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The Tulsa Boy Scout Photo


Photographic Evidence of the 1965 Sightings

Project Blue Book investigated this sighting under Case Number 9966. Despite the thousands of witnesses dispersed across 7 different states that night including Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming, only the Tulsa sighting is known to have produced any photographic evidence of the encounters over Oklahoma. The picture was captured after a father and his son Alan, along with 2 friends (including the Reverend) were leaving the Full Gospel Chapel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The group watched for over an hour while as many as 17 different objects zipped overhead in a northeasterly direction while flashing white, green, and red lights. After heading home, the father and son were joined by Alan’s older sister and her husband, as well as a neighbor friend. They grabbed Alan’s Boy Scout camera and watched as an object that was approximately 30 - 50 feet in diameter flashed multicolored lights and produced a loud whining sound which stirred up the dogs in the neighborhood. After the film was developed, it was shared with a local researcher and staff from the Oklahoma Journal. Interviews were conducted with all of the witnesses and analysis was performed on the photo which resulted in the photo being deemed authentic. In 1966, Project Blue Book obtained the photo and original negative. The Air Force’s Photo Processing and Photo Analysis Division was able to confirm the previous analysis, but suggested that the object appeared to be similar to “a multi-colored revolving filter flood light of the type used to illuminate, and color, aluminum trees during the Christmas season.” Blue Book ultimately closed the case as explained, but computer analysis done in 1977 by an independent group confirmed the original findings by the local newspaper, that it was a saucer shaped object, approximately 30 feet in diameter.

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The Interplanetary Intelligence Report was produced by Hewes' office operating under the name of the Interplanetary Intelligence of Unidentified Flying Objects. The July - August 1966 issue (pictured above) highlights his investigation of the Tulsa Boy Scout Photo. The following is the transcript from that article. 


Tulsa Photograph Evaluated

Page 6
During the August 1965 "flap" throughout the central
United States, more people saw UFOs than in any month
in recorded history. Radio and television programs
were interrupted by announcements that strange objects were passing overhead and young and old alike rushed
outside to see what appeared to be bright lights in the
sky but which, when photographed or viewed through bi-
noculars, seemed to be domed structures circled by
lights of varying colors.

It was during this rash of sightings that a 15-year-
old boy, Alan Smith, photographed a UFO in color as it
passed over Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early morning of
August 2, 1965. IIOUFO learned of the photograph a few
days later. Following a conference between our staff
and Mr. Bill Atkinson, publisher of the Oklahoma Jour-
nal, the original negative was obtained and a photo an-
alysis made by experts. After intensive investigation,
including careful screening of Alan, his family and
neighbors who were present when the picture was made,
it was agreed unanimously that the photo was genuine.
It was run in full color on the front page of the Journal
on October 5. The following month it was carried in
color on the front cover of the Interplanetary Intel-
ligence report. From there it was picked up by the
Indianapolis Tribune. A full report of our investiga-
tions along with the photo was furnished to LIFE Maga-
zine where the photo was published in the UFO Special
April 1, 1966. On April 23, 1966, MATCH, the best
known pictorial magazine of France, published the pho-
tograph with a comprehensive article

A copy negative and our report was forwarded to
Project Blue Book on November 5, 1965, for Air Force
evaluation. The photograph and report were returned
with the following comments in part: "The pictures
which you forwarded are quite interesting. However
as you know, analyses of copies are meaningless. The
original negatives depict so much more that is not vis-
ible on enlargements or copies of the original. The ab-
ence of any reference point or star trails makes it ex-
remely unlikely that the photographs represent an ob.
ject in flight. This, of course is my personal opinion
and is not based on photo analysis techniques!'

Information and photo copies were forwarded to the
Eastman Kodak Company. Their acknowledgement in
part reads as follows: "It is extremely difficult to come
to any definite conclusion on the basis of the print alone
without reference to the negative. Obviously, some-
thing was photographed and the picture is surprisingly
clear and sharp for an exposure probably made with
very little preparation'

In advance of the CBS 'anti" UFO Special Report of
May 10, 1966, a negative copy and full information was
supplied for use on the program. The reply stated:
'Thank you for your courteous interest in sending us the
UFO material. We're returning the negative, as you
asked. We're sure the subject has not been exhausted
and hope there will be some more in the future!'

Since we believe that there should be free exchange
of information between UFO organizations, a print and
report were supplied to NICAP Washington Their re-
ply dated December 16, 1966 read: "Many thanks for
your letter of December 11, and especially for the print
of the color picture, which we had been unable to obtain
from the Oklahoma Journal. We are forwarding it to our photoanalyst for interpretation. Unfortunately, the
lack of detailed background data make it quite unlikely
that he will be able to come to any conclusion!'

On May 6, 1966 the following was received from
NICAP: "As for the Alan Smith photo, it is NICAP's o-
pinion that it is of dubious value. Considering the am-
ateurish equipment, we find it hard to believe that such
a clear photograph could be taken at night in the manner

Following the March 1966 sightings the House Armed
Services Committee held a hearing on April 5 during
which high-ranking Air Force officials admitted sight-
ings that they could not explain away. It was agreed
that a team of civilian scientists would be named to
study the 'unknowns!' Chairman Mendell Rivers, of the
Armed Services Committee, urged Secretary of the Air
Force to obtain the "alleged UFO photographs (which
appeared in Life Magazine) for analysis.' Without the
help of the Committee it is likely that no evaluation of
the Tulsa photograph would have been made public, or
if so, it probably would have been explained away as
a half grapefruit mounted on a steering wheel, or a
"funny hat" such as children wear at birthday parties.

Under Congressional pressure, the original neg-
ative of Alan Smith's photograph was evaluated by the
Air Force. A copy of that evaluation is enclosed with
this issue of IIR. (MT currently attempting to locate this)

After identifying all UFO photographs as frauds.
fakes or natural objects, insulting observers and deny-
ing the existence of unidentified flying objects for 20
years, it is refreshing to note that the Air Force admits
that Alan photographed an "object" and not a glowing
ball of marsh gas.

Thank you, Chairman Rivers, for your help


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