The UFO And the \'Two Spoons\'
Although the previously made criticisms cast doubt over the authenticity of the event, the last distrust in its credibility, so far, occurred in 2010. On august 15th, the TV show Fantástico, by Rede Globo TV, located and interviewed a friend of Baraúna’s family, the publicist Emilia Bittencourt.
She said that she heard from Baraúna, 34 years after the event, the confirmation that his photos were just a joke. "I had the opportunity to visit him 18 years ago, in Saquarema (RJ), and he told me how the story was made. He was on the Navy ship around the Trindade Island and began to look to the sky and say, \'Look there an object, what is it, something flying\'. When he got home, he decided to make a joke. He grabbed two kitchen metal spoons, put them together, and made a spaceship. He used the backdrop of the refrigerator in his house and lit a lamp. He calculated the time and precisely where the source of light came from. He was very precise, very smart. Then, from there on, he managed to enlarge a photo of the flying saucer, which had as its background the Trindade Island and the two spoons that would be the spacecraft. That\'s how he made the fraud of the photos". According to Emilia, Baraúna was amused to remember the facts and laughed a lot at the whole episode.
Fantástico also reported the information that a niece of Baraúna had confirmed that the pictures were faked. Hours after the end of the show, the photographer\'s niece, who is now curator of photographic records, denied that she had confirmed the fraud.
She recounts that she had never heard her uncle\'s confession and manipulation of photographs, however, she remembered that Baraúna laughed a lot at the people that think the whole episode was a fake. We know today that his niece was not one of the three people that knew about Baraúna’s secret. As we can see, not all of his family are aware of the secret. The spoons explanation is denied by Marcelo Ribeiro, as well.
Who examined the negative?
The Navy, at the time, ordered to analyze the negative. One great failure by the senior officers, when they were still aboard the ship Almirante Saldanha, was not having confiscated the negatives just after they has been exposed.
The major error in the entire history of the event, apparently, is here. If the Captain-of-Corvette, Carlos Alberto Ferreira Bacellar, had confiscated the negatives and immediately taken them for analysis when the ship returned from the island, he would have seen, according this new version of the facts, that nothing was photographed in the skies.
The joke would have been discovered at the moment and the case would never exist. That was the great failure by the Navy.
Another major issue has contributed to the military not finding anything: there was no photographic paper on board. Thus, it was impossible to reproduce the negatives on appropriate paper that would clearly show whether anything had been captured or not. This reproduction was only done by Baraúna at his home.
The Navy itself has acknowledged these shortcomings and informed in his report , under the title "Report on the observation of unidentified flying objects recorded on the island of Trinidad, in the period from December 5th 1957 to January 16th, 1958" on three topics: "I - no copies were made of the film at the time of its development. II - The ship\'s captain did not take possession of the negatives, after developed, in order to obtain copies later in the presence of witnesses. III - Prints and enlargements were made by the photographer in his own lab."
As no order was given to confiscate the negatives, Baraúna had it all the time. The vessel Almirante Saldanha returned from the island and docked in Vitoria, Espirito Santo’s state. The ship would be docked for two days before heading back to Rio de Janeiro. The five civilians of the Icaraí Spearfishing Club decided to leave the ship and take a bus to Niterói, Rio de Janeiro.
The permission to land was allowed only for civilians and denied to militaries. According to Baraúna\'s reports, they decided to land at the moment and follow the bus, because two colleagues in the group were at the end of the their holiday and would miss some days of work. That excuse could be true, but he had something else in mind. He wanted to land as soon as possible to get home as quickly as possible, taking the negatives with him.
The negatives were in possession of Baraúna for eight days or more from the moment he took the pictures on the ship. This time was enough for him to set up his montage work in his own laboratory, at home. Only after this did the Navy finally request them and send them for analysis.
Technical Department of Hydrography and Navigation of the Navy and Technical Service Aero photogrammetric of an aviation company, the extinct Cruzeiro do Sul, conducted tests on the negatives. The result of this examination is recorded in the Navy\'s report:
"The manager of Navy\'s Department of Hydrography and Navigation of the Navy, after reviewing the negative, said they are natural. Service Technicians Aero Photogrammetric of the Cruzeiro do Sul, after conducting microscopic examinations to verify the grain-signal analysis, verification of luminosity and details of contours, said: there was no sign of photomontage in the negatives mentioned and all the evidence indicating that they were actually negative for a truly object photographed. The hypothesis of a photomontage hatched after the sighting is excluded. It is impossible to prove either the existence or the nonexistence of a prior photomontage; be that as it may, this is a technique requiring high precision and favorable conditions for its implementation."
As can be seen, apparently the Navy technicians have only a preliminary assessment, without delving into more robust analysis. The more stringent tests were made by the Cruzeiro do Sul, which could exclude the possibility of a photomontage after the sighting, but did not elaborate a photomontage created before everything happened.
This report by the Cruzeiro do Sul is still secret and the Navy never published it [The Brazilian Committee of Ufologists – CBU and the Revista UFO are legally requiring this document from the Brazilian Navy]. In it, there should be details of all the analysis of procedures performed in the negative. Even back then, the managing director of the Cruzeiro do Sul, Helio Meirelles, now deceased, denied that his company had conducted tests of the negatives by the Navy\'s.
We know today that Helio was not aware of what happened in his company or was hiding information, because the report contained a description of the Navy that such a laboratory performed the analysis.
In an interview in 1983, 25 years after the event, Baraúna affirmed that the negatives would also have been analyzed by a Kodak lab in Rochester, United States. Until then, none of her previous interviews, had he made such a statement.
According to the interviee\'s version, we discover that is not true. In fact, it could already have been discovered long ago. The Navy\'s report makes no mention to Kodak having been engaged in such analysis. It was one of the Baraúna’s jokes.
In 1978, a UFO research group, Ground Saucer Watch (GSW), now extinct, made an analysis of the positive of the film and concluded that the photos were real. Indeed, the GSW analyzed what they had in hands, only positive ones. The negatives were never sent overseas to any analysis.
Those negatives have always been in Baraúna\'s possession. If there was any montage trick on the photos, the group would never would have found it out by analyzing the positives only.
Other researchers outside Brazil also looked at the positives. Some of them testified that the photographs were real, others doubted is authenticity or even concluded them to be false. We present below a summary table of various institutions which analyzed the photographs.
Institution Analysed the Negative Analysed the Positive
Brazilian Navy Yes Yes
*Cruzeiro do Sul Yes Yes
Kodak No No
Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) No Yes
* Also know as Aerial Services Cruzeiro do Sul
Previously witnesses, now victims
One of the witnesses who reported seeing the UFO in the skies over the island was civilian, lawyer, founder and president of the Icaraí Spearfishing Club, Amilar Veira Filho. Amilar pioneered spearfishing in Niteroi and was three times champion in this sport in South American.
At the time of the sighting he worked at the Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil) and later worked in a foreign trade company, having opened his own office later. By 2008, aged 83, he was the last living member of the staff of Icaraí Spearfishing Club, until he was murdered in an attempted robbery in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2003, this author managed to locate him and conducted a telephone interview in which he confirmed his sighting: "I do not have the slightest interest in debating whether there was fraud or not. I\'m telling you, my observation is that I saw the object and I will never deny it".
At the time of the sighting, told the newspaper O Globo, in February 28th, 1958, that he saw "an object was initially gray in color, oval shape, which passed over the island and then purchasing a type of light fluorescent disappeared in depth, until the light source was extinguished just above the horizon".
When this author asked him about the possibility of Baraúna having manipulated the photographs, he considered the possibility: "It might be. But it had the appearance of the object in the sky, so I\'m saying it because I noticed the object. I\'ll say this here once. If he did anything to manipulate the film, I do not know, but the object was in the sky. If he did anything it was from what was seen in the sky".
Today we know that even his own friend, Amilar, knew Baraúna’s secret. Critics back in 1958, accused him of being part of a conspiracy between the five members of the Club and they would have made up the whole story, pretending to have seen a UFO in the skies over the island.
We know that is not true, based in this new version of the facts. The reality is that none of the other four members of the Spearfishing Club knew Baraúna’s secret. They were also fooled by him.
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