Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You Oughta (Not?) Be in Pictures

Over at the Virtually Strange Network (see link), Errol Bruce-Knapp's "UFO Updates" section offers a daily sequence of messages from veteran UFO researchers and serious individuals, and if you haven't made "UFO Updates" a part of your daily Internet life, I encourage you to do so (check out the pod casts conducted by Errol, too).

Last week, "UFO Updates" contributor Kentaro Mori initiated a literary firestorm of responses when he reported that the Brazilian TV program, "Fantastico" revealed that the famous series of Saturn-like UFO photos allegedly taken in the Trindade Isle by Almiro Barauna were faked. Barauna's niece would not be interviewed herself, but supposedly confirmed through a friend that Barauna assured her long ago that he joined two spoons together and photographed the "UFO" using his refrigerator as a background.

The Trindade photos have been controversial for years but, yes, there was a floating consensus among some that they provided good photographic UFO evidence. This may still be the case, because we really don't yet have the definitive proof of a hoax -- but proof may be coming soon, if there hasn't already been further information released. We'll have to wait and see. Perhaps nothing will be settled at all.

The stories behind still photographs of purported UFOs have a history of collapsing months or years after their appearance -- all the more reason to crave military photographic evidence and photos or films confiscated from trusting private individuals and never returned.

I'll certainly be disappointed if the Trindade photos are hoaxes, because I gladly used one of the series as a visual in my first magazine article in 1967. Actually, lots of people depended upon these particular Brazilian photos to enhance their books and articles. But you never know in these matters what may transpire as the future unfolds like a spider's web of deceit.

Apparently, the critics are already out there condemning the praise that the (former) Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) and other organizations and researchers lavished upon the Trindade photos after their own analyses. I consider this most unfair because investigators could only rely upon the analytic means available at the time years ago, and in addition to methods we only have witness accounts to mull over when all is said and done. Among honorable investigators, photos were always a thorny issue, but somebody had to perform the arduous work and they did their best. That is to say, when one acts on a "good faith" basis, conclusions should be respected on the basis of their veracity until further information arises. This is a far cry from some known members of the UFO "community" in the past who went out of their way to "confirm" the authenticity of obviously ridiculous photographic images on every possible occasion.

For better or worse, real or fake, the Trindade photos won't be the last, joined as they are by films, videotapes -- and the terror of digital images that anybody can fake with total confidence any morning of the week, and happily pile upon world Internet gullibility long before breakfast is ready.