Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Trinity: The Best Kept Secret - A Critique

The much-anticipated book by Dr Jacques Vallee and Paola Harris, Trinity: The Best Kept Secret, finally dropped and we now have a very good idea of what is in it. The publicity running up to the publication suggested that we’d learn about a UFO crash that preceded Roswell by two years and was based on the eyewitness testimony of two men and as a surprise or special element, we’d learn of a third witness to these incredible events.

Dr. Jacques Vallee

The story as told, and outlined on this blog just a few weeks ago, was that two boys, ages 7 and 9, not only found a crashed object that didn’t resemble any Earth-based aviation technology, but they had seen the crash. There was a hint that it might have been brought down by lightning in one of those strong thunderstorms that frequent New Mexico in the late summer or it hit a tower that caused it to crash. For those who want to see that earlier post, you can read it here:

The boys, identified as Reme Baca and Jose Padilla, had approached the area cautiously and saw, not only the ruined craft, but small creatures that seemed to teleport from one position to another. Those beings provided telepathic pictures to the boys, who lingered in the area for longer than they should.

Ms. Paola Harris

Back at the ranch house, in San Antonio, New Mexico, they told family about what they had seen. There was no immediate follow up, but a day or so later, the fathers and a New Mexico State Policeman, made their way to the scene of the crash. Although the boys were told to stay back, the adults approached the craft. One or two of them might have crawled up inside. Today that makes no real difference because none of those adults are alive for interviews or to confirm the story.

There was no sign of the small creatures when the adults made it to the crash site. Speculation is that they might have been captured by the Army, but I suppose, it is equally possible that they were rescued by their fellow aliens. At any rate, the beings disappear from the story and are never heard of again.

The military arrived at some point. Eventually, they asked permission to cut a fence and install a gate and to cut a road across the ranch to the area of the crash. The boys, hiding from the military, kept a watch on this. The boys talked of the soldiers’ attempts to clean up the debris. Although the soldiers collected all of the debris, it seems they kicked pieces of it aside and dumped it into crevasses. They covered this with a thin layer of dirt meaning that it might be found in the world today… maybe.

Although the Army was interested enough in the crash to recover the vehicle, they seemed to be less than enthusiastic in protecting the find. Once they had brought in the flatbed truck to move the wrecked vehicle from the scene, the soldiers departed, apparently going into town for a meal or two. In other words, they left the truck, the spacecraft, the debris and everything else unguarded.

The boys, having spied on the soldiers, understood their routine and once the site was abandoned, they wandered down to the blue-tarp-covered object sitting on that unguarded flatbed. Now, Jose, apparently the more adventurous of the two, peeled back part of that blue tarp and crawled up into the UFO. He stole a bit of a panel from inside and explored part of the craft. These descriptions were overly detailed, and not really what would you expect from someone who was 9 at the time, telling the tale decades later. Very detailed but probably not precise.

The boys carried away a great deal of the debris. If I understood the story, some of that debris, thin strips of metal that is reminiscent of the memory metal described by Bill Brazel of Roswell fame, was divided up and handed out as decorations for Christmas trees… a fairly cavalier way to treat samples of metal created on another planet. At this point, meaning here in 2021, all that material has disappeared so that there is nothing left that can be tested and analyzed.

Eventually, the Army drove the tarp-covered UFO from the area, and life returned to normal, or as normal as it could be after seeing an alien spacecraft. Neither Reme nor Jose talked much about it in the decades that followed.

Or rather they did mention it once in a great while. Don Schmitt told me, during his recent appearance on the A Different Perspective Radio Show/Podcast, that he’d met with Reme in the late 1990s after some presentation that Don had given. Don lost interest when Reme mentioned the Plains of San Agustin as the location of the crash, suggesting some sort of confirmation of the Barney Barnett tale.

That isn’t the only worrisome part of the story the boys told and that is the cavalier way the Army operated. I simply do not believe that the Army would go to the trouble of cleaning the area, but bury some of the debris on site rather than picking it up to be taken away. I don’t believe they would have left the scene unguarded at all, but especially after they had loaded the craft onto the flatbed truck… and knowing that Army trucks, as most Army vehicles, do not use keys to start them. I can believe that the boys were clever enough to avoid detection by the soldiers as they spied on the operation from a distance, but I do not believe they were allowed to get inside the craft after it had been loaded on the truck. By allowed, I mean that the truck was left in the field without any guard on it. The soldiers might not have known the craft came from another world, but they would have known that it represented a technology unknown to American science at the time. That alone would have demanded an around the clock guard detail.

Two points need to be made here. Don was not the only UFO researcher to be approached with the story of the crash. In the book, Vallee and Harris note that Baca had also sought out Stan Friedman who seemed to be equally uninterested… and second, Don might have misunderstood about the location on the Plains. Seems that those living in San Antonio referred to the area around the town as the Plains as well. At any rate, neither Stan nor Don followed up on this bizarre tale.

But the Vallee/Harris book is about more than just the San Antonio crash. There is a section that deals with some of the other events concerning UFOs and crashes. The first is the Aurora, Texas, crash of April 1897. This is quite disturbing because of the history involved. I have written about this case a number of times. I was among the very first to visit Aurora in the early 1971. The consensus of those living there, at that time, was the story was a hoax. Those at the Wise County Historical Society (Aurora is in Wise County) told me that two histories of the county had been written in the decade that followed this alleged crash but neither history mentioned it. Since there was no Air Force or CIA to suppress the information, you have to wonder why, if it was a real event, that any mention of it was omitted in both those histories. That doesn’t bode well for the Aurora tale. You can read more about my investigation here:

There is one additional comment to make. According to the Vallee/Harris book, a piece of metal picked during one of the modern treks to the crash site up in Aurora was scientifically tested. The tests showed that it was made of an alloy that did not exist in 1897 and wouldn’t be created until 1908. Seems like a bit of extraordinary evidence, except the fragment was recovered much later than 1908. Nothing ties it to the 1897 event, other than it was found somewhere around Aurora. Obviously, it was dropped sometime after 1908.

It is also disturbing that Vallee and Harris take the Maury Island hoax as something authentic. That story, actually investigated in depth by the Air Force, as well as many others, is also a hoax. Although Vallee/Harris acknowledge the hoax explanation, they also wonder how “…any such statement can be drawn by the reported facts.”

This statement is in error. I have looked at the Maury Island case extensively, and you can read about that in Alien Mysteries, Conspiracies and Cover-ups. The story has been well researched by a number of investigators. George Earley was one of those and reported his findings in UFO, issues 155, 156 and 157. According to Earley, Harold Dahl’s son, Charles, who was supposed injured during the sighting was interview years later and said that it never happened. A search for medical records to verify the injury failed to find any mention of it.

In other words, the reported facts in the Maury Island case, all of them, support Ed Ruppelt’s statement in his book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. Ruppelt described the Maury Island event as the direst hoax in UFO history. No evidence has been presented to reverse Ruppelt’s observation.

More problems develop in the discussion of the Socorro UFO landing. I was intrigued to learn that Lonnie Zamora was related, by marriage into the Padillo family. His cousin married Zamora, which connects them to another big UFO event in New Mexico. This is not to mention that Socorro is about fifteen or twenty miles from San Antonio.

For years researchers have suggested the Zamora case was single witness to the UFO landing. Vallee and Harris wrote that there were eleven witness who saw the object and two who were “auditory” witnesses, meaning they’d heard the roar but saw no object. The problem is that none of these witnesses are identified with the exception of Paul Kies and Larry Kratzer. The two men had told a reporter in Dubuque, Iowa, that they had been driving through Socorro about the time that Zamora was engaged with the UFO. They saw the thing take off in a cloud of dust and smoke.

The trouble here is that their stories just do not fit into the Socorro scenario. Kies said that there had been a large burned area in the desert and that the exhaust had melted a pop bottle. He couldn’t have seen these things given they were just driving through Socorro and hadn’t stopped to inspect the site. More importantly, the melted pop bottle description was from a sighting near La Madera, New Mexico, a day or so later, which also received some national attention.

Ralph DeGraw, an Iowa UFO researcher, interviewed both witnesses some years later. While what they said then generally agreed with the account in the newspaper, DeGraw found some important discrepancies, including Kratzer’s description of the craft. He said that it was silver with a row of dark round, mirror-like windows. This was a major departure from Zamora’s description that had no windows and suggests invention by the witness.

One of the other points of disagreement about the case is the description of the symbol seen by Zamora. Ray Stanford identified the “real” symbol reported by Zamora. The trouble here is that the symbol, three horizonal lines through an inverted “V” is not the symbol that Zamora drew for the military, nor is it the one that he drew on the scrap of paper moments after the UFO departed. While Vallee and Harris endorse the inverted “V”, Zamora, on the scrap of paper, drew an “umbrella” like symbol with an inverted “V” under it and a line, like the shaft of an arrow, up into the “V”. That scrap of paper was turned over to the Air Force and can be seen in the Project Blue Book file.

Zamora's drawing on the scrap of paper minutes after the UFO disappeared.

Ironically, that symbol was originally endorsed by Stanford in a letter dated May of 1964. He wrote that the inverted “V” was the fake symbol. In the years from writing that letter to writing his book, he changed his mind. But Zamora, on the night of the sighting, drew a number of illustrations for both the FBI and the Army and he signed them. The “umbrella” symbol was the one he signed.

Lonnie Zamora's drawing of the craft and the symbol made on April 24, 1964

In the end here, Stanford said there were eleven witnesses other than Zamora, but offers no names. Vallee and Harris repeat this without names, other than Kies and Kratzer, whose tale has been discredited. Vallee wrote that a single witness is no witness. I would suggest that an anonymous witness, or even nearly a dozen anonymous witnesses are of absolutely no value and worth less than that single witness. In 1964, no one bothered to get the names or tried to locate any of these witnesses. Now we are again treated to the information about a UFO sighting but that information has no real value.

The final chapters of the book are devoted to this new witness to the San Antonio crash promoted by Vallee and Harris. At the end of the book, they identify her as a relative of Padillo. The problem? She was born in 1953 or eight years after the sighting. She talks about handling some of the debris, but the piece, or pieces, she had been given, are long gone. She talked about family stories, but she witnessed nothing first hand other than a large burned area that might have had nothing to do with the original crash. She is emersed in the family history, she is aware of UFO history, but can’t contribute much of value to the story.

Here’s one of the things to take away from this latest book. Both Baca and Padillo talk about many aspects of the UFO field. They talk about knowing people at the Foster ranch near Corona where Mack Brazel discovered a field of metallic debris. We have the family relation to Zamora which suggests more infusion of UFO material into the family lore. Then, we have many aspects of the Roswell case inserted into this new tale. The UFO crashed during a storm, as was suggested at Roswell. Lightning brought it down, as happened at Roswell, but I wonder that if a race can create interstellar craft, they would be able to avoid destruction by lightning. There was memory metal and even a discussion of fiber optics, just like Roswell.

The big thing that caught my attention was a description that suggested the aliens looked something like the Jerusalem Cricket… the very description supplied by Frankie Rowe when talking about the aliens at Roswell. There are just too many of the descriptions that are drawn from the Roswell case. To me, this suggests contamination rather than corroboration. It suggests that both men were well aware of the UFO field long before they began to talk of their childhood experiences. They had a better than average knowledge of what had been reported about UFOs and UFO crash/retrievals before they began talking about the UFO crash near San Antonio.

To make this worse, if possible, it is claimed that this tale of a crashed spacecraft is the first in our modern era. This, however, isn’t true. In the Spring of 1941, there are reports of something crashing near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The tale is told by one woman who, while she didn’t witness the craft and bodies herself, is aware of what her grandfather had seen and had done. She is well-versed in the family history. Len Stringfield laid out the details in one of his updates to crash/retrievals, this one published in 1991. There is another witness who knows the story including the brother of the local sheriff and even the report of a picture of one of the alien beings. Of course, that picture has been lost, but the evidence for the Cape Girardeau crash as just as solid as that for the Trinity crash. For some reason it is not mentioned in the Vallee and Harris book. I mention this only because it suggests a long history of UFO crash tales that are based on limited eyewitness testimony and family members who died long before they could be interviewed. And they are told in the same era, that is, the 1940s.

All this and I haven’t even touched on the structure of the book. It is filled with oat meal. This is a writing term that refers to filling to make a story longer. Sure, I enjoyed reading about some of the history of the creation of the atomic bomb, but it has no relevance to this story. The fact that the first nuclear explosion took place at Trinity, not all that far from San Antonio means nothing… unless you believe that the aliens had been watching for that flash everyone talked about. Of course, you have to wonder where they were to have seen that and gotten here so quickly. It matters not what their technology can do, the speed of light is the limiting factor. Even if these aliens can exceed the speed of light, or bend the universe to allow interstellar flight, the flash of the bomb would only travel at the speed of light. If the aliens could detect such a flash against the backdrop of the sun and if it happened on the side of the planet facing them, the fastest they could have detected the explosion is about four years afterward, if they inhabited a planet in the Alpha Centuri star system. If they live in another star system, then their response would take even longer.

Ignoring that, we still have a book filled with a family history that does nothing to validate the story. It is a travelogue. It is a walk though some of UFOs greatest hits, many of which have little in the way of evidence to back them up. And even if these ancillary tales were all true, that does nothing to validate this particular story.

It is filled with a wonder of the events but little in the way of analysis. It tells the story of two boys who seemed to have been wise beyond their years, able to avoid the Army which failed at even the barest level of security. We are told of soldiers who were lazy, not picking up all the debris, but hiding from their superiors. That debris would still be there for UFO hunters to find except is now beyond recovery. Flood control projects that altered the terrain significantly and buried the debris under twenty or thirty feet of mud and dirt. No way to find it now.

This is certainly much longer than I anticipated, but we need to understand what we have here. It isn’t a scientific search for evidence but more of science fiction story told for entertainment. There is no physical evidence presented but talk of such evidence just out of our reach. There is no real attempt to validate the story or provide citation for the claims. It is a story that has borrowed elements from other tales in the hope it will be seen as corroboration rather than plagiarism. Oh, I don’t mean that either Vallee or Harris stole the story from others, only that the witnesses have been contaminated by decades of UFO tales written about, broadcast and even incorporated into movies. It is too bad that no one wrote anything down in a letter or a journal in 1945 or 46 but that’s just too much to hope for. Somehow the alleged evidence is never found and, in the end, we are left with a tale told by two old men, and one old woman, who said they experienced it as youngsters. 


Moonman said...

Outstanding review. Maybe you can get your money back. Doesn't Amazon have a good return policy?

What to make of Vallee? I had always thought of him in the past as pretty level headed. But hearing about this book plus his testing of UFO debris with Linda Moulton Howe makes me wonder what has gone wrong with him. I heard about his appearance in "Contact in the Desert" and he sounded out of place. Kind of sad.

Capt Steve said...

I'm just going to come out and say it: I'm somewhat appalled that Vallee has his name on this. It seems very below his usual standard of work.

L. Barker said...

Kevin, you said "Don might have misunderstood about the location on the Plains. Seems that those living in San Antonio referred to the area around the town as the Plains as well. At any rate, neither Stan nor Don followed up on this bizarre tale."

Nor have you. This is important information. Thanks. I have been explaining that the "Plains" could be any where south of Hwy 60 and the Box Canyon road, which tends toward the south west. So any location in that area might be referred to as being on the "plains".

The cameraman never used the term "plains" but was much more specific: dry lake, north east bank. When you compare the cameraman's statements and his drawings to what is actually at the site you can begin to see that his information is not a matter of chance or fraud. There is burned vegetation, and charred rock faces, and strange blue material, and walnut trees burned from the top down. And anyone can visit and many already have and confirmed that what I'm writing is real, as "real as real".


Unknown said...

Thanks for this detailed review. Seems to me that Vallee has abandoned his former critical thinking-approach to the field. He's definitely one of the "Greats" in ufology, but this new book seems quite sub-standard, when contrasted to the usually spot-on kind of research that he used to do

RRRGroup said...


You've provided a splendid overview (or should I write underview) of this pathetic tale and the book about it.

It's a sad epilogue to Jacques Vallee, now in his early 80s, leaving this clump of crap as his legacy.

It saddens me and others who admired the great man for his previous objective and interesting takes on a phenomenon that once more, here, gets a shabby treatment.


Louis Nicholson said...

Have you reached out to Vallee and Harris about coming on your radio show? That would be a great debate.

John Steiger said...

Kevin: Excellent summation! ... thank you.

Query re: alien observation of the first nuclear explosion at Trinity site -- Does the speed of light even factor in if either the aliens (or their spies) are interdimensional beings?

Just to add a little fruit to the oatmeal ...

KRandle said...

Louis -

This was posted about two hours before my interview with Vallee/Harris... as I'm sure you know, it is now posted on the embedded audio player.

KRandle said...

No, John, the speed of light would not factor in interdimensional beings... I really have no idea how it would factor in.

SugarRayTaylor said...

Excellent review and I enjoyed the show to go along with it.

I cannot add anything more to what is already a stellar review of the book. The only thing I would like to add is the original thought I had when I heard Jacques Vallee was collaborating with Harris to begin with.

In my opinion, it's really quite sad. After a lifetime of being one of the most credible, forward thinking researchers in the last 50 years of this subject, he chooses to work with someone who believes that the Alien Autopsy is a legitimate piece of evidence. Just recently Harris was still supporting this long, long ago debunked hoax.

For JV to wind his career down by joining forces with someone on that wavelength to write a book about such a questionable story is sad indeed.

I'm sure Harris is a very nice lady, and well meaning but come on.

KRandle said...

Ed -

At least we can identify a hoax when we are told something is a hoax, when we see pictures of the aliens being made before filming and we don't stick with a tale for decades once we have learned the truth. Your devotion to that discredited story just makes me sad.

James Clarkson said...

Kevin Randle, You did a thorough and sorely needed deconstruction of the newest rage in Entertainment UFOlogy. The Paola Harris "Windmill Pump Part" Case was already so much worse than you could know. I tried very hard for many years to remain an idealistic member of MUFON, serving as the WA State Director and in 2015-16 I was member of the MUFON Special Assignments Team (SAT). The MUFON SAT was receiving special reports from Jan Harzan.
In this case we were told that Paola Harris wanted MUFON to look at part of (and only part of) what she was claiming about the 1945 alleged UFO Crash, but we were told NOT to investigate the part of the case that involved the metal part that was alleged to have been recovered from a crashed UFO in 1945.
The SAT was supposed to verify what Harris was claiming - that government agents had deliberately planted noxious weeds in the area to thwart future intruders into the crash site. The alleged deliberately planted weeds were examined microscopically by a botanist and they turned out to be extremely common Jimson Weed.
I have never been an investigator who would ignore "part of an investigation at the request of the reporting party." I studied the alleged alien metal and quickly concluded it was a replacement part for a windmill.
Then Harris claimed that there were "alien micro-circuits" on the surface of the windmill part. Frank Kimbler did a terrific job revealing how incredible that claim was.
I was so concerned about how MUFON would look if we endorsed what Harris was claiming I wrote Jan Harzan a letter directly summarizing all of my concerns about what a feeble case this really was. Jan Harzan never responded to my letter, but this was the last time he ever assigned a case to the SAT. Harzan only wanted to hear about cases that could be used to sell symposium tickets or that might get MUFON more memberships.

L. Barker said...

You've been too influenced by Philip Mantle
and Spyros. Why Philip supported Spyros is a mystery. Ray has never said that the AA was a hoax or that Spyros was involved.
Find Ray's admission and prove me wrong. You've never given the AA the serious investigation it deserves. That creature being dissected is our cousin. We share this planet with them.
The sooner we understand this simple fact, the better off we'll be.

Joeschmoe said...

The release of the book was delayed for over 1 month to further collaborate with Harris.What on earth was JV's mindset to go with this?.The giveaway was the tale of foot soldiers who after collecting the debris ( physical evidence) left the scene for a meal at another location..I mean come'on.Anyone with conscious awareness would be awestruck since the (hypothetic) vehicle would not resemble technology manufactured on earth...IOW "Were done here , guys..Let's go have lunch."

Moonman said...

To: James Clarkson
Very good work. MUFON shows what becomes of organizations more interested in sensationalism and money than facts. They take advantage of the generosity of the workers for their greed. No one should be a part of MUFON.

Joe Enright said...

Accurate review. I might add the editing of "Trinity" is very sloppy. Appears to have escaped even cursory proofreading. Fully a third of the book consists of loooong interviews strewn
that should have been pared in half or summarized. The fact that a book is self-published is no excuse for not spending a few bucks to get it professionally edited. I agree with the comments that this was a sad misadventure by Dr. Vallee, most of whose prior works were a joy to read.

Maui Wowie said...

The details about the alien beings seeming to teleport and telepathically sending images seems to have been "borrowed" from the children's testimony at Ariel School in Zimbabwe, from John Mack's famous interviews in 1994 (which I assume you are familiar with, Kevin). Children reported that the beings would disappear and reappear at a different spot, almost as if they were phasing in and out of material existence, while some children described the phenomenon as if the beings were practically weightless and were "bouncing." And of course a number of the children famously described being shown images in their minds eye as they looked at the main black-eyed "leader," images of environmental catastrophe and misuse of technology.

Unknown said...

---SciOps, is Never Off Duty---
Col.Randle, can't ever be USAF active & reserve, Intelligence
Officer, gain promotions, author in this Genre, be profitable.
Without being a voluntary part of UFO counter intelligence.
--Agenda and motives, are transparent, not a fair researcher--

Kevin D Randle, intense researcher, to stimulate the UFO Saga,
but chooses the opposition, to diffuse the cases of sightings.

It appears Fictional History, was his Genre, never Paranormal.

After Vietnam War, Switched from Army [helicopter pilot] over
to Air Force [intelligence officer], in the secrecy machine.

23 books on UFO, Fictional History.
[Last book, 2016 - Roswell in the 21st Century]
26 books on Science Fiction
6 books on Fiction
[two pseudonyms]
Eric Helm Steve MacKenzie
30 on Fiction 9 on Fiction

Interview aft 2006, "... a UFO landed in Roswell, NM."
2016 follow up, retired from writing, says UFO's may exist.
"... the case for ET involvement is no longer robust."

No one writes [40 yrs] supporting UFO Genre, then refutes it,
unless they always were a tool, profiting by diffusion...

A successful author, with robust career of perpetuating the
UFO disinformation, deflection, misdirection & ridicule.

KRandle said...

Your theory is nonsense and proves you know nothing about military customs and protocols. I've used more than two pseudonyms... at the request of publishers. And I haven't refuted the UFO Genre (whatever that is supposed to mean) but have been an advocate of the ET theory... Don't know what you're problem is, but you clearly do not understand the military or military intelligence.

And where in the hell did you get the idea I had retired from writing... I have contracts right now for an additional three books.

And what I said was that based on the witnesses in the Roswell case who have been less than candid (Glenn Dennis, Frank Kaufmann, Jim Ragsdale to name three), the case for the extraterrestrial in Roswell is not as robust as it had been, not that it was disproved.

Steve A. Ray said...

Like, J, I was in large computer systems and wrote AI too. Now I research
UFO' for my next book. Here's my take, after reading of the Frenchman for a long while,
including Passport to Magonia and Trinity.

Vallee is a long-term Government shill producing amusing convolutions via the Drip Method.

Consider the background in the shadow work. One NEVER leaves the shadows, once they recruit.

I am saying that the so-called #1 UFO researcher in the world,
is actually the number one shill in the UFO world...for you know who.

He controls the disinformation and the Drip, and contribute nothing more than confusion.