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Oldest UFO Photograph (from 19th century)

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posted on May, 6 2005 @ 10:59 AM

This pics description from:

"1870-Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. This photo is dubbed, "the oldest UFO photograph ever taken." This item was the subject of bidding at Ebay in 2002, when finally the photo was purchased for $385.00 by Samuel M. Sherman, who was the president of Independent-International Pictures Corp. This was originally a "stereo" photograph. Certainly it was difficult to manipulate photos at that time, and remember, there were no flying objects then; at least, not from this world."

When I came across this I immediately thought of the 'mystery airship' sightings from the 1890s. Indeed, this craft looks somewhat like what we think of as a dirigible. The problem, though, is that no working dirigibles existed at the time the photo was taken.... At the very least, there were certainly no dirigibles that could safely manuever over mountains.

So what is it? In many ways it resembles the classic 'cylindrical' UFO that was common in the 1950s (and that is, today, occasionally spotted in high altitude photographs). It's also a bit angular at points, an aspect that gives it a metallic -- not fibrous -- look.

Here are some links about the 'mystery airship' wave of 1896-1897. Many believe that the wave itself was fanned by local 'liar's clubs' and yellow journalism... but, again, this shot is from the 1870s... at a time when there was little speculation about life on mars and almost no working, propelled aircraft/airships.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:15 AM
Just kidding.

Interesting picture.

This item was the subject of bidding at Ebay in 2002, when finally the photo was purchased for $385.00 by Samuel M. Sherman

I'm surprised it didn't sell for more. But back in those days, wasn't exposure times long? I believe they used stands to hold people still while being photographed so they couldn't move and blur the image. This one looks quite clear. Maybe an expert can explain if this was capable at this time.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:30 AM
Nice picture. I think i had never seen it. Concerning the ufo, it was probably a classic cigar shaped mothership. It would be interesting to know if the size of the object has been determined.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:37 AM
I don't know, but it looks like an airship to me. Airships were being developed in that time and a test flight would probably be a good reason to take a stereoscopic photograph. Zeppelin worked on his designs for about 30 years before he prefected it, but hydrogen balloons were being used for almost a century before that.

The rigid airship, employed so extensively by Germany during the Great War, was perfected soon after the turn of the century by a former Wurttenberg army cavalry officer, Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zeppelin, who had been inspired by a balloon ascent he had made in the United States on 19-Aug-1863.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:37 AM
That thing doesn't even look like a UFO, it looks like nothing.

On the history of photography

1826: Niépce creates a permanent image
1834: Henry Fox Talbot creates permanent (negative) images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution. Talbot created positive images by contact printing onto another sheet of paper.
1837: Louis Daguerre creates images on silver-plated copper, coated with silver iodide and "developed" with warmed mercury; Daguerre is awarded a state pension by the French government in exchange for publication of methods and the rights by other French citizens to use the Daguerreotype process.
1841: Talbot patents his process under the name "calotype".
1851: Frederick Scott Archer, a sculptor in London, improves photographic resolution by spreading a mixture of collodion (nitrated cotton dissolved in ether and alcoohol) and chemicals on sheets of glass. Wet plate collodion photography was much cheaper than daguerreotypes, the negative/positive process permitted unlimited reproductions, and the process was published but not patented.
1853: Nada (Felix Toumachon) opens his portrait studio in Paris
1854: Adolphe Disderi develops carte-de-visite photography in Paris, leading to worldwide boom in portrait studios for the next decade
1855: beginning of stereoscopic era
1855-57: Direct positive images on glass (ambrotypes) and metal (tintypes or ferrotypes) popular in the US.
1861: Scottish physicist James Clerk-Maxwell demonstrates a color photography system involving three black and white photographs, each taken through a red, green, or blue filter. The photos were turned into lantern slides and projected in registration with the same color filters. This is the "color separation" method.
1861-65: Mathew Brady and staff (mostly staff) covers the American Civil War, exposing 7000 negatives
1868: Ducas de Hauron publishes a book proposing a variety of methods for color photography.
1870: center of period in which the US Congress sent photographers out to the West. The most famous images were taken by William Jackson and Tim O'Sullivan.

but notice

1877: Edweard Muybridge, born in England as Edward Muggridge, settles "do a horse's four hooves ever leave the ground at once" bet among rich San Franciscans by time-sequenced photography of Leland Stanford's horse

Sounds like you could take "high speed" photographs at least shortly after.

Here's and intersting page:

By 1840, when techniques had improved and exposure times were shortened, Portrait photography became fashionable. Since that time, photography has become an important tool in many fields, with sophisticated techniques and equipment continuing to evolve

Shutter speeds of around 1/250th of a second will generally stop motion.
The daguerreotype's silver image was capable of rendering exquisitely fine detail. It was a single-image process, however--each exposure produced only one picture, incapable of reproduction. Furthermore, the process required exposures of up to several minutes even in bright sunlight, thus constraining its subjects to absolute motionlessness.

and then

In 1871 a new era in photography began when an amateur English photographer, R.L. Maddox, produced a successful dry plate that retained its light-sensitivity after drying. Other inventors followed his lead, and soon fast, reliable dry plates, much more convenient to use than the earlier wet plates, became available at a reasonable cost.

The dry plate represented a turning point in photography. With the availability of faster emulsions, photographers could make exposures on the order of a fraction of a second, and for the first time the camera was freed from a stand. A new breed of smaller, more portable cameras proliferated, variously called hand cameras or detective cameras. With fast-dry plates, and later with film, photography could be practiced by amateurs without the need for professional training or equipment. As shutter speeds became fast enough to stop motion, a fascinating new world of vision unfolded. Especially notable was the work of the Englishman Eadweard Muybridge, who pioneered work in the field of motion-picture projection. He photographed sequences of human and animal motion that fascinated artists, anatomists, and the general public alike.

So I vote no, a photo of a quickly moving UFO is not going to be produced in 1870.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:41 AM
For anyone who doesn't know...a stereo photo is a side-by-side of the same image. They used to make viewers that could look at these in the "old" days. When I was a kid, my grandmother had hundreds of photos and a couple viewers which you can see below.

They had a thing to put your eyes too and then a long stick you clipped the photo to at the end. Like the ones on the left, except hers were older. Very cool.

This photo is also very cool, but I looks like it was taken from the air, but they had "almost no working, propelled aircraft/airships".

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:55 AM

Originally posted by ZeddicusZulZorander
This photo is also very cool, but I looks like it was taken from the air

I had the same thought. Maybe the photographer was on the side of a mountain?

Thanks for the history lesson Nygdan.

But if the object wasn't moving fast I guess it was possible to get a clear picture at that time. My vote is also for a dirigible.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 11:55 AM
Given the many issues that could cause photographic anomolies with cameras at the time, one would have to know a lot more about the details of the sighting itself, to make an informed opinion. I suppose it is the oldest photo, technically speaking, of an unidentified object.

Personally, my favorite best old photo is the one in '29 of the guy by his truck, with the classic disc shape UFO, WAY before such an idea was even common, and almost two decades before Arnolds' sighting would term the phrase, "flying saucer".

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:06 PM

Originally posted by Gazrok
I suppose it is the oldest photo, technically speaking, of an unidentified object.

It's only unidentified because we weren't the ones to pay $355 to look at the back...

and GAz, you really do need to do something about your dolphin.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:08 PM
Ok, I think enough have complained about my "exposed" dolphin...

What the heck even made folks look there? You sickos!

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:12 PM
wait... I think I can see that alien's penis.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:17 PM
the object has 90 degree edges on it. Not very aerodynamic.

Looks like a chunk of lumber to me.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:17 PM
Is it just me or do the clouds in the background make it look like a painting.

I was unable to find any other references to this photo other than rense. Nothing shows up on ebay about it either.

I'm thinking it's a hoax.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:23 PM
I've actually seen news stories one before... would have to check for sources it was a few years ago...

The poster did link to a description from ufocasebook, a fairly reliable site for such not just Rense. I too give Rense a bad rap on most things, but some of their UFO stuff is pretty good, and has better pics than elsewhere...and of course, as long as one can back it up with other, more bona-fide sources.

Personally, it looks like the Millenium Falcon on Bespin, but maybe that's just 'cause it's a few more days till the flick...

[edit on 6-5-2005 by Gazrok]

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:23 PM
It looks to me like something rather large is just laying in the snow on the side of a mountain. It's definitely a stretch calling that a UFO.

Gaz, I liked Flipper myself. Dolphins rock!!!


posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:35 PM
I didnt know that Photograhpy was that good back then, I know they had those huge camera's that stood on tri-pods, but come-on man. If anything, it looks like someone threw a wooden post (still has some grass and debris flying off of it just a tad) into the air. They were practicing with new photo speeds

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:44 PM

It looks to me like something rather large is just laying in the snow on the side of a mountain. It's definitely a stretch calling that a UFO.

You mean like Noah's Ark?

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 12:54 PM

Originally posted by Dr Love
It looks to me like something rather large is just laying in the snow on the side of a mountain. It's definitely a stretch calling that a UFO.

Gaz, I liked Flipper myself. Dolphins rock!!!


Well, if it was in the air when it was photographed... it was 'flying'.

Keep in mind, folks, that just because something doesn't appear on record on the internet doesn't mean that it doesn't ahve sources. Internet references -- especially ones regarding UFOs -- tend to skew towards modern sightings and pictures. If you look at old UFO books they contain all sorts of stuff that you can't find online. Simply put, the internet is a great resource for things that happened after 1990 or so.... but precious few items have been transfered to it from old, yellowing books.

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 01:00 PM
Take note of the history of airships. Yes, like someone said above, there were primitive airships at the time, but they were not capable of manuevering or straying far from their launch sites. They could not have navigated over a windly mountain:

"The first successful airship was that of the French engineer and inventor Henri Giffard, who constructed in 1852 a cigar-shaped, nonrigid gas bag 44 m (143 ft) long, driven by a screw propeller rotated by a 2.2-kilowatt (3.0-horsepower) steam engine. He flew over Paris at a speed of about 10 km/h (about 6 mph). Giffard's airship could be steered only in calm or nearly calm weather.

"The first airship to demonstrate its ability to return to its starting place in a light wind was the La France, developed in 1884 by the French inventors Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs."

It seems, to me, that we may either have a legitimate UFO OR evidence for a secret -- and historically unknown -- airship on our hands.

Further reading:

posted on May, 6 2005 @ 01:08 PM
Some info on Mt. Washington:

"...Home of the world's worst weather, Mount Washington is 6288 feet above sea level..."

"Originally called Agiocochook by native Americans, the mountain boasts some of the planet's most severe weather, and retains the world record for wind speed, 231 MPH. The 52-acre Mount Washington State Park surrounds the summit, where visitors will find a multitude of old and modern buildings, once known as the 'City Among the Clouds'."

I was also able to find several mentions of this photo on the net:

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