UFO researcher Jacques Vallée pulled his new self-published book The Best-Kept Secret on the day of its May 4 release. A new press release explains why: Jacques Vallée and coauthor and “exopolitics” researcher Paola Harris are self-publishing a revised edition on June 1 under the title Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret. The book will attempt to provide corroborating evidence for a story first told in the early 2000s about an “avocado-shaped” UFO crashing in San Antonio, New Mexico in August 1945, near to the Trinity nuclear test site. According to the book description and press release, Vallée analyzed a piece of debris that one of the witnesses claims to possess and will suggest that it is of extraterrestrial origin.
Over several site investigation surveys Harris and Vallée reconstructed the historic observations by three witnesses, two of whom are still living, who described to them the circumstances of the crash, with details of the recovery of a nearly-intact flying vehicle and its occupants by an Army detachment. Combining their long experience in field research around the world, the authors have documented the step-by-step efforts by the military to remove the object, an avocado-shaped craft weighting several tons, from the property where it crash-landed during a storm.
Vallée has been collecting and testing alleged flying saucer debris for years, both in conjunction with and parallel to the efforts of his longtime friend and colleague Hal Puthoff at To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science.
The San Antonio crash story is rather unbelievable, even by UFO standards. According to the most common version of the story, Jose Padilla and Reme Baca, then aged 9 and 7, witnessed a nearly thirty-foot-long spacecraft crash into the desert. They ran to the crash site and saw two little men emerge and begin running about in a panic. One of the boys took a piece of debris from the crash site. Then, the U.S. Army arrived, built a road out to the crash site, and retrieved the spaceship. The boys never knew what became of the little men from inside the ship.
The story rests on the memories, six decades after the fact, of small children repeating a tale straight out of a Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers comic strip.
The San Antonio crash story first came to national attention in 2003 in a newspaper story, but afterward Paola Harris “investigated” and wrote a 2011 book about the encounter, Born on the Edge of Ground Zero, which as best I can tell made almost no impression.
What’s interesting, though, is that early on this story became impossibly conflated with History Channel-style fantasies. It is nearly painful to read the lengthy screeds on The Wanderling website, but the author explains that his uncle was an apparently third witness—perhaps the one Vallée alleges is the “new” witness that made revising the book essential—who saw the spaceship crash, and he explains in tedious detail his uncle’s later involvement with all manner of fringe conspiracies, from the Roswell crash to the Kensington Rune Stone, as well as his interest in his young years with the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone. Across the many pages of ramblings, it becomes quite clear that uncle and nephew are both involved in a fantasy world of magic and mystery that bears only a tangential relationship to material world around us. The uncle alleged that crashed flying saucers and the Rune Stone shared a secret rune code that communicated messages from beyond. The markings, he believed, were similar to those used in World War II-era emergency signaling mirrors and could be used to target specific stars.
The uncle also claimed to be friends with everyone from Albert Einstein to Allen Ginsberg and to have undergone a government interrogation. His fantasies rather strain credulity.
We will need to await the book from Vallée and Harris to see what evidence they can present for the truth of this strange story, but its late date and connection to other long-debunked pseudo-history claims don’t bode well. Ditto the complete lack of references to any crashed spaceship in declassified government files. The Army Air Forces wouldn’t have been so taken aback by the UFO flap of 1947 if they had already been studying aliens and their ship for two years.
In short, the story doesn’t make contextual sense. Maybe that’s why Vallée is self-publishing his book only on Amazon rather than seeking wider distribution through a professional publisher.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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