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.


Curt Collins said...

All Bragalia has added to the situation is more conversation. Bragalia's entire hypothesis relies on Officer Zamora being fooled by some kids to the extent that it affected his entire life. Fooled so convincingly, that he contaminated the Air Force's most hardcore anti-saucer agent, Hector Quintanilla. If this was a just a hoax by some students, how was it able to thoroughly snow Project Blue Book?

My own unsubstantiated notion is that Zamora saw an earthly craft, but I'd sooner believe it was just kids testing some kind of a home-made rocket than to accept that it was an elaborate student conspiracy against an enemy police officer.

Dave said...

Frequent changes in wind directions are seen in micro climates like the San Francisco Bay Area or Seattle where there are steep temperature gradients because of nearby bodies of water, heated land areas and hills.

But these sudden or temporary changes are not as common in relatively flat, inland, desert areas.


Don said...

"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."

"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."

The most immediate account of the event is found in PBB in, I believe, Lt Holder's report under Tab A.

There is no "hot pursuit", no flashing lights, no siren. For several miles, Zamora paces a suspected speeder from about "three blocks" behind. When they enter the highway, Zamora is still three blocks behind. He thinks he recognizes the car, in which case he suspects who the driver is, however he never is close enough to identify (or even see) the driver, nor hardly the license plate).

So, Zamora is 'lured' to the site by someone driving at the speed limit?

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


"“A candle in a balloon. Not sophisticated.”"

What possible harm could have been caused by a candle and a balloon?



Lance said...

Tony has SOME information that leads to a hoax explanation.

All of his information about the actual nuts and bolts of the hoax (except the balloon/candle part) are pure speculation.

Tony, unfortunately, vastly overstates his case and thus minimizes his credibility. But that doesn't mean that he is wrong.

Tony has presented evidence that some credible folks at NMIT felt there was credible evidence (in other words, it was not just a rumor at the school) that the event was a prank done by students there.

Tony has also tried to lay out a scenario for the prank but all of that is not really supported by much in the way of evidence.

That's my take anyway.


Dave said...

How convenient that this 'explanation' comes out after Zamora's death, when he can no longer defend or answer for himself.

I smell a book in the offing..and another debunker wanting to make money off the back of yet another credible witness of relatively incredible things.

If these hoaxers had a case, they had decades to clear the air. I don't buy the lame excuse that they were concerned about Zamora's well-being.

I have no idea what Zamora saw. I do think he described his experience to the best of his ability. The weather data from Rudniak seems to exclude the possibility of a balloon, not to mention Zamora's description of the behavior of the craft upon taking off. There is also the landing trace evidence. And anyway, this 'explanation' is a further insult to Zamora's intelligence and service as an officer.

I'm surprised that marsh gas or Venus wasn't used to explain away this event.

Never underestimate the lengths to which debunkers will go to 'explain' away inconvenient data, including doing a hatchet-job on a dead man.


Tim Hebert said...

@Dave: "I smell a book in the offing..and another debunker wanting to make money off the back of yet another credible witness of relatively incredible things."

Tony Bragalia, another "debunker"? I had to read that statement twice to see if I was interpreting it right. If Bragalia wants to write a book, so what, yet Tony never states that this is/was his intention.

I may not always agree with Tony's point of view, ie Roswell, but he puts forth the effort.

So has Tony sinned against the "orthodoxy" of the Ufology crowd? Tony, like a lot of us may simply be looking at this "old" case from a different angle and proposing an alternative hypothesis rather than doing the tired old "drinking dog" motion that others have done.

This is the problem with Ufology in its current state: Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Ufology is akin to pounding a round peg into a square hole and proclaiming "it fits."

Lance said...

"Debunker", as used by some of of the regulars here, means that you don't agree with their silliest ideas.


Anthony Bragalia said...

I was not going to comment on Kevin's blog about this...but I feel compelled.

Dave, this is not a "hatchet job on a dead man." If you even read my series (links provided in the article) you would know that I began my investigation well before Officer Zamora passed. To say otherwise shows you do not have a full understanding of my years-long investigation. And I do not set out to purposely do "hatchet jobs" on dead people. You would also know that I was investigating Dr. Linus Pauling's secret UFO interests and happened across the Colgate note to Pauling. I was not even researching Socorro- I happened upon this material, I was not seeking it out. It pained me to bring this story to the surface. But I had to. I had no other choice. I go where the evidence leads and report thusly.

Tim, thanks. You understand that I review each case on its own merits. I am hardly a "debunker" as Dave dismisses me to be. It is to laugh.


Dave said...


Do you think you may have been duped, becoming the unwitting agent of others, maybe even a psychological experiment?

It is troubling to me that you say they were all concerned about Zamora's health AFTER they hoaxed him (but did nothing to ameliorate their alleged misdeeds while he was alive), but didn't give a damn beforehand. This really doesn't pass the smell test. Also, you don't mention that you went to see Zamora to ask him about your evidence while he was still alive.


Laugh all you want as your team tries to duplicate the hoax for all to see, leaving no footprints leading away from the site, making a balloon zip towards the horizon against a strong wind, leaving substantial indentations in the desert floor and a scorched area of fused glass in the center of these indentations. I don't recall if there were radiation readings at the site but I'd advise against 'seeding' radioactive material as this might arouse the ire of the AEC and Homeland Security, not to mention the citizens of NM.

Incredible claims require unassailable evidence. Your claim strains credulity even more than a run-of-the-mill ufo sighting.

Officers testifying in court seldom have problems with credibility. Were his testimony on any subject other than an unusual take-off sighting, his credibility wouldn't even be in question, now would it?

Looking forward to the YT video.
This I will have to see.

Lance, see Friedman's rules of debunking 'talking points'.

Tim, I wasn't aware that the status of 'ufology' had risen to respectability, much less orthodoxy.


Anthony Bragalia said...


I never went to see Zamora. Where are you coming up with this outrageous stuff, these lies, and who are you anyway? I'll thank you to stop with this now.

And I found the Pauling/Colgate letter online at the Oregon State University Pauling Archives. To say that I was "duped" or "set up" in someway to make this discovery and pursue it makes birthers sound sane.


jeff thompson said...

I thought Zamora said he witnessed beings re-entering the craft and then seeing it take off with them aboard. How could that have been a balloon?

jeff thompson said...

I thought Zamora said he witnessed beings re-entering the craft and then seeing it take off with them aboard. How could that have been a balloon?

Tim Hebert said...

Lance: ""Debunker", as used by some of of the regulars here, means that you don't agree with their silliest ideas."

Noted...the lines tend to blur at times.:)

Dave: "Tim, I wasn't aware that the status of 'ufology' had risen to respectability, much less orthodoxy"

There tends to be a rigid dogmatic approach with some...respectability is apparently a relative concept. But you deflect from the main issue. Why do you think that Tony is looking to make money off of the hoax angle? Upset that Tony may be "desecrating" the memory of Zamora?

If we're interested in the "old" cases and the principles are deceased or cognitively infirmed (as is most of these cases), then we're left doing psychological autopsies with the intent to find some truths or supportive facts. It's a difficult proposition...

I just found it somewhat humorous that you labeled Tony as a debunker, that is, taking it in the broad sense of the general debunker is reserved for someone like me.:)

Dave said...


Actually, I was only observing that you had not stated that you shared your information with Zamora. My meaning was obviously unclear.

But thanks for confirming that you never shared your suspicions with Zamora.

One would ask, why?

Why continue to allow Zamora to suffer under the illusion that he saw an unusual take-off event if your evidence for a hoax was so persuasive?

Would you not have wanted to relieve him of his apprehension?

Did you think Zamora might take offense at the NMIT, et. al.; and initiate a lawsuit based on demonstrably grievous harm done to him, his family and his fellow officers? A grand jury might well take notice and compel testimony from those involved. A court might take a rather dim view of this matter.

As to who I am, I am no-one of consequence; just your average man in the street, with an eclectic interest in many and diverse subjects.


Dave said...


I make a sharp distinction between debunkers and skeptics. True believers and debunkers are two sides of the same coin. Strongly held beliefs lead both astray: beliefs get in the way of learning.

As far as rewriting history is concerned, this happens all the time. Take Kenneth Arnold's description of the crafts he saw. We often see these crescent-shaped craft. But Kevin Randle's excellent research shows that his original description, both written and drawn, shows a half circle with a convex triangular horizontal tail, whose overall appearance "seemed longer than wide, their thickness was about 1/20th of their width". He also wrote "They did not appear to me whirl or spin but seemed in fixed position".

This description is different from the usual depictions in documentaries and published works.

Hence it is vital that researchers adhere to the original descriptions as close to the event as possible, as memory can be influenced by subsequent reflections, persuasions, social pressures, or exercises in logic.

Interest in the old cases behooves researchers to carefully note the earliest recollections of these events as a starting point, not blithely discounting their observations because of personal or historical biases, or subsequent distortions or alterations of first accounts for whatever reason.

Ask a hard scientist what he thinks about the 'science' of psychology as applied to living, sane, people. So the notion of doing psychological autopsies is well...rather dicey.

As far desecrating Zamora's memory, this can't be done. He described what he saw. If it turns out to be a hoax by geeks from NMIT then this still doesn't change his observations. If the alleged hoax is repeated and observed, then one could compare the observations and come to some tentative conclusions.

However, if Zamora's original account diverges widely from these new data, then, a) Zamora saw something other than the repeated hoax; b) the repeat wasn't done correctly; c) the repeat can't be done to conform to Zamora's observed account; d) [highly unlikely] Zamora was so rattled by the event that he hallucinated, confabulated, imagined or .


Anthony Bragalia said...

I have not written (nor am I considering writing) a book on Socorro. I have given freely all of my information on Socorro (and Roswell, etc.) I am not in this to make money. Anyone who knows me knows that I do rather well leading a business consulting firm.

I never intended to get in this for compensation. To insinuate otherwise insults me.

I am not engaging you any further on this, "Dave."


David Rudiak said...


From a distance (~800 ft) Zamora saw two small beings standing next to the object. When he drove to the site, he heard what sounded like 2 or 3 thumps which he compared to a tank hatch closing. So Zamora did not see anybody actually climbing inside the object, but he did say the object take off and fly away at high speed in a very controlled manner (straight line paralleling the ground).

Tony: Almost three years after you started this "hoax" business up again, there is still no real "evidence". Instead, we have a classic hearsay and speculation case of people like Sterling Colgate believing it was a hoax and guessing who one or two of the hoaxers might be.

There has been no detailing of how the hoax was supposedly carried out, and you absolutely need that to answer all the questions that contradict the hoax hypothesis. The winds were completely wrong, the object flew off in a totally controlled manner (straight line) belying a passive object being blown by the winds, it disappeared too quickly, there was no physical evidence left behind remotely suggesting a hoax (footprints, paraphernalia, chemical burning agent, etc.).

None of these questions are being addressed. Instead we get nothing but handwaving arguments about winds and Zamora being "impaired", with a new whispering campaign about Zamora being a drunk.

Absolutely shameful, and not "evidence".

We don't know who these

David Rudiak said...

Tony, FYI, I am a "Dave" but not the other "Dave" who has been criticizing you as well.

Anthony Bragalia said...


I know of course that you are not "Dave"...(who is also posting on other sites...)


Dave said...


Very well then, I retract my insinuation that you are out to make buck and apologize for ruffling your feathers.

No need to reply.


David Rudiak said...

I just posted this over on Tony Bragalia's blog, and may as well repeat here:

Using historical wind data at, I've just added four more N.M. weather stations to my wind map: Cliff, Farmington, Santa Rosa, and Las Vegas, N.M.:

The REAL wind data continues to be totally unambiguous: Winds were blowing out of the south to west at ALL weather stations in New Mexico at the time of the sighting and in the hour before and after. There are NO exceptions anywhere.

I defy anyone to find an exception showing any easterly components to the wind anywhere in New Mexico, better yet northeasterly to account for the direction the object departed in (to the WSW). All I've seen his total denial of HARD EVIDENCE, handwaving arguments that we just don't know what the winds were in Socorro at the time.

But the data is there for everyone to see. Wind directions were totally dominated by the strong, low pressure weather system beginning to pass through the state at the time.

But never mind, don't believe your own lying eyes or true hard data. The Socorro debunkers just KNOW it must be a hoax and 1) Socorro completely defied an entire weather system and reversed wind directions, and/or 2) Zamora was "impaired", now apparently meaning blind as a bat and drunk.

Reaching a new low in debunkery, a whispering campaign has now begun that Zamora was a drunk, known to drink on the job. All the "sources" are again anonymous, supposedly ex-NM Tech students who have passed this "information" onto CSICOP debunker Dave Thomas, who would never tell a lie.

Gee, isn't it odd that the first responder on the scene, State Patrolman Sam Chavez who was there within a minute, strongly urged his supposedly soused good friend Zamora to file a report when Zamora was so shook up and disbelieving he didn't want to report anything? I guess Chavez wanted to get his friend in a lot of trouble and kicked off the force for drinking on the job.

As for blind as a bat, the Socorro debunkers blow off the fact that Zamora had his glasses on at least 90% of the time, only temporarily lost his glasses, and even with his glasses off, national police standards for uncorrected vision (cops still have to identify suspects and do things like fire a gun even if visually “impaired”) tell us he would have had absolutely no trouble reporting exactly what he reported, the most important being the direction of departure UP the arroyo and towards the prominent mine at the base of the mountains to the WSW. He wasn't watching a jackrabbit run off, but a 15-20 foot object depart the scene at distances of only a few hundred feet.

Even with the worst-case assumptions about the quality of his vision without glasses, he still could have seen such an object over a distance of at least a mile. And remember, once the object went silent and started to leave the area, he quickly ran back, picked up his dropped glasses and put them back on (probably in only 5-10 seconds), so he saw most of the departure WITH HIS GLASSES ON.

What we have here are a bunch of "believers" of the debunking variety who refuse to face hard facts like actual wind directions, instead offering rumor, hearsay, and speculation as "evidence" of a hoax.

Lance said...

Dr. Rudiak wind discussion is a quite sound and is a huge impediment to Tony's case.

His shrill attacks against imaginary "debunkers" (anyone who doesn't agree with him) is just part and parcel of how he operates. Observe above how most folks are just discussing possibilities. Everyone seems to know that none of this is set in stone. Rudiak will brook no discussion!

In his conspiracy buff world EVERYTHING is just as he imagines it to be.

When a Rudiak-supported witness speaks, every word is golden and perfect. There can be no mistakes or misidentifications. Every estimation of time, distance, direction, temperature, etc made by a witness is just as though a precision instrument was recorded on the scene.

Rudiak takes any speculation that runs counter to his saucer religion and turns it into fraud, dishonesty or worse (he does the same thing with Roswell, only multiplied many times over). His nutty endless posts repeat the assertion that anyone who disagrees is a criminal.

Any worthwhile contributions get lost in his hilariously nutty self-righteous church lady innuendo.


Gilles Fernandez said...

Well dear Lance,
Doctor David Rudiak wrote : "The Socorro debunkers just KNOW it must be a hoax".
Anthony Bragalia, convinced proponent of a NMIT hoax/prank is then a debunker, following Doctor David Rudiak unbiased and full of wisdom comments! It is "funny" to follow from France.

Lord Balto said...

This "impaired vision" nonsense is what really annoys me. In order to drive a car, any car, forget a POLICE CAR, one has to have a certain minimal ability to see what's in front of you on the highway. That degree of ability certainly includes identifying an object within 50 feet of the viewer. Could Zamora not have read a roadsign 50 feet away? Seriously?

Lord Balto said...

Tim Hebert said while throwing back another Heineken:

'So has Tony sinned against the "orthodoxy" of the Ufology crowd? Tony, like a lot of us may simply be looking at this "old" case from a different angle and proposing an alternative hypothesis rather than doing the tired old "drinking dog" motion that others have done.'

"Proposing an alternative hypothesis"? The point of an hypothesis is to see whether the available data is explained by the hypothetical explanation or not. It's not necessarily a question of comparing two different hypotheses. In this case, Zamora's report of what happened isn't an hypothesis. It's direct witness testimony about what he saw. He claims he saw what sounds for all the world like an alien space craft. That is no more an "hypothesis" than the statement that the yellow round thing in the produce department at the supermarket is an orange. If, for some reason, you doubt that the yellow thing is an orange, you don't present an alternative hypothesis. You present evidence that there are round yellow things in the produce department that are not oranges. So far, no one has presented evidence that anything in the New Mexico desert, including student pranks, looks sufficiently like an alien space craft to be mistaken for one by someone with a license to drive a motor vehicle, not to mention a police cruiser.

Tim Hebert said...

Lord Balto,

First, I like to gingerly nurse a Blue Moon of the wheat variety. Heineken tends to be manufactured rather than brewed.

I suspect that within the coming weeks, if I read Robert Scheaffer's BAD UFO comment section correctly, that something of substance may materialize or the issue will be shot down in flames. You, I and the rest will have to wait and see if that does indeed happen.

And surely, my Lord, you have to smile at the shear irony of some of the attacks against Bragalia coming from the choir section of the "church".

Tony's new hypothesis will succeed or falter on it's own merits which will soon(?)play itself out.

David Rudiak said...

Lord Balto (Lord Balto?) wrote:

This "impaired vision" nonsense is what really annoys me. In order to drive a car, any car, forget a POLICE CAR, one has to have a certain minimal ability to see what's in front of you on the highway. That degree of ability certainly includes identifying an object within 50 feet of the viewer. Could Zamora not have read a roadsign 50 feet away? Seriously?

Quite. It gets worse than that. Zamora's close approach (50 feet or less) was with his glasses on, therefore at least 20/20 normal vision. 20/20 means you can read letters a little less than 1 cm high at 20 feet. At 50 feet, letters 2.5 cm (about 1 inch) could be read.

But he couldn't clearly see a 15 to 20 foot object at that distance and couldn't tell it was a balloon, a helicopter, a plane, a lunar lander? Really? Hynek scoffed at the idea. (Hynek placed Zamora at double the distance, but the same argument applies.)

The only time his vision was conceivably "impaired" was when he was running away from he object fearing it was going to explode and temporarily lost his glasses. The worst his vision could have been was 20/100 (typical police standard without glasses), meaning that if his vision was that bad without glasses, at say 150' he could still read letters 15" high.

The only important visual task he had at that point was telling which direction the object departed. (As it turns out, INTO the wind, not with the wind.) So he could read 15" letters but couldn't tell which direction a 15-20 object departed?

The other important observation of Zamora's with his glasses off didn't involve his vision at all. It was the object going completely silent and departing in silence, thus eliminating most forms of conventional propulsion. It fact, given the high speed departure reported by Zamora, no known propulsion system could account for it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone talked to Ted Philips? He was on the ground in Socorro in 1964 and probably has the definitive collection of evidence from the case. I interviewed him a few years back and hoax never once entered the conversation. I'll take his word over a pastiche of hearsay evidence any day.

Anthony Bragalia said...

Department 37-

Hey Joe Harvat. You used to work for International Paper (IP) That early red and white logo of IP's is where the NMIT kids got the idea for the red insignia. The paper from the school came from IP.


Steve Sawyer said...


"That early red and white logo of IP's is where the NMIT kids got the idea for the red insignia."

That's a pretty definitive, declarative statement, Tony.

What is it based upon, evidentially speaking?

David Rudiak said...

Tony Bragalia wrote:
"That early red and white logo of IP's is where the NMIT kids got the idea for the red insignia."

But the "true" insignia is itself controversial. There were two, not one insignia described by Zamora, only one superficially resembling the International Paper symbol.

Ray Stanford in his book:
Every law-enforcement officer who talked to Zamora within minutes to an hour or so after the event, including police dispatcher Mike Martinez, told me unequivocally that what Zamora really saw on the object was, as Martinez quoted Zamora in Spanish, "...un 'V' invertido, con tres líneas debajo," meaning exactly what it says, "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it", and not the thing he was drawing and telling others that he saw, after Holder's request.

Holder was the Army uprange officer from White Sands who lived in Socorro and was called in within an hour and a half to assist the police. According to Stanford, Holder had Zamora change the symbol to smoke out possible hoax reports from real ones in case other witnesses to the object emerged.

There is support for what Stanford wrote in the newspapers.:

Socorro El Defensor Chiefton, April 28, 1964 (front page):
“Zamora said he saw lettering on the side of the UFO, and he sketched the lettering on a post sack after the object had taken off. He did not believe the lettering was in English and he observed no numerals as there are on known aircraft. Zamora said he was not at liberty to further describe the lettering.

Hobbs NM Daily News, April 28, front page
“State Police Sgt. Sam Chavez said he was told by Socorro policeman Lonnie Zamora that the UFO he saw Friday… had red markings on its silvery side. Chavez said Zamora told him the design was an inverted V with three bars crossing it, but that the Air Force had told him not to discuss the markings.

AP Story, April 29 (e.g., San Antonio TX Light, Danville VA Bee)
“Officer Lonnie Zamora said the object he saw last Friday was a brilliant white. He said there was a red marking on it like an upside down V with three lines across the top, through the middle and at the bottom.” (San Antonio paper also showed a drawing of the object with the symbol)

AP Story, April 30 (e.g. Frederick MD News)
“The scientist [Hynek] also discussed the markings that Zamora said he saw on the side of the object, a red, inverted V with bars through it.”

Finally, transcript of Hynek radio interview, April 29, KSRC, Socorro (reprinted in Stanford, 66-67)
“He described it to me as an inverted V with a sort of bar across it.”

Hynek also said he was called by the Pentagon, who told him that AP was quoting Zamora saying some Air Force guy told him not to say anything about the lettering. Hynek then claimed Zamora denied this and it was nothing but a rumor, but see newspaper quotes above where BOTH Zamora and Chavez specifically say that he wasn’t supposed to discuss it publicly, though apparently he did to a limited extent.

Hynek also issued a public statement along with his inverted V/bars description, denying the AF told Zamora not to talk about it. Stanford said Hynek was telling the truth, since it was Holder of the Army, not the AF, who told Zamora not to describe the real symbol and then had Zamora alter it.

Anthony Bragalia said...


In the same way that the balloons had just been brought to NMIT the year before (big white ones) the kids created the red insignia drawn on it as a "take off" of the new IP logo that had just been introduced (and was in every school in America) two or so years prior.

And is it not rather evident: Not the symbol itself, but the color scheme of the symbol !!! Nobody has found or considered the obvious on the Zamora Insignia. It is not so much the symbol's "look" it is its color that counts!

Red on White. The red on white insignia (no matter what the configuration) are like the colors of a Stop Sign that say "notice me."

Red on White are "buzz colors." This has been known in industrial psychology and design for a very long time. That is why warning signs, etc. incorporate this red-on-white color scheme.

I have other reasons of course to speak with some "definitiveness" on this...but that will wait.


David Rudiak said...

Tony, first I notice you didn't respond to my point supported by newspaper quotes and Stanford that the original symbol had no relation to the International Paper logo.

Your "color that counts", red/white "buzz/words", and "industrial psychological" as some sort of evidence supporting your scenario is unbelievably lame.

You may not be aware of it, but a certain Larry Robinson was proposing the International Paper connection clear back in the 1990s, claiming he saw an IP "hot air balloon" with real human pilots in some magazine back in 1964, some other magazine article from 1967 he claims he remembers reading where the pilots claim their hot air balloon was responsible for the Socorro sighting. He admits he can't find such magazines, when he contacted IP they couldn't confirm they ever had hot air balloons back then, and finally the symbol you claim was adapted from IP by NMIT hoaxers was actually adopted by IP in 1966, thus did not exist in 1964.

My own search of the modern IP logo with stylized tree and circle shows that it was originally designed in 1960 but not registered with the trademark office until 1965. IP's own guidelines on logo use, indicates it wasn't adopted until 1968 as the official IP logo. The old logo, a very realistic pine tree with waterfall in the background surrounded with a complex circle, was in use from 1920-1968. As for color, it states that the IP logo is either black or white. “It never appears as any other color.”

Never mind that the story is preposterous on a number of other grounds, just like your latest version of a hot air balloon, including the winds being all wrong, it being suicidal for balloonists to be out in high winds, and the impossibility of Zamora mistaking a apartment-building-size hot air balloon for something the size of a car from a distance of only 50 feet. I addressed a bunch of Robinson's absurd hot-air balloon arguments back in 1999 on UFO Updates:

As far as I can see, somebody else has just dusted off Robinson's IP story, got rid of the troublesome balloonists with the death wish, and turned it into a Chinese lantern, then is feeding the new improved story to you. But most of the impossibilities with the hot-air balloon theory still remain. I would still like to know how a “hot-air balloon” can race off at high speed INTO a stiff crosswind and remain straight and level in course. Until some hoax theory, balloon or otherwise, can answer that without magical thinking, it will remain absurd.

Anthony Bragalia said...

David- I am unable to append the image that I wish to. Go to the Iconoclast site where the Red on White image is shown. The image was most certainly in use. You must demonstrate use in commerce to be granted a TM!!!

Red on White is the color scheme for garnering attention, to warn, give notice, etc. This is a known understanding in industrial design as well as in industrial psychology. Do some deeper reading.

The colors count- and so very terrestrial too!

Anthony Bragalia said...

As a follow to my post, I have privately emailed to you David, pictures of IP paper packages.

They in fact do feature the very IP logo that we are talking about - in 1960!!! These 1960 paper packages come in many different sizes, as you will see.

I suggest too that you read about design for commerce and practices back then for introducing new logos and designs.

And please read again. I said that the IP logo served as the inspiration for the insignia- not that the insignia was the IP logo. Big distinction.


Anthony Bragalia said...

Not to belabor, but the industrial designer of the IP logo is Lester Beall. I have been in contact with his descendants.

The IP logo was indeed conceived by him in 1959, and in 1960 they created prototype paper packaging including the logo, and (the clincher to all of this) the logo is in fact featured in the 1962 "Graphic Annual" - the premiere graphics publication at the time!!! There is simply no doubt it.


Anthony Bragalia said...

I must correct myself (in my favor):
It was actually earlier that the logo was lauded. It was the '1961/1962' Graphic Annual in which the logo was featured, not '1962' as I previously posted.

So it was as early as 1961 that this logo was out there in public- and so much so that it had received recognition by the leading industry annual back then...


David Rudiak said...

Tony, the purpose for applying for trademark before commercial use is to protect the trademark from pirates. The modern IP logo wasn't trademarked until 1965 and used in commercial products until 1968. Why would it be on the paper supplies to NMIT in 1964?

Whether or not International Paper was using their new logo in 1964 is really irrelevant anyway since you still are dodging all the critical questions about an alleged hoax, such as how would a paper balloon fly against the wind.

You don't think it an amazing coincidence that we now have two IP hoax theories, the original from the '90s by Larry Robinson that it was an IP piloted hot air balloon (because he claimed to have read about it in a probably non-existent magazine in the 1960s) and the one now being fed you by someone, that some NMIT students used a modified IP logo from their paper supply and built a hot-air balloon out of paper?

JAF said...

Tony or David,

I hope one of you will upload those IP logo pictures to a free picture sharing website so we can all enjoy looking at them. One such service is . You can open a free account by going to .

I opened an account for pictures of my dog. Xrays of his broken leg are interesting:

JAF said...

Tony or David,

I hope one of you will upload those IP logo pictures to a free picture sharing website so we can all enjoy looking at them. One such service is . You can open a free account by going to .

X-rays of my dog's broken leg are interesting and this example shows how one URL can reference an several photo albums: .

David Rudiak said...

JAF, again you can view the various IP logos here:

People have proposed all sorts of supposed orgins for the Socorro symbol. In the 1960s a fellow named Leon Davidson was claiming it was a secet CIA vehicle and the symbol was a version of CIA (more like C<I) turned sideways).

According to Ray Stanford and some newspaper accounts from 1964, the alleged "CIA" symbol was NOT what Zamora first described to fellow policemen and Hynek and Stanford. Instead it was an inverted V with 3 horizontal lines through it. This was, e.g., reported by first responder Sgt. Sam Chavez in a Hobbs N.M. article a few days later.

Well, there goes CIA and that modified IP logo.

Anthony Bragalia said...

Actually, the Graphis Annual 1961 in which Beall's logo design was lauded was actually voted on and compiled in 1960! This makes sense as many say he actually designed it in 1959! I sent David what I believe to be that 1959 design, please post if you can.

Anyone who could definitively answer exact dates of first use are dead by now unfortunately. And it is abundantly clear that IPs own pdf David offered on this is not correct- I myself distinctly remember the IP paper in my own elementary school - before the late 1960s! And David, post the 1960 IP paper packaging jpg I sent you too please. This too confirms that prototype packaging with logo was completed in the year 1960.


Anthony Bragalia said...

I might add that the Graphis Annual for 1961 (compiled in 1960) itself refers to the image as "IP Corporate Logo."


PS Corporate histories and institutional memory (such as with IP) can only be as "correct" as the people today who are reporting it. Designed in '59, we are talking about something from well over a half-century ago and no one at IP today would have any first hand or direct knowledge of it at all. And in all likelihood, anyone at IP then who could tell us is either 90 or dead. That is why such solid documentation as the Graphis is so helpful.


Curt Collins said...

I recently watched an old episode of "Sightings" where you appeared, and discussed a new report released from the AF(?) connecting the Zamora sighting to a test from White Sands.
Where can I find that report?

David Rudiak said...


You sent me a photo claiming it was IP paper packages from specifically 1960 but with no evidence supporting the 1960 date.

As I have said many times before, this whole IP logo debate is a trivial sideshow from the REAL issues, such as the winds being totally wrong for your claimed paper hot-air balloon from that 1964 IP paper.

As I just posted on your blog, Viktor Golubic, who you cited as a supporter, has just bailed on the balloon hypothesis after analyzing REAL Socorro wind data with conditions similar to those on April 24, 1964 during the sighting. As he writes on UFO Updates today:

"Having completed some data analysis with similar pressure surface patterns as was shown by David Rudiak on the day of Lonnie's sighting, it does appear that a balloon could not have been involved with the Socorro sighting, thus reducing the probability on the UNM [sic] prank hypothesis considerably..."

As for your prior contentions that some "esteemed" NMIT scientist could not possibly be screwing with a UFO researcher, I have but two words: Charles Moore.

David Rudiak said...

cardown wrote:

I recently watched an old episode of "Sightings" where you appeared, and discussed a new report released from the AF(?) connecting the Zamora sighting to a test from White Sands.
Where can I find that report?

As I recall, this was referring to the theory that Socorro was caused by a Voyager probe moon lander which was being tested at White Sands that day.

As I further recall, this was actually a totally unpowered drop test from a tower, no fuel, no landing rockets, and the test ended hours before Socorro. It was certainly quite impossible for the Voyager to end up at Socorro on its own.

To dress it up, it was then proposed, for reasons unknown, that "Voyager" was being towed by a "helicopter" and somehow the cabin dome of the helicopter got mushed together with the very un-egg-like Voyager to become Zamora's egg-shaped object.

This theory, of course, is totally preposterous on multiple grounds, e.g. asking us to believe that Zamora couldn't see or hear a very obvious and extremely noisy helicopter flying overhead (no doubt another "massive misperception" by the "impaired" Zamora, who not only temporarily lost his glasses but his ears as well).

Add to this that the Voyager was designed to operate in lunar gravity, not Earth's, would not have been fueled or blasted off, even if it could, when it was allegedly being towed by a cable, would have left chemical residue behind even if it had blasted off, but didn't, had three round landing pads, not four rectangular ones, flew off in a direction opposite White Sands, etc., etc.

But all this can be ignored if some anonymous people from NM Tech claim they heard through the grapevine it was a Voyager lander.

JAF said...

Thank you Dr. Rudiak for the link to the IP logo. I was incorrectly assuming the current day logo must be much different than that of the early 1960s. Page 7 of the link you provided says the current logo was in use starting in 1968. A picture of the IP logo with the caption "International Company Program, 1961" can be seen at the bottom of this page:

This suggests that the 1968 date may be in error. Seven years to decide on a new logo strikes me as a bit too long.

If the landing was hoaxed by students at New Mexico Tech, I would expect those students to base the insignia on something nearby: The New Mexico Tech logo of 3 mountain peaks. The upside down V would represent one peak and the three lines would indicate "repeat 3 times."

The UFO itself supplies a good inspiration for the insignia. The cone shape of the fiery exhaust is evocative of an inverted V, with the three lines showing the ground disturbance such a flame would create.

I'll take the second-hand account of an unnamed person who saw the craft coming down over the second-hand account of an unnamed person who alleges they hoaxed the event. I'm refering to the tourist who stopped at Whiting
Brother's Service Station on Route 85 the day of the incident and remarked that "aircraft flew
low around here." The full account can be read at . There are also images of how the landing pad depressions looked in 2008. Not much left but circles of rocks placed around where the marks were to protect them from being trampled on back in 1964.

David Rudiak said...

I'll take the second-hand account of an unnamed person who saw the craft coming down over the second-hand account of an unnamed person who alleges they hoaxed the event. I'm refering to the tourist who stopped at Whiting Brother's Service Station on Route 85 the day of the incident and remarked that "aircraft flew low around here."

That story was in the first news account of the Socorro Chieftain, so right from the start. There has never been any indication that Opal Grinder, the gas station owner made it up. His son was there and has also repeatedly corroborated the tourist was real. Damn shame this person was never located, because it would have been icing on the cake, as it would have been near impossible to hoax, just like the rest of it.

However, there was other minor corroboration. Nep Lopez, the police dispatcher, stated they received three calls about a "flame" in the sky at about the same time as Zamora's sighting. If a hoax, hoaxers would have had to send something like a bright flare into the air to attract attention like that (it was still daytime).

There were also aural witnesses from the south side of town (starting about .6 miles from the site) to the roaring sound. With the assistance of radio owner Walter Shrode, Ray Stanford spoke to two of them, who recalled hearing two roars about a minute or two apart. This doesn't disprove hoaxing but does indicate some really, really loud sound effects that have to be accounted for. No physical evidence of pyrotechnics was ever found so you have to have rock concert-loud speakers in the middle of the desert? How would you lug them out there and power them, then immediately make them disappear without leaving any trace evidence behind? I've seen speakers like that in remote locations and they're powered by 100 kilowatt generators, kind of hard to run away with in seconds.

Daniel Transit said...

Tony Bragalia describes Dr. Linus Pauling as a 'secret UFO researcher'. I'm not sure how much of a secret it was that he researched UFOs; but he gave his unqualified support of Gabriel Green's candidacy for the U.S. Senate, in 1962 (letter to Max B.Miller, May 12 1962). People would have read about this at the time (and later) and assumed that Linus Pauling was probably generally supportive of UFO research as featured in Gabriel Green's publications, right? It wouldn't have also been unreasonable, given the endorsement of Gabriel Green, to guess that Dr.Pauling had carried out some UFO research himself. So, it wasn't exactly a very well-concealed 'secret', was it?

Anthony Bragalia said...

Hi Daniel-

Thanks for the input. I did not know that Pauling supported Gabriel Green!

Please Google in quotes "UFOs and Vitamin C" to view an article I did some time ago about finding Pauling's UFO studies that he had marked "Confidential." I also discovered his Battelle connection and other interesting things about Dr. Pauling.

And this is critical:

If Dr. Pauling himself accepted it was a hoax because Colgate informed him, shouldn't we?



David Rudiak said...

Tony Bragalia wrote:
If Dr. Pauling himself accepted it was a hoax because Colgate informed him, shouldn't we?

Again, you are completely exaggerating the little that you have.

What you produced was a typed letter from Pauling to Colgate thanking him for his visit to Socorro. Pauling as an afterthought then scribbled a P.S. asking him what he knew of Zamora, Chavez, and what what was the NMIMT view of the sighting.

Colgate scribbled under that he had "indications" that a student was behind the hoax who was no longer there. That's it: no name, nothing about what the "indications" were, nothing about how the hoax was carried out.

First of all, where does Pauling ever say "he accepted it was a hoax" and even if he had, how does that prove anything one way or the other?

These appeals to authority are worthless. I had a call from a scientist a few months ago who told me he knew Charles Moore back in the 1970s, asked him about Roswell, and Moore told him it was a balloon. Because it came from Moore, whom he trusted, he believed him.

So does that settle it? Moore told him it was a balloon and he believed him. According to your argument, that somehow proves it was a balloon and we should just accept it too.

But now he doesn't trust him, thinks he was deliberately misleading him, maybe even a part of the coverup.

Again, does this prove anything one way or the other, even if this scientist happened to be as eminent as Linus Pauling, who in this case I am totally unaware even expressed an opinion one way or the other, only expressed an interest in the Socorro case.

Anthony Bragalia said...

Hi David-

I have spent an inordinate amount of time on logos, wind, etc. and must begin to "wind down" on this as I simply do not have the time.


Colgate most certainly confirmed far more than you are relating:

- He knows at least one of the hoaxers and still communicates with him to this very day

- He knows how they did it

- He knows why they have not come forward

- He knows about how many were involved

- He is not "guessing"- in his emails to me he is affirming it was a hoax

- Colgate emailed me that Pauling never asked him about Socorro again because he was likely embarrassed to do so because it was a hoax!

I would rather rely on Dr. Colgate than the work of frauds like Ray Stanford that you refer to!

And we do not have to simply rely on Colgate- there are many, many others at NMIT who were in a position to know that have affirmed a hoax- including Dr. Frank Etscorn (who was so confident it was a hoax that he gave an 'A' for the Masters Thesis of the grad student woman who found the principle perpetrator using the schools' yearbooks.) And Dave Collis, who is still w/ NMIT at the Energetics Lab- he was told by his Physics Professor in '65 it was a hoax by grad students. I could (and have) gone on and on ...but I must now work.


David Rudiak said...

Colgate emailed me that Pauling never asked him about Socorro again because he was likely embarrassed to do so because it was a hoax!

By all means go do something else, but what you previously said is that Pauling accepted that it was a hoax because Colgate told him, therefore we should accept it too because Pauling was such a big name.

Now you are saying Pauling never asked him about Socorro again allegedly because he was too embarrassed it was a hoax. So nothing factual like a notation by Pauling, instead all we have is mind-reading or seance-going that Pauling concluded it was a hoax.

Even if that were true, so what? What if Pauling had asked Charles Moore, also of NMIT, about Roswell, Moore told him it was a balloon and Pauling didn't inquire further? Should we then passively accept Roswell was a balloon when other evidence might tell us otherwise?

I would rather rely on Dr. Colgate than the work of frauds like Ray Stanford that you refer to!

And Hynek was a "fraud" also? The FBI agent Byrnes? Army range officer Holder? Officer Chavez? Even Project Blue Book? Were all the primary investigators "frauds" because they concluded it wasn't a hoax?

Please be sure to ask your reliable Dr. Colgate how his paper balloon could fly into a stiff wind in a straight horizontal line for two miles. No more handwaving about we don't know what the winds really were. We DO know--the weather data is unambiguous.

(And please no more "impaired" nonsense about Zamora losing his glasses "twice" and having really awful vision, also supposedly being drunk because of more hearsay from former NMIT students.)

And we do not have to simply rely on Colgate- there are many, many others at NMIT who were in a position to know that have affirmed a hoax- including Dr. Frank Etscorn (who was so confident it was a hoax that he gave an 'A' for the Masters Thesis of the grad student woman who found the principle perpetrator using the schools' yearbooks.)

And according to you, Etscorn told you that it was 25 years ago and he had only a vague memory. His was at least a 3rd-hand account of the grad student telling him of locating one of the hoaxers who told her he did it, but again zero names, zero details.

And do you seriously believe he gave the grad student an "A" simply because he believed Socorro was a hoax? Wouldn't it be for the actual work she did on her masters?

And Dave Collis, who is still w/ NMIT at the Energetics Lab- he was told by his Physics Professor in '65 it was a hoax by grad students.

Again no names, no details, just another person passing on an unverified rumor from somebody who probably heard it through the grapevine. Absolute classic hearsay that wouldn't pass muster in small claims court.

In the end, nothing but people repeating rumors, maybe even started by a few grad students to impress other people. But if there are no names and people can't explain to you in a SCIENTIFIC, PLAUSIBLE way how the hoax was actually carried out, you have a lot of nothing. Chinese lanterns flying against the wind in straight lines at 100+ mph ain't going to do it.

Steve Sawyer said...


Part 1 of 2:

" still are dodging all the critical questions about an alleged hoax, such as how would a paper balloon fly against the wind.

"...some NMIT students used a modified IP logo from their paper supply and built a hot-air balloon out of paper?"

"...such as the winds being totally wrong for your claimed paper hot-air balloon from that 1964 IP paper."

"...ask your reliable Dr. Colgate how his paper balloon could fly into a stiff wind in a straight horizontal line for two miles."

David, while Tony provided a link to a video in his post that shows how a large, hot air "chinese balloon" could be made of tissue or other kind of paper of some sort, I assume that was intended to only be illustrative, an example, of how such can be created, and not an indication or any "claim" by Tony that the Socorro incident involved an actual paper balloon.

In fact, Tony has never claimed that the Socorro incident involved any kind of paper-based balloon.

Instead, Tony has referenced the possibility of some kind of weather balloon might have been used by NMIT grad students to hoax the incident. Weather balloons are made of neoprene or similar rubbery types of materials.

OTOH, how does one inflate a weather balloon to create an oblong shape about 15 to 20 feet across horizontally? One would think it would have to be round in shape, if a weather balloon was inflated for use.

I agree that your weather data is quite significant, as any type of balloon would not be able to fly horizontally, at increasing speed, and silently, into the wind, but it's unknown just exactly what the wind conditions in the precise, limited area of the Zamora sighting were, and what near-ground effects and what erratic (or constant) wind conditions or patterns there may have been close to the ground in the arroyo either.

I also agree that the lack of any prosaic oxidation residue, as determined by the USAF chemical analysis of the partially burned greasewood bush argues against pyrotechnics or other conventional propulsion source of the kind that might have been used in any hoax.

In addition, there are several other critical, mitigating factors (like the reported blue and orange downward-pointing flame from the bottom of the object as it descended and initially ascended), that also argue against a hoax, but Tony has also gathered some potentially significant, but only circumstantial, data that might point towards some kind of quite sophisticated hoax.

But, a hoax has yet to have been factually proven by Tony. No one allegedly involved has ever come forward either. Problematic, to say the least.

[The object was also not some super-duper secret CIA prototype lunar lander, I'm sure, regardless of what some armchair "quidnuncs" have argued at nauseating length, without a shred of documentation or other evidence, btw.]

The fact of the matter, all things considered, exhaustively, is that the Socorro incident remains, in my mind at least, for now, a true unknown.

Steve Sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2:

I can neither empirically conclude that it was either a hoax nor a genuine "UFO CE III." It remains a genuine, extremely perplexing mystery, and unresolved either way, IMHO.

I also don't agree that it can conclusively or factually be determined that the "symbol" allegedly observed by Zamora was derived from the International Paper [IP] logo designed in 1960 by Lester Beall. Again, it's a "maybe, maybe not" or ambiguous, secondary issue.

Frankly, I doubt it, given the debate about the "two symbols" (regarding U.S. Army Capt. Holder's alleged role) that Stanford, Hynek, PBB, and various contemporaneous newspaper accounts referred to, i.e., the "inverted V with three horizontal lines across it" vs. "upward arrow" controversy. But both symbols seem prosaic in nature, and I don't know of any other "legit" UFO CE involving a UFO with such symbolic markings being ever observed, but that issue is rather peripheral to the "big picture" of all the elements of the sighting combined.

[I have, btw, independently of Tony, confirmed the IP logo was created in 1960, and in use by IP as early as 1961, not "the late 60's," as IP's own "brandmark" guidance .pdf cites erroneously, as initially cited by David.]

I'm trying to be as objective about all the factors involved as humanly possible, and the Socorro incident, whatever it was, remains the only case Project Blue Book considered an "unknown" involving a landing with two "entities" observed.

One crucial issue that has not been directly debated much is whether Zamora's statements and reporting on the incident might have either been partially confabulated or exaggerated for some reason, perhaps out of shock at what he perceived. Regardless of all the evidence noted at the "landing site," this remains an extremely bizarre and questionable incident, based on the fact that it was a single-witness case. Can we assume Zamora reported accurately what actually occurred vs. what he perceived or said later? Yet another "Pandora's Box" there.

And yes, I also acknowledge the tourist's "gas station" report and reports of similar incidents both before and after the specific Zamora sighting in both nearby and distant areas/regions as also being suggestive, but essentially circumstantial in nature. Again, no proof either way, just anecdotal for the most part.

[[While I have posited before, humorously, that the truly bizarre mix of both prosaic and unexplained or unknown elements of the sighting might suggest a "hoax," only created by "ET's," to create a kind of absurdist "cognitive dissonance" in the witness(es) and subsequent investigators (sort of like the famous Monty Python routine, "Confuse-A-Cat, Ltd."**), objectively that's simply a kind of intentionally provocative, idle kind of speculation, meant to throw yet another potential scenario [thinking way outside of the "box," as it were]; to spur rethinking the case, perhaps, into the mix)]].

In conclusion, since it appears this case, at this point still remains unproved (unless one or more persons from NMIT are willing to go on the record, by name, with a reasonable, detailed explanation of how any "hoax" might have been created that can be further investigated or vetted), it seems likely the case may not ever be truly resolved.

Clever, those frickin'... "aliens?" 8^}


**[The analogy here, ref. Confuse-A-Cat, is that "the others" are the "company," and we are the "cats" to be shaken out of our own anthropocentric "rut."]

David Rudiak said...

Steve Sawyer wrote:
David, while Tony provided a link to a video in his post that shows how a large, hot air "chinese balloon" could be made of tissue or other kind of paper of some sort, I assume that was intended to only be illustrative, an example, of how such can be created, and not an indication or any "claim" by Tony that the Socorro incident involved an actual paper balloon. In fact, Tony has never claimed that the Socorro incident involved any kind of paper-based balloon.

First on his blog:

...Tony quoted Colgate saying it was supposedly a "candle-balloon":

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

His short but telling reply: “A candle in a balloon. Not sophisticated.”

Then Tony added:

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:

This was a link to a so-called Chinese or sky lantern hot-air balloon made of paper.

In a private email titled "This is what Lonnie saw", Tony sent me a link to another youtube video of a larger paper hot-air balloon or "sky lantern", which he again equated to Colgate's "candle-balloon".

And if you haven't noticed, Tony in this blog has been trying to make a case that the alleged hoaxers were using a modified International Paper logo and the school used IP paper products, again suggesting they made the "candle-lantern" out of paper.

But whether such a "candle-balloon" is made of paper or something else like plastic is another trivial side-show, the key point remains that ANY balloon cannot fly into the wind, nor can it fly level in a straight line for two miles, nor can it fly at over 100 mph, the low-ball speed the Air Force attached to it.

As for the winds, I've argued the point 'til I'm blue in the face, that the actual historical wind data from literally 200 or so hourly wind data points from about 10 nearby weather stations leaves NO doubt that any object would have had to fly into stiff winds. For many hours before and after, with NO exceptions, winds in the area were out of the south to west. Even Viktor Golubic, who was also trying to argue that Socorro was somehow exempt, has just recently conceded the point on UFO Updates after examining actual Socorro wind data with similar low pressure systems.

Balloons of any kind are out, period.

David Rudiak said...

I would like to make one more point. This isn't just about Zamora's say-so. This was also a physical evidence case, with burned ground and vegetation still smoldering when backup arrived minutes later, crushed rocks, fresh "landing" impressions on the ground noted by all primary investigators that seemed to have been made by an object of great weight setting down, and perhaps fused sand and radiation ("perhaps" because this was never written down in documentation by the Air Force). It was also notable for what wasn't there: no chemical evidence of what could have burned everything and no evidence of footprints, tire tracks, paraphernalia, etc. that would have been left behind by hoaxers fleeing the scene within seconds.

The point is, SOMETHING PHYSICAL HAPPENED. There was an object there.

The second point, is where did it go in such a short period of time if it was something conventional like a balloon?

Zamora told Hynek when he first saw the object from a distance, he radioed friend State Policeman Sam Chavez to come alone. Chavez confirmed to Hynek the radio call about coming alone. Chavez could have gotten there in only 2 or 3 minutes at most, or only 1 or 2 minutes after the object blasted off, then departed the area towards the mountains towards the west-southwest (bucking a strong wind out of the south to soutwest).

Chavez publicly said he didn't see the object leaving, but Zamora said if Chavez knew where to look when he arrived, he would have seen it, which means the object was still visible when Chavez got there.

Ray Stanford said every Socorro policeman he spoke to said Chavez DID arrive in time and told them he DID see the object scooting up the mountainside off in the distance, like what Zamora also reported, but Chavez didn't want to give further credence to the report in case it was a secret government project.

So my third point, is assuming Chavez didn't see it, then why not? How could a "balloon" of that size disappear THAT fast. Even if the winds were blowing a constant 30 mph in the right direction, a 15 foot "balloon" would have gone no more than about about a mile by the time Chavez showed up. It would still have been easily visible in the sky.

So either Chavez really did see it, but refused to acknowledge it (now making for two eyewitnesses to the object departing the area), or if he didn't, then he should have unless the object left the area at a speed much higher than any possible balloon. By the time he got to Zamora's position, a large balloon should still have been visible and Zamora could have pointed it out in case Chavez missed it approaching the area.

Also given the ACTUAL winds (south to southwest), an actual balloon would have been blown over Socorro itself, not towards the mountains to the west. There were three reported calls to police dispatch about seeing a flame in the sky at about the time of Zamora's encounter, but nothing about an object like a balloon flying over town. Again, why not?

Not an iron-clad case against a balloon, but not exactly supporting the hypothesis either.

JAF said...

David Rudiak said:
a 15 foot "balloon" would have gone no more than about about a mile by the time Chavez showed up. It would still have been easily visible in the sky.

The following table shows the apparent size of a 15' "balloon" seen from various distances:

Miles    % of size of
away    the full moon
1             33%
2             16%
3             11%
4             08%
8             04%

I used this page to convert distances to angular size:

A full moon is about one half degree in diameter.

When you get down to about 10% of the full moon, you are talking a very small image, about the apparent size of what Kenneth Arnold saw. I would estimate a 15' object would still be visible at 3 miles away if you knew right where to look. This would give a 6 minute window of opportunity to watch a 15' balloon traveling at 30 mph. If the object were 30' in size, you can double those times.

David Rudiak said...

To JAF regarding balloon visibility:
Nothing wrong with your figures. The 30 mph wind figure I gave was being liberal, based on average wind speeds recorded at Albuquerque and Truth or Consequences at the time being 20 and 23 mph. An assumed wind gust (defined as 10 mph above average) would take this up to about 30 mph, but more likely wind would be blowing in the 20-25 mph range in Socorro.

At the liberal wind speed of 30 mph and assuming Sgt. Chavez arrived at the scene fully 2 minutes after the object made its departure, again probably a somewhat liberal figure, a 15 foot balloon would have moved only about a mile from the scene, so still a third the size of the moon (about 10 arc min). If only the cross-sectional area of the egg-shaped object was visible (viewed end-on), then about half that, or about 5 arc/min. If Chavez arrived only a minute after departure instead of two (quite possible), the balloon moves only half as far and double all sizes again.

If the object wasn't moving, then it might be hard to spot. But if it was moving rapidly, as Zamora said it was, and with a good contrasting background (white shiny object up against the dark mountains), it's the sort of target that will tend to catch the eye.

Ray Stanford has said Sgt. Chaves DID arrive in time to see the object rapidly rising against the backdrop of the mountains, according to all the other police he spoke to. Zamora hinted at this when he said Chaves arrived in time to see the object leaving if only he knew where to look.

Still far from certain whether Chaves would necessarily have seen it, assuming a balloon, I agree. But if a balloon, it would still have been in the area and visible, which was my point.

The far more fundamental problem for any balloon theory, would be the object taking off in a direction (WSW) that would take it into a very strong headwind (probably out of the SSW at the time according to surrounding wind data), which balloons can't do.

Another very serious problem was Zamora's observation that it took off cross-country hugging the ground, in a straight line, only slowly rising with the terrain as it approached the mountains to the west, about 2 miles distant. Balloons, even with a proper tail wind, can't do that either.

JAF said...

Would anyone like to comment on the accuracy of the picture on page 28 of Socorro 'Saucer' in a Pentagon Pantry by Ray Stanford? It appears to me that the suggested trajectory is off by quite a bit. Isn't that the perlite mine way over on the right of the picture (the whitish area)? The trajectory shown doesn't take the UFO over the mine at all. Here's a link to the picture:

Does anyone know if the dynamite shack still stands?

David Rudiak said...

Would anyone like to comment on the accuracy of the picture on page 28 of Socorro 'Saucer' in a Pentagon Pantry by Ray Stanford? It appears to me that the suggested trajectory is off by quite a bit. Isn't that the perlite mine way over on the right of the picture (the whitish area)? The trajectory shown doesn't take the UFO over the mine at all. Here's a link to the picture:

The perlite mine is indeed the whitish area and the drawing is inaccurate. (graphics in book were not done by Stanford)

Depending on which statements you use, the object went at least a mile or maybe the full two miles to the perlite mill before sharply angling up to clear the mountains. Also Zamora said the object seemed to just clear the dynamite shack. The drawing shows it angling up just before the dynamite shack, so another indication of inaccuracy.

Does anyone know if the dynamite shack still stands?

I was just there last month (July 3, 2012), and the dynamite shack is no longer there. About 500 feet up from the landing site, where the shack used to be, is some sheet metal and what looks like a strongbox of some kind, but no standing shack. These may or may not be from the shack. People do dump stuff out there, e.g., an old refrigerator is also there a little closer to the landing site.

JAF said...

Daviad Rudiak said:

The perlite mine is indeed the whitish area and the drawing is inaccurate. (graphics in book were not done by Stanford)

Thanks, David!

The only way I can see for a balloon to travel toward the Perlite mine is for it to have been towed. One end of a nylon cord tied to the balloon and the other to a car which travelled down the dirt road leading to the hospital would do the trick. This appears to be the same road Zamora was using, currently called Raychester for the part which is paved. He might not notice the noise of the car engine or the tires on the gravel/dirt due to his ears having been dampened by the roar of the flame, even once the roar stopped. I would expect him to catch sight of the car because visibility looks to be excellent in that direction, but he may have been distracted by having knocked his glasses off and having "hit the dirt" to escape an anticipated explosion which never happened just long enough for a car to have gotten far enough down the road as to not be easily seen. I've never been at the site to test the hypothesis.

David Rudiak said...


I've considered the tow possibility 3 years ago when the balloon theory raised its ugly head again. There are multiple problems with it.

The dirt road soon makes a dogleg which would take it away sharply from the direct line to he perlite mine (whereas Zamora saw the object leave in a straight line).

A car wouldn't be able to drive very fast down the road since it is so bad yet Zamora saw the object making a fast departure.

A car would leave a cloud of dust and unless ridiculously far down the road with a ridiculously long cable would be quite visible and would be heard, whereas Zamora reported dead silence once the object went silent.

There were no other car tire tracks in the area besides Zamoras. (The police looked.)

A balloon would bob around badly in the wind created by being towed and the crosswind of the strong wind blowing at the time. Zamora reported a highly controlled departure in a straight line with the object maintaining a constant altitude above the ground, no reported bobbing.

A cable strong enough to tow a large balloon like that against strong winds would have to be of decent size and strength to prevent snapping (think of a sail on a sailboat which produces a lot of force in strong winds). Even with his glasses off, Zamora should have seen something. If slack on the ground when Zamora first arrived and got close with his glasses, but not seen, then it would have left a track behind in the dirt of the arroyo. No such track was found.

TheUFOGuy said...

Wow, I guess most did not read Rays book. Some fairly poor fictional writing here and now in 2015 the so called Hoaxers will not talk to anyone to prove their ignorant claim. You will see more convincing evidence on this case and it is certainly 100% not a hoax. Most people posting here have obviously done zero research. Armchair Ufologist are a dime a dozen.