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Archive for the 'UFOs' Category

Billy Meier remakes

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Do the photos above seem different? One is an allegedly alien spacecraft by Billy Meier. The other is one of the top 60 remakes by Phil Langdon, made with a plastic garbage lid and other trinkets.

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People have long been seeing the obvious tricks used to create such UFO photos, involving mainly forced perspective – including the use of a small bonsai-like tree.

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But Phil Langdon managed to match almost every little detail of Meier’s photos. Here he is with the small tree and one of the models:

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Click for the full gallery on The Biggest Secret Forum.

Of course, one may think unnecessary to debunk such photos. Who would believe them in the first place?

Well, Fox Mulder wanted to believe, as the poster on his office was a cropped version of one of Meier’s photos.

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Meier’s original shot is here, and Langdon’s remake of that classic shot is here.

The Meier case is quite interesting, as besides using a garbage can lid as part of an alien spacecraft, he sold photos of TV dancers as beautiful humanoids from the DAL-Universe and illustrations as shots from space, the future or the past.

Note two of the previous links go to Meier’s explanations to such exposes, where he actually claims that the original sources were created a posteriori to discredit him, and/or that the photos he sold were switched with hoaxed ones without his knowledge by Men in Black.

It sounds like something out of the plot of the final seasons of X-Files. Which is not good at all.

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The Varginha Incident: Case Closed?

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Last month, excerpts of the conclusions of the official military investigations on the “Varginha Case” were published by IstoE magazine. As would be expected, they caused quite a furor among enthusiasts because there Lt Col Lúcio Finholdt Pereira raised as “the most probable hypothesis” that a local with disabilities, known as “Luizinho” – or Little Luis:

“being probably dirty, due to the heavy rain, seen crouching against a wall, was mistaken by three terrified girls as a ‘creature from space’”.

In short, as can be seen in the comparison above, part of the military inquest, Little Luis was allegedly mistaken for an alien. Being that some local ufologists claim the Varginha Case is the best UFO evidence ever, the idea that it could be explained so simply is bound to be met with derision.

The bombshell brings to mind the official explanations for the Roswell case, including the claim that it was a Case Closed. It must be taken with a grain of salt. Here’s to our ordinary look at this new development, which from the start, is not actually new.

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Fred Astaire in a Flying Saucer (of the Gods?)

In this clip from the musical “Dancing Lady” (1933), Fred Astaire and Joan Crawford dance over a circular rug which then starts to fly around the sky until it comes back to ground, cheered by a crowd.

To us, of course, the flying carpet actually looks like a flying saucer, and the tassels may even be interpreted as exhaust plumes (or force field?). This is because more than a decade after the MGM musical, the flying saucer would enter popular culture in 1947 through Kenneth Arnold’s sighting.

By coincidence, this month’s Fortean Times also has a piece by founder Bob Rickard about the depiction of a vimana in a 1986 Indian TV series of The Ramayana. The “UFO-like flying platform” looks almost exactly the same as Astaire’s flying rug. fortean_times_8725_7

Flying platforms, once the stuff of fantasy, from the Ramayana to musicals, have already been developed as technological prototypes such as the Hiller flying platform of 1955:

Though that didn’t go very far, in more than one sense. [with thanks to Mary Castner and Martin Shough]

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Kean and Pilkington UFOs: Mirage Men on the Record

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This is not a review of the two UFO books making the rounds lately. I just bought Mark Pilkington’s “Mirage Men”, though it won’t actually arrive here in Brazil before the end of the month. Hurray for standard shipping. As for Leslie Kean’s “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record”, I will wait a little while until it’s released on paperback. So, I don’t have either of the books on hand, nor have I read them. This is not a review.

But I just had to comment on them beforehand, because both books feature Brazilian cases, it seems quite prominently. Kean features a Trindade Island case photo right on the frontpage of her site. She also quoted (and published) Brig. Gen. Jose Pereira of Brazil regarding a famous local UFO scramble case in 1986. For his part, Pilkington deals with the Antonio Villas Boas abduction case. Or so I read on some reviews, especially the quick blurb by Andy Roberts and David Clarke on this month’s Fortean Times. Let’s start from there.

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Trindade Island case photographer admits hoax

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This Sunday, a major TV show in Brazil, “Fantastico”, aired a bombshell about the Trindade Island’s UFO (click for the original video and transcript in Portuguese). This is one of the most celebrated cases in ufology, so when a friend of the author of the famous photos, Almiro Barauna, tells in a recorded interview that she:

“heard from the photographer himself: he hoaxed the images, it was a montage. ‘He got two spoons, joined them and improvised a spaceship, using as background his home fridge. He photographed on the fridge door and object with a perfect lighting, because the calculated everything, he wasn’t dumb. He laughed a lot’, said Emilia Bittencourt.”

So this is a bombshell, especially because the TV show also reported that “Barauna’s files are with a niece, who didn’t want to record an interview, but she confirms the hoax.” A friend says she heard from the photographer details of how he hoaxed the world-famous UFO photos, and the niece who guards his files confirming it. A bombshell.

Since 2003 we have been calling attention to evidence that the photos may have been hoaxed, going from the inversion of the images of the UFO in different shots, to radical changes in background clouds while the elapsed time was claimed to be less than 20 seconds. In the years since then we have been ongoing on our research and found several new pieces of evidence, which will soon be presented in full.

Even so, the detail revealed by “Fantastico” and Bittencourt that the model used for the hoax was made up of two metallic spoons caught us by surprise – just as anyone else.

 

What a twist!

In another twist of the story, a little more than a day after the TV show aired, Barauna’s niece, through Jose Americo Medeiros, states that she actually didn’t confirm the hoax. And while some are already suggesting the TV show concocted the whole thing, one has to take all these statements with due caution.

I spoke with the responsible for the news report, Luiz Petry, an editor for more than a decade in one of the most viewed shows in the country. Petry has actually been the editor-in-chief of mostly all news reports about ufology from the beginning, being in close contact with researchers and knowing very well the field. And he stated very clearly that he stands by what has been aired: Barauna’s niece didn’t want to record an interview, but she did confirm the hoax to the TV show.

And while she is denying having said that, we still have Emilia Bittencourt’s clear statements of how she heard directly from Almiro Barauna how he hoaxed the photos. She may have more to say, and if she’s telling the truth, there may be other witnesses who also heard this story from Barauna, be they relatives or just close friends. Otherwise, her story, especially the details about how the hoax was accomplished may not hold up.

What we do know for certain is that Almiro Barauna did confess hoaxing a series of photos to fool a newspaper. And we are not talking about the “Mundo Ilustrado” humorous article where, four years before Trindade, he showed how to hoax flying saucer photos.

No, this was a confessed and deliberate hoax.

 

baraunatreasurehoax02“I sold a hoaxed story”

It was a spectacular success – and it was a trick”, says with a smile in his face Almiro Barauna on a video interview given in 1997 to Marco Antônio Petit, who sells it on a DVD. Barauna is referring to a series of four news reports about the alleged discovery of a buried treasure, complete with a chest and a skeleton.

We did this in agreement with Ubiratan Fernandes from ‘Cruzeiro’, Dalécio Vanderlei and another one. They were chatting on Cruzeiro that Calazans Fernandes [from ‘Tribuna da Imprensa’] was a very keen guy, that no one was able to fool” recalls Almiro.

I said ‘I will fool him’. I will make a trick and sell it to him. I did the trick and he bought it”, he says, again with a big smile in his face. “He then disliked me a lot”.

Barauna then say that Calazans, when the Trindade Island UFO photos showed up in 1958, tried to debunk him by publishing on ‘Tribuna da Imprensa’ details about his treasure chest trickery.

In fact, it was indeed a trick”, he admits once again. “But one thing had nothing to do with the other”, he concludes after thinking for a few moments.

You can see the subtitled video excerpt below, click on “cc” if the English subtitles don’t appear automatically.

 

 

Treasure chest hoax

Thanks to the work of historian Rodolpho Gauthier, you can see here three of the photos Barauna hoaxed for the treasure chest story. The alleged buried treasure in Espirito Santo was actually photographed in Saco de Sao Francisco in Niteroi, near his house, the skeleton was borrowed from the local Medical School and an old chest was used. Barauna himself appears in one of the photos, posing along with the hoaxed discovery.

By another amazing coincidence, besides having taught how to fake flying saucer photos shortly before Trindade, this fake tresure chest story was allegedly in Espirito Santo, but more precisely in Franceses Island. An island. Trindade Island, by the way, is also part of Espirito Santo state.

Another interesting coincidence is that as soon as he got authorization to sell the photos, he sold them to Diarios Associados, from the same folks of the Cruzeiro magazine with whom he concocted the treasure chest hoax. Cruzeiro magazine was also the responsible for the Barra da Tijuca hoax, which to end this series of coincidences in a full circle, was what Barauna was making fun of when he joked about how to create flying saucer photos.

But, there’s more. One could have the impression that Barauna revealed the treasure chest hoax shortly afterwards. But when the Trindade Island case reached the news in 1958, he stated to Jornal do Brasil:

Can you imagine, even that story about the treasure I photographed on Espirito Santo they say was blackmail”.

In 1997, Almiro Barauna, laughing a lot, finally admits that the treasure chest story was a hoax he photographed near his home, that “it was indeed a trick”. Did he confess the Trindade Island photos as a hoax to his family and friends? The bombshell may explode in stages. Or fizzle.

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[This story about Barauna’s treasure chest hoax had already been published in SUNlite in the beginning of the year. Now, with a video excerpt of the DVD “Caso Trindade” by Marco Antônio Petit, and the collaboration of Rodolpho Gauthier]

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