Is James Fox right about Ray Stanford being vindicated on Socorro symbol?

Justice Fodor

A pen name of Dean (used 2-8-19 to 8-1-21)
Ray Stanford Close Up No. 11:

Was James Fox correct in saying that a "massive discovery"
at the National Archives vindicated Ray Stanford
about the symbol Lonnie Zamora saw on the Socorro UFO?
[Updated December 22, 2020]

I have written previously about various discredited stories that Ray Stanford has told over the years related to the 1964 UFO encounter by police officer Lonnie Zamora at Socorro, New Mexico. I wrote about how Richard Hall and others had convincing demolished Stanford's claim, in Stanford's 1976 book, Socorro 'Saucer' in a Pentagon Pantry, that scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, stole from Stanford metal scrapings from the Socorro UFO, after discovering them to be of extraterrestrial origin. I've reported on Stanford's claim, found in the 1978 British edition of his book, that the military captured an egg-craft at Holloman Air Force base just six days after the Socorro encounter (Stanford said then that he'd be available to testify before Congress about the capture, which has not been heard of since). For some years Stanford and some of his promoters, such as Chris O'Brien, had spoken much about a photo Stanford took at the Zamora encounter site in 1964-- the "dynamite shack" photo, which they claimed showed in the background multiple UFOs, including an egg-shaped craft with landing gear visible; but Stanford repudiated this claim on Sept. 15, 2020, revealing that the "UFOs" had been an artifact of a negative not properly cleaned.

Now comes film maker James Fox, who has been giving many interviews in connection with the recent release of his widely acclaimed documentary The Phenomenon. The film does not refer to Ray Stanford, except in the credits, where Stanford is listed with many others as an "associate producer." Stanford is also credited as the artist for a watercolor showing the two UFO occupants as described by Zamora.

But in several recent interviews, Fox tells a story involving Stanford -- for example, in interviews with Lee Speigel and Richard Dolan in early October. Fox provides different (not conflicting) details in different interviews, but the basic story is that for "50 years" Stanford has been arguing that the symbol depicted in most accounts as the symbol that Zamora saw on the side of the Socorro UFO, was not the symbol that Zamora really saw, but a fabrication suggested by a military investigator. Fox says that Stanford had consistently argued for specific alternative symbol, and that on a visit to the National Archives [which occurred on August 3, 2013], Fox and Stanford made a "massive discovery" that vindicated Stanford's 50-year position.

Some additional context is necessary. The once "commonly accepted" Socorro symbol looks like a short arrow pointing up, with an arc or dome over it, and a vertical line under it. For simplicity I will call this the "arc symbol."

(It is now well established that an Army officer from the nearby White Sands range, Capt. Richard T. Holder, Sr., quickly advised Zamora to put out an altered version of the symbol, so that investigators would know that anyone else later claiming to have seen the bogus version, the arc symbol, on another UFO was just a copy cat. Holder's son confirmed this to Stanford in a letter dated April 21, 2014, uploaded here.)

According to Fox, Stanford "stuck to his guns" for 50 years in advocating for a different symbol. Then, at the National Archives, Fox says, they found an original letter in J. Allen Hynek's hand -- I believe Fox said Hynek wrote the document just 4-1/2 months after the Zamora encounter -- a letter in which Hynek drew the real symbol that Zamora had seen-- and it was, says Fox, the symbol that Stanford had always defended. This was, Fox said, "a massive discovery" -- Stanford had been vindicated after a half-century, there was a tear in Stanford's eye, and so forth.

However -- as I previously have found to be the case with most stories involving Ray Stanford -- there are big problems with Fox's narrative of a consistent Stanford being finally vindicated. I do not suggest that Fox is intentionally misleading anyone -- I suspect that Fox is relying a lot on things Stanford has told him, has not carefully checked Stanford's actual history on this matter, and therefore, like so many others before him, has been led astray by Stanford.

The first problem is that if you actually look at Stanford's 1976 book, Stanford actually came down on the side of the then "commonly accepted" arc symbol! Appendix A of the 1976 book, shown in entirety in photos uploaded here, did discuss at some length the divergence between the symbol that Zamora supposedly originally described ("una 'V' invertido con tres lineas debajo," or "an inverted V with three lines underneath") -- depicted by Stanford as an inverted V with three horizontal lines slashing across it (I'll call this the "stacked-log version"), and the symbol later described by Zamora to various non-official investigators such as Stanford and others (i.e, the arc symbol). Stanford gave arguments for those two quite different versions, but concluded that was "inclined to believe" that the arc version was the real one. Stanford gave multiple reasons for that assessment, "but because there could be some room for doubt about the symbol seen, I leave it an open question." Stanford also explained that "because it is the most widely accepted version," the arc symbol was the symbol depicted in the drawing of the Socorro UFO takeoff on page 25 of the book (also shown here) -- one of the drawings that Stanford himself commissioned exclusively for the book.

All of that a far cry from Fox's statements that Stanford had challenged the commonly accepted arc symbol for 50 years, "stuck to his guns" and so forth.

At some point, however, Stanford did drop his adherence to the arc symbol. I don't know when that occurred, except that it was clearly after 1976 and had occurred by 2014 (as we will see).

[UPDATE -- December 22, 2020: Since I originally posted this "Ray Stanford Close Up No. 11" on November 14, 2020, some additional information has been brought to my attention, that clarifies some of the chronology. The visit by James Fox and Ray Stanford to the National Archives occurred on August 3, 2013. On June 4, 2014, Stanford circulated a long communication on the matter, which Bill Chalker posted on his blog -- you can read the whole thing here. It included a photo, taken by Fox, showing Stanford holding the Hynek letter they'd found in the Blue Book files (the image is now uploaded below). In his communication, Stanford asserted that the Hynek letter vindicated "what I had been saying for 50 years" -- a claim that does not survive a reading of what Stanford actually wrote in the appendix to his 1976 book, reproduced below.]

[UPDATE -- December 22, 2020: I also found worthwhile an October 1, 2016 blog post by Kevin Randle, here, in which he tried to sort out some of the conflicting claims about which of the various symbol versions Zamora actually saw. Randle concluded, "Given the sighting is now a half century old and Zamora has died, many of those involved in the various investigations have died, I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to sort this out. A case can be made that the 'real' symbol is the inverted 'V' with the three bars through it, but the variations to that description and what is found in the Blue Book files does nothing to prove it."]

Fox says that, in a box of documents to which they were given access at the Archives, Fox and Stanford found a letter written in Hynek's own hand, in which Hynek actually drew the symbol that Zamora had seen on the UFO. What Hynek drew was not the arc version -- but neither was it the stacked-log version depicted by Stanford as the alternative, in his 1976 appendix. The actual symbol, says Fox, is the one depicted in a graphic in The Phenomenon, at 32 minutes 35 seconds -- a symbol with an inverted V and three horizontal lines -- two of the horizontal lines tucked inside the V like a math "equals" sign, and one horizontal line above the arrow point. I'll call this the "equal sign" version, or the "Hynek version."

The Hynek document that Fox described does not appear in the documentary The Phenomenon; Fox does not say why.

An image of part of the Hynek letter was presented by Stanford on the Martin Willis Live program on YouTube on July 23, 2014. I have attached a screenshot from the Willis broadcast (at about 22 minutes into the program). The image appears to show a portion of a letter written in Hynek's hand, dated Sept. 7, 1964 (thus, 4-1/2 months after the Zamora encounter). In the letter, Hynek sketched a inverted V with two horizontal lines inside it and another horizontal line above the tip -- the exact symbol shown in the Fox film, which Fox says he based on the National Archives document. In an accompanying slide, Stanford called this Hynek letter of Sept. 7, 1964 "the best record we have of what was seen in red on the vehicle.” In the 2014 Willis interview, Stanford offered a misleading narrative of his history on the matter of the symbol, a narrative that closely resembles the vindication narrative that Fox is now sharing in various interviews [and which, I now see, Stanford propagated in his communication of June 4, 2014].

So, the 1964 Hynek drawing does not vindicate the position Stanford took in his 1976 book; just the opposite. In 1976, Stanford came down in favor of the now repudiated "arc symbol, and even used it in the book's commissioned drawing -- and the alternative that he discussed in the book does not closely resemble the true symbol as documented by Hynek.

Based on what the information so far before us, this appears to be yet another instance of Stanford attempting to edit his personal history.

Justice Fodor


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The shadow

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The more I read the more of a hoaxer Ray becomes.


As Above So Below

Justice Fodor

A pen name of Dean (used 2-8-19 to 8-1-21)
Bumping to the top with a couple of updated paragraphs, and an additional photo, added to "Ray Stanford Close Up No. 11."