Sunday, December 9, 2012

TRINDADE: " Hey Zorf! You forget to turn off the Anti-Photo Field Again?"

January 16th, 1958, near the Island of Trindade off the Brazilian coast: A Brazilian Navy science ship, the Admiral Saldanha was anchored off shore and preparing to embark on a mission associated with the world's studies of the International Geophysical Year. Almost everyone was on board and many on deck, military higher and lower ranks, scientists, technicians, and engineers, and a photographic team. The last exercise prior to departure, the hoisting of the launch, was progressing, and in the stern of the boat, the chief photographer was set up to film the activity. And then.....

At almost precisely the same moment, ship's personnel in both the stern and the prow of the boat shouted an alert that some unidentified aerial object was approaching Trindade. Many persons were able to watch as the unknown object approached, circled the Island, and flew back out to sea [a persistent error exists in our minds about this, though not in the official report. The object came from the direction of the continent, almost precisely west-to-east, not the deep ocean. It then retreated back towards the continent roughly NE to SW; this visualization occurs because the ship was north of the island looking south mainly].

It was the photographer's squad leader along with a retired Air Force captain who went quickly to Almiro Barauna [the man who would take the photos], yelling and pointing to him the shiny object still some distance away. The ship's dentist also came running to him, stumbling over the deck furniture as he came. When Barauna located the thing visually, he pointed his [fortunately] already loaded and readied camera, and managed to get four reasonably good shots. The "lucky" one over the island occurred when the object posed momentarily in a hover.

By this time at least a dozen and probably significantly greater number of witnesses were present to observe the approximately thirty-second performance of the object near the island. Barauna had six shots ready in his camera and took them all. (Four were deemed good and different enough [after the initial look at the developed negatives] to proceed later to the positive prints that all of the rest of us see).

 It was the Commandant of the Brazilian Trindade base himself, Carlos Alberto Bacellar, who was onboard the Admiral Saldanha at the time, who took charge of Barauna and the roll of film and took the undeveloped photos to an improvised darkroom in the ship's infirmary. There Barauna [in a ten minute working period] developed the film and showed the negatives [still wet] to Bacellar. Bacellar affirmed that the markings on the negatives showed what he had seen visually. Negatives were then shown to several other on-deck witnesses, who confirmed that these images portrayed what they had seen.

These are the real world facts which are important to keep firmly in mind when/if one tries to debunk this case. Almost ALL of these facts are ignored by debunkers who ply their dishonest ways by looking, from great distances, at the pictures and rumors surrounding personalities. To ignore these "on the ground" facts while pronouncing speculations at large variance to them is, at a minimum a disturbing comment upon the functioning of the human mind. I say that seriously.

So, the story leaked out --- not surprising since there was a newsman on board. The Brazilian Navy was "somewhat" forthcoming about concurring to the press that an unidentified object had been photographed, but initially no pictures were released. Fortunately for we US UFOlogists, there were three excellent UFO investigators on the scene with good military connections, who were able to get confirmation of the facts and how the pictures ultimately reached the public. These were three of the guys in the upper left montage above. Top left is Auriphebo Simoes, who was making direct contact with CSI-NY's Lex Mebane. Top right is Flavio Pereira, who had many military and scientific contacts. And bottom left is J. Escobar Faria, who had early contact with Dick Hall. These three were serious conservative "NICAP-attitude" UFOlogists, unlike the sometimes-cautious-sometimes-not "APRO-attitude" UFOlogist, Olavo Fontes, at the lower right. Simoes, Pereira, and Faria were friends whose information always proved responsible. There is no question that the Brazilian Navy felt that the information was true but sensitive. It came out finally due to an accident of a newsman friend visiting the Brazilian president, Juscelino Kubitschek, [seated in the upper right photo], who allowed the journalist to see the prints.

Well, the debunkers now had a major problem. The US intelligence community seems to have played a role in this, but one cannot say absolutely. Brazilian opinion was that the Brazilian Navy was under pressure NOT to publicize this, and the pressure came from some unknown "high" source. The US could put pressure on the Brazilians, as Brazil was totally dependent at the moment upon sales of weapons [like advanced planes] from the USAF. Reports to the Pentagon from military attaches ranged from vague statements about possible hoaxing to smartass commentary like Trindade was such a barren place even aliens wouldn't want to visit there. Concerning the idea of a hoax: you have read how the event occurred. This retelling comes almost entirely [minus homey details like the dentist tripping over the deck furniture] from the formal reports of the Brazilian Navy itself. Hoax?? A literal boatload of witnesses, many of technical skill, seeing an object BEFORE the photographer even saw it --- but of course he must have psychically predicted this so as to have already installed fake photos into his camera. AND EVEN WITH SUCH PSYCHIC PROWESS, the case STILL stands with many witnesses regardless of the corroborating film. Painfully stupid.

But still today this stupidity exists. Desperate debunkers say that Barauna was really good at making fake photos, even of UFOs.... well, he WAS. That's him and a team in the middle right above. What's he doing?? He's BEING PAID by the Brazilian AF to see if they can duplicate the Barra di Tijuca UFO to see if IT could have been faked. Barauna was a photographic ace employed by the government with their confidence --- why do we think that he was on the IGY ship team?? Recent rumors spewed by some distant relative saying that a closer relative once said that Barauna admitted faking the photos was denied by that closer relative. But, hey, if it gets rid of the awkward case, who cares??

When the USAF was asked by NICAP what they thought of the case, notorious Pentagon debunker [and known flat liar] Colonel Lawrence Tacker said it was a hoax. Re-questioned as to how it was determined by the USAF to be a hoax, Tacker said that a USNavy investigation proved it to be. When the Navy was asked about this, they said that they had neither determined nor said any such thing. Glorious.

When Donald Menzel was asked about the case, he said that it was a Hoax. But when queried privately in letters from Dick Hall, he said that he did not have evidence for that, but believed, rather, that it was a misidentification. A misidentification of What?, Dick asked. Menzel replied that not knowing the specifics of the camera used nor the film [these were available, though, and no one has found them to be relevant to the case], he could not say for sure, but it must be something like a conventional aircraft plowing through an atmosphere creating an oval of condensation around it. Now, the BAF and Navy surely could have considered this unlikely event out at sea in a remote location, and no one thought this, but Dick persisted: wouldn't it take pretty specific atmospheric conditions to even consider this? Menzel said yes. Dick then offered to get him the atmospheric read-outs for the place and time for his analysis. Menzel did not respond.

Although very fast-moving jets are known to briefly "explode" an oval of condensation around them, to sustain anything like this over long reaches of ocean and land [which notoriously changes the air environment above it] is, to my understanding, impossible. [Where's Jim McDonald when I need him?]. Plus, the film was analyzed microscopically both by the Brazilian Navy and by the RAND Corporation in the US and, not only were no evidences of tampering or montage found, but the images displayed a consistent definable edge to the object, so as to allow RAND to say: the four photos display images consistent with a single object of determined shape seen/photographed at different distances and tilts.

To say that I'm impatient with the debunkers is putting it mildly. I'll bet a bundle that the guy above [our legendary NPIC photo analyst, Art Lundahl] looked into this case and was right with me on this one. He really liked UFO photos and had a whole drawer-full of them. I'll bet Trindade was in there.

Here's another bunch of guys who are with me on this. Every one of them is a better UFOlogist than Donald Menzel, and much the better Citizens of the World and Pursuers of the Truth.

Sometimes these things just have to be said without sugar-coating.   Blessings, friends.


  1. Hi Professor. Your post inspired me to read more about the case and I read the account from Jerry Clark's "The UFO Encyclopedia." I was very interested to read that in the previous months leading to the event under discussion, there were several sightings of silvery UFOs and apparent interference by these objects with the equipment attached to the balloons reported by other witnesses other than those from the Almirante Saldanha. How convenient and incompetent for the debunkers such as Menzel to not address the evidence in its entirety. Maybe the previous pattern of unusual activity prompted the Brazilian Navy to take a heightened interest in the photographs as well as the caliber of witnesses when the January 16th event occurred. Very interesting case.

  2. Hi Elsie --- glad to her your lovely "voice". Yep, Commandante Bacellar was well aware of several observations prior to the famous filming [even was a witness himself I think]. This is why, I think, that the crew and Bacellar reacted so fast to the object when it was aways off, and rousted Barauna so insistently. And why Bacellar was so careful to protect the evidence from objections as to how it was gained [i.e. immediately insisting that Barauna develop the film right there on board "in front of everybody's eyes".

    This is the siege gun of UFO photography cases, and in my mind is about as bulletproof as you get. As we said in those earlier "can you learn anything from UFO photos?" posts, though, even in a case like this the photos serve only as supporting evidence to the human reports. In this case they constitute VERY good support, but they can't tell us much more than what the humans saw.

    There are only two mundane explanations which can be floated in this case: a]. Menzel's plane-creating a condensation oval [which I think is probably physically impossible for the time, speed, length of travel, and different air conditions flown through]; and b].that it was a massive hoax created by the whole ship's crew and island research team, who roped in Barauna and the independent underwater photography team as well. This hoax would have had to be a particularly good one, as no alterations of negatives nor evidence of montage were detectable by either the Brazilian analysis nor RAND.

    In other words, both alternative hypotheses fail mightily. This leaves us with a fairly rapidly-moving domed disk technology unidentifiable by the Brazilian military. Did secret German scientists fleeing from WWIIs end, hide in Brazil to continue their futuristic high-tech aeronautical experiments, and sneak out for a cruise over a IGY science ship??? Did George Hunt Williamson's Brazilian jungle Brotherhood of the Seven Rays make an appearance from Atlantaean Agharti?? Did the Universe have a weird hiccup??

    I'll take the ET Hypothesis, just as Jim McDonald would have.

  3. These photos might be legit but I have to say it: they look fake. Not saying they're fake but I can see how their appearance would be a barrier preventing persuasion. The object looks washed out, grainy, has no sharp almost looks like it were painted on. Again, not saying it was painted, but it's hard to ignore.

    Perhaps this appearance is simply a result of our copies (possibly) being several generations removed from the originals?

    Has anyone seen the negatives since 1958?

    As for dastardly debunkers, Kevin Randle expressed some doubt about the story two years ago. (It happens.)

  4. Well, although I can see why someone could say such a thing as a casual reaction, basing a conclusion of whatever softness upon a "it looks fake to me" sort of theory is dangerous methodology. As stated in the posting: to honor such an "it looks fake to me" response, that responder would have had to incorporate some line of at least conceivable reasoning to dispense with the facts that nearly the whole crew of the boat saw the thing, the base commandant took charge of the film development, the negatives were shown to several witnesses who affirmed them, and two image analyzing labs later looked at them [one at the negatives; one at the prints] and found that they were not doctored nor showed montage. The statement "it looks fake to me" or "like it's painted on" is so at variance with these documented facts, that it continually puzzles me why I'm hearing them as stand-alone statements that I should take seriously. Even Menzel discarded this line of debunking.

    And "skeptic" is not an equivalent term to "debunker" in my parlance. A skeptic questions hypotheses with an open mind and all things being equal is just as likely to come down in the positive as in the negative. A debunker is a non-analyst in the sense that they are only looking for ways to negate whatever it is that they are challenging. If they cannot effectively do so, they are unlikely to admit it. I don't consider Kevin a debunker, even when we disagree on some specific. Kevin Randle comes down on the positive side of many UFO issues.

  5. You really should look these links:

  6. I've already looked at them months ago. They do not answer the most basic questions I've posed above. Most telling: there is no evidence that any admission of hoax in this case occurred by Barauna and the relative allegedly reporting such denied it. Amazing how some people leap over the facts in attempts to expunge anomalies. I've never gotten the motivation. One bottom line in this [among several]: even if there were no photos, how does one debunk the entire case? And if one doesn't debunk the entire case, how does one ignore that the other witnesses were involved with the filming moment? Debunking the entire case demands debunking the official Brazilian Navy reports and a large number of co-conspirators. I'm not smoothly going there until I see how that would possibly be.

  7. Isn't it obvious Prof?

    It's a picture of Saturn under rare gravitational lensing conditions.

    ...a slightly less silly explanation than it's a pair of spoons - unless those spoons came from Uranus forgetomori!

    Personally I set as little store by Barauna's niece's hoax confirmation as I do by a couple of nieces of my acquaintance who married into 'a better class of people' and forbade their father from introducing himself as Dicky because it sounded common and lewd.

    1. Yes, Alan. You should be appointed official arguer against the debunkers. I'm sure you'd wear them out so thoroughly that they'd become romantic enthusiasts in a shot.

      Actually, your wayward sense of things expressed in good humor was particularly welcome at just this moment, as Mother is very ill in hospital, and I am in Michigan rather than there, and times are not particularly nice right now. I didn't need the added aggravation of the debunking forgetomoris of the world piling on, which I got both here and by e-mail. So, thank you. Made me smile in a moment where smiles are rare.

  8. What's more confusing is the 'why'. Why did that UFO Phenomena do a showy appearance in front all witnesses ? i mean all it did was to do a simple maneouvre over the isle and thats it.. If there is a HOAX in this case, the Hoaxers are the ones behind the UFO Phenomena, not the witnesses.

  9. cant help visiting this post , after reading your ''best ufo photos' recently... these trindade set of photo are really different than others, in respect that the UFO seem farther away than the backgroun mountain (which supported the witness(s) statements that it flew behind the mountain).. some other UFO photo can show clearly that it is located in the foreground (and thus the object have smaller size)..

    maybe the title should be 'trindade : Zorf, turn off the invisibility shield, the photograpers are here'