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…


Sunday, December 16, 2012


Copyright 2012 InterAmerica, Inc. [Permission needed to reproduce, otherwise copyright infringement will be pursued)


Found clues point to a prank behind the most cherished UFO photographs in history. For over six decades the two images taken by Paul Trent of McMinnville, Oregon have continued to generate great debate about their authenticity. But investigation now indicates that the two Trent images were likely ones of invention. If so, how did a farmer fake so many for so long?



Paul Trent and his wife Evelyn were farming folks who lived in a rural area of the Pacific Northwest. On May 11, 1950 Evelyn claimed that she had spotted a disk-like UFO in their backyard and she called out for her husband to retrieve the camera inside their home. Paul managed to run inside, run back out, and then snap two photos of a mysterious aerial object. Those images even today are emblazoned in the minds of those with UFO interest.


Though many UFO researchers (and even the Condon Committee) could see no obvious evidence of hoaxed images, other researchers did.

The essential fact is that the two photographs are gray and grainy. They are of low resolution and they are produced from a simple box camera. Endless techniques, technologies, enhancements and enlargements have been applied to test the veracity of the images by many individuals over many years to varying interpretations. But in real life one cannot always make lemonade out of a lemon.  Simply, the information that is gleaned from a given image can only be as good as the image. And these are poor images from which to work. Conclusively determining whether the object was suspended or thrown- or whether the UFO is actually a rear view mirror, a small scale model or a Dual record changer spindle part from 1940, or whether it is indeed an actual full-sized unknown aerial cannot be accomplished solely by technical analysis.

What we can do is to investigate the photos in a far broader context. We must examine the sequence of events and other elements of the story like this:


Trent Son on Ladder Where UFO Pictures Were Taken (Same Roll)

We must ask, for instance, things like this: What did the other photos taken on the roll containing the UFO photos depict? Well, a picture of Paul Trent’s son is within that roll- and it speaks proverbial volumes.

Often an accompanying image can tell a lot about images that are in question. And in this case, it surely does. On the very same roll that the UFO photos were taken we see a picture of a kid up on a ladder next to the very barn-like structure that was found in the UFO pictures.

And this young man is very interestingly positioned right where the saucer action was about to occur. He is directly under where the UFO was also captured on film.

Why is this kid on a ladder and being photographed in the “UFO spot”? And on the same roll?

And the Trents later contradictions on just when the photographs were taken can be accounted for when we understand that Trent and the boy probably spent a great deal of time extending throughout the day to do it just right. He couldn’t remember the precise time or he was not astute enough to realize the significance of accurately correlating your story to your image.

It is just beyond curious and headed to the obvious: The boy was acting as Daddy’s little helper, assisting in the preparation of the hoax set up in some way, perhaps serving to frame the photos- or helping to angle and position the “UFO.”

It is known that the other pictures on the roll were taken at a time well preceding the photo of the kid on the ladder and the UFO photos. And Trent waited until sometime after the UFO photos were taken to develop the film as he wanted to use up the film exposures that were left remaining on the roll.

The farm boy on the ladder certainly looks appropriately dressed for a cloudy, early day in May in the Pacific Northwest, the time the UFO pictures were taken. And the cloudy gray background sky above him appears suspiciously consistent with and similar to that of the UFO photos. That is, by the looks of things, they could have been taken on the very same day.


The fact that the photo of the child on a ladder (which is taken near the barn-like structure underneath the overhead wires) where a UFO would later also be photographed appears in the same film roll give one more than simple pause. This all clearly points to a prank. It almost appears that Trent was getting a lesson in forced perspective and how to take pictures when your “subject matter” is elevated in the air.



With the boy high atop the ladder under the wires near the barn, Paul Trent could practice his UFO shot by looking through his viewfinder, aiming and framing and composing the shot of the UFO to come. This would be a dry run. To have taken practice exposures using the actual UFO model would of course be too damning.

And Paul may have noticed something about kneeling when taking a picture- you can force the desired perspective. The essential thing missed by most is that they assume that Trent was standing upright when taking the photo. But Trent, in taking shots of his small child off the ground, realized that you could create illusions from varying perspectives.

If Trent crouched down low with the boy high on a ladder, he could make the flying saucer look farther away than it really was:

By kneeling down even a little bit, and by shooting up from that position, he could force the perspective of the resulting photo to make it appear to have greater distance, yet remain reasonably sharp in focus.

And a disc-like object could easily have been thrown from that very ladder by his boy accomplice when the ladder was placed out of view of the shot. Or the ladder could have been used to suspend the object from the overhead wires. Take your pick. But whatever the choice, a ladder, a kid atop it and forced perspective somehow most certainly figure into the prank.



Kim Trent Spencer, the Trent’s granddaughter, told journalist Kelly Kennedy of the Oregonian something of missed importance- the Trents were repeaters. That is, they had multiple UFO “experiences.” Kennedy reports:

“Kim remembers talking about the UFO pictures when she was young, but back then she didn’t know the details- but that her grandmother had said she has seen UFOs before.” And much ignored is that Mrs. Trent herself told the late researcher Philip Klass that she had seen UFOs both before and after the photos were taken.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that” –but when you combine her prior UFO interest and prior sightings, her later sightings, her family discussions about UFOs- with the fact that Mrs. Trent reported being the first to see the photographed UFO- it is Mrs. Trent who should have been given more attention when investigating the photos. Paul finally got his wife a photograph of one of her coveted UFOs. She was certainly one darn lucky “repeat witness.”



An intriguing handwritten note has surfaced that was composed by an apparent friend of Paul Trent’s. Trent passed in the late 1990s. The note (in male writing) was directed to Paul and was attached to one of Paul’s UFO photos. The note-writer signs off to Paul by simply using his initials, “CM”- indicating that they knew one another well.

CM writes,

Paul I wish I could have been there shooting with you on this day in 1950. If it’s real, then whoa! But if you faked it, that’s even cooler. We can’t really fake stuff anymore. Years later if it’s all fake… or maybe it’s all real. Same difference. Thanks for this though.” CM

I can’t of course agree with Paul’s letter-writer, CM. There is a big difference between what is fake and what is real- and it is our obligation to truth to distinguish the two. And strange that Trent’s own admirer CM cannot commit to certain belief that his friend is telling the truth.


The Trents have been described in the literature as having been “simple” farm folks.  In 1950 there were only 6000 residents in McMinnville. And the Trents were actually out in the sparsely populated hinterlands of Yamhill County, running their ranch.

“Fun” during those times, in that kind of place, may have encompassed playing around with a new camera, wanting to outwit the city folks, involve the family in some UFO entertainment and satisfy a wife’s saucer interests.

Though Paul Trent is always spoken of in “neighborly terms” as being salt-of-the-earth, Paul Trent was not an “unassuming man” without any interest in attention. He was not humble nor “meek and mild.” And he was not at all shy to pose for the press like an actor in these photos ops, ensuring his name in print and in history:




In fact it would be hard to fathom anyone doing today what Paul Trent did to publicize his photos: Just after the UFO photos were developed, Paul went to his local banker Frank Wortman and allowed them to be displayed in the bank’s window where a local passer-by and reporter would then spot them and have them published locally and wind up carried nationally. Paul never objected to the publicity.

This placement of photos in the window of a business reminds me of confessed UFO hoaxer and barber Ralph Ditter of Zanesville, OH. Ditter placed his UFO photos up in the window of his barbershop. Ditter too involved his child. His little girl wanted to see a UFO. So Ditter “made one” using a toy wheel and captured it on camera for her.

And some say of the Trents that no money was ever sought for the photos. But in reality, in 1970, twenty years later and realizing their accrued value, the Trents insisted on having their negatives back from the McMinnville Register, which held them. According to Register Editor Philip Bladine, the Trents were not shy to note to him that ‘they had never been paid for the negatives and thus wanted them back.”

In the end, a farmer had some fun. He wanted us to join along in the entertainment of trying to solve his puzzle. Thank you for that, Paul Trent. Because I too have enjoyed playing make believe in McMinnville. It was fun while it lasted. And it certainly lasted a very long time.


Thursday, December 6, 2012



“It was a relatively small body…it was pretty well beat up.”

A Lieutenant  and Press Officer at Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) in 1947 left a testament to the reality of fallen ET in a rare audio recording that was meant to be heard after his death. A portion of it is revealed in a tape/video held by  UFO archivist Wendy Connors.

It is in that taped message that Walter Haut (a decorated bombardier and Purple Heart recipient) first openly acknowledged his personal witness to an alien-piloted craft found on the desert floor in New Mexico. And people who knew Walter well have now come forward about what he had said about the matter very early on- and why he did not release all of this information until the winter of his life.

Walter would of course go on to sign a notarized declaration in December, 2002 of his full knowledge of the Roswell incident as a piloted, extraterrestrial event. This was famously reported in mainstream media based on the publication of the bestseller Witness to Roswell and the work of the book’s authors Tom Carey and Don Schmitt.

But it was four years before this in 1999 that Walter Haut had admitted for the first time to someone outside of a small circle what he knew about the entirety of the Roswell event. And he allowed it to be recorded.

Like the notarized affidavit, Walter did not wish this 1999 recorded confession released until some point after his death, which occurred in 2005 at age 83. This enabled him to honor his oath during his life to the ultimate secret: the recovery and retrieval of beings not from earth.

A Walter Redux


As Press Officer at RAAF in July of 1947, Walter Haut composed the famous Press Release that was dictated to him by Colonel William Blanchard, Base Commander and close personal friend.  Walter was made to state that the “flying disc” reported crashed near Roswell earlier was now known to be merely an errant weather balloon, initially confused as something more. The release was carried in the Roswell papers and the world over.


In 2002 Walter elected to come clean for history about what really had happened. None of the press reports he was made to distribute were true. Walt said that there was in fact a small craft that was piloted that had crashed. He saw it and the debris and one of the extraterrestrial beings.  This announcement made headlines and brought Roswell back in the news like never before in the preceding 60 years that the crash had occurred.

In 1999 pioneering New Mexico researcher Wendy Connors interviewed Walter in-person for the record about Roswell. She was tenacious in her questioning. She was accompanied by one of her associates at the time, Dennis Balthaser.

In the interview, tape running, Wendy Connors asks Walter about his knowledge of any beings that may have been associated with the craft that fell at Roswell. Walter hesitatingly replies to her that he remembered one, small body that looked beat up, and then refused to go further, as if he had said too much already.

In other parts of the tape (hopefully to be released in its entirety at a later date) Haut does say just a bit more.

He speaks of the childlike body having been partially covered by a tarp.

He also speaks of having personally witnessed the craft wreckage from the crash stored in a hangar at the base after the crash and offers details on this.

He makes mention that the bodies may have been taken to Lovelace Clinic afterwards.


Very little known is that Walter did give hints to the ultimate secret that he had held- to a very select few.

Robert Shirkey was the Base Operations Officer at RAAF in 1947. Before he passed, Shirkey told his son that back in 1989 Walter had personally confessed to him that he had he has personal knowledge that the object that crashed in the desert could only have been from another world, and that he had seen it.

Lloyd E. Nelson was a PFC who clerked for Haut in the RAAF Public Information Office in 1947. He remembers Walt coming into their office at the time and showing to him small pieces of wreckage debris including an I-Beam that was small and had writing on it. He was also shown a ceramic type piece of material that appeared broken off. Both Officer Jesse Marcel who was confirmed at the site and Walter told Nelson to say nothing.

This confirms details of Haut’s much later signed confession in 2002. In the early 2000s, Nelson called Walter to find out more about the material. Nelson said, “To my dismay, Walter would not confirm to me anything. He knew that I was there but he would not admit it, not even to me.”

Base Finance Officer Richard C. Harris told Roswell researcher and author Kevin Randle in the mid-1990s that Haut did know about the bodies from the crash having been stored in the base hangar. He knew this because Haut asked Harris at the time of the event if he would like to see them. Harris, apparently not wishing such a sight, did not.

Fred Wilcox (a civilian employee at Roswell Army Air Field in 1948) was an acquaintance of Haut. In 2000, Wilcox said that in 1955 a mutual female friend of theirs’ told him that Walt had confided in her privately that he was actually at the crash scene and that there were alien bodies.

Why Walter Didn’t Talk Until the End

Walt’s wife “Pete” Haut said that for years after the crash incident that Haut received visits from an Air Force Intelligence officer that he knew from his days in the service. Pete states, “Anytime that there was a ‘flap’ about UFOs in the news anywhere in the country, he would show up. He would always manage to talk about hos the Air Force had explained away this sighting or that.”

Towards the end of his life, Haut himself said that he would receive regular phone threats for many years after the incident. He said to one researcher, “There were so many calls I lost track of them- about 20 years of it.”  One of these calls was from the retired Colonel son of a late General who told Haut, “Lieutenants should know how to keep their mouths shut.”

Among Walter’s personal affects were found Christmas cards from the former head of the CIC intelligence at Ft. Worth, TX, Milton Knight. One of the cards read, “I still say that there were no bodies at Ft. Worth.”

Walter’s Truth Finally Revealed

One hears, in his own words, that Walter admits his personal witness to the ET reality of Roswell. And we note that others from his far past were priviledged to know his secret. This shows that Walter Haut was not in any way “coached” about his 2002 affidavit, as some critics suggest. It shows that he was of sound mind and that he offered the final secret of the found bodies willingly, if not reluctantly.