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Famous Socorro landing case a hoax?

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posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 05:23 AM
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Many of you will be familiar with the report made by Deputy Lonnie Zamora of a landed UFO with nearby crew sighting near Socorro, New Mexico on 24 April 1964. This incident was Project Blue Book Case Number 8766.

For those not familiar with the case, you may be interested in the video below:



This incident came first in a survey in 1965 by Jacques Vallee of the opinion of various UFO groups as to the most significant UFO sightings. As part of the same survey, NICAP included this case in a list of 5 cases which it nominated as being the best.

J Allen Hynek has said in relation this incident that it was “one of the soundest, best substantiated reports as far as it goes”.

This incident featured in a document (“the Rockefeller Briefing Document”) endorsed by Dr Mark Rodeghier (President of CUFOS), Richard Hall (Chairman of FUFOR) and Walter Andrus (President of MUFON) as containing “the best available evidence for the existence of UFOs”.

This incident has featured in the following:

  • a list of twenty UFO cases produced by Bruce Maccabee in 1999 in response to a challenge to produce “the best evidence for an extraterrestrial origin for the UFO phenomenon”.
  • a list by Don Berliner of “the top 10 cases of World Ufology” in an interview
    made available on the UFO UpDates discussion List on 14 January 2007.
  • a list of Dennis Balthaser’s “ten favourite cases” in an article in the MUFON Journal in 2003.


For links to various relevant documents and articles online see a relevant page on the excellent NICAP website.

A couple of days ago, ufologist Anthony Bragalia posted an article which claims that "the truth is now revealed", alleging that the sighting "was a hoax".

Unfortunately, the article is extremely sparse on details of how the alleged hoax was performed, and by whom. In the absence of any further details from Anthony Bragalia's source, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to determine whether the allegation of a hoax is true.

Anyway, I thought some of you (like me) would be interested in his article : THE SOCORRO UFO HOAX EXPOSED! (Famous 1964 sighting was a college prank) by Anthony Bragalia



After 45 years the truth is now revealed- one of the most famous UFO sightings in history was a hoax. The recent confession of an elderly College President -and a newly discovered document- indicate that the 1964 sighting of a landed UFO by Socorro, NM policeman Lonnie Zamora was the result of an elaborate school prank. This incredible story is publicly recounted for the first time ever by individuals who have held the secret of Socorro for decades.
...

Colgate took several days to reply to me. In his email, Colgate answered very cryptically and sparingly:

- To the question, "Do you still know this to be a hoax? His reply was simple: "Yes."
- When asked, "Today, decades later, can you expand on what you wrote to Pauling about the event?" He wrote: "I will ask a friend, but he and other students did not want their cover blown."
- He offered that the hoax, "was a no-brainer."
- When asked "Specifically how did they do it?" He just answered, "Will ask."
- When queried, "Have you ever publicly commented on this?" he replied "Of course not."


All the best,

Isaac

[edit on 25-9-2009 by IsaacKoi]




posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 06:23 AM
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The hoax claims seem a little vague...

I'd like more details on how they claimed it happened.

Is Zamora still alive? What does he think of the hoax claims?



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 07:30 AM
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Originally posted by tezzajw
The hoax claims seem a little vague...

I'd like more details on how they claimed it happened.


Me too...

Without details or supporting evidence, the allegation of a hoax is about as worthless as most reports of UFO sightings!



Is Zamora still alive? What does he think of the hoax claims?


Last I heard (a few years ago), he was still alive but did not want to be bothered by ufologists any more.

All the best,

Isaac

[edit on 25-9-2009 by IsaacKoi]



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 07:58 AM
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I think the claim that it was a hoax is BS.

Why? Because it claims they targetted him specifically

In order for it to be legit, they would have had to have known exactly where he was going to be, and when, and assume the exact course of action he would undertake.

Any cop could have been chasing the speeder and got diverted. He could have been sick, assigned elsewhere or had any number of other reasons not to be there at a given time.

They could and would have had to have been waiting for hours and/or days to get lucky enough to pull it off.

Its not feasible.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 08:20 AM
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Wasn't this tied to another guys story about his buddy, or coworker, had actually built a working craft? Mentioning something about landing in the dessert, getting out and putting dirt and rocks in his pocket, then taking off and returning to the place they left in just a few minutes? They mentioned white overalls in the video. One detail I remember in this other guys story is that he said they were wearing white coveralls. Sorry for the vagueness but is anyone familiar with the story I'm talking about? Or if this could be the same event?

[edit on 9/25/2009 by ALOTOFBS]



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 08:34 AM
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reply to post by IsaacKoi
 


if that thing was a balloon
where did the students disguised as aliens go after it took off? this happened in a flat desolate stretch of desert y'know


this makes me think disclosure isn't gonna come about because of humans...



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:14 AM
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Originally posted by neformore
I think the claim that it was a hoax is BS.

Why? Because it claims they targetted him specifically

In order for it to be legit, they would have had to have known exactly where he was going to be, and when, and assume the exact course of action he would undertake.

Any cop could have been chasing the speeder and got diverted. He could have been sick, assigned elsewhere or had any number of other reasons not to be there at a given time.

They could and would have had to have been waiting for hours and/or days to get lucky enough to pull it off.

Its not feasible.


It's got the ring of truth to it. The hoax explanation in the note to Pauling didn't sound reasonable at first, but Anthony has provided enough details that this is the best explanation by far.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by fls13
It's got the ring of truth to it. The hoax explanation in the note to Pauling didn't sound reasonable at first, but Anthony has provided enough details that this is the best explanation by far.


Oh really?

So you'd be prepared to sit in a desert for days/hours on end on the chance that someone you wanted to get a little payback prank-style revenge on might come by?

There is an element of the case that is missing from this story as well - do you know what it is?- the guy making the claim doesn't seem to.

[edit on 25/9/09 by neformore]



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by neformore
Oh really?

So you'd be prepared to sit in a desert for days/hours on end on the chance that someone you wanted to get a little payback prank-style revenge on might come by?

There is an element of the case that is missing from this story as well - do you know what it is?- the guy making the claim doesn't seem to.

[edit on 25/9/09 by neformore]


Why do you think they'd have to wait days/hours to spring their trap? Small town, very few roads, not many cops. Shouldn't be that tough.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 09:46 AM
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Good find, starred and flagged!


Originally posted by IsaacKoi

Originally posted by tezzajw
The hoax claims seem a little vague...

I'd like more details on how they claimed it happened.


Me too...

Without details or supporting evidence, the allegation of a hoax is about as worthless as most reports of UFO sightings!


Well there is evidence but it's shaky:



We know Pauling had a UFO interest so I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of this letter.

However, a "good indication" of a hoax, by a 2nd or 3rd hand party, falls way short of proof of a hoax. However the college president seems less uncertain in the interview from the piece linked in the OP:


- To the question, "Do you still know this to be a hoax? His reply was simple: "Yes."




Originally posted by neformore
They could and would have had to have been waiting for hours and/or days to get lucky enough to pull it off.

Its not feasible.


I agree you raise a valid point. Lonnie Zamora may or may not have had any kind of predictability in his schedule or routines that could be exploited to use a speeder to divert him to the scene.

But are those last two sentences really compatible?

It is not feasible for some students to wait a few hours? It's a valid problem yes but to say it's not feasible I think goes a bit too far. I knew some students in college who would gladly wait a few hours to pull a prank like this.

If you can get past some college students waiting a few hours, it certainly does seem feasible.


When asked if the Professor could have been making up the hoax story, Collis replied that in the context of his conversation with him- there was no reason for him to lie. The Professor had told him the truth about the hoax, of that he was sure. Collis, when told about Stirling Colgate's confirmation that it was a hoax said, "Colgate is a brilliant man and he was a great College President. From what I was told by my Professor, it was a hoax. And if Colgate also says it was a hoax, it was." Collis (who is a pyrotechnics expert and often directed NM Tech's July 4 Fireworks) said that it always has surprised him that people didn't seem to realize just how "terrestrial" the reported Zamora UFO seemed to be in the first place.

Dr. Etscorn reminded me of an important fact: Nothing that was reported was beyond the abilities of "smart Techies" to create.


With that said, claims it was a hoax have no more been proven than claims it was an ET craft. Both claims are still completely unproven.
It would take the ex-student responsible coming forward to give details to prove it's a hoax.

However I would say the hoax letter does leave a shadow over this case. The letter is real whether the hoax claim is real or not.



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 10:19 AM
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This wasn't a hoax the question is if it was ours or not



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 10:50 AM
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Originally posted by neformore

Originally posted by fls13
It's got the ring of truth to it. The hoax explanation in the note to Pauling didn't sound reasonable at first, but Anthony has provided enough details that this is the best explanation by far.


Oh really?

So you'd be prepared to sit in a desert for days/hours on end on the chance that someone you wanted to get a little payback prank-style revenge on might come by?

There is an element of the case that is missing from this story as well - do you know what it is?- the guy making the claim doesn't seem to.


I just watched the video in the OP, it says the speeding car went right by the courthouse, and that's where the chase started. If that's true then they might not have had to wait long at all for Zamora's patrol car to have been in the courthouse area. They also showed a map of the chase, and Soccorro is a small place judging by the map they showed.

OK I'll bite. What's the missing element?



posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 10:57 AM
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Excerpt of Zamora's sighting:

narrower at top than at bottom...Sun was to west and did not help vision. Had green sunglasses over prescription glasses. Could not see bottom of flame because it was behind the hill....noise was a roar, not a blast..." The policeman drove around the area trying to see the flame again, and said he suddenly came across "a shiny type object ... oval in shape. It was smooth - no windows or doors. ... seemed like O in shape and I at first glance took it to be overturned car." He also described "two people in white coveralls...two persons..." Zamora said he saw the two people at a distance of 150 to 200 yards, and that "they appeared normal in shape... but possibly they were small adults or large kids."

He also noted "what appeared to be two legs of some type from the object to the ground...the two legs were at the bottom of the object, slanted outwards to the ground." Zamora then got closer to the object, got out of his car, heard a loud roar, saw a flame, ran, bumped his leg, lost his glasses, and kept on going. He saw the object fly up, and move 10 to 15 feet above the ground, and then leave the area "travelling very fast." He radioed his dispatcher to look out his window for "an object .... it looks like a balloon." Nearby, the bushes were still smoldering.

News reports in the local paper, El Defensor Chieftain, also mentioned "an unidentified tourist" who remarked about how "aircraft flew low around here," and that the strange object was a "funny-looking helicopter, if that's what it was."Zamora's earnest nature and credibility, along with the physical traces, brought the Socorro "landing" to national attention. J. Allen Hynek came to town, and was very interested in the pod-like tracks and burn marks at the scene. Ray Stanford wrote a whole book about the incident, Socorro Saucer in a Pentagon Pantry. Phil Klass came to investigate. The Socorro event has appeared in numerous books and articles, and was even featured on Unsolved Mysteries.

nmsr.org

Summary of Physical Evidence

  • Scorch marks on ground in reported landing site.
  • Abnormal readings in surrounding plant life.
  • Indentations on ground in reported landing site.
  • Burnt brush around reported landing site.

    Here you can see two of the original photos of the site, beware they are not great quality...



    This shows the circular burn pattern...



    Image courtesy of Bluebookarchive.org:NARA-PBB94-582 and Bluebookarchive.org:NARA-PBB94-581



    So what really happened there? Is a distinguished police officer lying, or perhaps he was mistaken on what he saw?

    Propaganda hoax by the cities mayor or hoax by college physics students.

    Either one of these are highly unlikely as there is no supporting evidence for either of these scenarios. But now with the further college prank talk this should still be looked at.

    The following is a direct quote from the investigators of Project Bluebook:


    "There is no doubt that Lonnie Zamora saw an object which left quite an impression on him. There is also no question about Zamora's reliability. He is a serious officer, a pillar of his church, and a man well versed in recognizing airborne vehicles in his area. He is puzzled by what he saw, and frankly, so are we. This is the best documented case on record."

    rense.com

    Here is some information on the surrounding plant life and the fused sand…


    When interviewed by McDonald, Mayes reported that she and two others had worked on studying physical evidence from the Socorro site, but she could not remember the names of the others. According to Mayes, she had examined the site the day after the event, and had gathered plant samples for analysis. Mayes later determined that the plants which had allegedly been burnt by the UFO's flames were, unusually, "completely dried out". (Druffel, 219) Mayes also found no evidence of radiation, but found "two organic substances" she was unable to identify. (Druffel, 219)
    Mayes also reported to McDonald an area of apparently "fused sand", where the sand had taken on a glassy appearance, near where the object had allegedly landed and then departed. The area of glassy sand was roughly triangular, measuring about 25 to 30 inches (760 mm) at its widest, though it gradually tapered down to about 1 inch wide; it seemed about a quarter of an inch thick. Mayes thought the glassy areas looked as if a "hot jet hit it." (Druffel, 219)

    wikipedia.org
    Picture of the researchers investigating the area, you can see some of the charred brush in the photograph.

    Image courtesy of science.howstuffworks.com

    We have a police officers testimony of seeing a UFO land and two of its occupants coming out. Then we have physical evidence left at the site in the form of burn marks and radiation type readings in the area. All the alternative theories for this case are lax at best in my opinion. Here is some information from the article claiming it was a hoax:

    We discussed how the pranksters may have incorporated 1) a large helium balloon resting on the desert floor to appear "landed" and then released up into the air on cue. Perhaps it was a reflective white colored balloon or a balloon fitted over with glossy-white craft paper- with added "landing struts" and a red insignia drawn on its side 2) "roaring" or "whining" explosives, pyrotechnics, model rockets, thrown flares or a flame device 3) smaller students dressed in white lab coats acting as the "aliens" and 4) the digging out of "landing depressions" and burning of nearby bushes. Soil or rock in the area may have been "salted" with silicon or trinitite from the school's Geology Lab. And perhaps it was intentional that Zamora was led to the landed craft by a speeding car. One of the students may have purposely engaged Lonnie in a car chase to lure him to where the hoax was staged. Zamora reports that he "broke the chase" to investigate the UFO- just as the students knew that he would.


    After reading the above passage and the following one, I can see how it may be possible that these students would actually take the time to pull something like this off:

    Collis also explained that Lonnie Zamora had a reputation for "hounding" the Techie students during that time. The students and the Socorro police did not have a particularly good relationship back then. He said that there was "a lot of friction" at the time between what were felt to be "elitist and educated Techies" versus the "under-educated and simpler town folk." Zamora was always harassing the students for seemingly no reason, and at every opportunity. Many of the college kids just did not like him. What better way to "get back" at Zamora than for them to fool a fool?

    Little known is that Zamora himself had worked at New Mexico Tech as a mechanic for seven years before becoming a patrolman. He had developed an insiders view of these college kids' world- a world that was very different than his own. When he left to join the town police, he was then in a position to exert his "influence" on these same kids. Collis further explains that Zamora was known as being "not especially educated." Supporting this are the observations of USAF investigator Dr. J. Allen Hynek. He wrote in his report of his interview of Zamora, "I would conclude that Zamora, although not overly bright or articulate, is basically sincere."


    So it could be possible that this was a hoax that got out of hand and the students who pulled it off, or anyone involved do not want to come forward as they realize that their prank was taken seriously by serious officials and had major implications on Zamora's life. BUT, with that said there are still some major issues I have with this hoax story:

    [color=silver]
  • All hearsay, passed down by 2nd and 3rd hand word of mouth.
  • The professor himself may be in the skeptical camp, and thus do anything to stop the talk of UFOs by either lying or forcing theories.
  • There were multiple other incidents with similar shaped craft, as well the similar characteristics that happened before and after this event. Even a similar incident in France the same day.
  • There is also the fact that Bragalia has kind of turned near pseudo in some peoples opinions, take that for what you want.
  • No evidence of the hoax, no technical details, no first hand reports.
  • The whole prank theory would require A LOT of unlikely things to have happened, as well time to go out of their(the students) way to perpetrate such a large prank, not to mention the time it would have took to set-up then pack up every thing afterwards in time for a high speed take off.


    Until there is any concrete proof of a hoax this case will stay open because there is better evidence of something not mundane than there is evidence for something mundane. Of course a prank is possible but we have to look over all of the evidence and see if it was practical. As well look at any peripheral evidence of other similar sightings and incidents so we can look at how big of coincidence this would have to be if indeed the other reports are true. This is a classic case and nothing brought to light thus far has disproven a true unknown incident happening that day.









    [edit on 9/25/2009 by jkrog08]



  • posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 11:08 AM
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    reply to post by jkrog08
     


    I never regarded this case to be one of the great ones and yeah, there's hearsay, but from three different credible, professional sources, it adds up to a closed case to me.

    You also have to question why Zamora has been so recalcitrant to talk over the years. Did he hear through the grapevine afterward that he was punked? That would explain things.



    posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 11:13 AM
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    reply to post by fls13
     


    Hearsay by three different "credible" sources adds up to a case closed to you? LOL, I am glad you are not a judge or jury in the court of law my friend.
    Keep in mind that if we apply your logic on this case then we must also hold you accountable to stand by that in other cases with "hearsay by credible sources", some of those would dictate some crazy beliefs now wouldn't they?
    The professor is in his 80s, Pauling is dead, and none of the students will come forward and talk or expose how they managed to pull of a VERY elaborate hoax....So basically we have a report of a hoax LESS credible than the actual UFO incident and many other CE2's. I think I am going to have to maintain that further evidence is needed in this one my friend.



    posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 11:26 AM
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    reply to post by jkrog08
     


    So many much better cases to look at than this one to begin with. The hoax explanation works on so many levels.



    posted on Sep, 25 2009 @ 06:39 PM
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    In 1964 a police officer's testimony was respected. and Zamora was known as a man who didn't panic.


    [edit on 093030p://pm3043 by debris765nju]



    posted on Sep, 26 2009 @ 11:31 AM
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    Originally posted by Arbitrageur
    OK I'll bite. What's the missing element?


    Other witness testimony of an object, seen leaving the area.

    The sound of the roar was heard for quite some distance.

    Vitrified sand in the area of scorching

    The imprints left at the scene were adjudged to have been made by an object weighing about 8 tons as I recall.

    Stuff like that....



    posted on Sep, 26 2009 @ 12:16 PM
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    Originally posted by neformore

    Originally posted by Arbitrageur
    OK I'll bite. What's the missing element?


    Other witness testimony of an object, seen leaving the area.

    The sound of the roar was heard for quite some distance.

    Vitrified sand in the area of scorching

    The imprints left at the scene were adjudged to have been made by an object weighing about 8 tons as I recall.

    Stuff like that....


    Well as I've said before, the hoax claim is not proven, and the scenario by which the hoax might have been accomplished in the OP article is highly speculative:

    Though these ideas about how the hoax may have been accomplished are strictly speculative, Dr. Etscorn reminded me of an important fact: Nothing that was reported was beyond the abilities of "smart Techies" to create.


    We discussed how the pranksters may have incorporated 1) a large helium balloon resting on the desert floor to appear "landed" and then released up into the air on cue. Perhaps it was a reflective white colored balloon or a balloon fitted over with glossy-white craft paper- with added "landing struts" and a red insignia drawn on its side 2) "roaring" or "whining" explosives, pyrotechnics, model rockets, thrown flares or a flame device 3) smaller students dressed in white lab coats acting as the "aliens" and 4) the digging out of "landing depressions" and burning of nearby bushes. Soil or rock in the area may have been "salted" with silicon or trinitite from the school's Geology Lab.


    Looking at that speculative scenario, I'm not sure if any of the elements you mentioned are "missing", but some more technical detail on specifics may be lacking.

    If they released the balloon of course other people could see it, what few people there are in such an area.

    The sound and roar, is covered specifically with '"roaring" or "whining" explosives, pyrotechnics, model rockets, thrown flares or a flame device'

    He mentioned a "flame device" which presumably could vitrify sand, as could certain pyrotechnics.

    The assumption of 8 tons would probably be based on a craft placing that much weight on the landing pods, so it might be a valid estimate. But the 'the digging out of "landing depressions"' means that no weight would be required at all, you can dig them as shallow or as deep as you like to give the appearance of weight.

    So it seems to me he did think of a lot of different angles about how they might have hoaxed it, but, it's all highly speculative with no proof.

    [edit on 26-9-2009 by Arbitrageur]



    posted on Sep, 26 2009 @ 12:25 PM
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    Originally posted by Arbitrageur
    Well as I've said before, the hoax claim is not proven, and the scenario by which the hoax might have been accomplished in the OP article is highly speculative:


    What isn't speculative is Zamora's own account and I do believe he was honest in this instance. A speeding car, right by the local courthouse no less, led him on a chase right to the landing site of an unknown craft. He heard an explosion, saw flames. Loud noise and flames aren't consistent with the best of the UFO cases. There's isn't proof positive here, but if it looks like a duck . . .



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