Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Trent Photographs Reexamined

Through the years, I have often thought that the Trent photographs have only one of two possible conclusions. They are either of a craft that matched nothing in the inventories of various world air forces, or it was a hoax. It was something from another world or it was faked.

For those who need a little background, the Trents, Paul and Evelyn, photographed a UFO that hovered over their farm near McMinnville, Oregon, on May 11, 1950. According to the story, Evelyn Trent was outside feeding the rabbits when she saw a large, slow moving, disk-shaped object traveling toward the northeast. She yelled for her husband who came out, saw the object and ran back in the house for their camera.
Trent took two pictures of the object. According to witness statements offered years later, he took a picture and then had to manually wind the film to take a second. The UFO began to accelerate at that point.

Evelyn Trent ran back into the house to call her in-laws, who lived a few hundred yards away. Her mother-in-law entered the house to answer the phone but her father-in-law would say that he did see the object but only caught a glimpse of it.
Although they had what might have been the first authentic pictures of a flying saucer, Paul Trent said they waited to finish the roll before having the film developed. If they were excited enough to burn up two frames of film, it would seem that they would want to develop the film quickly given what they had on that film.

Then, once the roll was finished and they had the pictures, they didn’t take them to the newspaper but instead allowed the local banker to put them in the window of the bank. That led, of course, to a reporter seeing them and getting them published in the local newspaper. Once the pictures were published, the Trents found themselves in the national spotlight. Life borrowed the negatives and printed them in the June 26, 1950 issue.

The Condon Committee investigated them in the late 1960s, and found no reason to reject them. The investigator for Condon, William Hartman, wrote, “Two inferences appear to be justified: 1)It is difficult to see any prior motivation for a fabrication of such a story, although after the fact, the witnesses did profit to the extent of a trip to New York; 2) it is unexpected that in this distinctly rural atmosphere, in 1950, one would encounter a fabrication involving sophisticated trick photography (e.g. a carefully retouched print).  The witnesses seemed unaffected by the incident, receiving only occasional inquires.”

So Hartmann, with the Condon Committee thought the pictures were authentic, meaning of some sort of unidentified physical object meaning an alien craft. This annoyed Philip Klass and he launched his own investigation. Klass consulted with Robert Sheaffer, who made his own analysis of the pictures. According to Klass, Sheaffer found a shadow under the eaves of the garage and that suggested that the pictures were taken, not in the evening, but early in the morning. If true, then that would suggest the pictures were faked. There would be no logical reason to lie about the timing unless there were some shenanigans going on.

I was never thrilled with that analysis. It seemed a little esoteric and seemed to be the kind of thing just thrown in by the skeptics to discredit the pictures. Just a little crack in the case, but one that many skeptics found persuasive. I was not in that camp. Others, who studied the pictures, argued that the shadows were not significant.

Sheaffer’s findings, however, when sent on to Hartmann, seemed to be enough for him to reevaluate his stand on the pictures. Klass wrote that Hartmann wrote, “I think Sheaffer’s work removes the McMinnville case from consideration as evidence of disklike [sic] artificial craft.”

In 1965, Lieutenant Colonel John P. Spaulding, responding to an inquiry from a civilian, W. C. Case, wrote, “The Air Force has no information on photographs of an unidentified flying object taken by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon. In this regard, it should be noted that all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misrepresentation of natural or conventional objects. The objects in these photographs have a positive identification.”

Which is their way of saying that there is no such thing as UFOs, meaning alien spacecraft. We can interpret the last sentence to say that we know nothing about the Trent photos but they have been positively identified. Or he might have meant that all UFOs in the photos submitted to the Air Force have been positively identified, which is not strictly true. But I digress…

Getting to the real point here, in a posting on his blog, Tony Bragalia (see http://bragalia.blogspot.com/) has provided some evidence for a hoax that is more significant and more persuasive. Tony wrote, “Found clues point to a prank behind the most cherished UFO photographs in history. For over six decades the two images taken by Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon have continued to generate great debate about their authenticity. But investigation now indicates that the two Trent images were likely ones of invention.”

So what did Tony find that convinces him that the Trent photographs are faked? One of the things is “forced perspective,” which allows a photograph to present different objects in the same frame as if they are radically larger or smaller than they really are. Movies use it all the time to fool us into believing a human is giant-sized, or something else is tiny. To make his photograph work, meaning making it seem to show a large object in the distance, Trent was kneeling, rather than standing upright to produce the suggestion that the UFO is large and in the distance.

In a better bit of evidence, a friend of Trent’s wrote, on a copy of the photograph, “Paul I wish I could have been there shooting with you on this day in 1950. If it’s real, then whoa! But if you faked it, that’s even cooler. We can’t really fake stuff anymore. Years later if it’s all fake… or maybe it’s all real. Same difference. Thanks for this though. CM.” CM is not identified.

Tony also wrote, “This placement of photos in the window of a business reminds me of confessed UFO hoaxer and barber Ralph Ditter of Zanesville, OH. Ditter placed his UFO photos up in the window of his barbershop. Ditter too involved his child [See below and how Trent’s son was photographed on a ladder]. His little girl wanted to see a UFO. So Ditter “made one” using a toy wheel and captured it on camera for her.

 “And some say of the Trents that no money was ever sought for the photos. But in reality, in 1970, twenty years later and realizing their accrued value, the Trents insisted on having their negatives back from the McMinnville Register, which held them. According to Register Editor Philip Bladine, the Trents were not shy to note to him that ‘they had never been paid for the negatives and thus wanted them back.’”

It could be argued that the Trents realizing they hadn’t been paid for the negatives some twenty years later is irrelevant. Money, as a motive, didn’t seem to cross their minds until long after the fact and therefore is not a motive to create the hoax if that was the reason for it.

Tony points out that there is a picture of the Trent’s son up on a ladder, in the backyard where the UFO was photographed, and it seems as if he could have been involved in a scheme to create the pictures. Overhead wires seen in other pictures suggest that something could have been hung from them and forced perspective give them the appearance of something large and far away.

Trent told reporters that he did nothing with the pictures until encouraged to do so by friends. He said that he was a little afraid of the photographs because he thought he would get into trouble with the government. This answers one of the questions that has bothered skeptics.


Now, over at UFO Iconoclasts (see http://ufocon.blogspot.com/), there has been some discussion of Tony’s theories, and not everyone is on board. There is an argument that the pictures of the boy on the ladder was not on the film used by Trent, but was taken by a Life photographer sent to take some pictures of the area for the article they would publish.

Tony also wrote, “Kim Trent Spencer, the Trent’s granddaughter, told journalist Kelly Kennedy of the Oregonian something of missed importance- the Trents were repeaters. That is, they had multiple UFO “experiences.”

But this wasn’t something that has been ignored as Tony thought. In my book, Scientific Ufology (Hey, as I read various documents and comments around, I see people promoting their books… Why shouldn’t I?) I noted that the Trents were repeaters. I’m not sure of the significance… True, seeing a UFO would be a rare event but then so would be winning the lottery or being struck by lightning, yet there are people who had won several lottery jackpots and one unlucky man was struck by lightning five times.

So Tony provided some interesting evidence to suggest that the Trend photographs were faked. Debunkers, of course, know they were faked because there is no alien visitation and anything that suggests otherwise is faked. For the youngsters who wish to open new investigations into older cases, this is a good place to start. There are some legitimate questions about the photographs’ authenticity and in a case like this, there is always something new to be learned.

101 comments:

Don said...

Since it is hit or miss whether anything I post to Reynold's blog will be published, I copy it here.

Regarding the boy and ladder image:

The image of the boy on the ladder at Tony's blog, does not support Gilles' and Lance's opinion it is a professional photo, unless it has been severely cropped with the original subject cropped out, otherwise it was shot with a cheap camera.

The reason for my opinion is nothing in the photo is on the plane of focus. Everything is off-focus.

If it was a cheap camera, then it would be due to the poor focus quality of the lens. If it was a pro's camera, then it is what was behind the plane of focus because the photographer chose a wide aperture, softening the background to highlight the main subject.

Or, he just shot without checking his exposure settings.

It was cropped, probably severely, if the Life photographer shot it in any way besides accidentally.

To be certain, one needs the negative -- including the non-image area of the frame.

Regards,

Don

Lance said...

Don, are you judging from the photo as posted at Tony's site?

Because in the slightly larger version I have the ladder seems to be perfectly in focus.

I can't imagine that you would say that it is out of focus.

God how tiresome this all is.

Lance

KRandle said...

Lance -

If you find it tiresome, you are not required to visit here. Your snide comments are simply no longer welcome.

alanborky said...

Kev I was looking at Anthony's site yesterday and I was instantly struck by how the photos with the ufo and the photos sans ufo were clearly taken by two different parties.

It's not just the lighting but one photographer's clearly an artist so he/she instinctively handles the camera in such away the elements all complement each other but the ufo taker's clearly a practical type almost certainly male and only interested in getting the shot of the 'disc' in relation to the overhead wires [something which tends to make me think any hoax didn't involve dangling the 'bin lid' from them otherwise they'd be the last thing you'd want anyone noticing].

That's why I'm intrigued by the info you include about the Life photographer because the sans ufo pictures aren't just more professional and more artistic but they're also more journalistic if not downright 'female' including as they do precisely the sort of details which tell the viewer something about how these people led their ordinary everyday lives.

I'd also like to know where in the reel they occur? Before or after the UFO shots? If before that strengthens Anthony take. If after...

As for 'repeaters'. You as a soldier know someone who's had a run-in with the enemy's far more likely to pay attention for their signs than someone who's just arrived for their first tour of duty.

And Lance "God how tiresome this all is"?

You sound like a latterday Oscar Wilde being told he's about to die but being more concerned the cover they're go'n'o pull over his face has pictures of Speilberg's ET all over it!

Don said...

Lance, as I wrote above, I am referring to the image on Tony's site. If there's a larger and better image, you have my email. I assume you think the one on Tony's site is not representative of the photo.

The boy may be in the field of focus, but not on the plane of focus, which makes me wonder if it is a severe crop of the frame, that something else closer to the camera was the actual subject of the photo.

I also wrote that certainty about the photo was not possible without the whole negative.

I don't think you and Gilles have proved your case any more than Tony has his. It is not unknown for people to argue for years with no more evidence in hand than a couple crappy jpegs.

Regards,

Don

Lance said...

I have emailed it to you.

You know Bruce Maccabee handled the negatives, I think.

I wonder if anyone might ask him about this?

Lance

Lance said...

By the way, all Gilles and I have said is that it is not proven that the photos came from the same roll which is what Tony has claimed.

Lance

JAF said...

A larger and sharper image of the photo of the boy on the ladder can be seen here:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread506175/pg7

Notice that the boy and the ladder is in sharp focus, the building to the left is slightly blurry, the auto behind the ladder blurrier still and objects approaching infinity are very blurry. A simple box camera with fixed focus did not take this picture.

Now look at the photo right below on that page, which shows the ladder on the ground and no boy. All the distant objects are in focus. The camera that took these two photos clearly has focusing ability and the person using that camera knows how to focus.

JAF said...

Quoting from http://www.flickr.com/photos/captkodak/272742918/ :

The Universal Roamer I is the camera used to make the famous McMinnville photos.

Focusing instructions for the Roamer I can be found on http://www.butkus.org/chinon/roamer/roamer.htm . Since the Trent's camera did have focusing ability, I can not claim that the photo of the son on the ladder was not taken by it. However, I can claim that the following statement by Tony Bragalia is incorrect:

The essential fact is that the two photographs are gray and grainy. They are of low resolution and they are produced from a simple box camera.

The Universal Roamer is a bit more sophisticated than a simple box camera.

The third photo on http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread506175/pg7 which shows Mrs. Trent holding her hands apart is the type of photo a professional would take. An amateur would have the subject stand still and look at the camera, while a pro goes for an action shot. Notice that here again the subject, in this case Mrs. Trent, is in sharp focus with objects in the distance blurry. It is my humble opinion that the photo of the boy on the ladder, the ladder toppled over and Mrs. Trent were all taken by a professional photographer, not an amateur.

Lance said...

I mean you guys need to understand that one of Tony's supposed reasons that this photo was not taken by a LIFE photographer is this:

"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?"

This is Dream Team thinking!

Lance

Don said...

@Lance: "You know Bruce Maccabee handled the negatives, I think.

I wonder if anyone might ask him about this?"

I believe I read about it on his site.

I agree Tony has not proven the photos all came from the same roll.

The photo you sent appears to be the same as the one on JAF's link...

@JAF: "The camera that took these two photos clearly has focusing ability and the person using that camera knows how to focus."

Paul Trent's camera did not have a fixed focus lens like most box cameras. It had a focus scale and an adjustable aperture. The shutter was fixed, though. To guess the focus, one estimated (or measured) the distance to the subject and set the distance on the lens ring scale. It was possible for Trent to take a selective focus photo.

A measure of a good lens is its edge to edge sharpness on the plane of focus. If we had for certain a whole frame, it would make it easier to determine the lens quality on that measure. There are flaws in these three photos. Why they are there, I do not know. For example, consider the shot with the fallen ladder. If you zoom in on the spot between the shed and the bush, along the line of vegetation, you'll see it.

Although in the larger image the focus is clearer, I am not convinced the photos were taken by a pro with a good camera. And as always, the photos themselves will tell us little that is certain without the negatives.

Regards,

Don

Don said...

@JAF: "The third photo on http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread506175/pg7 which shows Mrs. Trent holding her hands apart is the type of photo a professional would take. An amateur would have the subject stand still and look at the camera, while a pro goes for an action shot."

This is not a strong argument, and I can present examples of photos taken by utterly unsophisticated users of Roamer I type cameras from the 40s and 50s that are lovely -- including some in my family's albums -- and full of life and action. Both Lance and I consider the Trent photos to be esthetically pleasing, despite the suspicion of a hoax.

Notice the photo of Mrs. Trent appears to have some of the non-image area on bottom edge. If that is what it is, then the image has been cropped tighter on the other three edges...but by how much? We cannot be certain the original was square format.

Others can come to an opinion based on less than rigorous information. I'd rather remain uncertain until something definitive turns up.

Regards,

Don

cda said...

As I wrote on the RR blog, if YOU thought you had photographed a genuine UFO, would you leave it until the end of the roll before getting it developed, maybe a few weeks later, or would you not rush out and get the pics developed and published at once?

Remember this was one of the first ever UFO photos. Taken on May 11 but only published on June 8. Amazing!

Lance said...

Don, this claim that one can tell whether a photo was shot by professional or not runs counter to my long professional experience.

As an editor, I often work with still images taken by professional photographers. For instance, I prepared a show using the photos by an internationally known photographer, who traveled the world taking consumer product usage pictures for a (very) large corporation.

I had his raw images in full. I would say there were about 20 "bad" images for every one "good" one. Some had composition issues, some had technical issues, some just weren't interesting.

This is my experience on a hundredfold other projects.

And, of course, you are right that non-pros take wonderful shots as well.

Additionally as someone who worked in news when I was very young, I can see the journalistic nature of the photo of Mrs. Trent, which came from the same source, less of that in the ladder photos but that is the nature of these things: You shoot a lot and use a little.

The photos that we believe possibly came from LIFE staffers are all presented to us as square in format. Trent's camera was wide format. This is not definitive, of course, but should cause pause among thinking people.

The saddest part of this story is that it is now spreading without any critical thinking attached (as we see above). Tony's basic support for the contention is that he saw it on the internet therefore it is true.

Kevin talks as usual about the mythical debunkers, anxious to dismiss the sacred UFO evidence. As a wanna-be debunker, this situation seems different somehow....what is different?

Could it be that the skeptics (and some non-skeptics as well) are simply asking for basic grade-school level support of the thesis? And we are doing this against a supposed UFO exposure!

Here in the lowlands, such requests are seen as hostile. How dare you question my our scholarship!

Indeed, Kevin posts the above without comment on Tony's woeful scholarly rigor.

Why should we believe that that these photos were on the same roll? Because someone said so. That is good enough for the UFO faithful.


====

@CDA: I hope you will take this gentle criticism: the business of saying what people would or would not do in a situation is the kind of thing that the conspiracists here do all the time. I think it's wise for skeptics to avoid those kinds of arguments.

I agree that it seems weird (and slightly damning) that the Trents might wait but people do weird things.

Best,

Lance

Don said...

And if Paul Trent had banged on peoples' doors, rushed about to get someone to develop the film immediately, CDA would claim it is proof positive that Trent was an hysterical publicity seeker with emotional problems. CDA, arguments from your personal incredulity are unconvincing.

An argument in favor of the three photos not being on the same roll of film as the ufo photos:

If someone has the Life article, they can correct me if I've got this wrong, but didn't Life describe the other photos on the roll in their article? Weren't the other photos of the family together on Mothers Day?

There can only be eight photos on the roll. If we count these three, we now have five of them. Where are the other three? Maybe two of them fit the Life description, but one is odd, I think. That's the shot of the ufo scene. I have to ask why Paul Trent would have taken that shot. It is more likely the Life photographer would take it.

All we need is a full frame of one of these three photos to know whether or not they were in the same format as Trent's camera.

Regards,

Don

KRandle said...

Lance -

Your hypocrisy is on full display with the continual snide comments. You accept, without critical comment, the evidence you wish to believe and reject all that you do not. You apply different standards to the skeptics than you do to the rest of us. They slide by with incredible statements that you would jump all over everyone else for making.

I am uninterested in the comments you make, but please note, unless they cross the line into personal attack, I leave them posted. Please note that yours are also close to that line.

Lance said...

Kevin,

It's hard to argue against such a general statement. my goal is to do the OPPOSITE of what you claim. Some of the stuff that you call "evidence" isn't. And that is where most of these disagreements lie.

I do admit that my comments are pointed (or worse). But you might consider that skeptical comments always meet a hostile response amongst believers.

Take a look (at Rich's site) at how the drama of Tony's latest travesty developed. Notice how we politely asked for confirmation of his claims several times.

It was only after we began to see the sheer ridiculousness of the thing that it got more heated.

Yeah, if this is the kind of stuff that you accept as evidence, you should pray for more people to call you on it.

Lance

Don said...

@Lance

McMinnville is not on my short list of interesting ufo cases, but I'm interested in it because photography is an issue.

I think the skeptics have a legitimate issue with Tony on this, but so do the advocates. Tony has a distaste for the conditional statement because, if I've read him correctly, it doesn't attract attention.

The difference between a pro using a digital camera today or 35mm, and one using a medium format camera is you only have 8 to 12 shots per roll with that format...8 for Trent, and 12 for a square format camera. Unless you have a second camera and an assistant to reload for you, the odds are you will pick your shots carefully and waste little to none.

Unsophisticated photographers and professionals have different compositional preferences. This is especially obvious back in the day of consumer medium format. We can't be certain about the esthetics of the compositions without the full frame. At best, one can say, the crop of Mrs Trent and the crop of the boy and ladder might be evidence of a sophisticated eye.

One full frame shot is what we need. All of this discussion can be shorted out with some evidence.

Regards,

Don

cda said...

The chief reason why Trent's photos are regarded so highly is simply that they were endorsed as genuine by The Condon Committee.

Never mind that this committee produced a negative report on UFOs as a whole, when so many ET protagonists denounced the report as biased and unscientific.

Did they reach a positive conclusion over the Trent photos? In fact they didn't. One man (their investigator of the case) did conclude it was a genuine UFO but, unmentioned by ETHers, later reversed his opinion after Sheaffer & Klass pointed out some inconsistencies.

But the impression given to newcomers to ufology (see previous topic) is that because an official committee endorsed these pics, they must be genuine.

As to Don's remark, yes I would claim that Trent WAS a publicity seeker, but not a "hysterical" one. Nor did he have "emotional problems", to use Don's own words.

............

Lance:

Kevin is uninterested in your comments or opinions. He is likewise "monumentally" uninterested in mine (see previous topic).

Does this mean we both ought to pipe down?

Don said...

CDA, this discussion is not about the Trent UFO photos.

Regards,

Don

KRandle said...

CDA -

You prove my point when you say that we don't mention Hartmann reevaluated his opinion. From this very post, "Sheaffer’s findings, however, when sent on to Hartmann, seemed to be enough for him to reevaluate his stand on the pictures. Klass wrote that Hartmann wrote, 'I think Sheaffer’s work removes the McMinnville case from consideration as evidence of disklike [sic] artificial craft.'”

This would seem to refute part of your statement.

cda said...

Kevin:

Yes, you are correct that I forgot what you wrote in your original post. Apologies.

My point is that ETHers, or casual writers, often claim the Condon Committee endorsed these photos when in fact only one man (Hartmann) did so, and he later reversed his views.

I don't believe he ever claimed the object was probably an alien craft, only that it was an unknown object. Remember that despite this one case, Hartmann was a skeptic.

David Rudiak said...

The biggest "blunder" or lack of proper research by Tony Bragalia was his statement that the Trent's son on the ladder photo was from the same roll of film that Trent shot his two UFO photos.

This is total nonsense, as was pointed out to Tony by multiple people. That photo was from a whole sequence of photos taken by a LIFE magazine photographer at the Trent place shortly after Trent's photos went national around June 10, 1950. (Trent said his UFO photos were taken May 11.)

So I guess hell has finally frozen over, since I 100% agree with arch debunkers Lance Moody and Gilles Fernandez about this. Hard not to, since them are the facts.

For several years Google images had about 30 images from the LIFE photo shoot (for some reason not there now). I downloaded all the photos, including the boy/ladder one, with a very clear LIFE "watermark" on it (as have most of the other ones). These show such things as Evelyn Trent back at her rabbit hutches were she said she first saw the object (her son is in one of those photos too), several photos of Mrs. Trent with her son in front of their house (one showing the short ladder beneath the wires--more on that below), Mrs. Trent discussing the sighting with McMinnville Register reporter Bill Powell (I think), with Mrs. Trent pointing and motioning with her hands, several photos of Powell back at the Register with the photos splashed on their front page, and Paul Trent with his camera, seemingly in town, in some indicating how it can be used (direct viewfinder held up to the eye or indirect overhead viewfinder that can be held at the waist--also possibly important).

When LIFE published the two UFO photos in their next issue, only one photo among all of these, Paul Trent holding his camera, was used. This does not exactly make Paul Trent a glory hound, as Tony tries to portray him. The LIFE photographer probably took more photos of Bill Powell and Evelyn Trent than Paul Trent himself. (The Trent's dog is in four of the photos, so I guess the dog was literally a glory hound as well.) All I see here is the Trent's being polite and allowing the LIFE photographer to take the photos he wanted to take.

As for Trent's son on the ladder, that seems to have been taken as a sequence of at least 3 shots showing a view similar to that seen in the Trent UFO photos. In two of the shots, the ladder is seen lying on the ground. My guess is that the photographer had Trent's son pose on the ladder as a typical cute kid human interest shot.

That erect ladder can also be seen in the background under the wires in one of the Evelyn Trent with son in front of house photos. I would scale the ladder at about 6 feet tall and it doesn't even reach halfway to the wires. Kind of hard for kid Trent or even Paul Trent to tie a UFO model from the wires with that short stepladder, as Tony insinuates. Using that ladder, the best you could do would be to throw the model over the wires instead of tie it up.

There are lots of problems with the hoax hypothesis when you look at subtle details in the UFO photos. No simple hoax hypothesis works. It would have to be Paul Trent master genius or super lucky to get all the details right.

E.g., the easiest way to do the UFO edge on photo if a model hung from the wires is to swing the model away from the camera. (The bottom UFO view would naturally be reproduced by a non-swinging model.) But that requires the model to go up, but it is actually lower in the photo than the photo showing the bottom of the UFO. But this detail is very directly explained from the Trent's story of the object in level flight starting to move rapidly off into the distance. That gets the detail exactly right. Perspective makes the object appear to be lower. Same with relative size of the object between photos. It turns out it is wrong for a close model in any simple hoax (use the same model), but exactly right for an object off in the distance.

David Rudiak said...

As for Scheaffer's argument that a smudge on the lens could account for the lightened shadow of the ufo instead of atmospheric haze, I'm very surprised William Hartmann agreed with that, since the argument is bogus. Bruce Maccabee refuted the argument in great detail with experiments, and just basic optics tells you you can't selectively degrade only one tiny area of the photo with such a smudge and leave the rest unchanged, such as the shadow of the oil tank against the shed. Light imaging each object of the photo passes through the entire lens, necessarily affecting everything in the image. Smudging would also leave ALL details somewhat out of focus, which they are not.

(It is more complicated than that, which is why it took Maccabee a lot of time to demonstrate that the argument is wrong. E.g. small regions are more strongly affected by a smudge than larger ones, it would be different for vertical surfaces than horizontal ones, and central ones vs. off to the side. But in the end, it doesn't matter much--Maccabee scientifically demonstrated that smudging cannot explain the lightened shadow of the UFO regardless of whether Hartmann agreed with Sheaffer or not. A number of other Scheaffer arguments against the photos are bogus as well, such as his claims that the rafter shadows couldn't be the result of indirect lighting but had to be from early morning direct sunlight.)

Lance said...

David, I prefer to think of this as a Christmas miracle. Do you happen to have those other shots? And are they all square format as well?

Best,

Lance

P.S. If you happen to have them, would you please email them to me?

Don said...

David: "For several years Google images had about 30 images from the LIFE photo shoot (for some reason not there now). I downloaded all the photos, including the boy/ladder one, with a very clear LIFE "watermark" on it (as have most of the other ones)."

Well, good. Evidence, at last. Don't know if the "watermark" implies they were shot by a Life photographer, but if there are 30 prints, it is unlikely they were taken by Paul Trent (he would have had to have shot four rolls of film).

Thanks, David.

Regards,

Don


Regards,

Don

Lance said...

My dear friend, David Rudiak has shared the many photos from the LIFE magazine shoot with me.

There are numerous other shots of the son in the EXACT same outfit, all of the photos (25 or so) are in that square format that Gilles pointed out.

So this is a slam dunk refutation.

But please consider all the blah blah above about how the ladder shots didn't look professional etc. etc.

We would certainly still be in that same situation with the very learned opinions and the excuses:

"Tony doesn't like to use conditional statements, etc."

Can you appreciate where skeptics find themselves?

It is damn hard to prove a negative.

Many many thanks to David Rudiak.

Lance

JAF said...

Life Magazine describes all the images on the roll of film in its article entitled "Farmer Trent's Flying Saucer" (source: http://goo.gl/3U4N0 ):

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.

Does a picture of a kid on a ladder fit into the category of a family picnic picture? Not in my book.

Lance said...

This really is over.

David, would you mind if I put up a temporary page with those photos?

Lance

Don said...

Lance: "Can you appreciate where skeptics find themselves?"

Sure, debating an issue as if opinions were evidence. In a matter that has two possible solutions, but lacks evidence, picking one and being right, is called being lucky.

Yours and Gilles opinion is supported by the evidence David noted. The evidence did not come about because you believed the photos are square format or that they were shot by a professional.


Regards,

Don

Lance said...

Using the expertise you have from your career is not exactly the same as being lucky. That's what I was using.

What about all this:

"It was cropped, probably severely, if the Life photographer shot it in any way besides accidentally."

and

"The image of the boy on the ladder at Tony's blog, does not support Gilles' and Lance's opinion it is a professional photo, unless it has been severely cropped with the original subject cropped out, otherwise it was shot with a cheap camera."

Has all that wisdom now evaporated?

That doesn't sound like opinion being delivered, unless you don't like conditional statements, either.

Lance

Gilles Fernandez said...

Dr David Rudiak wrote : "So I guess hell has finally frozen over, since I 100% agree with arch debunkers Lance Moody and Gilles Fernandez about this."
Hello,
Long time I see you, Dr Rudiak, DreamTeamer...

You call us "arch debunkers", but the fact is that we have not taken as "Gospel" one a member of your so-called DreamTeam - sic -, Tony Bragalia, claimed. Aka: the Ladder and Son" picture comes from the same Roll (Trent's one).

We warned about the format ("square" vs. "Landscape") ; about the quality of the pictures (Trent ones versus LIFE ones), etc. Read Rich Reynolds blog comments.

You must admit we were right, again. Sorry, Dr rudiak.

One more time, Tony Bragalia claimed things without proof/evidence, and Lance and Myself were the firsts to find his claim "strange".

It was a full demonstration how you operate in the "Roswell DreamTeam": claims without evidence to support your claims, bad methodology, free assertions, etc.

Regards,

Gilles Fernandez

Lance said...

I would like to emphasize that David Rudiak is the one who produced the evidence to clear this up and I certainly thank him for that.

Gilles and I were just offering our opinions, backed up by a fun bit of intense research, which we did yesterday over FaceBook.

It is nice to see such an incontrovertible result.

I wonder now if we might get to see what a real researcher would do in the real world when it has been proven that his claims are false: apologize and retract.

Lance

Don said...

Lance, we don't know if the image was cropped. Don't make it out that I supported Tony's opinion. I offered critiques of both sides opinions, and I offered evidence, from the images available, in support of you and Gilles, including what Life wrote about what was on the Trent roll, and which JAF has quoted above, especially the shot of the scene of the ufo photos, being likely shot by the Life photographer.

What I didn't do was offer an opinion not based on the evidence at hand.

As Gilles wrote "a full demonstration" seems to be the point of your efforts...a wrangle between two groups of advocates.

Regards,

Don

Lance said...

Ok Don,

I saw your first comments as going well beyond that and I note no qualifiers.

This is just the way Tony presents all of his nonsense.

Do you see any similar dogmatic statements from me?

Lance

Don said...

Lance: "Do you see any similar dogmatic statements from me?"

Perhaps I ought to have begun differently. I ought to have asked you why you believe the three images (I mean the jpegs of Boy And Ladder, Mrs Trent, and UFO Scene) are evidence they were shot with a square format camera. Only the Mrs Trent is square and that is only because it includes some non-image area in the scan.

Except for that bit of rebate in Mrs Trent, all we have is some image area, and since image area can be easily cropped to an aspect ratio, without the full frame (the negative), we cannot be certain about the frame size.

So, based on the jpegs, I see no reason to accept the assertion the camera was square format. If we know someone with such a camera was at the scene, it becomes a possibility, perhaps a very good one, but it is still circumstantial.

One thing though is entirely proven: they were cropped because they don't have the aspect ratio of a film, and even if they did, we still wouldn't have the definitive frame of the non-image area of the film surrounding the image area (the negative).

You should know that.

Regards,

Don

Lance said...

The images may have been slightly cropped (and I mean just the edges) but I am willing to bet they are all from square format negatives.

Lance

Don said...

Lance: "I am willing to bet they are all from square format negatives."

"Bet" is right. That's why I said you and Gilles are lucky.

We don't need to know the format now, if there were 25 or more shots taken. The odds of Trent shooting 4 rolls of film and then cropping them all are about zero.

Gilles: "It was a full demonstration how you operate in the "Roswell DreamTeam": claims without evidence to support your claims, bad methodology, free assertions, etc."

It was a full demonstration of a "Roswell DreamTeam" researcher doing the work you and Lance ought to have done.

Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

Lance wrote
"This really is over.

David, would you mind if I put up a temporary page with those photos?"

Page thrown up with commentary.

http://www.roswellproof.com/LIFE_Magazine_Trent_Photoshoot_1950.html

A number of us have known about the LIFE photos since Google Images first put them up back in 2008, so this is OLD news to us (hear that Gilles?), including the photo of Trent's son up on the ladder. This obviously did NOT in any way, no how, come from Trent's film with the UFO photos. No need to argue theoretically about differences in aspect ratios, though that too proves that Tony Bragalia is wrong.

I did find the LIFE photos again on Google Images, but ordinary searches make them hard to find. This is the one with Trent's son on the ladder:

http://images.google.com/hosted/life/3005e278fbf74521.html

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Rudiak said...

Don,

Searching Google Images more from the latest link I threw up, there are at least 45 photos in that LIFE photo shoot instead of about 30.

Gilles and Lance's argument about the aspect ratio differences aren't wrong, but they aren't proof by themselves when discussing only a photo or two from the LIFE sequence.

Tony Bragalia shot himself in the foot on this one. Just one more inane (and in this case provably fallacious) argument against the authenticity of the Trent photos, as is the "repeater" argument, the glory hound argument, and just about everything else. This sort of argumentation is inconclusive at best, lazy and malicious at worst, little more than cheap shots at witnesses.

I don't see the skeptics here dealing with the actual photogrammetric details of the Trent photos themselves which point to authenticity. I mentioned two already: the large image size difference between the two UFO images which can't be accounted for in some simple hoax theory like model hung from power lines, and a similar argument about the elevation angle of the UFO in the two images. But there are others.

And then there are the bogus rafter shadow/time of day arguments of Robert Sheaffer along with his lens smudge theory which has been disproven.

KRandle said...

Yes, Lance -

I warned you. I deleted your comment because of one word. Take it out and repost, fine... want to toss around insults, go somewhere else. My blog, my rules.

Lance said...

David,

Thanks also very much for the new google link.

These include even higher quality versions and many more as you said. I am only counting 41 total but the browsing method is unwieldy and I may have missed one.

Lance

Lance said...

Kevin,

I dont' even remember what I said.

I hope the word wasn't "evidence".

Lance

Don said...

Lance: "David did provide the evidence which was fantastic. If you feel Gilles and I weren't working hard enough on it, then my sincere apologies...we will try to do better!"

Try not to come to conclusions before you have evidence, is all. Heed my advice, Lance, because your opinion was proved right, and so why should you bother? If you had been proved wrong, maybe the advice would stick. But maybe you should email David for advice the next time, first.

I did indeed LOL when David's post appeared, and did indeed laugh harder when Gilles savaged the Team after having been kindly assisted by a Team member.

"God forbid that you say something derogatory towards the nut that spread the silly story in the first place. Keep the focus on the evil skeptics."

If you read above, you will find I wrote the skeptics are justified in criticizing Tony's article. I've been blunt in my criticism of Tony on Socorro, and the Rhodes photos. I'm not critiquing Tony here, but you and Gilles. I am beginning to think you can't handle criticism well. Plus your invite to be derogatory towards anyone is exactly the sort of attitude you have that Kevin has nailed you on.

David: "I don't see the skeptics here dealing with the actual photogrammetric details of the Trent photos themselves which point to authenticity."

I think anyone claiming a ufo photo is fake should prove it could have been hoaxed by replicating it using the materials available to the purported hoaxer. So, Trent skeptics ought to be able to create a 3rd Trent UFO photo with a Roamer I, some fishing line, a truck mirror, a step ladder, and whatever ambient light they think appropriate.

There is another restriction. They have to get the photo with the first shot, because according to Life (quoted by JAF, above), there were photos already on the camera when Trent took his shots, and more photos after the two of the UFO. The skeptics film roll should be set up like that.

I made the same request of Tony about his opinion of the Rhodes photos. Buy a box camera and a Catspaw shoe heel. Toss the heel in the air and snap some photos. See how it goes.

I think the Trent photos would be very difficult to replicate. I am unaware of any skeptic who has tried it.

Regards,

Don

Lance said...

Don,

Please point to the conclusions we came to.

Please just quote me.

We mentioned no conclusion other than Tony wasn't justified in saying the the photos came from the same roll.

And I reiterated that to you here.

Lance

Don said...

Lance: "Please point to the conclusions we came to."

You want me to find a sentence by you that begins "Our conclusion is..."?

"We mentioned no conclusion other than Tony wasn't justified in saying the the photos came from the same roll."

Gilles wrote:

"We warned about the format ("square" vs. "Landscape") ; about the quality of the pictures (Trent ones versus LIFE ones), etc."

One "warns" when one knows the bridge is out, not because y'know it might be.

Is it possible, you or Gilles already knew about the images David referred to? If so, nice troll, dudes.

Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

Lance wrote:
'Thanks also very much for the new google link.

These include even higher quality versions and many more as you said. I am only counting 41 total but the browsing method is unwieldy and I may have missed one."

As an aid, so far I count 5 photos of reporter Bill Powell at the Telephone-Register office, 5 of Powell talking with Mrs. Trent at the farm, 13 of Mrs. Trent with her rabbit hutches in the background, 1 of Mrs. Trent looking off into the distance with garage in background, 2 of Mrs. Trent with her son in front of their house, 3 of the garage and distant view including son on ladder, trying to replicate vantage point and photos of Trent, and finally 16 of Trent and camera, 3 of them with Trent besides his truck.

The date of June 6 given for the photos is clearly wrong as the photos were not publicly known until June 9, 10 and LIFE didn't publish the photos until June 26.

Another interesting detail is that there is clearly another person involved in the photo shoot visible at the edge of two photos, dressed in a suit and seeming to take notes. I would guess a LIFE reporter who accompanied the photographer Loomis Dean.

Simple Google image searches used to turn up these photos, like "1950s flying saucer source: life". Now they are extremely difficult to find. Even inserting "Loomis Dean" into the search words doesn't turn them up. I don't know why.

Steve Sawyer said...

Anthony Bragalia has just posted a new blog article, entitled "The Trent/McMinnville 'Ladder Boy' Brouhaha," over on the UFO Iconoclast(s) blog, where he points the finger at James Oberg for having "duped" him into thinking the "ladder boy" photo had been taken by Paul Trent, and was from the same roll of film as the two famous "UFO" photos actually taken by Trent.

See: http://www.ufocon.blogspot.com/ for this Dec. 21, 2012 post.

I will reserve further comment, for now.

Lance said...

Here is what Gilles and I posted on Tuesday (the post is up at Rich's UFOICON site:

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.


As you see, we mentioned the Oberg post right at the start. But for days after, Bragalia still INSISTS that he has other proof. Here is what he said:

"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."

This post is still up also on the same site.

As you see, Tony is saying that he independently confirmed the Oberg story.

Maybe he realized that saying that his only source was just a post at conspiracy discussion site with no attribution looks ridiculous.

Additionally Rich told me that Tony also said that his LIFE source indicated that we were wrong about the photographer's name for the Mrs. Trent photo.

Notice that in Tony's new disingenuous post that there is no mention of his LIFE magazine source. I wonder why?

This is such a farce.

Lance

Don said...

After a series of emails with Lance, I think we found the reason why we each thought the other was being irrational. I used a technical term without explanation but it was understood 'causually'. Once that was cleared up, we could see each other as rational human beings again.

Regards,

Don

Don said...

I think Rich Reynolds got it right in his Saturday entry on Iconoclasts.

Regards,

Don

zoamchomsky said...

|| the Trents were repeaters. I’m not sure of the significance… True, seeing a UFO would be a rare event but then so would be winning the lottery or being struck by lightning, yet there are people who had won several lottery jackpots and one unlucky man was struck by lightning five times.|| apples and fairies!

Being a "flying saucer" repeater and being a multiple lottery winner or lightning strike survivor doesn't even compare: Lotteries and lightning exist in the world, "flying saucers" don't. But even if one did, who's going to see it multiple times?

Not a Chance!

Ross said...

zoamchomsky wrote: "Lotteries and lightning exist in the world, 'flying saucers' don't. But even if one did, who's going to see it multiple times?"

The standard view among "flying saucer" believers is that there is more than one flying saucer (alien spacecraft) operating in our world. Obviously, we don't know enough about this alleged phenomenon (UFOs) to say how unlikely it is for someone to be a "repeater." This applies whether the UFO phenomenon involves alien spacecraft, human craft, atmospheric events, or other possibilities.

Note: My comments are not to be construed as a defense of the Trents and their photographs.

JAF said...

zoamchomsky wrote: "the Trents were repeaters."

Only Mrs. Trent had seen the objects previously. And no one would believe her.

Apparently "no one" included her husband, because he was quoted as saying "I didn't believe all that talk about flying saucers before, but now I have an idea that the Army knows what they are" (source: footnote 60 on http://brumac.8k.com/trent2b.html )

cda wrote, "As I wrote on the RR blog, if YOU thought you had photographed a genuine UFO, would you leave it until the end of the roll before getting it developed, maybe a few weeks later, or would you not rush out and get the pics developed and published at once?"

The Trents didn't wait a few weeks later before getting it developed. They sent them out to be developed the next week. It took about four weeks from the day the photos were taken until a local news reporter heard about the photos and published a story on them. Mr. Trent was not keen on giving permission to publish the photos as he considered the object to be an experimental craft of the Army's and they wouldn't want that information published. Thus, one can conclude that the Trents did not consider the object to be a "genuine UFO." They felt they had identified it.

Bruce Maccabee has the details in Section IX. on http://brumac.8k.com/trent2.html :

After the photos were taken the Trents waited about three days (until Mother's Day) to finish off the roll of film (1,34). Then probably during the following week , they took the film to a local drugstore (1,8,35) to have it developed. It probably took a week or more for the film to be returned (35).

Don said...

CDA: "As I wrote on the RR blog, if YOU thought you had photographed a genuine UFO, would you leave it until the end of the roll before getting it developed, maybe a few weeks later, or would you not rush out and get the pics developed and published at once?"

I'd develop them myself and keep it to myself.

People do what they please for their own reasons. Their continual failure to do what you think they ought to do is not their fault. They just aren't you, is all.

Regards,

Don

zoamchomsky said...

"But even if one did, who's going to see it multiple times? Not a Chance!"

The statement isn't about Believers' flying-saucer fantasies, Ross, but the real-world probability of any individual on Earth witnessing what would be a truly extraordinary event even once--much less multiple times. It's so extremely improbable it's not worth considering. It's this undeniable fact of probability that negates repeaters' reports. Even Hynek understood this.

Ross: || we don't know enough...to say how unlikely it is...to be a "repeater."||

(LOL) Yes, WE most certainly do! The world knows very well how unlikely it is!

David Rudiak said...

The Debunker DoubleBind:

If Trent had immediately had the film developed, then it would be clear evidence of a hoax.

That he waited a week or so is also clear evidence of a hoax.

(Also pay no attention to the fact that they lived a dozen miles outside of McMinnville, another good reason to wait until Trent had other business in town.)

Incidentally, those of us old enough to remember know that there was no 1 hour or 24 hour film developing back then. Usually you went to the local drug store and got the negatives and prints back days to a week later. If there was no lab in town (and McMinnville was a small town), then they would have to be mailed to some lab in a nearby city, in this case, most likely Portland.

(As a little kid, I used to wonder how the drug store guy knew what pictures you had taken so that he could make the pictures for you.)

Ross said...

zoamchomsky wrote, "Yes, WE most certainly do. The world knows very well how unlikely it is."

It must be nice to have "the world" in your corner. There's security in numbers...and in certainty. I'm glad your emotional needs are being met.

I'm not sure we have sufficient data to properly calculate probabilities in connection with UFOs, and I'm not sure reality is as fond of our logic as we are. WE aren't always as omniscient as we like to think. And disagreeing with Hynek won't disturb my sleep.

Steve Sawyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don said...

Now we're being entertained by Olde Skeptik Tales.

On the one hand what are the odds of seeing one, much less being a repeater. On the other hand, millions are reporting seeing saucers. Mass hysteria! Etc.

Being a repeater myself, having seen over the decades objects in the sky I can't identify, I guess I don't understand why it is worth a 'Repeater!' shunning, as if it were the Mark of Cain and proof positive of something or other besides people see things in the sky they can't identify.

In olden times if you reported a sighting, you and your family had odds of entertaining AFOSI agents, newspaper reporters, magazine writers, crazy skeptics, and crazy believers, and MiBs.

These days, I'd being shooting video on my phone and uploading it to my FB and Youtube accts, because nobody cares anymore.

Photography is my hobby, and most of my work can be categorized as 'street'. I am rarely without a camera, usually a film camera, often the kind of camera Trent or Rhodes used. I've never gotten a pic of a ufo, nor have I seen one when I might have been able to get a snap.

I know the sky where I live and what is there in it. I know the flight paths of aerial "repeaters": medical helicopters, police helicopters, tv news helicopters, the approaches to the international airport and to the county airport, and what is in the sky over the stadiums during games. We have skywriters and hot air ballon events. I photograph them (with digital cameras, stills and videos, in daytime and at night to see what they look like as photos and videos. I know what satellites and space stations look like in the sky, and where the planets and major stars and constellations are. I can recognize satellites and space stations.

There's more. My point is I have seen things I can't identify, and I can identify lots.

My objection to ET is that even if there is ET, it is not enough to explain the phenomenon of UFOs that aren't ET. Whether ET or something else, it is not enough. It is not comprehensive and explanatory. ET would only be a modest piece of the puzzle, and, for me at least, not the most interesting.

My objection to skepticism is it leads to saying utterly foolish things like 'there is no such thing as a ufo'. I cannot take skeptics seriously until they stop that and get real.

Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

ZoamChomsky wrote:
The statement isn't about Believers' flying-saucer fantasies, Ross, but the real-world probability of any individual on Earth witnessing what would be a truly extraordinary event even once--much less multiple times. It's so extremely improbable it's not worth considering. It's this undeniable fact of probability that negates repeaters' reports. Even Hynek understood this.

More dogma and pseudoscience from Zoam. Actually you can say a great deal about the probability of somebody or something being a "repeater" of events that are random and not necessarily common.

If a radioactive substance decays once every 10 seconds (or a frequency of .1/sec), then what is the probability of 2 decays in 10 seconds, or 3, etc.? This is given by the Poisson distribution. You can calculate the probabilities online without knowing any math, e.g. here:

http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/poisson.aspx

In the radioactive decay example, use .1 for the average rate of success and 1, 2, 3, etc. for he "Poisson random variable" or event you want to see the probability of getting, e.g. 2 decays in 10 seconds.

As you can see, to get 2 clicks or more in 10 seconds, the probability is .00467, or about 5 times in a 1000 such 10 second intervals.

Similarly, the frequency or rate of success of the general population at seeing a UFO is typically found to be around 10%. (Here "UFO" being used in the most generic sense of ANYTHING the observer finds unusual and can't identify.) Then 5 out of 1000 people would be expected to be "UFO" "repeaters", or 1 in 20 of those who thought they had seen a UFO. In the U.S. as a whole, that would be 1.5 million people.

This assumes seeing a UFO is a totally random event with equal probability of each person seeing one. But we certainly know that isn't the case. Some people hardly ever look at the sky (city folk) while others may spend a great deal of time looking at the sky (rural folk, observational astronomers, etc.). An example of the latter are amateur astronomers, who when polled by CUFOS back in the 1970s reported about a 25% rate of seeing things in the sky they couldn't identify despite all attempts to do so (the definition used in the poll instead of the emotionally loaded term "UFO").

Plug .25 into the "rate of success", and the percent of "repeaters" (2 or more sightings) now rises to 2.6%. Or put another way, about 10% of the amateur astronomers who thought they had seen a UFO would be expected to be "repeaters". Examples of professional astronomer "repeaters" were Clyde Tombaugh (6), Lincoln LaPaz (2), and Frank Halstead (4).

The Trents being farmers who spent more time outdoors than city folk, might also be expected to see something unusual more often than the average person. A neighbor I spoke to near the Trent place guessed that about half the people in the area, including his family and in-laws had seen "UFOs".

Of course, this is purely anecdotal, but illustrates the odds of being a repeater are hardly equivalent to the odds of winning the lottery. Lots of people think they have seen something that qualifies as a "UFO" (regardless of what they saw), so being a "repeater" is not that unexpected or rare.

zoamchomsky said...

"The [Repeater postulate] isn't about Believers' flying-saucer fantasies, but the real-world probability of any individual on Earth witnessing what would be a truly extraordinary event even once--much less multiple times. It's so extremely improbable it's not worth considering. It's this undeniable fact of probability that negates repeaters' reports."

Believers Don and Dave respond with irrelevant appeals to innumerable, insubstantial and inconsequential "UFO" REPORTS. We all know there's no shortage of common "UFO" REPORTS, but REAL "UFOs" don't exist in the world. Apparently Believers have never heard the fable of the boy who cried wolf. (g)

David Rudiak said...

I guess ChoamZhomsky can't be bothered to read what I really wrote, or he/she wants to change the subject because his/her argument about the virtual impossibility of "repeaters" has been shown to be nonsense.

UFO was used in the most generic sense as ANY report that somebody finds unusual and can't explain. Doesn't matter if it ultimately has a prosaic explanation or not. (And in scientific studies, such as Blue Book Special Report #14 or the French GEPAN/SEPRA studies, a substantial percentage do NOT have a conventional explanation, on the order of 15%-20%). Given the percentages of various populations (general population, amateur astronomers, scuba divers, etc.), what predictions can be made, purely on a statistical basis from the known rates of sightings, what percentages of people having sightings will have more than one sighting (assuming each person has an equal chance of having a "UFO" sighting)? That was the only question being discussed, not whether "UFOs are real alien craft".

These sort of statistical analyses can be applied to anything. I gave radioactive decay as an example, but it could be what are the chances of witnessing somebody die of a heart attack more than once? I think we can all agree that people do indeed die of heart attacks (doesn't matter what causes them or that some people might be mistaken about it being a heart attack). We could look at different populations--general population, or a population where people are more likely to see somebody with a heart attack and die of one. In the general population it might be relatively rare, say 10 or 20%. Those being "repeaters" will be rarer still. But a paramedic is going to see lots of heart attacks and almost certainly be a "repeater" of witnessing people die of them.

In case you don't think there isn't the "UFO" equivalent of this, a repeating and well-documented "UFO" phenomenon is the Hessdalen Lights in Norway, which are not only observed by eye but show up on instruments such as camera, radar and spectroscopes. At peak activity they were observed 10 to 20 times a week, but normally "only" a few dozens times a year. You would have to be a pretty unusual resident of the area not to be a "repeater".

It doesn't matter what causes the lights. Don't call them a "UFO"; call them unidentified aerial phenonmena if you like. They are quite real, and until they were finally scientifically studied (the instruments are "repeaters" as well), the people of this rural area were ridiculed by the ignorant and patronizing ZoamChomsky equivalents who think they know the answers to everything without bothering to study anything first.

Ross said...

David, there's no need to refer to zoamchomsky as "he/she." He's very unambiguously a male. I've never seen a UFO, but I have seen zoamchomsky: a photo of his face accompanies all of his postings on this site. Observation is a key element in scientific research. (Well, maybe that isn't actually a photo of him. Skepticism is also vital in research.)

zoamchomsky said...

Apparently Believers have never heard the fable of the boy who cried wolf. (g)
Dave Rude still can't seem to understand that the age-old Repeater postulate expresses skepticism, a real-world determination of the extreme improbability that a particular witness's repeated reports of an extraordinary event could be true. Get it now? It's a DETERMINATION about repeated extraordinary claims.

Applied to the consideration that some particular witness's "UFO" REPORTS might represent some repeated extraordinary event, REAL "UFOs" (TRUFOs):
It's so extremely improbable it's not worth considering. It's this undeniable fact of probability that negates repeaters' reports. Even Hynek understood this, just as he understood that there are no REAL "UFOs," there are only "UFO" REPORTS!

Ross said...

zoamchomsky wrote, "Even Hynek understood this, just as he understood that there are no REAL 'UFOs,' there are only 'UFO' REPORTS!" Actually, in his later years, Hynek did embrace the extraterrestrial origin of (some) UFOs as a definite possibility. I'm noting that for the sake of accuracy, not to add the weight of authority to the ETH.

Ross said...

How can we say how "extraordinary" the sighting of a real (i. e., extraterrestrial) UFO is until we have hard data on just how many sighted UFOs (if any) are extraterrestrial?

David Rudiak said...

Ross:
Don't know if "Zoam" is male or female. I assumed male, but then changed it to he/she because I don't know for sure. Probably 90+% of extreme rigid skeptics of Zoam's stripe are male (seems to be a guy thing). As for the photo of Zoam, British actor Patrick McGoohan, player of hard-bitten, no-nonsense, cynical types (Secret Agent Man, The Prisoner, Ice Station Zebra). Apparently Zoam identifies with this character for his personality avatar.

Zoam: Once again, the discussion wasn't what UFOs really are, only whether it is plausible that people can be "repeaters" of thinking they've seen one or more. Clearly some substantial fraction of different populations think they've seen a UFO (regardless of the explanation), including Evelyn Trent before the Trent photos. She got tagged as being a "repeater" and therefore unbelievable, though statistical theory tells us things can repeat more than once then the regular rate, whether radioactive decay, seeing a plane crash, seeing somebody die of a heart attack, or thinking you've seen a UFO.

That you pretend this isn't true shows how disingenuous you are. You change the subject to the extreme improbability of anyone ever seeing an ET craft (as if anyone could honestly know for sure one way or another what such a probability could be). No the subject, isn't what they are, only whether people thing they have seen something strange we label "UFO" and think they have seen it more than once. We know for a fact this is true. This is no different than any other phenomenon that people think they have been witnesses to (murders, heart attacks, plane crashes, Hessdalen Lights, etc.). Some will inevitably be "repeaters".

People living in the Hessdalen Valley are almost sure to be "repeaters" because the phenomenon (whatever causes it) is repeatable and happens often. But if you live in Oslo and never go to Hessdalen, you will never see anything. It was the city folk who ridiculed the Hessdalen residents without investigating. But when scientists investigated (got off their asses and actually went out there), it turned out there was a real phenomenon. Maybe that's a lesson you should take home.

Steve Sawyer said...

The problem with Zoam's statements is that they are factually, provably untrue, just based on logic, since you _cannot_ prove a negative, and he's apparently both unable and unwilling to either acknowledge or understand your argument, David, which is a valid one.

I've read many of Zoam's comments, but the take away I get from ZC's prior statements elsewhere is that he's an absolutist, an extremist, debunking pseudo-skeptic who claims, without any genuine evidence, that there just simply are NO UFOs whatsoever that might possibly constitute or at least indicate either some form of advanced non-human intelligence, regardless of origins, appearance, or most importantly behavior, or even more remotely, possible indicators of the ETH, which I will remind him is only a theory, or working hypothesis, not a fact _either_.

If something is still unidentified, after exhaustive forensic analysis, and involves more than just anecdotal testimony, such as radar tracking and reactive behavior to pursuit, and/or multiple witnesses who concur in their observations, for example, one cannot rule out what such a phenomena might be, no matter how strenuously one objects. It remains an unknown.

His dismissal of that possibility shows his true colors and intent.

I'm always sort of amazed and amused by the hubris shown by either extremist viewpoint, by either the dedicated "believers," or the hardcore "skeptics" -- if you don't know, and cannot prove your opinion either way, the only objective position left is to admit that, and be agnostic about the possible nature or origins of such phenomena. That is pure logic and rationality.

As such, his statements constitute, interestingly enough, a form of belief, or faith, since he cannot back up his repeated claims, and are therefore more than just suspect. They are invalid, and reflect a limited and closed world view about what _might_ be occurring. And his views are neither truly objective or scientific. He argues from ignorance, either inherent or intentional.

He's as bad as the extremist "believers" who, in very rare cases, have claimed to have observed definite "alien spacecraft" more than once, which is also a form of belief or mistaken interpretation, IMHO.

Zoam is simply the opposite, and just as extreme, side of the coin, and thus his perspective is both fringe, even within the honestly skeptical "community," and unsubstantiated, as the extreme "believers" who think they've seen, repeatedly, a UFO or better defined as a UAP, and mistakenly assumed they've observed an alien or ET vehicle.

Zoam therefore can be ignored, as his opinions and beliefs, which is all they are (since he does not _know_ with certainty what he claims), are thus invalid simply on the basis of logic, empiricism, and history.

It's more honest, objective, and rational to have an agnostic perspective, as even now no one can prove the question either way, and to keep a skeptical, but honest and open mind about the subject and the questions it continues to raise, and which should be investigated.

Zoam cannot, or will not, see or do that, apparently.

In addition, in the way he states and poses his conclusions, and his careless style of communicating his views, he often resorts to ad hominem and personally insulting attacks on others who may express a more balanced, nuanced, or subtle perspective, and which allows at least the possibility that a still truly unknown phenomena just may, or might, constitute at least some indication of unexplained form and/or behavior, and which cannot be explained by any known natural or just prosaic interpretations.

He thus more effectively discredits himself by such actions and attitude, without realizing it, than anyone else ever could.

And which, in a sad way, is somewhat pitiable.

Ross said...

"zoamchomsky" is using actor Patrick McGoohan's face as an avatar? Jeesh, what a fanboy (or fangirl).

It's true, most extreme "skeptics" do tend to be males. I wonder what those who fancy themselves as "tough-minded" skeptics are like in bed. Probably not much fun.

Gilles Fernandez said...

David,

In your probabilities about "repeaters, you must imho take into account and add "in the numbers" that Miss Trent is repeater (you did it)
+ Mister Trent took 2 shoots (two witnesses in the family)
+ that in the 60's (in an UFO conference if I'm correct?), it surfaced the claim another member of Trent Family* (not at the Trent farm itself if I'm correct) seeing Paul Trent Pictures (3 witnesses), would have said a posteriori seeing Paul's pictures he saw the object too

+ the (ngative) fact they were probably others farmers and families outdoors in the McMinnville area, but in my humble knowledge of the affair, many were interviewed and I dont remember one or several corroborated to have seen something themselves. (?)

So, following the story, we have a family circle (3 persons) seeing and photographied a flying object (or different ones), in different closed areas, one of them two or more times, despite the fact they were probably other farmers in the area outdoors too, but seeing nothing.

The "odd" are very strange or suspect, even if all is possible.

* This family third witness, if I'm correct, surfaced when this Trent's family member was not still alive, and surfaced never before.
"Strange", because Miss and Mister Trent however didn't hesitate to say that another member stayed at home when the shoots were taken. Why dispite they didn't hesitated to incorporate in the tale a third Family Member who saw nothing, staying at home, but didn't mention a member who corroborated their story (at least seeing such a flying object too? (I think P. Klass made this remark himself).

Regards,

Gilles

Steve Sawyer said...

Part 1 of 2:

I've discovered, as the result on a little online research that, as to the secondary issue of the travels and travails of the original two actual Paul Trent "UFO" photo negatives, and their current likely disposition, that it seems quite likely that the two real and original negatives are in the possession of one Jeb Bladine, editor of the [McMinnville] Yamhill Valley News-Register, son of former editor, now deceased, Philip Bladine, who took possession of the Trent negatives way back in 1950, when he edited what was then known as the McMinnville "Telephone Register," despite what Bruce Maccabee has recently surmised on another blog.**

See the following links:

"Fight over UFO photos pits family versus newspaper"

By Dan Tilkin and KATU Web Staff Published: Sep 10, 2008 at 5:21 PM PST [brief, introductory excerpt follows]

"MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Two shots of a flying saucer over McMinnville are some of the most debated pieces of Oregon history.

"Paul and Evelyn Trent took the pictures in 1950, and now their children are trying to get the negatives returned.

"But the negatives are in the hands of the McMinnville News-Register newspaper, who believes they should be part of a permanent historic display in Yamhill County.

"The story of how this fight developed begins on the Trent Farm more than 50 years ago."

See: http://www.katu.com/news/28222454.html and:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-KyoRjLHlk for complete details. Quite an intriguing story, to say the least.

AND:

"Kimberly Trent Spencer says:

"To Whom it may concern, I am the granddaughter of the Trents and NO we have yet to receive the photos back. Listen people we want nothing more but to have these photos back in our family possession."

[comment made by KTS Dec. 22, 2011]

See: http://ufos.about.com/b/2008/10/25/whose-photos-are-these.htm

[Re: Billy Booth follow-up story, comment #6, ref. earlier KATU-TV news pieces]

I recommend all seriously interested in these issues read the two articles and view the video.

This also relates to the recent rumor, as related by Martin Shough, over on the UFO UpDates mail list, of some impending, new "digital forensic analysis" allegedly forthcoming for publication, which it will allege shows "string or wire supports," of a small object, and thus contends that Paul Trent faked his two "UFO" photos, which is curious, since it would seem Jeb Bladine _still_ has them, and it would also seem unlikely, IMHO, that he'd have loaned out the real negs for any such purpose for certain possibly pecuniary reasons, but that's simply speculation, at this point.

The real, crucial question regarding that is, if this new "forensic analysis" did not have access to the original two negatives, but only scans, prints, or "copy negatives" (copies of the negatives, in the form of duplicate negatives), how on earth could such a supposed new finding of "hoax" be objectively determined without the real, source negs, which are the best evidence for analysis, whether pro or con?

**See: http://bit.ly/WGz3hK at around comment #50

"brumac said...

"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."

"Sunday, December 23, 2012"

Maccabee's italicized part of his comment, emphasis added, is not quite accurate, or true, and which he should know based on KATU-TV's 2008 interview with him about the "fight" over Bladine's refusal to return the negs to the Trent family descendants.

Steve Sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2:

At this point I think Maccabee's reference, above, to "...the article I posted for the history of the negatives," should be included here.

There are several references in Maccabee's two articles as to the "history" of the two negatives, and I strongly recommend readers here to read both of his articles for the full details, but it would seem the most pertinent first excerpt is as follows:

From: http://brumac.8k.com/trent2.html

"The clarity and detail of the photos combined with the public testimony of the banker that the Trents were honest people and with the statement by Powell that he could find nothing wrong with the photos (Powell was _very_ convinced that the Trents would not have been able to carry off a hoax of this nature(35) ) made the photos instant celebrities. By the tenth of June the Trents' story was carried by the International News Service (INS) and was circulated throughout the USA and the world. Apparently the INS news story was based on a second interview carried out by a reporter for the Portland paper, Lou Gillette. Life Magazine became interested and included the pictures with a very short story of the sighting. Powell gave the negatives to Life with the understanding that the negatives would be returned to the Trents (who were never paid for the use of the negatives). The Trents also accepted an invitation to appear on a TV show, "We the People," which was produced in New York City. While on the show the Trents resisted efforts by the show staff to make statements which they, the Trents, considered unfounded. (1) They were also supposed to receive their negatives after the show, but the negatives were not returned.(1,12) The negatives were subsequently "lost" in the files of the INS in 1950, and were only found again as a result of the efforts of the Colorado University investigation (Hartmann) in 1967.(1) The negatives were in the files of the United Press International which had bought INS. After the Dr. Hartmann finished with the negatives he returned them to the UPI. However, since the Trents had never been paid for the negatives, Philip Bladine, the editor of the McMinnville News Register (he was also the editor in 1950, when the paper was called the Telephone Register) wrote to UPI on behalf of the Trents to obtain the photos. UPI sent the negatives to Bladine in 1970. When I called Bladine in 1975 to find out if he could help me located the negatives he told me they were on his desk! He had had the negatives for about 5 years, but hadn't informed the Trents! (I subsequently arranged with Mrs. Trent to borrow the negatives for research. In return I sent her excellent prints and copy negatives so she could make her own copies.)

"In retrospect it probably a good thing that the negatives were 'lost' between 1950 and 1967 because they were well protected during that time, and therefore the photographic information was minimally degraded. Also, in retrospect, it is interesting to contemplate the amount of money which UPI may have made off the Trent photos, which must have appeared in hundreds or thousands of UFO publications since 1950, while the Trents received nothing but trouble and harassment (crank phone calls, letters, etc.) whenever their photos appeared in widely circulated publications."

[See: http://bit.ly/12QMdfC if the above link is down, as it is at the moment, from archive.org]

Steve Sawyer said...

Part 2 of 2 [continued]:

"A Brief History of the McMinnville Photos

"Publication: 8 June 1950. The Editor stated that "expert photographers declared there has been no tampering with the negatives. (The) original photos were developed by a local firm. After careful consideration, there appears to be no possibility of hoax or hallucination connected with the pictures. Therefore, the Telephone-Register believes them authentic." - The Telephone Register, McMinnville, Oregon

"Subsequent Immediate Publications:

" * The Portland Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 10 June 1950 (contains further verbal information)
* The Los Angeles Examiner, Los Angeles, California, 11 June 1950 (contains further verbal information)
* Life, June 1950 (contains further verbal information)

"The photos were 'lost' in the files of the International News Photo Service and subsequently in the files of UPI until they were 'found' by the Condon UFO study project in 1968."

See: http://brumac.8k.com/trent1.html for source of above excerpt

"A Brief History of the McMinnville Photos (cont.)

"The initial analysis was carried out by a photographer (Bill Powell) who worked for the McMinnville Telephone-Register (now the News Register)."
. . .

"In late 1973, unaware of the work of Sheaffer and Klass, I decided to undertake an investigation of the McMinnville case because (a) the pictures are so clear the object is either a hoax device or an unusual object (no misinterpretation seems possible; e.g., it's not a plane at an odd angle), and (b) Hartmann had devoted considerable effort and analytical research to the photos and had concluded on the basis of this physical evidence that the object was distant (not a hoax)"

See: http://brumac.8k.com/trent1_1.html

, , ,

"In the spring of 1975 I was able to locate, with the incidental help of Mr. Klass, the original negatives. (They were in the possession of Philip Bladine, the editor of the newspaper.) "

See: http://brumac.8k.com/trent1_2.html

"At the same time I was carefully studying the original negatives and improving upon the photometric analysis of Hartmann and Sheaffer (between January 1974 and November, 1977, when the first version of this paper was written), I carried out an intensive investigation into the background of the sighting and into the subsequent developments . (NOTE 2000: I continued the investigation into the early 1980s and again in the late 1990's, long after the original version of this paper was presented at the 1981 CUFOS conference. Pertinent results of those investigations are included in this presentation.) I have concluded, from communications with many people who have talked to the Trents, that no one who has met them personally would believe that they would think of creating any hoax or perpetrating a hoax as successful and long lasting as their flying saucer report. Dr. Hartmann, who interviewed them in 1967, was convinced of their veracity (1). However, as mentioned above, he later changed his mind (2,6) after reading Sheaffer's analysis (7). I have further concluded, contrary to the opinions expressed in Reference 2, that it cannot be proven from either verbal or photographic evidence that the case was a hoax. Instead, the available verbal and photographic evidence indicates that the sighting was not a hoax. (NOTE 2000: Evelyn died in 1997 and Paul in 1998. They were last interviewed in 1995 by Terry Halstead for a video documentary. They repeated their story once again and avowed that it was the truth.)"

See: http://brumac.8k.com/trent2.html

zoamchomsky said...

The age-old Repeater postulate expresses skepticism, a real-world determination of the extreme improbability that a particular witness's repeated reports of an extraordinary event could be true. It's an undeniable fact that negates reports.

Dave; The subject hasn't changed. Again, you, like Kevin before, are fallaciously comparing apples and faires. All the mundane things you list as having "repeater" witnesses exist in the world--except the hypothetical, necessarily extraordinary, stimulus of interest behind "UFO" reports. I've said nothing of the ETH, but since that's the real subject of interest.... (The Hessdalen lights are a silly non-mystery.)

I think we all know that Mrs Trent was, not a mere "UFO," but an unambiguous "flying saucer" repeater. "Flying saucers," imaginary spacecraft from another world, do not exist. The existence of one visiting this world would be extraordinary. So Mrs Trent's repeated claims to have witnessed extraordinary "flying saucers" cannot be taken seriously--Mr Trent's crude "flying saucer" photos (for which they created a fairy tale to validate her claims) cannot be taken seriously--because the probability of them witnessing a truly extraordinary otherworldly event even once, much less repeatedly is so extremely improbable it's not worth considering. Trent's fakes are ridiculous.

zoamchomsky said...

Steve; If you really believe the "UFO" non-issue is even remotely undecided, then you're suffering under an immature, paranoid, blinkered pseudoscientific delusion.
Now who is deserving of pity? I know you have mine. Let's talk when you grow up!

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

David Rudiak said...

Steve Sawyer wrote:
This also relates to the recent rumor, as related by Martin Shough, over on the UFO UpDates mail list, of some impending, new "digital forensic analysis" allegedly forthcoming for publication, which it will allege shows "string or wire supports," of a small object, and thus contends that Paul Trent faked his two "UFO" photos, which is curious, since it would seem Jeb Bladine _still_ has them, and it would also seem unlikely, IMHO, that he'd have loaned out the real negs for any such purpose for certain possibly pecuniary reasons, but that's simply speculation, at this point.

The real, crucial question regarding that is, if this new "forensic analysis" did not have access to the original two negatives, but only scans, prints, or "copy negatives" (copies of the negatives, in the form of duplicate negatives), how on earth could such a supposed new finding of "hoax" be objectively determined without the real, source negs, which are the best evidence for analysis, whether pro or con?


Well exactly, a point I made on UFO Updates after Shough's post. How could anybody hope to detect a suspending "thread" without direct access to the negatives. At least half a dozen experts in the past have used the negatives to try to find a thread, and nobody can. Now somebody can without the negatives?

The problems with the thread suspension hypothesis go even deeper than that. It has long been known that if you draw sighting lines from the camera positions to the object in the two photos, the lines cross several feet in FRONT of the overhead power lines. So now you have to postulate Trent wildly swinging his model(s) to get them several feet out in front of the wires. Oh wait, Mrs. Trent was in on it holding a long pole to suspend the model several feed in front, or maybe Paul strung yet another suspension line several feet in front of the one's that already existed because he had a lot of time on his hands, etc., etc. The "hoax" keeps getting more and more complicated and improbable in how it was carried out.

See, one problem with trying to debunk the Trent photos is that he took TWO photos, which give you a lot more information, all if it working against the hoax hypothesis, such as the sighting lines crossing in front of the power lines. With only one photo, Trent could have suspended a model from anywhere, including the overhead lines, but two photos practically rule that out.

Another big problem I've pointed out is that the natural way to get photo 1 with the model "disc" showing its bottom would be to passively suspend it from something, and since the camera is underneath, the bottom would be exposed in just about the right amount. But then there is that annoying second photo showing a minified object in edge-on profile. Well, swing the model away from you to get the edge profile, but--OOPS--that should take the model higher, when it is substantial lower in photo 2.

The object in photo 2 is also too minified to be explained by simple swinging, so now you need two models of different sizes and separately suspended from different suspension points in order to try to account for all the subtle details working against hoax that take careful analysis to even notice. Trent was one brilliant or very lucky hoaxer to get everything right to fool the fancy pants city slicker experts.

Simplistic arguments like Mrs. Trent being a "repeater" tell you nothing one way or another whether the photos might have been hoaxed. Actually well scrutinized details in the photos strongly militate against hoax, which is why the Trent photos have stood the test of time and the debunkers here and elsewhere don't want to argue the details, because they have nothing to argue. So much easier to engage in mind-reading or psychological profiling of perfect strangers to invent motivations for them to hoax.

KRandle said...

Zoam -

Those of us who have been around more than 10 minutes know that repeaters do not constantly see alien spacecraft. They seem to be incapable of identifying the mundane around them. Clearly they mistake human created objects as alien, they see natural phenomena as spacecraft, and are fooled by the many ordinary things. That does not make them liars, pranksters, hoaxers, or dumb.

You seem to reject Trent because they are repeaters and I say that is not fair. They have photographs which proves they are seeing either an alien spacecraft or they have created a sophisticated hoax.

If you wish to reject the photos because of Robert sheaffer's analysis suggested that the photos were taken in the morning rather than the evening, then so be it. If you wish to reject the photos as proof of alien visitation because of problems with the testimony about this event and other analysis of the photos that suggest hoax, then so be it...

But the fact the Trents were repeaters is mostly a red herring. It means little because they have the pictures so we know that they weren't seeing an aircraft, a natural phenomenon, they were seeing something that could be alien.

As I have said, there are but two conclusions. It is either alien or it is a hoax. There is no middle ground.

I'm not sure what your point is in visiting here. You seem uninterested in rational debate. You know there is no alien visitation so that anything that suggests otherwise must be flawed. If you are uninterested in discussing this but are more interested in condemning those who do not share your views, what's the point?

Ross said...

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."--Friedrich Nietzsche

Steve Sawyer said...

"As I have said, there are but two conclusions. It is either alien or it is a hoax. There is no middle ground."

Hmmmm. Dunno 'bout that.

Actually, Kevin, there _are_ alternative possibilities.

How do we know, for sure, that the "object" photographed, if "real" (and not a hoax, about which I remain agnostic), and in some way representative of a form of non-human intelligence, was not a kind of "projection," as Paul Kimball theorized might be possible, also, most recently over on the Iconoclast(s) blog, or perhaps more subtly, as Vallee has hypothesized, a form of deliberate, yet plausibly deniable, "display," or to put it in different terms, made to _look_ like a stereotypical (despite it's unique "antenna") 1950's "flying saucer," when, if it was not man-made (and I don't mean by Trent), could possibly have been a form, or used a "synthesized morphology," maybe drawn from the cultural expectations of either the Trent's and/or the era when similar, but subtly different in many cases, "saucers" were observed by multiple credible witnesses, or pursued by jet with the UFO reacting, and/or seen on radar, in some rare cases simultaneously?

I can also think of at least a couple other possibilities, other than the binary of alien spacecraft or deliberate hoax, and that come to mind. Actually, more than a couple.

I don't rule out some form of non-human and extremely advanced "holography" or even, physical, but synthesized for "display purposes", actual "flying" object, and not just a coherent energy form or "projected" imagery.

Perhaps the "intention" of "the others" was to create something that really might not represent an actual form of transport, but to fulfill an unknown intent while fabricating an object meant to appear just as shown in Trent's photos?

Of course, that is speculation. But, one cannot deterministically limit the interpretation simply to alien spacecraft or hoax, IMHO. YMMV.

We have no idea what any present or past advanced non-human intelligence's motives, intent. or thinking may be. Or, how they, or their supposed "craft," might wish to be made to appear, do we?

_IF_ we are dealing with extraordinarily advanced non-human intelligence/ consciousness, and if it was not a hoax, other, unknown, variables come into play in considering just what was photographed, in other words. The plain fact is, we just do not know, which is my point.

Elaborate forms of and use of "cognitive dissonance," "plausible deniability," and/or Skinnerian "random reinforcement" all need to be consdered in the mix, and may even have been employed, as I personally find it unlikely the "agents" of UFOs do fly around in metallic spacecraft with infantile-appearing archetypal humanoids at the controls.

We just should not limit ourselves to "first-level" interpretations of the apparent being real, or dismiss the idea of a kind of "camouflage,"
etcetera, etc.

As Vallee has often posited, we may be dealing with forms or _representations of forms_ intended for OUR benefit or challenge, maybe even as an evolutionary spur.

Or do you disagree with that less "dualistic" interpretation, or really, just possiblity?

KRandle said...

Steve -

Alien, for me, covers the various other ideas... It is one of the other.

I was trying to think of a way to explain this and to cover the various suggestions you make... so, again, alien, for this case, covers those ideas as well.

Steve Sawyer said...

"Alien, for me, covers the various ideas... It is one [or] the other." . . . "...alien, for this case, covers those ideas as well."

Oh, OK. Thanks for clarifying that, as it seemed to me that simply "alien" [spacecraft], with all its ETH connotations, as opposed to the more general and inclusive term "advanced non-human intelligence," regardless of origins (there are also the EDH, TTH, CTH, and manifold, other possible theorems), didn't quite cover those other "non-human" possibilities implied in noting the binary dualism of "alien vs. hoax," is all.

I appreciate your more expansive understanding and mention of the "alien" as metaphor to cover the alternative possibilities.

And, btw, I fully agree that Zoam's statements reveal his own relatively limited and fundamentalist, or constricted "neoconservative or illiberal," expressed outlook. He's at best... well, maybe the politest term would be "obtuse."

If all we are dealing with are "REPORTS," which he claims are a "non-issue," it makes me wonder why he's so vehement and strident in his statements here, and particularly elsewhere.

You'd think he'd want to better employ his time and efforts juggling kittens or taking up knitting, and as being more productive. 8^}

Unless, alternatively, he enjoys the schadenfreude of playing the amateurish "agent provocateur," which is also possible. After all, he does employ the McGoohan "secret agent man" avatar/picture as part of his pseudonymous online identity. Makes things easier to spout when one doesn't take the responsibility to use their real name, I suppose.

His description of me, above, as being "immature, paranoid, blinkered" and delusional (quite the emotional, scattershot grab-bag of invective, there) just shows he doesn't even understand, or pretends not to, how such serious psychological terms are actually defined or determined. D'oh!

I mean, after all, wouldn't a delusional paranoid have rather more definite presumptions about the UFO issue, rather than a more balanced, nuanced or objectively agnostic perspective regarding what is, in fact, an "unresolved unknown" in a relative minority of the best UFO cases?

You know, like some people, who make vehement, absolutist statements of certainty, but without evidential foundation? Remind you of anyone? 8^}

All I can say, further, about Zoam, is that he does such a "good job" in discrediting himself by his own absolutist and presumptuous pronouncements, that no one else can compete by comparison, even if they wanted to stoop so low as to try.

He makes of himself a self-limiting, unserious "non-issue," effectively.

Too bad, for him.

zoamchomsky said...

Kevin;

Hartmann/Sheaffer/Carpenter analyses showed that the obviously mid-century mass-manufactured object barely moved--if at all--in relation to overhead wires between shots. The shape and reflective bottom very strongly suggest that the object is a common truck mirror suspended by thread. There's really nothing sophisticated about it. Then the Trents manufactured a flying-saucer fairy tale to validate the photos. Trent claimed he thought it was an advanced army aircraft.

Mrs Trent later claimed that she had seen "flying saucers" on several occasions before and after the photos were made. The sticking point here is that Paul Trent had taken the photos and participated in the manufacture of their flying-saucer account which makes him--and the photos--party to her ongoing "flying saucer" repeater confabulatory delusion. As I stressed earlier--and you agree--no one is going to witness extraordinary events repeatedly--much less alien spacecraft.

Against all good sense, Rudiak was falsely arguing that the age-old Repeater postulate is invalid because extraordinary--but very Earthly--events are being repeated often, so the idea that a particular person might witness visiting alien spacecraft repeatedly wasn't a valid reason to doubt their claims. Any rational person knows that's nonsense; and when shown that he defaulted to shouting.

My point in being here is to encourage others to be more analytic and rational.

David Rudiak said...

The all-knowing ZoamChomsky (always parroting the arguments of others and not based on any of his own analysis) wrote:
Hartmann/Sheaffer/Carpenter analyses showed that the obviously mid-century mass-manufactured object barely moved--if at all--in relation to overhead wires between shots.

Not true. If suspended from the wires, the object in photo 2 would have had to move about 1 foot to the right, or put differently, the sighting lines to the object in photo 1 and 2 cross several feet in front of the wires, NOT under the wires, as would be expected for a model just passively hung there.

You also have to account for the difference in angular size and elevation between object photo 1 vs. photos 2. The object is substantially minified in angular size (at least 13%) and LOWER in angular elevation in photo 2, which is the exact opposite of what you would expect in a simple hoax.

SIMPLE HOAX: Suspend model and shoot from underneath revealing oval-shaped bottom of about the right cross-sectional shape (assuming circular object). Now swing model outward (hardly "barely moving") to minify (must swing outward at least 2 to 2-1/2 feet) and create edge-on view. However, this makes the model go very substantially UP in angular elevation, NOT down, and a simple outward swing cannot fully account for sighting lines crossing 3 to 4 feet in front of power lines. So you also have to create a substantial side swing as well, which is not so easy for other reasons (multiple suspension points to minimize rotation), and still doesn't make the object go DOWN as required in photo 2. To make it go down, Trent would have to lower the model between shots several feet before swinging outward (all to fool the city slicker experts), so no longer quite so simple.

SIMILAR BUT MORE DIFFICULT HOAX SCENARIO #2: To account for elevation and size difference, passively suspend photo 2 shot, now tilting object upward on far side so you only see edge-on profile (not all that easy), swinging upward and sideways for photo 1, exposing oval bottom, but not by too much.

MORE ELABORATE HOAX SCENARIO: Two models, one large, one small, large one photo 1 passively suspended; then substitute smaller model moved to right, passively suspended, and oriented to be see only edge-on (not so easy when shooting from underneath).

In any of these scenarios, the model(s) need(s) at least a two-point suspension system to minimize rotation, because that off-center "tower" at the top of the object has minimal if any position change, indicating little rotation (or Trent being very lucky with a single suspension thread managed in only 2 shots to get hardly any rotation).

In addition, in any hoax scenario, Trent has to carry it off in only two successive photos with no practice shots for that roll of film and over a period of only a few minutes, because the shadows on the garage have not measurably changed position.

SIMPLE STRAIGHTFORWARD EXPLANATION THAT ACCOUNTS FOR EVERYTHING:

As reported by Trents, object in the distance appears from east, tilts up showing bottom, than disappears to west rising as it goes (as reported by Trent). That precisely and simply accounts for minification, the differences in angular elevation, the angular difference in direction, extrapolated due west trajectory of object, and also very lightened bottom from atmospheric haze (next topic) plus slightly fuzzy edges.

David Rudiak said...

ZoamChomsky skeptically parrots on, without really knowing what he is talking about:

The shape and reflective bottom very strongly suggest that the object is a common truck mirror suspended by thread.

Joel Carpenter's argument.

Problem #1: Multiple people have failed to find evidence of any sort of thread, working from the original negatives.

Problem #2: No simple passive or swinging suspension system can reproduce all the subtle photo details (previous post)

Problem #3: Truck mirror heavy, wires thin and long (used only to light one bulb in rear of the shed), which would create very obvious sag in the wires, which does NOT exist.

Problem #4: Object photo 1 has evenly illuminated bottom with no hint of any sort of rim circling a "mirror", needed to hold it in.

Problem #5: Evenly illuminated bottom is also NOT what would be expected from a "mirror", which is not a matte-flat surface that would diffusely reflect light, but a specular reflector. Translation: What you see reflected from the mirror will be what is on the ground ahead of the mirror, i.e. very unlikely to be evenly illuminated, also would result in a much more darkened bottom (likely reflecting dark, lush grass at that time of year).

But I bet our brilliant Zoam thinks because it is a "mirror", that automatically makes it automatically bright. Not so. It is only as bright as what it is reflecting and the illumination will only be as even as what it is reflecting.

There's really nothing sophisticated about it.

Really? There are a whole lot of subtle photo details that Trent would have to get exactly right, things that even a relatively technically sophisticated hoaxer would have trouble thinking through to fool everybody (and then duplicate in only 2 shots).

Everybody who interviewed Paul Trent thought he was honest but not particularly bright. That included the original reporter, Bill Powell, who besides finding nothing wrong with the photos, any inconsistencies of note in the Trent's stories, basically thought the two of them too stupid to have pulled off any sort of hoax. Paul Trent's brother Clayton back then was quoted saying his brother hardly knew anything about cameras and couldn't have pulled a hoax off, words to the effect of "just look at him."

Then the Trents manufactured a flying-saucer fairy tale to validate the photos.

Truly amazing how simpleton farmers could come up with the perfect story that so precisely matched the various subtle photo details. Some of these details are not at all obvious just by casually viewing the photos, but are uncovered only through careful photo analysis by multiple people. For example, Trent's comment that it appeared the object was rising as it left the area is confirmed from photo-analysis (if this was a distant object), but by eye the object in photo 2 is lower, not higher. Scheaffers claims about the shed shadows can easily be refuted for 4 or 5 good reasons. (E.g., look at power pole in photo 1 and see if it has direct early morning sun on it as Sheaffer claims was illuminating scene.)


My point in being here is to encourage others to be more analytic and rational.

My point in being here is to encourage others to be more analytic and rational, because you won't get that from our phony skeptic troll Zoam.

All Zoam is capable of is knee-jerk recital of the "explanations" of other skeptics, with ZERO critical analysis of his own. In reality, there are numerous problems with these various skeptical claims, as I have outlined above.

Don said...

David, I understand the Trent skeptics think the object was close to Trent and not distant, but I don't know how close. What are some of their opinions on that?

Regards,

Don

David Rudiak said...

Don wrote:

"David, I understand the Trent skeptics think the object was close to Trent and not distant, but I don't know how close. What are some of their opinions on that?"

Don, according to Bruce Maccabee's reconstruction by finding the camera positions, the camera would have been about 16-17 feet from the wires. A model of correct angular size would have been only about 5" in diameter, so not the typical "pie pan."

As Maccabee has written many times, a hoax with all the details is not impossible, but unlikely given the lack of sophistication of Trent. Trent would have had to be an incredibly lucky hoaxer.

Don said...

If a hoax theory requires the object to be close to the camera (actually, the film plane), it cannot be closer than the 'close focus' capability of the camera, because the shots are in focus (as best I can tell from the images on Maccabee's and Schaeffer's sites).

The first detent on the focus ring reads "5 to 7 feet". This would be for a typical portrait, head to chest. It is likely the best focus results begin at about 10 feet (many cameras of this type have the 10 on the focus ring highlighted). Anything closer would lose focus, and be obviously out of focus closer than "5 to 7 feet" (which is not very precise, is it?).

The camera also automatically cocked the shutter when the film was advanced. This shaves a few seconds off the necessary time between shots.

Regards,

Don

zoamchomsky said...

"The object appears beneath a pair of wires.... We may question, therefore, whether it could have been a model suspended from one of the wires. This possibility is strengthened by the observation that the object appears beneath roughly the same point in the two photos, in spite of their having been taken from two positions."

"Hartmann found in his investigation that the object appears to be in the same position with respect to the telephone wires above it in both photographs...."

"Hartmann/Sheaffer/Carpenter analyses showed that the obviously mid-century mass-manufactured object barely moved--if at all--in relation to overhead wires between shots."

"A model of correct angular size would have been only about 5" in diameter...."

A common mid-century truck mirror was about five inches in diameter. Thanks!

"Trent would have had to be an incredibly lucky hoaxer." (straw-man hyperbole)

Not at all. Making far too much of the compounded imprecision of subjective measurements, and intentionally ignoring the real but mundane contingencies inherent in the hoaxing event, are well-known devices used by pseudoscientific cranks for manufacturing a bare possibility of an extraordinary explanation even when that bare possibility is so very implausible it's not worthy of consideration.

Either Trent hoaxed the photos or ET traversed the vast interstellar distance and arrived on Earth in a spacecraft that looks exactly like a mid-century truck mirror!

A LIFE follow-up photo story on the Trents was basically an expose of the hoax.

Steve Sawyer said...

"A LIFE follow-up photo story on the Trents was basically an expose of the hoax."

Really? What issue, and is there an online copy or citation / link you can note here?

David Rudiak said...

ZoamChomsky wrote:
"A LIFE follow-up photo story on the Trents was basically an expose of the hoax."

Steve Sawyer asked:
"Really? What issue, and is there an online copy or citation / link you can note here?

On my website Steve:

http://www.roswellproof.com/LIFE_June_26_1950.jpg

Everyone can read it for yourself and see that ZoamChomsky is either deliberately lying or ignorant of what LIFE actually printed.

LIFE was so eager to expose Trent's hoax that in the two printed photos they cropped out the overhead power lines from which the hoax model was supposedly hung. That's a great way to start a supposed "expose".

They also said that Trent was an honest individual and there was no evidence of tampering with the negatives. No neighbor saw it but Mrs. Trent did and she backed up her husband's story. They describe how there were only the two photos surrounded by ordinary events before and after (thus no practice shots). He shot one winter snow scene, a month later the weeping willow in the front yard, then the two saucer shots, followed soon by three Mother's day pictures, at which point he developed the pictures.

So seemingly several months passed between when he first put the roll of film in his camera and then took the two saucer photos. (Trent was obviously such a clever hoaxer that he had a second camera with which to practice hoaxing his shots so he could get two perfect ones sandwiched between innocuous photos.)

Of course there was the usual comment that some people thought it looked like the lid of a garbage can (it can always look like something familiar), but that is hardly an "expose" of anything. Amazingly, nobody suggested it looked like Zoam's truck mirror, though you think they would have been more familiar with what 1950 truck mirrors looked like back then.

And no mention of how it might have been hung from the overhead wires. Did I mention that they cropped those out of the photos?

Maybe somebody else can tell me how exactly LIFE "exposed" Trent's hoax?

Steve Sawyer said...

"Everyone can read it for yourself and see that ZoamChomsky is either deliberately lying or ignorant of what LIFE actually printed."

Uhm, isn't that link of yours David to the original LIFE magazine article that involved Loomis Dean's photoshoot on June 6th (from which no photos were published)?

In other words, isn't this the "initial" article by LIFE, published June 26, 1950, that only included the two Paul Trent "UFO" photos and a brief article?

I'm not aware of any "LIFE follow-up story" about the Trent photos, let alone one which was "an expose of the hoax," which as you suggest David, based on the original article, with the overhead wires cropped out, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

So, Zoam, what's the basis for your allegation, of a LIFE follow-up story being "an expose of the hoax"? Or did you "misspeak," as the politicians say? Where's the beef, if any?

Steve Sawyer said...

By the way, David, thanks much for the ongoing "exegesis" about the Trent photos, illustrating just how very difficult, apparently, it would have been for Paul Trent to have "casually" or easily hoaxed the pictures he took.

And, as you note, "As Maccabee has written many times, a hoax with all the details is not impossible, but unlikely given the lack of sophistication of Trent. Trent would have had to be an incredibly lucky hoaxer."

Or maybe both more sophisticated than he apparently ever let on, and "incredibly lucky," which is paradoxical, considering that most considered Trent a fairly simple, not all that bright man.

Most perplexing, but even then, not enough for me to think the object either a "trufo" or "hoax."

Being agnostic in these matters, among others, can be most trying, and a bit tiring.

Also, a little weird, by being criticized occasionally by both hardcore skeptics and sincere UFO advocates, while trying to maintain an objective, empirical "middle ground," since neither faction seems to appreciate the genuine ambiguity to be found in the actual UFO phenomenon.

Steve Sawyer said...

On a related tangent, I found a strange parallel elsewhere to some recent comments here. On this "other blog," Paul Kimball said this:

"One might posit that the Trent photos are genuine, in that they weren't hoaxed by the Trents, but that they don't show an actual physical object but rather a projection of one - a vision that fit the preconceptions of the era, just as 'visions' always seem to conform to the time period in which they manifest."

Which, interestingly, is very similar to a comment I made above, regarding "projections," and avoiding "first-level" interpretation, as Vallee recommends.

Then, in reply to another Kimball comment, later in the same comment thread, ZoamC responded to Paul as follows:

"Another foolproof indicator of 'UFO' apologism is the irrational and obviously false equivalence of scientific realists--astronomers, social scientists, cultural historians, professional educators and skeptics--who've studied the subject and who bother to debunk this nonsense with 'die-hard ETHers.' Such phony middle-ground finger-pointing 'agnosticism' must truly mean to 'know nothing.'

"Paul; If you really believe the 'UFO' non-issue is even remotely undecided, then you're suffering under an immature, paranoid, blinkered pseudoscientific delusion." [emphasis added]

Wow. That's exactly what Zoam said of me. As Yogi Berra once said, it's "deja vu all over again." The italicized part of ZC's rather insulting response to Kimball is identical to what Zoam said about me, and in response to a similar comment I made that parallels Kimball's comment above.

See: http://bit.ly/12SwnlK

Zoam, if you’re going to go around and make ridiculous statements about others, you could at least be more original, or imaginative. Pasting in “boilerplate” comments to criticize others by ad hominem is certainly not very creative or sophisticated, IMHO.

I have no problem debating serious and honest skeptics, with something new or productive to say, but now you’re just repeating yourself, and still not making a whole lot of sense. You need to “up your game” here, if you sincerely wish to objectively argue your position, and truly engage others in useful “point / counterpoint” dialogue. But then, I’m guessing that may not be your real motive. You can play the simplistic reactionary for only so long, or “agent provocateur” just to try and get people’s blood boiling for the lulz, but that gets pretty old, and obvious, quite quickly. It’s transparently absurd, too.

Or, as Reagan once bemusedly noted in a debate, "Well, there you go again.

Such cynicism without real content serves no one. I really wish there were more astute and investigative skeptics, as sometimes the rare ones out there do provide some valuable insight and/or new data to consider and with which to debate, but unfortunately they seem to be a rare breed, or maybe “endangered species.”

I joined The “Amusing” Randi’s forum, JREF, a few years ago, when Mac Tonnies, and his premature death, were being joked about, which offended me, and when I said so, I was immediately attacked by the nasty “jokers” in that forum thread as being a stupid, deluded bonehead and worse. I never went back, since what would be the point if the dialogue is going to be singularly unproductive? None.

zoamchomsky said...

I said to Paul, Steve, have said before and probably will again since it's a statement of fact about the world: "If you really believe the 'UFO' non-issue is even remotely undecided, then you're suffering under an immature, paranoid, blinkered pseudoscientific delusion." It's a set of demonstrably false beliefs.

Belief in the flying-saucer myth and "UFO" collective delusion has long been a subject of study by scientific realists: astronomers, social scientists, cultural historians, professional educators and skeptics. And that's all it is, a delusion.

Here's another fact, Steve, you do yourself no good with your psychotic trolling crossposting extended ad-hominem rants. This is the behavior that has gotten you banned from several sites already. Try confining your posts to the subject and maybe rational people will begin to take you seriously. But I'm Skeptical! (g)

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

Don said...

Zoam: "a subject of study by scientific realists: astronomers, social scientists, cultural historians, professional educators and skeptics."

Still jonesing to soladarize yourself to your betters?

Regards,

Don

Don said...

Here's another polemical device: solidarizing skepticism to Science (capitalization intentional). Zoam's extremism is evident in his term "scientific realists". I think by "skeptics", Zoam means "me". So, the skeptic is Zoam and skepticsim is what Zoam says and other people just like him say the same. So, there.

Skepticism = 'real' Science = whatever Zoam says.

It's kinda cute, really.

Regards,

Don

KRandle said...

Don - Zoam -

I'm ending this here. No more comments like this... so off topic. Take the tantrums elsewhere.

cda said...

Quite right Kevin.

But I had to get this in, as it is the 100th comment. That's all.

I have nothing to say on the topic. However this does NOT mean words fail me!

Daniel Transit said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Trent

The name "Trent" comes from a Celtic word possibly meaning "strongly flooding". More specifically, the name may be a contraction of two Celtic words, tros ("over") and hynt ("way").[1] This may indeed indicate a river that is prone to flooding. However, a more likely explanation may be that it was considered to be a river that could be crossed principally by means of fords, i.e. the river flowed over major road routes. This may explain the presence of the Celtic element rid (c.f. Welsh rhyd, "ford") in various place names along the Trent, such as Hill Ridware, as well as the Old English‐derived ford. Another translation is given as "the trespasser", referring to the waters flooding over the land.[2] According to Koch at the University of Wales,[3] the name Trent derives from the Romano-British Trisantona, a Romano-British reflex of the combined Proto-Celtic elements *tri-sent(o)-on-ā- (through-path-AUG-F-) ‘great feminine thoroughfare’.[3]