Crash Story File: Selected Comments About and Media Coverage of the Trinity UFO Crash Story

Crash Story File:  Selected Comments About and Media Coverage of the Trinity UFO Crash Story
The Trinity UFO crash story received prominent exposure on diverse media platforms in January, 2023.

By Douglas Dean Johnson

@ddeanjohnson on X/Twitter

Original Publication: May 1, 2023. I update this compilation from time to time; the most recent update was on December 26, 2023. Some of the quotes below pre-date publication of my initial Crash Story Files articles on May 1, 2023, a crucial follow up article published on May 20, 2023 ("The Reme Baca 'Smoking Gun' Interview"), or later developments. These quotes are merely examples that drew my attention, and are not presented here as reflecting any manner of systematic collection. I would be happy to hear from anybody quoted here, whether to update the statements recorded below. or to challenge anything I have written on the subject of the Trinity UFO crash hoax.

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.

[UPDATE: Invited to state "your current views on the claim that an alien craft crashed near San Antonio, New Mexico, in August 1945," Nick Pope responded by email on October 4, 2023: "As for my views now, well, to quote one of my favorite cliches from the intelligence analysis community, 'interesting, if true'."]


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.)


On December 22, 2022, ran an article under the headline, "EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon ordered to re-investigate 1945 crash of mysterious 'avocado-shaped UFO' dubbed the 'Roswell before Roswell' – as expert reveals eyewitness accounts of the encounter," under the joint byline of Josh Boswell and Chris Sharp. The article was apparently based almost entirely on an interview with Jacques Vallee, and on the contents of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret; it does not appear that the reporters independently investigated any of the claims. The publication asserted in its own voice various claims that my subsequent investigations disproved and that even Vallee subsequently abandoned, among these, that Jose Padilla "became a Highway Patrol officer for 32 years" (Padilla was never a police officer), and that Reme Baca became "a senior staffer for Washington Governor Dixy Lee Ray" (Baca was never on Governor Lee's staff, much less a "senior staffer"). Despite these factual misstatements, as of April 4, 2024, I found no public correction or retraction of these or other false statements by the, Boswell, or Sharp.

The article also quoted Vallee as stating, "I was not involved in the drafting of the legislation, but several of my DC friends were, and they got the date of the [historical] investigation pushed back to 1945." Vallee was apparently correct in asserting that the date change apparently was based in part on his indirect influence and the Trinity story, although there may have been other reasons as well. However, contrary to the impression conveyed by the DailyMail piece, the final enactment contained no reference specifically to the Trinity tale, nor did it contain any other language ordering the investigation of any other named story or case.]


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


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


[My comments on Jacques Vallee's May 15, 2023 "rebuttal" are in the second half of the article posted here. My comments on Jacques Vallee's September 23, 2023 "declaration" appear in the article posted here.]


On July 26, 2023, David Grusch, a recently retired GS-15 intelligence officer, testified before the National Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability of the U.S. House of Representatives. Grusch testified that while working as an intelligence officer assigned to the UAP Task Force, he had interviewed a number of persons who claimed direct involvement in secret government programs that were in possession of non-human technology and "biologics." Grusch also indicated that he had previously shared details of what he was told with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG) and with staffs of the House and Senate intelligence committees. On January 26, 2024, I submitted the following question by email to Grusch: "Did any part of the information that you passed on to the ICIG, or to the staff of the congressional intelligence committees, deal specifically with the story of a purported alien-craft crash and Army recovery in New Mexico in August 1945– this being the story that is the subject of the book Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret (2021, 2022), by Jacques Vallee and Paola Harris?" I received this response from the Grusch Media Team: "Mr. Grusch is not aware of any event as described in Trinity to have actually occurred in 1945 and does not suspect ICIG was provided any information regarding that case."


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.

Johnson has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that Jose Padilla and the late Reme Baca, Vallee and Harris’s key witnesses to the supposed 1945 crash, were serial fabricators, Baca at least motivated by the hope of making money off his story. A third, supporting witness, with his recollections of his deceased father having flown an airplane over the spot where the two boys encountered the crashed UFO and essentially confirmed what they saw -- well, his connection with reality turns out to have been on the shaky side.--"The Trinity UFO Crash--Reconsiderations," by David Halperin, May 31, 2023.


(From Coast to Coast AM interview. Show date May 3, 2023; broadcast early May 4, 2023.)

GEORGE NOORY: What do you say to skeptics, Paola, who don't believe that the crash occurred?

PAOLA HARRIS (20:33): Well, that's, you know, everybody has a right to their own opinion, but that's opinion. What I love is like to talk to somebody like Timothy Good, or somebody that met the witnesses, that's been on the site that did the research. It's easier for me to address it that way, than dealing with opinion, you know, because everybody has a right to their opinion. I mean, sure in the, especially in our field, everybody thinks some of the cases aren't true or not true. I gotta be honest, I gotta find out for myself. In the case, in our case, it's mentioned in Majic Eyes Only, there's 93 crash cases. And Ryan Wood and Bob Wood dedicated two pages to it. So if it wasn't real, I don't know what they, you know, why would they even put it there? [Note: See comments by Ryan S. Wood himself, on May 31, 2023, here.] I really, really believe that in field research you know, because I never form an opinion unless I go there myself. I mean, I even went to Switzerland to see Billy Meier. I went all over the place. I cannot take I cannot take people's opinion as the truth. I've got to do it. I've got to figure it out myself. So that's the only way I can, I can answer that--everybody has a right to an opinion, but field research is a little bit different.


“[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; quoted with permission.)


“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.


See "Jack Sarfatti."


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).

[UPDATE: April 27, 2024] My view from the outset has been that although Dr. Vallee did not find definitive proof of the recovery of anomalous technology in 1945, he surfaced enough credible information to make the case worth investigating. I did some serious due diligence by flying out West to meet one of the family members before reaching even that tentative conclusion. I understand that since that time Douglas Johnson has surfaced new information that raises questions about the veracity of the principal witnesses. However, I have not had the time to dig into the specifics of this dispute, so I am in no position to evaluate the contrasting views over this case. – Christopher Mellon, on-record response in email to Douglas Dean Johnson, April 27, 2024. A PDF of the email exchange is embedded below.




Then, we have many aspects of the Roswell case inserted into this new tale.....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, on A Different Perspective blog, June 2, 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, "The Smoking Gun Proving the Trinity Tale is a Hoax," on A Different Perspective blog, May 20, 2023.

Jacques Vallee has been heard from again defending the nonsensical story of a UFO crash near San Antonio, New Mexico in 1945...Douglas Johnson, at his website, published a series of articles exposing the contradictions and outright lies being told about this alleged event. I believe that anyone who reads those articles dispassionately will realize that there had been no crash near San Antonio...I’m worried that those conducting the government investigations will accept what Dr. Vallee says without critical comment. When they learn the truth about the “Trinity” UFO crash, they’ll begin to reject all other, similar data because of the poor investigation of Trinity. They will assume that all research is equally flawed. And they will use this when describing their work to the public. – Kevin Randle, "Jacques Vallee, Trinity, and New Information," on A Different Perspective blog, October 9, 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)


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


[T]he Trinity UFO Crash story was on pretty thin ice, from the time of its release in May, 2021. But now it has been blown apart completely. A very diligent researcher named Douglas Dean Johnson has dropped a whole boxcar of dynamite on the yarn, and blown it to smithereens. Johnson did the research that Vallee and Harris should have done before publishing this outlandish tale....he has published a very careful and detailed refutation of the principal claims of the Trinity Crash story, mortally wounding it. – "'Trinity UFO Crash' Story Crashes-- and Vallee Melts Down!," by Robert Sheaffer, on BadUFOs blog, May 19, 2023.


The New York Times ran this provocative headline on January 13 [2023]: "Did Aliens Land on Earth in 1945? A Defense Bill Seeks Answers." The article quoted Representative Mike Gallagher promising a full review of "all U.S. government classified and unclassified information" on UFOs going back to 1945. The reporter interviewed famed scientist and ufologist Jacques Vallee, mentioning two of his current projects. One was a book he'd recently written with Paola Leopizzi Harris that investigated an alleged UFO crash in New Mexico in 1945 (later this year, Douglas Dean Johnson would publish a rebuttal definitively proving that this event did not happen, demonstrating how easy it is to be misled when one is down the murky rabbit hole of historical UFO case). – The UFO Disclosure Yearbook 2023 (2024), page 24.


[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 (this was the first book to relate the story), 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."

In the Second Edition of Majic Eyes Only, published January 2024, Wood wrote, "At this stage it is very likely this is a hoax given all the inconsistencies, and Baca's grab for $250,000 for the story and [another $250,000 for] the piece of the alleged wreckage."

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.