The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Sunday, October 04, 2009


New investigation reveals that the likely culprits behind the Socorro UFO hoax in 1964 were part of a highly secret group of student pranksters at NM Tech. It is now learned that so extreme were some of these Techie "pranks" during the 1960s that they even caused physical endangerment. One especially sophisticated UFO hoax at that time led to the severe reprimand by U.S. military base officials of a Techie whose prank had caused the emergency scrambling of jet interceptors! This intensely private group existed at the College under various code names and leaders for decades.

A co-conspirator to many hoaxes at the NM Tech in the 1960s now details the remarkable "flying saucers" that were created by students during that time- and how they were made. A former Techie prankster offers a stunning clue about the true nature of the "aliens" sighted by Officer Lonnie Zamora. Other "insider insight" provided by NM Tech alumni furthers the case that the Socorro UFO was one of the most extraordinarily engineered hoaxes in history. This "extreme prankster" cabal reflects a technological "caper culture" that was unique in all the world and that has remained hidden- until now.




In April of 1964, Socorro Police Officer Lonnie Zamora reported sighting a landed craft outside of town. In pursuit of a speeder, Zamora was diverted by an explosion he had heard that led him over a hill. There he viewed an egg-shaped 20 foot in size craft the color of "aluminum white" that was "smooth" and which had a red insignia or emblem on its side. Zamora reported two small figures clad in white nearby the craft. Zamora says that the figures "jumped from view" and the craft rose with a roar and out of view.

In an earlier article by this author that can be viewed here, the discovery of a letter was related. It was written to Nobel-Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling. The letter was found buried within the Pauling Archives at Oregon State University. The letter was from Dr. Stirling Colgate, President of NM Tech in Socorro in the 1960s, Los Alamos legend and associate of such luminaries as Oppenheimer and Teller. Colgate wrote to his friend Pauling (who had taken an interest in the case) explaining that the Socorro UFO sighting was a hoax that "was engineered by a student who has left the college."

In an email to this author written 40 years after his letter to Linus Pauling, Dr. Colgate (who still maintains a Los Alamos office at age 84) confirmed the letter's authenticity and then stated a bit more:

- He knew the event to have been a prank. It was he called it, a "no brainer"
- One of the pranksters was in fact a personal friend of his
- That friend and the other students "didn't want their covers blown"
- He would see if they would now come forward

Dr. Colgate had no idea that his knowledge of the incident would be made public many decades later. He would never have imagined that his private communication to Pauling would be openly revealed. He was "caught" by me and had no choice but to reply- sparingly. Dr. Colgate is not "guessing" about this, a friend of his is the hoaxer. He writes with the certainty of a scientist. He is either 1) a liar 2) believes liars or 3) is telling the truth. There really is very little "wiggle" room to draw any other conclusion. I do not believe that Colgate would lie to his associate Pauling- and continue to lie about this to me in the winter of his life- if it were not true. And why would his personal friend (himself now elderly) continue to lie over decades to Colgate that he "and others" were the hoaxers? That leaves us only with option number 3- Colgate is telling the truth.

Two other noted NM Techies, Dr. Frank Etcorn (who is the inventor of the Nicotine Patch) and Dave Collis (who directed NM Tech's renowned Energetics Lab) related their understanding -gained from their lengthy time at NM Tech- that the Socorro UFO was in fact a student-perpetuated hoax.

Etscorn's grad student (for a credit project to study the incident) had located a suspected hoaxer who admitted the prank but would not allow use of his name. Collis was told in 1965 in confidence by his trusted NM Tech Professor that the famous sighting of a landed UFO in Socorro from the year before was a hoax devised by a Techie prankster. Collis explained that this was not his Professor's "guess"- the Professor had personal knowledge of the perpetrators. Only 45 years later did Collis break the confidence to tell what he learned from his Professor.


As a vocal advocate of ET visitation, this author struggled with release of this information. I did not look for this story, it fell upon me when I discovered Linus Paulings's archived secret UFO studies. I did not intend on dousing this campfire story. It is hoped that in reporting this, readers understand that I am simply following the evidence where it takes me. I am obligated to report what I find and have no "hidden agenda." I remain firm in my conviction that life from elsewhere visits Earth. But I am also firm in my conviction that many UFO researchers simply do not appreciate the extent and sophistication with which UFOs are pranked by our nation's college youth. This was especially true in the 1960s at places like NM Tech:



John W. Shipman came to NM Tech in the Summer of 1966 as a Freshman. John -an admitted serial prankster- remains so enamored of his college experience that he recounts events of the time in an online blog. John offers keen observations about this most unique school in the mid-1960s: "The spirit of technological uproar rubbed off on the students. With limited opportunities for recreation, the happiest students were the ones that made their own fun."

John mentions his accomplices to hoaxes- with code names "Joe Hat" and "Harry Hat." Both he says, were extremely competent with electronics. Shipman says, "They were nerds long before the term was invented." Shipman says that during that summer, the Hats bought a surplus radar and began working on it. The school paper featured them on the cover with the caption, "They've Landed." Harry had found out that jets from Holloman AFB often used Socorro Peak as a radar target for simulated bombing runs. Apparently the Hats were able to devise a jamming device and then left it on a nearby mountain to the base. Shipman says that the bombing scores "all went to hell" because of this jamming device. Shipman explains that the Air Force had tracked down the problem. As Shipman understands, two MPs came into the Tech classrooms and physically hauled Harry to the Base Commander. After over an hour of scolding, an officer admitted to Harry Hat that, after graduation, he would like to hire Harry because he was better at radar research than most of his people at the base!

Shipman recounts that "Harry also experimented with making Flying Saucers, a popular diversion for dorm residents." He says that an even more impressive student-made "saucer" was "specifically designed to upset the folks at White Sands." Shipman explains, "the envelope was a surplus weather balloon filled with natural gas. The payload consisted of a highway flare, a hundred-foot surveyors measuring tape made of steel, and a long fuse. The measuring tape was weighted at one end rolled up and secured with a piece of waxed string. After the prevailing wind had blown the balloon out over the north end of the range, the fuse burned to the end and lit the highway flare and burned the string around the steel tape. The radar operators were rather upset when a hundred-foot long radar target appeared suddenly on their screens. They scrambled several interceptor jets. The interceptors never found what they were looking for."

Though Shipman came to NM Tech a couple of years after the Socorro UFO event, the information he provides is invaluable in understanding how such a thing could have ever happened. From Shipman we learn that in the 1960s, Techies were making "Flying Saucers" that even fooled military men. This brand of brilliant "merry pranksters" was of an entirely different order then found then or now at other schools.

The Techies of the 1960s were so "ballsy" and rebellious -and had such little regard for safety or legality- that they would even jam sensitive radar and disrupt military exercises! To cause a "hub-bub" with town cop Zamora paled by comparison!



Mr. Thomas Jones graduated from NM Tech with a degree in Physics. For a period of time in the 1980s and 1990s, Tom led a closed group of Techie pranksters called "Stealth Beta Force." The groups "memorial site" can be viewed at or simply Google keywords Stealth Force Beta. His site is an extraordinary read. The complexity and technical sophistication of the pranks he and his team accomplished is nothing short of astonishing. The organization had rules, code names and a "magician's code" of secrecy. Its an illusion, but never own up to it- and never tell how it is done, that is how they worked.

Jones time at NM Tech was years removed from the Socorro event. But he is considered even today by the NM Tech Public Information Office to be the foremost expert on the history and breadth of NM Tech pranking. We gain needed insight into that unusual and special world by listening to Jones.

We learn from him that such hoaxing at NM Tech was a pastime from the school's very inception up through his time at the school. Jones indicates that today such physical pranking has given way to "digital pranking." Though such grand physical pranks are rarer on campus now, the spirit of the prank remains in digital form. The "glory years" of such physical pranks ran from the 1960s through the early 1990s. There is a certain "comraderie through the generations" when it comes to such Techie pranking. There is silent homage given by pranksters today at the school to the illustrious who walked those same prankster steps at NM Tech before them. Like a geek "Skull and Bones" society, these Techies made tight, secret circles.

Tom said to me that -given his intimate understanding of the school and his inside knowledge of the institution of pranking there- "I think it is highly likely that Tech students hoaxed the Socorro UFO incident." Tom adds cryptically, "and there was institutional memory of the Socorro UFO hoaxers at NM Tech."

We can all learn from Tom's instructive ideas on how this all even have happened: "If you haven't lived in the environment of a top-tier science school, it may be very difficult to understand the culture. You get used to weird things happening all of the time. Students built long-range water cannons, explode bombs made of butane and model rocket engines, build collosal armor-piercing toys, and handle radioactive rocks- just because its interesting. And thats only the tip of the iceberg." He says, "Many pranks are deliberately configured to appear that they were done by others- rival schools or space aliens." Retaliation is often a motive, he explained. Zamora was intensely disliked by students at the school at the time.

He adds that NM was a strange and wonderous place "for a kid from Maryland." Even the landscape itself lent itself to thinking about the surface of other celestial bodies. Space pranks were a natural at a place like Tech, he says. Tom says that the school is very small, very protective of its own and that "outsiders" simply cannot ever understand the intense techno-geek culture that would lead to such a prank as the Socorro UFO. They cannot appreciate the psychology of these closed circles of "brilliant and bored kids" who loved to fool the foolish.

Speaking more specifically of Socorro, Tom says that one of the things that frustrates him is that people have the idea that the area is flat and featureless, leaving no possibility for escape of the hoaxsters. But Tom says that the area is in fact filled with arroyos, rolling and rocky hillettes, and large brush and shrub. He told of a pastime at Tech- playing "hide and seek" in the maze of such arroyos outside town. Staying out of view of others out there was easy, he says.

Tom also explained certain elements of the Socorro UFO mystery that can be accounted for by campus-based activities:



It was enlightening to learn from Tom that in the 1960s NM Tech was looking for funded research opportunites "on the cheap." They wanted to expand their mining and geology science programs to include the Atmospheric Sciences. The decision was made to create within the Physics Department a much more formalized group to study Atomospheric Physics. Graduate degrees in the discipline would now be offered and grants would actively be sought for such research. The school would obtain military funding and expand its work in the field. It received an incredibly vast array of balloons and floating devices that were used in weather, radar and related research.

By 1964, the College had every type of "inflatable" available in the world at the time. This new influx of balloons, gases and inflatable materials was known to have been a "new source for play" for these 1960s student scientists. Tom said that it without doubt that these advanced inflatables caught the attention of the prank-minded.


Tom gives a hint about the "aliens" that were viewed by Lonnie. Zamora described the two "beings" walking outside the craft as:

- Short in stature (the size of boys or small adults)
- Clad in white "coveralls"
- of "normal shape" (like a human)

Tom and I discussed what could possibly account for such a strange sight. The explanation -though unfamiliar to Zamora- was very "down to earth." Early laboratory outerwear very much resembles today's lab suits. From head to foot they cover laboratory workers in white, appearing like space-age attire. They are used to help prevent contamination of the individual -and the specimens- when conducting laboratory experiments. Radiological suits (as were found at NM Tech in the 60s) were even more elaborate affairs.



Examine the above photo. Squint while viewing and move back a bit from the screen- Lonnie was at a distance from the craft. Remove your eyeglasses if you have them- Lonnie lost his. Note the shortest figure in the middle. Is this an "alien" - or is it a "short in stature" student scientist of "normal shape" who is clad in "white coveralls" as described by Lonnie Zamora? Next try covering up the other figures in the picture with your hands so that only the middle figure remains in view. Squint and place yourself a distance from the screen. The "alien" -precisely as described by Zamora- will appear even more vividly.

In a future article I hope to conclusively identify the white clad students who walked the arroyos outside Soccoro in 1964 - fooling a town, a nation and the world for decades.


  • If we do get a genuine confession, to be credible it must have

    1. A named perpetrator or perpetrators.
    2. A description of the methodology.
    3. The motivation for the hoax.

    It would be preferable, obviously, for it to come from the mouth of the hoaxer(s) themselves.

    It will be very interesting what the reaction of the 'UFOs are ET' brigade is to such a confession. Even the skeptics may get a few shakes. At the moment I am reserving judgment on this case. I still wonder how or why any hoaxer of such a highly publicised, and long enduring, UFO event could remain silent for so long.
    But I am not holding my breath over this. It is up to Anthony Bragalia to 'deliver the goods'.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • It's all very well saying this was a hoax, can it be re-created credibly.

    Even if this was a hoax it doesn't men that the hundreds of UFO reports that come in each week are all hoaxes.

    By Blogger Tideswellman, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Mr. Bragalia:
    I think the problem that a lot of people are having with your articles on this matter can be traced to the poor choice of words on your part, which were not in keeping with standard, responsible journalistic practices, but rather smacked quite clearly of sensationalism and exaggeration.
    You averred in your original article that this was definitely a hoax, and that it had been "exposed." Neither statement is accurate (yet) nor is either statement "responsible" journalism. Now, I understand your logic here---that Prof. Colgate cannot possibly be "lying," nor is it likely that he "believes liars." But that doesn't constitute evidence in a practical journalistic sense. Belief is one thing; actual proof is another.
    What this boils down to, as I say, is simply a matter of semantics, perhaps, but semantics are vital in journalism. It would have been much proper---and better received---if you had said, "Socorro exposed as POSSIBLE hoax," and then followed up with the evidence you've offered so far. Would Prof. Colgate lie? Nope, probably not. But human beings DO lie, of course. Is it likely that he would? No. It's reasonable to assume, then, that he was telling the truth. His position, reputation, and a lack of motivation for telling anything BUT the truth would point to his statement being accurate and truthful. However, it's still important to remember that this does not yet technically constitute proof, regardless of who he is and what his reputation is.
    Frankly, a good newspaper editor--probably even a bad one--would never have let your story go the way it was written. They would have told you to re-write it to be slightly more circumspect with your "accusation" (as it were) and your overly-affirmative statements. ALLEGED hoax. POSSIBLE hoax. POINTS TO IT BEING a hoax. All of these would have been more acceptable ways of describing the situation as it is at this stage.
    Up until now, even with what you've given so far, there is still no concrete proof offered that Socorro WAS *in fact* a hoax. We only have strong indications of it. (By the way... I'm inclined to believe it *was* a hoax---in fact I've always thought it was likely a hoax, or that Zamora witnessed some kind of military or secret industrial device or craft). From your first article, it was still possible that Prof. Colgate may have *believed* it to have been a hoax perpetrated by NM students---but perhaps he didn't *really* know this for certain. Perhaps he himself had no real evidence to be sure about it, but simply believed it to be so, based on what he *did* know. We couldn't be sure, given what you had submitted in the story. In short, you never offered to yourself the possibility that Colgate was *mistaken.* Not lying. Not believing liars. But simply not in possession of enough facts to *really* be sure.
    Now, if you had or have evidence that says otherwise--that definitively shows that Colgate DID know for sure---then you should have presented that. But regardless, you should have kept your rhetoric to a more balanced frame, rather than playing it up as a "done deal," a sure thing, that Socorro had been a hoax. You now believe it to be so, based on what you've seen and heard and come across. And as I say, you're more or less reasonable to believe this. But a journalist needs to convince his audience, not himself. He needs to be balanced and proper, to avoid definitive statements when the evidence (thus far) really does not permit such statements.
    You did not cleave to this rule, and so your articles so far (particularly the first one) while intriguing, have come off as sensationalist and over the top---not something you want to do when you're trying to present the truth to people in a way in which they'll accept it AS truth.

    By Blogger Randy, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Anthony Bragalia responds to Randy's comments (above):


    It is newsworthy and within all "accepted journalistic standards" to have reported what I have reported. Everything related is accurate and "fact checked."

    Many others of impeccable reputation were contacted who substantiated Colgate.

    The NM College Tech President - in the winter of his life - has finally confessed. He does not merely "believe" it to be a hoax - he says that it is in fact a hoax.

    But he goes much further. He confirms that he actually knows one of the responsible pranksters.

    And even more, it is a personal friend of his. He will try to get the responsible [person] to come forward but warns it may be difficult because they do not want to have their identities revealed.

    I located a four-decades old, uncontested, private document from Colgate to Pauling which affirms much of what I have reported.

    There is nothing "over the top" about this.

    Thanks for your well-meaning comments. They are duly noted.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Tony:
    Sorry, but I think you've missed the point entirely.
    A) I never said what you wrote was not "newsworthy." This is an attempt to deflect the criticism I leveled at you without actually answering it. Yes, of course what you wrote was "newsworthy." But I was addressing the WAY you wrote it, not the FACT that you wrote it.
    B) As for it being with accepted journalistic standards, I beg to differ. But again, here you've *missed the point entirely.* It is NOT that you didn't "fact check," nor is it that the FACTS which you report are inaccurate in and of themselves. RATHER, it is the WAY you presented these items that is the problem here. You made strong, unequivocal definitive statements which, given the "facts" and material you presented, were not appropriate. You presented factual items, yes. But it was the *conclusion* you drew from those items that was off the mark and *over the top.*

    "Many others of impeccable reputation were contacted who substantiated Colgate."

    BUT in your original article you did not really identify these "others." Nor did you provide corroborating EVIDENCE. You had the scoop you had, and you presented it as an already-determined FACT. That is NOT good journalism. You made a conclusion which you in fact failed to fully substantiate.

    You MAY be 100% right--if you recall, I don't quarrel with that at all. I in fact think you probably ARE right. But until you provide a solid set of fully-corroborated--AND FULLY PRESENTED--facts, what you are offering is essentially ONLY your opinion. Not fact. Now clearly, you've followed up here with more evidence, with more corroboration. But why didn't you present this in your *original* article? And if you didn't have it yet, why did you write said article as though you already had?
    "And even more, it is a personal friend of his. He will try to get the responsible [person] to come forward but warns it may be difficult because they do not want to have their identities revealed."

    You're simply repeating yourself. AGAIN---I don't doubt that all this is probably true. I've always had my doubts about the Socorro story. But you didn't AS YET have the whole story to give us, that enabled you to make such definitively sweeping statements. THAT is where your mistake lies, and why you had so much negative reaction to your original article.

    "I located a four-decades old, uncontested, private document from Colgate to Pauling which affirms much of what I have reported.
    There is nothing "over the top" about this."

    Well excuse me, but you're simply being either A) disingenuous here, or B) obtuse. I KNOW you found the document. I KNOW you've begun to get corroboration on it. That was NOT my point, and I think you're smart enough to know that. Where you in fact went over the top was in the WAY you presented this material; in short, as absolute, already proven, unassailable TRUTH. That is simply poor journalism, when you haven't yet identified all the parties, are working partly on hearsay, and haven't YET proven that facts A,B, and C must automatically lead one to inescapable conclusion Z. All you had to do was to pull back a little; to INDICATE rather than conclude. It would have made you sound much more reasonable and less authoritative, because someone reporting something like this should NOT make noises of authority, but rather simply REPORT and allow the facts and witnesses themselves to speak clearly.

    Please realize, I am not trying to belittle you personally or simply start an argument; I am trying to point out that you took a needless misstep by presenting this story as ironclad and established fact, without coughing up ALL the necessary evidence and corroboration (let alone names) up front. That kind of thing hurts your credibility, *even if you're right.* And listen, I applaud you and your effort, if it turns out you *are* right on this--and I suspect you are. I'm merely critiquing the way you went about it, which hurt rather than helped your cause.

    By Blogger Randy, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • an interesting follow-up, it almost seems like you are withholding info to build up the drama. This may say more about the (poor) powers of human observation than anything else. If this was a balloon with scribbled insignia, a couple of smallish students in coveralls, and some means to generate a bit of flames - and Zamora thought he saw an alien ship land, and the aliens GET BACK IN AND TAKE OFF - then I can only say he needs to sue his optometrist.

    By Blogger jamesrav, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Anthony Bragalia replies (again) to Randy (above):

    Randy -

    Oh Randy, just take the steak if you don't like the sizzle!

    I am anything but disingenuous. Those who know me personally will attest to this. I find out the facts, report them as factual items and draw informed conclusions based on these data. I concede that I report boldy. And such boldness has re-ignited old stories, produced new leads and revealed things that have remain hidden.

    If you have issues with my style -or the "positioning" of my material - then concentrate solely on the facts presented. I will not argue with you that my tenor may be too much for your taste. But I like my coffee strong.

    You say of my take on Socorro that you suspect I am right! I appreciate that. Because on this I am right - and that is how I write. But it is not about that - it is about facilitating the emergence of truth on this matter after nearly a half-century.

    Incidently Randy, those who corroborated Colgate were most definitely included in the first article, I suggest that you reread it.

    Jamesrav -

    You are astute about the "build up." Why this is so may become more clear soon. But you are incorrect about the beings getting back into the craft.

    Lonnie reports they left from his view. He described the "craft" as being "smooth" - no windows or doors.

    Anthony Bragalia

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • I stand corrected about the 'occupants' getting back in, my assumption getting ahead of the facts. Really the key to all this is Mr. Zamora, are we talking somewhat gullible, prone to being deceived, or an astute observer with a razor sharp mind? When this case is presented in books, it's always "a respected police officer" (ie a better observer than you or I, and honesty is not in doubt), whereas we all know a lot of cops in smallish towns may not be the brightest bulbs. Some comments seem to skirt the issue, without wanting to flat-out call him ... well, a bit dim. Can some high IQ college students fool a small-town cop with an 90 IQ, with bad eyesight to boot. No doubt about it.

    By Blogger jamesrav, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Randy -

    Dr. J. Allen Hynek himself said of Zamora that -though he was sincere - he was not "overly bright or articulate." Hynek made note of that in his report for Project Blue Book after interviewing Lonnie for some time.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • "Tom says that one of the things that frustrates him is that people have the idea that the area is flat and featureless, leaving no possibility for escape of the hoaxsters. But Tom says that the area is in fact filled with arroyos, rolling and rocky hillettes, and large brush and shrub. He told of a pastime at Tech- playing "hide and seek" in the maze of such arroyos outside town. Staying out of view of others out there was easy, he says."

    This part of the story needs to get out there as does the fact that Zamora was no closer than 500 feet from the vehicle.

    Unfortunately, the waters of this case were muddied very early on by the reckless and irresponsible Phil Klass, who accused virtually everyone of perpetrating a hoax . . except the students who pulled it off.

    It should be clear that Zamora was just doing his job and telling the truth. I think it's one of Anthony's most important findings. The rush to judgment and questioning of people's character makes getting at the truth more difficult.

    It happened with Zamora 45 years ago and it's happening to Anthony now.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • 500 feet (roughly 170 yards) is a long way, as a golfer I can see how easily Zamora could have been deceived at that distance. Balloon goes up, students run away ... voila. Reasons for not fessing up by now? Don't want to embarrass a still living Zamora perhaps ("with a cheap balloon and some students in coveralls we made him look like a buffoon"). Was there a crime committed that could be prosecuted at the present? If not (and unless Zamora would be bitter), I think it'd be a great meeting of all involved. Not sure the major media would know or care at this point, which is sad for such an important 'case' in Ufology.

    By Blogger jamesrav, at Monday, October 05, 2009  

  • Anthony, how does Colgate's "no-brainer" Socorro 'explanation' - i.e., an explanation so obvious only an idiot'd need it explained to them - mutate into the sophisticated work of a highly secret group of uber-nerds (an '"extreme prankster" cabal reflect[ing] a technological "caper culture" that was unique in all the world'), capable of running rings around the likes of military intelligence?

    You write of Colgate: 'He is either 1) a liar 2) believes liars or 3) is telling the truth. There really is very little "wiggle" room to draw any other conclusion.'

    Setting aside the issue '3' is the same as '2', if Colgate was speaking on behalf of UFO witness claimants, then two other possibilities'd become instantly obvious to you: 1) Colgate's 'witnesses' were themselves mistaken/confused/deluded; 2) Colgate himself, 45 years after the event was, as a result of his age, mistaken/confused/deluded.

    Even when Colgate was trying to put Pauling off about the case in '64 he clearly didn't know how the supposed hoax'd been done, otherwise he'd've quite happily spilled something of what he knew at the time, (if only to show off to the double Nobel Prize winner the excellence of his students), which suggests he himself wanted to believe it was a hoax right from the start.

    The fact Colgate originally referred to it as a no-brainer strongly suggests to me in fact there were no uber-nerds and there was no secret super technology pranks - these, as an explanation, came later.

    Put it this way, if these nerds - or Colgate on their behalf - 'd claimed to've used their techno-wizardry to lure the likes of, say, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, and Sophia Loren to a frat party, you'd've laughed your self silly and this story'd've never seen the light of day.

    The key(s) to the Socorro story, to me, is 1) Zamora, a cop, broke off his pursuit, and my 'father-in-law', a cop, told me coppers, even to this day, love pursuits and break them off only highly reluctantly, even to the point of ignoring orders - and Socorro was in the '60s;

    2) after breaking off, Zamora took an absolute age tracking down the hypothetical exploding dynamite shack fire which'd drawn his attention;

    3) in his notes he constantly refers to seeing a car which eventually gave him the jolt of his life by shooting up in the air and then soaring off into the distance.

    All of which means, 1) the hoax depended on someone drawing Zamora to the right place and not getting caught before they got there; 2) it depended on Zamora not only actually noticing the fire but in the sight of it sufficiently peaking his interest to make him first break off his pursuit, then get out his car and start hiking over rough hilly terrain obscuring his view in pursuit of what might've been a mere optical illusion in the first place; 3) the uber-nerds' flying 'car' actually working in the way required and not just misfiring or blowing up.

    It strikes me the real 'no-brainer' here is that for people supposedly so clever, why did they take so many risks over Zamora failing to play his part and thus the 'prank' failing abjectly, when all they had to do was place the 'ufo' event within sight of the road?

    What I love best about this whole story, though, is just how fantastical some of these so-called rational explanations can become in their attempts to explain away other supposedly irrational events.

    What's the next revelation in this amazing story someone's go'n'o come up with?

    The uber-nerds were really the off-spring of Illuminati initiates crossed with Shamballa born super brides, and this was why they were capable of building their very own real life version of fantasy puppet show Supercar?

    By Blogger borky, at Tuesday, October 06, 2009  

  • "as a golfer I can see how easily Zamora could have been deceived at that distance."

    Atta guy James. You've got it! You're thinking about this case like a golfer. :O)

    What a lot of sincere UFO researchers have been doing is thinking about this case like researchers and not like magicians, which is where the answer lies.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, October 06, 2009  

  • The road Zamora drove on ringed the arroyo so he never got that much closer to the vehicle when it launched than he was when he first saw it.

    When he gets as close as he can in the car, 500 feet away is a conservative distance, he stops and gets out.

    "got out of car and started to go down to where I knew the object (car) was. Hardly turned around from car, when heard roar (was not exactly a blast), very loud roar--at that close was real loud. heard roar, turned away, ran away from object but did turn head toward object."

    Read Zamora's account, not other people's account of his account, and actually look at a map of the site.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, October 07, 2009  


    Haven't worked with imagevenue in awhile . . . my bad :O(

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, October 07, 2009  


    This is the source I'm using for Zamora's account. I'm not inventing anything. I don't know where you're getting your 100 feet away claim. I'd like to see it backed up.

    "got out of car and started to go down to where I knew the object (car) was."

    Where I knew the object was? What kind of statement is that? Unless Zamora can't see the vehicle from where he parks his car which, if you check out the terrain mapping of the area actually checks out.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, October 07, 2009  

  • The proximity is confusing me a bit and it may be an important clue to whether he was hoaxed or not. 35 feet is very close, but Zamora's own account places him at 200 feet. How he could confuse himself being at 35 feet instead of 200 (which was what he said) leaves me with little understanding on how this figure was derived. Are we saying that Zamora had no clue how far away he really was?? I mean was it a long basketball shot or a nine iron?? Big difference between the two as far as getting a good view.

    By Blogger TC, at Thursday, October 08, 2009  

  • If the Socorro Case is proven to have been a hoax, and the leading UFO researchers acccept it as such, it will be a plus for UFOlogy in general because it will show that the discipline, such as it is, to be a rational pursuit and self-correcting.
    The key to this will be if the alledged hoaxers will come forward and submit themselves to some sort of cross-examination. As a youngster once, I think we can all remember the thrill of pulling a prank, although this one may have gotten somewhat out of hand.
    As for the true beleivers and the true non believers, no amount of evidence, pro or con, will ever convince them to change their minds.

    By Blogger gleaner63, at Saturday, October 10, 2009  

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