Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

UFO photos: A real saucer

Location: Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA
Date: August 8th, 1965


James Lucci, 17, was photographing the full moon with his brother, John, 23. Around 11:30PM, a shining object appeared from behind a hill. James managed to take two shots before the flying object left. His friends encouraged him to send the photos to the Beaver County Times, where they were analyzed and declared authentic. On the image above, the moon can be seen at left.

Comment: This case is specially interesting not only because it was one of the first investigated by the most well-known skeptical investigator of UFO cases, the late Philip J. Klass. But because he declared it authentic!

beaver2“I interviewed James and his older brother John, and afterwards I had no particular reason to doubt their word. I also spoke with their father, who was a professional photographer in the Air Force and had been in Europe when the photos were taken. He told me that he had no idea how anyone could fake photos like that”, confessed Klass to fellow skeptic Gary Posner.

“But one of them faintly resembled a kitchen saucer held in the palm of a hand. So I asked James if he would allow me to photograph him in his front yard — where the UFO photos had been taken — with him holding a kitchen saucer. He flatly refused to do that, but he did agree to take a picture of me holding a saucer.”

Phil Klass even suggested that James Lucci’s photo, authentic, could have involved a “plasma UFO”. Shortly after the publication of his book, however, William Hartmann, investigator from the University of Colorado, part of the “Condon report”, solved this one. He managed to reproduce the photos, and the were indeed the photo of a saucer.

The photograph of Klass holding a saucer was taken in daylight, contrary to the original photos. Mix the darkness with the flash of the camera on your recipe, and you get a nice “plasma UFO” from a shiny metal kitchen saucer.


Decades later, John Lucci confessed the hoax. “[The case] sure taught me not to be too trusting of seemingly honest folks“, Klass remarked.

See: An Interview with Philip J. Klass, the World’s Leading UFO Skeptic
Also: Condon Report, Case 53: Illuminated Model Fabrication
And: Intiki UFO Shyashin (in Japanese)

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