The Other Lessons of Trinity

When I wrote TRINITY in June 2021, based in part on testimony professionally recorded by Paola Harris, it was predictable that some ufologists would react to the book with skepticism. We’ve always welcomed professional critics and healthy arguments from which we could all learn. In this case, however, the attack claiming the book was based on a hoax was grossly misleading: any joker inventing the crash of an unknown object on his land, weeks after the first atomic bomb, wouldn’t remain silent about it for over sixty years. That alone discounts the idea of a hoax: you don’t come up with a joke only to wait that long to tell the punch line, especially when there are two other witnesses (curiously unmentioned in the attacks against the book) testifying to the actual crash and its aftermath. But implications of the San Antonio event for later cases such as Roswell are uncomfortable for many readers because they involve a drastic revision of the UFO record: they wish the episode could be erased from history.

The first attack against the book was not professional at all. Even before TRINITY was published, vicious insinuations were planted throughout the social networks, stating that the book had been cancelled due to gross inaccuracies. In reality, I did postpone publication by a couple of weeks because Paola had discovered another confirming witness and we felt readers should know about the important observations she made over several years on-site.

Today, with TRINITY well-established in its American and French editions, to be followed by several other translations in 2022, renewed criticism has appeared among the chaos of US social networks with the vicious personal attacks customary for such media. Obviously we won’t respond at that level; nor is that necessary, even for “an old man in a hurry” like me. We can let later developments decide the outcome. In this particular case, however, some of the attacks are so blatantly biased they actually border on systematic disinformation, and must be denounced for the interest of readers and future research.

There are two major misunderstandings in the attack against our book. The first has to do with the recovered “bracket,” which one quoted “expert” vaguely said he “thought it was from a windmill.” TRINITY makes it clear that, after listening to the testimony and studying the piece and the metal it was composed of, I came to the conclusion that it was a human construct, not an Alien artifact. I actually spell out this conclusion in the book (p.136). The dimensions are in millimeters, the composition is a standard industrial alloy, and many similar “actuators” exist. The problem isn’t at that level. Paola took the piece to several windmill suppliers who told her it wasn’t from any windmill they knew. The fact remains that, in our opinion, it is a human device. Attacking the book on this point is disingenuous. The real question is, what was it doing there? And the subsidiary questions: why did the Army look for it so eagerly, for years? My tentative answer to this, with which some colleagues disagree, is that it was installed inside the craft by the soldiers themselves, to serve a vital electrical function.

The second misunderstanding has to do, very simply, with the actual observation of the crash. Why the critics are silent on that point, when they claim to have studied the book, is very odd. A bomber flying in for a landing at Alamogordo at the time of the crash was asked by the controllers to report on a critical tower that had lost communication. The pilot reported that the tower had been bent, then he saw the crashed avocado in the smoking bushes, along with the “two Indian boys.” This obviously eliminates any idea that the crash was invented by Baca and Padilla. Why don’t the critics mention the facts? Was the B-29 pilot a hoaxer, too?

Other inaccuracies, false inventions and intentional distortions of the facts continue:

  1. Magonia was “tossing out the entire ‘nuts and bolts’ scenario…” This is a gross misrepresentation of the thesis of my book, and its underpinnings in modern analysis. I have published ample documentation for the dual nature of the phenomena, a view Dr. Hynek fully supported. What does that have to do here?
  2. The third witness, Sabrina Padillo… was 15 in the year 1960 that she was taken to “inspect” the site…” This can’t come from our book, and it is absurd. Sabrina (whose last name was never “Padillo,” so much for investigative accuracy!) was only two months old when she came to live with her Grandpa in 1953. (See p.251). She was never “taken” to see the site as she grew up, on the contrary she had to “sneak out” there and was repelled by it, as a girl of seven or eight. She was not 15. How can one quote so many false facts, and then claim to have studied the book?
  3. I found the term “Jerusalem cricket” myself, in a biology book when I did research translating “Niño de la Tierra,” the name used by the witnesses, using the Spanish word. The argument by the critic, here again, comes out of thin air.
  4. “Neither the ship, nor the bodies, nor a shred of debris could be found.” Again, a biased retelling of the situation. The ship was found there all right. Two adults went inside, including a policeman whose name is plainly cited. Also, there had never been any bodies. Where does that new invention come from? The short humanoid creatures were alive. And debris was picked up by the sacksful. Why the disinformation? We mention those fibers throughout the book.
  5. “The craft was left unattended overnight…” Pure invention. The truck left towards White Sands after the soldiers had dinner a few miles away.
  6. The Army soldiers, just home from the war…” The detachment in question was local, based at Trinity. Most of those soldiers would not have been at the front.
  7. “The Army left to go to sleep for the night…” False insinuation, again, with no basis since the soldiers returned after dinner and the convoy drove away.
  8. “Plants totally indigenous to the area, Jimson Weed…” This was an honest mistake by the first amateurs Paola brought to the site. Expert review of the plants showed they were not Jimson Weed but a poisonous species named Cocklespur, unfit to be used on a ranch.

The review of these misguided attacks demonstrates how difficult it is to conduct intelligent debate about the UFO situation in America today. Debate should be based on facts and data, not conjectures and personal slight.

To end on a more entertaining note: among the barrage of arguments just enumerated, there is a true gem: the critics have so little respect for accuracy that they call me “Vallee, the former director of Paris Observatory…”

French researchers will be amused to learn this highly original new fact about me. I was 23 when I moved to Texas to work on NASA’s Mars project. What this says about the reliability and peculiar style of the new American ufology is part of a painful lesson we must continue to learn.

Jacques Vallée

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