UFO Conjectures

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fulcanelli, Alchemy, and the Socorro Insignia/Symbol

Our colleague, Spanish UFO researcher Jose Antonio Caravaca, sent us this representation of the Socorro symbol found in a letter from J. Allen Hynek to Blue Book Director Hector Quintanilla purportedly being the symbol that Lonnie Zamora saw on the side of the egg-shaped device he saw in the desert in April 1964.

(Señor Caravaca tells us that the symbol was found in a newly declassified letter from September 1964 discovered by researcher James Fox in the National Archive.) 
While placing the image in a UFO archive, I found this piece of material that, I think, we put online once before here or at one of our other blogs:
The alchemist Fulcanelli, mentioned in the piece, piqued my interest, so I looked him up on Wikipedia:

That led me to seek out alchemical symbols. Here are some:
One can see the similarities to any of the alleged symbols seen and drawn by Police Officer Lonnie Zamora:, including the one sent to us by Jose Caravaca, and also the symbol allegedly spotted on a UFO by Gary Chopic in 1973:

What may this mean?



  • Rich this is one of your most important postings, because to me the Socorro sighting is a real mystery, from either a psychological-sociological angle or an admittedly more way out Occult or Fortean event or to put it another way a parasociological phenomenon, to use Eric Ouellet's terminology (if one is open to that kind of thing, admittedly controversial).

    The symbolism of the image on the craft is I think a big clue to the nature of the phenomenon, the thing is what does it mean? Yes it does have a strong alchemical resonance and associations.

    As far as Fulcanelli (a pseudonym) is concerned, I did read his famous book, 'Mystery of the Cathedrals' and another biography on him. Thing is I have forgotten everything. Yes that 1937 encounter type experience with 'Fulcanelli' is known to alchemical scholars. IF true, it has all the hallmarks of an MIB 'extraordinary encounter', that appears constantly in UFO lore and the occult literature. Yet that encounter cannot be taken at face value, and it is more than doubtful that the figure was Fulcanelli himself, rather it may have been some kind of archetypal event or some-such.

    The problems with the Socorro symbol is we can't quite be certain which symbol was seen by Zamora (the whole Ray Stanford controversy), although I think Rich has done a lot to clear things up here. And get to the bottom of it, as much as possible.

    Another problem is that a lot of UFO folk think this sighting was a hoax, a prank, despite all the shortcomings with that notion. Ironically this prevents those who would otherwise have an interest in the case and have a knowledge of Forteana, the occult and alchemy from looking into it. A case in point is one of the most original and important thinkers in ufology (from a paranormal perspective), Eric Ouellet who became convinced the case was a prank set up by college students (as the conventional take goes). And so he never bothered to wrestle with the deeper meaning here, because he didn't think there was one. Yet Caravaca I think also capable of decoding this. We cannot of course rule out multiple meanings.

    By Blogger Lawrence, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • nicely done, RR

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  


    Incredibly, Fulcanelli (and alchemy and the interpretation of symbols) are featured prominently in the book "The Morning of the Magicians" by Pawels and Bergier.

    The book was published in 1960, and by 1963 it was an international bestseller and hugely popular with college students and especially students of science and esoterica. It is not a stretch that the book was in the hands of New Mexico Techies at that time.

    The volume spurred a 1960s revival of interest in symbology and in alchemy. Today, the title remains a New Age classic.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • This symbol falls under the study of semiotics. The signifier in this case using the critical assumption that it is alchemical then goes into it’s historical context in origin. The strategy within the movement was two-fold as far as it’s stated and then unstated purpose. The first stated ( public ) purpose was the transmutation of base materials into gold as the first step toward what became chemistry but this was interestingly enough, a misdirection of attention aimed at the Catholic church to avoid being placed on the rack during the Inquisition. The unstated purpose was the transmutation of being as a form of codex within a methodology to transmute the base psychology of it’s adherents into a proverbial gold. This methodology was in direct opposition to church edicts as there was the primary philosophy that it ( transmutation ) was self directed versus the rote repetition and adherence to intercessors of the church.
    This goes even further back to earlier forms of this same teaching which can be traced by their common chief characteristics.
    So you have a discernment in this in terms of what the signifier may contain in terms of purpose in relation to whom it is directed , the observed and the observer. I suspect you will not find this in a compendium or encyclopedia of symbols. I have tried to no avail although the base components match.
    I suspect perhaps it is a new variant or arrangement that has been integrated into in parallel to a new form of physicality which has another obscure thread and that is to hints and clues and at times, outright claims of a certain sect that a extremely small group can make such things manifest and this arises out of the Middle East. One prominent figure was asked what UFO’s signify. His simple answer was “to cause wonder”
    Having researched the background of this, I think this could fall under a deconstructive process in terms of being directed at rational logic..a challenge of provocation to promote reconsideration of critical assumptions. This bears some resemblance to Vallee’s control theory.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • Also…
    I should further qualify what the apparent purpose of this indirect influence may be and that is how we define evolution by biological characteristics or the scientific materialism of tool making, everything from I-Phones to adaptation to the environment, whereas they make the discernment between knowledge and being. In other words, this cannot be done directly or externally it comes from driving curiosity. They never act directly as a consequence. Gurdjieff commented on this technique by saying they just didn’t bury the bone, they buried the dog. Again this fits into self directed analysis as an effect of deconstructing critical assumptions as to the drivers within the relationship of consciousness to behavioral psychology by effect. The aim in this is to create an impetus to probe on the part of the observer as a form of deconstructive semiotics.
    The saying among them is don’t look at whats in my hand, look at what I am pointing to.
    There is much much more I have looked into as far as this is concerned but I thought additional qualifiers were needed to clarify this alternative perspective.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • "The problems with the Socorro symbol is we can't quite be certain which symbol was seen by Zamora...."

    Especially since the frightened man had lost his glasses and was viewing from "150 to 200 yards."

    And the resting object first appeared to be an "overturned white car...up on radiator or on trunk" that in rapidly receding flight became "Oval in shape...smooth—no windows or doors...Noted red lettering of some type. Insignia was about 2½' high and about 2' wide I guess. Was in middle of object...Object still like aluminum-white."

    So what had looked like the exposed mechanisms of an overturned car--motor, drive-train, cables, wiring, tanks--but of all polished aluminum was transformed into a seamless oval. And the actual details of the red lettering the frightened glasses-less Zamora thought he saw as it rapidly ascended is just as ambiguous--making all comparisons completely speculative.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • Ah, Zoam....you do Officer Zamora an injustice.

    He only lost his glasses for a short period as the object was departing.

    All-in-all, he provided a superb witness account, and he never offered that his object was an alien craft.

    One has to give him kudos for that.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • I think Zoams head imploded in a "speculative" frenzy of rigidity..I wasn't there I don't know seems to be an existential crisis to be avoided at all costs. Damn the torpedoes! I for one appreciate his sly,sardonic sense of subtle humor.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, July 31, 2014  

  • After seeing a flame and hearing a roar, and thinking the Mayor's dynamite shack might have exploded, Zamora went to the location. And after climbing a steep hill:

    From inside his car at "150 to 200 yards" Zamora saw down into a dry wash, a canyon, what appeared to be an upright rectangle of aluminum-colored machinery the size of a car and two smallish men in white beside it. He thought they saw him.

    He had only got out of car to approach the thing when it started roaring and flaming, scaring Zamora so much that he turned and ran for cover behind his car, hitting his leg on the rear bumper and knocking off his glasses.

    Only AFTER losing his glasses did the frightened Zamora glance back at 25 feet--running, crouching, covering his face--and then at another 25 feet away to catch glimpses of what now appeared to be a seamless aluminum-colored oval, roaring, flaming, continuing its blastoff. Only THEN he "Noted red lettering of some type."

    So my point remains, Rich and Bruce: Zamora's sketchy "UFO" narrative, like a hundred others, is composed of seemingly confused impressions--not to be taken as an accurate record of the event--and certainly not a single detail, "red lettering of some type," seen in glimpses from 200 yards by a frightened man who had lost his glasses. Even though he drew what he thought he saw, how much is confabulation?

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • Zoam:

    The excerpt you present is in error.

    I don't know from what internet source you obtained the errant account but I assure you that the sequence is way off.

    I have placed, earlier here, the full, verbatim account from Hynek's book, and Officer Zamora lost his glasses as the "thing" was blasting off, departing.

    He saw the red-lettered insignia well before that, with his glasses on.

    No wonder you get screwed up; you're reading bad reportage and lousy internet input.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • It's too bad there weren't manned firetowers in the area (as there were at Falcon Lake) so the rangers could testify that they observed nothing of the sort described by Zamora--neither a rectangle of aluminum-colored machinery nor a seamless flaming oval. And it's too bad there weren't tens of thousands of residents of a city nearby (as there were in the Piney Woods of East Texas) who somehow failed to notice a glowing, flame-sputtering radioactive vehicle the size of a watertower being towed by 23 incredibly loud and lighted Chinook helicopters who could also say they saw nothing of the sort described by Zamora. Those two wild tales were definitely hoaxes. Burnt brush, impressions in the ground, a trench are nothing extraordinary.

    When one manufactures evidence to support a "UFO" fairy tale, it's called a hoax.

    But Zamora didn't claim he had seen a "spaceship" or claim that he thought "it was the end of time" because he just wasn't that imaginative. Look at his crude sketch. No, Barn... ah, Lonnie's sketchy fairy tale was limited to what he'd glimpsed for a few seconds when not covering his eyes on a particulary frightening episode of The Outer Limits. Yes, I know Lonnie was supposed to be the victim--not the hoaxster.

    Finally, and if it's not clear already, though all the "UFO" narratives referenced are different in their details, there's a sameness about their quality, Carl Sagan called this the failure of imagination in "UFO" fairy tales. If there really was a phenomenon of any kind, the stories of encounters with it would be a lot more interesting! Much much more interesting than the familiar stuff of Amazing with its stories of ancient languages and mysterious symbols, mystery metals and dead aliens--fundamental tropes of the completely fictional origin of the "UFO" myth and collective delusion.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • "I have placed, earlier here, the full, verbatim account from Hynek's book, and Officer Zamora lost his glasses as the "thing" was blasting off, departing."

    Yes, exactly, and that's when he got his best views--as unreliable as they may be given the circumstances--as I read the Wiki account. And that's when he noticed "red lettering of some type."

    Before that, he thought he was seeing an upright rectangle of aluminum-colored machinery. Its strange transformation into a seamless egg-shaped, rocket-powered air or spacecraft is an important point that's being ignored. What does that say about Zamora's reliability as a witness to a literal event, or further, what it indicates about his confabulatory narrative creation.

    I think I've made clear why a literal interpretation of Zamora's account--especially "the red lettering" detail, glasses or no glasses--is not justified.

    I thought Lawrence had a good point that others have made previously, Don, maybe: We don't know what he saw or if he saw anything at all.

    Read my last two posts as first the PSHer who gives Zamora the benefit of doubt, and then as the armchair debunker who--as with the Palmer/Arnold hoax--has heard various "solutions" to Socorro but makes his own determination. Who only now has considered this all-too-familiar 1960s "egg-shaped spacecraft and small men in coveralls" television-inspired dream-like event turned nightmare well enough to have some determination.

    I'll read the Hynek account. Thank you.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • Thank you Zoam...

    No matter how one might interpret Zamora's account, his rendition is one of the best in UFO lore.

    It's replete with a kind of certitude that most UFO reports lack.

    That is, he recounts his experience, no matter what that experience turns out to be, in a manner that one can accept as authentic.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • P.S. ..the hero of 'The Marching Morons' foreshadowed the appearance of 'Honest J. Allen Hynek', a U. of Chicago grad living in Evanston, IL:

    "A largely obliterated
    inscription said:


    "Honest John," famed in university annals, represents a challenge which
    medical science has not yet answered: revival of a human being accidentally
    thrown into a state of suspended animation. In 1988 Mr. Barlow, a leading Evanston real estate dealer, visited his
    dentist for treatment of an impacted wisdom tooth. "

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • Zoam:

    You're taking it out on Zamora that some have interpreted his "thing-spot" as an ET event.

    Officer Zamora merely presents what he experienced, a police report actually.

    How others have interpreted it is what you are upset about.

    It's not Zamora's content you are irked about; it's the accretions that have accrued to his report.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, August 01, 2014  

  • I think the anthropocentric take of making the deconstructive essence at the core of this phenomenon an object of rational enquiry focused on ourselves is a commentary in of itself.
    The scrutiny of our fellow beings as witnesses, the outrageous claims of cultists, the conspiracy angle of the military etc strikes me as navel gazing. Whereas if the point is the creation of semiotic illogic, the utilisation of logic to “decipher” a would be codex is like using a hammer to paint a wall.
    If this centuries old exercise to churn the unanswered question regarding our place in relation to where we are situated is a means rather than the subject of the object, we are asking the wrong questions in my view. It is not as direct as everyday phenomenon. I noticed in the comments a lot of self referencing our own cultural material which is only a small portion of the overall rubric.
    This has more to do with the traditional roots of language characterised in the term charisma associated with magical, the miraculous, the liminal as attached to our earliest forms of curiosity regarding the natural world..I would suggest our modern myths are no more sophisticated than those of many centuries ago, and what we call civilisation is a misnomer..nothing has essentially changed. We want the immaterial made material in our terms as thats all we know.
    I think Jorges Borges said it best..
    “......we have dreamt the world. We have dreamt it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time; but we have left in its architecture tenuous and eternal interstices of unreason, so that we know it is false.”

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Also..
    Back to alchemy..If I had to characterize or classify this phenomenon in those terms, it is a gaseous state which conforms to an analog of where it occurs, in the atmosphere and it's characteristics match as being capable as being in a liquid, gaseous and solid form or state. I think quite a few individuals have read alchemy but don't really read the material on it's own terms.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Zoam wrote:

    “…..If Zamora had claimed that he saw an invisible fire-breathing dragon in the canyon--which in effect he did--would we be obliged to take his story at face value?....:

    Ah, but Zamora didn’t report a fire-breathing dragon, he reported an advanced piece of transportation technology. Zoam’s tiny little monkey mind is the one that is inadequate to the task of making finer discriminations and therefore conflates the two ideas. This is the exact point in the argument where Zoam illustrates Arthur C. Clarke’s famous 3rd law which states that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Rich;

    I've said nothing to connect Zamora and the ETH; and I've said nothing to indicate I'm being influenced by ETHer interpretations of Socorro. But Lonnie's extraordinary fairy tale is not very different from other "UFO" stories that have ET interpretations.

    You recently mentioned the 1960s trend of "egg-shaped spacecraft and small men in coveralls" stories in connection with Zamora's similar story and the "red lettering." It would be nice if someone cataloged these stories and their fictional antecedents.

    And I'm not bothered in the least by poor Lonnie or his sketchy, confused, excited and contradictory fairy tale. I'm interested in solving a seemingly insoluable riddle:

    How was what appeared to be a upright rectangle of aluminum-colored machinery the size of a car transformed into a seamless oval roaring and flaming on blastoff?

    If Zamora so wildly misinterpreted a test of a lunar lander carried by helicopter--as some have suggested and the most likely mundane answer after hoax--what does that say about Lonnie's powers of observation? Was he really that simple-minded?

    And how did the semicircle-arrow-underlined that Lonnie drew become an inverted "V" with lines of some reports?

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Zoam
    Reality or any concept attached to therein is "myth and collective delusion history as well." Anyone who tells you they "know" is guilty of naive realism as Wilson would say. I suspect your skepticism is too narrowly focused in picayune terms, not that I would dare to have your evangelistic zeal in regard toward converting your own personal "belief system"into a carbon copy of "something else."
    Always entertaining though.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Larry, missing the point of being dubious of all extraordinary claims, now claims that Zamora reported "an advanced piece of transportation technology." Really, Larry? Can you produce evidence to support that claim? And do you mean an ET spacecraft? Larry, is there a "UFO" story that's NOT a flying saucer to you?

    Skeptics deal in facts--veracious evidence--and reason, and are not in the least bit predisposed to pulp-fiction flying-saucer fantasies, Larry. It's what separates us from the ETapers. (g)

    Clarke wrote okay science-fiction, I suppose, which is all that quote is: fiction! But he was certainly no philosopher or would never have uttered such a worthless string of words. It might impress fantasy-prone minds but doesn't mean much if anything at all. I'd call it non-falsifiable. Any connection with Zamora's mundane misidentification at best, or sketchy evidenceless "UFO" fairy tale, exists only in Larry's imagination. Clarke once claimed there were giant worms in a Mars pic!

    It's funny how the real loons come out and I get accused of trashing Zamora and his story simply because I'm questioning it entirely. These "sacred" cases of the those who believe there is a "phenomenon" must remain fixed always; it cannot be revealed that simple-minded, frightened, running, falling, then glassesless, retreating, crouching and eye-covering Zamora didn't know what he had seen, and so he certainly could not report accurately on the unknown object or event.

    Human perceptions are remarkably unreliable under stressful, unfamiliar and unusual circumstances. Zamora had preconceptions about what was happening and so was primed for misperception of the event even before it began. Typical.

    Good one, Larry! Just keep pitching those slow screwballs and I'll hit them out of the park everytime. Hey, didn't I hear you on C2C once with JimO? Funny Stuff!


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • Zoam:

    Printy and Klass?

    Surely you jest.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, August 02, 2014  

  • No jesting, Rich! Tim's page "Philip Klass's 10 principles for investigating UFOs" is an excellent summary of the perceptual failures and psychological habits that cause people to misidentify mundane objects and create what are referred to as "UFO" reports: entirely predisposed local expressions of the latent delusion. (g)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, August 03, 2014  

  • I like it, Rich! That's what CB Moore told Jim Moseley in 2000.


    And when I googled for images of it, I found this instead.


    There were unconfirmed reports of a "strange helicopter" flying low near Socorro that day in April 1964--the month that the first finished Lunar Landing Research Vehicle was delivered by Bell to Edwards AFB. Bell had been developing this vehicle under contract since 1961, so it seems reasonable that several proof-of-concept and finished test vehicles may have been flown at White Sands in 1964.

    Maybe Lonnie saw a LLRV tester and two daredevil test pilots out on a Friday.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Monday, August 04, 2014  

  • That remains my view Zoam...

    But Our friend Anthony Bragalia insists the whole thing was a hoax and tells me he will have a denouement soon.

    I'm not holding my breath.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 04, 2014  

  • Socorro? Anthony Bragalia's first 'denouement' was a damp squib, so you are right not to hold your breath.

    But his next discovery will be the fact that the Battelle Institute analysed some fragments left behind by the device, and that they proved to be nitinol. Which of course proves that the Socorro craft was built on the same planet, and probably by the same engineers, as the Roswell craft.

    To top it off, the two craft landed in much the same place on planet earth.

    Simple, isn't it?

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, August 04, 2014  

  • LLRV's were one-seaters. So if Zamora saw two occupants, it wasn't from this vehicle.

    By Blogger Unknown, at Monday, August 04, 2014  

  • Anonymous;

    Maybe it was the flight-test engineer from chase helicopter not seen by Zamora.

    There were unconfirmed reports of a "strange helicopter" flying low near Socorro that day in April 1964....

    Here's one version of a "strange helicopter" and the chase helicopter.



    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, August 06, 2014  

  • "Anonymous/Unknown" is me, Ron. I didn't fill out the form here correctly the first time, but hopefully have fixed that. Sorry for the unintentional mystery.

    Your suggestion is certainly possible, but you can add any number of flight engineers and helicopters to the scenario to make it fit your way, but then it becomes your scenario, not Zamora's. I tend to believe in an earth-based encounter of some sort, but there are holes here. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I don't have any further "supposes" to add to the mix, but look forward to reading more.

    By Blogger Ron, at Wednesday, August 06, 2014  

  • Two of the "holes" in the LLTV/LLRV theory I alluded to above is this: first flight of LLRV #1 took place October 30, 1964, a full six months after Zamora's sighting. Flight tests were conducted at Edwards AFB test range and later Ellington AFB. No flights were reported off those facilities; LLTV/LLRV range was limited, tracking was necessary to document craft's performance, and a flat runway surface was preferred for landings rather than taking the chance of a desert landing where the vehicle could topple over on scrubs, into holes, and onto the occasional jackalope. The test vehicles were disassembled for transport from one facility to another.

    By Blogger Ron, at Wednesday, August 06, 2014  

  • Ron:

    You're missing some arcane information that we've presented here earlier.

    You can Google Howard Hughes adding this blog URL ufocon and you should find it.

    It eliminates the need to find a public record of what happened with prototypical craft by the agencies you note.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, August 06, 2014  

  • Rich, I know about the HH scenario. The LLTV was specifically referred to, I made my comments, I'm done.

    By Blogger Ron, at Wednesday, August 06, 2014  

  • [[ Two of the "holes" in the LLTV/LLRV theory I alluded to above....]]

    No holes, Ron. Bell had operated at White Sands since the 1940s and created the first prototype in 1961. The LLRV was under development from that year forward.

    Again, here's an image from 1963.


    Looks vaguely like a car's underside and an egg, and it's rocket powered.

    And what's that mysterious logo with the red vector?



    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Thursday, August 07, 2014  

  • And Ron;

    Any rational explanation of a "UFO" report--a confabulatory narrative of a purportedly extraordinary event--is necessarily another "scenario." It's an historical--that is, after the fact and with the benefit of hindsight, removed from the particular situation, and considering it in context--fact-infused and attempted objective analysis. It's a more likely real-world scenario.

    In an already excited state, Zamora saw something unusual to him, and so failed to understand and identify what he saw. Thus, a "UFO" report was generated.

    "We can consider the situation as a "black box" which consists of the human sensory/perceptual/mnemonic process. Into one end we insert any of a thousand various types of currency; we turn the crank and activate some undefined algorithm to process the raw stimulus; out the other end comes a "UFO report". We then collect and categorize these reports, and we attempt to define the inverse algorithm by going back to records which the stimulus made on other witnesses (different algorithms!) or on other recording media (more hi- fidelity black boxes, with much simpler transformation algorithms)."


    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, August 08, 2014  

  • Zoam, the photo of the Bell prototype is quite interesting; it looks like it could generate a scad of reports just sitting there. All that's missing from your account is its flight log and you've connected the dots.

    I appreciate your attempts to add more information to this. And I have stricken the word "scenario" from my vocabulary.

    Sorry, Rich. Now I'm done.

    By Blogger Ron, at Saturday, August 09, 2014  

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