Join Date: Jul 2012
Rep Power: 1350
Be nice, it's Christmas.
Like an idiot, yes, I read almost all the comments and looked at all the links. I'm a glutton for this stuff. I have a bias as I am a fan of Mr. Bragalia's work. He does interesting things, but in this case, he initially made an error that was quickly clarified.
The "boy on the ladder" was not taken by Trent, but by a Life photographer. Dr. Rudiak (I believe) and maybe Oberg, all collected the Life images while they were on google, and have been removed now. No reason given, as Life images still remain.
There were, I think, 40, and only a few have been circulated outside of those kept on private hard drives. Oberg released the boy on the ladder and admits he did so to thwart the McMinnville case, and did so seemingly deceptive. I think he regrets this now.
The images cannot be compared as Trent had a box camera, and Life had expensive equipment, and taken by a true professional. However, the farm, the foliage, and so forth is within a few weeks of each other. The same wires can be seen. The photog. probably thought the kid was cute, and took his picture on a ladder, but the ladder was not high enough in itself to stage anything.
The concensus by ATS and Mr Bragalia concludes Trent forged the images. Bragalia has a hand written note on an image to Trent that alludes to his forgery, and ATS makes a reasonable, albeit arguable, case that it was a pot lid suspended from one of the main wires, perhaps a telephone wire, I'm not sure. Image enhancement may show the string, and the box camera plus the hazy day may have washed the suspension line out as it did many of the other wires.
Mrs. Trent was a believer, and apparently saw flying saucers from time to time before this photographic event. If so, this would mean that from summer 1947 to the 11 May 1950 hoax, the Trents discussed flying discs with each other - for well more than 2 years.
Skeptics have long believed it was a hoax, but rarely had evidence to proof. It seems Mr. Bragalia has a possible smoking gun with his evidence - a hand written comment on a photo, that Trent enjoyed posing with his new camera and Mrs. Trent enjoyed thinking about flying discs. They seemed to enjoy the fun. Though Trent lived in a rural area, he had an almost brand new car in 1950, so he was not a rustic, poverty stricken guy.
Mr. Randle has weighed in on the Bragalia data in his blog, and in the comments section he took several to task and asked them to either quit snarking or stop visiting his blog and to just stop commenting there, period. I think that hints that he may begin reviewing comments and not allowing some to post in the future.
The circumstantial evidence of the event I reviewed before this recent December post. I'm no one, but I found that the original local newspaper reports found the images interesting enough to put on the AP wire, and that the local bank and others felt it might be noteworthy for tourism, that being a very 1950 thing at the time. Trent seemed to enjoy the brief notoriety, but he was not in a hurry to release them as it took a month to take the rest of the film.
Then he left the negatives with the newspaper for a long time, and then realized they may be worth something and asked for them back. So the whole thing seemed weird to me. The 50 year review of the grandchildren and residents left no lasting interest. That seemed to imply nothing big deal had happened.
I think bottom line, like so many from this time period, Mrs. Trent believed, and Mr. Trent wanted to have a little fun with his male peers, though not really at their expense. I don't think there was anything malicious. It just got out of hand.