Supposed photographic evidence of UFOs has over the decades experienced a sort of evolution. We have gone from what were once mind-blowing pieces of evidence of an alien presence on Earth to the situation we have today, in which even the most seemingly astounding footage will muster up a “meh” for the casual viewer. Photographic manipulation and trickery have rendered most photos useless but this was not always the case, and I have recently looked at such evidence from the 1950s, the 1960s, and on through the 1970s and 80s, but after that we get into murky territory, with ever more advanced ways of tricking people coming to the fore and more people willing to put out UFO photos to the point that it is hard to tell what is real or fake anymore. We will nevertheless take a look at some intriguing pieces of photos and footage from the 1990s, which real or not are very mysterious all the same.
In July of 1990, a witness by the name of Mike Orrell was out hiking near the Inaja Memorial Picnic Grounds, in the hills of San Diego’s East County, along with his camera. That day he was shooting various photos of the scenery, and it was all a pretty peaceful, normal day at the time, but when he got the photos back he would notice something very strange in one of them, which seemed to be a formation of 10 mysterious objects in the sky. To the naked eye they at first just appeared to be random dots in the photos, but when he blew the picture up he could see that they were some sort of flying objects with a triangular shape. He would say of this:
Soon as I saw the four-by-six picture, I saw the dots. Ten dots in the sky. But they were so small, it was hard to make them out. Even at this distance I could not see the objects until the photograph was enlarged. Unlike birds or planes that would have wings or appendages, these objects were uniform in density and size.
The photo would find its way to News 8, who had it analyzed by photographic experts at Chrome Photo, in Sorrento Mesa, and they would concur that the picture showed some sort of solid triangular objects flying in the sky. They also could find no evidence of damage to the negative, or any sort of malfunction, dust on the lens, or any other technical issue that could have caused the objects seen in the photo. Whatever they were seemed to be actual objects in the sky, although they were unable to determine what the objects could possibly be. One of the experts who looked at the photo said:
They’re irregularly shaped, though, sort of triangular. The negative itself was intact. There was no damage, no machine type damage in the process. I would agree with him — they are flying objects and they are unidentified. If you’re asking me if they’re alien space craft, there’s absolutely no indication they are alien space craft.
In that same year there was a case from the Greifswald Nuclear power plant in Greifswald, East Germany. On August 24, 1990, East German and Russian personnel working at the plant noticed in the sky what seemed to be weird clusters of inexplicable lights, which seemed to be hovering over a sensitive nuclear storage site and had other lights orbiting them, sometimes joining the formation and at other times breaking off to go zipping around at high speed. These clusters of lights apparently lurking around the area for several hours, and it would turn out that during the sighting there were several people who managed to capture the spectacle on video and in photos, all of them showing the same thing. The photos and footage have never been explained, and it is rather sobering that these objects were so blatantly defying air space over a nuclear facility.
Another very curious set of photos comes to us from the town of Mongo, Indiana, where on August 31, 1994 six witnesses were out camping together at the Trading Post Campgrounds at Mongo when they would have a very strange experience that would change their lives. Up in the sky they noticed a massive bright object low in the sky past the treetops, which they at first thought was the moon, but would prove to be anything but. One of the witnesses, an area fire supervisor for the Forest Management Division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, would say of what they saw:
Off to the southwest it looked like the moon, glowing through the treetops, and it was low. I said, ‘that can’t be the moon’, ’cause we are in the last phase. (Moon not visible anyway). Then it started moving. Then it moved right out from behind the trees into an open area near a road and hovered toward us. And it was clear as can be. It was a flying saucer, just that vivid. The object glided into our area at a shallow angle, turned toward us and began to hover. Standing still, the white glow turned transparent. It looked like a white strobe light on the top of the dome. A bright red flash of light under the bottom flashed 3 or 4 times like a strobe and it disappeared to the south and east very quickly, within 2 seconds.
Although the sighting only lasted between one and three minutes, one of the witnesses was able to take a series of photographs of the object before it was out of sight. The sighting would be investigated by MUFON, who find six additional unrelated witnesses who had seen the same object that night, and they would hire the physicist Dr. Richard Haines to analyze the photographs. He was able to rule out natural sources such as stars, planets, or a meteorite, as well as commercial, military, and private aircraft, and although it was possibly a blimp, all of the witnesses strongly denied this. Haines would later rule out the blimp hypothesis, as there weren’t any official flight records for any blimp flights in the area at the time of the sighting. Haines would say of his conclusion:
The self-luminous aerial object seen and photographed at Mongo, Indiana on August 31, 1994, has remained unidentified after the various evaluations cited above. On the one hand, its overall shape and flight characteristics are not unlike many scores of other UFO reported for more than fifty years from around the world, many of which were captured on photographs. The aerial object photographed cannot be positively identified at this time. It remains a UFO.
On September 16, 1996, an unnamed farmer in Valley, Alabama, claimed that he had been out fixing a fence on his property when his attention was drawn away from his task by his dog barking wildly not far away. The witness went off to see what was bothering the dog so much, and then was shocked to see an enormous black to dark green cone-shaped capsule hovering over one of his cow pastures. The object had a flange or rim that went around near the top, and was allegedly completely silent. The farmer would take a series of several photographs of the object and send them to a local news station, after which they became the talk of the town. The photos were impressive in that each one was taken at a slightly different angle as the object slowly moved across the field, which was seen as being difficult to hoax. Although many skeptics have denounced the photos as a hoax, they have never been fully explained.
The following month, on October 27th, l996, a witness by the name of Lajos Kosina went to visit his girlfriend’s home in village of Erpatak, in the Szabolcs-Szatmar region of Hungary, and while he was there, he took a photo of her standing outside in her garden. At the time there had been nothing strange or unusual noticed in the sky, but when the photo was developed there was an obvious, enigmatic flat disc-shaped object hovering in the background. The odd photograph eventually made its way to the Hungarian UFO Network (HUFON), which did an examination of it and came to the conclusion that the photo was not a hoax, and showed a real object several meters in diameter.
What are these things? It is hard to say. It all certainly adds to the rich lore surrounding purported photos of UFOs, and while photoshop was around at the time, it was still mostly in its infancy. Yet, the 1990s can be called the decade from which altered photos and videos would truly start to take off, and it is unknown just how much veracity any of the pieces of supposed photographic evidence we have looked at here can be taken at face value. They are at the very least some intriguing images, which will be imprinted upon the UFO landscape for some time to come. Are they real, faked, or what? In the end it seems one has to make up their own mind.
By Brent Swancer