Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:17 pm

Breaking News
20 years later, the mystery of the iconic Petit-Rechain black triangle UFO photo is solved : it was fake.

I can't find a source in English yet. Mainstream Belgian news website RTL.be published an article a few hours ago with a video interview of the photographer.

Google translation:
http://translate.google.fr/translate?js ... percherie-

Source:
http://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/faitsdi ... percherie-

Image
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby astrophotographer » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:45 pm

If the story is accurate and this was the photographer admitting he hoaxed the image, it is not going to look good for many proponents of the photograph. Skeptics have been arguing against its authenticity almost the instant it appeared. Roger Paquay wrote about it in a recent issue of SUNlite.

http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite3_2.pdf

Go to Pages 19-22. As great as this news appears (vindicating the skeptical/debunker positions), I would like to see more from the witness. Was he the actual photographer (I am aware of only the initials of PM ever being used and I am not even sure that is correct)? It would be interesting to see if anybody can reproduce the image.
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:01 pm

A (slightly) better translation : :mrgreen:

The mystery of the famous UFO of the 90s elucidated: "A hoax"

The photo has been around the world and was analyzed by the most eminent specialists. None of them had solved the mystery and the UFO of Petit-Rechain became the emblem of the Belgian UFO wave of the 90s. Eighteen years later [actually 21], the author lifts the veil.

July 26, 2011 1:16 p.m.

The end of 1989 and the 90's were marked by a mysterious UFO flap in Belgium. The apparitions were never elucidated. The emblem of the phenomenon, a picture of a triangular UFO with three lights, one in each corner, taken April 4, 1990 in Petit-Rechain, near Verviers, by Patrick, a young turner-fitter of 20 years. The slide travelled around the world, was discussed by leading experts up to the Belgian Royal Military Academy.

A panel of Styrofoam

Never did the enigmatic image reveal its secret, resolutely impervious to human reason. "The puzzled scientists: it is a material phenomenon and artificial, but what?", "The thing", "The mystery remains," " a real phenomenon, consistent, original," "A slide studied with the scanner ": this is what could be read in the press at the time, here is what Samuel Ledoux read this morning on the newspaper clippings kept by Patrick at home. But our reporter did not go to Patrick's home to read the newspapers of the time. Today, Patrick has found the explanation of one of the greatest belgian mystery of the last decade of the second millennium.

UFO enthusiasts, addicts to alien beings, lovers of the mysterious will be disappointed: the Petit-Rechain UFO is not a spaceship come from a distant galaxy, but a painted panel of Styrofoam equipped with three spots. A model, quickly put together and photographed a few hours later in the evening, a joke, inspired by the wave of UFO born a few months earlier, aimed at workmates in the small business where Patrick worked. But the joke left the walls of the plant. "We did not think it would come out of the factory where we worked. It went much further then we let it go," acknowledges Patrick at the microphone of Samuel Ledoux.

Resistance to all analysis

The picture soon became the symbol of the UFO wave of 90s in Belgium. It intrigues the world, including experts from NASA. "Many people have worked on it," says Patrick, who thought that some day or other experts would eventually highlight the deception. "But they haven't discovered anything, " proudly concludes Patrick. Twenty years later the false witness decided to reveal the truth. Why now? "One has to say it at one time or another," Patrick responds quietly, apologizing to all those who believed, saying however that if he could, he would do it again. What conclusion does he draw from this? "One can fool everyone with a simple Styrofoam model".
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:23 pm

astrophotographer wrote:Skeptics have been arguing against its authenticity almost the instant it appeared. Roger Paquay wrote about it in a recent issue of SUNlite.

A member of the french ufosceptic forum found a solution a few years ago to the mystery of the "swirling ionized particles" discovered by Pr. A. Marion at CNRS Orsay , that was considered by many to be compelling evidence of a hypothetical magnetoplasmadynamic propulsion (Pr. A. Meessen). Actually it may have been simply an artifact of badly aligned layers of stacked scans (rotated 0°, 90°, 180° and 270°) of the slide, which created a seemingly rotating blur all around the center of the image. #-o

It would be interesting to see if anybody can reproduce the image.

No one managed to get the small lights exactly right as far as I know. Motion blur is not enough. Several small lights maybe, moving independently and jittered during exposure?

This one is the best endeavors to replicate the image (by Pierre Magain and Marc Remy) :
http://users.skynet.be/leurquin/paranor ... 1debat.htm

Bad analysis, lack of independent confirmation (the original slide, or hi-res scan, was not available to skeptics), and the believer logic that anything that is not perfectly explained is unexplainable resulted in this fantastic hoax getting so much support.

I'm expecting ufologists to continue believing it was an alien spaceship: there is no proof yet that the photographer/hoaxer is who he claims to be. Confirmation by COBEPS would be nice.

UPDATE: confirmation!
The photo of the Petit-Rechain UFO was the result of a hoax, the author confessed to Samuel Ledoux for RTL-TVI. The president of COBEPS stressed that this admission finally resolves this case that several specialists, including a professor from the Royal Military Academy, had worked on.

http://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/faitsdi ... -en-cause-
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:06 pm

A summary of the whole affair by Major General Wilfried de Brouwer in Leslie Kean's book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record:
On April 4, 1990, at 10:00 p.m. in the town of Petit-Rechain, a lady was walking her dog in her courtyard when she noticed the spotlights of a craft hovering above her home. She alerted her partner, who rushed outside with his newly bought camera. The camera was loaded with color slides, but only two shots remained on the film. Leaning against the wall to avoid instability, he took two photographs, the first with a manual exposure time of one to two seconds, while the craft was banking to the left. Subsequently, it started moving and disappeared out of sight behind the nearby houses. After the film was processed, the photographer saw four light spots on one slide and nothing on the second, which he threw away.

Several weeks later, he showed the remaining photograph to his fellow metalworkers during their lunch break in the factory. One of his friends contacted a local journalist, who published the photograph in a French magazine. From there, Belgian military academy experts were notified and requested the original slide for analysis. A team under the direction of Professor Marc Acheroy discovered that a triangular shape became visible when overexposing the slide.

After that, the original color slide was further analyzed by Frangois Louange, specialist in satellite imagery with the French national space research center, CNES; Dr. Richard Haines, former senior scientist with NASA; and finally Professor Andre Marion, doctor in nuclear physics and professor at the University of Paris-Sud and also with CNES.

The major findings were:
No effect of infrared radiation.
No indication of any tampering with the slide.
The camera was stable, but the craft was moving slowly and had approximately a 45-degree bank when the picture was taken.
The rotation of the spotlights did not occur around one central point.
The middle light is very different from the three other lights.
The lights are positioned symmetrically with respect to the structure of the craft.

Professor Marion's more recent analysis in 2002 used more sophisticated technology. He confirmed the previous findings, while explaining a new discovery: Numeric treatment of the photograph revealed a halo of something lighter surrounding the craft. Special optical processing shows that within the halo, the light particles form a certain pattern around the craft like snowflakes in turbulence. This is very similar to the pattern of iron filings which is caused by "the lines offeree" in a magnetic field. This could indicate that the craft is moving by using a magnetoplasmadynamic propulsion system as suggested by Professor Auguste Meessen in one of his studies.

Many hidden elements were revealed only through the analysis of this photograph, showing that the picture was not faked. The experts noted especially that the unique characteristics of the lights are very specific and said such an effect would not occur if the picture was a hoax. Also, the findings of the experts are consistent with the account of the photographer, who initially didn't think much of his shot of four strange lights and kept it in a drawer for weeks before showing it to anyone. He was not sure what it was, and for a while had not given it much thought.

Unbelievable. This will hopefully teach how much trust can be placed on witnesses, experts and authorities.
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby James Carlson » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:44 pm

nablator wrote:A summary of the whole affair by Major General Wilfried de Brouwer in Leslie Kean's book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record.

You really should send a copy of the confirmation to both Major General Wilfried de Brouwer and Leslie Kean. It would be interesting to know their response after having claimed so many specific elements of "proof". I suspect Kean would simply blame it on whomever wrote that part of her book, essentially taking the fifth ...
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:08 am

General de Brouwer wrote this chapter. He'll know...

In the confirmation article, the president of COBEPS says that this fake UFO does not undermine the others.

This episode will be completely ignored or quickly forgotten.
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby astrophotographer » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:48 am

nablator wrote:General de Brouwer wrote this chapter. He'll know...

In the confirmation article, the president of COBEPS says that this fake UFO does not undermine the others.

This episode will be completely ignored or quickly forgotten.


Go figure. What it demonstrates is the COBEPS was not very thorough in its investigation of this photograph. What does that say for the other investigations? Can we consider those investigations about the same quality?
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Re: Your favorite UFO image/s?

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:14 am

astrophotographer wrote:What it demonstrates is the COBEPS was not very thorough in its investigation of this photograph.

SOBEPS (now COBEPS) was responsible for choosing the experts. There should have been a more open selection, including skeptics. Prof. Marion and Meessen are not image analysis experts. They both over-analyzed and suffered from confirmation bias: they found evidence of what they were looking for, strange physical properties.

What does that say for the other investigations? Can we consider those investigations about the same quality?

No, this photo was over-analyzed and the testimonies under-analyzed. :) Many observations were not investigated at all but still participate in the statistics. 153 on 29 november 1989, but 93 investigated. The dates of depositions of testimonies is not available, which makes it impossible to evaluate how many were influenced by the media (such as the publication of the Petit-Rechain photo).

About other scientific analysis by A. Meessen (like the F-16 radar case), the logic of his tortuous reasoning and contradictory statements is impossible to understand.
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Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby Illudium Q-36 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:12 pm

At the risk of giving away my location this story has appeared on the local news on channel RTL, now I have to apologise that the report is in French but I have found a couple of links in English reporting on the claim.
So what does that make of one of the most widely known UFO pics of the past 20 years and does it mean anything for the sightings and the fact that the AirForce were scrambled in 1990 or is it little more than a hoaxer trying to cash in on the sightings at the time?



Before anybody asks I can't give a translation as my French is terrible.

AFP link.

Reuters.

Sky.
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Re: Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:30 pm

HI,

I translated the first article here:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=2093&p=36387#p36357

Today, Pr. Meessen meets the hoaxer, and refuses to believe the photo was faked. The modus operandi was too simple.

(Article and video in french)
http://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/faitsdi ... e-blagueur

:lol:
Last edited by nablator on Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:43 pm

Translation:

(1)
The expert: Your model measured 80 cm and you put three flashlight bulbs on it. So they were very small compared to the model. And so I ask you, how do you explain what appears on the slide?

The hoaxer: I don't know

(2)
The expert: On the one hand, the light spots are quite large. On the other hand they are all different, this does not correspond at all to a small bulb ...

The hoaxer: Yeah, I don't know, I don't know how to explain it. I have no idea, none.

(3)
The expert: So, secondly, in the color slide, there are three layers and we were able to separate what was in the three layers and what we found was very different. In the red layer, the object does not appear. In the blue layer, it appears. How do you explain that?

The hoaxer: I don't know either.

(4)
The expert: Because if you have flashlight bulbs that shines white light, the result must be the same ...

The hoaxer: I don't know, I could not tell you ...

(5)
The expert: So now something else. These are the details of the structures of the three lights (he shows the pictures). This corresponds to the higher light and we see that there is a distribution of intensities. One could not get that with a movement of the racket, do you agree?

The hoaxer: I don't know, if you tell me ...
Last edited by nablator on Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:56 pm

My comments:

(1)
The model must have been very unstable, maybe held with shaking hands?

(2)
A lot of motion blur creates a large mess, in addition to far from perfect focus.

(3)
As the contrast was much increased to reveal the triangle, any small difference between channels in the light restitution diagram was increased, making it look completely different. A different correction would have been necessary, certainly, for each channel.

(4)
No, for the same reason. The entire slide looked black around the lights before brightness/contrast corrections were applied by software. Very small differences between channels are not significant.

(5)
A very nice halo can be created by a dirty lens.

Just guessing, really. :)
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Re: Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:20 pm

Illudium Q-36 wrote:is it little more than a hoaxer trying to cash in on the sightings at the time?

The hoaxer sold the rights to a professional photographer (M. Mossay) in (or before?) august 1990. I don't know how much it influenced witnesses and standardized the mythical Belgian triangle. Actually people were reporting many different types of UFOs during the Belgian wave.
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Re: Belgian Triangle UFO pic a Hoax.

Postby nablator » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:36 pm

Illudium Q-36 wrote:Sky.

A photo of an unidentified flying object high in the Belgian sky has been puzzling NASA scientists for over two decades.

:roll:
I didn't know NASA studied UFO photos. Richard Haines retired in 1988.
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