Friday, December 21, 2012



A McMinnville UFO article has stirred some up recently when I ran an image of Paul Trent’s boy standing on a ladder. The kid was perched up in the very area where his father had taken two UFO pictures. These pictures are believed my many today to have been hoaxed. The ‘ladder boy’ photo is a very provocative photo that could impact the authenticity of two highly controversial UFOs photos made in Oregon in 1950 by farmer Trent.


James Oberg is a well-known space journalist who has professional ties to NASA .

Oberg admitted just earlier today to researcher Lance Moody that he is indeed responsible for having posted the incriminating ‘ladder boy photo’ on a website a long time ago. He has agreed that was wrong to have done so.

Moody has conceded that Oberg was “mistaken” to have posted the photo. We can all certainly agree that it has caused many problems.

Oberg is known to be rabidly skeptical about “things UFO.“ So much so that in 2009 Oberg deliberately planted a troubling photo on an ATS website forum. It was a picture of Paul Trent’s boy on a ladder. The kid had a mischievous grin and was posed directly under the area that a UFO had been captured on film by his father. Oberg is the first person to have ever placed this image on the net. When Oberg was asked about the origin of the photo, Oberg replied that LIFE had bought the rights,’- that the image had been acquired by them. Of course LIFE photographer Loomis Dean, who went to the Trent farm, was a LIFE employee. His pictures did not have “rights” that could be “bought” or “acquired.”

More importantly, Oberg did not post the other LIFE Trent farm images, just the ‘ladder boy’ photo. Why? He had to have known that there was a series of Trent farm photos, but he chose to selectively post only the one that would immediately suggest a hoax.


Oberg’s “mistake” was apparently repeated on another site some years later. I next saw the Oberg image posted this past summer on another well-known paranormal website, Unexplained Mysteries. A long-time, respected poster there had reproduced the ladder boy image, adding the statement: “from the same roll of film as the UFO photos.


I reviewed the online LIFE gallery of work by photographer Loomis Dean before I had published the article. There were several wonderful LIFE photos that Dean did over the years, but nothing on McMinnville. An individual emailed me after the article had appeared. He explained that the reason that I could not access the Trent farm photos is because LIFE had since removed them from their site and had apparently archived them. I could not get what I did not even know existed.


That is it, the sum total on the matter. There was no nefarious intent on my part despite what some have maintained (and in sometimes unprofessional and even profane terms.)

And despite Oberg having posted this very same image on the net before I did, no one had ever seen fit to correct him in the three years in which he did so. Lance Moody has asked me for an apology on this , I wonder if he asked the same of Oberg?


The ‘boy on the ladder photo remains a provocative one, no matter the provenance. And if you examine the photos in the LIFE series of the Trent farm closely enough it becomes evident: it would be very easy place in which to fake a UFO. And a ladder and a helpful kid would certainly come in handy for a hoax…



  1. Thank you for explaining the type of sources you regularly rely on.

  2. One question, Mr. Bragalia:

    How do you know Mr. Oberg placed that "boy on a ladder" photo, taken by Dean Loomis of LIFE magazine over a month after Paul Trent's two controversial "UFO" photos were taken?

    Might Oberg have sincerely believed, perhaps in part due to his own confirmation bias or debunking perspective, that the "ladder boy" photo was taken by Trent, and from the same roll of film as the two "UFO" photos, as he said on an ATS forum over three years ago?

    You allege an intentional provocation or "baiting" by Oberg -- what is the evidential basis for that opinion? Have you actually ever discussed this, if not beforehand, after it became known that photo was taken by Dean, not Trent, to support your contention, or not?

  3. The issue, Melinda, has been addressed more fully at our other blog -- The UFO Iconoclast(s) --


  4. Well, only insofar as Mr. Bragalia blames Oberg for "duping" him, without evidence that Mr. Oberg did so intentionally.

    It would seem, imho, that Bragalia still has not really conceded the matter of his _own_ responsibility, or possible lack of investigatory acumen, in using such a superficial, unvetted source, among a couple others, without prior attribution, as the basis for his initial blog post and related conclusions about the "boy on the ladder" photo as indicating to him it was taken by Paul Trent, which we all know now, thanks to David Rudiak, primarily, was at least incorrect.

    But thanks for the cross-reference. I'll take a another look.

  5. AJB-

    Thank you for the diligence you've displayed in explaining how you were taken in by Oberg's fiendishly convoluted internet photo disinformation!

    Examining the rest of your blog posts, I can easily see why Dr. Randle asked you to join his Roswell Dream Team; Randle and his initial partner Dan Schmidt left a perfect research history of never being taken in by a Roswell witness. They obviously see in your work the same attention to detail.

    Carry On;