Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lonnie Zamora, UFO Witness

I don't spend much time on UFOs anymore, but the passing of one of history's most famous UFO witnesses deserves a mention. Lonnie Zamora, the New Mexico cop whose report of a landed UFO from April 24, 1964, near Socorro, was one of the best-known cases for a long time, died November 2.
The Air Force investigation of this report, which was mainly based on Zamora's retelling plus some rectangular impressions in the ground and burn traces on the ground and surrounding brush, ruled out an extraterrestrial craft or a secret military device but did not go so far as to declare the case a hoax. UFO skeptic Philip Klass thought Zamora might have been fooled by one of his hypothesized unconfirmed-natural-phenomena class of plasma UFOs, with stray wisps of plasma accounting for Zamora's report of two small figures in white coveralls next to the UFO. Klass later changed his opinion to a probable hoax, with Zamora, well known as an upstanding citizen, pressured by tourist-seeking local officials to provide the focal point. There's no proof of this, either, though. There were other witnesses who reported something flying low and making the jet-like roar Zamora reported, but the police officer was the only person who claimed to have seen the craft while it was on the ground and to have gotten a close look.
COMMENT: One item in Zamora's report, a red half-circle-and-arrow insignia seen on the side of the craft has always bothered me: it has never been reported again on a UFO or anything else, and it seems like something a hoaxer would make up. Still, neither Zamora nor anyone else has ever admitted a hoax, and the case went into the Project Blue Book files as "unexplained."

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