Hoaxing the Trent Hoax Theory
by Regan Lee
Source: UFODigest.Com URL: http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0308/hoaxing.html

In going over some of my articles and data on the Trent flurry, (The Trent Tempest) I discovered something.

Awhile ago, the somewhat trollish UFO-Dadaists at the UFO Iconoclast blog posted an article about a “third, lost” Trent photo. Allegedly this photo, submitted by someone in New Mexico, was taken by Paul Trent in 1950.

A little bit of background on the Trent case:

Paul and his wife Evelyn saw a UFO above their farm in McMinnville, Oregon; Paul ran inside their house, took two snapshots of the craft before it zoomed off. Despite efforts of persistent debunkers, the photos stand up to this day as appearing legitimate. Adding support to the possibility what the TRents saw was a “true UFO” (either military or from outer space) is that there was a UFO flap in 1950 that was not just national, but global. At the time, the story made both national and international news; Life, Look and Popular Mechanics did pieces on the event, and the Trents appeared on the television program. The Trents never received money from their story and had their home searched by FBI and Air Force personnel on more than one occasion.


Anyway, it turned out that this so-called third, lost “Trent” photo was not taken by the Trents, or anyone else in McMinnville or Oregon. Nor was it taken in 1950. The photograph was taken in 1977 in Hamburg, Germany by Walter Schilling.

When I wrote the articles on the Trents, and this attempt at hoaxing, I noted the source of the third photo -- to a point. A comment left on the UFO Iconoclast blog led readers to the UFO Evidence website, where one can view the photo. End of story. But in going over my notes, I realized i hadn't looked deeply enough.

The photo seems to have originally appeared in Michael Heseman’s 1988 "The mystery of the Unidentified Flying Objects", though the photo can be found on many sites, including Euro UFO.

This is the item that provided the inspiration and entertainment for the hoax attempt:

Because the close up indicates at least some resemblance to the famous Paul Trent photographs in McMinnville, 1950, this resemblance with the McMinnville photograph is sometimes quoted as reason to believe the picture is a hoax or on the contrary that it is not a hoax. (italics mine.)

The news surrounding this gets even more interesting, as well as tragic:

Actually, Michael Heseman, a highly controversial german character who published UFO literature "as journalist, not ufologist," admitted in his book "The mystery of the Unidentified Flying Objects", 1998) that Walter Schilling had sent him a good dozens "primitive Fotocollagen" in 1981 and 1983. In June 1982 Heseman had already learned Ground Saucers Watch's opinion that the photograph show a small model. It was not easy to contact Schilling in 1984, because he was in a psychiatric hospital following legal charges for sexual misbehaviour, however, it seems that on August 11, 1983, he met with Michael Heseman and told him that the photograph show a small model he built and photographed, adding that it was "a very good joke, my friend."
(Source: http://www.euroufo.net/content.asp?contentid=521M)

So it seems that hoaxed photo from 1977 that showed a resemblance to the Trent photos was the inspiration for yet another stunt performed by the fringe dwellers of UFOlogy. These performances cause distraction, which is the goal. Any time energy is taken away from exploring personal experience and sharing data is a good thing in their eyes. But it’s not as much of a waste of time as one might think. In fact, Trickster like antics like this are a given in things UFOlogical and Fortean. It just can’t be escaped. And in taking time off for a bit to peruse things like this, you often find the man behind the curtain. In this case, not only was there no “third, lost, Trent” image, but the inspiration for the obvious prank was discovered. A hoaxed photo, stated that it’s similar to one of the classic, famous UFO cases that still holds up (in spite of the relentless efforts of debunkers to prove that it was a hoax), is used in a blog post in 2008 to attempt to cause a swirl of controversy and excitment in the UFO field. Nice try.

Trickster reminds us here that it’s good to dig a little and not take things so seriously. Despite the intentions of the pranksters.



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