The Flying Saucer Wave of 1947

A place to post up some thoughts on the flying saucer wave of 1947

Send comments to don at this web address.

Mary G. Mayes and the Zamora Socorro UFO

These comments are preceded by articles by Dr Kevin Randle on his blog A Diffferent Perspective and comments to it, including mine. If you are unfamiliar with the 'Mayes' story, it can be gotten easily searching Google or reading Kevin's blog. Kevin has provided selected quotations from Dr. James McDonald's correspondence to Richard Hall. I am uncertain of the date, but likely the late 1960s or early 1970s. I don't know if it was hand written or typed. Note this was personal correspondence, and not a investigative report or article; one should not expect it to be precise.

The quotations (my comments indented):

One last point: Have you ever heard of any reports that there was a patch of “fused sand” near the site of the Socorro landing? As a result of a remark that Hank Kalapaca made to me at lunch in the Rayburn building on 7/29 [I will assume here the year was 1968], I followed up a lead that San Friedman picked up when he spoke to a nuclear society in Las Vegas.

We don't know the chronology here, but it seems Kalapaca's "remark" reminded him of something Friedman said.

I’m still in the process of checking it, so won’t elaborate the details here. Briefly, a woman who is now a radiological chemist with the Public Health Service in Las Vegas

McDonald had "details" not in the letter. "who is now", but perhaps not then? The 'Mayes' I identified was a life-long employee of the PHS, and the SW office in Las Vegas. "radiological chemist" is accurate enough.

was involved in some special analyses of materials collected at the Socorro site, and when she was there, the morning after, she claims that there was a patch of melted and resolidified sand right under the landing area. I have talked to her both by telephone and in person here in Tucson recently.

Mayes may have been in Tucson in 1966, but I haven't anything more than a lead for that.

and am asking Charlie Moore to do some further checking. I must say, it’s very hard to imagine how such material could have been there not only on the evening of the 24th but still there on the morning of the 25th without it ever having been reported before. She mentioned it to Stan rather casually, as if she assumed that everybody knew about the fused sand. She was surprised to be told, especially by me, that nothing like that had ever before been reports (sic).

I don't know why "especially by me"...I assume "me" refers to McDonald, not Friedman. Might McDonald have known her previously?

She did the analyses on the plant-fluids exuded from the stems of greasewood and mesquite that had been scorched. She said there were a few organic materials they couldn’t identify, but most of the stuff that had come out through the cracks and blisters in the stems were just saps from the phloem and xylem. Shortly after she finished the work, Air Force personnel came and took all her notes and materials and told her she wasn’t to talk about it anymore. Grand coverup? Not necessarily. The fused sand might be another matter.

Information from Friedman's or from McDonald's conversations with her may have gotten mixed together here. It is unclear whether she expressed surprise to Friedman as well as McDonald. "The fused sand might be another matter". I've posted to Randle's blog why it might "not necessarily" be a "grand coverup", but does this mean only the plant material and the report were taken by "Air Force personnel"? If so, where was the "fused sand" taken, if not to Mayes' lab?

Dr Randle then spoke to Stanton Friedman. "He told me, as best he could recall"

“Mary Mayes approached me after I lectured to a technical group saying that she had been a student at NMIT [New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology] at Socorro when she was asked to check on the soil which she had done. I told Jim [McDonald] about it as he was much closer obviously than I was. No need for me to be a middleman.”

I have not found evidence Mary G. Mayes had been a student at NMIT, but perhaps she had been. She had been a student at UNM, though. If she hadn't been at NMIT, then Friedman may be recalling that NMIT came up in their conversation.

Now, quoting Randle:

The next question was if this Mary Mayes’ name could be verified since it wasn’t mentioned in the original letter. On November 25, 1968, Charles Moore (yes, that Charles Moore) reported that he had talked with both Raymond Senn and Sam Chavez about the melted sand. Neither of them saw any melted sand on the site and neither remembered Mayes, though in his letter, Moore incorrectly identified her as Nayes. He also mentioned a Mary Rumph, which as I have just learned from Don Ecsedy was her maiden name.

Who, exactly, mentioned 'Mary Rumph'? Moore? Senn to Moore? If any of them mentioned it, then he knew her. If it was McDonald, he would have gotten it, probably from Mayes herself during their interviews.

We now have evidence that suggests Mayes’ tale might not be true. Although Moore called her Nayes in his letter, it would seem that if Senn heard the name Nayes, he would have mentioned that he knew someone named Mayes. Instead, he denied knowing her.

If Moore or Senn were the source for "Mary Rumph", then that person knew her. If it was Moore, then Moore calling her 'Nayes' must simply be a typo on his part. One must assume, after personal interviews, McDonald knew her name and possibly her maiden name.

Kevin also mentions I found the names of the witnesses to the Senn wedding, one of whom is named Vincent G. Rumpf. Note the different spellings Rumph and Rumpf. I don't have the signatures, so possibly the typed New Mexico State db entry is an error. But, Rumpf is likely the original Germanic spelling of the name which got changed to Rumph for some family as they migrated west from the east coast. I have not identified him yet.

To complicate the issue, McDonald asked Mayes about these negative results. He talked to her on the telephone and then in person. He said that she had “remarried as Mrs. Mary White.”

So, McDonald also had another name for her, "White". I haven't found evidence of this marriage. That's not unusual. Sometimes records are just not there (I'm still looking). What is unusual is that no one named 'White', except our Mary G. Mayes, appears in her obituary. Shoals of families are mentioned, including her first husband and their children together and his children with his second wife, but no Mr. White, nor any members of the White family. Her "helpers" are named, but no one named White. The Mayes divorce must have occured no later than in 1965 because a marriage license was issued to Robert B Mayes' and Peggy Lou Marcak in early 1966.

Randle quotes a letter from McDonald to Moore, dated April 2, 1970:

She [Mayes/White] seemed to be quite astonished that Senn said he did not know her, and she said not only had her family known him for many years, but she, herself, had “stood up for him” at his wedding… I had frankly tended to dismiss her story on the basis of what you’d turned up and Senn’s not knowing her. She again went very briefly over it - - where the fused sand lay relative to the impression, etc. No signs of evasive coverup or backtracking to mend her story. And reexpressed surprise at Senn’s saying he didn’t know her.

I pointed out that Reiche saw nothing like that when he was there, and she seemed genuinely puzzled.

Note Mayes' astonishment, also refer above to "She mentioned it to Stan rather casually, as if she assumed that everybody knew about the fused sand. She was surprised to be told, especially by me, that nothing like that had ever before been reports (sic)." He astonishment indicates it is a mistake to conclude that the USAF confiscated her work and warned her against talking about it.

I wonder who was included in "everybody".


To get right to the point, evidence can be found in the obituaries of the principals in the Abuquerque Journal.

Mary's husband Robert B. Mayes attended NMIT and was in the Army Corps of Engineers from which he retired after 31 years of service. From another news story, Mayes was "Airborne" and had been wounded, either at Ardennes or Liege battles. I don't know anything about Senn during the war. It seems rather likely that since he and Senn were the same age, and both served during WWII and both attended NMIT, that they may have known each other.

There is something of a trace that Robert and Mary's son Robert also attended NMIT in 1964. I'm still uncertain about it. Also, the only trace I've found of a likely Vincent G. Rumpf is a reference to him in a mining journal as being a mining engineer in Telluride in 1952.

It appears Mary G. Mayes' work was to collect plant samples and perform tests on them. She would not be someone chosen to test and identify any rocks or soil. I note that there was a most excellent mining institue right there in Socorro with lots of guys who knew all about minerals. So would her first husband Robert, and Raymond Senn, and Charles Moore.

It isn't obvious that she would take the fused sand to a biology lab, but she might have mentioned it, or taken it to NMIT to someone she knew there.

Either Senn lied to Moore, or Moore lied to McDonald, or McDonald lied to Hall (if it was in his letter to him).

I first became interested in 'Socorro' when I read that Lincoln La Paz was mentioned in the case. La Paz in this timeframe was a professor at the UNM, Albuquerque, combined Mathematics and Astronomy department. According to a 1959 story in the Albuquerque Journal, Mary G. Mayes was awarded a small scholarship to UNM in botany (it was a small monetary gift from a garden club that gave out one every year, I gather). At that time Maye's was an assistant to Loren D. Potter, biologist at UNM.

Mary's father, Clarice Pierce Rumph was an instructor in mathematics at UNM, Albuquerque, thus in the same department as La Paz. La Paz said he knew Lonnie Zamora.

NOTE: This is a work in progress and suject to change.

Don Ecsedy, December 26, 2017