Stanford, author of the 211-page book on the Socorro case
night, November 2, 2009, 'Lonnie' Zamora, likely North America's
most highly respected witness to something that the U.S. Air
Force's chief scientific investigator of UFOs eventually
admitted was, to use his own term, a "close encounter of the
third kind" died of what a Socorro Police spokesman described as
a heart attack.
24, 1964 (5:50 - ~ 5:53 PM), Socorro, New Mexico, case of a
well-documented, multi-witness, UFO landing is so well-known
that it need not be described in any great detail here.
Instead, our focus is upon the quality and character of Lonnie
Zamora, at the time a Socorro policeman, who reluctantly became
the 'central' and closest witness to the landing of, occupants
of, take-off and high-speed departure of, an ~ 18' UFO shaped
like an elongated egg. After the encounter, Zamora's ability
as an accurate and careful observer was attested to by the
famous meteor tracker, Dr. Lincoln la Paz, because of the
extraordinary accuracy of meteor-trail coordinate data Zamora
had earlier provided him, in helping search for a fallen
April 24, 1964, policeman Zamora would have laughed at the
suggestion that UFOs are anything about which a sensible
person should be concerned. When he had seen a brilliant 'flame'
in the sky and, then, the whitish, elongated object with two
figures no larger than "ten-year-old boys" in what looked like
white coveralls beside it, Zamora didn't think "Wow! A
UFO with humanoids beside it!". Absolutely not. He
thought, at first sight of the 'flame', of a nearby dynamite
shack blowing up, and upon first sight of the landed UFO and
occupants, that a car or van might have rolled or tumbled down
into the ravine bottom, and that the two
well-under-five-feet-tall bipedal figures in white might be
children, perhaps escaped from what he had taken to be a car in
the ravine bottom.
the character of the policeman, concern for safety and certainly
not about turning anything he saw into a UFO and
occupants. Until less that two minutes later, UFOs were
absolutely not a part of Lonnie Zamora's 'world view'.
readers know the rest of the story, but in remembering Lonnie
Zamora, let's have a brief look into a personal moment
of his family life, as a window into understanding the
of research into the case and publication, in 1976, of my
211-page book thoroughly documenting it, five more years had
passed when I received a totally unsolicited letter in 1981.
It was from Lonnie Zamora's daughter!
the following: "I just read your book, SOCORRO 'SAUCER' IN A
PENTAGON PANTRY. For once I felt like I was finally finding out
the truth about what my dad experienced on April 24, 1964. As
you well know, my dad is not a very verbal man, and the only
things my brother and I ever knew about my dad's sighting was
what we read in papers or books, and you know how
distorted those stories were. I was five years old at the time
of the sighting. I'm now 23. It was seventeen long years
continued by writing, "My dad, as I mentioned, has never been
willing to discuss the sighting with me. Finally a few days ago
he let me have your book and a box full of letters,
articles, and other books that he had saved. (All letters
daughter concluded that letter by saying, "Reason for my letter?
I'd like to talk with you...", and she gave me her phone number
in a location that was not Socorro, so she said that if I'd be
more comfortable that she was who she said, it would be O.K. to
send a letter to her father's address in Socorro, and that he
would forward it to her.
trusted the young lady and telephoned her. She was delighted,
saying, "...After all those years, dad handed me your
book and said it would tell me everything anyone could know
about the sighting. Dad said, emphatically, you're the
only writer who told the story, everything, and with
total accuracy. He wanted me to know that, unlike all other
accounts he had read, your book had everything
right...So what I want to know is whether you've learned
anything more about the case since finishing your book."
I told Lonnie's daughter what I had learned since the book, but
at that time, it wasn't very much.
nice conversation with her, I began to ask myself what it was in
Zamora's character that might make him hesitant to personally
tell the details of his sighting to his own children.
thing, the experience was both frightening (Those who know the
details will understand immediately.) and probably a bit painful
to Zamora. You see, he was, upon contemplating what had happened
afterward, forced to admit to himself that highly
extraordinary, small-occupant-bearing craft are flying around
and sometimes landing. He didn't like to talk about that reality
-- not to the media, not even to his own daughter and son. Yet,
I think there was more to Zamora's hesitancy to talk freely
about the occupants. By contrast, he had talked very freely
about them to Dr. J. Allen Hynek and me, along with State Police
Sergeant Samuel Chavez, who was the fourth and only other person
allowed at the site on the morning of April 29, 1964, the fifth
day after the landing. [See for reference, page 61 of the U.S.
hard-cover edition of my book on the case.]
had happened, sometime after 7:00 P.M. on the evening after
Zamora's terrifying encounter, Federal Bureau of
Investigations agent J. Arthur Byrnes, Jr., had interrogated the
witness. Upon hearing Zamora tell in no uncertain terms that he
had seen the two diminutive, white-clad, bipedal beings standing
right beside the NW landing leg of the craft and with their head
tops coming to only "well below" (Zamora's words) the
5' 2" creosote bust's uppermost part, the F.B.I. agent firmly
told Zamora (The words are reported here exactly as
Zamore later confessed them to me.), "It will be better
if you don't publicly mention seeing the two small figures in
white. No one will believe you anyhow."
please note the following fact carefully: ZAMORA
AGREED NOT TO TELL about the "as though in white
coveralls", diminutive beings he had seen by the creosote bush,
adjacent to the NW landing strut. Zamora had served in the
U.S. army, and respecting government authority, had taken his
promise to the F.B.I. agent as an oath to
officialdom. Resultantly, until later when Zamora got suspicious
that the government was trying to hide something they didn't
want the public to learn about, when asked about his initial
description of the beings, would simply say things like, "Well,
I did see something like a couple of pairs of white coveralls,
kinda' like hanging on a clothesline, you know..." He never
explained how one of the two pair of coveralls, upon seeing his
police car top the mesa, had, "...jumped, kinda' like
startled, you know..." Personally, I think the white
coveralls hanging on a clothesline comment was really just a
sarcastic quip, because of the non-disclosure promise agent
Byrnes had extracted from him. Whatever its origin, Hynek
referred to it in his media conference on April 29, in a
continuing government attempt to obfuscate the sighting of very
much alive humanoids occupying those 'coveralls'.
reading my Socorro book, Hynek confessed to me that he said that
only because he had been there in an official-investigator
capacity for the USAF. After all, Zamora had carefully, within
the hour just before the media conference described to Hynek and
me the occupants wearing those 'coveralls'. :-)
about the red shape Zamora saw on the middle-side of the
ellipsoid-shaped craft: ZAMORA HAD, in his own
mind, TAKEN ANOTHER OATH TO THE GOVERNMENT HE LOVED:
On that same April 24, 1964, evening, Captain Ord/C, Richard T.
Holder, U.S. Army, 095052, Up-Range Commander at White Sand's
Stallion Site, had told the witness, as Zamora described to me,
after much coaxing, on April 29, 1964, "If I were you, I
wouldn't describe the symbol you saw on the side of the vehicle to
anyone except official investigators."
ZAMORA AGREED. Then, I have reasons to believe,
Holder drew the now familiar vertical arrow with an arc over it
and a line under it [A copy of that original, clearly drawn
in its first version by Holder -- just compare it to
Zamora's copies of that fake symbol -- is in my files.] and then
Holder had Zamora sign under it, as though THAT were what he
saw. I am now convinced enough to tell anyone -- since
Lonnie Zamora is now gone, and there is no risk to embarrass him
for participating in the cover-up -- the
vertical arrow with an arc over it and the line under it IS NOT
WHAT ZAMORA SAW. Lonnie kept that promise to
Holder, not to reveal what he actually saw, for the rest of his
life. Zamora had agreed with Holder that putting out the
fake symbol would conveniently identify any copy-cat hoaxers
because they would describe the fake symbol instead of the REAL
one. I agree that Zamora made the right choice, in that case,
because it surely set a trap for hoaxers and even
for hallucinating persons.
WHAT ZAMORA REALLY SAW AND REPORTED TO HIS CO-WORKERS AND TO
CAPTAIN RICHARD T. HOLDER:
law-enforcement officer who talked to Zamora within minutes
to an hour or so after the event, including police dispatcher
Mike Martinez, told me unequivocally that what Zamora really saw
on the object was, as Martinez quoted Zamora in Spanish, "...un
'V' invertido, con tres líneas debajo," meaning exactly what it
says, "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it", and
not the thing he was drawing and telling others that he
saw, after Holder's request.
I am very
relieved, now that Lonnie has passed on and I don't have to be
concerned about publicly embarrassing him, that I now
can finally stop equivocating about which shape Zamora did or
didn't see on the object.
persons 'engaged in UFO research' will be annoyed with me for
saying the following: I commend Lonnie Zamora, a man
of his word, for keeping his promise in not revealing what
he actually saw in red on the side of the object. I comment
Captain Richard T. Holder for his thoughtfulness in asking
Zamora to obfuscate the real appearance of the red thing he saw,
so that any copy-cat hoaxes could be nipped in the bud.
commend Zamora for his patriotism (however ill-conceived some
persons might consider it to be) to things he deemed important
to do for his country.
In turn, I
deeply respect Zamora, since he did not want to break his word
to Captain Holder, and, thus refused to tell his two
children anything, in preference to telling
them something that would break his promise(s) to the
government., and realizing he could, when they grew up,
let them guess the truth for themselves, in his saying that I
got everything right in the book.
did Zamora do? He, in fact, gave my book to his
account-insistent daughter, and told her I was the only writer
who got everything right. Surely he had in mind my
book's Appendix A, titled, "An Obfuscated Red Insignia?", which
reveals what really happened concerning the red shape on the
object, without actually saying for sure that Zamora agreed to
an investigations-useful cover-up of the appearance of the real
shape on the object, and leaving a final conclusion to the
reader, because of wanting to protect Zamora for his, in my
opinion, wise decision to comply with holder's explained and
very reasonable obfuscation request. In the book's front
illustrations of the event, I used the substituted (fake) shape
for what Zamora saw, but explained in the appendix that I
did it so that persons who have believed the fake symbol would
not refuse to read my book, thinking I didn't really know what
the symbol was (in their mistaken opinions).
Lonnie's 45-year-old secret is out and I have declared my
reasons for respecting his decisions to abide what Holder asked
him to do.
years, Zamora became highly suspicious and even disgusted at the
USAF's refusal to return New Mexico State Policeman Ted V.
Jordan's reportedly irradiated first-after-the-event photos, or
even copies of whatever turned out on the film. As Lonnie has
said publicly, that made him begin to suspect that the
government is unjustifiably hiding something, and that
the something might be visitation to earth by beings
and a technology that could not have originated here.
this eulogy, I should tell you that at least a couple of weeks
before Lonnie died last Monday, November 2, 2009, he learned of
Anthony Bragalia's irresponsible (because Bragalia did not
bother to tell people it was only one man's totally
unsubstantiated claim, made in desperation of disbelief in
the possibility of visitation from outside this planet) internet
headline declaration that the Socorro case had been exposed as a
student hoax. Bragalia knew his case is so totally insubstantial
that he refused (and still refuses) to debate me
on Coast-to-Coast AM, with George Knapp.
now asked me if I think Bragalia's insistence that Zamora was
just a fool for an imaginary student's pyrotechnics and balloon
(which would have had to have flown off directly into the
wind) being mistaken for something the policeman never believed
in to begin with, could have caused him such anger as to induce
a fatal heart attack. Perhaps my questioners never got the
chance to see, years back, on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries,
Zamora's obviously completely -- no stress-on-his-face
-- at-ease statement that he didn't care whether anyone believes
or disbelieves what he saw and experienced.
due reflection on that question, I must declare: ABSOLUTELY
NOT. Zamora could not have personally cared what a false-rumor
monger trumpets as though the monger were a hero.
to think about it, Bragalia's trumpeting Sterling Colgate's
delusion about what happened at Socorro supports such utterly
ridiculous 'constructs' about how a student hoax might
hypothetically have been performed (forget the hoax's fly over
of some Colorado tourists' car, almost taking the roof and its
radio antenna off, that it made enough sound on landing and
take-off as to be clearly heard over half a mile away, and that
after takeoff it reached a speed of somewhere between 3,000 and
7,000 miles per hour in less than 30 seconds), that knowing good
old Lonnie Zamora, with a little persuasion, I might become
convinced that the truth is:
Zamora DIED LAUGHING!
He was the
most objective, unwilling to embellish, witness I've ever
interviewed, among hundreds, across my more than 56
years of actively researching UFOs.
Lonnie Zamora will endure in history as a witness so credible
that the USAF officially had to take its hat off to him and
declare what he saw to be a truly unidentified flying (and
beloved Lonnie Zamora rest in peace. That is, if he can ever
stop laughing at Bragalian fantasies about his
on, dear friend.
Stanford, who literally wrote the book on the Socorro case
and Director, Organization for Physical UFO Science