Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Socorro UFO Landing
Part II

Sgt. Lonnie Zamora, Mr. Burns (FBI), Maj. H. Mitchell (AFMDC), Coral Lorenzen of APRO, and Sgt. Castle of the Military Police
By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective

Kevin Randle     I seem to have been deeply drawn into the latest investigations of the Socorro UFO landing. The latest theory to be floated was that it was a hoax perpetrated by students at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. One of the items in support of the theory is the cardboard found at the landing site and the suggestion that this cardboard was the remains of some kind of pyrotechnics that gave the object its alleged blue – colored flame. I say alleged because there is some discussion about this flame and whether or not it was ever there, but that is a discussion for another time.

I have read, carefully, the file that was held by the Air Force and Project Blue Book and I find no mention about how this cardboard was recovered. Hynek, in his reports, sort of brushed by it and I did find a list of materials submitted for analysis that does mention it.

The first real discussion about the cardboard is in a letter from UFO debunker, Dr. Donald Menzel, who questioned Dr. J. Allen Hynek about it. Since it, the cardboard, was found on the site, though no one seemed to have noted exactly where it was collected which seems to be a little sloppy for both the police officers and scientists involved, there was a question about it being related to the sighting.

In a letter dated February 19, 1965, Menzel, writing to Hynek, noted, "There was also a piece of charred cardboard. ... How big and what shape was the cardboard? Maybe it played a significant role in the enacted UFO drama. Did it, for example, support part of the aluminum foil? Were there holes in the cardboard to which aluminum might have been attached, or indentations carved by paper clips or the like?"

Hynek, in his notes to the chief of Blue Book, wrote, "As far as the cardboard is concerned, Menzel’s conjectures here fall completely flat. The cardboard was portions of very old and weathered corrugated [emphasis added] paper from a packing box [which also seems to answer questions about shape and holes]. There are many examples of this all over the region. There is a city dump not too far away, and when the wind, which blows tumbleweeds all over the place, gets hold of some of this stuff, it scatters the papers pretty well all over the region. Many of the bushes, I noticed particularly this time, have papers caught on their underneath side. In any case, some of this paper was still there, and I shall send Menzel a sample of what this cardboard really looks like. I would say that the cardboard had been there through many rains and had suffered successive dryings [emphasis added]. The original piece I picked up was definitely charred."

The charred cardboard was not part of a tube, but of a packing box so it did not contain pyrotechnics. Hynek, who recovered it, seemed to believe that it was only associated with the sighting by proximity but had nothing to do with the case. It was Menzel who tried to turn it into evidence of a hoax, which is, of course, something that is going on today.

The records are quite clear about this. The cardboard was old and weathered. The landing site was near a dump and there was a lot of cardboard, and paper, and other debris blowing around the area. The most logical conclusion is that the cardboard had nothing to do with the sighting.

There is an ancillary issue here and that is the suggestion that this charred cardboard was part of the pyrotechnics used to create the original flame and give Zamora a reason for driving off into the desert. The Project Blue Book files and our old friend Colonel Eric T. de Jonckheere provides an answer for us. In his May 28, 1964 letter, which was sent to "Hq USAF SAFOI PB (Mrs Gaiser)* he wrote:
(5) Soil Samples: The soil samples obtained at the sighting were given to Dr. J. Allen Hynek by Capt Holder. They were turned over to Captain Quintanilla who in turn submitted them to ASD for analysis. Laboratory analysis of the soil was completed on 19 May 64. It included spectrographic analysis which revealed that there was no foreign material in the soil samples (emphasis added). Also, no chemicals were detected in the charred or burned soil which would indicate a type of propellant (emphasis added). There was no significant difference in elemental composition between the different samples.
The evidence that was collected at the time of the sighting including the charred cardboard and the soil samples seem to rule out a pyrotechnic display. That is, all the evidence and not just the pieces that fit into a narrow window, seem to rule it out.

And again, I can ask, "Where does that leave us?"

Right back where we were. One side saying it was a hoax, but without the evidence necessary to sustain that conclusion, and the other side saying it was an alien spacecraft, but with only the eyewitness testimony of Lonnie Zamora to the strangeness of the craft. What he reported doesn’t lead us to the extraterrestrial.

In other words, this case is unidentified.

*I believe the translation of this is Headquarters, United States Air Force, Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information and Mrs. Gaiser is the point of contact there.

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