|Recently, after the authors recent visit to Socorro, New Mexico, important new information has come to light that we wanted to share with the readers of www.TheUfoChronicles.Com||
By Ben Moss and Tony Angiola
The UFO Chronicles
First, we must put to rest the poorly researched idea that this event was a hoax. Our documentation will easily dismiss these rumors, but we felt compelled to take the hoax theory apart piece by piece, in order to finally move past the fiction to the truth.
This will be discussed in the first part of this article.
Second, having just returning from our second visit to Socorro, there are more details concerning this very important case, still listed as an “Unknown” by Project Blue Book, that need to be told. This will be discussed in the second part of this article.
Tony Angiola and I, with the excellent assistance of Ray Stanford, the original NICAP investigator of the Socorro UFO incident, have been looking into and researching this case for the last 4 years. We have been able to gather new comprehensive data, as well as investigate what was already known about this famous April 24, 1964 incident in the desert town of Socorro New Mexico.
Our extensive investigation, along with Ray Stanford’s excellent book “Socorro Saucer in a Pentagon Pantry”, show that a very unusual event occurred in the early evening of April 1964.
Everything we have found indicates that an ellipsoid shaped object landed displaying 4 struts, or landing gear. Two small bipedal figures were seen next to the object, before seemingly retreating back into the craft. The craft then took off, leaving important physical evidences behind. Suffice it to say that the details of this event can be found online, and do not need to be repeated here.
Instead, our focus is on the newly gathered information, and a point by point refutation of online armchair speculation and conjecture, promoted by individuals who have never been to the site itself.
Many factual errors of this case are still promoted by armchair bloggers, and the hoax story seems to be cobbled together using poor or non-existent research, and leaps of faith.
Imagine, as a detective, trying to solve a murder, but saying that part of your investigation does not require you to visit the scene of the crime to get a ‘lay of the land’. You would not be a detective for long, and I doubt you would ever solve a case.
The point we feel compelled to make, with regards to speculation that this event was a hoax, is that poor research, conjecture, and changing known facts to fit your own theory is what has hurt and continues to muddle Ufology’s most prominent cases. That has been true with regards to the Socorro Incident, one of the most evidential and important UFO landing cases ever to occur in the USA. We will set the record straight here now.
Let’s examine the main claims that have been made by so called ‘researchers’, whose investigation consist of trolling through the Internet, making one or two phone calls, and then creating an imaginative yet laughable tale to fit their convoluted theories.
“I have a good indication of the student who engineered the hoax. Student has left. Cheers, Sterling.”
As with most people who debunk the Socorro event, MOST HAVE NEVER EVER BEEN TO THE LANDING SITE IN SOCORRO. Let that sink in for a minute. Any researcher or investigator working on a case would certainly visit the site of the event, if only to get a feel for the topology, lines of sight, remoteness of the area, and to understand what is and what is not possible in said environment.
As a UFO Investigator that (not physically visiting the location in question) is a huge red flag. How can you debate an event like this but not even know your way around ground zero? More on this point later.
Imagine students pulling off a hoax that is heard around the world! It fools the Project Blue Book investigators (as well as the Air Force, FBI, and CIA) yet never brag about it, or tell several friends and family, even today when there would be no repercussions. Remember, this occurred within a month of final exams, in a remote area of the desert. There is ZERO evidence that students liked to play around in this location in the desert as has been stated. Of course, if any of these bloggers had been to the landing site, they would understand how ridiculous that sounds.
One imagined reason for the hoax was because Lonnie ‘hounded’ tech students during that time. While in Socorro, we found no evidence of this. In fact, Lonnie “was usually very lenient and let students off with warnings “often. This shows you what anyone in Socorro knows to be true; Lonnie was a nice guy, fairly quiet, not a man to anger quickly.
And this is an important point, as many hoax supporters’ reports about Lonnie are contrary to what each and every person who knew him stated.
While in Socorro in April of 2018, we spoke with several people who were there in 1964, and who were close to the event and Lonnie Zamora, the police officer who witnessed this UFO landing. Not a single one of them believes the hoax tale. In fact, we were told by a town official who was there in 1964 that students rarely ventured into Socorro, and certainly did not wander around in the desert. As the locals reminded us, you have to watch out for Cactus, holes, rocks, snakes and various other dangerous things that inhabit the desert. This is not a place to ‘play hide and seek’ nor ‘hangout’ as quoted by armchair bloggers.
Students from 1964 have come forward and said that their pranks were usually small local events on campus, and the worse that anyone would have done to Lonnie was flatten his tires. But because of Lonnie’s good nature, we cannot find reports of anything out of the ordinary directed at him or his tires.
The enrollment at New Mexico Tech was small and a prank of this nature would have required planning, sophisticated equipment, and a lot time that your average student just did not have access to. Several pranks did occur on the campus, and the perpetrators were always known shortly after, as young students are usually too happy to tell their peers how ‘they fooled the man’. To actually pull off something like what occurred at Socorro, is virtually still impossible today, unless your last name is Spielberg. This is a valid point, as debunkers have consistently changed their version of the hoax to accommodate how it was done, which of course, has never been completely explained. One of the most ignored points by hoax theorists is THAT NOBODY CAN SHOW OR SAY HOW THEY DID IT, NOR CAN ANY REPLICATE IT, USING 1964 OR CURRENT MATERIALS.
Now let’s look at Colgate’s letter stating how it was done:
In the exact words of the university president himself, the craft itself consisted of:
“A candle in a balloon.” Not sophisticated.”
This is where the hoax theory begins to crumble, and has been ignored by many. The object departed into a stiff 30-35MPH wind, which was constant even when we were there. We have the documented weather from this exact day and location. Also, imagine a candle in a balloon fooling anyone. First, where are the students when this balloon (which would have vanished in the opposite direction in a matter of seconds) was released? Again, this points to the fact that armchair debunkers have no idea of the site, its difficulty to reach, and the fact that there in nowhere to hide or run to without being seen especially where Lonnie stopped his car. You can only fully understand this by visiting the site yourself.
When I had an email exchange with one of these debunkers fairly recently, he said that perhaps a balloon was towed on a wire by a car. Again, this tells you THAT HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT ITS LIKE ON SITE. You can barely get there in a modern car, much less a car from 1964. You CANNOT drive in that arroyo, there are bushes, cactus, depressions and rocks everywhere. There is NOWHERE TO HIDE. In several follow up post, one blogger keeps substituting different balloons in an attempt to match the description, yet Colgate said it ‘was a candle in a balloon’. This small balloon was then ‘maybe a Helium balloon’, which balloonist would say is wrong as they are launched in the early hours of the day when conditions are better, and certainly not at around 5:40 in the evening into a wind gusting up to 40MPH. The balloon was ‘probably towed with a cable’. Huh? A cable attached to what, pulled by what? You begin to see that this tall tale is being changed to try and fit the research that shows all of these scenarios to be untenable.
Other more glaring distortions of the known facts include:
“Footprints from teenagers” were found at the site by government investigators immediately after Zamora’s encounter.”
That statement is 100% false. Sargent Chavez was there in 2 minutes, and later White Sands up range commander Captain Holder also was on scene with several other people. The official report says that there were no footprints at all, only the 4 landing gear indentations, and a few circular depressions possibly made by a ladder that the beings came down and up from and to the craft. There we have a couple of marks that may have been left by the beings themselves, and Captain Holder included those in his drawing of the event.
About one day later, the locals found the site and that’s when the footprints were laid down (all after the fact).
Holder can be seen below with his description of his investigation:
“Burned brush that was seen at the site was caused by “pyrotechnic ignition” according to experts.”
This is another complete fabrication. Captain Holder said there was no indication of any combustibles, fireworks, nothing. This is all also in the official Blue Book files. A review of the Air Force Materials Laboratory Analysis of the soil samples gathered at the landing site concluded that ‘there was no foreign residue. Analysis of the burned bush revealed no chemicals that could have been propellant residue, and there was no evidence of any pyrotechnics on site.”
They were the experts on the scene. No one can produce these ‘phantom experts’ mentioned in one post, because they do not exist. One must begin to wonder, with so many factual errors, if these debunkers are simply trying to put a square peg in a round hole, or if they are just inept researchers. Since most have not been on site, my hunch is both.
‘The “whining frequencies” heard by Zamora may have come from novel, sound-producing pyrotechnics.’
Again, no proof at all of this, another fabrication.
“The landing impression were ‘dug’ by students.”
Another fabrication. The estimated weight of the object able to penetrate the still moist soil and leave this quadrangle of 4 depressions was approx. 9 TONS. The soil was pushed in a direction that indicated it came in at an angle. Who would have thought of that detail? If it was a hoax. The depressions were made by a wedge shaped landing gear, and the thruster producing the blue orange exhaust (4 times longer than wide), that sliced a creosote bush in half with radiant heat, was in the exact center place in the quadrangle that it had to be for the struts to balance this object. This was noted by Dr. Hynek and Ray Stanford when they were measuring the distance between the impressions, and the distance that Lonnie was when closest to the vehicle (35 Feet), with his glasses still on.
“Students in lab coats were the ‘beings seen”.
On one website of the loudest debunker, as of today 07-06-18, still shows a picture of students in lab coats with the caption “Early Photo of Physics Lab Techies.” That picture is NOT FROM NEW MEXICO, but from Caltech, and he knows this but is still insinuating it as from New Mexico Tech. Wow, can we find more fabrications? Why yes, we can…
“Lonnie had impaired vision and required corrective lenses, which he lost.”
Here he forgets to mention that Lonnie’s glasses fell off AFTER he had seen the craft from only 35 feet. Lonnie’s daughter told us they were not corrective lenses at all, but more like readers.
“LONNIE DRANK, AND STUDENTS PRANKED”.
This I find is the most disturbing fabrication of all, and is indicative of the type of dubious lack of research that has occurred, which appears to consist of Google, and a phone call or 2. While in Socorro this April, we found that the bartender from the local pub, called The Capitol Bar, was still around, and in fact he had just retired as a professor from New Mexico Tech. He said that ‘Lonnie was in the bar at least 4 times to break up fights, not to drink.’ He was not known as a heavy drinker, and when being questioned after the event he stated that he had ‘a few beers several months ago’. Locals we spoke with, who knew Lonnie well, said he was just the opposite, and expressed great anger that this is being promoted by remote ‘talking heads’. The flimsy evidence behind this ludicrous claim, is on a debunkers web site that post anonymous people’s comments as fact, and that reminds me the common practice of going on Yelp and posting great things about your own business using false names, to promote your company. Again, we have no first hand witness testimony, as we have gathered on site, to support these farcical claims.
Paul Harden, President of the Socorro Historical Society and a staff member of the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in Socorro, whom I spoke with for 2 hours last month, mentioned that ‘most people from 1962 are still here in Socorro.’ We found that to be true as we had no trouble finding original witnesses, and no need to embellish this story as one would who has not visited the site and taken the time to talk to those who know this story best.
I found Paul to be a very conversational and kind. He clearly knew Lonnie quite well, and was very familiar with almost all of the people associated with this event. He shared many details from 1964 that challenged our ability to write down all of the important points that he was covering.
In fact, when discussing the integrity of Lonnie, it is important to quote the real ‘experts’ who were involved in this seminal case.
Hector Quintanilla, the head of Project Blue Book in 1964, had this to say in the CIA publication “Studies in Intelligence” released in 1966:
The brief was called “Policeman’s Report.”
“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 police 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, and still we have been unable, in spite of thorough investigation, to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to the point of panic.”
This is where the subject of a “named so called student hoaxers” came into the debunkers world, but not surprisingly, this pool of students vanished like a light rain on a hot summer day in the desert.
In an email, one of the debunkers asked if I knew who the names of the students who were in on the hoax. I did not at the time, but he said, “does one of them have the initials JC?” Well, while in Socorro, I found out quite easily who JC was. Apparently, Sterling Colgate provided 2 names of the known hoaxers.
This is counter to an email between a debunker and Colgate where Colgate stated that he ‘did not know the names of the students”. I will not divulge these names to protect them from further harassment, but we will be digging deeper on this.
I did speak with a very good friend of one of the so called hoaxers, and he said that the former student was very upset with Colgate for naming him, and wondered what he did that made Colgate LIE about his involvement as a hoaxer and throw him under the bus. This is different from what debunkers have related on various websites, that this same person did not deny being a part of a hoax. In fact, he indicated that a debunker was trying to get him to say things to conform to what he (the debunker) believes. This is called leading the witness.
Mmm, somebody has their story wrong, and I think I know who. We will find out very soon. The other student, who just retired, said he was not even in classes with the others, and he also denied being a part of the hoax. He was a Geologist. Both said that hoaxes are fun to do, but not in the week leading up to finals week. So, in summation, all of the so called hoaxers have both indicated that they had no part of a hoax. It appears that Colgate really liked the limelight, but got caught up in something that became bigger than his small circle of friends. Another point is that this letter surfaced AFTER Lonnie had passed away. Then it became more public AFTER Colgate passed away.
Also, in our interviews with several former students and people that knew Colgate we find that Colgate had an affinity to party with students while enjoying libations besides alcohol. This memory kept coming up from several past students. I point this out for 2 reasons (and not to disparage Colgate), because debunkers imply that Lonnie was a drunk and thus his story cannot be trusted. Can not the same also be said of Colgate? Also, because someone is brilliant and has multiple degrees, that does not mean they do not have flaws and the capacity to promote false truths. If you started a rumor based on second or third hand testimony, and to save face wanted to defend that rumor, then you would have what is now seen as the ridiculous unsubstantiated claims by Colgate, and his true believers.
So, the crux of this impossible to reproduce hoax theory is based on fabrication, speculation, and bad investigation.
Lonnie Zamora, over the many years since 1964, never changed, nor embellished his story. There is another important point to make about Lonnie’s character. Our investigation shows how much he was liked by all of the people who spoke so well of him. In April of 1964, Lonnie’s patrol car was only one week old, and it was shared by another officer. In our first visit to the site in 2016, we drove a new rental car to the site, and beat it up pretty good, bottoming out on rocks every few feet. As a proud police officer, in a new car, the only reason that makes sense for Lonnie to drive into this difficult area was to see if there was someone in trouble, perhaps a crashed plane. That tells you the nature of Lonnie, that he would risk a brand new car driving into a difficult area, because he felt IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO IF SOMEONE WAS IN TROUBLE.
Debunkers, on the other hand, have modified what Colgate originally said (a balloon with a candle) by trying to fit several different types of balloons into the picture, including a helium balloon, a weather balloon, and maybe a balloon towed by a rope. Yet, not one single person can provide any evidence of a hoax, nor how it was done. No one can answer the question of how Lonnie was lead to the site, if it was students, a quarter of a mile away, hoping to lure him to a SPECIFIC location. Lonnie heard a roar and spotted a glowing blue orange flame in the sky, which was descending BEFORE he crested the mesa and looked down into the arroyo. The landing site is several hundred feet from the road. That would have to be one magical balloon.
Now that the reader can see how the idea of a hoax is untenable and virtually impossible using 1964 technology and materials, let’s get to the events themselves and try to determine the real story of this incredible event.
In order to determine the facts of this event, the authors revisited Socorro for the second time in April of 2018 and dug even deeper into this fascinating mystery of a UFO landing in the New Mexico desert.
Many people that have heard of this case are not aware of the fact that several egg-shaped craft were witnessed by civilian and military personnel in this general area and time frame. This is an important thread to follow and expands this case from the one event in Socorro to a plethora of similar incidents that support a mini flap of such craft, which appeared in and around several military installations that are located throughout this area. In fact, New Mexico, for many years, has been a military crossroads for the United States.
As the Second World War began, the Albuquerque Army Air Field was training thousands of military personnel on the B-17 “Flying Fortress”. The privately-owned Portair Field in Clovis became the Clovis Army Air Field and, just east of the White Sands Proving Grounds, the Alamogordo Army Air Base was established.
As the war raged, the B-29 Superfortress became an integral part in the Pacific Theater. Alamogordo aircraft saw more action, as did planes from Albuquerque and Clovis. In July 1945, the world changed forever as we entered the nuclear age with the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb at Trinity, located in the northern stretch of White Sands.
In September of 1947, the United States Air Force was officially established. By then, Albuquerque’s base was re-named Kirtland, Clovis became Cannon Air Force Base and Alamogordo became Holloman.
Kirtland has stayed on the forefront of nuclear development for both war and peacetime applications, with many of the discoveries being tested south at White Sands Missile Range. But in 1964, with the Socorro UFO landing hitting the press in advance of the militaries ability to investigate it, we find that an extensive search of all of these bases yielded NO OBJECT that could account for the craft that Lonnie Zamora came upon while investigating what he thought may have been an explosion of the dynamite shack in the Socorro desert. This extensive and mostly secret investigation included Project Blue Book, the FBI, CIA and the Army, with inquires and interest from the White House and Joint Chiefs of Staff. The idea of a hoax was considered and dismissed after the facts came to light.
Upon digging deeper into the Project Blue Book reports and local newspaper archives some interesting cases were discovered:
Two military police units patrolling the Trinity site at White Sands, independently of each other, reported seeing an egg-shaped object hover over the desert. The object reportedly landed, leaving ‘footprints’, and then departed at high speed.
–April 26th, 1964 Albuquerque, NM
George Mitropolis was driving north on US 85 when he spotted an object ahead of him, appearing to come above the crest of the mountains and then drop back behind. He stopped his car and saw a luminous object, like an ‘inverted bathtub’ thirty feet in length, with a glow radiating beneath it.
–April 27th, 1964 El Paso, Texas
Eight children and several adult witnesses viewed a hovering egg-shaped UFO over 6 feet in height above the Crosby School.
–April 28th, 1964, Near Socorro NM
Two egg shaped objects were seen by a truck driver and his wife around 5:30PM, moving as fast as a jet plane. That same day, in Hobbs NM, (Police report) a group of children and 2 adults witnessed the same event: a white round object that hovered over the city and then departed to the Northeast.
Later the same day in Cheyanne, Wyoming, 3 women reported seeing an egg-shaped UFO with a trail streaking from it, followed by a second UFO.
–April 30th, 1964 Holloman AFB
Two military sources said there was an encounter between a B-57 and an ‘egg shaped white object’. The pilot reported to this to the mission controller at Holloman and was asked to ‘turn and re-encounter the object’. The pilot then radioed that the UFO had ‘landed on the ground’. When Coral Lorenzen, a UFO Investigator, published a press release on this sighting, brass at Holloman admitted the next day that they had “tracked 2 unknowns on radar”. In addition, there was another sighting on the same range by a guard, who was so frightened by what he saw that he ‘emptied his side arm at the object and then fled’ to base HQ, where he was subsequently hospitalized.
On the same day in 1964, at 10:22 in the morning, NICAP investigator Ray Stanford took 2 photographs of a glowing blue object while driving back to Phoenix from Socorro. What he saw and photographed was a compound object that appeared to shimmer an odd blue along with a delta shaped object.
–April 30th, 1964: Las Cruces
A state police officer and 4 employees of the Port of Entry Station on Interstate 10 south of the city reported sighting a luminous round object moving in jerky motions and changing direction. State patrolman Raul Arteche of Anthony also sighted the object moving northwest. This was also reported independently, by a private pilot at the same time.
–May 15th, Stallion Site, Holloman
Radar , including FP-16 radar at the Stallion site, tracked 2 objects ‘performing precise, perfect flight maneuvers, including side by side flight, separating, then rejoining in formation in up and down (pogo) maneuvers’. Visual confirmation was made by a trained radar operator who saw two objects, flying low, described as ‘brown and football shaped.’
What is very interesting about this report is that Ray Stanford, the original NICAP investigator at Socorro, reported filming similar objects performing these same feats, from a highway on the north edge of White Sands in the July 19th, 1978. He also obtained ELF magnetic recordings, as well as a sound recording.
These are just some of the many reports concerning egg or football shaped objects in the New Mexico area that lend credence to the Socorro UFO incident. A one off is one thing, but the data shows that this type of craft was operating in this area before and after Lonnie Zamora’s sighting, further supporting what Lonnie reported.
Ray Stanford, when interviewing the other Socorro police officers, was told that ‘they all saw object’s’ at various times but would never report it after seeing the way that Lonnie was being treated. We also uncovered a report of another ‘landing’, near the canal in Socorro. We wondered where this canal was, so we got in the car and found it, parallel to the river. This is a perfect, low lying area, leading into Socorro from Albuquerque.
While discussing this with several locals, we uncovered a story, spoken only to locals, that Mary (not her real name) was sitting on the porch of her house that faces the canal, and saw an egg shaped object coming along the canal from the direction of Albuquerque, and turning towards the area where the object was then spotted by the witness that stopped at Opal Grinders gas station. We reconnoitered the area, found the house, and the path that she described, and it all lines up with the witness reports. Remember that 3 independent witnesses called the Socorro dispatch from Albuquerque, reporting an object with a blue flame, heading to Socorro right before Lonnie spotted the craft.
Another new and interesting piece of information was shared with us, by 2 independent people, that something was recovered on the ground, supposedly from this craft. We are looking further into this information, and recently, we got corroboration that another Investigator heard the same story, from 2 ADDITIONAL witnesses.
While speaking with a few of Lonnie’s close friends, and his daughter, we were impressed by the fact that Lonnie’s fright was way beyond what was apparently reported. According to a close friend, Lonnie was so frightened by what he saw, that he spent 3 hours talking with his priest that first night. When Lonnie asked him what he should do, the priest said “Do one of 2 things. Shut up or tell the truth”. Lonnie decided on the truth, and he never wavered nor embellished it. According to his close friend, Lonnie knew when to ‘begin and end the story’. We got the impression that Lonnie, who went from saying he saw 2 small figures to talking only about ‘something white coveralls’, saw 2 entities that he knew were not human and shattered his view of the world.
New Mexico State Policeman Sergeant Samuel Chavez, the first person Lonnie called after the event, arrived and said that Lonnie was white as a sheet and looked like ‘he had seen the devil.’ Lonnie responded with ‘Maybe I have’. Harold Baca told us that ‘my dad got there within 5 minutes and Lonnie was still hiding behind his car when they got there.’
Ray Stanford, when onsite a few days later in 1964 with Dr. Hynek and Lonnie, said that Lonnie stood in front of the creosote bush, and held his hand about 4 feet off the ground in front of the bush, to indicate their size.
Over the years, everyone that was close to Lonnie said that he was ‘never the same’. Most friends would not bring up the encounter, but occasionally Lonnie would just need to talk about it. Towards the end of his life, he was admitting that ‘the creatures’, when asked what they were, did not ‘come from around here’. He did not know what they were, but he wished he had never seen nor talked about them. The Airforce, from the first day of their investigation, told him to not mention any occupants.
We believe, that in that moment of terror, that Lonnie knew that they were not men of Earth, and as a devout Catholic, his first thought was that he had witnessed a demon.
This part of the story has become a lot more interesting, as we have indications, hinted at by Paul Hardin and others, that Lonnie had a much closer encounter with the 2 beings, and that this is the point that Lonnie realized that he was confronting 2 non-human creatures, not a couple of kids at the scene of an accident. Further documentation of this encounter is coming soon, and we cannot elaborate further until a fellow friend and researcher releases more of this material.
While discussing the extent of Lonnie’s fright with Ray Stanford, we agreed that there must have been some details that Lonnie left out that caused him to react so strongly, and be so afraid of what he encountered. As Paul Hardin mentioned, Lonnie knew when ‘to start and stop the story’, and this, we believe, is directly related to his close encounter with non-human entities, perhaps as close as 50 feet away. If Lonnie had a much better, and probably closer look at the 2 occupants, this would account for the fact that what he saw changed his life forever.
The authors do not know what landed in Socorro, nor the origin of said object. Our investigation has shown that all of the uncovered data points to the landing of a non-human craft with very small occupants. Despite the attempts by all of the investigative branches of the military, they could never find a company nor organization that said they constructed this craft. When you put all of the facts together, what we found is that a very strange event occurred, and the mystery of what actually landed in Socorro in 1964 will remain a mystery, probably forever.
Lonnie was never the same, and we doubt that a balloon, or any type of a hoax, would have fooled this Army and Police veteran to the point of abject terror.
Instead, the evidence leads us to believe that Lonnie was a witness to the great unknown, and the weight of this knowledge was so heavy, that it forever affected Lonnie to his last day on Earth.
Thanks to the friendly and fine people of Socorro, New Mexico, for allowing us access to files, newspaper articles, and witnesses to this April 24th, 1964 event.