Monday, October 31, 2016

The Socorro Symbol Conundrum

Since the discussion of the Socorro symbol isn’t confusing enough, here is another conundrum. I have in my possession handwritten documents that are apparently notes taken at some point after the landing. These notes were sent to me by Rob Mercer who acquired them from a former Project Blue Book officer. So we do have a provenance for them and a chain of custody though that chain might be a little bit cloudy.

On page 59, though I’m not sure what the numbers mean because it is a short document that begins on page 56, it says, “There were fresh imprints resembling a V with a bar across it …”

There is an illustration that accompanies this. It looks like this:

The "V" with a bar through it as shown in the
documents recovered by Rob Mercer.
The symbol is repeated on page 61. It suggests that it wasn’t a helicopter that left the imprint and that it looks more like a cattle brand.

Rob Mercer did ask the Blue Book officer about this and he said that the Socorro case was something that happened before he arrived. He told me the same thing. These were notes about the case that he discovered as he was cleaning out desks. The only thing that can be said is that they probably weren’t written by Hynek and probably not Holder because both are mentioned in the third person. Zamora is addressed as “Zamoro” in part of the document, which suggests they were written by someone who had only a passing knowledge of the case.

The question now becomes, was this imprint the inspiration for the story about the symbol with inverted “V” with the bars through it? Could it be that the description of the imprint was confused with the symbol Zamora saw? When we listen to the interview with Mike Martinez describing what Zamora saw could there have been some confusion there? It is very difficult to understand because it is lost in so much noise.

This really is an amazing coincidence when you think about it.

(And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, I have just thrown another monkey wrench into the equation, though if you’re paying attention, you’ll know what the correct symbol is.)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Ray Stanford

For those of you who thought that this week’s show would feature Brad Steiger, I received an email from Brad saying that he was sick and would have to postpone. That left me with a hole, but I contacted Ray Stanford who graciously agreed to move his interview from November 9 to this week. Brad will be scheduled for a future show.

There were questions left over from my other Socorro UFO landing/Lonnie Zamora sighting show with Ben Moss and Tony Angiola and Ray was the man who had the answers. He went into detail about the picture he had taken of the dynamite shack that Zamora thought might have exploded, and what that photograph showed. We also discussed the idea that Zamora hadn’t talked of figures but only white coveralls. Ray, who might be the only living person who was involved in the original investigation in late April 1964, provided his insights into what he had seen, and what he had heard and how this white coverall confusion came to be.

You can listen to the program here:

Ray Stanford wrote (for those who wanted to find a copy of his book), “The email address for people to use to pay for the book at PayPal is:

“If you can post that with the statement that the signed, first edition, brand new book costs $50 + $10 for shipping and handling via Priority Mail, it will be appreciated.”

And, of course, there are those papers about dinosaurs that might interest some of you. As I mentioned, the address is a little complicated for a radio show. You can find them here:


If all goes well, next week I’ll talk with a man who had been part of the Blue Book team for the last couple of years and who had the boxes that Rob Mercer found. He is fascinating if for no other reason than he was one of those assigned to Blue Book and we can prove it.

Tom Carey's Fourteen Points or The Roswell Slides Revisited

Tom Carey, who seems set on keeping the Roswell Slides controversy alive, contacted Rob McConnell to say that he had thought of several things that he, Carey, should have mentioned during his last interview. He had a list this time. Fourteen items that he wanted to say, though I confess I don’t know what difference it makes at this late date. You can listen to it here:

We were treated with some of the same things that we’ve all heard in the past. We learned about Joe Beason who contracted Carey to alert him to the slides but this time Carey said that Beason had some sort of IT company which should have been
Tom Carey
a red flag for them. Then Adam Dew appeared on the scene and it was Dew, without Carey or Don Schmitt, who went to Kodak to validate the age of the film. As I have mentioned in the past, Dew, at least according to Carey, told them that the code on the side of the film was the code used by Kodak in 1947… but, of course, had Carey asked me, I would have told him that the code was for motion picture film and was rarely if ever used on slide film.

There are other things in the interview, such as them being fooled by the age and importance of other slides (or maybe Carey still believes that the photographer, that is Bernard or Hilda Ray, were pals with the Eisenhowers). This connection suggested the Rays might have been allowed to see the top secret alien bodies and to photograph them because they knew the Eisenhowers. This really makes no sense, when you think about it, but that connection to Eisenhower, because the Rays had pictures of Ike on the back of a train, seemed to suggest some sort of relationship.

But all of this has been discussed before. The interesting points come near the end of the interview. Carey said that Beason had originally contacted Stan Friedman, but Friedman was too busy to get involved in the investigation of the slides. This, as I have said, makes no sense because Friedman, who sees himself as the first Roswell investigator, has been told about the possibility of the definitive proof for the alien nature of the Roswell crash, but he’s too busy to pursue it. Instead, he said to hand this possible smoking gun over to Carey… And at no time did Carey or Schmitt ever mention any of this to Friedman even after nearly everyone in the world knew something about the slides… It is important to point out that Rob McConnell had asked Friedman about this and Friedman denied that he had ever been approached about it by Beason.

The other revelation, which also came toward the end, was that while Carey and Schmitt and those working with them had done everything they could to read the placard, it simply couldn’t be done. But Carey tells us here that there is a third slide that Dew and Beason kept to themselves. Remember, as I pointed out once we had seen the slides, they were numbers 9 and 11, and I wondered what was shown on slide number 10. Maybe there was something there that would have made reading the placard easier or revealed exactly what had been photographed.

And this is what Carey claimed. He said that while in Mexico City for the Great Reveal, there was another slide that had been shown to, or given to, Jaime Maussan. This was slide number 10, and when Richard Dolan asked for a copy of one of the slides to email to colleagues, Maussan accidentally gave him slide number 10 so that deblurring, or reading the placard, was done quickly. Well, I suppose this could be true, but the fact remains that the placard, using the proper program, could have been read prior to the Great Reveal. But Carey has confirmed that there was a third slide and that the placard seemed to be clearer in that slide which makes you wonder about them not pursuing this.

At the end, Carey seemed to accept the idea that the image was of a human child… but he sort of talked around it, so I’m not sure that if he isn’t holding out some hope that the image might not be human. He concedes that the image photographed by the Rays in the 1940s is the same as the image in photographs made in the late 19th century and again in the 1930s. But he doesn’t seem to rule out completely the idea that it might be an alien creature that had died sometime earlier and had been interred by the native peoples. Though it seems that the answer is no, it also seems that this might be the last gasp in this sad tale.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Boxes of Blue Book Material on Craig's List

Ben Moss and Tony Angiola are probably annoyed with me for sticking my nose into this Socorro investigation. As I have explained, they made some very interesting comments during my radio show and I believed those comments deserved some follow up. That has been the point of several of the postings here. It truly is a descent into the minutia of the case but it has been sort of fun for me, though maybe not so much fun for Ben or Tony.

There was some discussion about the symbol that Zamora saw on the object. Ben and Tony thought that the proper version was the inverted “V” with the three lines through it. They mentioned (or more probably Ben) that they had documents from the Blue Book files that had been found in a box of material purchased at a garage sale. Yes, I know this is beginning to sound like the slides fiasco all over, but there was a provenance for this box as well as a chain of custody. It did contain Blue Book files and it seemed, for a time, that it had once belonged to CPT Richard T. Holder, who had been the first of the military officials to interview Zamora. Holder was an Army officer rather than a member of the Air Force or on the Blue Book staff.

Naturally, I was interested in this aspect of it, especially since there were two documents in that recovered file, both handwritten and both without date or signature that seemed to suggest the inverted “V” with the three lines was the correct symbol. If it could be confirmed that it had been Holder’s son who had sold the box, then that changed the story slightly. I learned, indirectly from Ben, that an Ohio UFO investigator, Rob Mercer, had purchased the box. I wanted to talk to him about what he had found and to learn if there had been a context for those two handwritten notes. Ben had supplied a web site and there was contact information for Rob. I sent an email to him and he responded with a long explanation of how he had come into possession of these Blue Book files… and from the look of what he had posted to his web site, it was clear that he had documents from Blue Book as well as notes and comments made by someone who had been intimately involved with Blue Book. You can review that information here:

(One of the things was the Tremonton, Utah UFO film taken by Delbert Newhouse that had a black line down the center of it… this was a scratch that was magnified with each reproduction of the film and was in the same place as a copy of that film I had received from Blue Book many years ago.)

Rob told me that he had found the material on Craig’s List and bought the box from the man who found it. Through some fine detective work, Rob was able to trace the information to a specific Air Force officer and eventually located the man. His identity was confirmed and he mentioned that he had additional boxes of information. He sent those on to Rob as well. Since some of the boxes contained actual copies of Blue Book cases, Rob was able to establish that the material in the boxes was legitimate and had been, at one time, in the possession of Blue Book or at the very least one of the men who worked at Blue Book. The former officer confirmed all this as well.

Illustration from the San Antonio,
Texas newspaper.
Given the way things had gone in the Socorro investigation, I was interested in those two handwritten notes that suggested the real symbol was the inverted “V” with the three lines through it. They seemed to confirm it, but as David Rudiak pointed out, that description had been published in newspapers on April 30, 1964. Some of the newspapers suggested Hynek as the source while others hinted at “witnesses” who had seen the original symbol as drawn by Zamora.

The key was the officer who had “saved” the material from destruction but the question was about the creation of the files. On October 20, 2016, I had an opportunity to interview the officer. I have a picture of him (courtesy of Ben Moss) standing in the Blue Book office with Lieutenant Colonel Hector Quintanilla and he confirmed that was a member of Blue Book at the end of the investigation.

The Socorro case, from April 1964, was before his time. He mentioned that Sergeant David Moody had been involved in that case, which, of course, we all knew based on what is in the Blue Book files not to mention newspapers from around the country. I knew that we were going back some 52 years, and if he hadn’t been there, I had little or no chance of learning how those documents had been created. I asked him about it, tried to put it into perspective, but since he had not created that specific file, he just couldn’t provide any useful information about it. All I can say with confidence is that the two documents, which reference State
Sergeant Moody on the left. US Air Force
Police Sergeant Chavez, are handwritten and show the symbol to be the inverted “V” with the three bars. I don’t know whose handwriting it is, I don’t know when the notes were made, I don’t know if they are based on newspaper reports (the wording is very close) and I don’t know why these documents are not in the Blue Book file proper if they are representative of the symbol that Zamora saw though many of the newspaper articles that mention it are there.

The upside of this is that the officer has agreed to appear on my radio show for November 2. We’re not going to concentrate on Socorro on that show because his experiences at Blue Book were not during that time, but about the attitudes, investigations, and handling of UFO reports, including how he ended up with boxes of the material. I will note here that everything I have seen (and Rob Mercer has been most generous with that) has no classification markings on it. It was unclassified material so there is no real reason for him not to have it. (It wasn’t even marked “For Official Use Only,” which is a very low level of classification that doesn’t require safe guarding or accountability.)

After our service in Iraq, I was tasked with writing the Unit History. I had, in my possession, hundreds of documents from that time but none of them were classified.  These were notes from the staff meetings, the information from the change of shift briefings and from a dozen or so other things that would be of no real interest to the average person, but for a historian looking into the Iraq War fifty years from now, it could provide a glimpse into what we were doing. I have a copy of the history, which ran to more than 700 pages.

For those interested, Ray Stanford, who literally wrote the book on Socorro (as he likes to say) will appear on November 9, though I don’t think we’re going to devote the show to just the Socorro case. He wants to talk about some of the other cases he has been involved in.

So, the point here is this. Ben Moss and Tony Angiola sparked my interest in parts of the Socorro case. With their help, I delved a little deeper into this and through that research end up communicating with Rob Mercer (who will be on the show November 16) to talk about what he found in the files and some of the ancillary items that went with them. I also had the chance to talk with a former Blue Book officer. We now have the opportunity, together, to learn about how some of this played out and to learn a little about the inside workings of Project Blue Book.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Keith Chester

Keith Chester
This week I interviewed Keith Chester who literally wrote the book on the Foo Fighters called Strange Company. These were things, balls of light, maybe craft that harassed pilots as it turned out, on both sides of the Second World War. The Allied high command were so concerned with these reports that they created four separate investigations in their attempts to find out what was being seen and to learn if this was some sort of Axis weapons system that would change the course of the air war.

There was one thing that became clear and underscored something that I have been saying for years (which I learned from Keith’s book) is that the modern era of UFO sightings didn’t begin with Kenneth Arnold in June 1947, but began with the Foo Fighters during the war. Two names surface in Strange Company and those are Dr. H. P. Robertson of Robertson Panel fame and Colonel Howard McCoy who was also involved in the Ghost Rockets and later with the UFO investigations here. This establishes a thread that runs through UFO investigations long before Arnold and suggests that the interest in Foo Fighters transcended the end of the war. You can listen to the interview here:

Strange Company from Anomalist Books is still in print. You can find both the paper copy and ebook at Amazon here:


Next Week’s Guest: Brad Steiger

Topic: Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and things that go bump in the night. (Hey, it’s just before Halloween, what’d you expect?)

And for those of you keeping score at home, Roswell in the 21st Century is now available as an ebook. Click on the book cover to your left and it will take you directly to the site.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Additional Witnesses for the Zamora Sighting

Since I’ve had so much fun with the “What symbol did Lonnie Zamora see?” a question sparked by my interview of Ben Moss and Tony Angiola, I thought I’d try it again. If you remember the interview, Ben or Tony mentioned that three people had called the police in Socorro to say that they had seen or heard something about the time that Zamora was approaching the UFO. I asked if they had checked the police logs to confirm this but somehow I didn’t get a solid answer for it.

Well, I now have that answer.

As I was looking for descriptions of the symbol in the Blue Book files, I was reading the various reports made by those involved in the investigation. Although undated, one report does mention the sighting on April 24, 1964, and was clearly written in the days that followed the sighting. It is signed by Captain Richard T. Holder, who was an Army officer assigned to White Sands in 1964 and who lived in Socorro (he was the up range commander and Socorro was closer to his duty station than Alamogordo).

Holder wrote, “Upon arrival at the office location in the Socorro County Building, we were informed by Nep Lopez, Sheriff’s Office radio operator, that approximately three reports had been called in by telephone of a blue flame or light in the area… These reports were not entered on the dispatcher’s log so no time on those reports is available – the dispatcher indicated that the times were roughly similar. Reports were completed at approximately 0100 25 April.”
Holder's report from the Project Blue Book Files.

I will say that this is becoming slightly annoying as I gather more information. We can say that Zamora’s report is single witness, but that’s just not accurate. Here is an indication of three other sightings of the blue flame or light (and there could be more that had been called in) but no one logged them and no one bothered to get the names. Holder, however, has confirmed the reports into the police and that is something. In other words, the Zamora sighting is not single witness

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Socorro Symbol - Resolved?

For the last several weeks I have been looking into the symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw on the side of the object he reported. (Note to all: I am not suggesting anything other than Zamora saw an object with a symbol on it. I am not drawing any conclusions about that object’s origin). During the research, I have found a variety of documents, I have received assistance from a variety of investigators in a variety of locations, and I have been able to draw some pretty specific conclusions.

For those interested, I have found about a dozen different designs, four of them in the Project Blue Book files. The controversy seemed to arise when Captain Richard Holder (who lived in Socorro), assigned as the up range commander at the White Sands Missile Range, which is not all that far from Socorro, asked Zamora and others not to reveal the true symbol. His thinking was, and it seems that Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO felt the same way, that this could help eliminate hoaxers and confabulators from the witness pool. Oddly, in their APRO Bulletin of May 1964, they print illustrations of the craft with an insignia on the side. If you look carefully, you’ll see that the symbol in one of the illustrations differs from that in the other.

The first of the symbols from the APRO Bulletin.
The second of the symbols from the APRO Bulletin.
Within days of the sighting, on April 30, 1964, San Antonio Express among other newspapers, complicated the matter in a report that said, “Witnesses to the craft seen by Zamora said it was marked with a red inverted V with a line or several lines horizontally through the V.”  

An Associated Press Story, also on April 30 suggested that Hynek was one of those witnesses. They reported, “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.”

Ray Stanford reported that he had recorded on tape, a conversation with Socorro police dispatcher Mike Martinez telling him that Zamora described the design as "...un 'V' invertido, con tres lĂ­neas debajo," meaning "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it". I don’t have an indication of when that recording was made, but it would seem to confirm that the inverted “V” with the three lines is the correct symbol. Note I said “would seem.”

Hynek's inverted "V."
This does nothing to answer the question. Both symbols, or variations of them, were reported in the days that followed Zamora’s sighting. But there is one that appeared in the Blue Book file on the case that might give a hint. Although Hynek, in a letter dated September 7, 1964, drew a symbol that was an inverted “V”, he placed one of the lines above the apex of the “V” and two short lines that did not touch the sides inside the legs of the “V.” Ray Stanford, when he found the letter at the National Archives (in what had to be the Blue Book files) believed that it corroborated the inverted “V” with the three lines through it. I don’t believe it does.

Instead, I look at the symbol that Zamora signed. This is the inverted “V” with the “umbrella” over it, and a perpendicular line into the apex of the “V” and a line under that. Zamora signed this drawing, which to me, suggests that it is the correct symbol. None of the other competing illustrations in the file were signed by Zamora, though there are other representations of something like it.

But there are other documents in the file and these, I believe, give the nod to what I think of as the umbrella symbol. First, is one on a scrap of paper and the notation on the paper suggests that it was drawn within five minutes of the
The first drawing made by Zamora.
sighting, whenever that it might have been, and is the correct one. This tiny scrap of paper, also in the Blue Book file, is also signed by Zamora.

Finally, there is an undated, unsigned report in the file but it seems that it was written weeks or months after the sighting. I base this on the comments section that mentions other sightings after the fact and the analysis of some of the soil samples that had been gathered. This document also shows the “umbrella” symbol, which reinforces the idea that it is the correct one.

The "umbrella" symbol from the undated report in the Blue Book file.
Here’s my thinking on this. I can see no reason why a false symbol would be included in the file without a notation that it is a false symbol. Hynek’s illustration, drawn months after the sighting looks more like he was recreating a symbol that he had been told about rather than he was drawing the real thing. Besides, he never saw it himself and because of that, and because it was months later, no one bothered to mention a thing about it.

I will note that I have, in my possession, a copy of a handwritten letter by Ray Stanford dated May 3, 1964, in which he wrote, “I advise not letting out the real (as told in the tape by Mike Martinez) description of symbol on UFO, as if person(s) claim UFO ‘contact’ with an “A” or “A” (here he drew the one with the three bars through it) on side we can suspect a hoax.” (Or, in other words, he is contradicting himself when he now claims that the inverted “V” with the three lines is the real one.) 
Stanford's May 3, 1964 letter to Richard Hall.

With the symbol signed by Zamora, we have, not only the one reported to have been drawn within minutes of the departure of the craft, but another, apparently created within hours, while the very first investigators were on the scene. It would seem to me that two signed symbols in the file outweigh the contradicted inverted “V” with the three lines. It would seem to me that the correct symbol is the one we thought it was all along.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

X-Zone Broadcast Network - Don Ecker

Don Ecker
This week’s show featured Don Ecker who has been around the UFO scene nearly as long as I have. Don was the Director of Research for UFO magazine for nearly two decades and reported on some of the most important incidents of the last twenty or thirty years. He is a trained investigator, having worked with a number of police agencies, but has, sort of retired from the UFO field. Although I had planned to talk with him about his exit from the field, and we did touch on that, we explored the cattle mutilations which were big last century (though they continue today) and what he thought of as human mutilations. You can hear our discussion here:

Going off topic here, sort of, those interested in the ebook version of Roswell in the 21st Century, I am told it will be available on the morning of October 14 at both Amazon Kindle and Nook, and is currently available at the iBookstore for $9.99 at:

And for those who have not had enough election discussion (at least in this country) I point out that X-Zone Broadcast Network is conducting a poll concerning the popularity of the various hosts. You can vote at:

Yes, you can vote for me and to quote Bluto (John Belushi in Animal House), “It don’t cost nothing…”

Next Week’s guest: Keith Chester

Topic: Foo Fighters (or as I think of it, the first modern wave of UFO sightings).

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Did Lonnie Zamora See Alien Creatures?

We have discussed the Socorro case a couple of times here recently. When Ben Moss and Tony Angiola appeared on the Different Perspective radio show, they suggested that Lonnie Zamora had not said that he had seen creatures or aliens or figures. He had merely said that he had only seen two pairs of white coveralls in the distance, suggesting a humanoid shape but he couldn’t make out a head or facial features.

Socorro, New Mexico. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
This seemed odd to me because nearly every account I had read talked about the humanoid creatures. That was one of the most important features of the case, yet it seemed that Zamora might never have said such a thing. This was one of the more recent findings.

What I learned, however, doesn’t seem to support this. Coral Lorenzen, who interviewed Zamora two days after the sighting, wrote in Encounters with UFO Occupants, (published in 1976) “…and spotted what appeared to be a light colored car standing on end and two humanoid figures beside it (he said they looked about the size of young boys) about 600 feet away. One of the figures seemed to look toward Zamora as if startled by his presence.”

Timothy Good, in Above Top Secret, wrote, “Eventually he came across what he thought was an upturned car and two occupants, both dressed in coveralls.”

In The UFO Encyclopedia (1991) compiled and edited by John Spencer, it was reported, “…a shining egg-shaped object and two people who were obviously startled at the appearance of his police cruiser…. The ‘people’ apparently got back into the object which took off immediately…”

The same description, that is, people, was used by Robert Emenegger in UFO’s Past Present & Future (1974). He wrote, “‘I [Zamora] saw two pair of coveralls.’ One person seems to have turned and looked straight at Zamora’s car.”

Jacques Vallee in Dimensions (1998) wrote, “…Lonnie Zamora, who reported two small beings, dressed in white…”

Curtis Peoples in his Watch the Skies (1995), wrote, “…he was looking at the two figures, he did not notice ‘any particular shape or possibly any hats or headgear.’ They looked normal in shape, ‘but possibly they were small adults or large kids.’”

Jerome Clark in his massive UFO Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition (1998), wrote, “Then he ‘saw two figures in what resembled white coveralls… The figures were small ‘maybe the size of boys,’ and from a distance looked ‘normal in shape.’”

Even Don Keyhoe who nearly always rejected accounts of the alien creatures wrote in Aliens from Space (1973), “Beside it [the UFO], unaware of his presence were two humanoids dressed in silvery coveralls.”

And in what might be the best example, the Albuquerque Tribune (April 27, 1964) reported, “Moving closer he [Zamora] saw two figures moving about outside the vehicle. One looked directly at him.”

But now we learn that Zamora allegedly never talked about figures or beings or anything like that. He just talked about seeing these white coveralls which suggested a human shape but he couldn’t see a head because of the brightness of the surroundings.

He was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal of April 27, that “He [Zamora] saw what appeared to be a pair of white coveralls, but whether there was anything in them he did not know.”

Ronald Story in The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters (2001) tended to confirm this. He wrote, “He [Zamora] was quoted by Look (1966) magazine saying: ‘All I could see from that far away was what looked like two sets of white coveralls beside the object. I couldn’t see any features.”

Is there a way to resolve this?


What we need to do is look what was said in the hours and the days after the sighting. Fortunately there is a good record of this not only from the Air Force Project Blue Book files but also from some of those who investigated the case. Take, for example, what Coral Lorenzen wrote in the May 1964 APRO Bulletin. She, along with her husband, Jim, interviewed Zamora less than 48 hours after the sighting. While it generally agrees with what she wrote years later in her book, the Bulletin is much more descriptive. According to her, “… he [Zamora] said he hadn’t seen any ‘little men.’ Mrs. L [Lorenzen] pointed out he had told reporters for the first wire story that he had. He then admitted he had, and described them. He said they looked like ‘young boys’ or small adults…”

In fact, if we look at the Project Blue Book file, we learn that the descriptions really aren’t quite as vague as has been recently suggested. Even the Project Blue Book file suggests that Zamora saw something more than just white coveralls. In a letter dated May 13, 1964, signed by Colonel Eric T. Jonckheere and sent to the Headquarters, USAF (SAFOI), it was noted, “The only time that Mr. Zamora saw the two people in white coveralls…”

Also in the Blue Book file is a report apparently prepared by Major William Connor, who had come down from Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Quoting Zamora, he wrote, “The only time I saw these two persons was when I stopped…”

There is another document in the file, but there is no name associated with who took the report. It is apparently a transcription of an early interview with Zamora but there is no date on it. According to this report, Zamora said, “Saw two people in white coveralls close to the object.”

TSgt David Moody, the Blue Book investigator sent out from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in his report, wrote, “…and the two things (described as coveralls) were no longer visible.”

Where does all this confusion come from? It seems that those investigating in some sort of official capacity were telling Zamora not to reveal certain things. According to the May 1964 APRO Bulletin, “Terry Clarke called to tell them [the Lorenzens] that he had called and talked to Zamora and that Zamora said that the FBI man [Art Byrnes] had cautioned him not to talk about the ‘little men’ to newsmen.”

To make it worse, Dr. J. Allen Hynek made a trip to New Mexico in the days that followed. He produced a long, detailed report about his trip, including his interviews with Zamora and other police and military officers (not to mention other details such as a flat tire on the drive to Socorro, that he stayed in a hotel and that he paid for a couple of meals he had with some of the other officials). Although he mentions the symbol seen by Zamora, one of the things that Holder had told him to keep to himself, he apparently didn’t mention seeing any sort of living beings around the craft, no matter how vague that description might have been. In other words, Hynek said nothing about that.

And there is this from the Dayton Daily News. David Moody (the Air Force representative sent from Wright-Pat) reported, “There were no signs of life around it; but when he approached it, the object rose and flew away slowly until it faded from sight…”We can analyze all this and come to a conclusion based on the information. The timeline of Zamora’s statements is helpful. In the beginning, that is on Friday evening, he told the official investigators, both civilian and military, and apparently some reporters that he had seen something more than just bright, white coveralls. The Blue Book file reflects this in the notes that were taken that evening or the next day and in the reports that were filed. People, persons, boys or young adults is used to describe what Zamora saw. Other reports derived from there or what Zamora said, suggest that he had seen something more than white coveralls hovering over the landscape.

The evolution of Zamora’s descriptions can be seen in the newspaper articles that appeared just a few days after the sighting. The Albuquerque Journal on the Monday following the sighting makes this evolution clear when they reported, as noted above, “…a pair of white coveralls, but whether there was anything in them he did not know.” That sort of thing also appeared in the Look magazine report on the sighting.

The exception that sort of proves the rule is the article published in the Socorro newspaper on Tuesday, April 28. It said, “The two persons appeared to be dressed in white coveralls… He did not take notice of headgear worn by the two short men.” But the information was collected on Friday, April 24. The newspaper only published on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the first chance to print anything was on Tuesday, April 28.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that Zamora had gotten a much better look at the images near the craft and that he told those who interviewed him first more about them. After the FBI agent on the scene, Art Byrnes, suggested it might be better if he didn’t talk about the beings the story changed into the white coveralls (pun intended). Given that we have the reports from the Blue Book file on the case, given what Coral Lorenzen reported in the APRO Bulletin, and given the change in the story over the few days after the event, it can be said that Zamora did see something more than coveralls. The evidence proves he got a better look than some believe he did. There were creatures or entities or beings near the craft and not just the flying coveralls.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Socorro Symbols - Redux

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Ben Moss and Tony Angiola on the radio version of this blog. At the time they said a couple of things that I attempted to follow up on while we were on the air but didn’t get good answers. In the weeks that followed, I again tried to get more information and now have some of that. Ben Moss sent me a DVD copy of their presentation at the recent MUFON Symposium in Orlando, Florida, which provided some of the answers, and he has been sending me additional information through email. Here’s what I have learned.

First, they had mentioned a picture taken in Socorro though it wasn’t clear if there were pictures, plural, when they were taken, and who had taken them. The presentation answered all these questions. There is a single picture; it shows a number of objects, one of which has landing gear lowered and one that is six-tenths of a mile from the camera lens. The picture was taken by Ray Stanford some four months after the Zamora sighting. Although Stanford said they were “Zamora-like” objects, I haven’t seen the picture though both Ben Moss and Tony Angiola said they have. According to them, Stanford had been attempting to photograph the dynamite shed that Zamora had worried about and the objects were in the background. I don’t know why this information didn’t come out decades ago but I do know that Stanford said he would release the picture when he was ready. This, of course, worries me greatly given the history of claims of photographic evidence from important cases that we’ve dealt with in the recent past.

The Zamora symbol that has been featured as
the true symbol for decades.
Second is the claim that four newspapers of the time had printed either the upside down “V” with the bars through it or a variation of that or they had published a description of it. We’ve all seen the official version that has appeared in magazines and newspapers and we’ve all heard that Zamora was asked (ordered?) to change the design for security reasons. On KSRC radio Zamora told Walter Strode when asked about the symbol, “No, sir, I couldn’t tell you that, because they still don’t want me to say nothing about the markings.” You can listen to it here thanks to David Rudiak and Wendy Connors:

Zamora was also interviewed by Jim and Coral Lorenzen the day after the sighting. At the time they lived in Alamogordo which is not all that far from Socorro. When they asked about the design he had seen, he refused to tell them anything about it because he had been told not to by intelligence officers. While I’m not sure it was an intelligence officer who made the “request” it is clear someone in authority had. There were military officers in Socorro, representatives of the State Police and at least one FBI agent, who requested that it not be mentioned he was involved.  (The Lorenzen’s take on this can be seen in the APRO Bulletin for May 1964.)

There are descriptions of the symbol directly attributed to Zamora. In an AP story on April 29, 1964, and carried in many newspapers around the country it was reported, “Officer Zamora said the object he saw last Friday night 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.” (One of the sources for this is the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald for Wednesday, April 29, 1964, page 1.)  

A few days after the sighting, Dr. J. Allen Hynek was interviewed by the same reporter who had interviewed Zamora, on the same radio station, which is Shrode at KSRC. Hynek was asked what the marking was and Hynek replied, “He [Zamora] described it to me as an inverted ‘V’ with a sort of bar across it…” You can listen to this here:

This is actually at odds with the true symbol as has been suggested recently. Rather than three lines through it, Hynek said one line. Without a drawing, the many descriptions we now have can be interpreted in various ways. There are, however, drawings. There is the one that we all are familiar with which has the half circle over the inverted “V” with a single horizontal line under it. It is claimed that this is a faked symbol made up to keep the real one secret to weed out copycats. There is some support for this, with Zamora claiming that he was told not to talk about the symbol, and, according to the Lorenzen’s they couldn’t get him to tell then what the symbol looked like.

There is a hand-written letter by Hynek dated September 7, 1964, in the Project Blue Book files that seems to provide some corroboration. In fact, Ray Stanford made a big deal out of this when he found a copy on August 3, 2013. In an article published on Bill Chalker’s blog on June 4, 2014, Ray Stanford wrote, “James Fox asked to take that photo of me holding an important Hynek letter I had just discovered in the National Archives’s Socorro files.” These are, of course the Blue Book files which Stanford, for some reason, does not mention. You can read the whole article here:

But, the letter had always been in the Blue Book files and available to nearly everyone since the files were declassified and released to the public in the 1970s. Microfilms of them have been available since about that same time for purchase at the National Archives and Fold3 has put them up on the Internet.

Hynek's symbol that excited
Ray Stanford.
The symbol that excited Stanford isn’t quite the one that is being pushed as the real one. It has a horizontal bar over the top of the inverted “V” and two other bars inside the legs. I’m not sure that it does much to corroborate the inverted “V” with three bars drawn through it. You can argue that Hynek didn’t see the symbol himself and might have created this from the descriptions that have been offered rather than seeing a drawing made by Zamora, but it does complicate the issue and isn’t really corroboration for the symbol being pushed by Stanford.
There is another version of the symbol, also from the Blue Book files, but given that it is from the microfilm and that it was hand drawn in the text of a letter, it is difficult to see. It looks more like the symbol we’ve all seen, but it has variations as well, and in this case, does look like the corporate logo of Astropower, Inc. I’m not sure of the relevance. It’s just one more complication in all this and leads us off in another direction.

Another variation of the Zamora Symbol found in the Project Blue Book files.
The Astropower logo.
The final complication, at least for me, is why the “faked” symbol is in the Blue Book file with no notation about it being faked. There is no reason to include it because, the file, in 1964, was classified as secret so no one who didn’t have a clearance, a need to know, and who wasn’t part of the Blue Book team would have seen it. While it might make some sense to put out a false version to help identify any other sightings for comparison, the “true” symbol had already been described, more or less, in newspapers. There is nothing in the Blue Book files to indicate that they had created a fake, just the various symbols provided by various people at various times with little in the way of identification as to which is right and which are wrong.  

The only symbol that Zamora seemed to identify is the one that looks like an umbrella over an arrow. He signed the illustration and although it is his signature, the claim is that the other words on the paper were written by someone else. I don’t think that is a disqualification given the circumstances. It was merely the investigating officer identifying what the illustration showed.

Given the sighting is now a half century old and Zamora has died, many of those involved in the various investigations have died, I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to sort this out. A case can be made that the “real” symbol is the inverted “V” with the three bars through it, but the variations to that description and what is found in the Blue Book files does nothing to prove it. A good case can be made for the other symbols as well. It boils down to what you wish to believe about what Zamora saw on the side of the craft. After so many decades, this is going to end up as one more of those little mysteries that we just can’t solve today.

I need to thank Ben Moss for providing the links and other information I used here and to Bill Chalker for his analysis at his blog. David Rudiak indirectly supplied some of the links to the radio interviews that were supplied by Wendy Connors. This just shows that something as simple as attempting to verify the symbols requires a review of the work done by so many others.