Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can we learn anything from UFO Photos?, part six.

There are tasks which even Kid Click and Linda Lens find their skills inadequate to solve. Filming UFOs so as to answer the great mystery is certainly one of them. But although we're not solving the whole of this thing, in my opinion we are answering/substantiating quite a few particulars. Almost with clear certainty, I, at least, am finding that certain film shots [regardless of quality] are significantly supporting the narratives of many incidents. Most significant of these are the military and scientific experiences. The fact that a couple handfuls of such filmings took place and entered the intelligence community records tells me that our best observers were in fact seeing just what they said they were seeing. By a relatively easy expansion of this finding, I have great confidence that a great many non-military and non-intel-community observers were seeing exactly what they were reporting also. The mere fact that any filming of these things can happen, means to me that there is no a priori reason to doubt that many filmings can.

And, these descriptions and crude images which go with them seem to say to us: "Flying Mechanisms"..."Disks"... "something physical up there". And: "we can't do this". People are afraid to really take the step of commitment to the view that by far the strongest hypothesis associated with the UFO mystery is that it is a physical reality, it is technology, and we humans can't do it. It can still be a hypothesis. But it is a very strongly supported hypothesis. The film, crude as the images are, adds weight to this.

Well, here's a tough one. The data on this thing seems all messed up. I'm going to try to give you my best guess as to what went on here, but mainly this is only a rather interesting picture which may represent a blown opportunity.

This picture seems to have reached the American public via James Moseley. That fact is almost enough to make you quit bothering right there. Moseley, however, nice a guy he may or may not be, has spent a life fouling the waters of UFOlogy with hoaxes, misrepresentations, rumors, misplaced "humor" ... it has been an almost wholly unhelpful "career" to the field. Well, maybe this is an exception.

In Moseley's magazine of April 1955 this photo was placed on the front cover with the information that it was taken in 1952 in the Madre de Dios section of Peru, which I believe, is near the Bolivian border. The photographer is listed as a customs inspector named Domingo Troncoso. Others allegedly saw the object as it flew past. Basically no other information was given, including how Moseley would have gotten the photo. My own memory of some of the framing information dims, but I seem to remember that Moseley used to spend quite a bit of time in Peru, perhaps collecting artifacts. Maybe he came across the thing on a trip.

I would basically dump the case into a fairly deep graybasket at this point if that were all.

Well... let's begin, reluctantly with what Moseley says. He published the picture in his SAUCERS magazine in April 1955. He stated that the photograph was taken on July 19th, 1952. And this is wrong. Who knows WHY he is publishing the wrong date, but it is in keeping with his style of "contribution" to the field. NICAP, in 1957, hears of a similar sounding rocket-like UFO spewing a dense smoke trail behind it. They remember the Peru case and as Moseley is local, ask him for a comment about it. This comment is published in NICAPs UFO Investigator in fall 1957. In that report, Moseley said that he had met a Senor Pedro Bardi in Lima [no date], and that Bardi had told him that he was involved with this case and that it happened in 1952. At least this much of Bardi's comments is wrong: IF Bardi is talking about the same case. Bardi speaks of a thing going by the window at high speed, and no photo. The thing made a buzzing sound; no mention of a smoke trail. Bardi's object was described as round; NOT missile or cigar-shaped. Moseley then gives the illusion that he obtained "the" photograph taken by Domingo Troncoso, as if this was the same thing. uhhhh... doubt projector on full.

NICAP bought everything that Moseley said [he was in the early stages of his miscreant behavior and they weren't cued in to the need to scrutinize everything he said minutely], and so published the "report" in the UFO Investigator with positive comment, and it later got into Dick Hall's UFO Evidence  with the wrong date and the unsubstantiated connections. AND we stuck with the error still today.

Is there any way to tease out a clearer story?? Probably. I think that I can get us a little closer anyway.

What gives us a minor chance of figuring this thing out is that when the event(s) happened, the Peruvian government got involved. They "read the papers" of the time about several alleged events which included photographs and the Peruvian Air Force did a small amount of investigation. The investigation seems to have amounted to going to the newspapers which were publishing these things and asking them for an explanation. The Minister of Education of Peru was called in to help, and he apparently determined that the photo was taken by a "teacher" [rather than a "customs official"] while on a picnic with his family. The Peruvian Air Force then informed the US Air Attache of the event(s) and the photograph. The attache then sent an Air Intelligence Information Report to the Pentagon, as would be policy. It went to a Colonel Hearn, who is known to be in the USAF Intelligence command structure at the time. This AIIR plus a spanish-language newspaper clipping is what ultimately made it to Project Grudge and into the microfilm.

What it tells us is not a lot. It does fix the date as July 19, 1951 or earlier. It also gives the very strong impression that three different stories of events each with a photo were coming out of the Puerto Maldonado area at the same time. Attache McHenry Hamilton either did not understand this, or the Peruvian officer talking to him didn't. I'm guessing Hamilton is the source of confusion here. The newspaper article tells of one case of a luminous disk trailing thick vapor, allegedly seen five minutes later further along its path. Then the newspaper also claims that a similar craft was seen by 300 people. Finally the paper claims to have received the famous photograph "of the same object", though no photo had yet entered the narratives of the other reports. The attache is then told that there are three separate photographs taken by three separate individuals. The Peruvian Air Force then says that these three photographs were done as hoaxes to sell papers [not theirs, of course].

This stuff makes very little sense to me. The picture however is really quite good. Very impressive missile and smoke trail [some folks even claim to be able to see the reflection of the trail in the water].

One wonders.... did a perfectly honest citizen and his family watch an impressive "missile" rush [horizontally] by, and take one good picture?? Did others in the area embellish that, and perhaps other incidents, with their own fake stories and photos? Is therefore this one photo "good"? We need a man on the spot. There might have even been one. At that time a young Richard Greenwell was living in Peru, getting very interested in UFOs as well as Cryptozoology, and was about to become Coral Lorenzen's first South American APRO reporter. Much later, back in the states, Richard wrote up his Peruvian experiences [among other things] in a spanish-language book which resides on the shelves of the Sanderson SITU archives. I can't read spanish. And nothing on this may be in there anyway. But....

One thing that we can be sure of: Moseley's report is erroneous and for all we know could be completely wrong. Nothing new there.

My back is absolutely killing me today folks... I'm going to leave this entry here with just this paltry piece of history.

God bless and Peace....


  1. Hello, Prof.

    I wonder if the 'dense smoke trail'is not exhaust from the object, but a result of the object passing through the sky. Much like a magnet arranging iron filings on glass or a boat leaving a wake, perhaps the passage of the object arranges the atmosphere in some fashion and this is what we see in the photo. The trail also looks like the famous 'beads on a string' exhaust from the alleged Aurora.



  2. Yeh, there's no way to tell is there? There has been an idea out there for a long time in UFOlogy that if a very strong EM field would pass through an Oxygen/Nitrogen/Carbon Dioxide atmosphere under just the right conditions, that an unstable CNO ring structure might be produced chemically. That "stuff" would slowly hang around or drift downwards. After a relatively short semi-stable existence, it would de-stabilize and go "poof". Yep, it was an "angelhair" theory. There is part of this very story above which has something drifting down... though given the three-case confusion, who knows if it was related to the picture event?

  3. In the mid-1990s I did a very modest bit of work on this photo. At the time, there was great interest in alleged tests of hypersonic U.S. secret aircraft. One (at least) type left beads-on-a-string trails, photos of which were published in venues like Aviation Week and Space Technology (Phil Klass's old home base). This was said to be an advanced pulse-jet engine technology, in which one wall of the combustion chamber was actually the shock wave of the craft's multi-Mach travel through the atmosphere! But pulse-jets are more familiarly the engines of the V-1 "buzz bombs" the Germans sent against English targets in World War 2.

    The trail of the Peruvian object--part of which IS reflected in the water--shows an obvious intermittent pulse, either of condensation at vapor-trail height or of smokey exhaust. I thought this an unlikely feature for a UFO (others at CUFOS disagreed; you couldn't predict UFO "technological features," they said). I also thought it a complex effect for a hoax, and no movie (made by anyone) ever turned up to justify pains taken.

    CUFOS then had a very good xerographic copier--pretty much an analog device, without pixelization problems. I blew the best copy available to us (I think it was this NEXUS copy, but it just possibly may have been that in Moseley's book)way up in successive iterations.

    If this process didn't introduce artifacts (& I thought it didn't!), what showed up was surprising. The object isn't a cigar. It's a flying wing, or nearly that shape, caught in a straight-on side view. The small "dot" on the front end is actually (or at least very, very likely is) part of a "greenhouse" of windows like those in a World War 2 bomber, meant to give wide view to pilots and other crew.

    It LOOKED like a test of an earthly technology, presumably American, but in an unexpected place. However, in reading Cold War history, one finds hints of rather proactive American activities in South and Central America (MAYBE just as Great Britain imposed on Australia for testing grounds for nuclear tests and lesser military technology). Secret technology tested in a very secret place just might be successfully secretly discarded.

    I am well aware, however, that the Ghost Fliers over 1930s Scandanavia, and the Ghost Rockets of ca. 1946, both LOOKED like contemporary technologies--just somewhat advanced, and somewhat recklessly used/tested. But nobody could ever trace 'em to a contemporary origin.

    I know that Jim Moseley, who (egged on by Gray Barker) never scrupled to "keep the saucer pot stirred" by hoaxes and other antics, isn't the greatest source for anything. But remember that he got to look at USAF files because of his father (General George Van Horn Moseley), even though he was really rather estranged from his old man. In his book, he doesn't admit to this photo being one of his japes, at least.

    Frank John Reid

  4. Interesting remarks, Frank. I have very little of substance to add, but here are a few shallow thoughts:

    1). There is no way that this is a Moseley hoax initially. This story comes directly out of the Peruvian/Bolivian border area and was looked into a bit at least by the Peruvian government. Moseley would have been a pretty unlikely stimulator of such a thing as far back as 1951, when he still was relatively "normal" about his approach to UFOs. So, my view of Moseley's role in this is: he's down in Peru in Lima [not back in the "bush"] artifact collecting. He's interested in UFOs and spreads that around. This guy Bardi comes up to him and tells him his story [bogus or not] which is piggy-backed onto the stories from Puerta Maldonado of one[?]/two[?] years previous. Moseley is interested and goes to the Lima papers and secures a copy of the photo, which he later publishes in his new magazine. [with the wrong date and the Bardi story]. UFOlogy gets the date wrong courtesy of him, and maybe accepts a bogus tag-on story from Bardi [or maybe it's legit but with no corroboration].

    2). According to Aviation history, we were dismantling all the flying wings by then not increasing our range of testing them. Testing them over dangerous remote mountain forested areas like the Peruvian-Bolivian border stretches the imagination more than the thing being a product of jungle shamanist psychokinesis would. There is not even a landing facility nor proper Air Base anywhere in sight. Plus the security issues on the ground wherever that would be. That part of your hypothesis I'd have to pretty strongly reject.

    3). IF in fact this thing is shaped like a flying wing and not like a blunt rocket [I can't see it, but I'll give you that as a talking point], then it's right in line with the UFO from Albuquerque' Sandia witnesses during the Lubbock affair. The hypothesis then might be rather that this was another design-imitator for whatever purposes "they" have in doing that. One thing that I DO note, though, is that no one but you describes this object as a flying wing. To sustain your hypothesis you will have to say that the government and the press and the American attache could not see what you do, and they were looking at a better photo.

  5. I just "blew up" the photo above [which is probably a lot better anyway than the one on the front of Moseley's mag] and what it looks to me that it could be [rather than a "bullet" or a "flying wing"] something shaped more like the Space Shuttle. This is a little like seeing faces in clouds though, so I'm not claiming anything.

  6. "People are afraid to really take the step of commitment to the view that by far the strongest hypothesis associated with the UFO mystery is that it is a physical reality, it is technology, and we humans can't do it."

    Prof why can't it be technology beyond us AND terrestially and off-planetarily located electromagnetic entities AND time travellers AND...?

    [A lot of people say if there's advanced life out there we'd be like ants to them but 'they' may find us 'ants' just as fascinating as some of our scientists (and me) find our ants (besides ants like so many other insects're increasingly exhibiting far more signs of high intelligent and awareness than the egos of many of us can presently take)].

    And surely if any species becomes sufficiently technologically advanced then sooner or later it's go'n'o become aware of and eventually enter into communications with just such electromagnetics/jinn and possibly even time travellers.


    I 'blew up' the photo too and it does indeed resemble the Space Shuttle - it has a similar blunt nose and the rear section even tilts upwards.

    In Frank John Reid's defence though and speaking as an artist it is possible to read the undershadowing as being indicative of an extremely foreshortened 'flying wing' of some type.

  7. Hello,
    I just found this entry as I am researching our involvement with the ufo field for a forthcoming memoir. "Our" is myself, (Hope) Susan Vilsick-Greenwell and my husband J. Richard Greenwell (died Nov 1, 2005). Yes, we were young then. And he was APRO's rep in Peru from mid-1967 to Nov, 1968, when we left Peru to come to the USA. From that time he worked in the APRO office until Mar, 1973, when he left to pursue other interests.

    Regarding Richard's book, "Un Estudio Sobre los Ovnis," it was written and published while we were still in Lima, Peru (Oct, 1968). not later in USA.
    I assisted with investigations and the actual production of the book. As I am proficient in Spanish, I could look at it and see if the case you speak of is in it (I have not looked at the book in many years, so can't remember without reading it.

    Cheers!!!!!!! Hope

    1. Well, hello. I was an admirer of Richard and an early-ish [not founding] member of the International Society for Cryptozoology till its demise. I attended several ISC conventions even including the one in Edinburgh, Scotland. And, even though I was more specialized in UFOlogy, wrote a major article for Richard, on which he helped a great deal to make me look better.

      As to the case: it's a longshot, but absolutely yes I'd like to know if he writes of it in the book. That book needs to be translated by the way --- sign me up for the first copy. Also, I don't know if Richard had any of his old UFO files still extant, but they would be valuable to preserve.

      Thanks for the post/comment.

    2. HOLA , Sra. Susan
      La publicación "Un estudio sobre los ovnis" la leimos con nuestra familia cuando tenia 12 años , en 1972 , hasta hoy día se comercializa acá en el Perú , vía internet por Mercado Libre , este libro es un clásico para los investigadores sobre los Ovnis en nuestro país.
      Bueno en las fotográfias , incluso una de ellas donde se le ve bien moza con su fallecido esposo y James Lorenz , resaltan en esta publicación que en lo personal aprecio y esta bien conservada en nuestra biblioteca.
      saludos a la distancia desde Lima Perú.
      Carlos (



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