Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coral In The Desert: Searching for Socorro.

Hello folks. I have a brief gap of time here, so I'll squeeze in a blogpost. This is about Coral Lorenzen of APRO and the quest she entered upon following Lonnie Zamora's encounter at Socorro. Coral was probably the outstanding female UFO researcher of our times, [although people like Jennie Zeidman, Jenny Randles and a few others deserve mention too]. Her fieldwork should be taken seriously. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Many people know that Coral and Jim Lorenzen had long UFO research careers working out of Tucson, Arizona, and a few know that they began their "hobby" in Wisconsin. Only those interested in UFO history realize that much of their important work occurred while they were working in government jobs in the Alamagordo/HollomanAFB area of New Mexico. They were the primary UFOlogical source for information for the James Stokes affair, just after Levelland, and had many contacts, even in the military, in what was a particularly UFO-friendly environment. The famous [and controversial] UFO photograph to the left [usually written off by conservatives as a noctilucent cloud or some similar weather phenomenon] was a Holloman area case looked into by Coral who felt that the woman's testimony about the thing's fast speed was honest, and so trusted the photo. [My memory is dull on this point, but what softly rings in it is that Coral knew the witness---if so, then maybe one should keep this photo in the graybasket rather than the trashbasket.] The real point is that Coral knew many people in the Socorro neighborhood including some with military connections.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Holloman was of course one of the hot spots for military research as well as UFO activity. The picture at the left is the rocketsled track at which John Stapp [himself a UFO witness] set the land speed record at Holloman. In the Ruppelt era, Holloman had a UFO friendly commanding officer who sent cases directly to Dewey Fournet at the Pentagon, and apparently was a firm "believer" [in Ruppelt's words] in the reality of flying disks and the likelihood of an extraterrestrial hypothesis. This same commanding officer was there during the 1957 Levelland flap and facilitated in the local newspaperman/UFO writer [Terry Clarke] in hunting down part of the Stokes story. [These are my memories anyway---yep, the @#%&#!! unavailable files problem again--- oh well, I at least think that I'm giving you the honest scoop on this...by the way, if anyone ever wants me to make a bigger effort to document any of these things where I'm going on memory, I think that I'll be able to do that with a little more effort even though my files are 500 miles away---so ask]. So, Holloman had a UFO-rich past, and a UFO-friendly [at least in part] military, who Coral could possibly tap into. So off she went to see what else there was to see. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What she found might have been the source of some later bogus speculation about UFO landings that has had a long and inglorious life in UFO Conspiracy Land. This is my own BS so don't take it too seriously, but i wonder if this whole business about a Holloman UFO landing and a "treaty" with the Aliens may have started here. Coral doesn't say this. But what does she say?---------------------------This information is from an article published in Flying Saucer Review of JAN/FEB 1965. It is entitled "Socorro Sequel", and it's contents were new and/or forgotten to me. After Zamora's sighting, Coral was on high alert. She got a tip from [probably] one of her military sources that there had been a B-57 encounter with a UFO which was reported to the mission controller at Holloman. The B-57 was asked to turn and attempt to re-encounter the object. When it did so, the pilot radio-ed that the UFO had landed on the ground. This was April 30th, 1964, just a few days after Lonnie saw his "landed UFO". Coral called her long-time friend and APRO associate, Terry Clarke, and asked him what he had heard. He responded that his contact had heard the military transmissions on this, and that they had said exactly what Coral had been told by her own source. Clarke added that there had apparently been another earlier sighting, and that there was a rumor that Holloman had a UFO in a hangar at the base under heavy guard. Hmmmm...here is Coral, in 1964, getting information about landings near Holloman and a UFO in a hangar. Sounds like the start of a Big Story to me. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Coral, as a sensible person, who doesn't want to foolishly run far ahead of the facts, tried to find out more. She dug up an incident prior to Zamora, of unidentified lights on the missile range, which scared a guard so badly that he emptied his sidearm on the UFO and ran off hysterically. He was hospitalized and required sedation. Her appetite thoroughly whetted, she kept digging, finding two more incidents on the missile range in May. She said that she was able to get checking reports from different sources, and had no doubts that these incidents were happening. When she published a press release on these sightings, the brass at Holloman responded the next day with one of their own. In it they admitted that they had tracked two unknowns on radar and were looking into the incidents. They denied that they had an "egg-shaped saucer" under guard in one of their hangars. In her summary, Coral basically agreed with them. She said that she had gotten plenty of witness testimony or insider information which matched up to indicate that the various cases of a desert landing and radar trackings had occurred, and that even the frightened guard case was "solid" in her mind. But she placed no credence in the captured saucer in the hangar. "All my sources trace back to a single airman who spoke in a shop in Albuquerque". Her opinion was that such things arise from a commonly-experienced phenomenon: "The fellow was either making a bid for attention and/or was mistakenly excited by a closely guarded hangar". And that's where she stood.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think that Coral knew what she was talking about. But the story has blown up until it is truly out of this world. Some people place it back in 1954 now. Some change its location to Edwards AFB. The great Edwards AFB filming case was a true UFO, but it was a phototheodolite case and we have superb records of it. Ike Eisenhower has gotten into the story [so we've got to move it back ten years to 54] despite no real documentation at all. Somehow Robert Emenegger gets involved with this [in his book UFOs: Past, Present, Future; and a subsequent TV movie] and speculates [?] in a fictional [?] ending of his book, that such a landing [without Ike] "might" happen in the future [Wink Wink?]. People have interpreted this as Emenegger actually having seen film of this event [some say that the still shot two pictures above is a piece of that film, whereas I see it as either a hoax or a foggy picture of a poorly functioning Coanda principle vehicle like the AVRO car]. Emenegger seems to have been happy to encourage such speculation, but frankly I've never been able to make any sense of what he's really saying. -----------------------------------------------FAR beyond Emenegger are the elaborations of the story, which one might say culminates in the [I just can't be kind here] institutionalizable story telling of William Cooper. I once sat in an audience when he regaled us with all manner of poppycock, including that you could traipse about on the Moon without an air supply [no helmet] and NASA knew it and was lying about everything to us. Even the co-chair of Michigan MUFON at the time [no conservative he] looked at me like he was about to throw up. Philip Corso's "contribution" to the conspiracy is almost as bad. All this could be viewed as high humor of course, except it is what turns you and me into ridiculed laughingstocks by almost anyone with a sensible head on them. ---------------------------------------------------Coral, as usual during those days, did us a service. She dug out evidence that Holloman was having its own little ongoing UFO flap through the period that produced the Zamora sighting. She also gave us early warning that the "landed UFO in the Hangar" at Holloman in 1964 was the product of the loose talk of one airman in an Albuquerque store. A tale that she could find no support for at the time. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Has Coral strengthened the case for Socorro? Well, you could read it that way. She is also reminding us that lots of stuff gets tested in and around Holloman. [The picture at top is of a public sponsored entry for one of the big aeronautical prizes that go on nowadays, ultimately in hopes of developing an aerospace plane]. And maybe Holloman DID have some hi-tech gadgets in their hangars. And maybe one of them was egg-shaped---it just wasn't alien. I know. My buddy Don Berliner just retched. But I can't help it. I just don't have enough to elevate Socorro to the front rank like my friends do. I guess I'm just a bad boy on this one.

9 comments:

  1. Coral seems like an investigator and author who crossed all her Ts and dotted all her Is. How interesting the a decade can be carelessly added by a couple of person's mis-recollections here or there. Thankfully Coral was thorough. Now if only more people interested in the subject would use her materials, instead of reinventing the wheel.

    I have a old, worn, yellowed paper back copy of her 'Encounters with UFO Occupants'. Amazing what she and her hubby Jim investigated! I like how she presents the cases as they're being described by the people who're involved.

    One case, in particular, dealt with a person (traveling with their family by car that had been stalked by a bright light) who was apparently lifted astrally (out-of-body) into a 'craft' of some sort where the person was horrified to see insectoid-like beings.

    This was reported approximately in the 1960s. Fascinating accounts that might not fit into a particular scenario that most ufo researchers (particularly abductionologists) are comfortable with -- as the Jacobs and Hopkins types like to keep these close encounters completely physical.

    A few years ago a Canadian who was involved in a documentary about ufos, claimed ,quite casually, on some forums that Coral Lorenzen was a "racist". I don't know how he'd know (I think the accuser is only about 40 or so years old) and he never explained. My point is I think it's a shabby thing when ad hominems such as that are thrown at dead ufologists, as they obviously cannot defend themselves.

    About the late Lt. Colonel Philip Corso, who who mentioned in your essay....I wonder if he was following out disinformation orders with his 'Day After Roswell' book (which he interestingly co-wrote with UFO Magazine/UFO Hunters Bill Birnes)? And I wonder what, if any, was Bill Birnes role in the Roswell story, other than helping to perpetuate it.

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  2. All of your comments are sensible and germane. A few reflections: Coral, like all of us, was a different person at different times in her life. For most of her career in UFOlogy she was an enthusiastic and open-minded pursuer of the UFO mystery. During that era, it is my opinion that she tried to get at the truth without restricting herself arbitrarily to confined dogmas. That is why she opened up to world-wide UFOlogy and to an interest on CE3 type cases. We should all be grateful to her for that. -----------Her willingness to consider off-beat cases [such as an OOBE] is admirable rather than a weakness. A case in California in the late 1970s which could not possibly have been "physical" gave Ted Bloecher a lot of concerns, for instance, and may be similar to that you cite.--------As to racism: I have no idea what whoever it was could be talking about. Coral had consultants in all countries she could find and treated all cases fairly as far as I know. The idea seems preposterous. ------------As to Corso: friends of mine in the Roswell business look at him as either manipulated by his co-writer or simply an old dude who wanted to make some bucks. I am not an expert on Corso. I just forget him until I read something that makes sense from anything he said.That is Zero so far.

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  3. "I am not an expert on Corso. I just forget him until I read something that makes sense from anything he said.That is Zero so far."
    Perhaps it would be a great and new idea for Ufology if critics would read books they decide to criticize and ridicule.
    Corso was connected and did the things he said he did. It's a mistake to disregard his message.
    Ed

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  4. To Ed Gehrman: I read what he had to say about the Holloman landing conspiracy, and there was no evidence for it and quite an incredible tale. THAT's what I commented upon---so, check your own unwelcome criticisms at the door. I then said that I haven't read the other subjects that he talks about but people I trust have, and they have nothing good to say about him. My "sources" are the whole of the Roswell research community {Schmitt, Randle, Carey, Rodeghier, and as far as i know Friedman] who present far more expertise than anyone else I can see. NONE of them credit Corso's claims [which I state]. Just because you don't like this answer doesn't empower you to begin making personal criticisms here UNLESS you back them up with documentation. Simply saying Corso had a high military position doesn't do that. I've personally known military of high positions who became nuts. Generally your view about reading all the relevant data before making conclusions is exactly what we should always do, and is therefore good advice. That did not happen here. I'd suggest that all of us do that.

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  5. I don't think the previous post was a personal attack at all. You base your criticism of Corso on the "whole of the Roswell research community Randle Schmitt, Carey ..." If this how you do your research by believing these characters how would you stand on MJ12 for example where Friedman and Randle are at odds with each other. It seems obvious anyone who disagrees with you and your trustworthy sources(?) are "unwelcome" here. I'd also check with Jan Aldich and David Rudiak to name but two on their views as regard to who are the "whole of the Roswell community." Orka

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  6. To Orka: I happily accept all criticism when it is not couched in personal terms--if it is then they will get back as they have offered. Tit for Tat. Jan Aldrich thinks less of Corso than I do. I'll bet the same is true for Rudiak. These guys are sensible researchers who demand evidence for claims. Your comment on my not listing the entirety of the Roswell research community in the reply is---well, meditate on that ridiculous retort. Your comment on Friedman and Randle not agreeing with one another on MJ-12 [while true] bears no relation logically to whether they agree on Corso or anything else. They probably don't have the same things for breakfast either. What's unwelcome here is commentary which is phrased personally, which is stated in absolutist terms without good documentation to back it up. My posts stand on their cumulative strength or weakness. If you have been reading the whole blog you will have decided whether I just flip off shallow commentary or have researched the things talked about. If you believe that comments are mindlessly flip: go somewhere else. You have missed the whole history. If you think that I usually have reasons for what's said but don't understand how I could have said this or that: state why you think that politely and non-personally and I will politely and non-personally say why. And yes, if you don't want to do the work of really looking into a specific point, but just lazily take sniper shots, please don't waste our time. A person in a large field can not know everything. I must trust my friends and colleagues for a lot of my understanding of this. I trust Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle and Mark Rodeghier as my best Roswell researchers. If you do not like them, well, I can't help you. Why one guy [Corso] is so important to anyone that they get emotionally involved, mystifies me.

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  7. Dear professor,

    Thank you for your excellent work.
    May I add that the "still shot two pictures above" is indeed what you suspected it was : a Moller XM-2 test flight. You'll can find the film in more length and an additional still picture at http://rr0.org/science/crypto/ufo/enquete/dossier/Holloman

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  8. I confirm what Javarome says about the photo. The hover car in the picture above was taken about 1967 of professor Paul Moller of UC Davis test flying his larger machine. He also built a beautiful flying saucer with a clear domed canopy and powered by two motorcycle engines. I have pictures of both if interested. He has a website and is still building vtol machines.

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  9. Good to hear the facts on the foggy photo ... sometimes even my ignorant guesses turn out to be true, surprisingly.

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