The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

1950 Trent/McMinnville Photos faked?


Anthony Bragalia conjectures that the famous 1950 photographs by Paul Trent in McMinnville, Oregon were faked and a hoax perpetuated by the Trent family.

Read Mr. Bragalia's thesis by clicking HERE.


  • Nice reading, thank, Tony.

    Notice however some of the same several your "ruminations" and critical thinking applied to the Trent's photos have been already exposed in different previous sources, here or there, as more other arguments conducing to find such pictures "suspect".

    For example (and only) in Tim Printy's SUNLite 3-6 p 7 to 9:
    In our French forums in different places, ie:
    As in a recent french book of our french forum : ; By P. Klass (you quoted) ; etc.

    Note too the mirror of Paul's truck pictured in your article... We tried in our forum to zoom on it and one our contributor, "S├ębastien" deduced it was not the "object" used if Paul Trent made an hoax. "Sebastien" viewed the sections as not compatible:

    (credits Sebastien) :

    We tried to find car mirrors, "hubcaps", 50's ovoïd-like the one used in several vinyl disks turntables, gaz light object (as G. Adamski one), etc.

    I ignored the little photo with the handwritted note.

    Thank again for the reading, well summerizing some the arguments allowing to have a critical regard about these "famous" pictures.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Just a little thing: Tony (or anyone who can respond)you wrote the picture "THE BOY ON THE LADDER" is coming from the same roll of the 2 famous ones.

    I seem to remember this picture comes from LIFE magazine archive and I not clearly understood if it comes from Trent himself (then the same roll of the famous 2 ones) or if it it have been shooted "by the LIFe magazine journalist"?


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Hi Gilles-
    Thanks for the comments. Yes, this is definitely from the same roll and was taken by Paul Trent.

    And yes, I wish to extend thanks to several sources and resources that were used in culling and synthesizing this information into one cohesive and integrated expose'. These include James Oberg, Joel Carpenter, forum posters on Unexplained Mysteries and ATS and the Yamhill County News Register.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Tony,

    How do you confirm that the ladder photo is from the same roll?



    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Hi Lance-

    The image of the boy on the ladder comes from access to LIFE Magazine archives. LIFE had the film roll containing the UFOs for examination and retention in support of their article on the photos, which was run the very next month after the photos were taken by Trent.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • How many times do we need to have this hoax debunked?

    >> In the 1980s two UFO skeptics, Philip Klass and Robert Sheaffer, would argue that the photos were faked, and that the entire event was a hoax. Their primary argument was that shadows on a garage in the left-hand side of the photos proved that the photos were taken in the morning rather than in the early evening, as the Trents had claimed. Klass and Sheaffer argued that since the Trents had apparently lied about the time the photos were taken, their entire story was thus suspect. They believed that the Trents had suspended the "UFO" from power lines visible at the top of the photos; and that the object may have been the detached rear-view mirror of a vehicle. When Sheaffer sent his studies on the case to William Hartmann, Hartmann withdrew the positive assessment of the case he had sent to the Condon Committee.<<

    "... Photos faked?" It's not even a question!

    There aren't any real "UFOs" of any kind and there never were.

    ufoolery is history already; make popular belief in the flying-saucer myth and "UFO" collective delusion history as well.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Presumably Bruce Maccabee will respond in some way and refute everything you said, although probably not via this blog. Let's see.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • A further note:

    If you, or anyone else, had photographed a genuine UFO back in those early days, would you have waited nearly a month to get them published? I do not think so!

    Did Maccabee, or any other promoter of Trent's photos, ever deal with this question?

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Thanks Tony,

    Can you elaborate on the provenance of the ladder photo? Was it labeled in some way? How are we certain it is for the same roll? I am not doubting you but your earlier answer was not enlightening on this topic.



    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • A rehash of a rehashed hashing of hash with no caloric value whose importance has withered and dried. The wind blows it this way and that.
    It doesn't end with a bang.. it ends with a whimper.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Bragaglia notes about the photo of the boy, "And the cloudy gray background sky above him appears suspiciously consistent with and similar to that of the UFO photos."

    As a longtime resident of the Pacific NW, I can state with a little authority that the skies look unchangingly like that for weeks and weeks on end from the beginning of September to the end of June. Therefore, Bragaglia's observation in that regard is irrelevant.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Monday, December 17, 2012  

  • Tony,

    You didnt reply how you are so certain it is a picture from the same roll.
    I have the impression it could be a picture taken a posteriori by LIFE Magazine reporter: Loomis Dean.
    Why? Because I have on my hard disk another picture (I think I found it on ATS forum two or tree years ago?) :

    Here is maybe (If someone could help if it is her) Madame Trent explaining the size of the Saucer to the journalist* (?) to Loomis Dean (?) or to another journalist:

    * Dunno if she (if it is her) explains the angular size, but if it is the real one she is showing (one again if it is M. Trent in the picture), it is a little Flying Saucer lol

    In essence, the question if the picture with the child and the ladder is from the same roll or not (taken a posteriori by Life Journalist Loomis Dean?) is not answered imho.
    I have the impression "my" little remark conduces me to thing it is not from the same roll, if this new picture presents madame Trent...

    What do you think on this?


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Hi Gilles-

    Lance will confirm that I in fact did reply to him- privately by email.

    I simply cannot comment further than I have in a public forum on my sources on this for several reasons. But no, this was not done by a LIFE photographer, it was done by Paul.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • I have to agree with PG (above). The clouds positions in no way support the 'fake photo' claim.

    Is the Trent's son alive? He would be close to 70 now I guess, and might be able to help.

    OK, the photo is a fake. I can accept that. And no, Trent & his wife would certainly not have waited until they had used the rest of the roll of film before having the UFO photo developed and printed, if it were genuine. The idea is preposterous.

    Compare with Stephen Darbishire in the UK, whose photos (allegedly) exactly matched Adamski's for size and shape. Or did they? A least SD got his pics developed at once.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • UFX left this comment at Tony Bragalia's blog:

    "The photo of the kid on the ladder was NOT TAKEN BY TRENT and this should be corrected before it becomes yet another false "fact" barnacled onto the ever-growing
    myth. It was part of a series of photos of the Trents in their back yard taken by a LIFE magazine staff photographer a few days after the photos got national attention. While it certainly is suggestive as to how easy it would have been to suspend a hoax object, it's just not true that it's part of Trent's photo roll."

    We expect that Mr. Bragalia will reply, there and here.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Rich,

    My earlier comment that, while Tony did communicate with me by email, he did NOT confirm that the ladder photo was taken by Trent. Indeed it is not even clear that Tony understands the basic idea of confirming one's sources.

    As you know, Gilles and I have been working hard on this issue and will have more to say about it shortly.


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Lance...

    Tony Bragalia insists (in e-mail to me) that the ladder-boy photo was NOT taken by the LIFE photographer.

    Tony is loath to disclose his source online, but if it is who he says it is, one has to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    I'm hopeful that Tony will resolve this issue.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • This is for UFX:
    What confirms that the ladder photos are from Life?



    Gilles Fernandez and I have done a lot of digging on this.

    Here is our current conclusion:

    The ladder photos (and several others apparently part of the same set) have not been confirmed to be on the same roll as the famous UFO photos as Tony claims.

    Indeed, there are details that tend to contraindicate the claim:

    A. The ladder photos (and the others) are presented as square in format. The Trent UFO photos are a wider landscape format. And yes, we realize that the photos could have been cropped.
    B. The poses bring to mind photojournalism, particularly the one of (presumedly) Mrs. Trent.
    C. Life photographer Loomis Dean definitely came out to the farm and took photos (his photos are square in format).
    D. No connection other than Tony's ever more dubious word has been offered as support of the idea.

    As far as we can tell, the idea that they were on the same roll may have originated with James Oberg on the ATS site but we suspect that he was mistaken. None of this discussion should be necessary. Tony made the claim but doesn't back it up.


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Lance:

    Are you and Gilles undercutting the hoax idea altogether?

    Or just Tony's version?

    You're not implying, are you, by your dogged attention to this that the Trents got a photo of a flying disk, a real 1950 saucer from other than Earth?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Greetings,

    thanks Lance for the synthesis!

    "I" add another findings.

    "Elevenaugust", an expert of UFO phorography here in France, in our french forum remarked interresting possible changes, between Trent's flying Saucer original photo, and the two "squarred" photos we think they could provide from LIFE, and not from the Trent original Roll. due to the format, etc.

    (Credits ElevenAugust):



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Rich wrote "You're not implying, are you, by your dogged attention to this that the Trents got a photo of a flying disk, a real 1950 saucer from other than Earth?"

    Greetings Rich,

    I canT respond for Lance. No, of course, and for me at least, I believe it is not a "real flying saucer" taked/shooted by Paul Trent. They are many other elements showing such photos are very suspects.

    I think you well know, Flying Saucers (as ET craft or dunno what Fortean), Ufology, are a "modern myth" for me - to be short -, and I'm a French proponents/defender of the "SocioPsychological Hypothesis" concerning the UFO phenomenom. Nothing new... ;)

    You must admit, if I (or Lance?) was/were "debunkers" and regarding the negative meaning of "debunkers", I (we?) could take the "ladder photo" as "a Gospel" showing the photos were a trick of some sort.

    In other words, we should welcome "as Gospel" seeing the "ladder photo", if we were "debunkers".

    But, Tony claims "it comes from the same Roll", and he presented nothing as real proof/evidence to his claim.
    As "true skeptic(s)", it is just that we actually understand how evidence are needed when someone ("Believer" or "Skeptics") claims seomething (he have the burden of the proof when he claims something, after all, you well know).

    Tony didnt reach such the "burden of proof" we are in right to attempt about his claim "the photo are coming from the same roll". Sorry, I'm not convinced for the moment regarding this claim.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Gentlemen:

    1) From James Oberg, NASA scientist, writing on the ATS forum and posting the pictures for the first time on 10/1/2009, in answer to the question: "Could you tell us where you got them?, Thanks." Oberg replies, "LIFE Magazine bought all rights." LIFE would not have to "buy all the rights" from their own photographer!

    2) From two posters on Unexplained Mysteries forum who have researched this more than I, writing on July 6, 2012 at 11:41 PM the ladder photo is shown for the second time publicly (to my knowledge) and they write very explicitly in the last sentence of the post- "from the same roll as the UFO pictures."

    3) My retired LIFE employee source indicated LIFE indeed had access to all of the negatives of pictures that were also on the UFO picture roll, confirming Oberg and the two Unexplained Mysteries researchers.

    4) I can concede that the ladder photo was not taken on the same day as the UFO photos- but this only serves to corroborate what has been universally established- Trent held on to that film roll for months. He had photos previous to the UFO on the roll, the UFO photos and then photos proceeding them. He took weeks to scheme the thing... and in fact, he may have held on to the same roll for months! He waited until the roll was entirely used up before he had all of them developed (very curious behavior.)I speculated it could be on the same day- but did not state this as a firm conclusion.

    4) And importantly, why would a LIFE photographer take a picture of a boy who did not witness the UFO, who did not take the photo, and who bears no relationship whatsoever to the story as told by the Trents? He is never mentioned by anyone in any recounting of the story. And why take a picture of him on a ladder, smiling, of all things? How would this in any way "tell the tale?" And the picture does not look like a photograph that a professional photographer would take, especially a picture with no relation to the story.

    The photographer did, however, take a picture of Mrs. Trent (a picture I was well aware of) because she was the one who originally saw the UFO and called out to her husband to get a camera. She was an integral part of the story as a witness...the boy and his ladder were not.


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • I might add as an addendum that the proof is in the pudding- if this was the work of a LIFE photographer, why was the ladder boy picture never published?


    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Words fail me... Is is possible that someone is so stupid that they think that EVERY photo that is taken by a news photographer is published! Is anyone that dumb, really?

    Tony's circular reasoning is something to behold.

    His premise is that someone said something on the internets, therefore it is true.

    Really, it's just too dumb to even discuss.

    Rich, you work in the media, do you really have nothing to say about Tony's spectacular addendum? Do you publish every picture the photographer brings back?


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • Lance:

    I love Anthony Bragalia, in the non-gay sense of course, so I cut him a lot of slack.

    Tony's approach to iconic UFO sightings and events seems to be extreme, but that opens the door to spirited discussion and dialogue.

    He speculates from material that has often been underplayed or overlooked.

    He makes his case(s) and places his position(s) online for scrutiny and approval or opprobrium.

    To answer your query about a news photographer's oeuvre: you know that photographers, amateur and professional take hundreds of photos at events, and in the case of a professional, an editor will select the one or few that are to be used.

    I'm sure that the LIFE photographer gathered a bunch of photos, the mag using a few.

    Tony says that LIFE also used the photos that Paul Trent had taken of which the ladder-boy is one.

    Whether that is true or not doesn't matter.

    The photo gives us a clue as to what may have happened; that is, the photo hints at a ruse -- whether Trent took it or the LIFE photographer took it (and was making a subtle point -- he thought the UFO incident was contrived).

    From what Tony gathered and the photos of Trent, himself, with his new camera and one that Tony didn't place in his piece -- a similar, gleaming Heflin who created a few iconic UFO snapshots too -- I think the case can made, as Tony makes it, that Paul Trent was anxious to perpetuate a hoax, with some faked photography.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 18, 2012  

  • "From James Oberg, NASA scientist..." dear Herr Doktor Florida Job Headhunter Professor Anthony Bragalia:

    MR. Oberg is as much a 'NASA Scientist' as you are successful UFO warrior, so I guess my sincere congrats are due your shocking close to the truth pronouncements, eh???

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • AJB is a bit of an enigma. He denounces some of the favorite cases like Socorro, McMinnville and the Templeton 'spaceman' photo in northern England, yet plugs Roswell as ET from every angle.

    Where does AJB stand on the Hill abduction? Where does he stand on Aztec, or even Rendlesham?

    I wonder: has he any views on those remarkable entities seen over Papua by Rev Gill and 38 others?

    I await his verdicts on the above, in due course.

    By Blogger cda, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • Tony,

    Our points are:

    1) A Roamer I camera, the one Paul Trent used CANT take squarred format pictures imho, only "landscape" ones ; I visited several pictures galleries, in Flickr, etc, I cant find such a squarred format from a Loamer I camera.
    You need a "6X6 camera" ie to have direct squarred format.

    2) You CANT have DIRECT squarred AND landscape format pictures from a same Roll and in your negatives, with such a Roamer I camera. There is no such a possible mode with a Roamer I camera.

    ==> So, or the squarred pictures are squarred resized and "reprinted" ones, ie from Trent's rectangle negative film (620 film or 120?) or they comes from another camera and maybe the one used when LIFE Magazine gone in Trent farm (6 june 1950 ?), or Trent have several cameras, or dunno what.

    3) "Paul Trent + his truck + his Roamer I camera" famous shoot, made by LIFE newsman (Loomis Dean?), have not been taken by him, of course, and it is a squarred one TOO.
    Same is the format, squarred again, for the "Ladder + Son" one, as for "the landcape with the ladder" one.

    That's some of the reasons we think the squarred ones could have been not shooted by Trent AND that they are not from the same Roll, like you claim.
    Claim without offense with none evidence (I mean "technical" ones, like a number/date on the picture verso, by providing the negative roll showing/demonstrating all the pictures in a same roll, etc).

    The squarred ones look "professional" for us, like newsman or professionnal made, and like other picture made by famous Loomis Dean, which realized many squarred format pictures in the 50's for LIFE. Google it!
    I have the impression the squarred ones comes from a "6X6 camera", making squarred format directly...

    Add too that "ElevenAugust" shows us that the foliage of the little tree seems to have "severaly" changed between the squarred ones and the pictures with the objects, inviting us to think several days/weeks have passed between the two formats pictures.

    Regards and without animosity.


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • Readers:

    I will no longer respond to Lance Moody in a direct way.

    I am well-intentioned, and he knows this. We have agreed to keep private emails between us private, so I will not publish them. However, I feel compelled to relate some choice words that were used by him against me in these emails which are very revealing of the real Lance...and reflective of a very angry man who may well have "issues" that go far beyond his grievances with me.

    This individual has seen fit to publicly call me "dumb" and much worse. To my home email, however, he has berated me in a rather sick and sordid way- likening me to the "insane" and saying that I am "dim." And this is the mild stuff...

    He also has unwittingly revealed himself to me as a rabid, irrational skeptic who already makes up his mind before he researches anything. He said, speaking of his feeling it that the Trent photos are a hoax, but not agreeing that the ladder photo shows this- "I would love for the ladder photo to be from Trent."

    Unlike me, who goes into all investigation (including the Trent photo investigation) in a non-bias and open way- Lance "loves" to have things not be visiting ET. To him, they don't exist so he enters his investigations already skewed.

    I prefer to view each case on its own merits or deficiencies. Some are ET, some are hoaxes. Lance comes at the field from a different perspective-
    he is in "love" with the idea that there cannot be visiting ET and he "loves" it when he can confirm a hoax -not based on investigation- but on his already-made-up mind.

    I do not need to be called vile names by him. And I do not need to enter unhealthy dialog with a died-in-the-wool rabid skeptic who "loves" being right rather than finding the truth together in a cooperative way. Just don't need it...

    And when Lance is proven wrong- he does not own up to it- like I would (and will if I am wrong on this Trent story.) Lance was made aware, for instance, that the recent "hick hack" about my Walter Haut confessional recording was for naught. The truth is that I was granted permission to use the tape by Ms. Connors and her archivist. Dennis Balthaser has agreed with this and amended his thoughts. Lance, on the other hand, never saw fit to apologize to me or relate the truth. He wanted me to be wrong- though I was not. This is the real Lance, folks...

    Goodbye, Lance.


    PS: Alan Borky- you may well be right..the bin lid/pole element to the story could be the way that the the hoax was accomplished, with the saucer in flight actually being an object swung from the pole!

    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • I would love for the ladder photos to be from the Trent UFO roll. It would tend to confirm what we already know about the photos, that they have serious issues as evidence. And when you are arguing against UFO zealots (as I tend to do from time to time) real evidence is good to have on your side.

    Notice that I, along with several other folks, were simply asking Tony to confirm his claim. He failed to do this in such a spectacular way that I probably don't need to say more about it. There may be further details coming that do confirm that the photos could not have come from Trent's camera.

    Tony doesn't go into his silly claim above that the ladder photo could not have been taken by a LIFE photographer because it was never published.

    This really is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.

    Note that just above Tony admits that the Mrs. Trent Photo WAS taken by the LIFE photographer.


    It was never published either!

    Wow. How's your mind? Blown?



    By Blogger Lance, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • Tony,
    The fact is, one more time, you claim "the ladder and son" picture comes from the same roll of the Paul Trent's famous two ones. Because you have read it, here or there, or you have "secret sources" you cant release in a public forum . What a wild card...
    That's typical, I'm sorry to be frank, of your methods and several articles.
    "That's ufology" and it is well illustrating how you "work".

    Be sure, if we were "debunkers", it was a good thing for "UFO Skeptics" to welcome your claim regarding the "ladder and son" picture.

    The reality is that, AGAIN, you have none proof/evidence when you claim something, or at least this claim "it comes from the same roll". Nothing, nada... Again.
    Or provide it, Roswell Dreamteamer!



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Wednesday, December 19, 2012  

  • An old photo of a kid on a ladder who is now an elderly and involuntary player in a game of verification in regard to authenticity, whether it is Tony or Lance. Probably a minuscule and largely vague microsecond of a life in terms of his memory. I hope that the doubtful search for his collaboration as a witness goes nowhere, for his sake. The forest from the trees in a contest of who has the better language, who can out shoot the other and days, weeks decades roll by unconcerned with it. And so, why are we? It comes down to are we alone in the universe or not in terms of a mirror image of ourselves. Tony, you dismiss such "philosophizing" on my part, but then again, I ask the same question of you as you asked of me. What if you are wrong?
    Have you ever gotten into a discussion with a member of a fundamentalist creed? It is not really a discussion. The irony of all this seemingly lost on the participants is you are defending the other side of a coin that points to a hoax in your "ET Reality" and the others vehemently decry the lack of proof. Dwell on this for a moment if you will. What does this have to do with realities other than our own? Not much.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • Bruce,

    When it comes to paranormal I generally concern myself things that can be checked and don't do much philosophizing.

    But I appreciate your comments above.

    Last night I spent a good little bit of time reading through very old posts from UFO Updates. The old stuff reads a lot like the stuff we argue about here.

    As I read, I had an eye-opening realization: a good number of the messages were by folks who are now long dead. I wonder if they treasured their time composing those long and long forgotten posts?

    I think I need to pull away from this for a while...


    By Blogger Lance, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • Lance:

    I think you've had a kind of epiphany.

    It goes to my notes a while back about how one's life slips away as they dawdle aimlessly and uselessly about UFOs.

    David Rudiak composes vast amounts of stuff that few read and which have little lasting value.

    Ray Dickenson, Martin Shough, and a few others, who use UFO UpDates for their opining and irrelevant postings (in the great scheme of things), will pass on and their time-wasted utterings will moulder along with their bodies.

    My posterings also have little to commend them, but I have never thought them to be commendable or worthwhile in any significant way.

    We all hope to leave a mark on this worldly place but discussing UFOs is not the way to do so.

    The "enigma" is evanescent just as our comments here and elsewhere are or will be, as you found by looking back at the time/effort spent casting pearls before swine at UpDates.

    So if you take a respite I applaud you.

    I should like to do the same...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • Life Magazine describes the eight pictures on the roll in their article entitled "Farmer Trent's Flying Saucer" (source: ) :

    Farmer Paul Trent of McMinnville, Ore. is a frugal man. Last winter he bought a roll of film for his camera and shot a snow scene. One month later he took a picture of a weeping willow in his front yard. Last May 11 he saw a flying saucer above his house and made two pictures of that. On Mother's Day he used up the last three negatives on his roll at a family picnic. Then he got the film printed up.

    Now if a picture of a kid on a ladder sounds like what would be described as a picture taken at a family picnic to you, then you can agree with Tony Bragalia's claim that it was on the same roll as the photos of the UFO. It doesn't sound like a family picnic picture to me, so I have grave doubts that Tony's claim is correct.

    By Blogger JAF, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • Can't we almost deduce that Trent did NOT take the two non-UFO pictures in the Bragalia article? The second non-UFO picture is of absolutely nothing(!) yet it clearly looks to be shot at the same time as the can see the ladder poking in from the left. The clouds in the sky are almost identical to ones in the first. Now I ask you: Why in the world would Trent shoot a picture of absolutely nothing except the barn and a ladder on the ground? Seems far more likely that someone else shot that to indicate, perhaps, the general direction of the UFOs (in Trent's other two photos) and the approximate position of the shooter, Trent. The Life Mag. photographer, perhaps?

    By Blogger Dominick, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • This story is over.

    Evidence has surfaced, supplied by David Rudiak, that completely refutes Tony' claim.

    David has 25+ photos from the same LIFE magazine shoot from which the ladder photo was taken.

    Rich has now also seen these.

    The photos show the ladder boy (presumedly Trent's son) in many other different poses and the exact same outfit. There is an additional ladder photo as well.

    These are all obviously shot by a photo-journalist.

    All of these are in the same square format noted by Gilles.

    The Roamer I camera that Trent owned shoots a maximum of 7 landscape format photos.

    All we are waiting for now is the retraction and apology by Tony.

    Many thanks to David Rudiak and Happy Holidays,


    By Blogger Lance, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • As I read through the various comments I see that Lance has asked for an 'apology'...which (if there is one) must come from the source of any error made.

    That source is, as he knows, James Oberg. Oberg is a well-known space 'journalist' with professional ties to NASA who has been admired by Lance-like skeptics (such as Tim Printy) for a very long time.

    It is Oberg who is the origin of the problem.

    The inescapable fact is that it is Oberg who made the first public display on the net of the 'ladder boy' image- not me.

    He did this three years ago on the ATS (Above Top Secret) forum. He deliberately dropped the "bombshell" photo of the boy on the ladder on a an ATS forum apparently in a misguided effort to further the belief that Trent had hoaxed the UFO photos.

    All Oberg would state when questioned by those on ATS was that LIFE 'bought the rights' to the 'ladder boy' photo.

    Oberg did not attempt to clarify the image beyond saying that LIFE had to pay for it, indicating that they had 'acquired' it. He preferred to perpetuate a mystery about the 'ladder boy photo' by failing to say anything more about it- and then deleting the image on the site.

    And I am not the first or only to fall for the Oberg misinformation:

    As I mentioned in an earlier comment, other posters on other site forums (including this past July on Unexplained Mysteries) understood Oberg as meaning that the rights to the 'ladder boy' photo were acquired by LIFE (i.e. purchased) and not made by an employee of LIFE, leading one long-time poster to also conclude and state -when he reproduced the Oberg image of the boy on the ladder on Unexplained Mysteries- that they were from the same roll as the UFO photos.

    And I will not embarrass 'researcher' and skeptic Joel Carpenter (who is Lance's associate) but to say that he privately sent to me an email earlier today that was laced with extreme vulgarities such as "fuck Oberg" and which was peppered with even more extreme obscenities to describe the Oberg I cannot repeat.

    As Lance is aware, it was Carpenter who did the apologizing to me in another email this evening, sorrowful about the language that he had used to describe how he feels about Oberg.

    It is clear that Carpenter and Lance know that Oberg is the source of the 'controversy' over this photo.

    But even after Joel Carpenter used a string of expletives to me to describe Oberg, he still felt compelled to excuse Oberg's error by saying that Oberg 'says things in odd ways' - whatever that means.

    And Lance himself, in an earlier comment on this site, said that Oberg is merely "mistaken." He asks no 'apology' of Oberg as he does of me...

    And finally, it is interesting that both Lance and Carpenter are generally in agreement with people like Oberg- but in this case they are willing to "throw him under the bus."

    And apparently me too... because I trusted Oberg, a rabid skeptic like they are, who in this case, I thought was telling the truth.

    To have been 'taken in' by a skeptic and then excoriated by skeptics for having believed one of their own is just incredible.


    PS I will review the photos provided but the holidays and visitors are coming so it may be a bit before I can provide a more complete reply.

    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, December 20, 2012  

  • Jim Oberg has stated quite explicitly that the photo of the boy on the ladder is from the same roll as the UFO shots.

    Quoting from comment #10 by Jim Oberg on :

    Posted 26 October 2012 - 02:54 PM
    I always found it curious that the lines-of-sight to the Trent/McMinnville object crossed beneath an overhead power line that was usually conveniently cropped out of most published versions of the photos, and one other photo on the same roll had one of the Trent kids standing by a stepladder in the yard with a mischievous grin on his face. I'd bet not 1 UFO buff in 1,000,000 has ever seen -- or been shown -- THAT photo. Anybody hereabouts?

    But Oberg is in error. You can see most of the forty some photos taken by Life photographer Loomis Dean on

    , a page which David Rudiak has posted in the last day or two.

    By Blogger JAF, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • Lance:

    We have your response to Tony Bragalia's cop-out, as you would have it.

    But since it was mostly a personal blast at him, we've not included it here.

    I suggest you read my response to CDA in the comments for the post above this one.

    It's germane.

    I like you skeptical guys, you know that, but you're all becoming much like David Rudiak, rude to the point of incivility.

    I would hope this is just a passing phase, brought on by the hubbub of the coming holiday season.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • Illustrating how belief in the "UFO" myth is idiotic, Rudiak writes: "Farmer Paul Trent...took two world famous UFO photos that have been subjected to intense scrutiny for over 60 years and have never been shown to have been hoaxed."

    For all but the most irrational, this obvious hoax was debunked long ago. Not only has it been shown exactly how it was done and what the object is, it's a simple photographic trick of perspective. A relatively small object was placed against an infinite background above a distant horizon, framed by a foreground building, power lines and pole so that we misinterpret it as being a larger, more distant object. It's no better than hundreds of other such "flying saucer" photos--and witness anecdotes--from the time except that it was given wide circulation.

    So in that trivial way, Rudiak is simply wrong, but there's a more significant way in which he's wrong in that the very idea that the photo could be real isn't even a serious question: Who--except the most naive among us--would believe that ET would arrive in spacecraft that look uncannily like a mass-manufactured object from twentieth-century Earth? No One! Except those already suffering under the delusion that Earth was being visited by ET--across the vast distances between stars--in streamlined personal transport vehicles about the size of a car or truck.

    It's not impossible, it's just so remotely improbable that it's not plausible. Adults at the time knew it was all nonsense, but it sold a lot of papers and magazines.

    ufoolery is history; make popular belief in the myth and delusion history as well.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • I wrote to James Oberg when this first came up and he just got back to me, agreeing that the evidence is clear that he was mistaken about the ladder photos originally.

    I don't know how he came to this idea in the first place and I am not sure that he remembers (his text at ATS seems to show a misunderstanding of the LIFE attribution.

    This is the way rational people discuss things all the time. Rational people admit when they are wrong.

    Compare it to the way it was handled by Tony and come to your own conclusions.


    By Blogger Lance, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • I think, Lance, that many of us agree the Trent photos are fakes.

    Tony may be hanging on to that thread.

    There is no smoking gun however.

    But you must admit that Tony's post resurrected an iconic "sighting" and brought forth David Rudiak's find of the LIFE photos.

    That's worth something, is it not?

    (I think, and Tony agrees, that the LIFE photographer/reporter smelled a stink and hinted at that with the ladder-boy photo. The photos by LIFE are clues to a journalistic vibe -- one that couldn't be proven but seemed likely.)

    I hope the matter is pursued.

    If David Rudiak wasn't such an ET advocate, I bet he could find the smoking gun or, at least, a bullet.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • Chris writes: "Presumably Bruce Maccabee will respond in some way and refute everything you said, although probably not via this blog. Let's see."

    Yeah, I'm very familiar with the "ignore the obvious; appeal to ignorance and/or hypothetical; blinding with pseudoscience; and just make-it-up codswallop and agree with oneself" modus operandi of hardcore Believers like Maccabee. I've read enough of his inverted logic on his specific cases and on "UFO" Updates.

    Objections by one who endorsed Ed Walters' laughably crude double-exposure hoax and repeater Terauchi's "Giant Mothership" hysteria isn't worth considering.

    and "If you, or anyone else, had photographed a genuine UFO back in those early days, would you have waited nearly a month to get them published? I do not think so!"

    Of course not! Then or now, anyone who thinks they've photographed a "UFO" of any kind doesn't delay telling someone about it. Any "UFO" story that begins with that excuse or the related "didn't see 'UFO' until film was developed" (so I don't know anything--and am immune from questioning) excuse is suspect.

    and "Did Maccabee, or any other promoter of Trent's photos, ever deal with this question?"

    In this old post to "UFO" Updates, the comedian Rudiak offers knee-slapping rationales for many damning questions about the Trents' photos and fairytale.

    (Rudiak is the eye doctor who believes he can read the eye chart in Ramey's hand. The unintentional buffoonery of some of these nuts is almost too much!)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • This entire discussion - from all sides - doesn't say much about UFOs, but it says a great deal (none of it good) about the level of discourse on the Internet these days, and the general lack of civility in our culture.


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • Yes, Paul...

    It's getting worse and worse.

    And I'm not part of the solution myself.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • What can we say about something that doesn't exist?

    It's always those mean old skeptics' fault when the flying-saucer myth and "UFO" collective delusion takes a pounding.

    When there are no longer any professional "flying saucer" scientists, journalists, generals and former government officials writing junky books composed of lies and out on the lecture circuit promoting the myth and collective delusion as real, the "media reportage of them and their nonsense, of 'UFO' sightings and the forcefully sustained public interest in the subject" feedback loop will diminish.

    The delusion is all but over.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Friday, December 21, 2012  

  • "If you, or anyone else, had photographed a genuine UFO back in those early days, would you have waited nearly a month to get them published? I do not think so!"

    Chris; There's nothing wrong, in fact it's perfectly rational, to suppose what reasonable people would do--especially in this supposedly extraordinary circumstance.

    So your point is rock solid. And so much of this stuff depends on and is decided by what is most reasonable or likely that I'm surprized anyone could find fault in your logic.

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • I suppose we'll continue to wait for Paul to tell us something about real "UFOs."

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

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