Is there such a thing as an irrefutable UFO picture?
How about a video?
In 1950, a McMinnville, Oregon farming couple named Paul and Evelyn Trent took what is often considered to be the most famous UFO picture (shown below). However, in a story that would be all too familiar to any 21st century UFO enthusiast who has undoubtedly seen hundreds if not thousands of supposedly authentic UFO photos bounce across the internet, the “McMinnville photos” as they soon became known immediately fell under incredible scrutiny. Recent reports still argue they are fakes, some going so far as to say that “skeptics see them as the best fake photos of flying saucers ever found.”
Still, even a skeptical analysis like the one linked to above points out the hardest things to reconcile about the famous pics, stating specifically, “the Trents never received any money for the photos and the negatives weren’t returned to them for decades, supposedly having been misplaced by INS or LIFE. Meanwhile, researcher after researcher has looked at the photos and declared them authentic — or fake.”
The same frustrating things happened with the first pieces of video evidence of UFO’s, most famously the Mariana UFO Incident also from 1950, a piece of film footage that became the explosive conclusion to the first UFO documentary ever made in 1956, titled simply “UFO”. Like the McMinnville photos, the film footage was immediately challenged, or as the real life figure Albert Chop who was portrayed in the UF documentary noted, “”in 1950 there was no interest [by the Air Force] in the UFO, so after a quick viewing, Project Grudge had written them off as the reflections from two F-94 jet fighters that were in the area”.
As Wikipedia also notes on the incident, “controversy soon arose when Mariana claimed that the first thirty-five frames of his film – which he said most clearly showed the UFOs as rotating disks – were missing. People in the Great Falls area who had viewed Mariana’s film supported his claims. They claimed that the missing frames clearly showed the UFOs as spinning, metallic disks with a “notch or band” along their outer edges. The Air Force personnel denied this accusation, and insisted that they had removed only a single frame of film which was damaged in the analysis.”
That case ended in lawsuits and even more investigation, all coming to a head when the makers of the 1956 documentary hired a scientist and engineer from Douglas Aircraft Robert M.L. Baker to do his own analysis of the footage. Not only did he disagree with the Grudge analysis and conclusions, but he actually testified about his own conclusions to congress in 1968.
In that testimony, Baker said, “”Preliminary analysis excluded most natural phenomena. More detailed study indicated that the only remaining natural phenomenon candidate for the Utah film was birds in flight, and for the Montana film it was airplane fuselage reflections of the sun. After about 18 months of rather detailed, albeit not continuous, study using various film-measuring equipments [sic] at Douglas and at UCLA, as well as analysis of a photogrammetric experiment, it appeared that neither of these hypothesized natural phenomena explanations had merit.”
This pattern of explosive UFO photos and videos followed by an equal and opposite reaction has continued to this day, with each seemingly “irrefutable” piece of photographic or video evidence often evoking the same visceral reaction of something unknown, followed by official denials, numerous accusations that the entire video hasn’t been seen, or that the real picture is simply a fake. For those who have witnessed these events in person it has often been a struggle, trying to assure people that what they saw was neither prosaic nor an everyday occurrence, but something incredible, and often otherworldly.
As someone who has followed this phenomenon and seen this pattern since the 1970s, I can say unequivocally that it was almost inevitable with the latest rash of supposedly irrefutable pieces of evidence.
What first seemed like a breakthrough trio of videos filmed by military pilots has slowly devolved into the same old argument. Believers see inexplicable phenomena doing incredible things like hovering across the water without a means of propulsion or flying against the wind while rotating, while others see a balloon or seagull not going that fast after all, or the inexplicable rotation as simply an optical camera illusion.
Even when the “Go-Fast,” “Gimbal” and “FLIR/Underwood” videos first came to light, my own brother who is relatively open minded on the subject told me, “Oh great, so instead of grainy, blurry amateur videos, we now have grainy, blurry, military grade videos.” Bottom line, no matter how striking the images of those now famous videos are, they have been increasingly dismissed as noting more that everyday things seen through a wishful lens. Like with many explosive videos and picture before them, time has not helped their cause, IMO.
So, after witnessing this pattern repeat for nearly four and a half decades, I finally asked myself what would a home run, irrefutable piece of photographic or video evidence look like? Of course, I am no expert, but I think this is what I think might do the trick for me.
This one seems obvious, but it is by far the most frustrating thing about the bulk of photographic and video evidence presented since photos and videos came into existence. The picture or film would need to be undeniably clear.
Interestingly, along with the aforementioned videos, this issue plagued the photo made famous by The Debrief in December of 2020. That pic (shown above), which was supposedly taken by a US military pilot and shared amongst the intelligence community as “unidentified”, clearly shows a physical object, but is just out of focus enough when one zooms in that writing it off as a ‘Batman’ balloon or some other high altitude balloon is simply too easy, regardless of the complex trigonometry that seems to indicate the size doesn’t match those explanations. Unfortunately people don’t want trigonometry, they want to see it for themselves, and clearly.
The McMinnville photo at the head of this post is undeniably clear, but the fact that it is sitting alone in the sky leaves open the possibility that it is something they just threw up and then snapped a pic. If there was an open field with animals underneath and no one close enough to have tossed it in the air, or a series of photos showing it moving across the sky, then it may be much harder to refute. A plane or something else in the background wouldn’t hurt as well, just to give it that size, shape and distance perspective.
If a picture or video is clear enough to see what it is, or more importantly what it isn’t, and it has the requisite perspective to rule it out as being a fake, then the third thing it would need to have is a distinctly “non-human-made” shape. If it looks like a triangle, a tic-tac, a saucer, or some other shape that is clearly not a design we normally see in any human-made craft, then that would be huge.
Two pieces of photo evidence that come to mind in this category are the “Calvine” photo (rendition shown above) and the other pic described by Lt Tim McMillan who penned the first Debrief piece, the increasingly famous “Triangle” photo (rendition below). Both pics, which are said to be in the hands of government officials in the U.K and U.S respectively, are said to show clear, undeniably ‘non-human’ designs.
The Calvine photo reportedly shows a clear, diamond shaped craft hovering over Calvine in Scotland, and supposedly with an airplane of some kind in the background to offer perspective. For U.K. MOD employee and famous TV UFO huckster Nick Pope has stated unequivocally that the Calvine photo is real, and that a recent order by government officials will keep it secret for decades to come.
As for the “Triangle” pic, there was some initial confusion about whether or not the cockpit photo discussed above was that pic, or if there was still another pic that had yet to be released. Just like that pic, this triangle photo was supposedly taken from the cockpit of a military jet, and was also supposedly shared extensively on internal computer networks used by the intelligence community. However, unlike that now notorious pic, this one allegedly shows a clear, irrefutable triangle with three circular lights at each corner and no traditional propulsion mechanism or control surfaces like conventional craft all have.
Although I have never seen this pic directly, I have had the opportunity to speak to someone who says they have. They say they were shown the pic on someone else’s device, and intentionally in an environment where they would not be able to take a screenshot or pic of it themselves. They also confirmed to me that is was exactly as described and shown in the rendition, a clear triangle with lights at the corners, and is indeed different than the more controversial one already released.
Unfortunately, they were dubious as to whether this pic will see the light of day anytime soon, and they were unwilling to confirm reports that the picture was actually one in a series that supposedly shows the same clear triangle craft emerging from the ocean. So just like Al Chop in 1951, I will have to wonder if there is more footage that is being hidden that would shed more light on things, even from the person I talked to who is well positioned to know.
So, is that it, then?
If we do indeed have crisp, clear pictures of undeniably unconventional craft like the Calvine or Triangle pics, then the pilots of those exotic craft are definitely not us, right? RIGHT?
Eh, we’d probably still say no. If these pics are real, and we do ultimately see them, then they still could be ours, just a hidden, ultra-secret, black budget kind of “ours”. TR3-B kind of ours. X-Files kind of ours.
Of course, that would be incredible as well. It would mean that we have conquered gravity, and that sooner or later humanity will know that a great many of the sightings in the late 20th and early 21st centuries were indeed the real thing. Not birds, balloons, or anything else that has been offered up, but honest to goodness craft that defy gravity, transit through water and air, and do things our most advanced fighter jet pilots could only dream about.
Unfortunately, for me at least, who thinks that the things humans have been seeing in our skies for millennia aren’t all man-made but likely represent something “not us”, this explanation would still leave a wide range of experiences as simply unexplainable.
So, I asked again, if I was hoping for something “off-world” in origin, then what would it take for a piece of video or a picture to convince me?
How about film of an undeniably non-human alien climbing out of an undeniably non-human craft, walking around, getting back in and zooming away into space like the film Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper described as seeing, and former U.S. Senator Harry Reid later confirmed as still being held somewhere in secret?
In the 1960’s, maybe. But in 2021 where video fakery has become so complex that “Tom Cruise Deep Fakes” are a real thing, I’d doubt it.
Even if we had that original film and it could be tested and confirmed as being recorded that long ago, people would argue that the film itself was real but the images were made later, like a vintage renaissance canvas cleaned and repainted with a fake Van Gough, and using real paints and brushes from the era so it can pass any forensic analysis. It would be provably a Van Gough, and most definitely not be one.
So, I ask again, what would an irrefutably authentic pic or video of a non-human, off-world UFO look like, and is there even such a thing?
Maybe, maybe not. Probably. I think.
Still, I admit that if I had a chance to see the Calvine photo, the Triangle pic, the Cooper film, or even the pic taken at the Chicago O’Hare incident that may or may not exist, and may or may not show a huge, disc shaped object hovering over the airport, I most definitely would take it. They sound like the real deal, and if released would at least give the UFO skeptic community a whole new set of hoops to jump through.
I, for one, also agree with Senator Harry Reid, who said it is long past time for this type of confiscated evidence that has been kept from the public come to light.
But even if such a treasure trove of evidence dropped all at once, I think there will always be someone who refutes is. Those ranks may shrink in the face of such clear-yet-unrecognizable, perspective-rich photos and videos doing seemingly impossible things, but something tells me at least one or two of the more die hard naysayers would likely never change their tune. Pics and videos are great, even ones that may appear downright impossible to refute, but for a precious few, just being the one who says “not-evidence” is all that they are seeking.
Me? I just wanna see the pics, and decide for myself. And I’d venture that is something we can all agree on, true believers, the UFO curious and skeptics alike.