Talk:Lonnie Zamora incident

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Untitled[edit]

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 76.0.187.153 (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 70.145.229.162 (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."<ref>{{cite web|last=IPBA|title=Benjamin Franklin IPBA Awards|url=http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/|publisher=Independant Book Publishers Association|accessdate=16 January 2014}}</ref> 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:


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:



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


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.


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:


Zamora then describes how the object took off:


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



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



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



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



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



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 serpo.org. 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 serpo.org - 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)

Rework needed[edit]

Per discussion here, the article gives massively undue weight to unreliable sources, for example, NICAP and a credulous book written by non-notable ufologist Ray Stanford. In addition, there are excessive copypasted quotes from Zamora lifted from what is rumored on this Talk page to be a US Government/US Air Force source document (?) Other problems involve sections that synthesize an argument that calculations of speed and acceleration, local weather conditions, and evidence of "fused sand" rule out any conventional explanations. IMO the article is a good case for WP:NUKEANDPAVE and reconstruction using independent sources to construct an objective article. - LuckyLouie (talk) 19:20, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Additional Information[edit]

Socorro, NM is also notable as the home of the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology (New Mexico Tech). I attended New Mexico Tech from 1973 through my MS degree in Mining Engineering in 1979. At that time I first heard the story of the Socorro Saucer. In 1981 I was recounting the story, essentially as described in this article, to coworkers in the office where I worked in Redwood City, CA. After I finished telling the story I noted that one of the other mining engineers in the department, Bruno Renss, was laughing. When I pressed him on his reaction he told me that he and a friend had been the source of the sighting and he told the following story.

In 1964, Bruno P. Renss was a mining engineering student at New Mexico Tech. Socorro was a small town with very few distractions off-campus and the nearest large city, Albuquerque, is 70 miles away. With not a lot to do for fun, Bruno and a friend acquired some dynamite and decided to amuse themselves by putting a stick under an inverted steel oil drum and setting off the explosion, blowing the drum up in the air. After they did this once, they decided to do it again. It was while they were getting set for the second blast that Officer Zamora's car appeared. As noted in his account, one of the two people dressed in overalls noticed him was concerned and gave a start. But rather than this being a space alien who was concerned about being discovered by an earthling, this was a college student who was concerned that he and his friend were about to be caught by the police. The administration at New Mexico Tech at that time was very strict so being caught setting off dynamite would have resulted in the expulsion of both students. Under the cover of the second explosion, the two students jumped in their car and drove off toward Six Mile Canyon as fast as they could. Officer Zamora, who admits he dropped his glasses and covered his head at the explosion, looked up in time to see the student's car zooming over the top of the hill and disappearing not as it jumped into the sky but rather as it went over the ridge into the canyon.

Bruno said that neither he nor his friend ever said anything because they did not want to get expelled. The round burn spots were due to setting off the dynamite under the steel drum.

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