Location: Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date: May 7th, 1952
On May, 1952 the Brazilian magazine “O Cruzeiro” had a bombastic cover feature:
“EXTRA: FLYING SAUCER ON BARRA DA TIJUCA
O CRUZEIRO presents, on a spectacular scoop, the most sensational documentation ever made about the flying saucer mystery — The strange craft came from the sea, with huge speed and was seen for a minute – Bluish gray color. Absolutely silent, without leaving any trace of smoke or flames – Complete report of the fascinating sight at Barra da Tijuca.
Reported by ED KEFFEL and JOÃO MARTINS”
Comment: A sensational series of five photographs. Too sensational: “Ed Keffel had only five negatives on his camera. He mus have known beforehand what would happen. And he knew. Everything was planned. In only five photos they managed to capture the alleged flying saucer in profile, from above, below and slightly tilted“, noted ufologist Claudeir Covo.
The hoax, made by “O Cruzeiro” magazine, took an unexpected turn with the involvement of the Brazilian military. Far from “cover-up”, they endorsed the case. Air Force officers, headed by col. João Adil de Oliveira, analyzed the images and, because they failed to reproduce them using a model thrown in the air, declared them authentic. The hoax was actually made by photomontage.
A month after the images were publicized, Ciência Popular [Popular Science] magazine, through its director, Ary Maurell Lobo, did their due work and proved that us, Brazilians, were not all that gullible.
“Regarding the ‘flying saucer’ that gave an interview on Barra da Tijuca to the photographers … we emphasize the hoaxes being made on USA and Europe, by throwing small disks on the space and photographing them. Everything published on such periodicals can be easily obtained through this process, or by a special montage, with successive photos. We don’t want to claim that the sensational report was of such criminal nature, but we don’t accept it“, Wrote Lobo on June 1952. He was right about the “special montage”.
By 1963, american astronomer Donald Menzel, fierce enemy of the interplanetary spaceships — or of its promoters — was already nailing the case right on the spot. The flying saucer’s shadows are not coherent with the scenario. The “Condon report”, the Colorado University study about UFOs published on 1968, supported Menzel’s objection through independent analysis. The analyzed image, show at the beggining of this page, indicates that the flying saucer was illuminated from the left, while the scenario, notably the palm tree, was illuminated from the right.
On the 1980s, William Spaulding and Brazilians Carlos Reis and already mentioned Claudeir Covo presented even more evidence that the photos were hoaxed. On the fifth and last image, Covo wrote that “to create such shadow on the object, the Sun must have been inside the Atlantic Ocean”.
We end with the Condon report conclusion on this case:
“This case is presented as an example of photographs which have been described as incontrovertible evidence of flying saucers, yet which contain a simple and obvious internal inconsistency.”
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