The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Copyright 2010, InterAmerica, Inc.


If researchers are genuine in their quest to find truth in the UFO phenomena, they must be prepared to accept when cherished UFO "evidence" turns out to be the result of fraud. Such is the case with some very famous flying saucer photos from the early years that are forever emblazoned in many of our memories. They have appeared in countless books and magazines and today on numerous websites. They have continued to keep our minds in wonder over the decades. But we need not wonder any more about four pieces of such "photographic evidence."

It can now be revealed that the world-famous Rex Heflin Photos; the Cumberland "Spaceman" Photo; the Zanesville, OH Barber's photos and the William Rhodes 1947 photos were all hoaxes.


Frame from 2007 "Haiti UFO" CGI Hoax Video

Just as many "Youtube" UFO videos today are made by pranksters, the compulsion to prank in a similar way was evident in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Now such hoaxes utilize cutting-edge digital technologies such as Paintbox, various CGI programs and other interactive drawing and special effects tools that create highly realistic videos and photos. In earlier days such things as double exposures, overlays, forced perspective -and simply tossing or suspending objects in the air- were used to create equally highly realistic UFO photo effects. Though the technologies are more advanced today, the ingenuity and creativity of earlier UFO picture hoaxers was just as great -and perhaps even greater- than those of today's hoaxers.


Just as many readers will soon feel, I do not like this story. I do not like to report it. I am not driven to "debunk." I am driven to truth. Just as my Socorro UFO hoax expose' was not something that I enjoyed relating in my article series, it pains me to reveal other fraud when found. But we must do so. As readers know, I support the ET nature of many UFOs, including the ET nature of the Roswell crash event. The phenomena are real.

But we must be mature enough to recognize that where there is truth, there are often lies. We must vet. We must not be rabid skeptics, but rather we must be "critical thinkers" in the truest sense. We must "discern the spirits" and evaluate individually all photographic UFO claims. It strengthens our case when we "separate the wheat from the chaff." We are obligated to do so. So many outstanding and credible sightings and other evidence exists supporting ET, that we can "take it" when some treasured UFO stories are proven false or put into serious question. We can then concentrate on the more credible cases, which are infinitely more interesting. The study of UFOs should reflect a process of "continuous improvement." As we learn more about some of the older cases, we must apply newly acquired information and technologies to re-evaluate them. It is our duty to history. Truth must triumph, even when it hurts.



As I opened the pages of Ideal's UFO Magazine as a very young child in the 1970s my heart stopped when I saw the series of photos above. Astonished, I thought to myself that here at last was clear proof that we were being visited by others. What else could it be?

On November 13, 1966 barber Ralph Ditter photographed a UFO at different angles that appeared outside his house in Roseville, OH, a suburb of Zanesville. Ditter exhibited his photos in his barber shop. Some time later the photos were featured in a local paper. Since then, the photos have been carries in books and magazines worldwide. They are most always presented as authentic, or at least as "unresolved." Initially cooperative with official investigators, Ditter later failed to respond to requests for "clarification" of the differences between his account of the sighting and the apparent facts.

But the very little known fact is that Ralph Ditter did indeed confess to a hoax a long time later. Ditter had told MUFON researchers Warren B. Nicholson and Ronald Fisher the truth about the matter on the morning of October 23, 1971, a full five years after the photos were taken. This author has recently located and interviewed Warren Nicholson. It was learned that:

Nicholson had arrived with Fisher at Ditter's barbershop unannounced and proceeded to get a haircut. After the cut, Nicholson then handed Ditter a technical report that had conclusively determined through a scientific photo analysis that Ditter's photos were faked. The numbers on the backs of the photos were out of sequence to Ditter's story. The object was really 3-4 inches in diameter and it was only 3-4 feet from the camera lens. The photos were not taken in rapid succession as Ditter had reported, as surrounding scenery had changed (see if you can spot the differences in the photos.)

Ditter read the report that had analyzed his photos. Nicholson then asked of Ditter, "Well, what do you think of it?" Ditter replied, "Well, I am the one who faked them. What do you think?" Ditter then made a full confession to the researchers: About a year prior to the photos being made, his young daughter had asked him about the subject of UFOs. In her naive sweetness, the child wanted to know if Ditter could ever find a UFO and take a picture of it for her saying, "Daddy, will you take a UFO picture for me?" Ditter told the researchers he made a promise to her and had said to her, "Yes, someday I will."

A few months later Ditter was cleaning up and repairing his daughter's toy wagon. He had noticed how much the wagon hubcaps were so similar in appearance to the UFO photos that he had seen in men's magazines at the shop like Saga and Argosy. He removed the hubcaps and wire brushed them. He faked the photos for her and put them up in his barbershop. Some months later a customer contacted the media, and the event spiraled out of control. The love for a daughter had inspired Ditter- and we loved Ditter for doing it. The photos enchanted. But it is now time to recognize that they were "pretend." Nicholson explained to me that he and Ronald Fisher had reported this Ditter confession in 1971 and that the article was thought to have been later published in the MUFON Ohio Journal. For some reason, it never made a "blip."

But even this episode of fraud can yield some previously unknown truth. Nicholson explained that the "technical report" on the Ditter photos that Nicholson had presented to the barber had been completed by none other than the the government think-tank the RAND Corporation. Readers will remember my prior investigation revealing that RAND's involvement in UFO investigation is far deeper than has ever been realized. The RAND-UFO story is related in the article Deep Secrets of a UFO Think Tank Exposed (archived on this site.) RAND has been secretly involved in official UFO analysis on behalf of the US government for a very long time.



On the spring day of May 23, 1964 a firefighter named Jim Templeton took his daughter to bucolic Burgh Marsh overlooking Solway Firth in Cumberland, eight miles west of their home in Carlisle in Northern England. John was an amateur photographer. He wanted to take photos of his daughter Elizabeth on that splendid day, and he posed her sitting in an open grass hill area. Some days later Jim went to get his photos back from the photo developer at the local "chemist" shop. Appearing in the photo (but unseen at the time) was a startling figure that seemed for all the world to be that of a strange and small Spaceman! What we would now call an ethereal "Buzz LightYear" space ranger was perched upon the girl's shoulder!

In the earliest retellings of the event though, Templeton had said something in passing that in later years has somehow been forgotten or gone unnoticed by researchers: The man who developed the photo had remarked to Templeton that "it was a shame that some idiot had walked into one of your pictures of Elizabeth." The photo developer did not realize how perceptive his comment. Had its significance been realized, the Cumberland "Spaceman" Photo would not be so famous. Sometimes off-hand comments and first-impressions that are blurted out turn out to be the most telling.

The Cumberland solution is simple when we step back. A person had quickly passed through the scene as Templeton took the shot. It is forced perspective. Such perspective can create an illusion that can make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. Here is the graphic answer:


The photo is a classic optical effect. It is a misinterpretation of perspective by the brain that is caused by the angle of the subjects appearing in the photo. The figure is likely to be less than 5'10" and is jogging away from the camera at a 45 degree angle were the ground is sloping on an incline. Notice the angle of the right elbow in the original photo. It is angled in a way that is identical to the way that someone holds their arms when they are running away from you. The "Spaceman" is not facing the camera, it is actually backside to the camera!

The off-balance posture is explained by the quick forward motion of the figure maneuvering up a hill. The light white-colored jacket or blouse that the figure is wearing is "inflated" by the breeze of forward motion. The Templeton girl's hair wisps are moving the same direction that the wind is blowing unto the jogger. The image captured of the "spaceman" is indistinct because the jogger is moving with speed and is in full motion.

Templeton was very focused on taking a nice picture of his beloved daughter, and his gaze was only through the camera's viewfinder. The figure passed by his field of view rapidly and thus the figure was never even seen by Templeton. Daughter Elizabeth had her back towards the back of the figure, and never saw the passerby either. This is because Elizabeth was herself concentrating on making a nice pose for the picture. Recognizing that the father and daughter were taking a photo, the jogger never engaged them or acknowledged them, and tried quickly to run away from the framing of the shot. Think about it. We have all tried to dash and dodge to avoid appearing in someone's private picture. Or it could be that the runner is entirely unaware that Mr. Templeton was just about to take a picture of his daughter.

What appears to be the rear-view of a helmet may actually be a headscarf, very popular in the early 1960s. If it is a woman, she may also be sporting a French pleat hairdo which was also very popular at that time, where the hair is worn in an extreme blunt squared-off back (like a helmet).

If the figure is that of a male (as pictured in overlay above) the helmet-like back view may be of a middle-aged man's blunt "helmet hair" haircut. This overlay also illustrates well the role that perspective played in the Templeton photo.

The backside "helmet" distortion as seen in the original photo may also be further compounded by an "artifact" in the photo that is known by professional photo-analysts as a "bokeh" - a lens aberration that causes back figure blurring. It is exacerbated by forward or side-to-side motion (as found in jogging.)

Whether or not this can be classified as a purposeful "hoax" is open to debate. Perhaps, like the barber Ralph Ditter, Templeton wanted to please his daughter with a mystery. It may also be a situation where Templeton just let things get "out of hand." The interest in the photos escalated. Templeton may have chosen to "ignore" the instructive solution that had been provided to him early on by the very man who had developed the photo for him, that "some idiot" had gotten in the way of a nice photo.



At noon on August 3, 1965, highway maintenance inspector Rex Heflin was driving near the Santa Ana, CA freeway when he saw a UFO. He stopped his vehicle and from the window shot a series of four photos using the Polaroid camera he had in his car and used for work. He believed that the craft was a little over 200 feet away at an altitude of about 150 feet and that it was approximately 30 feet in diameter. The craft appears fairly well-defined, clearly-structured and dull metal in color.

On September 20, 1965, the Santa Ana Register published the photos. Later a Project Blue Book investigator interviewed Heflin. Heflin told the officer that just the previous day he had handed his original Polaroids over to a supposed representative from the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD.) Heflin did not obtain the NORAD Colonel's name and apparently just gave the man his original evidence with only a promise of return and without getting anything in writing confirming its receipt.

The Heflin photos are one of Ufology's "sacred cows" and the images are believed by some to be definitive. Many believe that they show a strange aerial craft of some sort, perhaps ET or perhaps an experimental vehicle. The facts however are far more down-to-earth: Rex Heflin was a Hoaxer.

Heflin photos have been notably researched by Ann Druffel. Druffel has to some measurable degree made her research "claim to fame" on the Heflin saga. He maintained a very close relationship with Druffel for many years, including up until his death (a point she emphasized on her own website.) She single-handedly kept up interest in Rex over the years- and may have been one of the few females with a continuing presence in Rex's life.

The Heflin photos have been subjected to countless official investigations - and to both amateur and expert analysis- over many years. We can go back and forth on such fine points as to whether or not a line or string can be detected or not detected in the photos. We can argue if under the vehicle there is some sort of disruption of ground or if there is some sort of emission. But the simple facts remain:

- The Heflin photos were Polaroids, meaning that there were no negatives.

- Even the original Polaroids went "missing" for decades

- The pictures are "fuzzy gray" and of poor quality and resolution.

- Early 1960s-era Polaroid instant cameras were themselves very low-grade systems.

The disappointing result is that any technical analysis is going to suffer these very major disadvantages. But I am not going to concentrate so much on the technical dynamics of the case. I am going to "step back" and review the human dynamics and "deeper background" of the case:

A basic yet critical question appears to never have been asked by investigators about the Heflin photos:

Did people in the area know about the photos before they were published in the local newspaper?

Yes they did. And one such person is Mr. Edward Riddle. Ed Riddle was a professional that was employed as a senior-level technical writer, including for a leading Menlo Park, California electronics technologies company. But in the summer of 1965 Riddle was a young man that was employed by the local telephone company. In the lunch-room, Riddle remembers, a fellow that Riddle described as being "in a jolly mood" had come into the company lunch room and had brought with him what Riddle would soon later clearly and instantly recognize as the "Heflin UFO photos."

Riddle recounts that the man had told him that "his neighbor he knew had rigged up a toy train wheel and some monofilament fishing line, hung them out of his truck window, shot them and would maybe just take them to the paper for some fun."

Riddle explained that he did not want to be a "spoil sport" but "jeez, a joke's a joke." He agreed it was time to come clean about what he knew. Given his professional station and that Riddle avoided coming forward on this for decades- and that he never sought nor received any compensation or notoriety for this- it is highly likely that he is telling the truth as he remembers it.

Riddle continued with his story: Some time after he had seen the UFO "toy train wheel" photos at work, he saw them in the newspapers, just like he heard they might be. The story had soon become huge, it had become very big news. It was then that Riddle became conflicted and genuinely concerned. He thought that Heflin was affable enough, but Riddle said that he knew what he knew, now what to do? He went home and asked his family what they felt should be his next step. They disapproved of his telling anything. No need to get involved. It will die down and no one is getting hurt or anything. Why spoil on nice guy's fun? The other folks at the office felt they should say nothing. So Riddle held his tongue too.

Today his family supports Riddle coming forward with his revelation and they confirm that it happened just as he said it did at the time. And Riddle has actually confirmed to reporter Amy Wilson of The Orange County Register this story for the record. He is 100% certain that the Heflin photos were shown to him prior to their publication- and that they were explained by Heflin's neighbor as a hoax using toy train wheels. He also detailed to her that he was still wrestling with "talking or not talking" about what he knew to be the truth about the Heflin incident.

Other old-timers have been a bit less forthcoming on Rex Heflin than Edward Riddle, but are still instructive. Using old and new telephone directories and other research resources, this author located a now-retired former Heflin neighbor who could also speak to all of this. The former neighbor - though providing hints about Heflin - did not want his name publicized. But the old OC'er related that he knew that: "Rex was a good man, fun-loving. Now he liked toys and trains and such. You look at those photos real close and you'll see what I mean." The man would not engage further in the discussion. But what little he said tends to uncannily confirm Ed Riddle's recollection.

This "fun loving" aspect to Heflin was even pointed out by Heflin-supporter and researcher Ann Druffel. According to Druffel, Kelson & Wood (JSE 2000 p. 593) Heflin "had an offbeat sense of humor and joked at times in a deadpan fashion, particularly when irritated."

And many years ago researcher Stephen Black film-interviewed Heflin about the incident. Heflin may have given Black a "metaphorical clue" when Heflin admitted to Black that he enjoyed model making. Heflin even had a model railway in his modest home (which Black filmed).

Rex Heflin, In the Spotlight

Heflin also made some "unusual" statements early on to Black. Heflin indicated that he was a Christian Scientist and explained to Black that "my religion doesn't let me recognize the laws of state." When asked if he was married, wifeless Heflin would only say, "More than once, but I don't want to refer to it on camera lest my five wives find out where I am." A strange man with a strange sense of humor.

Heflin's oddness and the persistent theme of trains and "toy wheels" resonated with me. And apparently it has with other researchers. In 2006, researcher John Scheldroup reported in the UFO Updates forum that his photo enhancement and diagramming found that "a wheel of a model steam locomotive" had accounted for the Heflin "spaceship." He noted that "you can just make out the wheel hub protruding of the face of the wheel." UFO enthusiast Kyle King had done a similar match-up using various older toy train wheels and superimposing them onto the Heflin UFO image, producing highly suggestive matches.

Still others have come to similar conclusions. Another researcher indicated that he had conducted a graphic analysis of the Heflin photos. He had secured a "O" Gauge model toy train wheel from a set of 3-Rail Andrews Trucks (Item #6033) by manufacturer Atlas O. He then digitally compared this toy train wheel with the Heflin "UFO" image using a Photoshop ImageReady animated gif program. He created a digital overlay comparison of the wheel unto the UFO image. It is not claimed that this is the very wheel Heflin had used, but it is highly persuasive that a toy wheel was just what the "UFO" was. The analyst adjusted the brightness and contrast and then applied a film grain filter for matching the two images. He indicates that he did not stretch or shrink the relative proportions of the "UFO" image to the train wheel image. Here are the striking results:

Blow-Up of Heflin UFO

Screen Capture of Toy Train Wheel -- Digitally Overlayed with Heflin UFO

And even though the Heflin photos at first seem somewhat impressive- they also seem damn terrestrial. The craft is so "plain" in its features that some had speculated it was not ET at all, but rather a secret Air Force experimental vehicle. But it is frankly not even as "interesting" as such a secret vehicle would appear.

And even less "spectacular" is Heflin's fourth and less-shown photo. It is less-shown probably because it is simply a smoke ring, likely from an air show:

Heflin's "UFO" Smoke Ring Photo

Air Show Smoke Ring at Base

Very telling is that Heflin's community of Orange County has been home to such air shows for decades. In fact, an Annual Air Show is performed at the El Toro Marine Base Air Station every year. And El Toro is the very base that is located just one-half mile from where Heflin claimed his UFO sighting! Other nearby air shows are held regularly at Miramar Air Show, the Orange County Air Show and many others throughout Southern California.

In 1993, Heflin, by then a footnote, reinvigorated interest in his case. Heflin claimed that -after more than a quarter century had passed- the original Polaroid prints of his UFO had been mysteriously returned to him! Yes, the very photos that were confiscated by the MIBs from NORAD decades prior had finally given them back. Heflin said that he had received a phone call from an unidentified female caller instructing him to go to his mailbox. She then hung up. Heflin did as they mystery lady to him to do. He found the photos in a manila envelope that had been placed in his mailbox without postage or identifying information. NORAD has consistently stated that they have never identified anyone who was ever sent to Heflin's home. It is rare when I believe that the US government is telling some UFO truth.

It will be recalled that barber Ralph Ditter had hoaxed his famous Zanesville, OH photos in 1966- just a year after Heflin's photos had appeared nationwide. Ditter had used "wheels from a toy" to accomplish his fabrication. It is now apparent that Heflin did too.

Heflin led a lonely and quirky life. For over three decades he traveled thanklessly down the same hot California county highways, inspecting for proper road signage and for potholes. He wanted something more and he got it. Rex Heflin's toy train wheel will forever roll on and on...



On July 7, 1947, William A. Rhodes took two photos of what he believed to be a "flying saucer" outside his home in Phoenix, AZ. The photos were published in a local Phoenix newspaper with an accompanying story. Since then, the photos have been touted as an example of one of the earliest photos of the modern UFO era. But as with all cases, the "source" means everything. We must thoroughly examine the character of those making the claims. And when we apply this to William A. Rhodes, we learn that he was indeed a "character" not to be believed.

William A. Rhodes, Posing Like a Professor

- Rhodes was a self-taught scientist and self-important man who lied about his education and credentials. He told investigators that he had possessed degrees from the esteemed institutions George Washington University and Columbia University. Later inquiries determined that he was never awarded any such degrees.

- When asked he said that he had the diplomas but could not immediately produce them. Though Rhodes referred to himself in later years as a "problem-solving research physicist" in his papers, there has never been any evidence whatsoever that Rhodes had ever possessed any accredited degree of any type from anywhere ever.

- He had no steady job, but was employed as a piano player some nights a week at a night-club.

- Background checks with neighbors (conducted by OSI on behalf of AMC) indicated that Rhodes was pleasant- but an emotionally high-strung loner and highly egotistical.

- He had business cards printed up that read "Panoramic Research Laboratory" and he listed himself on the card as "Chief of Staff." But when government UFO investigators entered Rhodes' house to discuss his sighting, they realized that "Panoramic Research Laboratory" was in fact just a home-basement lab with very modest "equipment." The lab, they learned, had never conducted any "business" of any type with anyone. It turned out to be a place where Rhodes did "research experiments" to support his private hobby and avocation of acquiring as many US Patents as he could in a number of wide-ranging areas. Rhodes acquired 30 such patents. But on closer examination we find that his patents are in such widely divergent areas that it becomes clear: Rhodes was barely a "jack of all trades" and most certainly he was a "master of none." One might say he was "scattered" in both work and in life.

- The letterhead of his "lab" listed "Photography" as one of his specialties. But the photos taken of the "object" were taken by a cheap Brownie box camera, the negative was carelessly cut and cropped, faultily developed by Rhodes, and covered in streaks due to improper handling and storage. In the same way that Rex Heflin could not access his original Polaroids of the craft, Rhodes told investigators that he "could not find" the negative to the second photo of the heeled object. The result were barely recognizable photos that reproduced poorly with no frame of reference. In fact, in reproducing them, they are often placed traveling in different directions or even upside down! There is obviously a huge disconnect. A "scientist" who had as one of his "specialties" providing photographic services, who then captured a shot of an ET craft would not handle such evidence so cavalierly.

Researcher Tom Carey believes that a likely candidate for this heel-shaped "UFO" was in fact a real heel. The heel of a shoe! The "Cat's Paw" heel and heel repair products were very popular in the late 1940s. One of the products touted a "plug" in the heel for added comfort. It may appear in the Rhodes photo as the "white spot" or "canopy" of the "UFO." Rhodes, as a piano player, probably had well-worn heels:



Why do people hoax UFO photos? Of course the answer to that is manifold. There are as many reasons for taking such pictures as there are people who take them. But when we eliminate the obviously-made-for-money hoaxes, we find some common denominators:

A desire to please is one. Barber Ralph Ditter wanted to impress his daughter with a promised UFO photo. Amateur photographer and fireman Jim Templeton was proud of his daughter too. If they could spread some wonder by allowing a little magic in a photo, so be it.

A desire to impress is another. William Rhodes was brilliant but non-credentialed. Like Rex Heflin, he was a lonely man. Patents and UFO photos would gain Rhodes the recognition that he felt that he deserved.

A desire to just have some plain-old fun is often at the heart of it. We all know a practical joker. Perhaps you are one. Some enjoy a mischievous trick or joke that is played on others. Its appeals to some persons’ sense of entertainment - and some will go pretty far for the "thrill." Ultimately such "punking" and fakery appeals to those that crave an activity that will divert, amuse or stimulate them on some level that they can't get in other ways. Its also "secret" and remains their secret. In some way this "empowers" them over others in ways that are known only to themselves.

Usually of course the intention is harmless. The intent is not to deceive the public in a grand way. Sometimes it just gets out of hand. Sometimes it just goes too far. Too many people get too involved and the ball keeps rolling and you just can't stop it. So you go with it….until you are stopped by the Truth.


  • great read, I had held out hope on the Heflin photos. But as you state - and it really connected for the 1st time - it is an un-exceptional looking alien craft.

    By Blogger jamesrav, at Sunday, October 17, 2010  

  • Hi Tony, Thanks for the article.

    Zanesville seems to have been established as a hoax for quite some time now.

    The Cumberland shot is an anomaly, but I can not agree with your findings. It would have to have been something closer to a helium filled structure, or something else which could raise the unknown figure to the proper height. Yours does not work for me, in that the perspective is wrong, when compared to that of the area behind the girl. The area behind the girl is farther, and broader, than that needed to complete your analysis. A figure behind the girl, as in your diagram, would be shorter in appearance, and so therefore, be hidden from view. This "person" would have to have been a giant.

    Rex Heflin's photos are good. The toy train wheels definitely have that "look", but there would be no way to know for sure. I will hav to shrug and probably agree with your findings, not having any data of my own to counter yours.

    There is nothing obvious in the Rhodes photos themselves which can refute that they are indeed the heels of a shoe, thrown up in the air, and photographed. But were they? There were other reports of elongated, or horse-shoe shaped objects. Although none of these prove anything, they at least show that the elongated look was not limited to Arnold, and Rhodes. There was the miner, who seemed to have seen the same ships as Arnold. There is at least a possibility of the Feb 1942 airship being of such. There are other shots, like 1955 shot of a craft over New York. But I admit that one could also say that it is possible that the Rhodes phots are of heels of shoes. This would also account for the darkness of the objects.

    I am also interested in the information Kevin Randle seems to be generating on this case.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Sunday, October 17, 2010  

  • Too bad about the Rhodes pics but I respect the fact that he didn't have a steady job and played piano in clubs.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Sunday, October 17, 2010  

  • Tony, I have a few nits to pick on Rhodes.

    I don't think he had a lab in his basement, but in an outbuilding in his yard.

    "The letterhead of his "lab" listed "Photography" as one of his specialties. But the photos taken of the "object" were taken by a cheap Brownie box camera..."

    We don't know what photography equipment he owned, besides a snapshot camera. Any professional photographer reading this will likely tell you that they don't use their Canon fullframe deathstar and L glass to take candid snaps of the family in the backyard, but rather either a point & shoot or a low-end dslr.

    Rhodes said he kept that camera nearby for just that purpose.

    "the negative was carelessly cut and cropped"

    The Gust 'memo' from Air Materials Command, 2/19/48:

    In paragraph b. "The sample (negative) had been cut and it was not possible to establsh the exact frame size"

    CIC Agent Fugate when reporting being given the negative, says nothing about it being cut, but maybe that was not his brief (Gust had some advice, which I agree with, for agents obtaining prints and negatives). Rollfilm is cut between negatives. Sometimes the spacing is off, and sometimes the image portion and the non-image portion at the cut point can be difficult to see.

    "faultily developed by Rhodes, and covered in streaks due to improper handling and storage."

    Rhodes probably developed for contrast, as the object he recalled was a gray on gray. That would not be "faulty development". Streaking is often caused by the method of agitation -- sometimes what worked before will fail due to any number of reasons, just as a change in humidity can change the mix of ingredients needed to bake bread -- but there are other possibilities. It can happen to anybody, even master darkroom technicians.

    Whatever Rhodes photography skills were, the criticisms against his are not particularly telling.

    "Rhodes told investigators that he "could not find" the negative to the second photo of the heeled object."

    He said he would look for it. All the later reports refer to the negatives plural. That's what the reports say. So, it seems he found it and turned it over to the FBI.

    "The result were barely recognizable photos that reproduced poorly with no frame of reference."

    This is true. The absence of reference points makes the photos not very useful. As someone who shoots candid 'street', one goes with what kit is at hand.

    "A "scientist" who had as one of his "specialties" providing photographic services, who then captured a shot of an ET craft would not handle such evidence so cavalierly."

    Nothing in the Rhodes reports hint at ET. One reason I don't argue ET about 1947 is that the concept did not exist then as we know it today (aside from 'men from mars' or 'martian'. The concept of the 'ufo' was non-existent as well) and to assume it, as in the Rhodes case, puts one in danger of anachronism and I want to avoid it.

    The Cat's Paw Heel is good, and if the photos are hoaxed, it is an excellent choice for hoaxing a heel-shaped saucer.

    Rhodes was no doubt a "unique character" (as Bugs Bunny would say), but it is not evidence he hoaxed anything. Nothing from Project Grudge is evidence of anything, either, except its desire to bury the flying saucer stories.

    Who has the Arnold/McDonald prints?



    By Anonymous Sourcerer, at Sunday, October 17, 2010  

  • Creating a "bunny trail"

    "With the new name and the new personnel came the new objective, get rid of the UFO's. It was never specified this way in writing but it didn't take much effort to see that this was the goal of Project Grudge. This unwritten objective was reflected in every memo, report, and directive.

    -- Captain Ed Ruppelt, Chief of the Air Force Project Blue Book -- The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956

    "This case is especially important because of the photographic evidence and because of the similarity of these photographs to the drawings by Kenneth Arnold (incident #17). The two incidents are separated by slightly more than two weeks, and, of course, they occurred in different localities. It is, however, perhaps more than coincidence that these two best-attested, entirely independent cases should agree so closely concerning the shape of the object and its maneuverability.

    The present investigator would like to suggest that this incident, #40, being one of the most crucial in the history of these objects, be reopened for investigation. [...]
    There remains the strong possibility that the entire incident is spurious, and the invention of an excitable mind. This strengthens the need for reinvestigation; if spurious, this fact should be highlighted and even publicized, to quench enthusiasm for the irresponsible reporting of "saucers" and like objects."

    -- Alan J. Hynek

    "Investigation requested by the Chief, Technical Intelligence Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, in connection with a "flying disk" report. Information on the status of the SUBJECT'S business and the standing of SUBJECT in the community is desired."

    -- Captain Thomas F. Doyle, May 19, 1949 Report of Investigation

    I must be getting old. I've lived to see the day when a 'ufologist' would hop down that bunny trail.

    The above are quoted not to argue whether Mr Rhodes hoaxed the photos or not. It is in reference to accepting anything from Project Grudge uncritically, especially proof of hoaxing.

    To quote Tony's article, the Rhodes portion: "But as with all cases, the "source" means everything"

    Indeed. My point.


    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Sunday, October 17, 2010  

  • I cannot believe for one second your explanation of the Templeton/Solway photograph. What you have done is use the suggestion that 'someone' walked into the image and You've built an entire theory upon those foundations. You show no understanding of when historically 'Jogging' became a pastime in Britain (Long after this image was taken). You have not explained the 'Woomera' connection between this image and events there on the same day. You show no understanding of what Templeton claimed at the time. And you completely ignore the fact the image is one of THREE which were fired off rapidly and this is the MIDDLE IMAGE! I could go on and on but if what you have offered by way of 'outing' a hoax is all there then there's really no point. The psychology of your piece shows where you started from and how you ended up with the results you did. On that particular image I hasten to add. Jim Templeton is a man of the highest integrity which was recognised by no less an authority than Queen Elizabeth II who decorated him for his services to the Community!

    By Blogger Planet Flipside, at Monday, October 18, 2010  

  • Continuing

    All of the above comes from this informant: "7. 15 July 1949 Mrs [redacted] for the [redacted] was interviewed and related she had been a neighbor of [redacted] since 1945. but does not know him too well, inasmuch as she works during the day."

    "...does not know him too well" Full of gossip about him, though.

    "they realized that "Panoramic Research Laboratory" was in fact just a home-basement lab with very modest "equipment.""

    Not basement, but outbuilding in his yard

    According to the RIs I'm reading "Mr Fugate [CID Special Agent] said that the thing he remembered most [about his 1947 interview of Rhodes] is the fact that he saw a large quantity of expensive looking radio equipment in the SUBJECT'S home. This did not seem to be in keeping with the SUBJECT'S station in life".

    "The letterhead of his "lab" listed "Photography" as one of his specialties. But the photos taken of the "object" were taken by a cheap Brownie box camera..."


    "A "scientist" who had as one of his "specialties" providing photographic services, who then captured a shot of an ET craft would not handle such evidence so cavalierly."

    The only letterhead I'm aware of is that of the letter from Rhodes to McCoy. There is nothing about photography on it. The files also mention his business card. No mention of photography there, either.

    So, where is the evidence that Rhodes claimed photographic "expertise" and "photographic services"? Where is the evidence for your assertions?

    The story in the newspaper accompanying his photos refers to him as an "amateur photographer". I'd accept that as better evidence than anything in the 'legend' Grudge provided for him.

    The Cat's Paw Heel is a good candidate for a hoax, however, Cat's Paw had many designs over many decades with different numbers of, shapes, and locations of the white areas. I'd want to be certain the one suggested to you by the photos was around in 1947.

    There's more, but I'll leave it here.


    Unless Tony has a different set of RIs than I do, I have to question his reading of them, both his reporting statements that are the opposite of what I read, and for cherry-picking information to support his conclusion.

    I also question whether he understands what the 1949 RIs are. In my opinion they demonstrate CYAing on the activities of various people involved in gathering the original 1947 RIs, for the reasons given in a previous post.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, October 18, 2010  

  • "there has never been any evidence whatsoever that Rhodes had ever possessed any accredited degree of any type from anywhere ever."

    I think this is true, and Dr McDonald is as close to an unimpeachable source as there is in ufology. He also wrote "Everything else checks out solidly in his story." This is from the mid-1960s

    In reports of investigation (RI), though, Rhodes makes no such claims, but his neighbors do, that he received an honorary degree, that he had a paper published by a university. They are also the only source of the story that Rhodes was interested in photography (except for the newspapers refering to him as an "amateur photographer"). Rhodes makes no claims about photography.

    It is attributed to Rhodes that he worked at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in Washington DC during the war prior to 1942. Upon returning to Phoenix he was employed at Falcon Field as an instructor in instrument training, aircraft identification and gunnery practice. I do not know if anyone checked up on these references.

    "He had no steady job, but was employed as a piano player some nights a week at a night-club."

    I think the RIs say he played with a dance band. "He had no steady job". So what? Is there something disreputable about being a musician and self-employed? You follow Grudge "SUBJECT had no real occupation". He owned a late model vehicle and owned his house (I think this means the mortgage was paid off).

    "Background checks with neighbors (conducted by OSI on behalf of AMC) indicated that Rhodes was pleasant- but an emotionally high-strung loner and highly egotistical."

    "highly" I think is your word, not in the RI. "Pleasant"? He's described as an asset to the community, community minded, and involved in community projects -- typical activities of a pleasant loner. Characterwise, he is described as honest, truthful, dependable, and a loyal citizen -- typical psych profile of a pleasant loner, I guess.

    "loner": "SUBJECT has no close friends or acquaintences and Informant knew of no other individuals who knew the SUBJECT"




    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, October 18, 2010  

  • my hobby is the video of meteors. i am searching for bolides and fireballs. i have 4 low light level video cameras. in the past year i captured one nice shooting star, on the morning of september 11th, 2010.
    i have hours and hours and hours of wide field night sky recordings. lots of them need to be reviewed. in all the videos i have reviewed i have seen nothing that i would call alien space craft. i am currently a month behind and getting worse.
    i live near NYC and the hudson valley known for it's ufo "flaps".
    i have seen security videos of fireballs and meteors but never ufo's. i myself have not yet recorded a "youtube" meteor but i set up the system almost every clear night. meteor or ufo, bring 'em on!

    By OpenID quantumskunk, at Monday, October 18, 2010  

  • I can't comment on any but the Templeman image - but if the truth is what you REALLY are after then I would suggest you start by addressing the issues raised here -

    I'm presuming it was my post which you deleted earlier? It won't go away - On what basis do you slur the character of Templeman with the inferences you make? You impugned his character without foundation.

    By Blogger Planet Flipside, at Monday, October 18, 2010  

  • "I am also interested in the information Kevin Randle seems to be generating on this case."

    My apologies...I should have added Don Ecsedy's name as well.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Tuesday, October 19, 2010  

  • The "best evidence" in the Heflin photo case is not hearsay stories from decades past (or character slurs) but the photos themselves. The 2000 JSE re-analysis article concludes that there is no string or support like sturctures in any of the photos. That conclusion will have to stand until someone proves otherwise. Second, there is "black particulate matter" trailing the UFO in Photo 3 which is not apparent under normal viewing. Importantly, the smoke ring photo, Photo 4,appears composed of similar looking material. This strange anomoly ties the two photos together and rules out any "airshow" explanation. (How any of this could have been manufactured (hoaxed) in 1965 is extremely difficult to comprehend; those who assert Hoax should offer up a tentative explanation.) Finally, though I don't have the citation, I believe that the History Channel analysis of the Heflin Photos a few years back demonstrated that they were NOT small models close to the truck, but photos of a larger object many hundreds of feet away.

    By Blogger anti-antitrust, at Tuesday, October 19, 2010  

  • ""I am also interested in the information Kevin Randle seems to be generating on this case."

    My apologies...I should have added Don Ecsedy's name as well."

    Thanks, Bob

    Yeah, the PhD issue -- resolving it one way or the other is just doing the job CIC and FBI ought to have done 1947-1949, along with whether Rhodes actually worked at the Naval Ordinance Lab and was an instructor at Falcon Field. Not to mention checking out the photos he said Lewis Larmore had.

    According to the case file, nobody investigated Rhodes and followed up on the leads that were there. Why not, I wonder. Maybe they did and didn't declassify that part, but why?

    Why didn't they investigate Rhodes?

    The USAF's "ANALYSIS OF FLYING OBJECT INCIDENTS IN THE U.S." points to the ARUP tailess monoplane is the craft that comes closest to matching the object in the Rhodes' photos. The report refers to "Air Force film "Aeronautical Oddities"" in which the ARUP is shown in flight and that "in some attitudes appears identical to the photograph included in Appendix "C" ; as Figure 4 [one of Rhodes'].

    The film is available on YouTube.

    Why does nearly everyone think the Rhodes' object looks like Kenneth Arnold's "saucers" -- except Arnold?



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, October 20, 2010  

  • The designer of the ARUP planes was inspired by the flight characteristics of a shoe heel lift he tossed into the air (I can't make up stuff this good).

    If Randle is looking for ARUP photos (possibly the ARUP S-1 glider) and Tony thinks it was a shoe heel -- well, considering the quality of the images of Rhodes' photos we have, both can "prove" their case.

    Whatever happened to the photos Arnold got from Hamilton air field? Those are the only actual evidence that might be available. Even if we had these, the odds are the images would not add much to our knowledge because, as best I can tell, neither photo has the object in the center of the frame, which is where his camera could be expected to have sharp focus.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, October 20, 2010  

  • The reason would be that only two people saw Arnold's saucers. Arnold and the miner who saw them at the same time from the ground.

    By OpenID shadowcass, at Wednesday, October 20, 2010  

  • shadowcass said...

    "The reason would be that only two people saw Arnold's saucers. Arnold and the miner who saw them at the same time from the ground."

    If your comment is a response to me, I am referring to the photographic prints of the Rhodes photos given to Arnold (who lent them the Dr McDonald, who, I assume returned them to Arnold) "by an official at Hamilton Field". I'm wondering what happened to them.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, October 20, 2010  

  • I think with today's technology its hard to prove even with video that these episodes can provide existence of ETs visiting earth. I do believe that there is life on other planets that we will probably in our lifetime will never see.

    By Blogger LocalTexan, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Here's my take on the Solway Spaceman (the best pics of which can be seen at, and the coverage here by the UFO Iconoclasts.

    I generally have a high regard for the UFO Iconoclasts for their sense of independence, but in this case at least, they are knowingly leaving out some tremendously relevant information.

    The Solway Spaceman is not significant just for an image of an anomalous figure that appeared in a single frame of a series of pics, but not in the others (nor was he seen by the photographer). It is significant because on the very next day, the same figure (with a friend dressed in an identical white spacesuit) was photographed by the Woomera test range in Southern Australia, which was testing the secret Blue Streak missile. The connection? The Blue Streak was being built up the road from where the Solway spaceman was photographed.

    Leaving out the provenance of this sighting and its unique connection with military testing (as well as their own verified photographic record) is very misleading. It's like claiming the three Cash-Landrum victims, who suffered severe radiation burns, were out in the sun the previous day, without mentioning the fact they were directly underneath a flame-spitting top-shaped UFO which itself as being pursued by a dozen heavy-lift military choppers.

    As with much of UFOlogy, we either take the original witness at their word, or we do not. In the case of the Solway Spaceman, the photographer's honesty has never been questioned, nor has he ever tried to make a dime off of his remarkable photo.

    Equally, when dedicated UFO researchers like the folks at UFO Iconoclasts leave out tremendously relevant information, they do themselves as well as their readers a great disservice, and cast serious doubt on their reputation.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Hi Templar Scribe -

    Thanks for your reply and insight. I purposely did not include mention of the Blue Streak/Woomera "connection." That is because there is none.

    1) How would an image of such a figure transpose onto a photo taken a couple of continents away?

    What other examples in the history of photography have shown such a thing? What explanation - even theoretical - can be offered to
    account for an incontinental image "jumping" into a man's photo in England?

    If such a thing had happened, it would represent an even bigger story than UFOs and spacemen!

    2) Just because the supposed Woomera "figures" appear similar to Templeton's means little. The figure also appears to be of a female running up a hill.

    Some believe it also looks like a beekeeper (beekeepers are common in Cumberland, btw.) The figure also looks like my Aunt Alice from behind. So what?

    3) Where are the supposed photos taken on the firing range at Woomera in Southern Australia? Where are the detailed reports on this offering any specifics? What are the names of the "eyewitnesses" who viewed this film? Have they been interviewed extensively? How many claim to have seen such photographs? How credible are these film witness and can we prove they were there at the time? Where are these photos now? Has anyone inquired of the Australian government in later years?

    In 1982, the Australian government
    instituted an enhanced "Freedom of Information Act." What researcher has ever bothered to file a request on this "incident"? Its all too "fuzzy" for me. Really nothing more than "say so" stuff...

    4) I do not believe that Templeton set out to create a hoax. I have seen his interviews. He is, I am sure, a good man. But he was mistaken. And he is a gent who enjoys a good "mystery."

    And Templar Scribe, bear in mind, I am an extremely vocal proponent of ET. But there are too many other cases with much more credibility. Time to move on...


    By Anonymous Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Hi, Anthony.

    First, thanks for your polite rebuttal. Too often, the disagreement over UFO evidence too quickly becomes rancorous. I'm glad we can debate this situation with cool heads.

    Your premise that the photographer must have been so focused on his viewfinder that he simply overlooked the "jogger" is easily refuted by one simple fact: his wife was with him at the time, and she saw no one either (read the article, which itself references other sources, including a report in "Encounters" magazine from July 1996, and on the show "Secrets Of The Paranormal"). It's possible that a single photographer might have been focused, but his wife being there, and with her equally clear that no other person was present at the time, shoots down that theory immediately.

    As to your assertion that the figure is clearly a person (or a woman in a scarf) running uphill, that is open to debate. You cannot see anything below the waist of the image, so surmising that the figure is running isn’t so clear. I will agree that the arm seen on the right side of the photo appears to be bent in the direction of someone jogging away from the photographer. But one challenge to the jogger theory is that the distance to where that person would have been located (as pointed out above by Bob Koford) means that the person would have to be extraordinarily tall, since the figure appears to be more than twenty feet away or more, and already appears to be quite tall, even if he or she were quite close behind the girl.

    The fact that that the figure also appears to be bent in an odd pose to the right adds even further doubt to the jogger theory, despite your assertion that a jogger would be running uphill.

    You comment, "What explanation - even theoretical - can be offered to account for an in(ter)continental image jumping into a man's photo in England?" The Blue Streak missiles were constructed at a facility at Spadeadam, a location several miles away from Burgh Marsh (where the photos were taken) on the Carlisle to Newcastle road. This, combined with the “spacemen” filmed at the Woomera Blue Streak test site the next day, merely demonstrate that the same creatures (or ones connected to each other) were interested in the missiles, a simple enough conclusion.

    It has been reported that Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan, who ran the Woomera test range from 1959-1963, admitted that in 1964, they had aborted a missile launch when a "white being" was seen on the automatic security cameras. This event also included the note that the figure was invisible to the humans running the test, and was only picked up by the automatic security cameras.

    But with statements that negatives from other rolls of film taken at the same location were found missing, and that a canister of film shot at the Woomera test range is also missing, we have evidence of a different kind: that of a cover-up. I'm not one to throw that word around easily, but it's happened in numerous cases where either governments have taken original negatives (the 1953 Drury UFO film and the 1950 Great Falls UFO film stand out), or where documentary evidence has mysteriously disappeared (Roswell's entire communications logs from July 1947).

    You also say that Mr. Templeton "is a gent who enjoys a good 'mystery.' " So do I, and I'm sure, so do you. But that in no way disputes his sighting, nor should such a comment be used to denigrate a witness. If he had sought payment for the images, or claimed notoriety from this event, then perhaps we'd see a different motive behind the pictures. In lieu of that, Mr. Templeton's character and should be beyond such reproach.

    You also say, "If such a thing had happened, it would represent an even bigger story than UFOs and spacemen!"

    That answers your own question about why some researchers like myself are not "moving on" from such a unique (and I'd suggest, well-documented) episode.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • TemplarScribe:

    You make extremely valid points. The Australian/Blue Streak event is interesting, and appropriate to associate with the Templeton/Solway photo.

    The problem, for me, is the “alien image” – it’s too normal; that is, it fits what Earth’s astronauts might wear, not what an alien being would wear, if they were truly alien.

    (This is the same problem with Lonnie Zamora’s Socorro sighting in the same time-frame. His “visitors” were wearing what one would expect Earthians to be wearing if they were flitting around in prototypical aircraft.)

    Nonetheless, Templeton’s photo can’t be dismissed as that of a jogger or beekeeper, especially as neither Templeton nor his wife saw such a person in the vicinity of their daughter.

    That fact alone makes the photo grist for further evaluation.

    RR for the RRRGroup

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Templar Scribe -

    1) Though Templeton's wife was reputed to have been with Jim on the outing with their daughter that day, I have never seen an interview of her, or a direct quote by her, about the incident. If she was there at the precise
    time that Jim was taking the picture - and actually watching him take it - I have never seen her mention this. But even if she were, her back could have been turned as well! After all, the runner has her back turned, and
    Elizabeth has her back to the figure...Just this weekend I was on the beach. A family member seated right next to me had asked if I could see the pelican diving for a fish. I was turned away, but very quickly turned back to look
    and see. But it has already happened in just a split second - and I missed the little "show."

    2) We agree that it is very telling that the figure's right arm appears bent in a direction that suggests that we are looking at the back of a figure, maneuvering away from the shot.

    You may wish to consult Google Images. Enter "Forced Perspective" as key words. There are abundant examples of this photographic phenomena where images seem out of proportion relative to other figures in the frame. My favorite is a banana that appears as big as a boat, juxapositioned right next to some folks on a tropical beach. The people look small, the banana huge! If you do this exercise on Google images, you will quickly and clearly see what I mean. It is an illusion. The Cumberland figure does not need to be "20 feet tall" as some claim!

    3) The "missing" Woomera film interests me, I will admit. But some interested researcher would have by now taken advantage of Australia's FOIA to secure more information on this. It appears that none has ever done so, curiously. And I will note that Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan passed away in 2004. Though I have seen the claim endlessly repeated (with the same wording on many websites) that Dalton-Morgan claimed to have seen on film a "white being" at Woomera - I cannot find the original source of this "quote."

    This concerns me. I do not see an associated researchers name to this claim. What I have found is that Dalton-Morgan was a "repeater." He reported that in the 1950s a white-green "light" performed what he saw to be incredible manuevers and incredible speeds. This newer claim of seeing a "white being" adds to his other reports of UFOS, one of which was determined by investigating officials as from a lens flare. Dalton-Morgan also seemed to associate with one "Ken Llewelyn" - a book writer, practicing Spirutualist and author of pulp paranormal books on past lives, etc. Perhaps Llewelyn is the source for the Morgan-Dalton mention of a "white being?"

    4) I do not disparage Jim Templeton. Again, he did not set off to hoax. He was mistaken and may have or may not have fully considered what his own professional film developer told him: "some idiot" had gotten in the way of his picture.


    By Anonymous Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • TemplarScribe said...

    "Here's my take on the Solway Spaceman (the best pics of which can be seen at, and the coverage here by the UFO Iconoclasts."

    In the image on that page labeled "Left: Full Photo", can you explain what is going on below the girl's left hand and along the left side of that hand?



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Don,

    What are you driving at?

    I don't see anything unusual.

    She's holding a small bouquet if flowers.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • "What are you driving at?"

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Yes, Don, I see that glob or shadow.

    What are you implying?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • If it's a shadow, then a shadow of what? What other shadow do you see with that hue?

    I'm not implying. I'm asking.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • And I'm asking too, Don.

    What's spurring your inquiry? The hue? That's it?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • There are interesting things in this image that are not the
    white figure. I'm asking in the hope that someone with expertise the past near half-century looked at the image and gave an opinion.

    The hue of the "shadow" is more like the grass than anything else. An internal reflection is possible. Whatever it is, it is not right. In the crook of her left arm, is she pressing something between the arm and her body, or is that a ribbon belting the dress? It doesn't quite 'fit'.

    This is the 2nd of three images? I haven't found the other two online.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Thanks, Don:

    You always see things that the rest of us don't.

    And I get the feeling you think there's more here than meets the superficial eye....


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Re: Tony's comments. I don't think there is motion blur in the figure unless the figure is 'jogging' directly from right to left rather than at an angle. It looks more like shallow depth of field. Forced perspective here requires, I think, a telephoto lens. Employing both shallow depth of field and a longer than normal lens is common in deliberately done portraits. I don't know the distance from the girl to the horizon. Perhaps an expert could approximate what focal length would produce the perspective effect here.

    Some browsing around finds that the camera was likely a Kodak Retina Reflex, possibly a model III. Telephotos were available for it.

    It is possible that the flower bouquet is a bit windblown and that might account for it seeming out of focus compared to the dress behind and in front of it, planewise. I assume the point of focus was on her face.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Good to hear from you, Don!

    You asked, "Can you explain what is going on below the girl's left hand and along the left side of that hand?"

    What it looks like to me is that the stems from the bouquet of flowers stick out below her hand, creating a series of not-quite-parallel green lines.

    To the left of her hand (as we look at the image) is an olive-green band or wide belt that appears to be the middle of her dress. You can see the ridge of white-and-green-flowers bordering it, running just below it all the way to the right.

    You can also see the olive-green band disappear under a fold of her dress just to the left of the hand (or perhaps the dress has a slight "jacket" effect, and overlaps the band).

    I don't see anything overly unusual here, in either color or hue.

    The oddest thing to me is the pose of the "spaceman" or jogger. If the figure is moving away, why is there a noticeable bulge in the area just below the shoulders? If the figure is facing the camera, then the arm seen to the right is bent backwards.

    I don't quite agree that it is a dress or blouse being buffeted by wind from the right, although I'll admit it is possible.

    And no matter how far behind the girl the figure is, the pose itself, leaning so far to the right, is just plain weird.

    Yes, this a truly enigmatic image: plainly not a hoax, clearly a solid object on the same negative in the same shot, but just as surely, with a figure that is an unprovable oddity either way.

    Chances are, the figure's true identity will always remain unprovable, unless and until corroborating pictures or film from Woomera miraculously appear.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • Since I still think it would have to have been higher to be seen at all, for me all the "human-like figure" itself may be simply an illusion created by a wad of paper.

    Is the area as clear of blowable trash, as I imagine it to be? (being that its in the Isles, I would think its pretty clean, but one never knows)

    What else could it be, but a bit of waded up paper, or some other unkown debris, being blown by the same breeze that is blowing her hair?


    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Thursday, October 21, 2010  

  • TS,

    I think what is needed is a new print. The one's on the web are not definitive, although it seems that the head shots are from a different lineage than the full frame ones (except for those cut from the full frame). I'd like to at least see the full frame in the head shot lineage. The difference can be seen in the link you posted.

    In the full frame ones, the color is more saturated and that likely means it is from 'photoshop'. It might have thrown the color off in the area I discussed. No way to know unless a fresh print is made.
    I'd guess the head shot is scanned from a print and the full frame from a reproduction in a book or magazine.

    Tony points to the issue of forced perspective. That might be resovable if someone with expertise can identify which focal length would be required. If it can't be identified or if it was not possible with the camera used, then it cannot be a factor in a hoax.

    However, it still doesn't resolve the matter, even if the areas I've questioned are explained, because it is possible to create a composite of photographs and photograph that. The result is a real 'one off' negative. But nothing any human does is perfect, and the seams will show to a trained eye.

    I'm saying, I think it is possible to prove the case.

    Are you certain it is color negative, and not positive, film?

    Having the other two shots would be very useful, as well.

    I can't say more about the areas I question, with only the jpegs on the web as evidence.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • Tony: "The photos were not taken in rapid succession as Ditter had reported, as surrounding scenery had changed (see if you can spot the differences in the photos.)"

    The third photo was taken further away (assuming all three are full frame). Actually all three were shot from different distances or angles precluding having been shot in rapid succession.

    Hard to tell with such small images, but I'm not sure the car in the driveway in the first one is there in the next two. It is parked by a car-sized bush, so it is difficult to tell.

    The middle image has a different horizontal orientation than the other two. Which ones were flipped?

    If I were a paranormal type, I'd say there's psychic interference anytime anyone puts a ufo photo on the web, and investigators of any sort, and at any time, are prevented from establishing the simplest details of provenance, such as the film type, camera and lens type, securing the negative (or other original) and from making a critical print for analysis.

    This slovenliness goes all the way back to the beginning, which are Rhodes' photos, the first published saucer photos of the 1947-1952 'wave'. The Arizona Republic flipped the images, Fugate and Bowers didn't establish provenance. Even Loedding who got Rhodes' camera doesn't reveal what it was, and apparently Hall and Connors in their book on him, didn't find out.

    Are the Heflin images taken from the "returned" originals? Did anyone check them out?



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • Don,

    Regarding the Solway Spaceman pic, you ask: "Are you certain it is color negative, and not positive, film?"

    I'm not certain about anything regarding the film, whether it was color film or negatives, nor anything about the camera. I've sent multiple emails to Kodak, asking if they still had any info on the case, on their own investigations of the pictures or on outside analysis, but nothing yet. I''l post here if I get anything concrete.

    I did come up with this info uncovered by Jenny Randles for the BBC TV program "Secrets of the Paranormal" show (and posted at )

    "Jenny Randles visired the Kew Records Office (where new files from around the same time had been made available) to search for references. Her first discovery relating to the incident was an MOD letter dated 29/12/64 which referred to the "Cumberland Spaceman", then references to the aborted launch and finally a report sent in by someone (at Woomera) asking what the large object was hovering which was impossible to miss. Jenny Randles also found a reference to film held by COI and invitations for people to view it. There was however no film in the archive, not even stills, even though film existed of other launches. The aborted launch was missing. What is strange, is the Governments reaction to such a strange picture. A picture that could have easily been dismissed as a prank."

    While we're creating a Wish List of what we'd like to have in order to resolve the Solway Firth Spaceman, it'd be great to interview any witnesses of the reported appearance at Mr. Templeton's firehouse of a pair of Men in Black (who showed no ID but did claim to be from "Her Majesty's Government"), who then drove him to the site of the photograph (n their Jaguar) and then left him there, after he refused to admit he had faked the pictures, and an equivalent refusal to stop discussing the event. With all the hoopla surrounding the connection to Woomera, the possibility of direct contact with the MOD to hush up the event is even more damning.

    Don, regarding your suggestion that the image might represent a composite: It's very likely that the analysts at the time, both Kodak specialists and independent ones chasing the offer of free film for life, would have been able to spot any sort of composite image with the same expertise they were able to rule out negative manipulation and a double-exposure.

    You also mention the difference in the two images I've linked to. I believe the difference is that the smaller cropped image simply had its contrast raised, to reduce the shadows on the figure. I don't believe they are from two separate sources.

    I think the one thing most demonstrable about the image and the investigation surrounding it is that it was indeed a picture of a figure physically present behind the girl at the time of the photograph.

    Running a close second is the absolutely unique instance of a connection, the very next day, of similar figures caught on film at a missile test range. This connection is not in doubt, and is supported by the MOD files as uncovered by Jenny Randles, and is further supported by the statements made by Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan.

    And remember, this event is on this page whose headline reads, "Classic Photos Now Exposed As Fakes." It would be nice if Anthony would now show a little more impartiality in regards to this photo, and back away from his claim that this is just another hoax.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • TS:

    We have moved on, considerably, as the newer posts about the photo above this will attest.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • RR,

    When you say, "We have moved on, as the newer posts about the photo above this will attest:"

    I trust that means we're on the same page: the figure in the image is unexplained, and likely to remain that way. But the photograph itself appears to be genuine, of that I hope we can agree.

    I try to remain as unbiased and as neutral as I can, as I navigate the minefield that is modern-day UFO and paranormal research. But, to be honest, seeing this very well substantiated event under the heading of "Hoax" kinda got my hackles up.

    Still does.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • TS,

    As Rich wrote, we've moved on. I'm no longer looking for evidence of a composite, since the issues I identified are most likely caused by the camera. I posted the link to the video that offers a solution to the oddities I found.

    The video also proves the head shot version is a more accurate representation of the original print than the full frame.

    The evidence suggests Tony's position is strong. It should be possible to recreate the photo in order to determine if the forced perspective idea works with a 50mm lens. If it does, then I think the Solway Spaceman image is solved. If not, then we are back to square one.

    I don't think Tony accused Templeton of a deliberate hoax.

    My disagreement with Tony is limited to the Rhodes' portion of this thread.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • TS (and Don):

    The hoax implication for Mr. Templeton's photo, as subliminal as it was from Mr. Bragalia, seemed to me to be a stretch, which I told Mr. Bragalia when he first broached the topic.

    I think Tony Bragalia no longer wishes to associate, in any way, hoaxing or fakery with Mr. Templeton's photo.

    The "solution" Tony found (see post above) is interesting but doesn't completely answer a few questions about the photo that remain.

    But the Norton analysis is plausible, in the extreme.

    Where we go from there is another matter altogether.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • RR and Don,

    I just sat through three of the videos at, two that try to explain the figure as a normal sized human in the distance behind Templeton's daughter, and one of an interview with Mr. Templeton and a reporter who was onsite where the image was taken (sit through the interview, and the other two come up as follow-on options). And with my poor-a$$ dial-up modem, this took quite a while; I guess country living has its handicaps.

    After seeing the interview and the reporter onsite (the top video at the link above), it seems abundabtly clear that there is no ridge or rise behind the girl. In fact, the ground appears to slowly drop away to the ocean in the distance, clearly visible.

    This pours more cold water onto the theory that Templeton simply missed a passerby, and that his wife missed the same person at the same time. Watch the top video yourself, then try to imagine the rather extensive rise necessary for the "disappearing over the hill" answer as suggested on the video linked just below it.

    If there were such a rise, then it would be impossibel to see the ocean in the background, as both the original image and the recreation onsite clearly show.

    I wish we could get past the "jogger in forced perspectibe" theory. The more I see of it, the more it seems like an answer stretched and pulled to fit the facts, rather than an honest investigation into the facts themselves.

    No offense, just my humble opinion.

    More discussion tomorrow, I'm sure.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • Here are the bones of contention for me, again...

    The Cumberland "being" --

    Mr. Templeton and his wife didn't see anyone in proximity to their shoot.

    The figure is wearing what an Earthian would wear (if they were involved with space programs).

    A figure, similar or exactly like that at Solway Firth, was spotted in Australia, at a missile launch that involved a missile which was also being tested near Solway Firth.

    No clear-cut explanation has been forthcoming, and like the 1964 Socorro sighting by Lonnie Zamora, hypotheses remain intellectually unsatisfying.

    The Heflin photos have received a plausible explanation.

    The Zanesville photo is admittedly a fake.

    The Rhodes photo remains an open question.

    And the Solway Firth "spaceman" is as mysterious today as it was forty-six years ago.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, October 22, 2010  

  • "This pours more cold water onto the theory that Templeton simply missed a passerby, and that his wife missed the same person at the same time."

    It can happen.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Saturday, October 23, 2010  

  • Nothing of what Brgalia writes about Heflin is original and the Riddle story was already published in 1997 in the very same paper the the Heflin Story first broke. Is Bragalia a mere huckster amongst hoaxters?

    By Blogger Greg, at Saturday, October 23, 2010  

  • With respect to the Heflin photos, the re-analysis article {JSE, Vol. 14, No.4, pp. 583-622, Winter, 2000} employed the original Heflin Polaroids and high-resolution prints. It found that there was no evidence for any strings or support structures in any of the photos. It found "black particulate matter" trailing the UFO in Photo 3 and that the "smoke ring" (Photo 4)appeared composed of exactly the same particulate matter. Importantly, this ties the two photos together and strong supports Heflin's account of events. It also found evidence for a "light beam" in Photo #2, again confirming Heflin's original observations. Finally, it found similar cloud formations in all 4 photos. Now those who assert "hoax" must deal with this "best evidence"....the photo analysis using the original prints. When critics can account for the absence of strings, the black particulate matter (in at least 2 photos), the apparent light beam, and similar clouds in all photos (plus the absence of any confession by Heflin or the discover of any confederates), THEN we can entertain alternative explanations. My conclusion: Either Heflin photographed some super secret aircraft (never seen before or since) or he managed 3 pictures of a UFO.

    Dom Armentano

    By Blogger anti-antitrust, at Saturday, October 23, 2010  

  • Dom,

    I've limited my comments on this article to the criticism of Mr. Templeton's Solway Spaceman images. But as a researcher that tends to favor the opinion that **something** is behind the many strange UFO and alien reports (or more than one thing), I always appreciate when another researcher takes the time to point out when previous evidence -- like the Heflin pictures -- have been solidly substantiated.

    Ever since the digital revolution took hold, we've almost completely lost the ability to distinguish between Photoshopped images, digital CGI creations, and the real thing. From the Drone hoax and the many "spectacular" movies coming out of Mexico, to the "floating triangle" pics from Moscow in December of 2009, I can't be sure of anything I see being reported anymore (which, I accept is very likely just what our governments are hoping for).

    But what we can be certain of is that forty years ago (in the case of Mr. Templeton's pics), or even longer ago (in the case of the Heflin pics), there were far less options for hoaxing an image, and many of those were easily uncovered by specialists of the era. When you can rule out double exposures, reflections, hanging wires, and smaller objects passing for distant ones (like hubcaps thrown across the field of view), you can be sure that either the hoax was perpetrated by a master technician, able to fool the best and brightest in the field (which is beyond the scope of people like the Templetons and Heflin), or that the image is exactly what they said it was: an unexplainable phenomena that baffles us to this day.

    In some ways, this limited access to modern technology makes for a more reliable piece of evidence than even the best images we get today.

    Thanks, from me, for your efforts.


    By Blogger TemplarScribe, at Saturday, October 23, 2010  

  • Question on the Templeman image - Was the chemist's shop man AB mentions the developer of the photos?

    Yes, Templeman had the film developed at the local chemist. Back in 1964, my photos were developed at one of the two drug stores in my small California town. But there were no photo labs in the drug stores. The clerk wrote your name on a Kodak envelope and put your rolls of film inside. The envelopes were picked up from Kodak associated drug stores and taken for developing to a lab in the San Fernando Valley. We got our photos back days, sometimes a week later.

    So, maybe the man in Templeman's 1964 chemist's shop wasn't the developer. Did that shop have a photo developing lab? Maybe the man was just looking at the photos with Templeman after Jim had opened the envelope when he made the remark about someone stumbling into the shot. That would tend to leave the man's remark on par with everyone elses' when they said the same, expected thing about the odd photo.

    Also, it's said Templeman and Hefflin both had MIB-type visits. That may mean some group, somewhere, thought these photos were real.

    By Anonymous Mary, at Sunday, October 24, 2010  

  • Dom wrote: "Now those who assert "hoax" must deal with this "best evidence"...."

    According to the JSE paper they didn't scan the original prints, but made internegatives and printed those, then scanned them. So, our "best evidence" is three generations removed from the originals. Since they don't provide straightforward scans of the originals as 'controls', there's nothing for me to consider.

    But, now we have crisp images of a featureless saucer.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Sunday, October 24, 2010  

  • Mary wrote: "Back in 1964, my photos were developed at one of the two drug stores in my small California town. But there were no photo labs in the drug stores."

    This was true in 1954, as well, when I would deliver and pickup prints for my parents when I was a little boy from the neighborhood pharmacy. The film was sent out to be developed and printed. Awhile back I tried to determine whether Kodak controlled the process in the shops. Process, though, differed depending on locale.

    It is unlikely that the shop clerk developed and printed Mr Templeton's film .



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Sunday, October 24, 2010  

  • Re: The JSE paper on the Heflin photos, the last line reads:

    "An in-depth analysis is underway that will characterize the blur of the object and incorporate this information into determinations of size and distance. This analysis will be offered for a forthcoming issue of this journal."

    I do not find this announced paper in the JSE index.

    The last footnote of Ann Druffel's 'in memoriam' article on Rex Heflin, UFO Magazine, August 2006, Vol. 21 No. 6, reads: "(17) When Dr. Kelson has finished and published his second paper in JSE the original photos will be made available to all interested future researchers on my website,"

    But I can't find Dr Kelson's paper online, and every reference on the web to a report refers to the one from 2000.

    There is only the 2000 report on

    Ten years to write a report? What's up with that? Or have I missed something?



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Monday, October 25, 2010  

  • I have corresponded with Ann Druffel as recently as one month ago. I asked her about the follow up article. She said that it is "in preperation" and should appear in the near future. BTW, my article on the Heflin photos appeared in the Orange County Register, November 8, 2009, p.6.

    Dom Armentano

    By Blogger anti-antitrust, at Tuesday, October 26, 2010  

  • Hi

    Very interesting research thanks. It does seem that some people do not wish to follow the evidence, whatever the outcome. Some recent research into the possibility that some Australian 1960's UFO reports were caused by USAF U-2 and RB-57 Operation Crowflight aircraft, met with some stiff resistance.

    Have a look for yourself at:

    By Blogger Pauline Wilson, at Wednesday, November 03, 2010  

  • Anthony Bragalia wrote:
    "You may wish to consult Google Images. Enter "Forced Perspective" as key words. There are abundant examples of this photographic phenomena where images seem out of proportion relative to other figures in the frame. My favorite is a banana that appears as big as a boat, juxapositioned right next to some folks on a tropical beach. The people look small, the banana huge! If you do this exercise on Google images, you will quickly and clearly see what I mean. It is an illusion. The Cumberland figure does not need to be "20 feet tall" as some claim!"

    You misunderstand "forced perspective". The banana, which is much *closer* to the camera, looks much larger than the people *behind* the banana. The people who in reality are much larger than the banana, appear much smaller than the banana because it is *in the foreground* and much closer to the camera.

    In every Google image of forced perspective, the illusion is that a large object in the background looks scaled down in comparison to a real-sized smaller object in the foreground.

    The Templeton image shows a normal-sized child's face *in front of* what appears to be a small figure in the background.

    Forced perspective gives the illusion that something *large* in the background will appear smaller than it actually is, when compared to something in the foreground.

    Hence, the background figure is in reality much larger than it appears in the image. This explains why some claim the figure to be "20 feet tall".

    In no case does forced perspective ever result in an image in the background looking *larger* than it is in reality.

    In fact, just the opposite is the case. I challenge you to find a single photo on Google images, in the category of forced perspective, that gives an illusion that an object in the background appears *larger* than it actually is.

    You won't find one, because that's not how forced perspective works.

    W. J. Baker

    By Blogger Bill, at Monday, January 07, 2013  

  • Your comments on the Heflin case is one of pure hatred for a man who had seen and photographed an object, I challenge you to try and take the same type photo with a like camera Polaroid 101 and show us the results, I doubt you can and would't even do it because you wouldn't have the same result. as for the Lonnie Zamora case I challenge you to show positive proof it was a hoax, you just want to make a name for yourself, just like the hoaxers do.

    By Blogger Karl, at Sunday, February 09, 2014  

  • Hello everybody
    while discussing with some friends, one came with this interesting question : why ufo/aliens images from the 60's looks so in the 1960's fashion and the modern ones looks so..modern ? It seems to me that it has been in place a sort of evolution ; true, if you compare aliens image from the 60's/70's/80's/'90's until today you'll clearly see that any period has got his 'aliens', from the little green man to the blonde nordic, from the reptiles to the insectoids..imho of course :)
    I just hope I made this understandable since I'm North-European

    By Blogger max cady, at Wednesday, February 26, 2014  

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