Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chasing More Footnotes


I have complained in the past that I am becoming less than thrilled with the UFO community. The reasons for this are varied but come down to a couple of basic ideas. One of those is that no matter how often a case is proven to be a hoax, a misidentification, a misinterpretation, or an inability to recognize the mundane, there are those who will argue the point forever. A recent post was partially inspired by this. How many times do we have to delve into the Oliver Lerch tale when everything that can be found points to an invention of the tale rather than a real event?

The point here, however, is that part of the problem is that some people who claim to be researchers or investigators just don’t follow the path to its end. This is what lead to the chasing of footnotes because sometimes the footnote is simply inadequate. Sometimes the information is not complete.

Not to pick on Richard Dolan, but just the other day as I was looking for something else, I noticed a couple of problems. These sorts of things are not restricted to Richard because we all have
Richard Dolan. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
fallen into the trap. On page 16 of his UFOs and the National Security State, he reported on a sighting by railroad engineer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who saw ten shiny disks on June 23. His footnote leads us to a number of sources, which cover a number of sightings in that same paragraph. Unfortunately, the information about the Cedar Rapids sighting is wrong, as I have noted in an earlier posting. The report was not made until after the Arnold sighting, was apparently for the afternoon of June 24 rather than the 23, and the railroad man was not in Iowa, but in Joliet, Illinois. Among those who reported this information as Dolan had, were Dick Hall and Frank Edwards. I believe Hall got it from Edwards, who must have seen something in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about the sighting a couple of days after Arnold. Edwards, or those others, had not followed the story to the source, or they would have found the discrepancies.

As I say, not to pick on Dolan, but later, on page 25, he wrote about Bill Brazel and the finding of the metal debris from the Roswell crash. The footnote takes us to Stan Friedman’s Crash at Corona in which he quotes from an interview with Bill Brazel. The quotes are accurate, for the most part, but there is no footnote to explain how the information was gathered because Friedman supplies no information about that. The trail ends there.

However, I know how that interview was conducted because I had
Stan Friedman. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
arranged it, and Don Schmitt and I were there. I recorded it. The more accurate footnote would have taken us not to Friedman’s book, but to UFO Crash at Roswell, where the footnote explained the circumstances of the interview. In other words, the original source was that interview that Don and I conducted and not the information printed in Friedman’s book.

A side problem with this is that Friedman altered one portion of the interview without justification. Those who follow Dolan’s footnote to Friedman will get the inaccurate information… Friedman inserted the word “black” into the interview to describe one the sergeants who came to the Brazel ranch to collect the bits of debris Bill had found. Brazel made no reference to the racial identity of those four men but Friedman inserted the word to bolster the Gerald Anderson fairy tale. You can read the whole story here (if you are so inclined):


This problem is not confined to UFO research. I was looking for information for a post on the new version of the Treasure Quest show and found a couple of sites that provided what seemed to be accurate information. Reference was made to someone named C. H. Prodgers and in this day of the Internet, I thought I would find out what he had said about the treasure.

Twenty-five years ago, I couldn’t have gathered the information. True, one of the articles referred to Prodgers, but in the world today, I was able to find a copy of Prodgers’s book online. I didn’t have to rely on what others had written about it. I could read it for myself. And, I found that much of the information published, that referenced Prodgers, was incorrect. After all, they were quoting Prodgers as the source, but what Prodgers had written did not match what they were reporting. Could Prodgers have been making up the tale of the treasure? Sure. But that didn’t matter because he was the original source. He was writing from the point of view of having been there, lived the adventure, and there wasn’t much documentation that preceded him. The others were quoting him as their source.

That is, I chased the references to the ultimate source. I corrected the errors made by others who had used the same source, and came away unimpressed with the information. It reads more like fiction than fact and there really is nothing to back up the story. And now that the first season is over, we have seen a large number of problems with this treasure hunting quest.

So, now you’re wondering how all this relates to Ufology. It is about getting to the original source. In the past, the only way to do it was go to the location or find a library that had the proper resources in its collections. You had to read the microfilms and search endlessly for the articles. That is what I had done with the Cedar Rapids story. I could search the microfilm of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and I found the original article about the railroad man and his UFOs. Took about an hour. Had I lived elsewhere, I might not have found it… until I could make an Internet search.

Here’s another example. As I point out in another post, Don Keyhoe, in writing about the 1948 Mantell case, got some bad information and therefore some of his conclusions wrong. He didn’t have access to the documents available to us online today. He assumed that the timing of the events fit into a specific sequence. He assumed that the times given in various reports was when the object was seen over that specific town. What this means that the sighting of the object from Madisonville, Kentucky, wasn’t of an object overhead as Keyhoe believed, but of one to the northwest. The claim that the object was over the Godman Army Airfield tower as Keyhoe believed, is not true. The documents in the Blue Book files proved that the men in the tower saw the UFO somewhere to the southwest at the very limits of human ability to see it. Given those two facts, Keyhoe’s estimate of the speed was way off. That’s not Keyhoe’s fault. He was relying on information that had been reported to him orally rather than seeing what the documents said. He couldn’t have reviewed those documents easily until 1976.

Those who cite Keyhoe’s estimate of the speed have not followed up on the information which was published in the early 1950s. Had they done so, they would have realized that his claim the object was moving at 180 miles an hour was badly flawed. Information available today gives us a much clearer picture. This isn’t to fault Keyhoe because he was relying on the information he had, but to fault those who haven’t bothered to update the information when they began their research.

What all this means is that in the world today, we can look much deeper into the past. We have access to nearly all human knowledge through the Internet. We can study newspaper files in cities hundreds or thousands of miles away (though some services require a subscription). The files of Project Blue Book are on line for all to review… and there are other sources of information about Blue Book that we have today that Keyhoe and others in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t have.

There is then, no real excuse for continuing to report information that is out of date or inaccurate. We can clear up these things by taking our research to the next level, which has always been the real point of chasing footnotes. This isn’t about “gotcha” but about cleaning up the information so that we can come to the proper conclusion. It isn’t about making someone look bad, but about searching for the answers to the mystery, whatever that mystery might be.

While I find chasing footnotes to be fun, I guess there are those who can’t be bothered with following the trail. They already know the truth so there is no need to search any further for it. Why clutter up a good UFO report with a lot of facts that provide us with an identification? Sometimes, however, we do learn something important about a case, which is why I do what I do. I just wish that there wasn’t a constant fight inside Ufology, protecting the sacred cows, when the facts take us somewhere else. 

I can cite examples here. Tales that are told and retold by those who are enthusiastic about their favorite cases. They ignore facts that don’t fit into their view of the world. They know the “truth,” and the facts be damned.

The airship crash in Aurora, Texas, in 1897 proves the point. The evidence and documentation shows that the story was invented by a stringer for a Dallas newspaper. Other documentation, in the form of histories of Aurora or Wise County where Aurora is located, that were published within a couple of years of the alleged crash mention nothing about it. Had such an event taken place, even if it didn’t involve a craft from another world, these histories would have contained some information about it. There is none. But we still have to listen to tales of the Aurora, Texas, UFO crash and put up with television documentaries in which they are digging “for the truth.” Of course, when they’re done, they have not advanced our knowledge. They have just added another level of nonsense to the tale.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Tremonton UFO Film and Haddaway


Here’s something that is a little frightening for those of us who accept the idea that some UFO sightings represent alien spacecraft visiting Earth. We have a list of cases, even if we don’t mention it, that seem, on their face, to be inexplicable. They have some form of instrumentality involved which means we are not relying on the observations of the witnesses.

Ed Ruppelt
One of these cases is the film taken near Tremonton, Utah, in July 1952, by Navy Warrant Officer Delbert Newhouse. It shows a bunch of lights dancing around in a bright blue sky. At one point, a single object broke away and is seen crossing the frame in what looks like straight and level flight. Analysis of the film had suggested some sort of internally lighted objects moving at high speed or that the objects are birds seen at the extreme range of visibility, giving the impression of larger, lighted objects. You can sort of take your pick. Newhouse told Ed Ruppelt, one time chief of Project Blue Book, that he had seen the objects close up, that they were saucer shaped, or oval, and he had been unable to get his camera from the trunk before they had moved into the distance. You can read about it here:


and here


and here


Over the years, as I have been out and about, driving cross country, standing in the desert, or hanging around with friends, I have studied the motion of birds. I have seen flocks of them… huge flocks that were clearly birds, through they had dark bodies and I could see no wing flapping, as they maneuvered through the sky. I have watched lone birds, small formations of them, in various lightings and various locations, and never really saw anything that I couldn’t identify as birds. All that seemed to be the flaw in the explanation for the Tremonton Movie. You can watch the film here:


But…

Today, I was listening to music on YouTube as I worked on something else. This was a dance video to Haddaway’s “What is Love.” There are two points that are
relevant to this short discussion. One is at about the 2:40 mark and the other is at the 3:49 mark. Two young women are dancing in from of a blank wall but above them, in the top quarter or so of the video, is bright blue sky. At the beginning point I mentioned, a white bird with black wings flies by. But, if you watch the birds in the background, you’ll see a number of them flash passed and they look like the images on the Tremonton film. This lasts for mere seconds, while the Tremonton images last much longer. The images are seen at the left side of the photo, just about the wall. You can watch the dancing video here:


Had it not been for that first bird, we all might have been fooled. This video, I think, was recorded in HD, so that those of us who wished to look closer might
have been able to resolve those images as birds. I just thought it interesting that the birds in the video did resemble the images on the movie footage (which, BTW, was taken on a 16 mm movie camera film). Maybe this solves the Tremonton case, though given the testimony of the witnesses and a couple of other factors, probably doesn’t. I just wanted to mention this for those who are interested in this sort of thing.

(PS: Yes, I stopped the video, and I blew it up as large as I could, and yes, in that mode, the lights aren’t uniform and you can see an image that certainly could be taken as a bird. Played at full speed, the impression is somewhat different.)

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Treasure Quest - A Few Final Thoughts


Just a couple of things to clear up after the season finale of Treasure Quest. Just a couple of questions that I have about the show, or a couple of comments about what we saw.

First, if I understood it right, one of them mentioned they had spent two months in the wrong place. They had talked to the last man living who had actually looked for the treasure and he told them that he thought it was on the site of the old Jesuit mission. In that first episode, after they had traveled over the Death Highway, trekked in with burros, and made a big deal about how isolated the place was, they apparently found a silver goblet buried among the ruins. Interesting, suggestive of something more to be found, but in and of itself, irrelevant.

That didn’t stop them from crawling all over the area, finding tunnels and caves, and calling in heavy equipment from the “secret” road to Quime. That also told us that they could have driven in, from Quime, in a couple of hours. We didn’t need all the additional drama, but what is a treasure hunting show without some artificial drama.

C. H. Prodgers
Anyway, had they bothered to do any basic research, they surely would have come across C.H. Prodgers’ book telling of his adventures in the area about a hundred years ago. Prodgers made it clear that the treasure was hidden under a huge, egg-shaped rock that he had blown up. Fifteen feet or so under it, he found the roof of the cavern or tunnel that held the treasure. I mean, he told the world where it was and these guys spent two months in the wrong place. Even I, sitting at home with a computer hooked to the Internet, took nearly ten minutes to find Prodgers’ book and then find the relevant chapters. After all this, our treasure hunting crew found the tunnel that Prodgers had described. They could have saved two months time and been able to reach deeper into that underground lake.

Second, are the Spanish coins they found. These were silver, according to Shawn Cowles, and I have no reason to doubt his conclusion. What I did wonder about is why they were in such pristine condition. After they pulled them up, out of the mud in the underground lake, I thought they should show some signs of being under water and stuck in mud for hundreds of years. It seemed to me that he just wiped the mud away and there was a nice, shiny Piece of Eight looking as if he had pulled it out of his pocket.

I did try to find some information about silver buried in the ground. I learned that as a base metal, it doesn’t react to the chemicals in the soil the way other metals, such as tin does. Silver doesn’t rust. It does, however, tarnish, just as the goblet they had found earlier had tarnished. So, I wondered if a silver coin buried in the
Spanish Piece of Eight
mud, under, what, four feet of water (at least four feet at the time they found it) would react with the soil. Would the water protect the coins from the ravages of sitting around in the open air? We all know that silver, just sitting in a cupboard does tarnish. What about coins? What about Spanish coins? What about coins under water? And were they under water for the last three or four hundred years or had the lake receded or died up periodically in that time?

I confess that I can’t answer most of these questions, but they do make me wonder. And, I will say that it seems that silver doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as other metals do. That means that wiping the mud off them might have revealed silver coins that looked as good as these do. I just don’t know the answer.

To end this, I am intrigued by the images recovered using the Go Pro. What it seemed to show were bars of metal which they identified as gold, sitting in the water near the abyss they found. There seemed to be several of them. What we don’t know is if these are all the bars in that tunnel or are there more, maybe at the bottom of the deep hole they found. I do wonder why Prodgers or any of the other expeditions didn’t find more of the treasure… Or, did they? Maybe what the new team found was a few of the items dropped by those carrying the real find out of the tunnel long ago. Maybe the treasure was there and all that is left are just a few bits that were deemed unimportant.

That does make for an interesting ending to the season. We’ll just have to wait to find out what is at the bottom of that lake. Unless, of course, the show is cancelled.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Treasure Quest - Season Finale "Payday"

Late last night (October 2) I received a comment to my last post about Treasure Quest (which now has Snake Island appended to it again). Todo Segalla suggested he had seen the October 5 episode and that, according to him, they had found the treasure. He wrote, “Kevin They found the treasure. I saw the episode that airs Oct. 5, they found the cave… using the drone they located another hill with a cave inside… silver coins, gold bars… it’s flooded and requires expert diving to recover all the treasure. CONGRATS!”

Todo Segalla (I hope)

I don’t know who Todo Segalla is or how reliable this information he has provided is. I do know that in the past, on the treasure hunting shows, we have been teased with big finds that later turn out to be less than spectacular. Remember the old Treasure Quest when they found the Inca sun god icon that they suggested could be worth as much as a quarter of a million dollars, little, silver llamas, and a suggestion that they had found the Treasure of the Trinity… and then nothing.

But the Internet is a wonderful tool and I was able to find something about Todo Segalla, if this is, in fact, the same guy. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 9, 1963. It is suggested that he is a Navy veteran and, of course, was a SEAL… possibly. The Imdb noted that the time of this service is unknown and that he doesn’t talk about it much. He is now a Federal Police Office with the Department of Veteran Affairs. He has abandoned his award-winning acting and his renowned Martial Arts training.

In trying to learn more about this, after looking up Segalla, I blundered into the Discovery Channel website. I noticed that the Friday (Oct 5) episode was available. It was called “Payday.” I clicked on it, of course, and it took me to a list of cable suppliers. Mine was there and I clicked on that. It asked me to sign in but I wasn’t ready to do that but apparently the site checked and the next thing I knew, the episode, commercials and all, was playing on my computer…

So… Spoilers Below

We started with Jeremy Whalen entering the hole they had made in the tunnel, which is where we had left off the week before. He has apparently fallen and another of the treasure hunters repels down after him. Whalen has lacerated his back, a place on his head, and they start calling for the medic. She arrives, advises that he get out of the tunnel, but Whalen rejects that. She apparently stitches him up, and off they all go.

This is just another proof that this isn’t just four guys in the wilderness hunting for a treasure. There is a large support team with them, so much of the drama is artificial, but at this point I’m not sure that I care.

The medic patches up Whalen, and then the rest of the team and the camera crew and the sound guy join them. It’s probably getting pretty crowded down there. They begin the search, find a big hairy tarantula that worries them greatly, but they get it out of the way to continue the journey.

They realize that there are markings on the wall that suggest the high point of water, which is no longer present. They are walking in mud, which tells them the water was there not long ago… and it’s raining outside meaning that more water might enter the cave.

And, as before, they reach the end of the tunnel. This time, however, they realize that it is an artificial wall that isn’t all that thick. Jack Peters, the demo guy, said that he could surgically remove part of the wall so that they could look beyond it for booby traps and they would be able to see deeper into the tunnel.

He has three sticks of dynamite, det cord and other supplies with him, or so it seems. In fact, they seem to have a lot of equipment in that tunnel that we don’t see until they need to do something more. Just one more proof that we’re watching television rather than an expedition into the wilderness as they keep telling us. But, again, I’m not sure that I care about that anymore.

They successfully take down about half the wall, and beyond it, they see the underground lake. Now they are stymied because they don’t like the look of the water, which might have been there for a long time, filled with bacteria and other toxins which could lead to serious illness. Shawn Cowles wonders about flesh eating bacteria and I have to say, I think he’s got a point.

Whalen, however rigs a way to explore the lake just beyond where they are using the underwater metal detector which I’m not sure they had with them when the climbed into the tunnel. Almost immediately he gets a hit, and the rig a way to scoop the soil from the bottom of the lake. They bring up a Spanish coin and we get a lecture on Pieces of Eight.

They continue in that mode, find I think, another half dozen silver coins, which a massive treasure they do not make. I’m wondering if this was a treasure horde, why are the coins scattered in the dirt. Seems more like coins dropped by accident, but then, why are there so many so close to that wall.

Whalen wants to dive into the lake, but Cowles said, “No.” He’s the expedition leader and won’t allow it. Too dangerous. They work out a compromise and Whalen drops into the freezing water. He walks around and using a Go Pro on a stick, films underwater. He eventually reaches a place where it seems the bottom drops out.

If I have this correctly, they take the boom from the sound guy, and rig a way to measure the depth. Sound guy? Someone else in there with them. The real point however, is that their measurement suggests the bottom is under a hundred feet of water. Given that, given the rain coming down, and given the temperature of the water, they had to abandon the search. They’ve had some success, believe they are on the doorstep, but they just can’t get there.

They go back to their base camp, load their pick-up truck… pick-up truck? Where did that come from? I thought this was such a remote area with no roads. I thought they had to pack in using burros. They do seem to have gotten a number of vehicles into the area based on what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.

Colibri Hostal, Quime, Bolivia
As the rain comes down and the storm breaks, they head to Quime and the Colibri Hostal (20 bucks a night) where Whalen is reviewing the footage from the Go Pro on his computer. He stops, goes back, enhances, and calls to the others. Excited, they run down the porch (veranda?) looking for Cowles. Whalen shows him what looks to be a gold bar somewhat obscured by the murky water. Oh, don’t get me wrong, what we see there looks just like those ingots pulled up from wrecks of Spanish treasure ships… and there are hints of other bars beneath it.

They have found the treasure. Or so they say. They certainly seem to have done better than the guys at Oak Island. We don’t know because the rainy season drove them from the site, and they need specialized diving equipment to get to the bottom of that lake. It will take weeks, if not months and a pile of cash to arrange for the equipment and the diving expert, though Cowles might be qualified in that arena.

Given what Cowles has said, it seems that this is the end of the line for this season. They won’t be back in the Sacambaya Valley any time soon. They have to arrange for the diving expedition. I confess that I am intrigued by their finds in the tunnel even though they only came out with a few silver coins and underwater pictures of ingots that might be gold. Now we’ll have to wait for next season to learn just what they have found. I hope it turns out better than the last expedition on Treasure Quest where it seemed they were on the verge of a huge discovery only to have the show semi-cancelled, replaced by this version.

Oh, and to Todo Segalla, they didn’t find the treasure. They found evidence suggesting there is something more there, but they didn’t find two billion dollars of stuff. As I say, I’m intrigued, but not convinced yet… of course, this will ensure a second (or is it fourth) season.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Treasure Quest and the Bat Cave


Well folks, last night (September 28) was maybe the worst of the episodes but only for what it revealed about the great treasure hunt. They penetrated another tunnel, or in this case a cave, filled with toxic chemicals thanks to the vampire bats, and found nothing. They reached the dead end, avoiding the bats by shining their lights down so as not to disturb them. Oh, and they created a huge air vent to blow the toxic gas out using some of the one hundred plastic bags they had brought in. Really? A hundred plastic bags?

All that really proves was that they had access to a great deal of equipment and supplies that, again, suggested, they weren’t traveling into the deep wilderness without a lot of support. If they were trekking into this remote area, I can’t think of a good reason to bring in all those plastic bags because they would have limited weight capabilities on those burros they allegedly used… but, of course, we know that isn’t true. They’re an hour or so from Quime and what, ten hours from La Paz
C. H. Prodgers
by those SUVs that have become more prevalent in the last few episodes. I note here that C. H. Prodgers, who was there a hundred years ago, wrote that the trip to La Paz would take eight to ten days. I bring this up only for perspective.

Did I mention they found a bell? It had a couple of cracks in it and was made of bronze which is not a treasure but was cool. And, they found more of that oxen chain. All that led them, indirectly, to the Bat Cave, which turned out to be a bust.
So, they’re standing there, wondering what to do next because Winter is Coming… I mean, the rainy season is coming, so they don’t have much time. They deploy a drone, which is another bit of technology that requires some kind of external support such as batteries and recharging capabilities. With it they find another area several miles away that has three rivers coming together and with a mesa close by. They decide they must get to that area because that also fits the descriptions of the Roman Document.

After a hike, they walk into the area, climb the hill and look for the egg-shaped rock that is supposed to mark the location of the tunnel of treasure. It was so big it took 500 of the locals to place on top of the hill. Prodgers had written nearly a hundred years ago that, “If you dig down underneath this stone for five yards, you will find the roof of a large cave, which took 500 men two and a half years to hollow out. The roof is seventy yards long, and there are two compartments and a long narrow passage leading from the room on the east side to the main entrance two hundred yards away.”

Prodgers continued his commentary, “The stone was exactly ten feet high above the ground, five feet below, and fourteen feet wide around the middle.”

One of our guys talked about the huge stone and they all begin a search for the rock but don’t find it. Instead they discover a boulder that has smaller rocks scattered around it. They postulate that this might have been the egg-shaped rock that weather had shattered. Prodgers, however, wrote, “I started off the excavation by blowing the big egg-shaped stone to pieces with dynamite.” That certainly would have done a better job of breaking the boulder apart.

You would think that this latest expedition, that has been talking about all its technology would have, at the very least, searched out some of these old records and stories before heading to Bolivia. You would think that they would have known that Prodgers blew up the rock so that it wouldn’t be there. I knew it. I learned about it weeks ago and didn’t even have to visit a library to learn it.

While our guys are looking around, they find a huge void underground using their ground penetrating radar and a couple of other gadgets, and I wonder where all that equipment came from because it sure didn’t look as if they had lugged it into the wild during the latest trek. Their packs were somewhat smaller so that equipment should have been visible. But never mind.

After working their way around the rock and plateau, they find a void, but Prodgers told us where it was. He wrote, nearly a century ago, “The roof of the cave was covered over by earth and grass for eighteen inches or two feet, except at the end where the big stone was, where it was covered rather deeper.”

Our guys determine it is even deeper than that. They’re going to need their excavator and wonder if they can get it up there. (Sure, I know the sentence has some syntax problems but I wanted to get all forms of there in it.) While a couple of them set up base camp, with more stuff that they hadn’t seemed to carry in with them, the others head back to the original and obviously wrong site. They crank up
Josh Gates. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
the excavator and one of those ubiquitous SUVs for the drive back… Yeah, they can actually drive to the new location and you have to wonder if they didn’t know that all the time. You wonder if they drove over, climbed out then waded around in the river to make it look good on television because what sort of expedition drives to its new, important location, other than Josh Gates and his pals? Certainly not those guys on Treasure Quest.

They drive the excavator up the hill, position it to dig down and wonder if it has the capability to dig as deep as they need… But, of course it does, and they breakthrough into the cavern. I will point out here the Prodgers had done that a hundred years ago. He described the cavern but he didn’t describe any treasure found in it. Prodgers, by the way, never found the treasure, as I noted in an earlier post, but he seems to have been at this very location a hundred years before our guys arrived.

They do break into the tunnel or cave, and they try to test the air. Prodgers had suggested that it was toxic. One of the men begins a descent into the hole they opened, mentioning that it looks deep. He keeps going but stops responding to them. As they panic, they realize the line is now slack and call for a medic that we’ve never seen but who was obviously there with a cameraman or two.  Before this is resolved, we cut away for commercials. When we come back it is obvious that we’ll have to wait until next week to find out if the man survived and if they have found the treasure. I’ll say “Yes and no.” Yes, he survives and no, they’ll find no treasure.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Treasure Quest Latest - What a Snooze Fest


Well, Friday’s show (Sept 21) was certainly a snooze fest. I can say that because halfway through I fell asleep and missed some of it. I figured that I’d pick it up on Sunday, but I fell asleep again. Not in the same place but the show still put me to sleep. There just wasn’t anything going on that was all that interesting and I could have been watching the football game.

I did see them reach the end of the tunnel and find nothing there. They did check the walls to make sure there wasn’t a hidden chamber somewhere, but found nothing. I would have though as they used their ground penetrating radar they might have found a hint of that, but no.

From the teasers, I do know they have to find some sort of underground lake, or pond or mud puddle. They hint that they’ll find something of interest hidden in the water, but I’ve been watching this show since they were fooling around on Snake Island. There never is any sort of payoff. Just a hint of something bigger and better coming at some later date. All I have to do is point to the bale seal and say, “But this was supposed to be part of the treasure.”

I did wake up in time to listen to their plan to find out what the symbols on bale seal they had found are. They needed an expert and there was one in La Paz. Well, from the first episode, we were lead to believe that they were in an isolate area of Bolivia, so remote they had to walk in using burros to transport their gear. We have since learned of the secret road that while in crummy shape was still good enough to bring in heavy equipment. And, they had a SUV that apparently can
Quime and the "secret" roads.
make it to Quime in an hour or two.

Now we learn they are only about eight hours from La Paz. I’m wondering if they really camp out in the Sacambaya Valley where there are snakes and scorpions, or if they commute in and out as the shooting schedule requires. They give the impression that they are out there, in the field, day after day, but I think they are only there periodically, so that they can get some footage of them digging around and blowing up things.

Anyway, a couple of the guys head over to talk with a man who is versed in the history of the area and can tell them all about the bale seal. They arrive at his house, which is about the most impressive thing I’ve seen since they started this version of Snake Island. As happens only on TV, they knock on the door and he opens it immediately. That suggests that a meeting had been arranged… which seems likely because they have to get the cameras and sound equipment into the room to film and it would be a real waste of time to show up if the guy was on vacation or out shopping or something.

The expert, whose name I didn’t bother to learn, tells them the bale seal is from the Jesuits, and that the other symbols provide a clue as to where the package was prepared and its destination. There are three wavy lines, which they interpret to mean the Sacambaya Valley where the package was prepared. But, there are three wavy lines in the other spot suggesting the destination. They wonder if that means the Sacambaya Valley where the three rivers meet. They wonder if that means the destination is the same place, but I have to say, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

When the episode ends, not much has happened. Maybe it was in the parts I slept through, but I doubt that. All I really learned was that they are close enough to La Paz, that they could almost commute from Sacambaya to La Paz and back. No reason to rough it in the wild, which, by the way, probably isn’t all that wild.

I will now predict that they will find nothing other than the type of debris you would expect on a site that was occupied for a couple of hundred years. A hundred years ago, an expedition into the area would be been much more difficult than it is today and probably left more debris for them to find. We’ve seen the roads, we’ve seen them bring in heavy equipment, and we have extrapolated that they had a source of electric power. Those a hundred years ago would have had to stay on site because it would have probably taken days to get into the area but today, it is a matter of a couple of hours.

Yes, I’ll follow this to the conclusion but I’m looking forward to Gold Rush. While they aren’t looking for a treasure, they do find lots of gold. Parker and Tony have pulled millions of dollars from the ground without the artificial drama of pretending they are days away from civilization. I just hope Ashley has a bigger role this year (or that she is still around but I guess she’s not there, to quote the Zombies).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Socorro Barrel and Bruno R.


I now know more about the barrel launching Bruno R (name left out of the original post that Dave Thomas put on his website at: http://www.nmsr.org/socorro.htm). Tony Bragalia, working with a little information that I supplied and searching through other sources, was able to speak with Bruno in an attempt to corroborate Kevin Ashley’s story at Thomas’s site. Bruno said that he did not remember revealing his involvement to Ashely.

Bruno said that he was, in fact, responsible for the Socorro UFO sighting. He, and a colleague he refused to name, said they were using Ammonium Nitrate, an electric blasting cap, dynamite, a large barrel and a gasoline pan. This was how they launched the barrel, and as we’ve seen, the lift off
Barrel launch.
would be with a roar as the barrel shot straight up into the air.

Bruno said that both of them were wearing blue jeans and not white coveralls. He said that he wasn’t short, as suggested by Lonnie Zamora’s statements. He also said they had not decorated the barrel in any way so he doesn’t know what the insignia was that Zamora had mentioned.

Interestingly, he said that he and his partner said nothing about this because they were afraid they would be expelled. He said that after graduation, he had left to work in Central America so that he was unavailable to anyone searching for him. He did say, “Now I feel bad for Lonnie.” Which is interesting given the theory that the sighting was a hoax designed to torment Zamora.

My initial reaction is that this doesn’t fit in with the physical evidence that was gathered on the site within hours of the craft lifting off. This included soil samples. Captain Richard T. Holder, according to the Project Blue Book files, took soil samples. He gave these to Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was on the scene as the Air Force Consultant to Blue Book. This means, of course, that the samples were gathered before the scene was trampled by curiosity seekers. Remember that Dorothy Landoll told me that she and her husband were out there the next day.

According to the Blue Book files, “Laboratory analysis of soil samples disclosed no foreign material… analysis of the burned bush showed no chemicals which would indicate a type of propellant.”

Lonnie Zamora and various individuals on the
landing site.
In the descriptions of the site by those who were there that evening including Zamora, his friend Sergeant Sam Chavez, Holder, FBI agent Arthur Byrnes, several other law enforcement officers and military police, no one said a word about a battered barrel (I am assuming here that the barrel would be battered after being blasted upwards and falling back). They talked of other things they saw including burned bits of cardboard, so they were talking about all sorts of debris.

The landing traces and there were four, were not what you would expect from the launching of the barrel. These were suggested to be landing gear imprints and not the haphazard craters created by denotating dynamite. To those on the scene the impressions looked as if they had been pressed into the ground rather than caused by an explosion, or for that matter, by a shovel.

There are some other problems with this tale. How did Bruno and his partner get away without some kind of vehicle in the area, and the area was searched for tire tracks?  Bruno said that they had not decorated the barrel so he doesn’t know where that insignia came from that Zamora had reported. As I say, what happened to that barrel? It was not found.

There are some problems with this confession (well, this interview or conversation… it really wasn’t a confession). It just doesn’t fit in with what we really know based on the interviews conducted on the night of the sighting. It doesn’t fit with the physical evidence collected. It doesn’t fit with the other sightings that were reported to the police prior to Zamora arriving on the scene.

Hector Quintanilla seated.
But I did think of one thing. Bruno suggested that maybe Zamora had embellished the sighting, embarrassed by all the commotion it had stirred. Hector Quintanilla, who was the chief of Project Blue Book in 1964, said that he could not find an explanation for he sighting and believed the solution might be hiding in Zamora’s head. He was saying, I think, that there might have been an observation or a bit of knowledge that Zamora had that he didn’t share with the investigators. If Zamora was embellishing the story, then that might be what Quintanilla was thinking.

As I wrote that last sentence, I knew that it would be misinterpreted by many. No, I don’t believe the barrel explanation solves the case. But, if I’m going to be intellectually honest about the investigation, I must look at all sides, and to be fair, I must present all information. I find this tale interesting and slightly disturbing, but I don’t believe this is the solution… which is not to say that Bruno and his pal weren’t blowing up barrels, or that he believes this solves Socorro. It is just one more complication as we attempt to learn what happened back in 1964.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Barrels of Fun in Socorro


As you all know, I have been looking at the Socorro UFO landing case and in the last couple of weeks published an article about it. In that article, I mentioned that a fellow, Kevin Ashley, had heard a solution for the case from an engineer who had attended school at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1964. His story, though a bit hard to believe was that he and a pal had been responsible for what Socorro Police Officer Lonnie Zamora had found. To recap for those who might not have seen that post:

He [Bruno, the former student] said that he and another mining student were bored and looking for something to do that day. They got their hands on some dynamite (possibly from the dynamite shack mentioned in Officer Zamora’s account) and decided to have some fun setting it off under an old overturned metal barrel. The first time they did this the barrel went flying into the air which they found very amusing so they did it a couple more times. (It was probably the third explosion that attracted the attention of Officer Zamora.) Delighted with the result of the barrel being thrown in the air again, they set about putting together one more explosion. As they were bending down getting everything set they were apparently seen from across the arroyo by Officer Zamora. The two of them, who were wearing white coveralls, were seized with a sudden need to get the hell out of there because being caught doing a stupid stunt like this with dynamite would get them both expelled… Evidently the fuse had already been lit when Bruno and his friend legged it for their vehicle to get away. Office Zamora started toward the site when the explosion went off and as he dived for cover he lost his glasses. What he saw the couple of times he glanced up was the oil drum being projected upwards with flame coming out from the bottom.
As I mentioned, this seems a little bit farfetched. So, why bring it up again? Tony Bragalia found, on YouTube, a couple of videos that show people putting quarter sticks of dynamite under upside down barrels. It does show, to some degree, what Zamora had reported. You can watch these short videos at:
and
The trouble here is that the barrels just didn’t disappear. They come back down, though in the first video, you don’t see that until the very end. In the second, you see it immediately. No barrel was found at the scene.
Launching a barrel with dynamite.
And, the dynamite would have left residue on the scene. Soil samples were taken, but none found any evidence of a pyrotechnic detonation. In other words, no evidence of dynamite being detonated on that site at the time indicated.
Of course, the barrel wasn’t found, though there was discussion of debris on the scene such as burned cardboard. Those who were there didn’t believe the cardboard was related to the sighting.
Anyway, Tony sent me the links and I thought them interesting enough to post here. This doesn’t seem to be a viable solution given the other evidence and the number of people who were there in a matter of minutes, but the videos are fun. If there was any evidence for this solution, then it might be the answer. Without any sort of evidence or even a statement or two from Bruno, this is a nonstarter, but as I say, it is a fun explanation.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Treasure Quest - The Bolivian Brown and a Bale Seal


Well, another episode and another major disappointment. However, it did get me thinking about the production of the show rather than what was happening on my TV screen.

What do you mean, you might ask?

Remember that we were treated to that harrowing ride on the Highway of Death, the trek with a number of burros, the just missed landslide, and all the other obstacles they had to defeat just to reach the Sacambaya Valley where the treasure is allegedly hidden. I wonder just how many people made the trek, how much equipment they had brought in with them, and how much food and other supplies they had. Certainly, way too much for the short burro train we saw.

Since we have seen all four of the treasure hunters on screen at the same time, there is obviously a cameraman somewhere around. The shots change suggesting a cameraman. There might be two because the team is sometimes split. Once, some of them went to Quime, and others stayed behind digging around, suggesting two cameramen.

Larry King Live! in the desert near Rachel, Nevada. While this was a live show, the point is that there are many
support people and lots of equipment required. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.


The number isn’t all that important. What is important is the myth that they’re in some remote area which is nearly impossible to reach. They had trekked in, mainly on foot. But we now see there are more than just the treasure hunters. We have the support team for a television production and that implies a source of resupply that does not rely on burros.

Larry King Live! outside Rachel, Nevada. More of the
support staff for the show and the panel of interview
guests. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle


Of course, we now know that there is a road, a crummy road but a road, from Quime into the Sacambaya Valley. Say what you will about the road, they did manage to get an 18-wheeler over that road, carrying an excavator on its trailer. It might not have been easy, but they did it. And, importantly, the big truck was led by an SUV, which could have made the drive without any real problems. By itself, the SUV might have been able to make the trip in less than an hour.

Which brings us back to the latest episode. They begin their assault on the tunnel they relocated with their ground penetrating radar, but the heavy excavator, using a jackhammer tip, created such vibrations that rocks began tumbling from high above them. Realizing that this could be a problem, they decided to blow off the dangerous sections of the rock formations, attempting to direct the blast so that the rocks fell on the other side of the ridge. While I have no problems with that, this is just another example of all the materiel they brought with them… and remember the makeshift explosives that they had to create in an earlier episode. Why didn’t they use these real explosives then? And, if they didn’t have them then, where did they come from now?

They do break through into the tunnel. They find an old ore cart, something that would have been used in the mining operation. It is, of course, in lousy shape, but it is an interesting artifact. Near it, they find a bit of ornate cloth, that had been interwoven with gold. It is an interesting scrap but only proves that the Jesuits had been there at one time. We already knew that.

Outside, one of the team is worried about the weight of the heavy equipment crushing the tunnel, so he orders it moved back, away from the new entrance they made. While the excavator starts right up, the backhoe doesn’t. The battery is nearly dead. But never to worry, one of the team tells them they’ll just have to slow roast it.

Yup. That’s what he said. So, while the others take the battery out, he builds a fire. He tells us that heat will stimulate the molecules in the battery and that might be enough to get the backhoe’s engine to crank. Sure, it’s dangerous, and rather than stand back, out of the way in case the battery explodes, he stands right next to it as if he has to turn it on a spit, like, well, a roast.

The plan works without a catastrophic explosion. They replace the battery, while being urged to hurry, while it’s still warm… as if it’s going to cool off in that topical environment. Of course, the plan works, because, well, this is Treasure Quest.

Meanwhile, back in the tunnel, the rest of the team continues their search for treasure. No, they don’t fine it but do, eventually, find a skeleton with a massive wound in the skull. The blow could have been the result of any of a number of things, including trauma sustained long after death. Interestingly, they wrap the bones in a shroud and do bury it outside the tunnel showing respect for those who had been there before them. They mark the grave with a cross… and I’ll let it go at that.

Finished with the big finds, for a moment, we are now shown the tents they have been staying in at night, or so we’re led to believe. To the horror of the team, a Bolivian Brown Scorpion has invaded one tent so we have the drama of the others trying to capture the scorpion before it stings the victim. They catch it in a boot and one man puts his hand over the top to keep the scorpion from getting out. I’m thinking that is a good way to get stung, but then, they were messing around with that snake found in their camp in an earlier episode. Nothing like a little brush with danger to keep the drama high.

I did learn that the deadliest scorpion in South America is the Brazilian Yellow. Although it is claimed it rarely delivers a fatal dose, Brazilian health officials suggest one person killed every other day. The Bolivian Brown made no list I could find as the most dangerous, but then any scorpion sting can have major consequences. But I digress.

And they find a coin, or what looked like a coin. They have been teasing us with this find for weeks. We’ve seen it a dozen times, but now we learn it really isn’t a coin, but some sort of lead marker or bale seal for what would have bundles or boxes of real treasure, or so we’re told. It tells the recipient that the package had not been opened somewhere along the journey.  

Since the number on it is 136 (I think, it was one hundred thirty something) that suggests a large number of these bundles, packages, boxes having been created. While they tell us that this proves there is a treasure somewhere around, it doesn’t mean any such thing. The bale seal could have been on any number of different things shipped out of there or even into there depending on the circumstances. Regardless of what they say, it doesn’t mean that the treasure is still hidden nearby, only that gold and/or silver may had been collected there at one time or another. Or maybe I should say something had been collected there for shipment at one time.

We’ve reached the end of the story for the moment. They have found, a bit of ornate cloth interwoven with gold, an old mining cart, a skeleton, a Bolivian Brown Scorpion, and a bale seal. As with all these other treasure hunting shows, we’re seeing a lot of the debris of human habitation, but we’re seeing nothing to tell us that there is two BILLION dollars worth of gold around the Sacambaya Valley. We only know that Jesuits were there a couple of hundred years ago, that they did mine the area, and that they are long gone. Interesting, from an anthropological point of view, but nothing that tells us that there is any treasure hidden around there.

Friday, September 14, 2018

New Socorro UFO Landing Information


The other day Rich Reynolds over at the UFO Conjectures blog, sent me a link to a skeptics site. He wondered if I had seen the information published there about the Socorro UFO landing. I had not, but found the information interesting. You can see that here for yourself:

Dave Thomas, who hosts the site, gave me permission to quote from the two new stories that he had put up there. Neither had been available when I wrote Encounter in the Desert. Had they been, I would have mentioned them, though one is a tad bit farfetched.

Thomas published a letter from Ron Landoll, whose mother lived in Socorro at the time of Lonnie Zamora’s sighting. He related what she told him, but I am disinterested in it. The tale is second hand, but in this case, it turns out that this second-hand testimony accurately reflects what his mother told him. I’m ignoring it because the second letter published by Thomas is from Landoll’s mother, Dorothy.

There are some very interesting things in that letter. First, she wrote that she was at home, in Socorro, taking care of the baby (Ron) when her husband called. He was a senior at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMIMT) and said that the campus was “abuzz with a UFO that had been sighted.”

She turned on the radio and said that it was tuned to KOMA, which was (or is) an Oklahoma City station. I know that at one time it played rock and roll, because when I lived in Texas some four or five years after the Zamora case, I listened to it. But the real point here is that an Oklahoma City radio station was broadcasting the news of the UFO landing within, what minutes, certainly hours, of the landing. They, like other members of the media got onto the story quickly. This is a point that would become somewhat important later when two men from Dubuque, Iowa claimed to have been in Socorro at the time. Their story seemed to surface almost as did that from Zamora, but a careful reading of suggests it was an invention by those men for some reason. Some of the details they gave turned out to be from a different sighting. They’d gotten their facts mixed up.

The next morning, which would be April 25, 1964, the Landolls drove out to the site. Dorothy Landoll wrote to Thomas:

The next morning we drove out to the site. There was a police car sitting off to one side. There were perhaps 7 or 8 cars parked over to the other side and folks just standing around looking. There wasn't a lot to see. There was one round indentation in the dust near where we were standing (I don't know how many total) - about like what our tires were making. There was no indentation into the hard packed ground as some later stories said. I walked up to the little mesquite bush in the middle and it was somewhat blackened. I didn't touch it but it may have been burned a little and might have had a bit of oil on it. We stood around for a bit too and then left to go home.
While it is interesting to have another first-hand account of what was going on that next morning, it is also necessary to point out that there were impressions in the ground. These were seen by nearly everyone else and either the Army or the police had surrounded the markings with rocks to protect them. They were photographed by
Landing impression. Photo courtesy
of the USAF.
several people including members of the military. Jim and Coral Lorenzen published a picture of one of the landing gear imprints in the May 1964 edition of The A.P.R.O. Bulletin. That picture was taken by State Police Sergeant Sam Chavez.
Dorothy Landoll continued her narrative of the incident. She wrote that:
Holm Bursum III was president of the First State Bank and Polo Pineda was his right-hand man [were there]. At the time of the sighting, Polo was acting sheriff… [I worked at the bank and] still took my morning breaks with her, Polo and one of the tellers. On Monday morning we were in the kitchen when Polo came in… He was as mad as a hornet. Ruth asked him what was going on with the UFO. His first comment was that he'd been told that he wasn't to talk to anyone about what had happened but this was his town and he'd talk to whoever he pleased! He sat down with his coffee and proceeded to tell us.
She provided a synopsis of the Zamora tale and then added an interesting note. She wrote:
Lonnie Zamora was pursuing a vehicle going south near the edge of town when something caught his eye. He drove up on the mesa and looked down to see a round craft with two individuals in silver suits walking around it. After a minute or two they got in and it took off. Describing the craft, he said that it had markings on it similar to what Boeing puts on its planes. Lonnie was so upset/scared that he first headed to the Catholic church for confessional and then contacted Polo. Shortly after that, I was in the front of the bank and there were two obviously FBI men - black suits and sunglasses (which they took off as they entered). They went up to one of the tellers and asked for Polo. I went back and told Polo they were looking for him.
I would like to have known if there was anything more to this encounter between the sheriff and the FBI. We know that one FBI agent was there from the beginning. I don’t know of a second FBI agent in the area, but that doesn’t mean that there hadn’t been one.
It also seems a little strange that the FBI would tell the sheriff not to talk about this when the information had been broadcast on April 24, on a radio station that had the power to reach all the way to Socorro. And that station reached into several other states as well. It was one of the powerhouses of that era.
I do know that Captain Richard Holder, an Army officer involved within about 90 minutes, and the FBI agent Arthur Byrnes, had spoken to Zamora, suggesting that he not talk about seeing any beings associated with the sighting, and to keep the true insignia to himself. Byrnes thought the news media might be a little rough of Zamora for seeing “little green men,” and Holder thought keeping the insignia hidden would help to weed out copycats.
Landoll, in her letter to Thomas, also suggests a solution for the Socorro craft that Zamora reported. She wrote:
The following year we were living in Midland, TX, I'm guessing maybe May or June, my husband had brought in the newspaper and it was lying on the couch. I glanced down at it and hollered to my husband that Lonnie's UFO was on the front page of the paper. What I saw fit the exact description that Polo had given us. It was a photo of a LEM with an article. I wish I had kept that newspaper but it simply wasn't anything of consequence at the time.
And, for those of us who have been paying attention, the illustration drawn by Rick Baca, under the guidance of Zamora, does resemble the LEM. But documentation suggests that the prototype LEMs being tested in New
Rick Baca holding the illustration he made in
consultation with Lonnie Zamora. Photo
copyright by Rich Baca.
Mexico at the time were not powered. The testing involved a helicopter. It seems unlikely that this is the explanation, especially when it is remembered that the Captain Hector Quintanilla, the chief of Blue Book at the time, looked into that possibility. He carried a top-secret clearance, and personally checked at Holloman Air Force Base and the White Sands Missile Range to see if they might have the explanation for the sighting.
But this isn’t the only new additions to Thomas’s skeptics website. He received another communication that provided a much more exciting solution for the case. Kevin J. Ashley wrote that he had been a student at the NMIMT a few years later and that he had been interested in the Zamora sighting. According to him, once he graduated and was employed, he told co-workers about the case. He wrote:
In short, I know the answer to the Socorro Saucer Siting [sic] because I talked to one of the people who was on the other side of the arroyo that morning when Officer Zamora showed up. His name is Bruno R____ and he was a mining engineering student at Tech in the early 1960’s…
As I finished the story I noticed one of the other mining engineers who worked there leaning against the door and laughing. When I asked him what he was laughing at he said, “It was me.”
He then told his story about the incident. He said that he and another mining student were bored and looking for something to do that day. They got their hands on some dynamite (possibly from the dynamite shack mentioned in Officer Zamora’s account) and decided to have some fun setting it off under an old overturned metal barrel. The first time they did this the barrel went flying into the air which they found very amusing so they did it a couple more times. (It was probably the third explosion that attracted the attention of Officer Zamora.) Delighted with the result of the barrel being thrown in the air again, they set about putting together one more explosion. As they were bending down getting everything set they were apparently seen from across the arroyo by Officer Zamora. The two of them, who were wearing white coveralls, were seized with a sudden need to get the hell out of there because being caught doing a stupid stunt like this with dynamite would get them both expelled. (Officer Zamora notes in his statement that one of the persons looked at him and seemed very concerned.) Evidently the fuse had already been lit when Bruno and his friend legged it for their vehicle to get away. Office Zamora started toward the site when the explosion went off and as he dived for cover he lost his glasses. What he saw the couple of times he glanced up was the oil drum being projected upwards with flame coming out from the bottom. Bruno and his friend kept a low profile throughout the entire affair after that and I may have been the first person he told this story to. This was in 1980, sixteen years after the affair.
I suppose, we could believe that two college students, in their early 20s would be dumb enough to play with dynamite in that fashion. And we could believe that Zamora somehow concocted a craft that roared off into the sky out of this.
Ashley did, however, elaborate on what he had been told. This according to what Bruno R. told Ashely:
Reading over the account by Officer Zamora his original description seems to fit well with Bruno’s account. It is the “filling in” of details where the mystery arises. For instance, when people went back and found four burn spots, these became a configuration of thrusters from a vehicle, not the scorched remnants of multiple dynamite explosions. Also important is that this was not a hoax. Bruno and his friend were not trying to fool anyone. This is just a case of an observer trying to explain something that they have not seen before.
The problem here, however, is that the four markings were never considered to be marks of the thrusters, but marks made by the landing gear. The area that would have been under the center of the craft had showed evidence of high heat. No evidence that would have been left behind by dynamite explosions was found, which, I believe rules out this explanation.
Tony Bragalia, who is a proponent of the hoax theory, noted that Bruno R. thougt Ashely, had gotten some of the facts right. Bragalia theorized that three students had been involved, Zamora had been chasing a speeder and the roar of the craft did capture his attention. Bragalia also noted that this wasn’t “innocent” fun as suggested by Ashley, but that it was a planned hoax.
Ashley supplies a little more information about Bruno R. Apparently, he lives in Felton, California. Thomas didn’t follow up on the story imediately. I think he thought the same thing as me. It really is rather farfetched. But then, I do believe we should follow up because we don’t know exactly what Bruno said. I have tried to locate him given the information supplied, but have had no success. Bragalia is also trying. His resources in this are better than mine, so there might be more learned.
The real point here is that we have some new information. I find the tale told by Dorothy Landoll quite interesting because she said she was on the scene the next morning. She described what she saw… and importantly, felt no obligation to share that information with anyone until decades after the sighting. I’m hoping to reach her to find out why she didn’t come forward before now.
If I learn anything new about this, I’ll post it here. For now, you can read the entire text of the letters from the Landolls and Ashley at Thomas’s New Mexico Skeptics website, and for the complete story, you can take a look at Encounter in the Desert, which provides quite a bit of new and additional information about the Socorro Landing.