Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roswell Transparency

We have always thought of the new investigation as transparent… oh, I have refused to answer Lance’s questions about the Nuns and how we obtained that information, but that is only because Lance seemed to believe I somehow owed him an explanation. Had he not been so nasty about it, I would have given him what he wanted long ago, but I’m not going to be manipulated in such a transparent way. He’ll just have to wait to learn what I know about this and how the information was originally obtained… and from whom we got it.
That said, I was reviewing the video interview of Marian Strickland on Friday as I looked for some information about the “strange thunderclap” during that July 1947 storm. I knew that she had said something about it and wanted to quote her exactly. In that interview, which was conducted by Don Schmitt, Don Berliner and me at Strickland’s home in Roswell, she said (about something else), “Mack thought it was a weather balloon or some sort of experiment. He was glad to do the government a favor to bring them the pieces.”

(I will note here that this interview, along with several others has been posted to YouTube by someone else. This interview had been arranged by me, recorded on my equipment, with questions by Schmitt and Berliner as well as me. Since this material is copyrighted, I’m tempted to have it taken down because whoever posted it had no right to do so… On the other hand, I think everyone should have access to the interviews so that they can see that we have quoted from them accurately and we don’t get into these meaningless little fights about the source and hints of some kind of conspiracy to hide information.)
This one sentence seems to suggest that Brazel knew it was a balloon and if you had a period after he said, “…balloon,” then you’d have a very good case for it. But she adds “or some sort of experiment.” That suggests he didn’t really know what he had found, and other information, from those who actually handled the debris could be cited to eliminate the balloon answer.
I could also mention a story appeared in the Roswell Daily Record on July 9 where he first seemed to describe balloon-borne debris but then takes it back when he said that he had found other weather observation devices and this didn’t resemble them.

In other words, a single sentence in a single interview, said by a woman talking about this in 1991, some 44 years later, doesn’t really give us much. She, as one of those who had been tangentially involved in 1947, meaning she didn’t really see anything, and according to her description, she wasn’t part of the discussion around her kitchen table in the days that followed Brazel’s return to the ranch.
She said, “They were around my table… Mack and I don’t know whether Bill Brazel was there. I don’t remember that. Mack and my kids and Lyman. I was busy carrying the coffee pot. I really heard my sketches [snatches?] of the conversation.”
So, she wasn’t privy to the entire conversation, and I suspect the weather balloon was something that came about later, after the newspaper articles, after The Roswell Incident, after Unsolved Mysteries, and after a host of other discussions about Brazel and what he might have found. Or, in other words, as our skeptical friends so often remind us, these sorts of memories are the result of other influences.
Karl Pflock (whose book it seems some of the skeptics don’t believe I have read… I actually have an autographed copy) only mentioned Strickland twice and in neither case, he didn’t mention that one line. He had access to the tape because Don Berliner had been with me and I had given a copy of the tape to the Fund for UFO Research and Pflock was a member of the FUND. He even mentioned the tape in a footnote, suggesting that the interview was available on the FUND’s Recollections of Roswell. Pflock ignored this little nugget that would have furthered his case.
This is, of course, the sort of thing that we’ve been looking for because it might help us understand what was going on in 1947. But it also has to be put into context because something taken out of context can be twisted around so that it means nearly something else… and if you don’t believe that, you don’t live in a state that is under constant bombardment with political ads.

Friday, August 17, 2012

MJ-12: Beating the Dead Horse

I have been reviewing the history of MJ-12 and I have found something interesting. The first mention of MJ-12 was not when Bill and Jaime Shandera received the undeveloped film. It wasn’t even when Moore was planning a novel with Bob Pratt, one-time editor of the MUFON Journal and former reporter for the National Enquirer.

No, the first mention of MJ-12 was in 1981 in a one page document that seemed to be a legitimate AFOSI teletype message that has become known as the Aquarius Telex or the Aquarius Document. It is, in fact, a retyped version of an AFOSI report on UFOs photographed and filmed by Paul Bennewitz over Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although the majority of this document seems to be from a real report, there is one line that is not in the original. It says, “Results of Project Aquarius is still classified Top Secret with no dissemination outside official Intelligence channels and with restricted access to MJ - Twelve. [Emphasis added.]”

Here was a mention of MJ-12 that seemed to have gone unnoticed. A few UFO researchers attempted to learn about Project Aquarius with little luck but none seemed interested, at that time, in MJ-12. Eventually some, such as Lee Graham and Barry Greenwood, using FOIA, attempted to find additional information. Graham learned more when Bill Moore showed him a copy of the Eisenhower Briefing Document. Graham was able to provide a list of the names of those associated with MJ-12 to Greenwood.

The point is, however, that MJ-12 was mentioned long before the undeveloped film arrived in 1984. Moore, in fact, contacted Bob Pratt and told him about MJ-12 in 1982 with the idea of writing a book. Pratt felt that Moore didn’t have enough evidence to warrant a nonfiction book, but thought they could discuss it in a novel. Pratt’s working title? MAJIK – 12.

I have, over the last several months attempted to get the major proponents of MJ-12 to discuss this. Robert Wood has responded that he was going to do something about it, let me know what he thought about it, but that response has not arrived. Stan Friedman wrote, in response to my first inquiry that he was about to catch a plane but would have something later. He has yet to provide that, let alone respond to my last email.

MJ-12 didn’t just appear when the film arrived at Shandera’s house. It had been mentioned before, and a novel had been written about it. Pratt thought, when the MJ-12 stories hit the press in 1987, they should attempt to sell the novel once again. He wrote to Moore suggesting that, but never got a response.

You have to wonder about the reality of something that appeared for the first time in a document that was later to be declared a hoax (or rather the version that MJ-12 was a retyped version that added the line about Project Aquarius and MJ-12). Here’s the thing that hasn’t been discussed. Let us say that there is a highly classified project known as MJ-12… So secret that virtually nothing about it has been found. Now suppose that you want to introduce disinformation into the UFO community to confound it, and you have a mission of discrediting Paul Bennewitz because his research could expose a real, non UFO related but classified project. You create a fake document and ensure that it falls into his hands, hoping he would run to the media with it. Once he had done that, then you whip out the real document to prove he has an altered one… and you imply that he is responsible for the alteration and you demonstrate that he is unreliable.

So far, so good. But the very last thing you are going to do is put in that disinformation the name of a real, highly classified project that is so secret that no one outside a small exclusive circle knows about. To do so would be expose that project to scrutiny by UFO researchers who are responsible for thousands upon thousands of FOIA requests. You’ve now given them information that they shouldn’t have. There is no reason to expose MJ-12, if it exists, in a document meant to discredit Bennewitz.
In other words, this first mention of MJ-12 in this document that is an admitted retyping of an actual AFOSI message means that MJ-12 is fraudulent. The MJ-12 committee doesn’t exist… and those who retyped the AFOSI message (Bill Moore admitted it was a retype at a meeting of FUFOR) would not have access to that information. They couldn’t put MJ-12 into it because they would never have heard of it. This Aquarius Telex then, argues against the existence of MJ-12. This was a misstep by those who were inventing MJ-12. It should not have surfaced so early. It should have remained hidden until the film arrived. This, you might say, is the clue that undoes MJ-12

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jonah Lehrer Strikes Again

Jonah Lehrer has done it again. I had thought that his invention of quotes and the like had been limited to his essays and books that dealt with people. I had thought that his science reporting had been more careful because, well, there would be scientists reading it and for that reason, he would be careful.

Turns out that was wrong. Turns out he was inventing stuff for his science articles, or maybe misinterpreting stuff… in any case, we now have to reassess what he wrote in his science articles, including his recent revelations about memory.

I found his original piece to be interesting… it seemed to fit in with what Elizabeth Loftus and Richard Ofshe had written in the past. It fit in with the idea that memory is not the big video camera that had been claimed, but was more random and sporadic than that. Memory might be untrustworthy and we would all be well advised to remember that as we interviewed those who had seen a UFO in years past.

The arguments can still be made. Those older sources are still reliable, and those sources that Lehrer used are still good. It means that if we find something interesting in what he wrote, we’d better see if we could find the primary source to ensure the accuracy of quote and the information interpreted correctly. He was no longer someone to be trusted.

As we move through the UFO field, we all make mistakes. I have been taken to task for believing the tales of Frank Kaufmann. He spun a good story and he did have some documentation that backed up what he said. He’d shown some to me but he wouldn’t let me have copies… that should have been a red flag. Those documents that could have been checked would have revealed the truth. He did provide copies of his Separation papers and I had no reason to doubt their authenticity. Who would alter those?

After reading Stolen Valor, it turned out that quite a few people would. I have wondered if anyone checks my military credentials with St. Louis now that such things are easier. I’m sure they have, and they found that I was who I said I was… Oh, there are some errors in them. But, if someone claims a military record, we would all be well advised to check it from the primary source.

The point, here however, is that Lehrer has let us all down… We should check out all that he has said about various topics in science to be sure he was right, and I suppose go to the primary sources and bypass him. I suppose I believed what he wrote about memory (which, BTW, still might be accurate) because of what I had read from Loftus, Ofshe and others. Now, I’ll just go one step further and look up the primary source to make sure it agrees with what he said but he won’t be used as a source.

(Blogger's Note: I have just learned that Wired magazine will continue to publish Jonah Lehrer's material. I don't know what vetting process or fact checking they plan to do. I am surprised at this, which just shows nothing around us is ever easy. As for my, if I am ever inclined to use his material as a source again, I will make sure that his information is accurate.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tony Bragalia and the Socorro Landing

(Blogger’s Note: I post this with reservations, meaning only, that I fear another firestorm will be ignited. I thought this sufficiently interesting that those who visit here regularly would be interested in Tony’s theory about the Socorro UFO landing. I note that this is used with the permission from the Bragalia Files and InterAmercia, Inc. and that both Tony and those commenting here are expressing their opinions, which are not necessarily mine. Please note again, I asked permission before posting here. This is copyrighted material.)

 Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc. 

For over four and a half decades many around the world have wondered about the true nature of the sighting of a landed unidentified flying object that was reported on the ground and then taking off by Officer Lonnie Zamora in Socorro, NM in 1964. In the fall of 2009 this author’s investigation disclosed that the Officer had been victim to a hoax that was perpetrated by students at the New Mexico Institute of Technology.

 Now, three years later, a more complete account of the hoax has finally emerged including:

The astonishing way the hoax was accomplished

-          The number of people involved in the hoax

-          Why they did not come forward

-         Remarkable film that visually documents how the college students constructed and flew the craft, according to the college’s President

-       The collective concern for Officer Zamora by the perpetrators and the college President in the wake of a youthful folly snowballed out of control


The story of the Socorro UFO sighting by Zamora, the aftermath and the hoax solution to the sighting were reported by this author in a three-part series on the UFO Iconoclasts website:
 Socorro Hoax Exposed (Famous UFO Sighting Was a College Prank)

Socorro UFO Hoax Part Two: Getting Closer to the Culprits

Socorro UFO Hoax: Physical Evidence Points to a Prank

Investigation and interviews had produced: 

1) A confession after 45 years had passed by renowned Los Alamos physicist Dr. Stirling Colgate who was the former President of New Mexico Institute of Technology (NMIT) that the event was a hoax by students that he knew. He also confirmed that he had explained this all decades ago to his friend, secret UFO researcher Dr. Linus Pauling.

 2) An acknowledgement by NMIT professor and philanthropist Dr. Frank Etscorn (who was the inventor of the nicotine patch) that it was a hoax

 3) A confirmation from a leader of the school’s Energetics lab (who as a student there in the mid- 1960s) that it was a hoax.

4) Several former students and a school public information administrator offered astounding information on a long-standing tradition of technical pranks- and even a “society” devoted to the pursuit. (Of course one must ask why so many ranking NMIT administrators and illustrious men of science would implicate their own school after being approached if it were not so?)

5) Little-known official reports at the time were surfaced that showed the presence of charred cardboard, footprints and evidence of pyrotechnic ignition at the UFO site.


Dr. Stirling Colgate is perhaps the greatest living physicist in the word. An associate of Edward Teller, at age 86 Colgate still reports daily to work helping to lead advanced physics for one of the most esteemed scientific institutions on the planet, Los Alamos National Laboratory.

 Colgate was the former President of NMIT and was known as very affable, likable administrator who was very close to his students. So much so that it is reported that he often shared drinks and gossip at Socorro’s Capitol Bar. It is in this air of academic conviviality that Colgate learned of his student’s involvement in the hoax on Zamora.

 When a document was discovered in the Pauling archives that Colgate wrote to his friend multiple Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Linus Pauling that the Zamora sighting was a hoax, this author then contacted Colgate. Colgate confirmed the contents of the letter to Pauling and that, among other things:

 1) He still knew the incident to have been be a hoax

2) He remains friends with one of the hoaxers

3) That person “does not want his cover blown” and that 3) accomplishing the hoax “was a no-brainer.”

 Now, very recently, Colgate has made things much clearer.

 In email replies received by this author from Dr. Colgate dated August 1, 2012 and on August 8, 2012 to further questions that I had of him much was learned about the “reasons and ways” of the hoax.

Dr. Colgate has I believe, truthfully and on his legacy, now graciously imparted to me further insight on the hoax scenario. In his words:

“It was a prank and I was very concerned for Officer Zamora.”

 “No one would come forward on this, they were all embarrassed.”

“So many things were pressuring me and still are about this.”

 “I did not feel that I could add anything by pressuring the students, and recognized it as a prank.”

 “The students were embarrassed about the possible harm that could have come to Zamora (from the prank.)”

 “No additional communication with Pauling(on this)”

 “He too may have been embarrassed.”

Colgate says more to me in another email, whose additional replies from him are given below. But we learn from the above cryptic comments that Colgate and cohorts acknowledge the obvious, for they too are human:

 They felt pressured about what to do, felt embarrassed of what they had done, and were sorry with concern for Lonnie. Lonnie could have conceivably been fired from the police force, psychologically marred for life or other adverse things.

The hoaxers must have been uncomfortably conscience-stricken about all of this. It was never thought that the story would get so big. They did not mean it to snowball like that.

 They were confused about what to do and were shamed life-long about what they had done. And really, who wishes to bring up to friends, family and work associates the youthful follies which we all wished had never happened? Should these perpetrators (who are now retired seniors) turn their world upside down and go public simply for our satisfaction?

We also find out that Pauling too, lost interest and never brought up the Socorro subject with Colgate, because he too wished not to suffer any potential professional embarrassment in being in any way associated with Socorro. Confirming Colgate, further review of the Pauling archives shows that there was indeed ever any further interest in the subject by Pauling.


 Beauty is often found in simplicity. And so it is with Socorro. For all of the speculations about the hoax involving such things as tethers, remote control and flame throwers- it needn’t be and wasn’t.

In the August 8th email from Stirling Colgate, he opened up even a bit further about how the students had hoaxed Lonnie. I had of course always wanted to know from him just exactly how the deed was done. How did the students do it?

I stated to Colgate that he must know how they did it- and directly asked of him:

 “How did they do it? What was the craft made of?”

His short but telling reply:

“A candle in a balloon. Not sophisticated.”

 I also asked of Stirling how many were “in on the hoax?” Again, a short reply received:

“I’d say about 3-6”

Those who still steadfastly adhere to explanations other than “hoax” to the Zamora sighting will no doubt dislike what was said by Stirling.

 But an amazing video by two college-age students from the UK (posted just months after my series on the Socorro hoax) may give us visual documentation of exactly what Dr. Colgate is referring to and how the hoax was performed.

Skeptics of my work on this simply do not wish to accept the truth that Lonnie Zamora first radioed his police partner that the white object “looked like a balloon.”

Here in the video below, two very clever British boys show us what Colgate means by how a simple “candle in a balloon” can also be an extraordinarily effective hoax and aerial effect (you can advance to 1:17 if you wish to go directly to the launch):


Now, not only does Colgate say it that was a “balloon candle” type affair, but he also says that there were a very small number of college students that were involved, perhaps three to six.

And he is again right. There would have minimally been:


Two short students in white coveralls (actually white lab suits) acted as “aliens” and had launched from the ground Lonnie’s landed “UFO.” Lonnie never claimed that he saw the short people get into the “vehicle.” By that time he was escaping or planning his escape to really note where they went.


One additional student that was needed was a student speeder to lead Lonnie just out of town and near where the two “aliens” awaited Lonnie. This should have been the most obvious clue of all to a hoax: Lonnie had to somehow be made to get to the hoax- and he was, by a freshman in the car like the above.


Another student was used to create the explosion that had diverted Lonnie on a direct path to the “staging area.” This student may have also created the roaring and high pitched sounds that Lonnie reported emitting from the UFO. The sounds that Lonnie reported were actually resultant from “pyrotechnic whistles” according to the President of the world’s leading fireworks association (see prior articles.) All of this material was available at the school’s Energetics Lab which sponsors the annual July 4th fireworks.

So Colgate is correct that about at least 3-6 students were involved in executing the prank.

A very large white candle balloon (with a red, draw symbol on its side) launched by lab-suited students are what Lonnie saw. The roars were provided by both the balloon-flame contraption and by pyrotechnic whistles. As shown in the UK video above, such devices, even when rather large, can travel very high and far- and quickly.


Many still will insist that no one could be fooled by such a lit balloon contraption. But one must consider several things about the sole witness to the event:

Lonnie was confused, stirred up and frightened:

In small town Socorro, Officer Zamora was often tasked to “deal with” the students at the school. A student speeder trying to “show off” his hot vehicle whisks by Lonnie and Lonnie is in hot pursuit. This is surely not how Zamora wished to be spending a Spring evening awaiting the leave of the students from the school, being stirred up and having to chase some smart and smarmy kid-speeder. Lonnie then is startled to hear an explosion “like from a dynamite shack.” He was confused by the unfamiliar flying thing and frightened to crouch of the flame, roar and whistles.

Lonnie had impaired vision and required corrective lenses, which he lost:

We do not know if Lonnie wore single vision or bifocal lenses, but the images of him available to us show very thick lenses. Such lenses mean that the wearer’s vision is seriously compromised relative to the ability to correctly estimate distance. And at a critical point of viewing the “UFO,” we know that startled Lonnie had jolted his glasses, dropped them to the ground, and stooped to locate them, found them, placed them back on his head and then re-adjusted his position to locate the UFO to see it again.

Lonnie reported things as he saw them, did his utmost best to answer questions put forth of him and was a good person. But like all of us, he had his flaws…including the flaws with his powers of perception that dusky day. He was not “Saint Zamora of Socorro.” He was neither an educated man nor an articulate or especially intelligent man, as gracefully noted by the Air Force’s Dr. J. Allen Hynek in his interview report of Zamora. Lonnie probably never had seen such an unusual thing and to his faulted perception that day, remained honestly and thoroughly confused. And remember also the context of the time, 1964, a time when satellites were like science fiction and man had barely even been in space, and not yet on the moon.

Combining all of these things, it is easy to see how this sole witness out in the arroyo could imagine that he was seeing something truly remarkable. But it really was not all that at all.


Continued appeals to truth and to history sometimes pay off. Such persistence in doggedly pursuing such old folks to find that truth for history sometimes gets me in trouble on such old cases. I am called overly aggressive and “leading” by some. Say what they will, but it often yields answers and the solutions to mysteries. I approach and re-approach witnesses to Roswell and in all my UFO investigation. When TV’s “Columbo” Peter Falk solved crimes it was always at the very end, after taking some time, and always with a “re-approach’ of someone with whom he had already discussed the crime. Waiting a few years perhaps got Dr. Colgate to thinking it was about time to tell as much of the truth as he could.

And so it is with Socorro. Time has finally told all.

 (Blogger’s Note from Kevin Randle: Following are the comments that were appended to Tony’s site. I hope by posting them here I can save everyone the aggravation of having to transfer them to this blog.)



I think you know that I am sincere in my appreciation of your work. Obviously you have spent some quality time researching this. I have absolutely NO intention of argument, regarding the idea that it's a hoax.


Still, questions remain, and with the utmost respect I would like to inquire about:

1. Lonnie reacting the way he did to the loud roaring sound (not the dynamite shack roar, but the "take-off" roar) in real-time, which startled him in the extreme...which would seem to imply that it was pretty darn loud.

2. The flame in this, and a couple of other reported incidents, was distinctively "blue"...insinuating Butane or Propane?

So, the notation I would make is that it would be cool to see a redo of the film for the project, by somebody, utilizing a more precisely fabricated balloon (smooth egg-shape with landing struts), and a propane tank connection (or a better explanation of the blue color observed).

Best Regards,


A candle in a balloon? Wow, essentially a Chinese lantern. If that's accurate, I'm really surprised by that. The "intelligent design" of the whole encounter is pretty obvious. Keep it going!

Hi Frank-

As someone who appreciates the dynamics of magic and conjurors, you know that effective illusions can be just as impressive when they are "simple" as when they are complex. Often it is these simpler illusions that baffle us the very most...

Hi Bob-

Stirling did not say that butane or propane devices were (or were not) used. I asked him what the craft was made of, and he replied it was a Candle Balloon affair. He did not add further detail.

It is likely that the pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic whistles (go to YouTube for videos to hear these whistles, especially the one using titanium) available at NMIT now and at the time were implemented.

Tony, this is absolutely preposterous. Come on! A Chinese lantern "balloon" flying steady and level for 2 miles at high speed INTO THE WIND? How does that work?

I went to weather records and plotted the winds over a wide area.

There was a low pressure storm system starting to move through the state dropping snow at higher elevations and kicking up dust through high winds. Zamora said stiff gusts of wind were coming out of the south to soutwest. Zamora was exactly right if you look at the weather map. The winds in Socorro at the time were probably out of the SSW at the time.

But the object took off to the WSW, about 30 degrees into the wind, with three major landmarks defining the direction in Zamora's report. It went UP the arroyo (WSW), seemed to pass over the dynamite shack about 500 feet to the WSW, flying level and fast to the perlite mine at the base of the mountains (WSW) about 2 miles away, then sharply angled up and in a matter of seconds rose and faded out in the sky.

So the object without question took off to the WSW INTO a stiffly blowing wind. “Balloons” can't fly into the wind. Nor can they travel a level and steady horizontal path for two miles while flying into the wind, then suddenly angle up.

Zamora estimated it took only 10 seconds to reach the base of the mountains. Ray Stanford going over this with him decided it probably took more like 20 seconds. 2 miles in 20 seconds is an AVERAGE speed of 360 miles/hour (top speed will be higher). Even if you get super-conservative and triple that departure time to one minute, the object would still have an AVERAGE speed of 120 miles/hour. Really, a "balloon" flying at 120 mph into a stiff wind?

Just because Zamora at one point said it looked LIKE an balloon doesn't mean it WAS a balloon. He also compared it to an egg. Does that make it an egg?

A balloon explanation doesn't work for the simple reason that it is physically IMPOSSIBLE.

Comments on Zamora's vision next post.

Tony, the video you link to of students launching a small hot-air balloon or "Chinese balloon" only shows exactly what you would expect. The balloon goes STRAIGHT UP. If there had been a wind, it would also have moved in the direction of the wind.

But you ignore what Zamora actually reported. He said the object rose straight up for only about 20 feet. Then it took off HORIZONTALLY for about TWO MILES in a STRAIGHT LINE staying close to the ground.

And, allow me to repeat, it departed horizontally INTO a stiff wind. A real hot air balloon would have been blown in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION. The data is unambiguous here. Your balloon explanation is simply impossible.

It is always easy to debunk an unsolved case if you throw out 95% of the actual data and cherry-pick the few percent that fits your explanation. If I pretend Zamora was blind as a bat and his ears fell off instead of his glasses, then my "explanation" is that he saw a flaming helicopter, or a Harrier jet (never mind that they didn't exist yet), or a lunar lander (also didn't exist yet), or any number of other absurd "explanations".

It would be like accepting only Sheridan Cavitt's "balloon" testimony for Roswell and ignoring the hundreds of other witnesses saying something else happened. Sterling Colgate is your Cavitt, and he is having you on.


Now, you of all people know how I feel about Sheridan Cavitt (LOL!)

Please bear in mind that the video that I offer within the article is only representative of a large white "Candle Balloon." and it is hardly small! It is huge, especially next to the shorter college kids in the vid! AT 1:25 one of the Brit kids even says "This is absolutely massive!" And go to You Tube and use key words: Sky Lantern Uberlloon

There are college kids making very large Sky Lanterns and Candle Balloon that are even larger, smoother in configuration (and in many configurations) that go even faster and farther quicker, likely to ride micro-currents and catch wind waves that make their path able to go appear to go against wind. And we only have Lonnie's testimony about which way he saw the balloon craft go- an impaired testimony.

And Dave, I would rather believe Dr. Stirling Colgate and Dr. Frank Estcorn -famed men of real science- than the likes of fraud and troubled Ray Stanford- who used to sell channeled voices of Jesus and the White Brotherhood using his own voice- in the back of Fate Magazine in the 70s. Richard Hall did a little-known piece that Rich Reynolds is aware of that decimated Stanford's "research" on Socorro.



Zamora is the only witness, aside from the students, and he was pretty unambiguous in his report . . . "It looks like a balloon."

What you're doing is throwing out 95% of what Zamora actually reported and cherry picking his account. Your weather findings and Zamora's statements regarding the UFO leaving the area, whatever it was, presents some problem, but something did happen and it wasn't an ET vehicle. If it means Zamora was so flummoxed by the closer encounter he was off on that part of his report, then so be it. I think it's perfectly understandable and still think he was a good witness under unusual circumstances.

Interesting, I appreciate our work on this, but I'm not sold just yet. Among my concerns is the very slow launch time for a balloon versus a jet-type thrust.

Another minor gripe is the claims of Phil Klass, who said he spoke to the neighbor who had their windows open and heard and saw nothing. That cuts as about as hard at the hoax theory as it does an ET or secret Earth craft interpretation. Maybe worse, the kids hoaxing it would have had to have been setting it up for long enough for them to have been noticed.

Also, your scenario is based on Zamora being fooled not just for a few seconds, but for his entire life. It just doesn't add up. From the story you've presented, it sounds like Colgate and Pauling didn't believe the story and favored the student prankster scenario, but have never delivered any evidence beyond their suspicions.

One more gripe for now. You've provided an unnecessary explanation of the hooded lab suits. At the distance involved, Zamora might have just seen kids in white t-shirts. The deiial you've failed to cover is the escape method an route for the hoaxers. How were they able to leave the scene?

Klass made all sorts of claims about Socorro including naming Zamora and Socorro's mayor, Holm Bursum, as conspirators in it. Their motivation was, according to Klass, turning the site into a tourist attraction and cashing in, an incredibly loathsome and unsubstantiated claim and certainly not true. He's about as credible on this case as Stanford.

How was Zamora fooled? Yeah, he was led along but the pranksters expected him to do what a cop is supposed to do under those circumstances and he did. Zamora NEVER claimed what he saw was an ET vehicle or extraterrestrials.


"Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled--seemed to jump quickly somewhat."

It's in Zamora's initial report, how is explaining that these students had easy access to lab suits unnecessary?


In my reading (and I have his book), Klass SUGGESTED the possibility that the town and mayor could have been doing this for tourism purposes and then listed reasons that tend to support the idea. I don't see where he actually stated it as a fact.

I certainly don't think he proved the case and I don't really think he thought that he has proved the case.

This is NO different than what is presented above by Tony (although I admit that Tony has collected more evidence than Klass, that evidence is still inconclusive).

Notice how Rudiak above says things like "without question" when he describes the event. For him there can be no questions. He KNOWS exactly how the wind blew for all locations and places and he berates anyone (in his trademark nutty two part posts) who suggests otherwise.

This is the kind of conspiracy mentality that you ought to be railing against.


This is my second post on the vision questions. For some reason the first one didn't go through.

Being a licensed optometrist, your comments about his vision somehow being grossly “impaired” are also nonsense. First of all, Zamora was a cop, and that fact alone tells you a great deal about his vision. Cops have to function even if they lose their glasses, therefore there are minimum acuity standards they have to pass without vision correction. This is typically their vision can be no worse than 20/100 without correction and 20/20 with correction. What this means is that even without correction, they still have to be able to read the letters about 2 inches high on an eye chart at 20 feet (20/100). (20/20 means making out letters only 10 mm high on an eye chart at 20 feet)

If he can read letters 2 inches high at 20 feet, do you think he couldn't make out a 15-20 FOOT object at about 35-50 feet, about the closest he got to the object? Remember, at this distance, he also still HAD HIS GLASSES ON.

Where were the "hoaxers" hiding at that distance as they supposedly launched the balloon? I was recently out at the site--there is no where to hide. Also it is interesting that they could be there and leave no footprints behind nor paraphernalia that left the ground and plants smoking for minutes afterward as backup arrived at the scene, starting within a minute of departure (officer Chavez). Also the Air Force took plant and soil samples and their lab report said no evidence of chemicals causing the burning. So what caused the burning?

When the object took off with a roar and Zamora ran away, THAT is when he TEMPORARILY lost his glasses, when he bumped his car and ran beyond it to put distance and his car between him and the object. Maybe he ran as far as 100-150 feet from the object before the object went silent and he turned around. Even assuming worst vision (20/100), at 150 feet he could still read 15 inch letters. Think he still couldn't make out a 15-20 foot object as it departed?

Then he quickly ran back, stooped down, put his glasses back on, and witnessed the remainder of the departure WITH HIS GLASSES ON, so he again was now at least 20/20 in his acuity.

His prescription also has nothing to do with his stereoscopic depth perception, another misconception of yours. His stereo depth perception also has nothing to do with knowing which direction the object departed in, not with all those major landmarks he mentioned. Stereo depth perception also operates only to about 500-1000 feet distance, at which point other non-stereo depth cues dominate, in this case landmarks, rapidly diminishing size and the object now far in the distance climbing up a mountain range of known distance (~2 miles) away.

So what do we have here? An impossible balloon that flies into a stiff wind at high speed on a straight course level to the ground for 2 miles, still no identities to the so-called hoaxers, still just the say-so of Sterling Colgate that it was a hoax done with a “balloon” and a “candle”. Colgate is just having you on.

Even "suggesting" is over the line in my opinion. People can debate back and forth, question this and that, but it's a sleazy suggestion and much different than what Tony has done.

Rudiak's points about the wind are fair ones. I've seen his source, and it's fair. I'm as convinced as I can be that it was a prank short of actually being there and witnessing it myself, but I can still say he makes a fair point, the only fair point really, that argues against a balloon hoax. There is this loose end. It may be as simple, as I wrote earlier, that Zamora was so shocked by his closer encounter that he was wrong on some details there, but I recognize it's inconsistent to say he was very right early on and this supports the hoax and then reverse that when there's a sticking point. I would like to know the details of how the hoax was accomplished. The identities of the hoaxers are not of so much importance to me.

I KNOW what directions the winds were blowing because I bothered to actually check the weather records. That Lance calls a "conspiracy mentality". I call it scientific research. Debunkers of Socorro seem to know these weather records couldn't be correct because they have psychic powers and know better about everything.

The best way to see the pattern of winds is to check my graphic, where I compiled wind directions from all weather stations I could find. (From and NOAA websites if you want to double check for yourself.)

You'll see a dozen weather stations plotted there with winds recorded between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. (Socorro sighting was at about 5:50) ALL stations over hundreds of miles have winds consistent with the counterclockwise cyclonic wind pattern of a low pressure storm system that had begun pushing through New Mexico. There are no exceptions to this pattern.

So, e.g., Albuquerque 75 miles from Socorro, had winds out of the S to SSW, Truth or Consequences, about 60 miles south of Socorro, had winds out of the SSW to SW, Alamogordo, about 100 miles to the SE, had winds out of SSW to WSW, El Paso, 150 miles south, had winds out of the W to SW, and so on.

Zamora reported stiff winds kicking up dust out of the SSW to SW. (Gallup, N.M., e.g. posted wind gusts up to 70 mph, though they didn't get nearly that high in Socorro.) The ACTUAL weather records (not the wishful thinking one of Socorro debunkers) completely back up Zamora. Hynek variously reported the winds out of the South or Southwest.

The most likely wind direction at the time given the surrounding winds was out of the SSW. You might expect some wind gust variation in direction, but probably no more than +/- 30 degrees from the average wind direction.


But Zamora reported the object departing UP the arroyo to the WSW, going over and past the dynamite shack UP the arroyo to the WSW, flying horizontal to the ground for nearly 2 miles to the base of the mountains and a highly visible mine there to the WSW. This is almost directly INTO THE WIND, quite impossible for a balloon. And balloons don't fly horizontally like this, unbobbing, in a straight line. There is absolutely no way for the low pressure system to generate winds that could blow anything in the direction that Zamora reported the object departing (unless you travel 200-300 miles to the NW part of the low pressure system).

To ignore the REAL wind data is disingenuous at best. Calling it a "conspiracy mentality" is typical Lance when he has no counterargument--start the name-calling and wave the hands.

Either you have to believe that an entire 1000 mile wide low pressure system suddenly reversed circulation direction so that you can have the winds right for a "balloon", or you have to believe in the fantasy that Zamora was visually "impaired" to the point that he couldn't distinguish the nearby mountains to the west from the low-lying Rio Grande valley to the east and town of Socorro to the north.


Wind data is collected to reflect far larger spans of time that the seconds that passed in which Lonnie saw the object aloft. This data (especially available then) does not reflect second-to-second changes in wind circulation. Wind and wind direction are not as "clean" of concepts as you would make them appear. What you show are wind "trends" for a given period. The truth is that -for brief periods of time- crosswinds, wind "micro-currents" and sudden gusts can make an aloft object (especially a very light one) appear to go "against" the wind or to make violent changes in direction suddenly. Happens all the time.


More importantly, we have only Zamora's account of the direction and path and speed that the object took- an impaired perception, very likely of a sole witness.


It was his "without question" comment that sparked my comment on Rudiak's conspiracy buff mindset.

Yeah, there are questions.

Rudiak understands everything in a black and white fashion--he takes an offhand comment, a partial observation or a disconnected bit of data and locks that into his conspiracy matrix, where it only means what he wants it to mean.

Ahem, that said, I do agree that the wind data presented by Dr. Rudiak is compelling. And well presented.

But it does it show the whole picture? That is a question.

Why, I, being an actual human being, have witnessed the wind change direction dramatically rather than blowing continuously in the same direction until the next hourly measurement! Does that kind of thing happen regularly? That is a question. Near mountains? Another question.

Tony has mentioned a few possibilities that run counter to Rudiak's presentation but need to be fleshed out. Was Zamora simply been mistaken? That is a question.

Where is the report, Dr. Rudiak, on how the site was roped off and searched for footprints? That is a question.

Again, Tony has presented a scenario without much evidence. It is somewhat plausible.

The word of Colgate is not evidence, being second hand at best but it is interesting.

The burning material at the scene could be remnants of the heat source used to fill the proposed balloon.

There needs to be more evidence for those of us who still ask questions.



Zamora probably saw the object aloft for 20-30 seconds before he saw it fade from view far to the WEST over the nearby mountain range. He saw it speed off in that direction flying in a straight line horizontal to the ground until it reached the base of the mountains, then sharply rose.

Please don't use the debunker standby of "impaired perception". You are claiming Zamora couldn't tell the difference between straight up and sideways, up the arroyo from down the arroyo, nearby mountains to the west from Rio Grande valley lowlands to the east and Socorro to the north. Nobody's perception is that "impaired".

And, yes, wind directions are exactly as clean as I'm saying. You would have to have the low pressure system winds out of the south to southwest (proven in every case by wind data from surrounding weather stations) suddenly shift to coming out of the east/northeast for tens of seconds in order to blow a balloon toward the mountains to the WSW. Also, even if you grossly exaggerate Zamora's estimated time of departure to the mountains, these winds would have to be blowing at at least hurricane force to speed the object to the mountain base in the given time.

That's just wishful thinking to try to make your balloon "explanation" work. And even if that were the case, how exactly would a "balloon" fly in a straight line horizontal to the ground for 2 miles until getting to the mountain base. A real balloon will rise in the air, not hug the ground, and it is going to bob all over the place because of the "cross-winds" and "micro-currents" you are talking about.

Also ask yourself the question how Zamora could approach so close to the object sitting on the ground (within 50 feet) WITH HIS GLASSES ON, and see no evidence of a flimsy balloon badly flopping around in stiff winds.


It was exactly for all these reasons that any balloon explanation was rejected back in 1964 (read Hynek's comments). The Air Force Blue Book debunkers were eager for any explanation for Socorro, and we all know how much they like balloon explanations for UFOs, but even they knew "balloon" literally wouldn't fly given the actual facts of the case.

To get an idea of about where Zamora parked his car at the edge of the arroyo and what view he had of the object as he got out of his car, I've put up a page on my website with a photo I recently took at the site from about 60' from the landing area with a 3D egg-shaped UFO inserted into the picture (using Google Sketch-up and Google Earth).

Remember that Zamora said he took several steps toward the object before he heard the loud roar and saw the bluish flame coming out of the BOTTOM of the object and seeming to penetrate right into the soil. (Then he turned around and fled.) Thus, he probably got closer than 50 feet. (Both Hynek and Ray Stanford back in 1964 also took photos showing how close Zamora was.)

This led Hynek to comment in one of his write-ups that it was hard to imagine how Zamora could have mistaken a balloon, helicopter, small plane, etc. from this close a distance.

Zamora may have been more to the right of this picture site, thus had more of a "nose-on" view of the object as he approached, but this gives you a good idea of what the area looks like and what he would have seen. One question is where would "hoaxers" wrangling a balloon in stiff wind be hiding? How did they escape without notice and leave nothing behind to betray their presence? Notice how open it is out there.