Bad UFO pictures

On December 28, there was a “sky event” in New York that got too much attention especially from the ufologist and UFO-believers. It was a power plant explosion. There’s nothing special about this event, but New York Police Department did issue a tweet probably because of the wild speculations.

Many UFO videos and articles were posted. Some of them referred to old UFO-cases and used fake photos. I decided to collect the most common UFO photos and the related facts into this post.

Roswell UFO

Mother of all UFO incidents: alleged Roswell UFO crash July 8, 1947. It was a United States Army Air Forces balloon that crashed at a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. USAF initially reported it was a weather balloon, but this was related to a secret Project Mogul. They just couldn’t say it was actually a nuclear test surveillance balloon.

This is the most common alleged Roswell photo:

There are several variations of the image e.g. sometimes it has been rotated or cropped. In any case, that’s not an authentic photograph of a flying disc / saucer or UFO. It’s from a 1959 TV-Series The Twilight Zone, episode The Death Ship. There are no real photos or videos of Roswell crash showing alien spacecraft or ET alien bodies.

O’Hare UFO photos

The 2006 O’Hare International Airport UFO sighting is quite common: there’s no actual evidence, just eyewitness statements. Regardless, these two blurry photos are often shared in connection with this story:

Even the MUFON case article includes one of the images. They should know better: both images are fake and originate from a discussion forum “Above Top Secret” (aka ATS).

The forum members debunked both photos as fake in 2007. Over 10 years have passed and these fake images are still being circulated as real. And of course the recent drone incident at Gatwick airport sparked the discussion about O’Hare incident again.

Nazi UFOs

I just had to include Nazi UFOs in this article. Let’s start with Haunebu, the alleged flying saucer designed by the Nazis. There’s this authentic looking document:

Haunebu II design
Haunebu: artistic impression, via WikiPedia

Haunebu is purely fictional and was invented long after the WWII. A Polish artist Hubert Czerepok is behind the “old” documents and many photographs. More information in this PDF document describing an exhibition of the Polish artist.

Die Glocke aka The Clock is another one, perhaps not so common alleged Nazi UFO. The illustrative picture from Discovery Channel shows the general idea:

Die Glocke, credit: Discovery Channel

Doe Glocke is also purely fictional. It was invented by a Polish author Igor Witkowski. That’s it for the Nazi UFOs that never were real (unless some are hidden on the dark side of the moon…).


I will not add classic triangle-UFO aka TR-3B pictures here, because of this earlier post.

George Adamski Ship

George Adamski‘s classic UFO photo naturally belongs to this collection.

Copyright © Adamski Foundation

It’s not a real alien space ship. Most likely Adamski used a lantern and some other common items to build this “ship”. UFO vs. a lantern:

Credit: Joel Carpenter

The picture above is from a PDF document by Joel Carpenter: Preliminary Notes on the Adamski Scout Ship Photos.

Washington D.C. UFO incident 1952

Washington D.C. UFO incident occurred in 1952 and it was mainly about misinterpreted radar data. The linked Wikipedia article contains the in-depth explanation. The following photo is often used when describing this case, but it’s not related. It appeared on media several years after the incident and there are many variations (digitally enhanced, black and white and so on). The image simply shows some reflections of Capitol’s lamps.

Reflections of Capitol’s lamps

Battle of Los Angeles

Battle of Los Angeles or The Great Los Angeles Air Raid took place in 1942. It was basically a false alarm of Japanese attacking LA caused by a meteorological balloon. Suddenly soldiers started shooting at skies. The following photo is the reason why this panic attack turned into a UFO case:

Battle of Los Angeles. Credit: Los Angeles Times

The photo is still being cited by some ufologists as part of evidence of ET visitations. The searchlights are allegedly focused on an alien spaceship. That’s not true. The photo was heavily retouched prior to publication. Original photo is more modest and shows bursts of anti-aircraft fire illuminated by spotlights. In 1979 Spielberg made a movie loosely based on this event: 1941. Do check it out.

Salvo UFO, 1966

This picture of ‘flying saucer’ was taken by Robert J. Salvo in 1966. Salvo was 13-years old at that time.

Credit: Robert J. Salvo / Getty Images

The story shortly: Salvo was walking their dog, noticed an UFO and took some photos of it. The photos were allegedly sent to military – they never replied. A Civil Defense coordinator Frank Wilgus examined the negatives (or had them examined) before newspaper articles were published. Based on the examination, the negatives were not tampered with. However, this photo looks like a typical UFO hoax where the object is self-made. A 15-year old person came to the same conclusion in May 1966 and recreated the UFO photo:

Newspaper clip via

Michael Sidoric Jr. used a cover of a bean pot for the recreation photo. Although Salvo’s UFO photo is widely shared, it’s clearly a hoax. Thanks to Marco Faustino who found the 1966 newspaper article.

Italy, 1954

This photo of two UFOs is often said to be the first UFO photo ever. Original caption: 12/10/1954-Sicily, Italy- Four Sicilians gaze skyward at two unidentified objects similar to those being mentioned in press reports and appearing in photos from other European countries.

Image credit: Getty Images

The authenticity of this photo was checked by “questioning the photographer” (who is unknown). The original story is flawed to begin with: the persons are clearly not looking at the “UFOs”.

Edward J. Ruppelt, a director of project Blue Book by U.S. Air Force wrote about this photo in the book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects:

The picture showed three men standing on a bridge, with a fourth running up with a camera. All were intently watching two disk-shaped objects. The photo looked good, but there was one flaw, the men weren’t looking at the UFO’s; they were looking off to the right of them. I’m inclined to agree with Captain Hardin of Blue Book—the photographer just fouled up on his double exposure.

(Ruppelt, 1956)

The Sicily UFO photo is yet another obvious hoax. I don’t know if the negatives were studied. Photographer remains unknown. I fully agree with Ruppelt and Blue Book: this is a double-exposure photo.

Google Earth

Google Earth (and Moon/Mars) is an endless source for UFOs. Anything mysterious found on Google Earth, Moon or Mars can be explained without ET UFOs. Some widely used examples:

Image credit: Google

That is an old water tower in Romania.

Credit: Google

This is classic Area 51 “UFO” on Google Earth. This image was captured in 3D mode so that the UFO appears to have an shadow. That’s just how 3D maps rendering works when you play with it. Here’s the same area in 2D:

Image credit: Google

The “shadow” isn’t a shadow. The “UFO” isn’t an object at all. Check it out using Bing maps as they have more recent satellite images. There are hundreds of “UFOs” found using Google software. None of them are actual unidentified flying objects, flying saucers, ET aircraft or whatever your friendly UFO researcher claims.

I will add more bad UFO pictures to this article when time permits. I’ll also take suggestions via comments or Twitter, but please make sure the image is about a common alleged UFO sighting.

If you are on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube and are interested in UFO phenomenon, I warmly recommend to follow UfoOfInterest. They have a lot of experience and knowledge on both old and new UFO sightings. They also perform real research unlike many other UFO-related accounts.

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