Mysteries revisited: the McMinnville UFO photographs
Images of an alleged flying saucer taken at a farm in Oregon in 1950 generated controversy and debate in equal measure.
On 7:30pm on May 11th of that year, Evelyn Trent had been walking to her farmhouse near McMinnville, Oregon when she reported seeing a metallic disc moving slowly across the sky.
She called for her husband, Paul Trent, to come outside and see what he thought it could be.
Keen to take a photograph, he returned to the house briefly to fetch his camera. He managed to take two shots before the metallic disc sped up and disappeared tow̳a̳r̳ds the west.
The following month, the two photographs – alongside the headline “At Long Last – Authentic Photographs Of Flying Saucer[?]” – appeared in the local McMinnville Telephone-Register.
The images would go on to become two of the most debated pieces of U̳F̳O̳ evidence ever captured, with U̳F̳O̳ investigators, scientists and photography experts all weighing in on their authenticity.
While many believed that the couple had captured something unusual, others were more skeptical, instead insisting that the photographs had been faked.
One popular theory is that the \’flying saucer\’ was in fact the wing mirror from a vehicle that had been suspended with fishing line from the overhead cables to make it look like it was floating in the air.
Astronomer William K. Hartmann, who had also investigated the case, noted that the lighting in the photograph suggested a different time of day to that claimed by the Trents.
“There could be a possible discrepancy in view of the fact that the U̳F̳O̳, the telephone pole, possibly the garage at the left, and especially the distant house gables (left of the distant barn) are illuminated from the right, or east,” he noted.
“The house, in particular, appears to have a shadow under its roof that would suggest a daylit photo, and combined with the eastw̳a̳r̳d incidence, one could argue that the photos were taken on a dull, sunlit day at, say, 10 a.m.”
While today the photographs continue to remain an intriguing entry in the annals of U̳F̳O̳ history, the general consensus is that they are not genuine and that the Trents\’ story was in fact a hoax.