[B]THIS IS NOT AN IMAGE OF A UFO[/B]
I stumbled upon this image during routine research and could not let the assertion that this is a UFO go unchallenged. First, I am an expert on both
Mt. Washington and stereoviews of the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. I am also a climber who has summited Mt. Washington numerous times in
all seasons including winter. In other words, I am probably uniquely qualified to debunk this.
1. The image depicting a supposed UFO is a heavily-cropped portion of a genuine stereoview from the winter of 1870-1871 by photographers A F. Clough
and H.A. Kimball. Cropping removes key contextual information, which would immediately disprove this as a UFO photo (sorry believers, you've been
2. From Nov 1870 to May 1871, a small group of men from the US Army Signal Corps were stationed on the summit to make scientific observations and to
study the feasibility of manning the summit year-round. Their measurements were telegraphed daily and there was great public interest in this
adventure. Clough and Kimball were two NH photographers who visited the observers and made a number of interesting images which were distributed
3. This expedition was documented in a book called "Mount Washington in Winter" by Hitchcock which describes their research and the difficult daily
life and living conditions. They did not witness any UFOs or paranormal events.
4. Contrary to another poster's assertion, there were a number of structures on the summit at this time including two hotels, staff quarters, two
stables, a newspaper printing office, stage office, train shed for the Cog Railway, water tanks, and other assorted outbuildings. There never were any
wooden fences or mailboxes, though. Most of these structures burned in the Great Fire of 1908.
5. Mt Washington is famous for its ferocious weather especially wind - the fastest on Earth. Anything not built of stone/cement or securely cabled
will blow away. Wind sculpts snow and ice and rime ice forms of all surfaces exposed to it. These formations can appear milky and cloud-like.
Interesting ice and snow formations were popular subjects of White Mountain stereoviews.
6. In wintry conditions on a mountain, ground, sky, and clouds can all blend together. This can have a disorienting effect on observers and climbers
and it can be difficult or impossible to scale objects properly. This is why viewing a cropped image might lead some people to think they are looking
7. I own one of these images and have seen several others. The "mystery" object is present in the original photograph and has not been caused by
retouching, camera trickery, or damage.
[B]WHAT AM I LOOKING AT?[/B]
In the foreground are frost formations on a cairn just below the summit of Washington on a day with high overcast. (A cairn is a pile of rocks used to
mark a route in featureless terrain such as that found above treeline). This is a very close photo. The "mystery" object is only a few inches long.
There is a clear demarcation between ground and sky in the background on what was a rare winter day with moderate visibility.The background below the
horizon line is wind-sculpted ice and snow, not clouds. There are no puffy clouds at all in fact.
[B]WHAT IS THE MYSTERY OBJECT?[/B]
Using a stereoscope or magnifying glass and with some familiarity of the gear a scientist of this period would use, it becomes clear that the object
is a wooden "standard". That's just a fancy name for a ruler which shows scale in a photo. Yes, it is that boring. No mystery zeppelins here.
Instead of a UFO photograph, what you have is clever marketing by an eBayer with a run-of-the-mill stereoview showing simple frost work. In fact, this
is not even a particularly rare example.
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