Saturday, October 10, 2009
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.