Back on January 1, 1958, a photographer on the Brazilian ship, Almirante Saldanha, took four pictures of a "Saturn-shaped" object as flew over the island of Trindade off the coast of Brazil. Almiro Barauna developed the film about an hour later. He and Captain Viegas entered the ship’s darkroom together. After developing the negatives, Barauna at first, thought that no image had been picked up, but Viegas, looking carefully, spotted the UFO. (One of the photos seen here and another below.)
That, in a nutshell, is the story. There are, according to some sources, many witnesses to the craft. Skeptics suggest that few others saw anything at all. That is a matter for another time.
What brings all this up is that a Brazilian TV network, Fantastico, just broadcast a story that suggests, finally, an answer about authenticity of the pictures has been found. According to Fantastico, "This Sunday (August 15), for the first time Fantastico reveals the truth about the Trindade Island UFO. A friend of the family told what she heard from the photographer himself [Almiro Barauna] he had hoaxed the images, it was a montage. ‘He got two kitchen spoons, joined them and improvised a spaceship, using as a background his fridge. He photographed the fridge door with the object in perfect illumination. He laughed a lot about it,’ revealed Emilia Bittencourt. Barauna’s files are in possession of his niece, who didn’t want to record an interview, but confirms the hoax."
The idea that the pictures were faked has been around almost from the moment they were taken. Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer who never met a UFO case he liked, claimed, at first, that an aircraft, "flying through humid but apparently super-cooled atmosphere," could become so completely enveloped in fog that it could take on the appearance of a Saturn-shaped object.
Okay, but I’m not buying this.
And apparently Menzel wasn’t either because later, in his book The World of Flying Saucers, he wrote that the case was a hoax. He said that Barauna had faked the pictures with a double exposure.
More likely than the fog-shrouded airplane but a statement without a fact to back it up. You can’t just declare something a hoax because you don’t like it and have no other evidence except your opinion that it is a hoax.
My first thought on reading this latest revelation from Fantastico was that the explained the case.
My second thought was, "Not so fast."
Yes, I’m aware of work done by many researchers in their analyses of the pictures and that some have said they found evidence of fraud in the photographs. Some of it is impressive work.
But I’m also aware of the claim that there were many witnesses to the object’s flight, and it would mean that a couple of dozen were in on the hoax and never breathed a word about it... until now.
But the person making this new claim of hoax is not a relative, or a witness for that matter, but a neighbor and she has no evidence to back up her accusation. There is also a niece, unidentified other than as a niece, who says she has Barauna’s files and she confirms it is a hoax.
Here’s the deal... and I’m sure even the skeptics will agree with this. Let’s wait on the final pronouncement until the files surface and prove the hoax. In the last few years, we’ve had several people come forward explaining that their UFO photographs, none quite as famous as these, were faked. I have no problem with the photographer telling me he or she faked the pictures. That seems to be solid evidence.
In this case, however, we don’t have the photographer, but a neighbor. And the niece who has the files. Let the documentation from the files be reviewed before we completely close the case. If it is a hoax, so be it, but let’s wait until we have the absolute proof before we label it. That might be coming soon.