July 27, 2011

Famous Black Triangle UFO A Fake

The mystery of the iconic Petit-Rechain black triangle UFO photo has finally been solved. The photographer, a man named only as Patrick, has admitted making the UFO out of polystyrene in an interview with mainstream Belgian TV channel RTL-TVI.

The photograph was taken 21 years ago in 1990 at the height of the Belgian UFO flap and was an instant hit around the world, with many publications using the photo as a kind of banner for the UFO phenomenon.

It was known as the Petit-Rechain photo after the Belgian town where it was photographed, but Patrick revealed he and some friends made the model in a short space of time before photographing it some hours later that evening.

Patrick said “You can do a lot with a little, we managed to trick everyone with a piece of polystyrene” and he is right. The photograph has kept “experts” busy for years, with many of a ufological persuasion using this as proof of alien visitation.

“We made the model with polystyrene, we painted it and then we started sticking things to it, then we suspended it in the air … then we took the photo,”

The prank was originally meant to fool some work colleagues at the small business where Patrick worked as a fitter, but quickly went global soon after leaving the walls of the factory.

Patrick assumed their deception would be discovered, and takes pride in the fact that it never was.  He apologised for fooling so many believers, but clearly got a lot of laughs out of the whole thing after admitting he wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

In actual fact, Patrick is incorrect when he thinks the deception was never discovered, because the exact method of how he did it was revealed as recently as March of this year in Tim Printy’s (excellent) SUNlite magazine, Volume 3 Number 2.

On pages 19-22 there is an in-depth analysis by Roger Paquay which deconstructs various arguments presented by experts on the believer side of the fence, while presenting readers with the most likely explanation of what the image actually is.

“The various analyses cannot exclude effects based on a cardboard triangle suspended by a thin thread, giving the rotation effect seen on the picture.”

“This behavior doesn’t agree with an observation of an exotic object. The more likely conclusion is in favor of a fake made to illustrate the observation of a plane or to match with the description of the “Triangular UFO” found in the media for the previous four months.”

“It is very curious that, in a such a highly populated area, with people looking for UFOs, nobody else reported seeing this large object at low altitude. Only the photographer could explain what is really on his picture but his desire to remain anonymous will prevent any further resolution on the issue.”

Substitute cardboard for polystyrene and I would say he got it spot on!

Filed under: Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , — Stephen Broadbent @ 11:11 pm


  1. avatar

    what upsets me about this if its true is it was used in a book I just finished by Leslie Kean, “UFO’s” published in 2010. She used this picture in her book, and trusting her completely with what she was writing, now I wonder….?

    Comment by moonstructures — July 28, 2011 @ 12:11 am

  2. avatar

    It is a good fake because it looks very similar to the Black Triangle UFO I saw in 1997, the lights are too bright in comparison with the translucent craft I witnessed flying over the Pennines.

    Comment by David Moss — July 28, 2011 @ 10:41 am

  3. avatar

    Hark! Is that disinfo and other bolderdash I hear being prepared from the nursery?

    Whatever will the children come up with to support their fantasies now?

    Comment by m0r1arty — July 28, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  4. avatar

    The people who do this are not doing anyone any favors. I don’t think that hoaxes are at all humorous. Whatever ‘humor’ the hoaxer gets from this is a bit pathological.
    If Kean used the photo that doesnt mean too much. It’s a photo. All photo’ are potentially hoaxable. I don’t think you can definitely say that if a phot is re-creatable that this is definitely what was done….unless there are known technical details about the film, development, etc. You can however indicate the possibility of a hoax. This one is definitely because the guy confessed.

    I guess, other than the fact that this particular photo was hoaxed, the larger matter is were the police and other witnesses who claimed to have seen similar things hoaxing or mis-identifying? Is the issue of the military (NATO?) planes radar ‘sightings’ of fast moving objects really resolved, etc?

    Anyway, hoaxers are doing nothing but deceiving people and wasting people’s time. How funny or healthy is that?

    Comment by BDD — July 28, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  5. avatar

    Like moonstructures said, Kean used this photo as reference in her book .. and says that analysis in 2002 revealed a kind of magnetic field around the object, then what could it be?? She also said that this object has been track by 2 jets and that they couldn’t lock this one because it was too fast, didn’t know polystyrene could fly that fast! I don’t know who I can trust, a credible journalist who has made serious research for about 10 years or a guy who is suddenly getting out of his closet to tell this story…

    Comment by Jon — July 29, 2011 @ 1:52 am

  6. avatar

    Can you tell, from a photo of an object, that a “kind of magnetic field around the object” existed? If you can, then we should enquire who performed the “analysis” that revealed this magnetic field. Leslie Kean obviously accepted the analysis without question. She also accepted that two jets tracked the object. Perhaps her reputation as a “credible journalist who has made serious research” is in serious doubt.

    Comment by CDA — July 29, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  7. avatar

    This photograph had nothing to do with the F-16 chase but that is another story. Don’t give Kean too much credit. She just got a bunch of UFO proponents to write most of the book for her. When she was shown errors by Oberg, she simply responded, “that is not my chapter and it’s not my fault”.

    Comment by Tim — July 29, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

  8. avatar

    Errrrh, how in the gods name can anyone get anything out of that picture? It just looks like 3-4 streetlights, flashlights or any kind of earthly bulp lights…

    Its clearly to out of focus, shaken or taken with to long shutter time to make anything out of it. I have never seen it before today, and im definatly not thinking UFO! I dont need years to study that picture to determine that its everything else than a UFO.

    Dont get me wrong, i want to believe, but that is silly.

    Comment by Peter — August 2, 2011 @ 5:45 am

  9. avatar

    It’s a fake? Didn’t see that one coming! LOL!

    |exx 😉

    Comment by the|exx — August 2, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  10. avatar

    I dont mind hoaxers. However, i do mind when hoaxers will lead people on for months, years or even decades. People have careers, and lives, that revolve around UFOs and ailien theories. Its a waste of time for people to knowingly submit a hoax as authentic with the intent to not tell anyone it was a hoax. I can see someone trying to fool some experts and then say well your wrong, i faked the picture (i know some hoaxers may not believe in ufos and they do this to prove a point, which is fine, prove a point in a single day, or a week, not 10s of years). But why doop thousands of people for many years. It is stagnating the search for true answers. There isnt much money to be made in terms of hoaxers, so whats the point. If you get your laugh early on, then reveal the joke. I dont know anyone who would play on a joke on someone else for 30 consecutive years, that is what this hoaxer did to anyone who believed the picture. (fyi im not very familiar with the picture, but from what iread about it, it was a big deal). So shame on this guy for not reaviling his secret many many years ago.

    Comment by gavin — August 15, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  11. avatar

    A hoax that can stand on its own for twenty-one years is worth more than a hoax that’s revealed after twenty-one days. It proves that those who believed in the hoax apparently didn’t bother to question it even though they were given twenty-one years to do so, and even though it was a representation of something that most people believe should, at the very least, be questioned.

    From a sociological perspective, it seems that we’ve got four groups here to consider: (1) those who believe that what the hoax represents is something that should be questioned, (2) those who believe that what the hoax represents is something that should be questioned, but neglected to do so in this particular case, (3) those who believe that what the hoax represents is a true fact of nature, but so many people tell lies or create hoaxes in regard to this particular true fact of nature, that it behooves us to examine all these cases pretty closely or we can easily waste a lot of time researching something that has no intrinsic worth whatsoever and can probably set those attempting to support such claims back a bit, as in “2 steps forward, 6 steps back”, and (4) those who believe that what the hoax represents is a true fact of nature, and doesn’t need to be questioned, because it’s a true fact of nature.

    Those in group (1) probably questioned the hoax, so they don’t care a whole lot whether it was revealed after twenty-one years or twenty-one days; “it’s no big deal — I didn’t believe in it anyway, and there are a lot more hoaxes to discover than cases to prove.”

    Those in group (2) probably thought that it should have been questioned, but assumed it was real, because as hoaxes go, it was a little shaky and out of focus and may have been something real that was merely misinterpreted by the original witness as something that should be questioned; “no big deal — I though it could have possibly been a dump truck at night that was going way too fast, but if it’s really a piece of cardboard tied to a flashlight and some old Christmas decorations, I can live with it; those guys did a pretty impressive job of it, too — really fooled me!”

    Those in group (3) probably thought that hindsight is always 20-20, but let’s not make excuses for ourselves — this is pretty embarrassing; “wow, we really dropped the ball on this one; 21 years? How the heck does that happen? After all, it’s a photo, and all photos are potentially hoaxable, so we should have looked at it closer once we saw that it was a photograph; and once we were told “that analysis in 2002 revealed a kind of magnetic field around the object,” we probably should have looked again, except closer this time!

    Those in group (4), however, didn’t bother to question the hoax, because why would anybody question something merely because it hasn’t been proven to exist? While it’s true that most scientists agree that this particular “true fact of nature” hasn’t yet been objectively assessed as anything other than “something that should be questioned”, most scientists probably say the same thing about unicorns, eskimos, the island of Zanzibar, and vampires, and we all know that they exist, right? Such a person would probably say something like, “Whatever ‘humor’ the hoaxer gets from this is a bit pathological”, or “It is stagnating the search for true answers”, or even “shame on this guy for not reaviling his secret many many years ago”.

    Sociology is fun!!

    Comment by James Carlson — August 31, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  12. avatar


    Here it is. The analysis done in 2002. In Figure 4, 5, 8, and 10, it’s clearly seen. There are some sort of a pattern, like Iron filings behaving in a magnetic field. I don’t think a piece of foam would produce such a thing, and that it would be capable of puzzling physicists, scientists and experts around the world. Interesting how that “Patrick” guy said it was a fake right before the hyped Secret Access documentary aired…
    Very nice perfectly cut, magnetic piece of foam you have there Patrick…

    Comment by Sizednochi — September 1, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  13. avatar

    Really great analysis there — another case of “you can actually see the bulging and flexing of the muscles” proving that the obvious Bigfoot costume isn’t a costume, but a living, thriving force of nature that lives all over the United States but is somehow immune to capture, death, or any evidence beyond the easily hoaxed photos and footprints that are now so pervasive on the internet.

    As for the bit a garbage you’re hyping, where’s the denial from the actual photographer if Patrick is actually lying, as you suggest? You guys are all alike — everyone’s lying except the guy who thinks every friggin’ photograph of a UFO proves its existence. “Physicists, scientists and experts around the world” were NOT puzzled — most of them ignored it as the piece of tripe it actually is. The only people who were puzzled were those who took a second look and realized it could easily be faked, so we better defend it with something more substantial than “it looks like a black triangle aircraft.” Here’s a clue: they failed.

    Comment by James Carlson — September 2, 2011 @ 9:53 am

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