The James Stokes Story
Near Orogrande, NM
 Nov. 4, 1957

By Loren Gross, Francis Ridge, Jan Aldrich & Larry Hatch

Stokes Photo

On this date at about  1:10 p. m. local time, James W. Stokes, a high altitude research engineer, reported he saw an elliptical UFO sweep twice across the highway. The car radio and the engine failed.  Stokes claimed that other drivers were also on the road, and their engines had also failed. Stokes reported a wave of heat and, later, his face appeared "sunburned." This case was explained by the Air Force as a hoax. None of the supporting witnesses were ever located. Stokes had told some individuals  that he wanted to "get even with the Air Force". Additional information could probably be obtained from an interview with Stokes (if he's still alive) and Terry Clarke, the radio announcer who interviewed Stokes and talked to Gen Davis, the White Sands commander. Clarke said little about his interview with Gen Davis. The importance of this case is not so much the report content, but  the official handling. With this caveat, please now read the complete report.

The reporter for the Alamogordo radio station KALG,  Terry Clark, who was responsible for sending out the James Stokes story on the national newswire, wondered like everyone else if Stokes was telling the truth.

The morning of November 7th, something occurred that convinced Clark that Stokes' account was not a fabrication. A similar sighting was made close to the same location. What's more, the witnesses, the Lindsey family, were known to Clark as people to be trusted without any reservations.

[ footnote (9): Clark,Terry.  "The day all roads let so Alamogordo."  WRITERS DIGEST. December 1957.  p.30  ]

( Also note that Bryan Lindsey was a former employee of the Daily News, the local Alamogordo newspaper.)


Byron Lindsey, a former employee of the Daily News editorial department and a recent graduate of the University of Texas journalism department tells Al Wegemer of the Daily News of the unidentified flying object sighted by Lindsey and his parents north of Orogrande yesterday.

[ Handwritten note:  Daily News - Alamogordo, NM 11-8-57 ]

[ Loren Gross booklet, page 7 and 8, reproduce the full Daily News  article of 8 NOV 1957 -LH ]

Lindseys Sight High-Flying 'Thing'     [ first byline ]
' DEFINITELY UNCONVENTIONAL '         [ second byline ]
By Al Wegemer

A runaway speedometer and a "high flying silvery oval object"  sighted by  three  Alamogordo  residents, constituted today's chapter in the unfolding "Unidentified Flying Objects story.

What was labeled as "definitely an unconventional flying machine" was spotted yesterday morning by Trent Lindsey, Alamogordo insurance man; his wife Jewel; and his son Byron, 22.

The mysterious object was sighted at a point between Escondida and Orogrande, about 35 miles from Alamogordo on [US] Highway 54 while the Lindseys were traveling by car to El Paso.

Prior to the sighting, the speedometer on the Lindsey auto began to register in erratic fashion, and continued to operate in "a wild way" until after the flying object disappeared from view.

Since the latest rash of "flying saucer" reports began circulating in the Southwest (and elsewhere), several motorists have complained that flying objects have stopped car motors, and cut off or dimmed headlights.

But, the object sighted by the Lindseys failed to affect the Lindsey car in such fashion.

Indeed, the senior Mr. Lindsey expressed the view that the erratic functioning of the car speedometer possibly could be traced to natural causes.

As to the speedy high-flying object sighted by the Lindseys, Mr. Lindsey is sure of only one thing: It did not appear to be "a conventional flying machine."

The object, Mr. Lindsey said, lacked the definable lines and angles of a conventional aircraft, and on that point the three Lindseys are in complete agreement.

Beyond that point, however, Mr. Lindsey is highly skeptical about the significance, if any, of the sighting.

He explained: "There are lots of things flying around in the sky these days, particularly in this part of the country.  Probably most, if not all, are explainable. "

The younger Lindsey, who leaves within a week for Argentina where he will take advantage of a scholarship at the University of Buenos Aires, and a former employee of the Daily News, attached more importance to the sighting,  saying:

"When the speedometer needle suddenly jumped over 110   [MPH] ( as far as the needle could go), mother said that we had better stop the car and see if we could see anything that might be causing the strange action..

"The needle kept skipping back and forth between 60 and 110 and making a clattering sound.

"While the needle was jumping around, dad pointed upward to the southwest and said 'I suppose you think that is something'.  And it was something.   It was cylindrical in shape, silvery, and moving toward the southwest.

"It appeared to be very high up, I would guess about 10,000 feet, and traveling at high speed.

"It was a clear day (the hour of the sighting was 9:20 a.m.) and the object appeared to be made of metal rather than gaseous in nature.

"The object seemed to be following the curvature of the earth instead of moving in a straight line as would an airplane.

"Also, the object seemingly did not have the definite lines and angles of conventional aircraft.

"We saw the object for only about three minutes.  It disappeared over the Organ Mountains.

"When the speedometer needle first bounced over to the 110 mark, the flying object was probably nearer to us - maybe directly overhead - but we didn't see the object until it was at least 30 miles away from us."

"We traveled some 15 miles before the speedometer corrected itself, and we had no trouble during the rest of the trip or on the way back from El Paso.  Strangely, the needle kept wavering to the side where the object was instead of toward the zero mark on the speedometer."

[ end quote.  Reporter Wegemer resumes story..  -LH ]

The senior Mr. Lindsey checked with an Alamogordo garage mechanic and was advised that the speedometer's erratic action could have been caused by "lack of proper lubrication."

Mr. Lindsey said that he experienced no previous trouble with the speedometer on his car, a 1954 Mercury.

Oddly, the object sighted by the Lindseys apparently was traveling in practically the same same orbit followed by a mysterious object sighted Monday by James Stokes of Alamogordo, retired U.S. Navy man employed at Holloman.

Stokes described the object as "egg shaped" and said its color was on the order of mother of pearl.

Stokes sighted the object about 10 miles South of Orogrande on Highway 54.  The object, he said, came in "from the northeast" and caused his car engine to stall and the car headlights to fade.

Stokes reported that he received a slight sunburn from the object.

On Same General Course
The object sighted by the Lindseys seemingly followed the same general course as that traversed by the UFO sighted by Stokes; and in a general way, the descriptions of the two objects coincided.

Even so, the senior Mr. Lindsey inclines to the view that the action of the speedometer and the sighting of the flying object were coincidental, rather than related. Mrs. Lindsey and son Byron, however, aren't so sure about that.

[  Daily News  Alamogordo  11-8-57 ]
[ Hats off to Al Wegemer for a detailed, factual and unbiased report!  Contrast that with the below.. -LH ]

That the Lindsey report seemed to substantiate Stokes, was not lost on the military either.  According to an United Press dispatch out of Alamogordo the Air Force was "very interested" in the case.  (10)

[Footnote (10) = Las Vegas,NM  Daily Optic, 7 Nov. 57]
[ The Optic printed a lengthy Associated Press article on the front page titled: "Seeing Objects almost fad..". containing the following brief reference to Stokes: -LH ]

At the Air Force Missile Development Center, Alamogordo, authorities branded as untrue a published report that James Stokes, 45-year-old engineer who has reported sighting a "brilliant colored egg-shaped object" along US-54, had undergone radiation tests.  [!]

Stokes has maintained his account basically unchanged under questioning by air force officials.  Officials said no radiation tests were given to him.  He [Stokes] had told of having his face slightly burned when the object [ garble ] fl

Source: " The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse .. UFOs: A History    1957  November 7th - 12th"   by Loren Gross. The first reports of the Stokes case are no doubt in the Loren Gross booklet which precedes this one. Indented are newspaper accounts.