On August 2, 1965, Alan Smith allegedly took a photo of an unidentified flying object (UFO) in Tulsa Oklahoma, during a massive wave of UFO sightings. Here is my evaluation on what I think really happened:
On August 2, 1965, during a large wave of UFOs seen over the Plains States (in the United States), Alan Smith took a series of photos of a UFO he saw. In his report, he claimed that the object was very high. The photo processing company had not printed the UFO photos (most of which showed nothing), but one negative with an object in the corner was found to have not been printed. The photo, cropped, is reproduced at right. The UFO was not in the center of the photo, but was down in the lower right corner (see below).
Notice how the photo depicts a circular object that is dissected into several segments and arcs of different colors. The original object was said to have been flashing in several different colors, and UFOlogists have said that this photo shows the method of color change used by UFOs.
The Tulsa UFO Photo
The angular size of the object on the film is quite large - so large that, if the object had been "high", it would have been extremely large. But it is not so well known that the unaided human eye cannot determine the speed, altitude, distance, or size of any unknown object more than 30 feet away which is seen against the sky. So we do not really know the true size of the object. But at least one of the following must be true for the image on the film to exist:
Alan Smith's description of the angular size of the visual object is such that the object would not produce an image of the size obtained without a telephoto lens. Alan had a simple Buy Scout camera. An object the angular size that Alan reported to have seen visually would have left an image on the negative that was too small to be seen without magnification. The image should also have been in the center of the frame. Thus, the negative that was printed was not a negative of one of the shots attempted at the time of the sighting.
Note: the page author once shot photos of airplane lights at night, to use as a reference shot for angular size in a photo. A simple camera was used. Magnification was necessary to find the plane lights in the otherwise dark frame.
One other thing doesn't make sense. Most people bought black and white film for most photography in 1965, because color film cost about three times the price of black and white. They usually bought one roll of color film for Christmastime photos. It makes sense that a roll might still be in a camera from Christmas, but not a fresh roll of color film in August, unless the family had a lot of money. A lower item suggests that they did not have this money.
There are no stars visible in the photo. This may be due to the shortness of the exposure, or because no stars were there. According to other witnesses in Oklahoma that night, there were stars visible in the sky.
The shape of the object suggests a circular or elliptical light source with some kind of coloring media in front of it. Here are photos of the most likely object that was photographed:
A contact print of a negative strip was printed in a UFO book, purporting to show that the UFO photo was between Christmas photos. But Alan says that the roll of film was new, and that the strip containing the photo was cut apart when he had it printed again, so he wouldn't be charged for all 4 pictures (indicating not a lot of money available). If it was cut apart, where did the book author get the strip? (I am trying to track down this book again.)
Flashbulbs were quite unreliable in the 1960s. My main theory is that this photo was the result of a flashbulb failing to go off. Thus, the film recorded only the one direct light source in the field of view.
Spartus rotating color wheel
Spartus rotating color wheel
Notice the following:
The Tulsa Photo - blown up
The color wheel below blown up.
The color wheel in the same position.
A Penetray color wheel
Here are my conclusions:
This mistake also happened in the October 21, 1965 St George MN case. In this case, the original object was a light in the night sky. The wrong negative was again chosen to be printed. The object in the photo was a night light. The flash failed, leaving the night light as the only light source visible.
Original location and size
Expected location and size