UFO Conjectures

Saturday, December 22, 2012

McMinnville 1950: A lack of scholarship or forensic intuition

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.


Why UFOs and it’s pseudo-science, ufology, is eschewed by academics and thinking people generally is exampled by the Trent/McMinnville material presented here and at every blog/web-site that ripped off the Anthony Bragalia “ladder boy” thesis.

Sure, the sensationalized attempt by Mr. Bragalia to show that Paul Trent faked his iconic flying disk pictures backfired.

But what ensued has been missed, amidst, the hubbub by that Bragalia gaffe.

David Rudiak’s find of the LIFE photos of the Trents shortly after the disclosure of their flying disk capture was superb sleuthing, as is his wont.

And Lance and Gilles Oberg insinuation was good skeptical “detective work” but these fellows think the story is over: Bragalia is neutered, the Trents are vindicated, and the skeptics have prowess.

But that’s not the end of it, at least as I see it…

I’ve already suggested that the object pictured was traveling too slow for photo-taking, in the context of flying saucer reports of the time-frame: saucers were almost always reported fling at speeds greater than aircraft of the time.

But let’s move away from that idea (which offended CDA).

Let’s look at the LIFE photographs/

Lance Moody and I (maybe a few others reading this) work with or have worked with journalists and journalistic photographers.

And some visiting here are photography buffs.

We know that a good photographer or great photographer – and LIFE’s were the best – not only documented what they saw with their cameras, but inserted meaning, sometimes subtle, sometimes not.

Any history of great photographs will show what I mean.

Photographers of note are telling a story, or hinting at a story.

The LIFE photographer, who visited the Trents and provided the photos that Mr. Rudiak found online, not only documented the venue and people involved in the picture-taking but also suggested, subliminally, that he – the photographer – got the feeling that something wasn’t right about the scenario and photos that Paul Trent allegedly took.

This is why there are several photos of Mr. Trent with eye to view-finder of his new camera.


Then there are the photos of Mrs. Trent gesturing about what she saw – many photos by the way, more than seems needed to indicate her visual.


But the Trent boy on the ladder; that’s the killer shot.


What has that shot to do with anything? Other than to hint at how the disk shots were set up.

There is no point to that shot of the Trent boy otherwise.

Lance Moody knows, as do I, that news media tries to avoid litigation of every kind.

Editors and reporters of legitimate media are constantly on the look out for anything that could bring a charge of libel or defamation.

This was a caution of LIFE, LOOK, and POST magazines and all newspapers of the 1950s on.

My work at The Detroit NEWS and Mellus Newspapers was constantly edged by the caveat that what was gathered had to be absolutely factual and true.

Working as a correspondent for Fort Wayne’s News-Sentinel in the early 80s also brought prohibitions of overtly suggesting wrong-doing, even subtly.

But in the case of the Trents, the LIFE reporter and photographer couldn’t let their journalistic intuition(s) lie dormant, without registering their innately journalistic need to tell and provide the truth – as all good journalists and photographers do or try to.

Thus, you UFO people need to evaluate the LIFE snapshots of the Trents in that light.

The LIFE effort wasn’t a cavalier sojourn, but a traveled, diligent effort to get at the truth of the Trent flying disk photos and story.

I conjecture that they couldn’t do that specifically, so they did it surreptitiously to some extent, and the evidence lies in the photographs they took and which have been disclosed, thankfully by Mr. Rudiak, but now set aside with smugness that Mr. Bragalia has been denied encomiums for his Trent fakery posting(s).

The Trent photos are likely fakes or true representations of a 1950s UFO.

Either way, the story is far from over.