The UFO Iconoclast(s)

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.


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Trent/McMinnville “Ladder Boy” Brouhaha by Anthony Bragalia

A McMinnville UFO article has stirred some up recently when I ran an image of Paul Trent’s boy standing on a ladder. The kid was perched up in the very area where his father had taken two UFO pictures. These pictures are believed my many today to have been hoaxed. The ‘ladder boy’ photo is a very provocative photo that could impact the authenticity of two highly controversial UFOs photos made in Oregon in 1950 by farmer Trent.


James Oberg is a well-known space journalist who has professional ties to NASA .

Oberg admitted just earlier today to researcher Lance Moody that he is indeed responsible for having posted the incriminating ‘ladder boy photo’ on a website a long time ago. He has agreed that was wrong to have done so.

Moody has conceded that Oberg was “mistaken” to have posted the photo. We can all certainly agree that it has caused many problems.

Oberg is known to be rabidly skeptical about “things UFO.“ So much so that in 2009 Oberg deliberately planted a troubling photo on an ATS website forum. It was a picture of Paul Trent’s boy on a ladder. The kid had a mischievous grin and was posed directly under the area that a UFO had been captured on film by his father. Oberg is the first person to have ever placed this image on the net. When Oberg was asked about the origin of the photo, Oberg replied that LIFE had bought the rights,’- that the image had been acquired by them. Of course LIFE photographer Loomis Dean, who went to the Trent farm, was a LIFE employee. His pictures did not have “rights” that could be “bought” or “acquired.”

More importantly, Oberg did not post the other LIFE Trent farm images, just the ‘ladder boy’ photo. Why? He had to have known that there was a series of Trent farm photos, but he chose to selectively post only the one that would immediately suggest a hoax.


Oberg’s “mistake” was apparently repeated on another site some years later. I next saw the Oberg image posted this past summer on another well-known paranormal website, Unexplained Mysteries. A long-time, respected poster there had reproduced the ladder boy image, adding the statement: “from the same roll of film as the UFO photos.


I reviewed the online LIFE gallery of work by photographer Loomis Dean before I had published the article. There were several wonderful LIFE photos that Dean did over the years, but nothing on McMinnville. An individual emailed me after the article had appeared. He explained that the reason that I could not access the Trent farm photos is because LIFE had since removed them from their site and had apparently archived them. I could not get what I did not even know existed.


That is it, the sum total on the matter. There was no nefarious intent on my part despite what some have maintained (and in sometimes unprofessional and even profane terms.)

And despite Oberg having posted this very same image on the net before I did, no one had ever seen fit to correct him in the three years in which he did so. Lance Moody has asked me for an apology on this , I wonder if he asked the same of Oberg?


The ‘boy on the ladder photo remains a provocative one, no matter the provenance. And if you examine the photos in the LIFE series of the Trent farm closely enough it becomes evident: it would be very easy place in which to fake a UFO. And a ladder and a helpful kid would certainly come in handy for a hoax…


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The real question about the Trent/McMinnville photos

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

We’ve addressed this before, but because of the current imbroglio about Tony Bragalia’s thesis that farmer Paul Trent concocted – faked/hoaxed – his iconic 1950 flying disk photos. Let me raise the issue again.

Here are a few photos of farmer Trent from a batch of photos that David Rudiak found and provided to those embroiled in the Bragalia brouhaha:


Note how Paul Trent took pictures or had to, because of the viewfinder on his new camera.

Now if we take the scenario that his wife spotted the UFO and called to him to see it or retrieve his camera to get a picture, one has to conclude that the disk was flying rather slowly, cruising, as it were.

If it was traveling at a speed that one imagines flying saucers, of the period (1950) flew at – something in the pre-jet range that Ken Arnold and his supporters provided for his sighting of nine disks near Mt. Rainier -- it is impossible for Mrs. Trent to see the object, call out to her husband, and he able to take two shots, using the viewfinder on his camera, as pictured above.

The disk would have been hanging in mid-air for this to play out as it has been pictured and presented.

Here are the two photos:



Why is the “saucer” still in view?

It’s lollying in the sky.

The who took the photos and why is still open to debate, but I ask why an alleged flying saucer waited around to have a visual and two photos of it taken?

Something doesn’t add up here, for me.

The issue of the possible fakery of the Trent photos has gotten sidetracked by the allegation that a photo of Trent’s son on a ladder bespeaks a set-up for the hoax that Tony Bragalia alleges.

Lance Moody’s submission of the photos from a separate roll than that in which the Trent disk appears seems to end that controversy.

But it doesn’t end the possibility that Paul Trent created a bogus flying saucer photo, does it?


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.

Psychochemically Induced UFO SIghtings

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Several years ago we published information given to us by Bosco Nedelcovic, an AID/CIA officer who worked for the Department of Defense in South America.

The information imparted was that the 1957 Villas Boas case was actually a psychochemical experiment formulated by U.S. Army Intelligence and the C.I.A.

You can read about it at a blog of The Recluse:

Nick Redfern also provides a full chapter about this in his book, Contactees.

The December 17th, 2012 issue of The New Yorker has a lengthy article (18 pages) by Raffi Khatchadourian, Operation Delirium [Page 46 ff.] that corroborates, circumstantially, what Nedelcovic offered and Anthony Bragalia investigated earlier in blogs for us.


That various government agencies, provocated by the C.I.A., engaged in psychochemical experiments, on volunteers and an unsuspecting public, is no secret.

The New Yorker article cites a 1949 report by L. Wilson Greene, Psychochemical Warfare: A New Concept of War

The idea that psychochemicals could disable or derange America’s Cold War enemies became an idée fixe of the military and clandestine agencies of the U.S. government, and The New Yorker piece documents the machinations, using the confessional remembrances of Colonel James S. Ketchum, who was in the Army from 1956 to 1976, working at various facilities such as the Edgewood Arsenal and Dugway (which Anthony Bragalia has written about, as has Nick Redfern).

The chemicals exploited included EA3834, a variation on BZ, LSD, PCP, in such Projects as Dork [sic] .

The British Ministry of Defense, admittedly, engaged in similar experimentation and testing.

The article supplements theories or hypotheses that indicate come UFO sightings and encounters were the result of covert operations that targeted members of the public.

The sightings that I see as possible products of such possible interventions include the Hill “abduction,” the Travis Walton kidnapping, The Hickson/Parker Pascagoula event, the Cash-Landrum affair, some of the French, Italian, and British encounters (reported by Jose Caravaca for us), and dozens of others.

While I’ve listed some of these UFO events under the rubric of hallucinations, that psychotic-like manifestation would surely be the end result of psychochemical influence, as The New Yorker article articulates.

For those who don’t find an ET explanation satisfactory for some UFO episodes the New Yorker piece will lead you to a conclusion of government foolery which created, inadvertently or not, UFO events, like the Villas Boas case, where chemically induced psychoses made for scenarios that ufologists, wrongfully, think are part of an extraterrestrial invasion.