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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Oct > Oct 16

Re: Bruce Maccabee and Gulf Breeze Photos

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 22:36:25 -0400
Fwd Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:22:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Bruce Maccabee and Gulf Breeze Photos

 >Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 19:50:23 -0500
 >To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
 >From: Dennis Stacy <dstacy@texas.net>
 >Subject: Re: Bruce Maccabee and Gulf Breeze Photos

 >>Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 00:55:02 -0400
 >>From: bruce maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
 >>Subject: Re: Bruce Maccabee and Gulf Breeze Photos
 >>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


 >>Let me be a bit more explicit. I first saw black and white
 >>copies of photos 1-5 at the office of Dr. Robert Nathan who has
 >>been called the "father of digital image processing" at the Jet
 >>Propulsion Laboratory. This was in late January, 1988. Nathan
 >>had copies because the originals had ben brought to him for
 >>analysis in December, 1987. (This is a side story I won't get
 >>into now.) I had heard about the Gulf Breeze sightings by that
 >>time but had never seen any good copies of the pictures. When
 >>Nathan handed me photo 1 I looked at it for a few seconds, saw
 >>th UFO image "behind" the darker tree image and said to Nathan,
 >>"This would be a tough double exposure."

 >Well, let's get into it now. What, exactly, did Robert Nathan
 >opine? Did he agree with your assesment of same or not? And if
 >not, why not? After all, we're only uninterested scientists
 >here, are we not? And presumably unpaid ones at that. The truth
 >wherever it leads us and all that.>

Well, I notice you ignored most of my response, including the
part where your failure to recall accurately resulted in false

Be that as it may I would be delighted to tell you what Nathan
thought of Ed's photos.

First, he agreed with my assessment of photo one. HOwever, Bob
told me "I believe they are fakes."

Lest you feel a modicum of vindacation let me point out that in
all the times I visited Bob and discussed photo cases with him I
never once heard him say "This is real." Even the Heflin case
which made Bob "famous" and which he spent a LOT of time
investigating in 1965 and years following was not good enough
for a "that's real" comment from him.

ON THE OTHER HAND consider this: Bill Spaulding (for you
newbies, he was a photoanalyst 20 some years ago who founded
"Ground Saucer Watch, the organization that initiated the lwsuit
against the CIA!) claimed to have discovered "linear features"
in prints of Heflin's photos. (Recall that Heflin's photos were
Polaroids which were "lost" after several people had made copies
on 35 mm film and, at El Toro Marine base, on larger format
film.), I showed Nathan some of Spaulding's color coded
enhancements (color correlated to brightness of the black and
white picture). Some of the "edge enhanced" photos show vertical
or nearly vertical lines above the UFO images.... prima facie
NOT A HOAX! (I won't get into that)

POINT: Nathan looked at these pictures, laughed and said "Where
did he get those lines?" or words to that effect. Nathan
proceeded to prove that there wre no such features on the
negatives he had (Nathan had the negatives which had been
professionally made at El Toro Marine Base in 1965). In other
words, Nathan debunked a debunking. NOw, he didn't HAVE to do
that, if he really thought the Heflin case was a fake he could
have gone along with Spaulding's analysis. But he didn't just
accept Spaulding's analysis and, in fact, rejected it.

NEXT POINT: Nathan was scientific about it. He was careful to
separate his "gut feel" from what he could prove. He did some
photo analysis work for me on the McMinnville case.

He subjected the original negatives to careful photoanalysis
looking for any evidence of a thread or string above the UFO
image. Nothing suspicious was found. Nevertheless, he said he
thought they were fakes but he _couldn't_ prove it.

Same with Heflin, perhaps he thought they were real (perhaps
deep down inside he believed Heflin, to whom he had spoken many
times, unlike the Trents or Ed walters, whom he had never met ),
but he never said so, at least not to me. But he _couldn't_
prove Heflin a fake.

Nathan looked at many photos during his JPL career, always as
"personal interest," of course. He shot down a bunch where he
found obvious flaws. He acted as a consultant to me (and others)
over the years. I would bring him photos to look at and he would

A good example are the "Peter Beard" photos that hardly anyone
here in the "colonies" would be aware of, but this was known in
the Kingdom (Britain) where the photos were taken. Nathan gave
me a clue to pursue which showed ultimately that it was
impossible to prove that the "UFO" was not a paper cutout pasted
on a window. In other words, it did nothing photographically
that a paper cutout couldn't have done.

Over the years I interacted with him on the NEw Zealand case
(color movie film) and others that I can't recall at present.

As for Ed's photos, I think Nathan was genuinely puzzled. It
would have been easy to say that he had proved they were double
exposures, but the fact is he never proved they were double
exposures and he said to me "I think they are fakes, but I can't
prove it."

Furthermore, Ed's photos became more photographically difficult
Nathan had to admit that, if a hoaxer, Ed was certainly much
cleverer than Nathan would have expected. And then came the
stereo photos. Here were pictures that Nathan analyzed himself
(NOTE:I gave him the originals to work with...in fact, he
studied a number of Ed's originals, including the first 5).
Nathan agreed with my calculations.... the objects were at a
considerable distance and a considerable height over water
(_Not_ at the water'S surface).

Nathan told me he the parallax effect (which results when a
distant object is viewed from two locations) was large enough
that he could detect it while looking at the photos with only
his eyes! He subsequently made measurements to quantify the
parallax ad thus derive the distance. He agreed with my

Unlike Hyzer, Nathan was willing to accept the "possibility"
that (a) I might have some useful information and (b) I might be
telling the truth. Now, I should point out that my interactions
with Bob and his analyses were taking place during the spring of
1988 while all the other investigative activities and sightings
were happening and long before there was any book contract, etc.
Nathan's failure to explicitly prove any of Ed's photos to be
fakes played a roll in my opinion as stated in the MUFON
Symposium paper.

Unfortunately Nathan did not want to be publicly associated with
UFO photo analyses, presumably because of his job, so I could
only make oblique references, if at all.

You will note, however, that Nathan did allow a statement to be
published in 'UFOs Are Real', which was published in 1997 (after
he retired from JPL). He wrote: "There is nothing I can prove
that would establish that these pictures are artificial."

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