contacted by phone by three local (and anonymous) Socorro residents testifying to the presence of some noisy and light-emitting object flying around in the vicinity AND you appear to accept the testimony of Opal Grinder that he was informed by a group of (anonymous) Colorado tourists that they had been "buzzed" by a low flying "aircraft". If I am reading you correctly, you are relying on those two second-hand witnesses to arrive at your statement that this is a multiple witness case and NOT a single witness case.

Am I correct in this understanding?

If not, whose testimony are you relying on to conclude that this is a multiple witness case?

If you are relying on those two testimonies to make this a multiple witness case, why do you reject McDonald's testimony?

Formally, all three are second-hand witness stories; we have person A saying that they were told by person B that person B had observed some particular phenomenon. In order to accept this kind of testimony, you have to accept that both A and B were probably telling the truth. In order to reject the testimony, you have to conclude that either A or B were lying.

So, in this case, who was lying, McDonald or Mayes? and how did you come to that conclusion?

The Blue Book records themselves establish that at least two different laboratory tests were performed--first a chemical analysis to search for exogenous chemical traces and later a mass spectrometric analysis to look at elemental (and possibly isotopic) composition. As a scientist, it seems to me that if someone (presumably the Air Force) was paying someone to conduct chemical and elemental analyses they would probably also be willing to pay someone to investigate the biological effects on the site. If they did so, they would obviously want to obtain samples as quickly as possible since biological samples are subject to rapid decomposition in the environment. So, I would claim that conducting a bioassay of the site is not only plausible, but likely.

True, there is no publicly known third party that supports the McDonald testimony, but how does that make the account inaccurate? It simply makes it unsupported, not wrong.

KRandle said...

Larry -

First, let me thank you for buying the book... and if the mood moves you, to provide a positive review to Amazon, please do.

Here's the difference. Nep Lopez and his statements were included in the official documentation. We have the statement by Captain Holder to corroborate the information that three people called or to satisfy Lance, one person called three times.

We have numerous interviews with Opal Grinder, including the mention in several newspapers. More confirmation that Grinder was telling the story.

But, as I point out, repeatedly, we don't know who the witnesses were, they have not been heard from in more than half a century, and, apparently, no one actually looked for them. All we have is what others said they said, and as testimony, it really isn't very good. A hint at multiple witnesses, and one that I couldn't take any farther here in 2017.

Now we have the letter that James McDonald wrote. Was he lying? No. I'll bet he was reporting accurately what he had been told by Mary Mayes. Was she lying? Don't know but have my suspicions.

First, nothing about her account to McDonald appears in either the official version of the Blue Book record, or the unofficial version that Rob Mercer uncovered.

Second, there are no other reports of soil analysis that support her tale. Nothing that I can find, from the official Air Force records, from NICAP and from APRO, suggest anything unusual about the soil including a suggestion of a chemical or chemicals applied on the landing site that would have suggest combustion or burning... in fact, the information about the smoking bush is a little sketchy. Chavez did report it and said that the bush was cool to the touch which shouldn't have been the case if the bush had been exposed to some sort of chemical to aid combustion.

Finally, we have the reports of a number of people Holder, FBI agent Brynes, Chavez, Zamora, Stanford, Hynek, and others who were on the scene from the beginning, which is not to say that they were all there all the time, just that they roamed the area looking for traces but none of them mentioned the fused sand. Surely one of them would have commented on it if there had been a patch of fused sand which would have indicated high heat applied in the area.

Please note, in McDonald's letter, he wrote, "I must say, it's very hard to imagine how such material could have been there not only on the evening of the 24th but there there on the morning of the 25th without it ever having been reported before..."

I'll add here, how was it that she could have gotten onto the site on the morning of April 25, as she claimed, without being seen by someone taking official note. Had she been there, I would have expected some note in the Blue Book file, or some mention by either the police, or the military if she had been gathering samples, but there is none.

Nothing of that research has ever been found, but, of course, those with a conspiracy bend to their thinking will tell us that the Air Force (but not Blue Book) ended up with all her notes and research... I say, that there should have been some hint about it somewhere, but I could find nothing.

So, the information is included in the book, but I give it just a tad less weight than I give to Nep Lopez and his three telephone calls and Opal Grinder and his tourist from Colorado. Without something more to go on, without Mayes coming forward with documentation about her research, we really can't advance this very far.

In the book, I don't say it is wrong... here I suggest it is not grounded in reality, but you are right, it is unsupported but not necessarily wrong.

Don said...

Larry: "First of all, from what I can tell, the scientist who told the story to McDonald supposedly was identified as Mary Mayes--at the time a graduate student at University of Arizona."

Kevin: "Now we have the letter that James McDonald wrote. Was he lying? No. I'll bet he was reporting accurately what he had been told by Mary Mayes. Was she lying? Don't know but have my suspicions.

...without Mayes coming forward with documentation about her research, we really can't advance this very far."

The McDonald Zone...in which I ask the question: where can a read a copy (I mean a photocopy or jpg of the original) of his correspondence. I either receive no answer or the answer 'no'.

Has anyone talked to Mary Mayes? Anyone research her? Is there anything besides 'someone said McDonald wrote'?

I just heard about Kevin's book last week, so if you've published the letter there -- by published I mean a photocopy of it, thanks.

Fyi, there had been a Mayes family in Socorro.

Regards,

Don

Larry said...

Kevin:

Thanks.

Don said...

Lance: "Larry, by going on and on about dubious evidence that isn't available, you underline the pseudoscientific stink of UFO belief."

Let's ignore the trees and view the forest for a mo': fused sand at the Zamora site could be evidence of a hoax. What is it that makes the fused glass evidence of a UFO? The only reason I can imagine (from what little I know of this issue) is Dr McDonald relates this tale (we are told). But he is irrelevant in this matter. 'Mary Mayes' may be relevant if McDonald didn't invent the tale.

Regards,

Don

Ben Moss said...

AB, do you know anything about this case? The witnesses at Opal Grinders, the 2 men in the car heading west, the pictures fogged by radiation (I have Hynek on video confirming this) and on and on. As far as Lance, he apparently is right on everything, smarter than all he derides, but adds absolutely nothing to the discussion except to call names and be the generally angry person his FB friends warned me about. As far as the Trent picture, you are pretty clueless as the what is in the original print, but that is how you operate.

Lance said...

Ben Moss lists several of the more dubious bits of "evidence" in a mantra that must be Gospel in his Flying Saucer religion.... notice how he doesn't address any of the criticism of the stuff, he just repeats the dogma.

Moss brings up another typically overblown bit of pretend "evidence": the purported photos fogged by radiation. There are many ways for photos to end up fogged which do not involve radiation (excepting light). How could anyone know that these supposed photos were fogged by radiation? You couldn't. It is just one more example of how UFO discussion is a complete sham.

I am put into the position of pointing out the poor thinking of UFO buffs on both sides of this, including a guy attempting to debunk the case who would have been run out of town long ago if UFO enthusiasts had any integrity.

Note above that I give a specific objection to one of Moss's claims... I know he sees this as unhelpful because Saucer Jesus doesn't approve of the bad man talking about his religion.

Amazingly Moss seems to be sticking to his completely bonkers claim that we can see Plasma Vortexes in the Trent photos. Again, such a ridiculous claim would have ended the career of anyone in any real scientific discipline (or any honest endeavor). Luckily Moss knows just how stupid and gullible ("Gosh! He said Plasma! That's scientific!") his worthless audience is.

UFO Belief and the silly hucksters who promote it make the world a worse place to live.





Don said...

Kevin: (to Lance) "I should tell you, and may of the others, that the answers to your questions can be found in my book. The tale of the fused sand was in a letter from James MacDonald. He received the information from a scientist who said that it had been her job to analysis the material... but, the tale was second hand and it doesn't seem to be grounded in reality. As I say, I explored this in the book and I rejected the information because it didn't seem to be accurate."

Having traced the origin to Richard Hall, his article in the MUFON journal (11/76) in which he disputes with Ray Stanford about it. He wrote he received the letter, re Socorro and fused sand, from McDonald (and copied it for Stanford). Apparently, neither published it. or at least I can't find it. Most of the information referred to online is from Druffel who may be the source of errors (but I don't know what Hall or Stanford may have written).

Errors corrected:

Mayes was a student at UNM, not Arizona.

Her specialty wasn't radiation effects on plants (or soil); it was the effects on animals.

Kevin, in 2009 in a comment here you mention two papers by M. G. Mayes, but not the titles, I can't say for sure about those, but she did get cited as M. G. Mayes sometimes. Also, the photo you posted of a woman and two men in a field in Socorro, I'm pretty sure that isn't Mary Mayes. I do know of a photo of her and in a bit I should have it.

Another part of the story is Mayes was there with two other students. We do know of another grad student there: James Wray, an astronomy grad student who was at Kirkland afb and whose presence on the site was requested by Hynek (see PBB). Wray got his PhD at Northwestern in 1966. I assume that's where Hynek knew him. In 1966, as well, Wray succeeded La Paz at UNM.

Mayes was working at, or had worked at, Kirtland afb. I am not certain of the precise dates. She also in this timeframe worked at a Nevada nuclear facility.

Finding the report, or its conclusions...

Fulgarite would tell us little about the event since it is found naturally in deserts
Trinitite, real or fake, would immediately smell of a hoax.

But if it was of the same composition as the surrounding unfused sand, explanations for its existence would be very interesting.

Regards,

Don

KRandle said...

Don -

I wish you hadn't wasted so much time on this. Had you looked at my book (the name of which you all should know by now), you would have rad about the dispute with Stanford that included the references to the articles in the MUFON Journal.

Just yesterday (Saturday), I received a copy of McDonald's letter so that I have the whole statement, which, BTW, does not mention Mayes by name. It is clear that Stanford heavily edited the letter for his book, leaving out some crucial information. I'd tell you all more about that now, but I'm preparing a posting about it so that I can give it the discussion that it deserves. I will say that all is not quite what it seems, including an analysis of the soil found on the landing site and believe it or not, our old friend Charles Moore (Yes, Mr. Mogul, himself) has quite the role in all this... as they say, "More to come."

Don said...

Kevin, I was about to post something similar to your post above. It seems as if over the decades several facts about a Mary G. Mayes (MGM) entered Socorro lore. One can find an MGM and think "chemist" or an MGM and thing "biology" (botany) etc, depending on which bit of fact one found. This would be more likely to have occured pre-internet. It's like the blind men and the elephant.

But there is a likely candidate for the Socorro MGM, and whatever source first used the name, they had to have a reason for choosing it. The closest I can bring her and Socorro together is an MGM is listed as a presenter at a conference at NMI on April 11, 1964 (Albuquerque Jnl 4/10/64). There was also a reason for one Mayes family to be in the Socorro area the week of April 24, 1964. There was a death in the family and a burial in Santa Rita of the mother of another MGM (well, very probably not our MGM).

I don't consider the time wasted. I learned a lot.

From the time I first heard of your book (Rich Reynolds' blog), if I had ordered it that instant, it might have got here yesterday. I haven't paid much attention to UFOs lately.

Regards,

Don

Don said...

Me: "I do know of a photo of her and in a bit I should have it."

Page 42, UNM 1959 yearbook. This is most likely the Mary Geraldine Mayes in the AbJnl story of 7/6/59, who was an assistant to Loren Potter at UNM, who already had two years of college at another school in Texas. She is listed as a junior in the yearbook.


Regards,

Don

Ben Moss said...

Lance, I will say it one more time. I have Dr. Hynek, on video, saying that the 'film was fogged by radiation, there is no disputing that". I think, since he was working for Blue Book, that he was privy to that info, but not sure if you read all of these post as your replies imply that you do not. And as far as the Trent photo, I have people a lot smarter than you confirming there is some type of vortex below the craft, very obvious in the original, and that matches what the Trent's said, that they were hit by a blast of hot air when the vehicle tilted towards them. But you can think and say what you want, as you are the authority in your house, at least.

Don said...

Ben: "I have Dr. Hynek, on video, saying that the 'film was fogged by radiation, there is no disputing that"."

Photographic film, commonly, is fogged by either chemistry or light.

"Visible light is a form of electromagnetic (EM) radiation, as are radio waves, infrared radiation, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and microwaves." I still have my old lead laminate pouch for film that might be x-rayed at airports.

Light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Thus, Hynek's statement may mean 'The film was not fogged by chemistry'. So, unless he specified that the source of radiation was not the radiation that often fogs photo film, the statement it was fogged by radiation is rather a commonplace.

Regards,

Don