For the last several weeks I have been researching my new book and I stumbled across a bit of information that suggests the Air Force was less than enthusiastic in their investigations of UFOs. I wondered what their conclusion of the McMinnville photographs was. These are the two pictures taken by Paul Trent on May 11, 1950 of a disk-shaped object near his farm in Oregon. I’m not going to debate the merits of the pictures here, merely look at the Air Force response.
According to the Project Blue Book files, they came to no conclusion. In fact, they didn’t bother to investigate the case. Here was a sighting with physical evidence in the form of photographs. Even a cursory look at the pictures tells you that they are either an alien spacecraft or a hoax. There really doesn’t seem to be a third explanation because the pictures are too sharp and crisp to suggest some type of indistinct natural phenomenon or an advanced aircraft of Earthly design. But again, that really is an argument for another day.
These pictures, because of the clarity and because of the foreground detail that allowed analysis, should be of interest to an official investigation attempting to learn all it could about flying saucers. You would think that an organization that was charged with that investigation, would want to, at the very least, look at the pictures. Apparently the Air Force couldn’t be bothered with that because, according to the Blue Book files, this case was “info” only. No investigation, no analysis and no conclusion. If you don’t label the case, then you don’t need to account for it in your statistics and most importantly you can pretend it didn’t happen. There are many UFO sightings that are included in the files that are labeled as “info only.”
But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a solution if asked about it. In 1965, W. Case wrote to the Air Force:
I have recently acquired some information concerning the sighting and taking of two, (2), photographs of one, (1), unidentified object by Mr. and Mrs. [name redacted but obviously Paul Trent] of McMinnville, Oregon.
The Photographs were taken on May 11, 1950 at the [Trent] farm just outside McMinnville, Oregon.
I would appreciat [sic] it very much if you would obtain and send to the address listed below information and photographs of other and then such incident [sic].
Overlooking the fact that this guy claims to have information, which should have induced a query about what that information might be, the Air Force was uninterested. Yes, I know that it might have been nothing more than rumor or speculation that added nothing to our knowledge, but what if this guy had found another witness, one independent of the Trents? Wouldn’t that be of interest to the Air Force in their search for the truth?
Apparently, the answer would be, “No.” The response was written by Lieutenant Colonel John P. Spaulding, who was the Chief, Civil Branch, Community Relations Division, Office of Information. He explained:
The Air Force has no information on photographs of an unidentified flying object taken by Mr. & Mrs. [redacted but again quite obviously Paul Trent] of McMinnville, Oregon.
In this regard, it should be noted that all photographs submitted in conjunction with UFO reports have been a misinterpretation of natural or conventional objects. The object in these photographs have a positive identification.
Overlooking the fact that he said they had no information on the photographs; he offered a solution for them anyway. If they had no information, how would he know that the object, singular, in the McMinnville photographs had been identified? And why wouldn’t he have offered that explanation in his letter? Wouldn’t that have carried more weight than his blanket statement that was in error? The Lubbock Lights photographs taken by Carl Hart, Jr., have not been positively identified, as but a single example of his misstatement.
The point here is that he said he had no information and then offered information. You either don’t know or you do, but you don’t say you don’t know anything and then refute that in your next paragraph. Yes, he could make the blanket statement about all the photographs are misinterpretations but he then specified these particular photographs. He should have left that last sentence off his reply.