(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.)
SECRET OF SOCORRO FINALLY TOLD: NEW DETAILS ON WORLD-FAMOUS 1964 UFO HOAX
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
- The number of people involved in
- Why they did not come forward
- Remarkable film that visually documents
how the college students constructed and flew the craft, according to the
- 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
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.
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.
COLGATE NOW MAKES THINGS CLEARER
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
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.
COLGATE ON HOW THE STUDENTS HOAXED LONNIE
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:
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
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.”
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
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
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
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.
PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING
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
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.)
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
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?
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).
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!
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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?
balloon explanation doesn't work for the simple reason that it is physically
Comments on Zamora's vision next post.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
my second post on the vision questions. For some reason the first one didn't go
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
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)
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
"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.
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
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
Weatherunderground.com and NOAA websites if you want to double check for
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
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
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
The word of Colgate is not evidence, being second hand at best but it is
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.