The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How the Trent/McMinnville photos were created?

This photo from The NEW Report on Flying Saucers magazine [True/Fawcett, NY, 1967] appears on Page 27 in a Lloyd Mallan article entitled “There’s More (and less) to Saucers than Meets the Eye.”

The saucer depicted consists of two paper plates glued together by Gary Buboltz, hung on a clothesline with a thin thread and photographed from fifteen (15) feet.

The photo may be found in the Project Blue Book files.


Here is the uncropped photo:

fake20.jpg
Ibid: Back Cover

It shows, as Mr. Mallan points out, how easy it is or was to fake flying saucer photos.

J. Allen Hynek authenticated this photo from 1967:

jaroslav.jpg

The saucer shown was a balsa-wood model, created and filmed by the Jaroslaw brothers of Michigan who hung it, by a thread, from a tree at the edge of Lake St. Clair:

jaroslav20.jpg
Ibid: Page 31

The idea that the Trents may have strung a truck mirror from overhead wires rankles even me. The iconic photos have their supporters and defenders, such as Bruce Maccabee, and also their critics, such as Robert Sheaffer and deceased skeptic Phil Klass.

What allows me to accept the possibility [sic] of a Trent hoax is the time factors involved in the episode: the sighting by Mrs. Trent, the calling of her husband, his trip inside the house to get their camera, and the time to take two shots before the object departed.

Moreover, the object doesn’t move far enough in the sky if Bruce Maccabee’s estimate of the time between photo one and photo two taken by Mr. Trent is correct: 31 seconds.

(See a previous post here for copies of the Trent photos.)

Photos can offer proof or disproof of UFOs, as the Mallan article delineates, among other critiques of UFO photography; the advent of computer programs that can create or manipulate images exacerbates the problem of hoaxed UFO photos.

The Buboltz photo, above, emulates the Trent photos. Does it remove the “authentic” rubric given to the Trent pictures? You decide.

RR

14 Comments:

  • One thing that has always struck me re the Trent photos is why, in the nearly 50 years until their deaths, they never admitted the hoax (if it was such). I know there are people who never confess to these things. The other is this: if they HAD admitted the hoax at any time, would ufologists have immediately claimed they were forced to by the authorities?

    In other words, by staying silent believers could argue the pics are genuine; by confessing, the pics would still be genuine because they (the Trents) were ordered to admit fakery.

    In the climate of ufology this is an entirely feasible scenario.

    In the UK the famous Adamski-like photos of Stephen Darbishire have never been proved phoney and he has never confessed. After having fooled the Duke of Edinburgh (even being invited to Buckingham Palace) as a teenager, he could hardly be expected to own up at any time. He was a skilled photographer as a boy and became a very good artist. He also claimed to have been 'visited' by dark forces who confiscated his photos, and so on. Now look at the Alex Birch fiasco. Birch even visited the MOD in 1962!

    Had Darbishire confessed what would have ensued? No prizes offered for the answer.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Christopher:

    You hit the nail right on its head!

    The fakery sometimes gets so involved and is bolstered by the contingencies you cite, that backing out or admitting to hoaxing an event or photo would cause more harm, to the individual hoaxing or his/her family than would occur if the hoaxer remains silent.

    This is what has happened with Travis Walton I think.

    Walton is in so deep that he can't back out.

    He may even have come to believe that he was really abducted.

    This is the same kind of thing with your friend and mine, Stanton Friedman.

    He has adopted goofy stances for so long that to admit to errors of thinking, he'd rather go down as a "fixed star in the heavens" -- holding on to MJ-12 and Roswell until his final breath.

    This is better, psychologically for him (and hoaxers) than admitting to his (or their) follies.

    It may be likened to Dostoevsky's insight about criminals in Crime and Punishment: the criminal will generally admit to a lesser crime in order to keep police officials from finding out about their major crime; in the case of Raskolnikov, he admits to stealing to throw off the police about his murder.

    The Trents could not brook the
    embarrassment that would ensue if they admitted, after all the hubbub, they faked their photos.

    It's as simple as that...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • I have an idea. It's crazy, I know, but it just might work. Why not hire a professional photographer and master darkroom technician like Henry Horenstein to analyze the negatives, someone who isn't a debunker or believer?

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Are the negatives still extant?

    I don't think so.

    Lance Moody cites the truck mirror find, and with the Klass evaluation, we can scratch off the Trent photos as pictures of a flying disk or saucer, can't we?

    But let's suppose the Trent photos are real, and depict an authentic UFO.

    Now what?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • The last I heard not too many years ago there was a fuss between the Trent family and whatever news shop (UPI?) had the negatives. Don't know if that is true, just something I recall reading.

    Maccabee had the negatives for his analysis and returned them to the Trents.

    According to Maccabbee:

    "NOTE 2000: in recent years the original negatives have also been studied by interested persons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and also at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. None of these independent investigations has turned up evidence of a hoax.)"

    I'm especially interested in the Brooks Institute report, and am looking for it.

    "But let's suppose the Trent photos are real, and depict an authentic UFO.

    Now what?"

    Then everyone will have to shit or get off the pot.


    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • I am pretty sure that the Trent negatives are still around. Bruce Maccabee might still have them or certainly knows where they are. My memory is hazy but I seem to recall that some researcher may have purchased them.

    The thing about any photo analysis is that even if the saucer is a fake hanging from a thread, the thread may not be resolved on the negative so an analysis wouldn't be helpful.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • There is no point (none whatever) in even suggesting that the Trent photos depict a genuine UFO.

    How will ANYONE ever prove this? The most that can happen is that some expert claims: "we find no evidence of fakery". So what? This has already happened and proves nothing.

    So why even consider what will ensue if the pics depict "an authentic UFO". Answer: nothing at all. The world will continue as usual.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Here's the story of the negatives as of 2008:

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/28225069.html

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • I agree Lance...

    Photo analysis, by itself, leaves much to be desired.

    I think, and keep writing, that other aspects in or about the photo are just as good for analysis, maybe better, such as locale, who took the photos, what's their credibility, and so forth.

    But UFO slackers try to besmudge such scrutiny by calling for a faux scientific "analysis" of photos, the original's no less.

    Maccabee has made an art out of such nonsense.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • CDA:

    You are exactly right, as usual.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Thanks, Don, for the link about the negatives.

    What a mess, as usual with UFO matters.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Lance: "The thing about any photo analysis is that even if the saucer is a fake hanging from a thread, the thread may not be resolved on the negative so an analysis wouldn't be helpful."

    The problem with skeptics and advocates with UFO photos is they are always looking at objects in the photograph rather than the photograph itself as the object of interest. That is true of everyone looking at any photo, including photographers. But the issue is an analysis of the photograph, not whether the object in it is fake or real. That may emerge from an analysis of the photograph itself.

    Looking at the jpgs on both Scheaffer's and Maccabee's sites, I think conditions changed between the two exposures. Determining what conditions changed (whether in the scene, or in the camera, or in both) would be step one, for me.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Btw, Rich, if you've got the APRO Bulletin, Jan/Feb 1967, there is an excellent analysis of the Jaroslaw photos by a Detroit resident, James H. Frey.

    Regards,

    Don

    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

  • Thanks, Don.

    I talked with the Jaroslaw boys when I worked at the Detroit NEWS.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 21, 2011  

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