Saturday, October 10, 2009

In defense of the Socorro hoax hypothesis by Zarkon II

socorro16.jpg

Anthony Bragalia’s recent postings about the Socorro/Zamora sighting of 1964 have raised hackles among the UFO mainstream.

Mr. Bragalia presented a scenario that strikes at the heart of ufology’s belief-system: that UFOs and flying saucers are extraterrestrial craft, piloted by alien life-forms or robotic creations.

When that belief system is questioned, no matter how obliquely, UFO’s “believers” move aggressively to squelch the heterodoxy.

This is what happened when Mr. Bragalia had the temerity to suggest that the 1964 Socorro sighting was a prank promulgated by students at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Ufologist Ray Stanford became particularly exercised by Mr. Bragalia’s assertion(s). Why?

Mr. Stanford’s “fame” in the UFO community – he has none in the real world – rests on his intrepid “investigation” of the Socorro episode, almost immediately after it occurred.

His book about the sighting has become a UFO Bible of sorts for the Socorro event and its aftermath.

If someone were to rebuke Mr. Stanford’s “research,” he would be left without the legacy he has accumulated for the past forty-five years. So one can understand his pique and desperate attempts to protect his turf.

David Rudiak, another ET die-hard, also came out of the woodwork to take on Mr. Bragalia’s thesis. Mr. Rudiak is nothing if not thorough in his attention to minutiae of various UFO accounts – Roswell and Socorro among them.

Where Mr. Rudiak goes wrong, and he is off base in his ET bias when it comes to Socorro, is that he overlooks the mundane aspects of the Socorro details as related by Lonnie Zamora: the blue-flame of the propulsion that landed and lifted Zamora’s craft; the “beings” seen outside the egg-shaped craft, wearing white overalls; the flight pattern of the craft as it lifted and flew off; the indentations left behind, in the sand; the “roar” that accompanied the thing, et cetera.

The Zamora craft wasn’t exotic enough to be an alien craft.

Ufologist Frank Warren posted a kind of rebuttal to Mr. Bragalia’s exposé. One of the points made by Mr. Warren was that other egg-shaped UFOs were spotted before and after Zamora’s sighting.

What Mr. Warren didn’t note was that egg-shaped craft have been listed among UFO reports often, but none with an insignia, unique to Zamora’s UFO, nor any that had beings outside them, wearing human-like clothing. And none had produced the “roar” that Officer Zamora heard.

Mr. Warren is offended by Mr. Bragalia’s direct assertion that the Socorro event was hoax, ostensibly and admittedly a premature assertion since Mr. Bragalia hasn’t produced (yet) the person behind the prank or the methodology of their prank.

But Mr. Bragalia has only posed the possibility – one that has been raised before – that the Socorro episode was hoax-oriented, and Mr. Bragalia has mustered some interesting circumstantial evidence to support his hypothesis.

However, the Socorro sighting is so entrenched in the ufological psyche as an extraterrestrial landing (for repairs it seems) that any hypothesis outside the ET one will be attacked viciously and illogically, as is the case when any belief system is challenged.

I suggest Eric Hoffer’s insightful book “The True Believer” [Mentor Books, NY, 1951] to make my point.

And to see how hoaxes work, the Curtis D. MacDougall book “Hoaxes” [Dover Publications, NY, 1940/1958] for details about the mind-set of those perpetrating hoaxes and those who fall for them.

Ronald Millar’s “The Piltdown Men” [Ballantine Books, NY, 1972] also tells how grat men can be duped by hoaxes and hoaxers who are less skilled then they should be when it comes to discovering how a hoax operates.

In the world of ufology and UFOs the gullible are legion. And when it comes to the sacred cows of the UFO literature – the Arnold sighting, the Trent photos, Roswell, Socorro, and even Rendlesham, the UFO believers will do anything to make sure that anyone or anything that undercuts the “extraterrestrial” premise of those sightings should be stomped out and eliminated from any dialogue about UFOs.

The Bragalia hoax hypothesis has legs, of a kind, it is shaky perhaps, but not moribund and not unsound, if what he has uncovered has any merit whatsoever.

And when it comes to UFOs, nothing should be so sacrosanct that it can’t be thrown on the table for review and civil discussion. Otherwise, we shall find ourselves with a fascistic approach to truth-seeking; that is, only the orthodox shall prevail and anything that goes against that orthodoxy should be quelled at all costs – even if it means a diminishment of the truth.

2 comments:

Frank Warren said...

Good Day "Z,"

Interesting to note that you've chosen to shield yourself behind a pseudonym; in any event, in rebuttal:

You start your piece out in error-with your title! Tony didn't present a "hypothesis" which was/is my main complaint; had he done so, we wouldn't be having this colloquy.

His first sentence in his original article stated:

"After 45 years the truth is now revealed- one of the most famous UFO sightings in history was a hoax."

He made a pronouncement . . . a declaration, not a "hypothesis"!

You wrote:

Mr. Bragalia presented a scenario that strikes at the heart of ufology’s belief-system: that UFOs and flying saucers are extraterrestrial craft, piloted by alien life-forms or robotic creations.

Wrong again! A UFO by definition cannot be an "identified object!"

What is more accurate is that after investigation a small percentage of "UFO reports," remain unidentified, and within that smaller percentage, many researchers all with decades of research respectively adhere to the ETH or Extraterrestrial Hypothesis.

In contrast to your erroneous statements, most seasoned Ufologists are very aware that the majority of "UFO reports" will have a more practical explanation, e.g., misidentified conventional craft, natural phenomenon etc.

You wrote:

When that belief system is questioned, no matter how obliquely, UFO’s “believers” move aggressively to squelch the heterodoxy.

To use the verb "believe" or the noun "believers" in relationship to UFOs is nonsensical; the term "UFO was borne by the Air Force in 1952; one can no more believe in a UFO, then he or she can believe in Mt Rushmore!

You wrote:

This is what happened when Mr. Bragalia had the temerity to suggest that the 1964 Socorro sighting was a prank promulgated by students at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Again, you are in error, Tony did not "suggest"--he pronounced he stated emphatically, he declared.

You wrote:

Ufologist Ray Stanford became particularly exercised by Mr. Bragalia’s assertion(s). Why?

Because he is an expert on the matter, and no one has come close to the research he has accomplished in regards to the case. Moreover to try and wave "hearsay" against the scientific methodology employed by Ray, during his investigation, without even an inquiry to him, or any analysis to the evidence on the table was no doubt offensive.

You wrote:

If someone were to rebuke Mr. Stanford’s “research,” he would be left without the legacy he has accumulated for the past fort-five years. So one can understand his pique and desperate attempts to protect his turf.

"Z," as evidenced by your penscript, you are no doubt as ignorant to Ray's research on Socorro as well as his life's achievements. Socorro, is but a minor accomplishment in contrast.

You wrote:

David Rudiak, another ET die-hard, also came out of the woodwork to take on Mr. Bragalia’s thesis. Mr. Rudiak is nothing if not thorough in his attention to minutiae of various UFO accounts – Roswell and Socorro among them.

Again, Tony's position has not been that of a thesis, unless you're aware of something I am not; are you publicly stating that "Tony is retracting his initial statement?"

Dr. Rudiak has been researching the Socorro Incident for over a decade, to state that, he "also came out of the woodwork" is yet another faux pas.

-continued-

RRRGroup said...

Zarkon II responds to Frank Warren:

Mr. Warren,

You, like Mr. Stanford and Mr. Rudiak, seem anxious to make the Socorro sighting a UFO sighting that can’t be questioned.

You are nit-picking my argument, just as you did with Mr. Bragalia’s, while not tackling the details that Officer Zamora related, which indicates a machine that is not exotic or strange enough to be a UFO or alien spacecraft, or one he misidentified and was a hoax as Mr. Bragalia has it.

Mr. Stanford’s work is exemplary, in a way, but marred by his a priori approach, like Mr. Rudiak’s, which is that the Zamora craft was odd in a unique way. It wasn’t.

You can continue to parse my comments or Mr. Bragalia’s but that doesn’t take us anywhere near to what the Zamora craft (or episode) may have been.

Mr. Bragalia has accumulated and continues to accumulate material and information that adds another possibility to the Socorro event. You, Mr. Rudiak, and Mr. Stanford continue to hawk the old tale, which is that Officer Zamora saw something that couldn’t have been a hoax or a mundane but unusual Earth machine.

But let’s see where we go with this.

Z II