UFO Conjectures

Saturday, December 22, 2012

McMinnville 1950: A lack of scholarship or forensic intuition

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.


Why UFOs and it’s pseudo-science, ufology, is eschewed by academics and thinking people generally is exampled by the Trent/McMinnville material presented here and at every blog/web-site that ripped off the Anthony Bragalia “ladder boy” thesis.

Sure, the sensationalized attempt by Mr. Bragalia to show that Paul Trent faked his iconic flying disk pictures backfired.

But what ensued has been missed, amidst, the hubbub by that Bragalia gaffe.

David Rudiak’s find of the LIFE photos of the Trents shortly after the disclosure of their flying disk capture was superb sleuthing, as is his wont.

And Lance and Gilles Oberg insinuation was good skeptical “detective work” but these fellows think the story is over: Bragalia is neutered, the Trents are vindicated, and the skeptics have prowess.

But that’s not the end of it, at least as I see it…

I’ve already suggested that the object pictured was traveling too slow for photo-taking, in the context of flying saucer reports of the time-frame: saucers were almost always reported fling at speeds greater than aircraft of the time.

But let’s move away from that idea (which offended CDA).

Let’s look at the LIFE photographs/

Lance Moody and I (maybe a few others reading this) work with or have worked with journalists and journalistic photographers.

And some visiting here are photography buffs.

We know that a good photographer or great photographer – and LIFE’s were the best – not only documented what they saw with their cameras, but inserted meaning, sometimes subtle, sometimes not.

Any history of great photographs will show what I mean.

Photographers of note are telling a story, or hinting at a story.

The LIFE photographer, who visited the Trents and provided the photos that Mr. Rudiak found online, not only documented the venue and people involved in the picture-taking but also suggested, subliminally, that he – the photographer – got the feeling that something wasn’t right about the scenario and photos that Paul Trent allegedly took.

This is why there are several photos of Mr. Trent with eye to view-finder of his new camera.


Then there are the photos of Mrs. Trent gesturing about what she saw – many photos by the way, more than seems needed to indicate her visual.


But the Trent boy on the ladder; that’s the killer shot.


What has that shot to do with anything? Other than to hint at how the disk shots were set up.

There is no point to that shot of the Trent boy otherwise.

Lance Moody knows, as do I, that news media tries to avoid litigation of every kind.

Editors and reporters of legitimate media are constantly on the look out for anything that could bring a charge of libel or defamation.

This was a caution of LIFE, LOOK, and POST magazines and all newspapers of the 1950s on.

My work at The Detroit NEWS and Mellus Newspapers was constantly edged by the caveat that what was gathered had to be absolutely factual and true.

Working as a correspondent for Fort Wayne’s News-Sentinel in the early 80s also brought prohibitions of overtly suggesting wrong-doing, even subtly.

But in the case of the Trents, the LIFE reporter and photographer couldn’t let their journalistic intuition(s) lie dormant, without registering their innately journalistic need to tell and provide the truth – as all good journalists and photographers do or try to.

Thus, you UFO people need to evaluate the LIFE snapshots of the Trents in that light.

The LIFE effort wasn’t a cavalier sojourn, but a traveled, diligent effort to get at the truth of the Trent flying disk photos and story.

I conjecture that they couldn’t do that specifically, so they did it surreptitiously to some extent, and the evidence lies in the photographs they took and which have been disclosed, thankfully by Mr. Rudiak, but now set aside with smugness that Mr. Bragalia has been denied encomiums for his Trent fakery posting(s).

The Trent photos are likely fakes or true representations of a 1950s UFO.

Either way, the story is far from over.



  • Rich, I must disagree with all of this. It's almost entirely irrelevant what a LIFE Magazine photographer thinks UNLESS he brings his professional expertise to bear on the photographs themselves. Did the photographer (or Life Magazine) do any photographic analysis? Did they check out the film for flubed fakes? Did they do any analysis of the camera? Did they check weather conditons that day to see if they are consistent with the photos? Were the electric wires (in the photos) checked for strings or wires? And if any of this was done, did any of the findings support a hoax hypothesis? A "boy on a ladder" photo that was set up by a photographer (with an agenda, perhaps) proves absolutely nothing. And any speculations that he might have had are irrelevant without substantitive analysis to support the speculation. Where is that supporting analysis?

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Sorry, but I simply do not see how the shot of the boy on the ladder suggests anything. Anything at all. Am I being inordinately dumb or what?

    It can be construed as a kind of family photo, something any magazine reporter would take, to illustrate the scene, nothing else. It was one of many.

    You say "that's the killer shot". Why? What is it killing?

    It certainly does not kill the genuineness of the photos. To do that would require intricate analysis, such as Hartmann did (and instead ended up concluding they were authentic!) and Maccabee did (ditto). Failing that it would need some contradictions in Trent's story or a confession or such.

    The LIFE photographer, it can be surmised, wanted to depict the scene at the farm, with a few shots thrown in. Paul Trent was thus a family man with a wife and kid. The kid perched on a step ladder. End of story.

    I think you have overdone your speculation that somehow this photo acts as a strong pointer to fakery.

    Tony got it wrong - as far as the ladder photo origins. He very probably got it right about the fakery. But conclusive proof of the latter is missing, and the boy on the ladder cannot possibly be advanced as evidence in that direction. Not in my view anyway.

    I repeat: how is this photo a 'killer'?

    By Blogger cda, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    My supposition is that the LIFE reporter and/or the photographer had an intuition that the photos were faked, that's all.

    The didn't do an analysis. Why would they? They thought the thing was a hoax I think.

    They dismissed it pretty much.

    You're a UFO advocate, and I allow that the Trents may have actually photographed a real flying disk.

    But that's not the point of my current posting, obviously.

    The Trent photograph, like everything UFO, is an open question.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • CDA:

    You miss my point altogether: that point based on my work with journalists, for many, many years and how they think.

    Photography mavens should get my point too.

    Why not have the Trent boy on a tractor? That's would make sense in the farm context.

    Use your creative imagination this time.

    You have become a hefty contrarian lately, not open to speculation.

    It's merely a speculation on my part.

    Please, buy the Micah Hanks book and read about the lack of speculation in the UFO community nowadays.

    If you can't afford the book, let me know. I have an extra copy and will send it to you, as a late Xmas present.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • I'm a "UFO advocate" because I ask for substantive analysis before we conclude that a photograph is real or a hoax? Come on! The fact remains that after more than 60 years, and several reasonably serious attempts to determine the true nature of the 2 Trent photos (especially Hartmann), no hoax has ever been concluded based on that analysis. Anyone can "speculate" hoax (it happens with the Heflin photos, also) but why take any of it seriously unless there is demonstrable evidence? I'm not a "UFO advocate" because I demand demonstrable evidence. If the photos are fake, prove it, and I'll be the first to say "great job."

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • With UFOs, Dominick, there is no "proof" -- that's why we're still speculating.

    For a very long time UFO have maintained their enigmatic mystery.

    Proving the Trent photos to be fakes, this long after their "capture" on film, is problematical, but one can speculate they are fakes or real, and provide circumstantial evidence for either side.

    This is like debating "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" -- the grist of Medieval theologians.

    That's all it is.

    You, like CDA, would like UFOs to be authentic somethings-or-other, as would I.

    But that ain't gonna happen.

    Proving that the Trent photos are fake or real takes us nowhere.

    But it is a feast for the foolish to debate the issues.

    That's all.

    You're taking silly speculation too seriously.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • I Europe, we have had "the Petit-Rechain" picture, prooving as a fake now.

    Despite many (Professor Auguste Meessen in head, as authority biasing) have made/played during twenty years, the scientific ufologist to defend the picture as a genuine ET craft, and speculating about the propulsion mode ;
    Despite many Skeptics replicated, more or less, the picture ;
    And before Patrick Marechal confessed...

    No one such ETH proponents have change the mind and rethoric. They dont care.

    I think it will change nothing if we proove Trent picture as a fake.

    The ETH- in ufology is a delusion. If you explained a "strong" case, picture, etc. ETH proponents will go on the residual cases and will not take into account the cases they have defended, despite conventionnaly explained.

    See, as example, how ETH-proponents have taken Yukon case (top 8 UFO case in Paul Kimball poll) prooven as the re-entry of Cosmos 2535. They dont care.

    That's ufology.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • And Gilles...

    We get bombarded by UFO advocates asking us to prove that the Trent photos are fakes.

    But if we'd ask them to prove they are real, they'd get all huffy and snarky.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • 'like debating "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin"'.

    I understand your use of that remark but for others who may be less well informed let me clarify that angels-on-a-pinhead business was actually the technical language of the day and far less silly than it sounds.

    What those guys were try'n'o do was something akin to the thinking behind building the Large Hadron Collider. They believed everything exists and behaves as it does thanks to the Will of God who obviously too glorious to carry out such menial tasks Himself must therefore delegate them to angels but since the superstar angels like Michael and Gabriel spend their time fighting the Devil or moving the sun across the sky then how small might the angels be who're assigned to hold together the individual dust motes making up a clump of dried mud or who steer the tiny breezes which move those dust motes through the air.

    Pretty much the same thing happens in science to this day especially the arch enemy of Ufology Astronomy.

    So long as you put dark in front of your explanation you not only don't have to prove any of it's there you merely point out the effect.

    It doesn't matter if there're alternative explanations such as the electric universe model you simply behave as if you've never even heard of 'em [while all the time nickin' their ideas left right and centre].

    My point being if Ufology were given even the tiniest amount of latitude Astronomy's allowed not to mention the teensiest portion of the enormous funds Astronomy and certain of the sciences tangential to Astronomy receive you'd not only see a thriving theoretical community but we might already've attained full time communication with other worlds some possibly even in our own universe.

    Think about it if we continue try'n'o dream up new ways of communicating with whatever's out there [such as making stars flash 'morse code'] won't our innumerable first attempts be as cackhanded as tourists try'n'o speak-a-de-lingo in territories unheard of by most Westerners?

    Wouldn't some of our laser holograms be full of egregious inanities that'd cause alien witnesses to be viewed as liars or mad by their fellow space beings?

    Wouldn't our mental projecting devices make the alien receivers of our noumenal transmissions think those weird voices in their heads were signs of incipient insanity or whatever else their societies've denounced as forbidden?

    That's why I find Oliver Sacks sadly hilarious when he denounces other scientists who believe or credit the possibility 'hallucinations' might be 'real' in some way as deeply unscientific when in fact it's him refusing to allow for that possibility's the very definition of failing to use the scientific method.

    By Blogger alanborky, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Rich, I say that the burden of proof in a photo case like the Trents (or the Heflin case) is clearly on the skeptics. After all, Trent took the picture; He (and his wife) assert it's of something they saw in the sky; 2 fairly rigorous examinations by individuals with professional photographic skills agree that its a photo of something in the sky (and a good distance from the photographer) and, moreover, they fail to discover any obvious discrepencies in the 2 pictures; no bad hoax photos or confederates ever come forth; and the Trents never admited any hoax. Given this, I say that the strong circumstantial evidence is that they photographed something in the sky (that they did not put there) and that the burden of proof that they hoaxed falls to the skeptics. Look, circumstantial evidence is going to be the best that we can ever get in cases such as this; there is no wreckage to examine.But circumstantial evidence IS evidence and one must use it in determing truth. And the skeptics? The best that they can come up with: uncertain shadows on the barn and a boy on a ladder!! You tell me where the preponderance of the evidence lies in this case.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Dominick:

    I'm open to the possibility that the Trents captured a photo of a flying disk in 1950 on the new camera that Paul Trent bought and used.

    But there is also the possibility that the Trents faked their photos.

    We can attack that possibility much easier than trying to prove the disk is real and something out of the ordinary.

    We'e playing around with a mystery and a few strange circumstances involved in the photo of a thing in the sky; e.g., why the Trents let the children play with the negatives and photos on the floor of their house, why they didn't get the film developed right away, and why they were rather cavalier about the incident initially.

    Then LIFE shows up and seems to smell something foul -- I think.

    The matter is ripe for scrutiny.

    Anthony Bragalia's distasteful (to some) hoax suggestion via the ladder-boy photo did us a boon: it got David Rudiak to find LIFE's raft of photos, that few of knew existed.

    That opens the Trent photos to new debate or a refreshed debate of the issue.

    That alone is worth the price of admission.

    David Rudiak is to be commended for his dogged search for material that pertains, whether the disk photos are real or faked.

    So, we're back, as usual, to our usual UFO quandary: are they authentic artifacts that have been photographed or witnessed by normal people in their normal daily routines?

    The question remains open and tricky enough to consume some of us.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • A general observation -- what you suggest the LIFE photographer was trying to imply with his photos; well, that's just way too subtle for the average reader of those photo mags back then (LIFE was a fixture at our house and my parents never would have picked up on that). Maybe other professional photographers would get it, but it probably went over the heads of other readers. I wonder who the LIFE photographer thought would understand the hidden message other than his professional colleagues.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • PG:

    The need to get at the truth and portray it is inherent to journalists and photographers who are exceptionally talented or idealistic.

    Whether the public gets it or even one's editor is secondary.

    Documenting or hinting at the truth is foremost to such artists.

    Not to know that I find interesting, to say the least.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Oh yeah, I forgot. Happy holidays.

    By Blogger purrlgurrl, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • And Happy Holidays to you PG, one of our more astute visitors.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Bruce Maccabee left this comment at the original Bragalia posting, but since we are much beyond that, I've added it here, for your edification [RR]:

    I agree that the "ladder shot" was by the LIFE photographer who
    took many pictures of the Trents and their house and nearby
    scenery. These LIFE pictures were probably taken during the second or third week in June, 1950, over a month after the date of the photos.

    David Rudiak has presented his typically erudite response to
    Bragalia and Randle. Here is my response ... written years
    before Bragalia and Randle leapt into the McMinnville Photo

    For complete details on my several year investigation (almost 30 years ago) see


    and two related papers with mostly technical details:


    Unlike the critics, I spoke numerous times with Evelyn
    Trent during the main period of my investigation
    (1974 - 1977, 1980 approx).
    I was able to check on numerous aspects of
    the sighting as reported
    in initial news articles and also I learned from her various
    other details which had not been reported. But perhaps of
    more importance is that I got a "sense of the person" through
    hours (roughly 20 hours) of conversation with Mrs. Trent
    over that time span. (I asked to speak to Paul but he wore
    a hearing aide and didn't like to talk on the phone.)

    I also collected information from other investigators who had
    direct contact with the Trents. These people are listed and
    their opinions presented in the above web paper.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Bruce Maccabee continues:

    One of the most important people to speak to the Trents was
    the first person to interview the them about a month after
    they were taken, Bill Powell, photo editor of the
    newspaper (Telephone Register). Powell interviewed
    the Trents at their house, retrieved the negatives from under
    the couch where the kids were playing with them and took them
    back to the newspaper office. According to Powell, when I
    interviewed him in the mid-70's, he "blew them up every which
    way and couldn't figure out how they faked them" or words to
    that effect. But perhaps his most important statement to me
    was his succinct evaluation of the liklihood that the pictures
    were faked: "I finally decided that the pictures must be real
    because they're too stupid (to have faked them),"
    with some emphasis on the last
    three words. (In previous public presentations to avoid
    embarrassing anyone I have used the phrase "too mentally
    challenged" to fake the pictures.)

    In this case there are two types of evidence: "hard" physical
    and "soft" circumstantial. A lawyer once told me that a case
    is usually NOT made based on the physical evidence because
    experts on the evidence can always be disputed by other
    experts. Instead, the case is made by the circumstantial
    evidence history, personality, motive, ability, etc.)

    In this photo case there is physical evidence that could
    prove the UFO was distant (ca. several thousand feet)
    and large (ca. 30 ft) and therefore
    not a hoax, as pointed out by Bill Hartmann (Condon Report
    photoanalyst). The evidence is in the relative brightness
    of the bottom of the UFO image. Hartmann's "Nobel Prize"
    idea was that the shaded bottom of the UFO image
    was brighter than one would expect from the bottom of a
    nearby (ca 16 ft) model (ca. 5" diameter), even if the
    bottom were as bright as a white paper. Using a
    conventional atmospheric optical calculation
    based on data from the negative of the photo
    he estimated the distance. His conclusion
    was that the object was distant. Robert Sheaffer pointed
    out that "veiling glare" due to the lens (optical light
    scattering or thin layer of dirt/grease on the lens)
    could increase the brightness of shaded areas of
    the image. He made a qualitative argument which, through
    research, I improved upon and even quantified. I
    demonstrated that veiling glare was large enough to
    account for the increased brightness if there were no
    other optical effects contributing to the brightness.
    Then I realized that there was another effect that had
    not been incorporated in Hartmann's calculation. Hartmann
    had measured the relative brightness of the image of
    a distant vertical white house wall and equated that
    to the relative brightness of the horizontal bottom
    surface of the UFO if it had a white bottom. I measured
    the relative brightness of a white house wall and the
    relative brightness of a white horizontal surface seen
    from below and found that the horizontal surface was
    about half as bright as the house wall. When this
    factor was included in the calculation the effect of
    the veiling glare was "cancelled" and the result was
    a distance comparable to what Hartmann found.
    (NOTE: if the bottom were dark or copper colored as
    reported by the witnesses the calculation would have
    yielded an even greater distance and size.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Bruce Maccabee continues:

    Thus Hartmann's calculation was vindicated: even if the bottom were white the distance was large.

    However, I realized that it could still be a nearby model if the bottom were a source of light. It could not be a single flashlight inside a model with a white paper bottom because that bottom brightness is uniform. It would have to be more like a translucent model such as made out of paper and
    having the shape as shown in the photo.

    The main point is that it was possible to imagine that the Trents had made a model that satisfied
    Hartmann's calculation even though nearby.

    Basically, the photos don't offer positive proof of UFO reality because one can always imagine that
    the Trents were clever enough, or lucky enough to create a model that appears to be distant.

    As I discovered years ago, the main value of a photo is as an aide to the witness when describing the
    reported object. Only in a very rare case would a UFO photo contain an absolutely unfakable UFO image(a movie or video would be harder to fake).

    That leaves the circumstantial evidence. What is the likelihood that they would think of faking a
    UFO photo, and if they did think of it, what is the likelihood that they would go to the trouble of
    doing it and making up a story about it and so on and maintaining that story "until death?"

    The answers to these questions lie in the life story of the Trents. IMHO faking a UFO sighting, or faking anything, is not compatible with the character and life history of the Trents. The circumstantial evidence is presented in detail in
    the above referenced article.

    After all is said and done I would say to the skeptics, believe what you will.

    As for me, IMHO it was real.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Rich,

    I completely agree with you on your basic point (which I think some people have misunderstood) that by placing the boy on the ladder, he was almost certainly indicating what he thought of the authenticity of the photographs. Anyone who has ever worked as a professional photographer or filmmaker (documentarian) knows exactly where you're coming from, because we all do the same thing - it's a language that is exclusive to professionals. Indeed, the best professionals are the ones that understand: (1) that the best photos are often the ones that convey their intended message with angles and curves, not straight lines, and (2) you can never take enough photos in the field!


    By Blogger Paul Kimball, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Dear RR:
    I was about to post my comment when, "what to my wondering eyes should appear, but my comment (without tiny reindeer)". Thanks for posting my comment and I hope everyone reads the articles at the URLs I listed. And Happy Holidays of your choice, like Christmas.

    By Blogger brumac, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Thanks Paul and Bruce,

    You both enhance the debate.

    your analyses, Bruce, are a must-read for those interested in the Trent sighting/photographs.

    (Happy holidays too.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, December 22, 2012  

  • Greetings,

    Just curious and having two questions, if Bruce Macabbee or anyone knows.

    a) Have someone measured and if so, could give the dimensions of the left in the picture "barn" or chicken/rabbits coop?
    With the LIFE Mag pictures, cause the Ladder or others elements closed to it, it sounds (subjectivaly for me, of course) more "little" sized as it could give the impression with the famous 2 ones pictures only. I'm then very interrested to "have" the size of the "barn", which sounds a Chicken/Rabbits coop (?)

    b) My second question is following for those who know or having approaching the Trent: What say Mister Trent about how it takes the two famous shoots? Difficult for me in English, but did he say he used the "wiever" and the posture as he is pictured in 2 ones of the LIFE pictures, or he used the "mode" with the camera "on his stomach" as it "recommanded" in the Roamer 1 notice. Dunno if I'm clear?



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Gilles...

    Where are trying to go with this?

    What would how he used the viewfinder or not be relevant?

    And the size of the chicken coop?

    You have something in mind. What is it?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • I have a "friend", "ElevenAugust" who developped an interresting software with François Louange (who worked or works with French GEIPAN). I know "ElevenAugust" is actualy "reviewing" litterature etc about the Trent pictures "with" us.

    You can take a look to its Sofware called IPACO, here: http://www.ipaco.fr/page28.html

    With max dataes, informations like these ones (for example), it would be maybe possible to have several new outputs (or not).

    //, I saw Universal Roamer I cameras in French old cameras sellers in Paris (or on the net), and some of us expressed that maybe we could made some "recreative" tests. I have in mind to well or better understand some "perspective" effects the 100 mm Focal Lenght, Lens, etc. could produce (or not)
    For example, because the "barn" or the Chicken/Rabbits coop "forces" (or not) the perspective effect depending its size, like, maybe (or not), when you shoot a "diorama".
    If we trie some "tests", maximum infos, for example the posture of Mister Trent when he shooted, with the "viewer" ?, or camera on his stomach ?, if he kneeled on his bunk?, etc. are "important" to have.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • That would be good "research" Gilles.

    The McMinnville photos continue to be, like Roswell, a hot UFO topic.

    Settling the question of fakery or reality would be a healthy addendum to the UFO panoply.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Rich: "There is no point to that shot of the Trent boy otherwise."

    You are absolutely right. I'll add to that, the previous shots, the two "garage view" photos, with the ladder in the lower left -- if the point of the photos were to simply show the scene, an editor might consider the ladder in the lower left a distraction.

    And if the point of the boy on the ladder shot was a portrait of the boy, then Dean failed. It is rather a portrait of the ladder. He put the boy as far away from the center of the frame as was possible and still pass as a shot of him.

    The photo isn't evidence of a hoax. It is evidence Loomis Dean thought it one, or it is evidence he could do a propaganda piece for Life, if it was the editors who wanted such shots.

    Congrats, Rich. I'm impressed.



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Thanks, Don...

    High praise from a photography aficionado, indeed.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Look at the image of the alleged craft. What makes this image compelling? It appears to be making a turn in mid air rather than on a strictly horizontal plane. Look at the somewhat conical shaft centered on may be the top of the object. How would you create this image of a turn on a object that is suspended from only one point? It would seem the first task is to suspend the object, hence this shaft.. that would then require a second point of suspension to create the skew of the object. Based on the forensic measurements derived from the image of the relationship of actual fixed points ( buildings etc) to this "craft" where are the points of suspension anchored? Especially to make it appear to be at a greater height than the potential objects that are anchoring points? I think at this point from a position beyond the armchair, has anyone taken the time to find the actual model of the camera, go to the site and attempt a replication? Why do I suspect this has not been done?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    It wouldn't take much to try and replicate the Trent scenario -- if everything is intact after 60 plus years.

    But duplicating the photography doesn't necessarily refute or debunk the original.

    It merely imitates, or could, a real event.

    But the effort would be interesting anyway.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • BTW..aside from a misspent youth hanging model airplanes from my boyhood bedroom..at similar angles,it occurred to me that the local weather at the time would have a very significant impact on the quality ( sharpness) of the image in relation to the focal point of the lens setting as well as compared to closer fixed objects. The light appears diffused..if a replication of the image were attempted, the weather conditions would have to be a factor.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • I agree that replication would not be a silver bullet to erase any ambivalence. However, what if it could not be replicated? Care would have to be taken to only use materials available at the time the image was shot. If it could not be replicated, then the wind of opinion might do a 360 degree radial turn and the only effect would be your one percent open ended scenario might inch another percentage point toward that open end.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Bruce: "What makes this image compelling?"

    Two images, Bruce. For me it's that Paul Trent, whether he faked it or not, got it on the first shot, and then nailed it with a second shot.

    I'd like to see the skeptics put their Trent hoax theories to the test. Practice all you want, but after you've wound in the film, nail it in one. And then do it again. I'd like to know if it is a difficult as I think might be.



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Bruce: "it occurred to me that the local weather at the time would have a very significant impact on the quality ( sharpness) of the image in relation to the focal point of the lens setting as well as compared to closer fixed objects. The light appears diffused."

    The actual replication is of the means, rather than the appearance of the photos.

    I have a decent jpeg of the print of one of the photos, from the Chicago Tribune. It is brighter than the gloomy versions on Schaeffer's or Maccabee's sites. I don't know if the Tribune had retouched it (yet). I can't see it if it has been, but I'm not an expert on the subject.

    We can't be certain what the light was like. Maybe the best evidence is a print that has been untouched in a filing cabinet for sixty years.



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Don
    Rightly or wrongly my thought was the technology of the time in regard to lighting conditions due to the weather that was present. All of this in relation to replicating an alleged hoax with as much of the original "fabric" as possible. Comparing the lighting conditions ( overcast, back light what have you)to the technology of how the image was taken in a Pre-Photoshop environment which brings to mind how contrast could be altered back in the day by the development of the film hence the print.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Rich, I know that it's the holiday season, but you are far to generous with the so-called skeptics who casually assert(yes assert) "hoax" with respect to the Trent photos. Anyone who has taken the time to read the full Bruce Maccabee Report on the Trent affair would realize that the chances of a hoax in this instance are near zero. The Report deals with almost all of the skeptics' concerns: Other pictures on the film roll; alleged "delays" in processing film; reputation of the Trents; possible other witnesses--Paul Trent's father, and many, many other concers. (This does not mean that Paul Trent photographed an interplanatery space ship. He said that he thought it was "military" and that remains a possibility). It's quite obvious that the skeptics on this blog have NOT done their due diligence on this case, and that dropping the "hoax bomb without reliable new information was totally irresponsible. And they should be called out on that in no uncertain terms.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Don writes: "For me it's that Paul Trent, whether he faked it or not, got it on the first shot, and then nailed it with a second shot." (assuming and shifting, huh?)

    Don; Are you oblivious to the interpretation inherent in your statement? In what way did Trent "get it in the first shot" or "nail it with a second shot?" He had all the time in the world to squat way out in his backyard in a spot of his choice, look through the viewfinder, frame it, and at the moment of his choice, snap a photo of a stationary truck mirror hanging by thread from a very obvious wire above? Then move a few steps, squat, and again, at the moment of his choice snap another picture of the captive truck mirror. What seems so difficult about that?

    I have no doubt that rational adults at the time guffawed at these silly pictures. Trent's crude hoax's notoriety was just a matter of dumb luck; you might note that LIFE published the photos with the very obvious wires cropped out! And that's what the world saw. So much for "nailing it" when it's so obviously fake.

    "I'd like to see the skeptics put their Trent hoax theories to the test. Practice all you want, but after you've wound in the film, nail it in one. And then do it again. I'd like to know if it is a difficult as I think might be."

    Why not just consider the utterly damning facts about the photos and the Trents that have been demonstrated and known for decades? She was a saucer nut, a Repeater!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Dominick and Zoam:

    Here's where we are...the photos remain open to debate, obviously.

    Dominick, I've given Bruce Maccabee's analyses full rein here and elsewhere.

    Since I have proposed, in the recent past, that Ken Arnold may have spotted Navy test craft and I provided some circumstantial material -- I won't call it evidence -- the possibility that Paul Trent photographed, in the same general vicinity as Arnold, a prototypical aircraft is palpable to me.

    That Paul Trent created a faux photo of a flying disk is also a possibility.

    And a flying disk from somewhere oblique, even from outer space is not off the table in my mind.

    We just don't know.

    The sighting and photographs have become iconic and immersed in the UFO mythos -- mythos used here as the historical narrative, not pejoratively.

    Proving the Trents created a hoax is meaningless in the great UFO scheme of things.

    Proving they captured, on film, an alien craft is impossible.

    Finding that they may have gotten a snapshot or two of a test aircraft would be interesting, and clarifying in many ways.

    So the debate goes on.

    It's, as I said, scholastically ripe for discussion, nothing more.

    I've presented my views, your views, Dominick, and Zoam's, along with Bragalia's, Maccabee's, and others.

    We won't settle the issue here but we can offer methodological-like thoughts that could prove helpful for other sightings, new and old, perhaps even allowing for a few solutions to baffling reports that still haunt the UFO community.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Bruce, development controls highlight density; Exposure controls shadow density. Basic rule (for negative film) expose for the shadows; develop for the highlights.

    For the print, the grade of paper chosen affects contrast and so would the activity of the chemistry...and time, dilution, deliberately under or overdevelopment.

    If the negative went through the usual development, through a Kodak jobber, and if Trent used Kodak Verichrome Ortho, as is likely, negative development was pretty neutral.

    Rich or anyone with newspaper experience of the era may know whether the photo lab at the paper would have tended to overdevelop a print a bit for the same reason they commonly retouched photos: for them to look decent enough in the low resolution of newsprint. I'd think so.

    The ChiTrib image has sharper edges than the others. If it is not retouched for that effect, then the light that moment was not as diffuse as it appears in the common online versions. That's what I'm wondering.

    The ChiTrib image can be seen here:




    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Zoam, I rarely respond to you because I think you are either obsessed with UFOs or a troll, but for the benefit of the readers:

    If someone can indicate where the supports were that held the object rigid, then the shots were easy as anything. Absent the supports, with a moving object, it is a different matter.

    There is no time limit between the shots. Take all the time you want. You just have to get two in a row, and then it is "time".

    "Don; Are you oblivious to..."

    Are you flirting with me?



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Don:

    I had, not long ago, a run-in with the AP via its photos for the afternoon paper in Fort Wayne: The News-Sentinel.

    The AP was airbrushing under-arm hair from basketball players, altering a reality was my plaint using our MediaWatch operation.

    The paper got the AP to correct the practice.

    In the old days at the Detroit TIMES and NEWS (and Free Press too), pictures were always enhanced, if needed, to accent a journalistic point.

    That practice is eschewed today but it was rife in the 50s and before surely.

    So one could expect that the Trent photos were enhanced to bring out the object more distinctly.

    How that enhancement was brought about is lost to history but it is a possibility.

    Your call for the negatives is futile but an obvious solution to the question.

    That the Trents let their kids play with the pictures and I'm guessing the negative roll was disastrous for forensic analysis of the film.

    Also, who or what operation did the processing of the film.

    What was the procedure used.

    Was the film developed by the newspaper or a local drugstore?

    I don't know, and finding out at this late stage of the inquiry is an effort that will not take us far.

    Someone would have to get their hands on the original negatives, clean them up (professionally) and examine the images for tell-tale clues of a hoax or the absence of same.

    62 years after the fact allows me to say any suggestions as I've made here are on the cusp of foolishness.

    We could wipe the record clean of one UFO incident maybe, but that doesn't affect the over-all enigma, does it?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Rich: "Was the film developed by the newspaper or a local drugstore?"

    Am I correct that Trent had no prints? If it went through a store, and handled the Kodak way, he'd get back contact prints along with the negatives. As I recall (as a little boy, picking up the family snaps at the drugstore) in that era, the price of the development and prints was included in the price of the film. It was prepaid. I think that's right.

    If he had no prints, then maybe the paper or just someone he knew with a devel tank and chemistry. Development is easy.

    The negatives appear to be in wretched condition. I don't think anything in them will prove it a hoax or that the thing was real.

    McMinnville might be an example of a hoax that just growed. The tale grew in the telling and gained a life of its own.

    I'd like to see the hoax theories put to the test. If they all fail, then just how clever could Paul Trent have been? No skeptic has gotten into the ring with Trent, yet. So, we don't know.



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Anthony Bragalia's efforts, he avers, is to clarify the record, to make sure the historical record is true.

    In this instance, I think we're too far, like Roswell, from the period to get a true picture or accurate appraisal of what happened exactly.

    But those photos, if not fake, give us an idea of something weird flying around in 1950.

    That's an historical moment or significant incident -- much more than what we have from Roswell.

    That's why this episode continues to resonate with some of us.

    Socorro, because of Lonnie Zamora, continues to resonate likewise; he was, despite some opprobrium, a good witness of something strange also....no photos but eyewitness testimony.

    So Trent's photos are telling us something interesting, even spectacular, or it tells us that even a little-educated farmer is capable of gulling persons supposedly smarter than him.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • In answer to various questions several have asked:

    The Trents had the film developed at a local drugstore. There were prints made because the photos were shown to several people and the banker displayed them at his bank while the negatives were later found by the news reporter at the Trent house under the sofa. The kids had been playing with them. The camera was new the previous winter and this was the first roll of film used in the camera.
    (source: http://brumac.8k.com/trent2.html by Bruce Maccabee, primarily Section IX.)

    Gilles asked two questions. The first was about the dimensions of the building on the left, which he called a barn or coop. This building is referred to as the garage in both Maccabee's and the Condon report. Exact dimensions are not known. Maccabee has a diagram of the various buildings, wires, line of sight when the photos were taken and estimated distances on http://brumac.8k.com/trent2c.html .

    The second question was whether Mr. Trent held the camera up to his eyes or looked down when taking the picture. Bruce Maccabee says Trent held the camera at chest or stomach level and looked down into the viewfinder.

    By Blogger JAF, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Thanks JAF...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • What I have published in my research papers provides answers to many (or most?) of the questions that have been raised since I posted my response. Technical details of the photos themselves are presented in the 1976 article. Of particular interest is my discussion of the importance of the film development. It is highly unlikely that the film was developed to enhance any part of the scene. According to a "greybeard" professional Navy photographer, "drug store development" - the Trent negative photos were not developed by the newspaper - was not always correctly done. In particular, correct processing of the negative required new developing and fixing solutions and the proper time that the negative spent in each. When done correctly the "gamma" of the negative would be 1. (Gamma is the relationship between exposure level - brightness times shutter time divided by f# squared - and the resulting film density (the slope of the so-called "H and D curve")). According to the Navy photog, a batch of developing solution would typically be used until it could no longer produce gamma=1 and instead produced a lower gamma. Decrease in gamma has the following effect: if two photos of the same scene were taken and one was developed with new solution and one with old solution (that had been used to develop many photos), the range of negative density values would be greater for the negative developed in the new solution. Underdevelopment could be at least part of the explanation for the "thinness" of the negatives, as noted by Hartmann. I took the possibility that gamma was lower than it should be into account in my calculations.

    By Blogger brumac, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    Have I missed this....where are the negatives now?

    Are they extant?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • JAF: "The Trents had the film developed at a local drugstore. There were prints made because the photos were shown to several people and the banker displayed them at his bank..."

    Normally, if they came with the development, the prints would be contact prints measuring 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. If they were larger, someone had them made up especially.

    Have you come across any mention of the size of the prints on display, JAF?



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Rich, I think the family has them now. I read somewhere that Maccabee had them for a long time.

    Are there any other UFO negatives? Most of the images appear to be old scans of old book and magazine reproductions. Rhodes' negatives were returned to him in 1954 (whether they were the originals, duplicates, or negatives made from the prints -- which Ruppelt suggested doing in a BB document), but since it seems no investigators read the BB entry while he was alive, no one asked him. Years ago I given the contact information for the Rhodes family, including his son, to investigators, but I haven't gotten anything back about it.

    The Trent negatives may be the only UFO negs in existence.

    Bruce, you are correct. Your "greybeard" story about drugstore development can be confirmed by tens of millions.



    By Blogger Don, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Thanks, Don...

    A lot of missed opportunities.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • The original negatives are in the possession of the Trent children, so far as I know (I returned them about 10 years ago). Originally I was going to keep them a couple of weeks while making film density measurements. Somehow that 2 weeks turned into more than 25 years! Probably a good thing I kept them 'cause they were well treated and I was able to make them available to several people who did their own scans. See the article I posted for the history of the negatives.

    By Blogger brumac, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Thanks, Bruce...

    Maybe those who made scans can apply new technologies to see what we're dealing with.

    I'm beginning to think the Trents may have captured a shot of a prototypical craft.

    If it was a hoaxed effort, it was a good one.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, December 23, 2012  

  • Greetings,

    Thank you such much for all the infos and answers to the questions, JAF, Don, Dr Macabbee, and each.

    Just 3 rapid "remarks" cause "Christmas" lack of time.

    - Concerning Dr Macabbee who wrote: "I finally decided that the pictures must be real
    because they're too stupid (to have faked them)". Hum, when P. Marechal revealed his hoax concerning Petit-Rechain famous picture, we approached him and he was interviewed by Belgium friends.
    Out ad personam/ad hominem, and using "soft" words, allow us to constate he is a very basic guy. However he duped Professor Meessen and different teams "twenty years".
    Then, I dont think if the argument to judge if a guy can fake a picture, or not, by "how is/look/appears a man in RL", is relevant or not, following what we have learned regarding Petit-Rechain story.

    - The Petit-Rechain story shows us too how technical analysis can present outputs which are fare away in fact finaly the reality. I must add this picture have been of sort of Rorschach projective test and many UFO-proponents have made statments which appear totaly now irrelevant.
    Many believers that the photo was authentic asked "Skeptics" too "how you explain this?" "It is impossible it is a model", "if it is an hoax, then you will easy replicate it", etc remarks some of you are adressing to the skeptics here in the comments.

    Of course, it is not an argument to keep out all technical/forensic analysis done, or to ignore them, in particulary by Dr Macabbe ones, but we learned that such ones must be taken with "prudence". As some remarks adressed to "the skeptics" too.

    - About the possibility to replicate the picture, or not, and the "ruminations" of us here, I think it is very diffult, if not impossible to replicate always a picture, and exactly, (in the case it is a faked one, I mean).
    Too much parameters ignored or difficult to replicate "in an experiment".
    Despite Skeptics are in the good and right pists to replicate an hoax not detected/revealed as one, it serves and changes nothing.

    To illustrate this, I have again in mind Petit-Rechain Picture story.
    In November, I have had the great chance to meet Wim Van Utrecht and Thierry Weyt (and many others) in Bruxelles for a Skeptics Symposium (public) and workshop (semi-privated) regarding the so-called Belgium UFO-wave for a "skeptic" regard.

    What told us the story again?

    Despite Wim reproduced and before Marechal's confession, a good copy of the photo with devices (as did another investigator, but I dont remember his name), it was not enough for some to change the mind about the authenticity of the picture (for some, I mean) and it changed nothing.

    Despite the mathematician, Thierry Veyt presented elements that the apparent "shake motion" in the lights of the craft appearing blurred or out of focus in the picture, contradicted witness statements, it changed nothing too.
    Same for many elements gived by "Skeptics" (Marc Hallet, astrophysician Pierre Magain, Jacques Scornaux, etc.).
    That's normal, even if it is a fake, even if people are very closed to reproduce the "hoax", the difficulty (or impossibility) to replicate it exactly, allow some people to say, (legitimaly BTW in the absolute), "hoo, it lacks this or that", "it is not exactly how appears the object", etc.
    So, I expect "nothing" for such tests and if people trie it. It introduces only on the table some critical thinkig poits, thats all. But will proove nothing (if the replication is good, or not).

    - I doubt too P. Marechal can replicate himself an exact shoot, and he have been asked to do it (we are waiting for, more than one year after his confession).

    Very Christmas to all.



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Et un "Very" Christmas a vous, Gilles, mon ami....


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Martin Shough has written this (redacted) comment at UFO UpDates about the Trent/McMinnville photos:

    "I am hearing rumours that certain researchers...are on the brink of publishing an analysis which they believe is proof of a hoax. I have it on authority of a [reliable] third party...that...digital enhancement has revealed the presence of a string or wire support..."

    Martin Shough

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • I "confirm" this rumor, I heard it from a [reliable] source last week too, but can say nothing at this point. Now that Martin Shough relayed it, I allow me to... Well, we will see.

    PS: Of course, it is "Merry" Christmas, not very. Grrr, Rich. Need an "Harrap's" tomorrow by Santa Claus... :)

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • I like a "Very Xmas" Gilles....

    And we all look forward to the pending unveiling of the Trent hoax.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Don't be fooled by the "too stupid" or "too young" labels when deciding on photos.

    Examples: Stephen Darbishire age 13 (Adamski-like photos), Alex Birch age 14 (UFOs painted on a glass window), or going farther back the girls involved in the Cottingley fairies photos c.1920, which fooled Arthur Conan Doyle and numerous others.

    Yes Happy Christmas, and thankful we survived the world's end 3 days ago!

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Happy Holidays to you, Christopher.

    (It's good the world didn't end, so we can continue this nonsense and the Roswell Dream Team can accomplish its tasks.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Gilles, replicating a ufo photo has been done. A few years ago I came across a web page about replicating the Heflin photos. The page had broken links, some missing photos, and the text was in French. Perhaps you know something about it. It was a good replication. What I couldn't glean from the text is whether the replicated three shots from within the cab of the van were taken in the same timeframe as Heflin claimed. Otherwise, if you mixed in the replicates with originals, naive subjects would accept them as being from the same shoot as the originals. The test used the same camera and film as Heflin used. What I recall is the objects were lathed wood spools, not the toy train wheels that Tony surmised were used by Heflin. I don't recall whether the fourth photo was replicated.

    It doesn't prove the Heflin photos are faked. Assuming the timeframe was part of the test, it proves those photos could have been faked and how it could be done.



    By Blogger Don, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Outside of the development processes and the points of suspension related to the position of the object, and potential replication of the image, another nagging "issue" occurred to me this morning.Credibility and motive.
    When Life published the photograph and enlisted them to participate in the writing of the article, what was the typical compensation paid by a main stream publication for this? Is there a motive lurking there?
    Then a comparison..to the economic standing of the family at that time and how crucial or not crucial was this to their situation? After the Life article, were there any attempts by them to exploit their new found fame?

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • "Perhaps you know something about it. It was a good replication."

    Hello Don,
    No, it remembers nothing, will ask French friends which are older than me, maybe they have record(s) in Hard Disk or dunno what or "material" supports? Concerning Hefflin's ones, I just know the "3D" creative composition, giving the "impression" a "model" was close, as the proposition of a "toy train wheel", or the many analysis we can always find here or there, defending or not the pictures.

    Yeah, to "replicate" UFO pictures shows they can be replicated, with more or less, big or little differences with the "original(s)": Some persons will be enough satisfacted by this, other not.
    One more time, the Petit-Rechain story enlighted how People can be "fooled/duped" easily by an UFO picture...


    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Bruce, who knows what might lead anyone to think hoaxing a saucer would bring them fame, or what fame might mean to them? There might have not been a motive to hoax. If it was a hoax, it might not have begun that way, just Dad and the Boy playing around with the new camera. That the two shots came out would be unreplicatable except by another stroke of luck. The rigging would be simple.

    It could have begun when the clerk at the counter took a peek at the prints and told his mom who worked at the bank. Paul Trent just went with the flow.

    Happy [insert preferred language here] and best wishes for the New Year to all,


    By Blogger Don, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Giles reproduced the comment, "I finally decided they must be real because they were too stupid." I wanted to point out that the statement was not mine. It was made by Bill Powell as his ultimate justification for publishing the photos.
    The Trents had plenty of opportunities to make money from their photos and they also could have made more photos,if they were a hoax. The Trents did neither (no money and no other photos). I got the distinct impression during my hours of conversation with Evelyn that they disliked the continual harassment they received from skeptics and believers alike. During our conversations she repeatedly got "off track" and told me about events in the lives of the Trent family. I often had to lead her back to "topic A" with some pointed questions. The sighting was definitely not, IMHO, the most important event in their lives. See the article at my web site.

    By Blogger brumac, at Monday, December 24, 2012  

  • Sorry Dr Bruce Maccabee, for the bad attribution of the quote.
    Anyway, the argument "they must be real because they were too stupid [to hoax]" sounds few relevant imho with the example I gave of Petit-Rechain hoax. Christopher presented others.

    Same regarding one other argument, the Petit-Rechain "hoaxer" have made only one picture, so the argument "they could have made more photos" "must" be taken with precaution/discretion imho (as I suppose they are plenty other counter-examples in the "hoaxes/fakes litterature").

    Concerning the "they didn't make money": Well, same. "Money" could be not the real mobile/motivation to fake/to hoax something imho.

    Dunno if it is a case here of course for the Paul Trents pictures, but you can,for example, made an hoax designated initialy to you near relations(family, child, etc.). But because "people" heard the thing, medias, authorities, ufologists, scientists, etc. come to you.
    And you are "trapped" in your hoax/joke: due to the "rush" and "the tornade" you have launched, it is very difficult to back-out or to confesse.
    The Contingley Fairies affair, as evoked previously is a good example of "what I mean here".

    You can made an hoax/fake, because you have made previous sightings, and received "mokeries" or simply, because people doubted". So, because of such reasons, you create an hoax to reinforce the validity of what you said/saw.

    We could probably evokate/speculate many more reasons why people hoaxe/fake/joke.
    I mean only here, in essence, that "money" is/could be for many hoaxes/lies/jokes not in the equation and, then, if people didn't make money is not "adequate" to eliminate the hoax/fake possibility.

    The "psychology" and "personal circumstances" why people made hoax/fake/joke is sometimes imho very complexe ; and a posteriori, it could stay very "nebulous", if not discernable/comprehensive, (even if the person confessed).



    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Tuesday, December 25, 2012  

  • I never trust my personal suspicions and yet I suspect this may not be a hoax, either for money or some other psychological driver. Outside of the general definition of a lie, a hoax is essentially planting physical evidence or claiming to have possession of same in order to fabricate and substantiate a false claim. Was this produced for the families personal entertainment and then got away from them, and took on a life of it's own? An after the fact, indirect hoax? I seriously doubt this. Pride in fabricating a hoax "..Yeah I did it..pretty convincing!" would seem more in character with him considering other factors. Unless someone substantiates conversely that it was a hoax, either by demonstration or analysis, or collaborating witnesses ( none of which have arisen to convince me) Motive opportunity and means are absent in a substantiated form, hence all of this ends up a case of high ambivalence subject to being pushed this way or that by the wind of opinion. I think it is as open a case as ever, one way or the other, despite opinions on either side of the fence. I think everyone dislikes uncertainty and like several cases, the deeper one goes, you either stake a territorial prerogative of opinion or say, "I don't know. I wasn't there." One way is to provide a comfortable arm chair the other is to have no chair, no comfort erasing self doubt. This thread is sort of a psychological litmus test.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, December 25, 2012  

  • Bruce...

    Merry Xmas, bud.

    AS for a hoax, Paul Trent could have created an innocent ruse, but when others (the newspaper, the AF, or LIFE magazine) got interested, he was spooked, and played dumb.

    He was messing around with his new camera, took a few shots of a concocted flying disk, then moved on.

    When others got involved and overly excited, he pulled back, and went with his "it was a test aircraft" story.

    Or it's a bona fide flying disk.

    Take your pick.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, December 25, 2012  

  • One puzzle regarding the ladder: IF it had been used to facilitate hoaxing the photographs, why in the name of God would the Trents have left it lying around in the operative spot when the LIFE photographers showed up? Seems odd that they would allow the photograph to be taken at all if they had something to hide in that regard.

    By Blogger Tristan Eldritch, at Tuesday, December 25, 2012  

  • Rich: "The LIFE photographer, who visited the Trents and provided the photos that Mr. Rudiak found online, not only documented the venue and people involved in the picture-taking but also suggested, subliminally, that he – the photographer – got the feeling that something wasn’t right about the scenario and photos that Paul Trent allegedly took.

    This is why there are several photos of Mr. Trent with eye to view-finder of his new camera."

    Dean was thorough. How are we to understand these two photos? Is it a demonstration by Trent of how he took the photos? Then he shot them with the eye level finder, not the waist level one. Note the tilt of the camera, and how Trent holds it to his eye.

    Of interest are the photos I'll call Man and Newspaper. Dean has full control of the scene, being indoors, and it looks like he brought some lighting with him.

    What do you make of the expression on the man's face? Is he Bill Powell?

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Boy And Ladder's subliminal effect on skeptics, including Tony, is now documented.



    By Blogger Don, at Wednesday, December 26, 2012  

  • Don:

    The LIFE "reporter" has the stance and gaze of a skeptic, if one is a body/facial language buff.

    After WWII, journalists, as you know, took their jobs seriously.

    The foolishness of newspapers past (Hearst's particularly) were eschewed pretty much, by mainstream papers and magazines.

    LIFE had become a credible news source and I think the Trent photographer and reporter wanted to capture the allure of a flying saucer sighting and photo but with journalistic caveats.

    And those photographic hints that the whole thing didn't sit well with them.

    (You've seen my newer post where the Seattle PI also seems to have had a jaundiced eye about the episode and photos.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, December 26, 2012  

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