Talk:Lonnie Zamora incident

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I have removed the Unsolved Mysteries link, as the Zamora case is no longer mentioned on the site.NickJones 01:58, 19 September 2007 (UTC) - NickJones, 9/18/07.

Name Change?[edit]

The article's name, simply "Lonnie Zamora", in my opinion does not adequately describe or indicate that this an article about a UFO incident. IMO, the article's name should be changed to something that better indicates what the article is actually about - "Socorro UFO incident", or "Lonnie Zamora UFO incident" would be better and more adequate. Other Wikipedia articles on UFO incidents do normally use UFO in their article title. Just a thought. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Extreme bias[edit]

This article seems to be extremely heavily infected by slanted and embellished accounts that have appeared in popular UFO books.

I propose to fix this by going to the best sources we have, Project Blue Book and Condon, then once the facts have been described going to the best of the many commentaries and describing those. Essentially this will be a complete rewrite. --TS 09:29, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

"Infected" is a pejorative term. "Influenced" or simply "slanted" would be more accurate and less emotive.Pwb51 (talk) 08:59, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree that "infected" is pejorative, but I also agree that the article is very much slanted towards a pro-UFO-believer stance.Die-yng (talk) 21:28, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Existing cited sources[edit]

There seems to be an unnecessary focus on sources who adhere to the fringe "extra-terrestrial" view. Sources include NICAP, Ann Druffel (a longtime NICAP member and author of "How to Defend Yourself Against Alien Abduction"), Ray Stanford who has described himself among other things as a "research psychic", and Brad Steiger who says he "grew up in a haunted house with thumps, bumps, doors opening and closing, and men and women walking around all night in period costume". There is a very serious problem. Most of these references are valueless to Wikipedia because they are blatantly unreliable.

Some information comes from "The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial" by Jerome Clark. That isn't so bad as sources go, but it's an encyclopedia so it isn't ideal, being a digest of other sources. --TS 12:18, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Again, as above, "fringe" is an emotive term. Pwb51 (talk) 08:58, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

It might be emotive, but it still is the correct term for this form of pseudo-scientifically research, but of course you will probably say that "pseudo-scientifically" is also emotive. Die-yng (talk) 21:26, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Actually, Clark's "UFO Encyclopedia" uses many primary sources and sources from UFO skeptics, so it's hardly a "fringe" book. The condensed, single-volume edition "The UFO Book", won the 1998 Benjamin Franklin Award in the Science/Environment category from the Independent Book Publishers Association, so it's certainly a "reliable" source. I would also suggest that using UFO debunkers like Curtis Peebles, Robert Shaeffer, and Philip Klass isn't an improvement, as they are equally "unreliable". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Actually, the Benjamin Franklin Price by its nature does not indicate anything about the validity of the work of the awarded person. As the Independent Book Publishers Association who awards the price is giving it as a method for "recognizing excellence in book editorial and design."[1] Neither is there any proof that Clark and his work is any more non-fringe than any other "Ufo-Scientist," after all, Clark is a journalist, not a scientist. Further on, most Ufo-debunkers are indeed established scientists with easy to proof credentials. I agree with Tony Sidaway that the article focuses too much on unreliable sources.Die-yng (talk) 21:16, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

I would argue that winning a legitimate literary award (and it's "prize", not "price") does indeed confer at least some legitimacy on a person's work. Furthermore, the claim that most UFO debunkers are "established scientists" is often inaccurate. For example, most of the debunking claims in this article are from Philip Klass, who was not a scientist, but (ironically) a journalist just like Jerome Clark. Klass spent nearly his entire career as a magazine editor, not a practicing scientist. Another prominent UFO debunker, Joe Nickell, has a doctorate in English, not science, and was a practicing magician for many years, not a scientist. Also, Clark - unlike many UFO researchers - does rely on primary sources such as newspaper accounts, eyewitness testimony, and yes, scientific studies, such as the works of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Dr. James McDonald, the Condon Report, the Robertson Panel, and others. Try reading one of his books. I think it would be hard to argue that Clark is not a reliable source under Wiki guidelines. That said, he's not perfect and definitely one should use a variety of sources (including those of credentialed debunkers) in these articles. But I've seen far too much labeling of UFO sources as "unreliable" simply because the critic dislikes what's being said, rather than basing criticisms on Wiki guidelines (and, of course, this is also true for UFO "believers" as well). Just a thought. 2602:304:691E:5A29:212A:25B8:D1FC:D682 (talk) 18:56, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Suggested sources[edit]

Here are some sources that I think we could make more of:

  • St Petersburg Times, April 29, 1964
    • Just five days after the sighting, this includes a contemporary quotation from Hynek.
  • Forbidden Science by Jacques Vallée (Google Books)
    • "In the meantime the Air Force continues to look into a curious fact I have uncovered: the insignia seen by patrolman Zamora looks very much like the logo of AstroPower, a subsidiary of the Douglas Aircraft Corporation. I found the logo in an ad they recently published in an engineering journal. I am suspicious of this aspect of the sighting. To my knowledge there has never been a genuine report of a saucer with an insignia painted on the side. Could the Socorro object be a military prototype?" (p.110-111, Chicago, 27 September, 1964)
    • "It bore an insignia which closely resembled the logo of Astropower, a company founded about 1961 as a subsidiary of Douglas, under the presidency of the propulsion expert Y. C. Lee." (p. 286)
    • "I thought of AstroPower and the McDonnell Douglas company, who is rumored to have a secret team, employing a physicist named Stanton Friedman to collect physical data in a hush-hush manner." (p.304, Chicago, 2 August, 1967)
  • Hector Quintanilla's personal account, also here.
  • The Search for Life in the Universe by Donald A. Goldsmith, Tobias Owen
  • Watch the Skies! By Curtis Peebles

I think it's very important to use reputable sources in this article. --TS 13:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I take issue with Jacques Vallee being listed as a "reputable" source. Vallee is as much a conspiracy theorist as a scientist. His books posit the existence of a star-chamber staging these sightings in order to prepare cultures for change and control. He believes some of these sightings may be using superior and hidden technology from earth -- another conspiracy. No proof is given. The problem with this idea (and the Astropower theory) is that it requires sitting on technology that far exceeds any known propulsion systems (assuming Zamorra was accurate in his recollection) -- and continue to sit on it for over four decades, even while we struggled to get to the moon with conventional rocket technology. Technology may be hidden for a few years, but not for a half-century. Pwb51 (talk) 18:22, 14 May 2009 (UTC)Pwb51

The newspaper article, with respect to radar, is speculative. I think Stanford's argument is sufficient, that the flight level of the supposed aircraft was below normal reception altitude and precluded its echo.Pwb51 (talk) 09:00, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it's interesting that the "reputable" sources suggested for use include Hector Quintanilla, the Project Blue Book supervisor who was well-known for debunking UFO cases, and Curtis Peebles, who has admitted publicly that he is a UFO skeptic/debunker. While I think that articles about UFO incidents should be as neutral as possible (the 1952 Washington DC UFO incident article strikes me as being an excellent neutral article, as it features both the "believer" and "skeptic" viewpoints of the incident), I don't think that replacing a "pro-UFO" article with one that is just as openly "debunking" is an improvement, and would be in violation of Wikipedia's policy on article neutrality.

Except that given today's scientific knowledge, no academically acceptable evidence whatsoever for the existence of UFO's as extraterrestrial transports exists. On the other hands there are many cases that proof beyond a doubt that an UFO sighting was not an extraterrestrial vehicle. An encyclopedia has to inform about credible theories and knowledge about a topic, not about what a percentage of the population wants to believe.Die-yng (talk) 21:21, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

And how, precisely, does the rather vague claim of "today's scientific knowledge" apply to this specific case? You can argue that no "academically acceptable" evidence exists (which is in itself debatable), but you can't apply broad, sweeping labels to every single case. Each case, like this one, is unique and must be described on its own merits. If evidence from reliable sources exists that the Lonnie Zamora case was a hoax or otherwise explainable, then by all means such evidence should be included in the article. But you can't simply ignore/delete/dismiss cited references from reputable sources (such as the Project Blue Book report) simply because you believe that all UFO cases are explainable or absurd, or because the source cited states something that you don't agree with. Each UFO article should be taken on its own merits and described as such, not written with a broad, sweeping brush to suit the beliefs of one editor or group of editors. 2602:304:691E:5A29:212A:25B8:D1FC:D682 (talk) 19:07, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Problems with summary of Zamora's sighting[edit]

There is advocacy in the current version of the account, contained in the section called "The Encounter" (testimonial as to Zamora's trustworthiness, for instance) and there are misleading statements. For instance, the account describes "two human-like figures" (suggesting that they were not human) whereas Zamora clearly described them as "two people", implying that they were human. He also said they were "normal in shape--but possibly they were small adults or large kids." He does not say or imply that the figures were non-human or merely "human-like". --TS 14:36, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Revised summary[edit]

Alone in his patrol car, Sergeant Lonnie Zamora was chasing a speeding car due south of Socorro, New Mexico on April 24, 1964, at about 5:45 p.m, when he "heard a roar and saw a flame in the sky to southwest some distance away--possibly a 1/2 mile or a mile." Thinking a local dynamite shack might have exploded, Zamora broke off the chase and went to investigate.

Though Zamora says he did not pay much attention to the flame, that the sun was "to west and did not help vision", and he was wearing green sunglasses over prescription glasses, in interviews with Air Force investigators for Project Blue Book he goes to some lengths to describe the flame:

Flame was bluish and sort of orange too. Could not tell size of flame. Sort of motionless flame, slowly descending...It was a narrow type of flame. It was like a "stream down"--a funnel type--narrower at top than at bottom. Flame possibly 3 degrees or so in width--not wide. Flame about twice as wide at bottom as top, and about four times as high as top was wide. Did not notice any object at top, did not note if top of flame was level...Could not see bottom of flame because it was behind the hill. no smoke noted. Noted some "commotion" at bottom--dust? Possibly from windy day--wind was blowing hard. Clear sunny sky otherwise--just a few clouds scattered over area.

—Lonnie Zamorra, Project Blue Book case number 8766

He describes the noise as "a roar, not a blast. Not like a jet. Changed from high frequency to low frequency and then stopped. Roar lasted possibly 10 seconds" as he approached on a gravel road. " Saw flame about as long as heard the sound. Flame same color as best as recall. Sound disctinctly from high to low until it disappeared." He explains that his car windows were down. Zamora notes no other possible witnesses except possibly the car in front, which he estimates might have heard the noise but not seen the flame because it would be behind the brow of the hill from their viewpoint.

Zamora struggled to get his car up the steep hill, and on the third attempt, which was successful, he noted no further noise. For the next 10-15 seconds he proceeded west, looking for the shack whose precise location he did not recall. It was then that he noticed what at first he took to be an overturned car:

Suddenly noted a shiny type object to south about 150 to 200 yards. It was off the road. At first glance, stopped. It looked, at first, like a car turned upside down. Thought some kids might have turned over. Saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled--seemed to jump quickly somewhat. At this time I started moving my car towards them quickly, with idea to help. Had stopped about only a couple seconds. Object was like aluminum--it was whitish against the mesa background, but not chrome. Seemed like O in shape and I at first glance took it to be overturned white car. Car appeared to be up on radiator or on trunk, this first glance.

Zamora only caught a brief sight of the two people in white coveralls beside the "car":

The only time I saw these two persons was when I had stopped, for possibly two seconds or so, to glance at the object. I don't recall noting any particular shape or possibly any hats, or headgear. These persons appeared normal in shape--but possibly they were small adults or large kids.

Zamora drove towards the scene, radioing his dispatcher to say he would be out of his car "checking the car in the arroyo." He stopped his car, got out, and attended to the radio mike, which he had dropped, then he started to approach the object.

Hardly turned around from car, when heard roar (was not exactly a blast), very loud roar--at that close was real loud. Not like a jet--knows what jets sound like. Started low frequency quickly, then roar rose in frequency (higher tone) and in loudness--from loud to very loud. At same time as roar saw flame. Flame was under the object. Object was starting to go straight up--slowly up. Object slowly rose stright up. Flame was light blue and at bottom was sort of orange color From this angle, saw the side of object (not end, as first noted). Difficult to describe flame. Thought, from roar, it might blow up. Flame might have come from underside of object, at middle, possibly a four feet area--very rough guess. Cannot describe flame further except blue and orange. No smoke, except dust in immediate area.

Keeping the object in view he ran behind his car, bumping his leg on the rear fender and dropping his glasses, and continued running northwards away from the object, which was still near the ground. He now gives a more detailed description of the object:

Object was oval, in shape. It was smooth--no windows or doors. As roar started, it was still on or near ground. Noted red lettering of some type (see illustration). Insignia was about 2 1/2' high and about 2' wide I guess. Was in middle of object. . .Object still like aluminum-white.

Zamora then describes how the object took off:

After fell by car and glasses fell off, kept running to north, with car between me and object. Glanced back couple of times. Noted object to rise to about level of car, about 20 to 25 feet guess--took I guess about six seconds when object started to rise and I glanced back. I ran I guess about halfway to where I ducked down--about fifty feet from the car is where I ducked down, just over edge of hill. I guess I had run about 25 feet when I glanced back and saw the object level with the car and it appeared about directly over the place where it rose from.

I was still running and I jumped just over the hill--I stopped because I did not hear the roar. I was scared of the roar, and I had planned to continue running down the hill. I turned around toward the object and at same time put my head toward ground, covering my face with my arms. Being that there was no roar, I looked up, and I saw the object going away from me. It did not come any closer to me. It appeared to go in straight line and at same height--possibly 10 to 15 feet from ground, and it cleared the dynamite shack by about three feet. Shack about eight feet high. Object was travelling very fast. It seemed to rise up, and take off immediately across country.

Zamora went back to his car and contacted the Sheriff's office by radio:

I picked up my glasses (I left the sun glasses on ground), got into the car, and radioed to Nep Lopez, radio operator, to "look out of the window, to see if you could see an object." He asked what is it? I answered "It looks like a balloon." I don't know if he saw it. If Nep looked out of his window, which faces north, he couldn't have seen it. I did not tell him at the moment which window to look out of.

He then watched the object fly away, swiftly but silently and without flame:

As I was calling Nep, I could still see the object. The object seemed to lift up slowly, and to "get small" in the distance very fast. It seemed to just clear the Box Canyon or Six Mile Canyon Mountain. It disappeared as it went over the mountain. It had no flame whatsoever as it was traveling over the ground, and no smoke or noise.

Zamora inspected the area and was soon joined by a colleague, Sergeant Chavez, who did not see the object:

Gave directions to Nep Lopez at radio and to Sergeant M.S. Chavez to get there. Went down to where the object had been and I noted the brush was burning in several places. At that time I heard Sgt. Chavez (N.M. State Police at Socorro) calling me on radio for my location, and I returned to my car, told him he was looking at me. Then Sgt. Chavez came up, asked me what the trouble was, because I was sweating and he told me I was white, very pale. I asked the Sgt. to see what I saw, and that was the burning brush. Then Sgt. Chavez and I went to the spot, and Sgt. Chavez pointed out the tracks.

Zamora then says that he had noticed that the object had what looked like legs:

When I first saw the object (when I thought it might be a car) I saw what appeared to be two legs of some type from the object to the ground. At the time, I didn't pay much attention to what it was--I thought it was an accident--I saw the two persons. I didn't pay any attention to the two "legs?" The two "legs" were at the bottom of the object, slanted outwards to the ground. The object might have been about three and a half feet from the ground at that time. I just glanced at it.

Zamora then tries to account for the disappearance of the two people:

Can't tell how long [I] saw object second time (the "close" time), possibly 20 seconds--just a guess--from time got out of car, glanced at object, ran from object, jumped over edge of hill, then got back to car and radio as object disappeared. As my mike fell as I got out of car, at scene area, I heard about two or three loud "thumps," like someone possibly hammering or shutting a door or doors hard. These "thumps" were possibly a second or less apart. This was just before the roar. The persons were not seen when I drove to the scene area. Just before Sgt. Chavez got to scene, I got my pen and drew a picture of the insignia on the object.

This version quotes Zamora's own words extensively, avoiding the trap of filtering Zamora's account through personal preconceptions. --TS 19:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Roswell connection section[edit]

This section is sourced entirely to links to This looks like it fails WP:SELFPUB, partly because the source mentioned on the site is anonymous. Also, it breaches WP:OR. Furthermore, some of the material is simply copied from - for example the paragraph beginning "As for Roswell, it occurred, but not like the story books tell." consists of two paragraphs taken from page 2 of this PDF with the only change being the two paragraphs in the original are merged into one. The paragraph beginning "We got the real startling news:" is also a copy, this time from page 122 of the same PDF where the first two paragraphs of the original are again merged into one for the article. The paragraph beginning "The landing date was set for April 24, 1964." is copied verbatim from the first paragraph of page 124 of the same PDF. This looks like a case of WP:COPYVIO. Autarch (talk) 11:21, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Given the above problems and the fact that the section relies on the one questionable source, I've removed the section from the article entirely. Autarch (talk) 11:29, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Copyright violation notice removal[edit]

I removed the copyright violation notice, since this looks like a misunderstanding. The website in question that was supposedly copied was itself merely reproducing Zamora's Air Force statement, which is public domain and has no copyright. There was an illustration of the insignia on the original typewritten statement, so the website added "(see illustration)" to the statement, which seemed to be copied into the Wikipedia article when the statement itself was being quoted. This is not some major copyright infringement, but I removed it anyway from the quote.Dr Fil (talk) 23:27, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
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