Crash Story File: Selected Comments About and Media Coverage of the Vallee-Harris Book and the Trinity UFO Crash Story

Crash Story File:  Selected Comments About and Media Coverage of the Vallee-Harris Book and the Trinity UFO Crash Story

By Douglas Dean Johnson

@ddeanjohnson on Twitter

Original Publication: May 1, 2023. Updated periodically beginning May 22, 2023, with quotes reflecting publication of my initial Crash Story Files articles on May 1, 2023, and a follow up article on May 20, 2023. These quotes are merely examples that drew my attention, and are not presented here as reflecting any manner of systematic collection.

You are in the Crash Story Files, a series of investigative reports examining claims that a UFO crashed and was recovered near San Antonio, New Mexico, in August 1945. To go back to the Crash Story hub story and index, click here.


"...witnesses on the ground saw some kind of object, shaped like an avocado they said, crash land. It was inspected by a lot of locals. There were beings inside, they said. And it was carted away by the U.S. government. Now, people don't want to be called crazy, so no one said too much about it for quite some years. But people within the U.S. government believe it's true, and they believe it so strongly that now, as of this week, the Defense Department's annual spending bill will require, as per Congress, the Pentagon to go back and investigate what really happened." -Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson Tonight, January 15, 2023.

Tucker Carlson and Nick Pope discuss the Trinity story, Tucker Carlson Tonight, January 15, 2023.


“This is being called the 'Roswell before Roswell.'....People with some knowledge of these intelligence programs, who've been briefing Congress about this, made sure that this was put into the legislation. It’s one of many UFO provisions in the new defense bill. DoD must provide Congress with a list of everything they’ve found out about this-- this specific incident but all other incidents and programs, from January 1, 1945 onwards.” – Nick Pope, on Tucker Carlson Tonight, January 15, 2023.


For the casual student of U.F.O. history, the modern idea of life beyond our planet usually dates to 1947, when a top-secret U.S. military balloon crashed in the desert near Roswell, N.M. The wreckage prompted decades of conspiracy theories and gave rise to the idea that Roswell was the site of an alien crash landing. Now, thanks to a new congressional spending bill, U.F.O. enthusiasts may look to 1945 as the beginning of that era. An amendment tucked into this year’s $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which funds the Defense Department’s annual operating budget, requires the department to review historical documents related to unidentified aerial phenomena — government lingo for U.F.O.s -- dating to 1945. That is the year that, according to one account, a large, avocado-shaped object struck a communication tower in a patch of New Mexico desert now known as the Trinity Site, where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated that July....Dr. Vallée began studying the Trinity incident several years ago alongside a journalist, Paola Harris, and interviewed people who claimed to have witnessed the crash. Dr. Vallée and Ms. Harris chronicled their research in a book, “Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret,” including the details of the avocado-shaped object. They also spoke to witnesses who said they came across the object as children and found what they described as “little creatures.” – Reme Tumin, “Did Aliens Land on Earth in 1945? A Defense Bill Seeks Answers,” The New York Times, January 13, 2023. (PDF here.)


“[After reading the First Edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret] I was so angry with the obvious flaws in the story, the lack of even a shred of evidence, and poor writing, that I actually threw the book in the trash when I finished it.” – Robert Hastings, author of UFOs & Nukes (Second Edition, 2017) (E-mail to author, April 9, 2023)


Thanks to the quiet, meticulous research of Dr. Jacques Vallee and Paola Harris, there is fresh reason to believe that our government is concealing physical proof of alien technology. Read the book, and if persuaded, join the millions of other Americans seeking a straight answer. – Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (blurb on both First and Second Editions of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret).


“Ground-breaking research...reveals a new UFO history.”—Prof. Paul Hynek, identified as “entrepreneur-futurist,” in blurb on cover of First Edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret.


I was so disinterested [in Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret], I didn’t know a second edition of Trinity had come out in 2022 until I read about it a few weeks ago. Doug Johnson included it in a lengthy, detailed and blistering online review, Crash Story: The Trinity UFO Crash Hoax. Based on three months’ worth of scouring public records, contemporaneous newspaper articles, myriad podcasts and consultations with experts, Johnson’s fact-checking revelations are absolutely devastating. Trinity, Johnson concludes, is “a tale dreamed up by a serial pretender” (Baca) who “enlisted a man (Padilla) who faked his history as a police officer and a wounded veteran.” Worse, “These two fakers hijacked the names and personas of a real policeman (Eddie Apodaca) and a real governor (Dixy Lee Ray) as characters in their shoddy work of fiction.”  The second edition was issued, Johnson adds, in order to inject dubious corroboration and to expand the role of an erratic raconteur whose name [Billy Brophy] was misspelled in the first edition. ...Vallee offered a 10-page response to Johnson’s critique, posted on Harris’ website. Johnson counterpunched within hours. Although both are worth a look, Vallee is the one who makes some grudging concessions. -- Billy Cox, "A legend falters: Jacques Vallee's offering to Congress misfires," Life in Jonestown blog, May 18, 2023


"For the record... The case is a 100% hoax." – Donald R. Schmitt, co-author of Roswell: The Ultimate Cold Case (email to the author, April 12, 2023)


New information has come in regarding the controversial 'Trinity UFO Crash' story. And it's pretty damning to the narrative in the Jacques Vallee/Paola Harris book on the subject. Douglas Dean Johnson has secured an audio of a 'Trinity' interview between Reme Baca and Roswell researcher Tom Carey that not much predates the Baca-Jose Padilla story's first public appearance. Put bluntly, the Carey conversation is very much at odds with what Baca and Padilla would soon claim. It really appears that no amount of speculative rationalizing can rescue the story from the "hoax" category. -- William Murphy,, May 22, 2023


Kevin Randle neatly sums up the recent crash of Vallée’s and Harris’ Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret. He adds some of his own criticisms to those amassed by Douglas Dean Johnson along with Johnson’s recent release of an old interview with one of Vallée’s and Harris’ star witnesses, which should be the final nail in the coffin of this case. Nevertheless, having been in the field for decades, Randle understands and wearily admits that “Although this should be the stake through the heart of the tale, I know, from experience, that there are those who will not accept the evidence.” -- "Retrieving and Reverse Engineering Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret," by Brian Sentes,, May 23, 2023


The big thing that caught my attention was a description that suggested the aliens looked something like the Jerusalem Cricket… the very description supplied by Frankie Rowe when talking about the aliens at Roswell. There are just too many of the descriptions that are drawn from the Roswell case. To me, this suggests contamination rather than corroboration. – Kevin Randle, review of the First Edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret, on Randle's blog A Different Perspective, June, 2021.

I am surprised by the response that Dr. Jacques Vallee made to the issues raised by Douglas Dean Johnson’s May 1 analysis of the Trinity UFO crash. I found most of what was said [by Vallee] to be weak. The main issues were not properly addressed and there were a few points that seemed to have escaped notice...[Douglas Dean Johnson's new article reports on] an audio recording with Reme Baca in which the story of the San Antonio crash is, well, completely different. It provides the evidence that the San Antonio UFO crash is a hoax. -- Kevin Randle on A Different Perspective blog: "The Smoking Gun Proving the Trinity Tale is a Hoax,' May 20, 2023.


However long Baca and Padilla’s story may have gestated within them, it first surfaced in 2003–long after Roswell had become a household word.  The two men had ample opportunity to saturate themselves with the testimonies of the Roswell witnesses.  And in fact one of these witnesses, the doubtfully reliable Gerald Anderson, told in 1990 or thereabouts a story of his encounter (as a five-year-old boy) with a crashed UFO that sounds so close to Baca’s, even in its language, that it’s hard for me to believe Baca wasn’t drawing on it. “And all of a sudden it [the one surviving alien] just turned and looked straight at me between my uncle Ted and myself.  And this is when–it was just like an explosion of things in my head, things… I just started, you know, feeling, just terrible depression and loneliness and fear and just, you know, awful, awful feelings that just suddenly burst into my mind there.  I don’t know if that meant that it was communicating with me and I was the only one there that it could communicate with because I was a kid.  I don’t know.”  (Quoted by James McAndrew from the raw footage used for a 1993 video on Roswell.)-- "Nuclear Test, UFO Crash – Vallee and Harris’s 'Trinity' (Part 2)," by David Halperin (September 30, 2021)


[Wood gave a presentation on the Trinity case at the 3rd Annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference in November, 2005– one of a series of seven such annual conferences that Wood organized. He also described the Baca-Padilla narrative in his 2005 book Majic Eyes Only: Earth's Encounters with Extraterrestrial Technology, and rated the story "medium-high" on his credibility scale. Wood made the following remarks in an interview with me on May 31, 2023.]

"I'm happy with the snapshot of this case that I created in 2003 and 2005, but it was clearly incomplete. And you've completed it.... This is what investigative journalism is all about, and particularly important when it deals with something so eyebrow-raising as crash retrieval."  Also: "Well, the most likely, in my mind, is what you've concluded—and that is, a hoax, or a veiled attempt or a poor attempt to try to extract money and fame and create a confabulated crashed UFO story, and try to leverage the buzz of Roswell and the Santilli film and Independence Day and all the milieu of modern culture around crash retrievals at that time."

Clockwise from 1 o'clock: Remigio (Reme) Baca, Paola Harris, William P. "Billy" Brophy, Jacques Vallee, Joseph Lopez (Jose) Padilla. To return to the Crash Story hub story, click here.