Case 53

North Eastern

Summer 1965

Investigator: Hartmann

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PLATES for this Case


Two photographs of a bright disc with a reportedly invisible but (in Plate 48) opaque, reflecting, and (in Plate 49) glowing "appendage" can be easily produced by hand-holding an illuminated model. There is no probative evidence for an unusual phenomenon.


Time: 11:30, E.D.T. (1)

Locale: Backyard in populated area; hilly terrain (1,2)

Weather: Hazy evening sky; bright moon; no wind noticeable (1).

Camera: Yashika (sic) 635 camera; Altipan 120 film (ASA 100); f:3, focus infinity, six-second exposures (3).

Sighting, General Information:

The key witness was aiming his camera upward at an angle of roughly 30 - 45 deg in a southwestern direction toward the top of a hill close to the house (2,5). As he prepared to take a time exposure, he noticed a "bright white," "self-luminous" object, "brighter than the moon or headlights" approaching from behind some trees on the horizon to the left (1). The object was seen nearly simultaneously by the key witness and his brother. The object moved "like an airplane would go" (5), "faster than a Piper Cub" (1), but then suddenly hovered. The key witness made a hurried exposure (Plate 48).

The object then drifted to the right, brightening somewhat (1). Again it hovered; the key witness had advanced the film and made a second exposure (Plate 49). Then the object "zoomed up" (1), or "rose at high speed and disappeared" (4), before a third exposure could be made. No sound was heard (1) The object, described as a "big, disk-shaped light," uniformly white, not reflecting; without a clearly visible surface (5), "solid, flattened on


bottom, was visible for about 30 sec.

The negatives showed an opaque, dark extension beneath the object in the first photo, and a bright, apparently transparent extension below in the second; the witnesses repeatedly stated that this was not visible to them at the time of the sighting (4, 5).


At the urging of friends the key witness presented the photos within a few days to the local newspaper. (3, 4). The newspaper staff made a careful study of the negatives, superimposing them, determining that there was no parallax in the horizon trees and no shift in position of the moon, but that the object was in two different positions.


The similarity of the appendage of Plate 49 to a human arm and hand with knuckles, thumb, with shadows being consistently suggested is striking. Test photos (Plates 49, 50, and 51) simulating the originals were made in the following manner: A dish was held by a hand gripping a short handle which had been attached with tape to the bottom of the dish. The dish was illuminated by a flashlight and moved during the brief exposure. In the test simulation of Plate 48, the light was kept off the supporting arm, while in Plate 49 the light was played over the wrist and additional streaks were introduced by moving the illuminated hand across the field (after the dish had been removed). The test exposures illustrate the possibility of simile reproduction (Fig. 10) of: (1) the glowing, blurred disk (plate or model), (2) the opaque appendage in Plate 48 (unilluminated arm supporting model); (3) the glowing appendage with hand-like features (illuminated hand); (4) the transparency of the glowing feature (removal of the arm during the time exposure); (5) non-detection of continuation of appendage in densitometry (duration of "UFOs" presence = small fraction of total exposure time).


The photographs have little value in establishing an extraordinary phenomenon.


Sources of Information:

  1. NICAP Report form filled out by witnesses.

  2. Correspondence between P. J. Klass and W. K. Hartmann.

  3. Internal NICAP correspondence, kindly provided by NICAP.

  4. Klass, P.J., UFOs Identified, New York: Random House, 1968.

  5. Fuller, J.G., Incident at Exeter, New York: Putnam's, 1966.