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THE SOCORRO UFO CASE

AND

ITS ''IIULTIPLYING MISSI}IG TCURIST HIT

ESSES''

Four days after police office!' Lonnie Zamor:a repo)rted seeing a UFO on the outskirts of Socorro, N.M, on Apr, 24, 1964, the local newspaper (EL Defenso? Chieftain) caFied an account of alr itinerant tounist witness whose story seened to confisn Zamora s storjr and to dispell doubts that it night be a hoax:
I

'?t .Least one othet irerson -- aI, unid€ntj fied tourjst traveLiag notth on U.S- 85 -- sa'' tlre uIl? j.ist befote it ianded in the giullg. opal Gzindet, aE nagez of the wbidnq B:rotiets' Serrzicc Station on 85 norf,l. sajd the nan stoplted at the statior and tet'€.tked tlat airctaft fTetr lar around he!e.
"crinder tepTied there rere nang heii@ptezs in t}tjs vicinitg. fte tourist said jt was a 'tunng-Looking hd.i@ptet, if ttrat's h'hat it Has.' ?ie nar| sajd furtiejt. thd object had fToyn over ils car" rt acttlal"l"g was headed sEaighx for t!:e 9u1-19 ,rhete it Ianded EoE€nts .latet. ?he tourist a-lso coraented t]lat }]e had seen a plice car heading up tlre bj-ll. ?his rl,as Zanbta's cat."
l{hen Dr. J. A].Len Hynek visited SocoFa, at USA| r?equest, on Ap:r. 26-27 to investigate the incident, he personally talked with Leris A. Reddell, publisher of the Local newspaper., who had inteleiewed Gninder and had m:itten the a::ticle about the alleged 'titilerant tourist-nitness. " liynek noted -in his tnip r:'eport to the USAF that ReddeLl "had gone into this t'jliry quita tbroughJg."

Sgt. David Moody of P:roject Blue Book, uho had been on temporatJr dulr assi.gnrnent at Kintland A!'8, N.M. at the tine of the Socomo incident, and had visited the ar.ea for an on-site investigation several days later, made a tel-ePhoDe cafl on May 18' 1964, to talk to opal G::inder about the al-Ieged "itinenant tourist-witness. " Moody ld'rote a memo, no!, in the Project Blue Book files, reporting the highlights of his conver?sation with Grioden:
"He (ctini/'t) coul.d give rp infot1r€€on otlrer that tiat appearit g in thd n*sl,apet atticla. Ee dii'?oX_Eggg4-! llqrype of cat ot Ticense. Ee assur.d the occldpant. IriolE use of singaLatl ttas going or returl ing fta vacatian due to the Tugqaqe and cl l4igg in t&-94L. The cat h4it a slnELe occupEgit. Ee stated that tlte tr,i taess sajd t'Ia objet canc f.rrn the East... He wi1"7 he on tlre -loolc-out jn case ttle t'j tacss retut7rs to Socg.rro." (Empha.sis adited. )
0n Aug" 15, 1961t, Dr:. Hynek retu:rned to Soe-orro for fu::tha:r investigation and he personally interriewed Grinder about the rritinerant tourist-r.itness . rr- Hlrnekr s official fr:ip repont to the USAF contained the folLowing account of his interviex with Grinde:.: "we heard the stotg of the tolrtist f!on Grinder hj![self. ?lle titE nas sl ttTtl befote 6 o'clack Decause Gtindet said that }e was lurrginq to get to L]le bar-k befote it cTosed at 6 p.m. on that Fridag. tle stated ttrat tllis vras one of the teasons whg he did not pag nore attentjot to tlle tourist's storg. uoerevet, .he said that tie tourjs! said sozet}.ing xo this effect: 'qout planes flg awfaTTg Lov. hete -- one of then Lik& tn knock ne off xhe road iust about ethen I '|as passing vour whixing sigm coming into tovn.t ?he Whixing gas sign is airps t in Line vith the gu7]V vhete the cratx -Zanded-..fl2e tourjst said that he tlpught that it night be a craft in troubl.€, and figuted this ras so .because he sai a I€.Tice car going out xaward, whete it hait Landed. *ri s wouTd place xhe tiag of the craft ovet the xoutisx's cat at app!.dri'Etelv 5:35 ot 5140 p.a- This caia: cides, as we7l. as we can see, vith the titE that zatuta was chasing a speder.'
(Enphasis ailded. )

-2Du::ing the period irnrnediately foLloring the Socoro incident, the ::ecord sho'es $hen Opal Gr:inder was inte:rviered by the J-ocal newspaper by Sgt. Hoody and by ' Hynek, he repo:'ted only a siagle "tourist-ltitness " and he couLd not recall any mo?e details about the rnan or: his cal.
YET ON JAN, 8, ].967, NEARLY THREE YEARS LATER, GRINDER SEtr{]T{GLY HAD A HIRACULOUS ENHANCEI,IENT IN HIS I'IE!{ORY. ON THAT DATE, GRINDER SIGNED A SWORN STATEI{ENT IN IiHICH HE CTAIMED THERE I'ERX REALLY FIVE (5) UTO IIITNESSES IN TTIE CAR THAT STOPPED AT HIS
STATION
3

that

'J, the andersigned., ila sole'E,Jg srear t&at on Ftiilag, AptlT 24' 7964, at atounil 5:50 to 6:00 p.m., theie attjved at the t*titing 8ros. servjce station... what I am positive was approximatel.g a 7955 rndeT gteenish cadiTTac b'hich b,as dtiven bg a faizTg tal-l nan ot neditlln bui7d, sanilg hair. Eis vtife, ' ana, I thi* thzee children (a77 bogs. the oTilest of which appeated 11, or f2 geats ot age) wete in te car with hin... Mg son, Jiseg also set the afote-EEntioAed five ' petsons, overhcatd t&e conesrsation, and thinjcs lre rerefibers tieir ca! had a coTotado license p7ate. [Reca]-] that two years eanlier, Gr.inder: tas quoted as saying that he deduced that the nan r.as "going on ::eturning from vacation due to the luggage aad clotbing in the ca:r." If the car contained bags and clothing in the passenge? coflrparrtecnt where woul,d the five passengem find space?l
"JiwnJ anit I diil ,Et think too nuch alotrt tl:er man's tel'o.rt, becaase ve had. not hea.zil of t,lrr,,l.e zafrta's Iwol teIr.rt. As soon as re heard vhat Lo.nnie had seen, we kn* the tonrjsts vlF hail stopt'€d bg out staxioa tu.'t trav€ see', tbe ob1*t zafuta sar heading tor a Taailitg r'n tlre ravine.

get

"4rat js whv f repotted t}re incident ll:l tI t.'le toutists -- because I wantcd xo knoe that otier ]rersons sa* t}e sarc object lannie zamata sav. Ia tie wasn't Just 'seeinq things.' "
peopTe T}ERE

IS

PHYSICAI EVIDENCE TO D]SPUTE GRINDSRIS STORY THAT A LONE TOURIST. OR A CAR

, as he aLlegedly
THAT EVIDENEE

was I'hu::'rying

to get to the
T

bank befor.G

it closed."
Iu-IEEnqEgR

IS

THE LOG OF I},!PORrA

RADIO MESSAGES RECETVED BY POIICf, R{DIO OPERATSR

The r.adio when he called

log shosed that Lopez did not recsld the first call f?co officen Zatro:Fa in to say he iras going to investigate flane and snpke atop the resa south of tor.!, learr the Mayor I s dynaite storage shack. Non did Lopez 1og the second caLL f:rorn Zarnora wheu lre had anived atop the nesa and called in to say he thought he saw a white ovsr-tuned car in the distanea.
But toPez did log the thind r:adio rnessage fron ZanoLa, because of its importance. lras when he ca]]ed in to report that an egg-shaped object had flown off ald when This Zamora asked that state Police sgt. san chavez be sent out to the site, TlfE LopEz
LOG SHoils THAT THIS ZAI{0RA HESSAGE }'AS RECEIVED AT

s:22 p.M,

The los a].so shows another radro message lras ?ecerved about tlro ninutes later, rne J.og also snoHs anotner radio hessage was received tlto ninutes logged in at 5:24 p.m., indicating that Chavez, FBI Agent A:rthur Burnes (',rho had been in Chavez office when the 5:22 p.m. nessage came in) and Deputy Sheniff James Luckie, had all reached the ',UFO site."

-3-

lopez estimated that the first radio call. fr:om Zamor"a had been received at approximately 5:I7 p,n. This would a11ow five ininutes fron the time that Zamora reportedly abandoned his chase of a speeding motorist until he aFived at the 'IUFO site," afier naking one inter'rnediate stop and nadio cal]-in. Having personally ::etraced Zamora I s path and reported actions during my visit, the Lopez estiuate seens

quite reasoDable.

But if Zamora ! s account is true, and he caLled iu at approxinately 5:17 p.m. to :repo::t seeing flame-snoke atop the mesa, , then it is clea:r that if t5ErE-iEEl$:[-as@Encounter: with the UFo flying ove:r his car as he dr:ove north on highway 85 must have happened no later than 5:17 p.n.
The distance frot the spot on highway 85 where the alleged UFO lrouLd have florl over the al]eged toutist-nitness car to the Whiting Brothers station is less than f*o rniles. r*ith onlv a s ht 1ONS thE rOUtE. IF THIS ALI,EGED TOURISTl.l

IIruTES T0

P,EACH

HIM }TO LONGER THAN FIVE TIIE HHITIIIG STATION--0R liO LATER THAN 5:22 P.M.

Considering that the only bank in Soconro is less than five minutes d:rive fro:n the Whiting station, it could not be true that the alleged tou:rist-ritness stopped at the station "shoritLy befotre 6 orclock because Griade:r said he was hunrying to get to the bank befo:re it closed at 6 p.rn. on that Fridayrrr as Gninder r:epol:tedly told Hlmek; no? "alound 5:50 to 6:00 p,rn.rr as Gninder states iD his sworn statement.

a!€ other lreasons to question Grinde:r t s story of the alleged tou.ist-witness ( es ) . Exanination of the map belo$ shoHs that the road on lrhich Zarnola reportedly was driving in pu:rsuit of a speeding motorist in a southsoutheast di:rection, intersects highway 85 neatr wher:e a UFO wouLd have passed enr"oute to the "UFo site.r' If the tourist-Hitaess sto{r were true, the UFO would have flown di:rectly ac:foss Zamo:ra's line-of-sight as he looked SSE towatrl thc aLLeged speeding notorist.
The!'e
HIGHTIAY

!.;'llhiting Stati Just North of
HarA

']

YET ZAMORA NEVER REPOR?SD SEEING A UFO FI,Y ACROSS 85 TOWARD TIIE I1ESA.

Ooe possible explanation fo:r this disc?cpancy couJ.d be that the allegcd toulist sightiag occu$rcd e raiDute or: two before Zarnona ar:::ivcd on the scene and befor.e he cal-led l-opez to say he planned to dnive up atop the m€sa.

I
I
>io oIr "'l

But if this wenc the case, then anothen part of the al-Ieged toulist-titness story carnot possibly be tme. Gninden, in his sworn stater ent, says the a.Lleged torcist witness said "f sav a plice ca, heaal oft tlte toad. atd up a hi77 in that direction. Coming on into torrrt I met anothet plice caj,^ leading that wag.-."

If Zamora had not yet arr:ived on the scene, the alleged tounist-nitness could not have seen his can heading up the nesa, nor: could he have seen the Chavez or Luckie ear heading out until some tine after 5:22 p.m,, by which tine the alleged tour.ist-witness would aLreadv have :'eached the }{hitinp station.

Car Cli.tT'bs,;j

-+-

I fi:'st lea}ned of the OpaI G:'inder claim that ther:e were really five tour:istwitnesses, instead. of the lone tourist he had earlier: clained, in reading a rec€nt book entitled "SocoFo 'saucerr In A Pentagon Pantry " authorcd by Ray Stanford. stanford fu1ly accepts the Grinder account of FIVE toul.ist-ritnesses , and does not ev€n tnention his earlier contnadictoly account of a lone toulist '
n

PerhaDs the reasoni that Stanford does not feel undonfortable about the for:::' additionai tourist-ltitn;sses that "mate::ialized'r out of thin air is that Stanford cLairns he hinse.Lf has had simila.n psychic experiences. For exanple, the Apl:il 1974 issue of rrPsychicrr rnagazine carried a long venbatim intenview lrith Stanford r'rhich incLuded the folloring account of the "naterialization" and "de-mate:rialization" of an "entity" with whon stanfond clains he had ea:rIien consnunicated nhile in a semi-eonscious state: "rn Lg58 in Pbenix, alot&er of the B'Ethers ("entities" ) hail natetial'ized in a br.ightl,g Tiqhted backgatd in tie presence of fourteen peopTe - ne alf saw hin. Ee was a}€ut six feet ta7L, wbite robed, with Tong bTond hajr Parted in the centet. Eis robe was bTowing in the rind just as p,?gsical as t&e lest of u6. lte vere a-1.1, sftoc&ed ouX of out tiits. After a whiTe he bqan to gTov a Puze golden Jight, svirTing ftom the area ot his so-lar pTexus. rhe Iight gzery btighxe, and his bodg seer|Fd to be x'.ansEated into gold' then it nelted into a vapor ot goLd aiil condensd onto the grounil and. spread out to a foutteen foot diantetef, cl.rele. we r,alkea aroand xesting this, klckirzg it into tie air. It itas phgsieal -- just .7ike goLden fog."

In the "Psychic" magazine inte:rvier, stanforl also described his three e*pelFiences in being "teteponted. " one of these is quoted belon: "I pas ibiving vith ry wita in our staeion e,agon in heaw ttaffid on Intetstate 70 vetg neat whete the othet tefepttation had occzttted, heading wesx tc/.ta t Coltnbus (?exas, . I began to serse a siiverg-lJue rnetaf -lic gTov that I

see i, ati's (ceL7er) auta uhen sorethitzg paratrotmal is about to haEprcn, and it seeled to bc ar.ou.nd re anil tl?€ car.-.I said to Mazg l<athrgn (wife), 'I r'tish theg wouTcl te.leirort us. r'm si ak of tllis tnaffiel..Instantfy it seened ve wexe tlrirtg-seven miTes avag, appzoaching tlle outskltts of coTwbas - thete was rE sceJ?e jn beftr'en, no ti'E rm tathing. sjnce begrinailg tl:at joutneg, we had ' covezed 85 ,/tiles in 43 ainutes, vhiclz nearn aJr avetage of 72O mifes Pet hottt " go fasxeE tltan 50 i', t]te heavg tratfic. Yle didni t ase altl,ough one couldn't Deadg tire arcunt ot gas vc rzot'6'llg do to ffi}.c that xrip."
I{hen Dr.. .I. AILeD Hynck visited Stanford in the sumer of 1976, stanfo l ask€d if Hynek rnight pnovidc an endorgenent that could be used to proEote his ,book on the Socor:ro case. on July 6, 1976, Hynek corrplied with an endo?setreDt which is quoted in part belorr:

"?lte 'socpr.r€ case ha,s a]vags been a thora jn the side of UFo deEactors vrlp havc ttied xo disariss it ei ther as a de-li}erate attetf-Dt bV the toyn fat&ers of Socotto to ptotute tile tourist ,.-.:ade -- or as a'I atwsphetic phen@na. Rag Stanfotd }Ias slrorn these at ter4rts to be patentTg untenable. stanfotd has transfotmed. the case ftom a one-}'i tness maxter to a nu-l ti -wi taess case atd tftus has acc€.plisH nhat tle ]t"it Fotce faiTed to do..-"

IT IS CURIOUS THAT HYI{EK WCT'LD CRTTICIZE THE AIR FORCE ON T}{IS CASE IN VIET' OF THE FACT THAI-T{Y$EK IIAS T!{E AIR FORCE'S PRI CIPAL O}I-SI?E INVESTIGATOR AT SOCORRO !
August 29, 1976

rnrl.lp J,

Kl-ass


				
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