Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.


You’ve most certainly come across this famous UFO photo at least once before. It’s been printed on almost all books regarding UFOs and such phenomena. The famous Trinidade Island UFO photograph.


At 12:00 pm on January 16, 1958, Brazilian ship Almirante Saldanha, taking part in projects of the International Geophysical Year, was preparing to sail away from Ilha de Trindade, off the coast of the state of Espírito Santo.

Among the crew of the ship, there was a member of the Brazilian Air Force, Captain José Teobaldo Viegas, the submarine photographer Almiro Baraúna, several scientists and a group of highly trained explorers.

Reportedly Captain Viegas was on the deck with several scientists and members of the crew when he suddenly noticed a flying object, which had a “ring” around it, just like Saturn. Witnesses present reportedly saw the UFO at the same time.

It reportedly came toward the island from the east, flew towards the “Pico Desejado” (Wished Peak), made a steep turn and went away very quickly to the northwest.

As soon as the object was noticed, Almiro Baraúna was sought for photography. After getting the camera and going up the quarter-deck, he managed to take several pictures of the object.

After being disclosed, the pictures were exhaustively analyzed by the Laboratório de Reconhecimento Aéreo da Marinha (Brazilian Navy’s Aerial Reconnaissance Laboratory) and by the Serviço Aerofotogramétrico Cruzeiro do Sul. All the pictures were considered genuine, taken from a real occurrence, with the certification of military personnel. The pictures even received confirmation from Juscelino Kubitschek, president of Brazil at that time.

To this day because of the certification of the witnesses and the official recognition, the object in Almiro Baraúna’s pictures remains unexplained.

Well it turns out that Almiro Barauna hoaxed the photograph and has fooled the entire world since. The superb website Forgetomori has the the scoop:

This Sunday, a major TV show in Brazil, “Fantastico”, aired a bombshell about the Trindade Island’s UFO (click for the original video and transcript in Portuguese). This is one of the most celebrated cases in ufology, so when a friend of the author of the famous photos, Almiro Barauna, tells in a recorded interview that she:

“heard from the photographer himself: he hoaxed the images, it was a montage. ‘He got two spoons, joined them and improvised a spaceship, using as background his home fridge. He photographed on the fridge door and object with a perfect lighting, because the calculated everything, he wasn’t dumb. He laughed a lot’, said Emilia Bittencourt.”

So this is a bombshell, especially because the TV show also reported that “Barauna’s files are with a niece, who didn’t want to record an interview, but she confirms the hoax.” A friend says she heard from the photographer details of how he hoaxed the world-famous UFO photos, and the niece who guards his files confirming it. A bombshell.

Since 2003 we have been calling attention to evidence that the photos may have been hoaxed, going from the inversion of the images of the UFO in different shots, to radical changes in background clouds while the elapsed time was claimed to be less than 20 seconds. In the years since then we have been ongoing on our research and found several new pieces of evidence, which will soon be presented in full.

Even so, the detail revealed by “Fantastico” and Bittencourt that the model used for the hoax was made up of two metallic spoons caught us by surprise – just as anyone else.

Read the rest of the story here.

As most of the old photographs of unexplained phenomena out there, this one was done for monetary gains. It angers me, but at the same time, feel glad that we are starting to uncover the true nature of what was once thought as “unexplained”. I don’t know, maybe science is helping us dig for the truth, or maybe it’s time that is on our side; for you see people who were part of the ‘old paranormal’ realm are getting older. Most are starting to come-clean and expose the truth as they face their own mortality issues. I guess they want to go on with a clear conscious. I would as well.

Thanks to Willy S. for the tip.

  • stvjnsD

    Great. And oh, by the way, the niece of the daughter of the sister of the astronaut said that the NASA mission was a hoax. ANOTHER BOMBSHELL! Keep up the good scientific work. Without these claims — i’m sorry — REVELATIONS, there would be no progress.

  • ElfishGene

    I was never that taken by the Trindade photo, even as a child something didn’t quite feel right about it but that goes for a lot of the early pics, most of them are obvious fakes and people still to this day regard them in awe (i’m looking at you George Adamski). A lot of the old pics are being exposed lately and as you mentioned usually by the fraudsters themselves as indeed they face their own mortality, i wonder how many of the supposed “next generation” of photo’s and videos will go the same way thirty or so years down the line.

  • DonBondo

    I just cant seem to see the spoons in this. Makes me wonder about the famous B&W saucer over the farm house picture. That’s a tough one to discredit.

    This is just another nail in the jaded coffin.

  • PCWilliams

    I’m with ElfishGene on this one … i was never particularly impressed with this photo from the time i saw it many, many years ago. For me, this “bombshell” lands with a dull thud.

  • gloria compton

    why is this so important?man has always had a mischievous the man himself a hoax?every photo should be taken for what it’s worth.there can be no blind faith or wishful thinking when looking for evidence about our surroundings.i want the good and the bad and to decide for myself.

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  • Pat

    My English is not fluent, my native language is Portuguese and I can assure all of you that this article above was 100% misunderstood. Mr. Baraúna is explaining that he had made a hoax long ago before the Trindade Island photo was taken. That’s the reason many skepticals tried to debunk his photos.
    If the bombshell that proves the ‘hoax” is the interview above, I’m very glad to inform all of you that it proved exactally the contrary. This is the most undeniable and strong prove of UFO still. If you don’t believe me try others sites and compare. I’m not trying to convince you the existence of UFO, but that the interview above is intencionally cut to spread discredit to the photo. Why??? Poor intention.

  • Pat

    To anyone who really seeks the truth.
    When you finish watch the video above, click on the second video of the menu,title:002 – “Almiro Barauna e Fotografias UFO na Ilha de Trindade”(7:06),” Almiro Barauna and the Trindade Island UFO Pictures” and you will hear the real history about how de pictures were taken in january 16 of 1.956 and most fascinating how he work on the film. It’s really outrageous all the material trying to hurt the image of this very respected Brazilian citizen. He has never made any profit from those photos and for people REALLY responsible and commited with the truth I recommend to do your own research about the Trindade Island UFO case. What happened there were miles beyond these simple but very honest pictures.
    PS1) More than 20 navy officials on the ship confirmed that they saw the UFO also two others reporters. Back then we had a very severe militar presidencial system and the Brazilian Army had all the political power over the country.Do you guys really believe than Brazilians navy crew could be that irresponsible?
    PS2) I will never waste my time again reading these article.
    PS3) If I may, I would like to suggest Mr. Ortega to check all the material to be placed here before damage the integrity of this site.
    I couldn’t find the interview said to be aired at Fantastico last sunday.I have Brazilian TV channels at home. I don’t know who is Emilia Bittencourt, but whoever she is (if she really exists) she is the real hoax trying to make some easy money from the skepticals.
    Go help the lady smart guys.

  • terry the censor

    The photographer definitely admitted to a hoax but not for these photos. There was a hot debate at UFO Updates. Kevin Randle also chimed in. While there is a lot of mystery still — no one has seen the negatives in 52 years? Does the niece have them or is she not being completely candid? — the photographer has not admitted these particular photos are a hoax.

  • Carlos Merck

    Hello Folks,

    I’m from Brazil, and I am very sorry to say that this thing is not well explained, and the source (forgetmori or ceticismo aberto) is a biased website that sadly is called “superb” here.

    There is nothing superb in Kentaro Mori’s work (owner of ceticismo aberto or English version forgetmori) but his collection of supernatural things he is always so skilled in debunking.

    I won’t get in the details of this case here, the Trindade Island case. But I would ask you people to seek Mori’s website and see for yourself if his work is really “superb”.

    Regards from Brazil,

  • Carlos Merck

    Hello Friends,

    I would like to invite all serious members of this site to read my translation, line by line below of the “amazing” video above “Almiro Baraúna conta detalhes do truque”. This is of great interest for the people who work so hard to find the truth.

    Translation from Portuguese to English by me:

    0:00 Calazantes Fernandes que era repórter da Tribuna da Imprensa
    0:00 Calazantes Fernandes was a reporter from the Tribuna da Imprensa (newspaper)

    0:06 tinha uma mágoa louca de mim sabe
    0:06 (he) had a lot of bad feelings towards me you know

    0:12 porque eu vendi pra ele uma fot… reportagem truncada
    0:12 because I sold him a pic… a twisted news article

    0:17 E ele piblicou Correio da Manhã, digo a Tribuna da Imprensa
    0:17 And he published it on the Correio da Manhã, I mean the Tribuna da Imprensa

    0:21 Ele publicou a reportagem em quatro edições
    0:22 He published the news article in 4 editions

    0:24 Foi um sucesso espetacular e era truque
    0:24 Was a huge success and was a trick (fake)

    0:27 Nós fizemos isso de acordo com Ubiratan Fernandes do Cruzeiro
    0:27 We did it together with Ubiratan Fernandes from the Cruzeiro

    0:34 Aléssio Wanderley e mais um outro
    0:34 Aléssio Wanderley and “one other”

    0:37 Eles estavam contando no Cruzeiro que o Fernandes era um sujeito muito vivo
    0:37 They were telling me at the Cruzeiro that Mr. Fernandes was a very smart guy

    0:41 Ninguém enganava ele
    0:41 No one made a fool out of him

    0:43 Eu disse, – Eu vou enganar !
    0:45 I said, – I’m going to fool (him)!

    0:45 Se eu for fazer um truque vou vender pra ele
    0:45 If I am going to make a fraud, I’m going to sell it to him

    0:47 Fiz o truque, ele comprou
    0:47 (I) made the fraud, he bought it

    0:49 Ele ficou com uma mágoa louca de mim
    0:49 He got with a lot of hard feelings towards me

    0:53 Pois bem, aí ele resolveu me desmascarar
    0:54 Very well, then he made his mind he woul debunk me

    0:57 Foi lá em casa, “saravá” aquele negócio nosso acabou
    0:57 (He) went to my house, “saravá – all of sudden” that problem of ours is over

    1:03 Vamos fumar um “cachimbo da paz” deixa aquilo pra lá
    1:03 Let’s smoke some marijuana, forget about that

    1:06 Nunca tive mágoa de você não
    1:06 I never had bad feelings for you

    1:11 Ficamos conversando num canto lá dei entrevista pra ele
    1:11 We had a conversation and I gave him an interview

    1:13 ele me fotografou
    1:13 he photographed me

    1:15 No dia seguinte no Correio da Manhã saiu uma reportagem gigantesca
    1:15 The next day the Cruzeiro da Manhã a huge news article was displayed

    1:20 Primeira página do Correio da Manhã, não (bate na perna), Tribuna da Imprensa!
    1:20 First page of the Cruzeiro da Manhã, não (slaps his leg), (I meant) Tribuna da Imprensa! (does this guy knows what he is talking about after all ? – translator note)

    1:25 Saiu uma reportagem enorme, tentando provar que aquele disco era truque
    1:25 A huge news article was on, trying to prove that disc was a fraud (what disc ? where this came from ? – translator note)

    1:29 Então ele mostra um cofre antigo, todo enferrujado, com uma caveira em cima
    1:29 Then he shows a very old safe, all rusty, with a skull over it

    1:35 Dizendo que eu fiz um truque do tesouro enterrado na ilha dos franceses
    1:35 Saying that I did a fraud with a buried treasure on the French Island

    1:43 Que era um truque que foi feito aqui numa gruta em São Francisco com uma lente angular
    1:43 That was a fraud made in cave here in São Francisco with a an angular (fish eye) lens

    1:49 E de fato foi, mas não tinha nada uma coisa com a outra
    1:49 And in fact it was, but one thing had no relation with the other


    Some notes:

    1. The video displayed in this page, as you can see by the translation has NOTHING to do with the Trindade case, and it’s being credit as an “old man’s saying the truth before death comes”

    2. The English translation may look strange some times, but it is as strange as the original Portuguese, yes this man looks confused and we migh ask ourselves if he knows what he is talking about.

    3. When he says (smoke) a “Cachimbo da Paz”, this is marijuana. But it could be also translate as “Let’s make peace”. I don’t know what was his real intention so he is both possible translations.

    4. JAVIER – Please take care with what you publish here, if you really want to have credibility in your website. Beware with Brazilian fanatics skeptics!

    If you ever need help with translation from Portuguese, you know my email.

    In the hope that you will publish this comment of mine, and that you will review this article,

    Best regards from Brazil,

  • Carlos Merck

    This is the best example of DESPERATE SKEPTICS fooling people.

    Yes we came to a point were we have to debunk the debunkers.

    I want to point some flaws of the above report:

    1. The old man in the video is supposed to be revealing his frauds (before death strikes as Javier pointed), but he is not. All he says in Portuguese HAS nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the TRINDADE case (*** see my translation line by line in tha last commentary).

    2. It was not him who took the photos on the ship.

    3. The source for this is the Brazilian fanatical website ceticismo aberto and his English version forgetmori. This video was meant to cause commotion in non Portuguese speaking people and cause scandal. The proof of this is : why on earth would the English language forgetmori website put this video as proof of the fraud, if there is no English subtitles on it, only an old man speaking in Portuguese that *nobody* in the English speaking community would understand ?

    So they fooled a lot of people in the international, English speaking internet with this FALSE video.

    I honestly don’t know if the picture is real, but I DO KNOW this debunking is TOTALLY false.

    I live in Brazil and there was nothing about the Photographer relatives or things like that on the TV, as the “superb” website forgetmori said there would be, and that was to be aired the next week on TV (fantástico) but it’s been months and there is nothing.

    Please be careful with this material.

    Personaly, I think Javier should add a “?” in the end of this article title, changing it to “Trindade Island UFO: Most Revered Photograph A Hoax ?” for TRUTH sake.

    I also think Javier should add the points me and other Brazilians (see above commentaries) who saw the skeptics fraud with his own eyes into the article, because we brought great points to the discussion, like translating what the guy was *really* saying in the video on this article. It’s like showing a video in Greek to me and say it proves or debunk something…

    I also think this article should be put in discussion again, with the new informations.

    I can give my world that there is nothing new about this subject in Brazil and there is no proof or even clues that would lead anyone to believe the picture was false. I repeat I don’t know if the picture is a hoax, but this debunking by forgetmori is.

    Best regards from Brazil,


  • Apollinair

    This is not a new revelation. However, the facts don’t fit the explanation

  • Richard

    Govt Trolls always trying to debunk facts………why don’t you just say “It was the Russians !!”