Balwyn, Melbourne UFO picture (1966)

Enlarging the object and messing with it in Photoshop suggests the reflection on the object is a tree.

Here's what I eventually extracted out of the object after a lot of messing. I'm quite pleased with the end result. It does look very like roof tiles and a side wall. The fact that the 'tiles' align with the angle of the edge of the roof suggests they are really there and not an artefact of pixel bleeding. This also highlights the white blob just 'in front' of the object.

James Fox's Phenomenon Scan Mailed color corrected K.png
 
The darker part along the top part of the rim is a specular reflection of the blue sky.
The even darker part along the bottom part of the rim is a specular reflection of something below the object. We won't ever know exactly what that is. Tree, roof, fence...
 
What about this one......which has both a) Colour crossing the median line and b) White in the edge area of the wing. Indeed, the pattern is pretty close to that of the 'UFO'....

dual-sex-butterfly-full-width.jpg.thumb.1160.1160.jpg
First of all, that is not the same species, that is a Papilio memnon, which does not occur naturally in Australia. Second, that is a photo of a gynandromorph explicitly stated to be bilateral and not mosaic (the right side is female, the left side is male). That it looks like it has colour crossing the median plane is because both females and males of the species have the same colour on the part of the hindwings closest to the body. You will also note that it is dark and very close to the colour of the actual body. In the Balwyn photo, the white patch, seemingly covering parts of the forewing where white patches aren't found on either sex of the P. aegeus subspecices and colour forms that occasionally migrates there, is also crossing the median plane right through the presumed thorax of the butterfly. There are, to my (admittedly very limited) knowledge, no known P. aegeus subspecies or colour forms that have a light-coloured thorax. The most light-coloured morphs have yellow abdomens and a brown thorax, but not nearly enough to support the purported explanation for the photo.

Outside of this being a freak occurrence of a partially leucistic or otherwise very rare and aberrant individual, I don't see how it could be a P. aegeus, or frankly any locally occurring butterfly species (if one insists on the photo being a butterfly seen from a completely dorsal view), and if we assume that the colouration could be completely aberrant, it is a functionally untestable hypothesis, since the butterfly in question has been dead for almost 60 years and no other photos of it are known to exist.

An entomologist with the relevant knowledge of Papilio (and other at least temporarily occurring) species could maybe falsify the suggestion somewhat if the cas is that there are no known cases of leucistic/aberrant individuals where the aberrant colouration encompasses both a wing and the thorax, which I personally suspect is the truth. But I don't know if that's the case, I am just extrapolating from the limited entomological knowledge I have, which isn't much since I'm more of a lichens and polypores kind a guy, and also tropical/subtropical butterflies are not a thing here at the 64th parallel north latitude.

Also, what is the part behind the clear demarcation of the wings supposed to be? An abdomen at least twice the width of what it is normally? The tails of the hindwings mushed up together? No butterfly I know of (admittedly, there are not very many detailed studies of butterfly flight mechanics) flies in such a way that it has the hindwings in the "closed" position while their forewings are fully extended, as would have to be the case here, the hindwings generally follow the forewings quite closely.

To sum up:
-It is not a conventional P. aegeus, the pattern of colouration doesn't match, leaving us with mosaic gynandromorphs and otherwise aberrant colourations, which are very rare.
-It has the wrong colour on parts of it forewing and thorax for it to be a non-aberrant mosaic gynandromorph.
-It was not a humid summer or autumn, so the species even being present as far southwest as Balwyn that year is unlikely.
-Given a dorsal view, either the shape of the hindwings doesn't add up with normal butterfly flight characteristics, or it has an abdomen of abnormal proportions.

If it was a P. aegeus in a dorsal view (I have not gone through the other two suggested angles in the same detail, but from memory the different species I looked at all also had similar problems with colour patterns not matching), it would thus have to be the probably strangest individual of that species ever spotted, only to be mistaken for being a flying saucer by the only person who ever saw it. I hold this to be extremely unlikely (though still more likely than the extraterrestrial craft hypothesis, since aberrant butterfly specimens are known to actually exist).
 
Someone else has already done the research and has identified what this object is.

It's part of a baby buggy wheel. It's not just a hubcap. It's an assembly. It's a heavy rim that fits into the wheel hub, an integral bearing sleeve and a hubcap, all together. The hubcap is on our left and the bearing sleeve is on our right.

Let's sort some things out.

This is a hubcap on an "artillery wheel" type auto wheel.
269px-1921_Hudson_Phaeton_red-black_AACA_Iowa_2012_wl.jpg
It's properly a hub grease cap. It fits directly over the outside end of the bearing to keep the grease clean.

This is a wheel cover.
482px-1964_Rambler_Classic_770_wagon-green_Ann-w.jpg
The actual hubcap is under the wheel cover.

The hubcap on a car is threaded and screws into or onto the wheel hub - or (I think) is secured with some kind of pin. No matter. It doesn't just snap on and off. The hub grease cap has a true function. To seal the bearing and protect it from contamination.

Auto wheel covers (so-called hubcaps) snap on. They're mostly decorative.



Baby buggy - (pram, perambulator, baby carriage, baby coach)

Old fashioned baby buggy wheels seem to usually (or exclusively) use sleeve bearings.

Sleeve bearing
sleeve bearing schematic K.png


Baby buggy wheel. The "back" side.
wheel arrows.png
Green arrow - bearing journal
Red arrow - bearing sleeve



Same wheel flipped 180 degrees. The hubcap is visible.
wheel 2 arrow.png
Blue arrow - wheel hub
Purple arrow - hubcap - More properly, the hub grease cap.

The spokes are attached to the wheel hub - a hollow tube. The sleeve bearing is inside the wheel hub.



There are simple snap on baby buggy hubcaps.
s-l1600snap.jpg






This baby buggy "hubcap" is for sale on eBay.
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/191489296486

This seems to be a particular type of "push on" hubcap with a heavy piece of metal that pushes into the wheel hub. That heavy rim has an integral bearing sleeve. The whole thing is one assembly.
Buggy hub arrows.png
Purple arrow - hubcap
Blue arrow - rim that fits into the wheel hub
Red arrow - integral bearing sleeve

My guess is that - in this particular type of wheel - this whole assembly pushes into the wheel hub. The wheel hub has another bearing sleeve. So there are two separate bearing sleeves on the bearing journal.

I'll try to find what this type of wheel looks like, but that won't be easy.

Our Flying Saucer is this type of baby buggy assembly - heavy rim, integral bearing sleeve and cap. It has a lot more heft then a separate "hubcap." Which would make it easier to throw higher and with more stability. You'd put some spin on it, not to get some kind of other-worldly photo effect, but to give it spin stabilization.

Considering that this is the natural way this part would fit on the baby buggy this isn't sideways. In any case you'd put in your hand in this position because you'd be able get spin on it, and it would get less air drag.

It's all together a more natural way to throw the thing. If you throw it underhanded, you could put the proper spin (spinning on its minor axis) by letting it roll out of your hand. If it were sitting flat in your palm, the way it would naturally sit on a table... how do you get it to spin on its minor axis? Hold it by the rim with your fingertips and spin it and throw it at the same time somehow? It doesn't work.

No reason to speculate that Kibel wanted it "sideways" for any other reason. It's just what works best.


James Fox's Phenomenon Scan Mailed color corrected K arrows.png

Yellow arrow - An integral, decorative, part of the hubcap.
Red arrow - bearing sleeve

You can see a specular reflection of blue sky/white cloud on the top one fifth part of bearing sleeve, and a darker specular reflection of something below the object on the lower four fifths of the bearing sleeve.


People have been assuming that the yellow arrow is pointing to the nut on a service bell. Service bells don't have an integral nut. The nut is always a separate piece. The bell sits on an internal clapper assembly. The nut is a separate piece and screws onto the internal assembly.

A note about the surface of the hubcap. This is not polished or "brushed" metal. This is plated. Probably chrome plated. If it's really old it might be nickel plated. It has a mirror-like surface.

And about the spin giving it an other-worldly photo effect. It wouldn't. This is a mirror-like surface. A spinning mirror would not appear blurred. What we see are the specular reflections of the environment around the object. The specular reflections on the surface don't "spin."

Any other-worldly hazy appearance comes from poor resolution and lateral motion blur. Not from a flying saucer's inter-dimensional drive, or from a worldly spin.
 

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Why this Flying Saucer is not a service bell.

When the nut on top of a service bell is pushed down, this is what the internal clapper mechanism does. Go to 0:26.


James Fox's Phenomenon Scan Mailed color corrected K arrows.png
-There could be no sleeve or barrel of the type seen here - red arrow. The clapper mechanism wouldn't work. The clapper would be impeded.
-How about the clapper (somehow) hitting the inside surface of the sleeve? I don't think that would work. I think you'd get a dull clank.
-There is no functional reason to have a sleeve as an integral part of the bell. The bell sits loosely on top of the clapper mechanism. It has to fit loosely. Why add something that would only degrade the function?
-There are no examples, that I can find, of a service bell with this type of sleeve.



When you take the bell off the base, the nut does not stay on the bell. It's a separate piece. I suspect that a bell with an integral nut wouldn't ring. It has to have some kind of "looseness." Even with the separate nut, you couldn't torque the nut down too tight. It would stop ringing if you did.



See? No nut.
1707801147661 kropped.png


The flying saucer doesn't look like a bell, really. Wrong shape.

It's not any kind of auto "hubcap" either. Wheel covers snap on using the rim of the wheel cover for tension. Sometimes there are tabs on the rim, sometimes not. But no auto wheel cover has that central tube or barrel we see on this flying saucer model. The end piece assembly of baby buggy wheel hub is a much better fit. The tube is the bearing sleeve. One of the two bearing sleeves.

Can we find the exact baby buggy it came off? That would be quite a challenge. No matter. I've shown that the mechanical way a baby buggy hub of this type works and is constructed matches what we see in this hoax photo.
 
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Why this flying saucer is not a butterfly.

1. It doesn't look like a butterfly. Not even slightly.
2. It doesn't fit the circumstances. A butterfly belongs to the type of - "I didn't see it at the time, but I saw it later when I looked at the photo!" - UFO case. This case is not that. All evidence points to a deliberate, premeditated hoax.
3. Stop it.
 
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A butterfly belongs to the type of - "I didn't see it at the time, but I saw it later when I looked at the photo!"
I do not think it is a butterfly, based primarily on your point #1. And I yield to no person in my enjoyment of a good UFO that turns out to have been a butterfly!

That said, I don't think your second point is persuasive -- there seems room for a deliberate premeditated hoax based on taking a picture of something first, seeing it looked like a Real UFO (tm), and then setting up the hoax from there, including setting up the witting or unwitting witness, finding a way to fake pulling a fresh pic out of the camera, etc. Long way of saying "the incident can be a hoax without the picture itself having been deliberately faked."

Point 3 seems to me to be premature, but your mileage may vary.
 
That said, I don't think your second point is persuasive -- there seems room for a deliberate premeditated hoax based on taking a picture of something first, seeing it looked like a Real UFO (tm), and then setting up the hoax from there, including setting up the witting or unwitting witness, finding a way to fake pulling a fresh pic out of the camera, etc. Long way of saying "the incident can be a hoax without the picture itself having been deliberately faked."
Strongly disagree. This is a premeditated model hoax photo, with quite a lot of work put into it.
 
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Good grief. It was staring right at me.

Same thing in my two different examples.
Buggy hub arrows.png
wheel 2.png
I was wondering what that bracket on the cap is for. It has one spoke attached to it; probably for stability. Anyway... it's the same damned cap. One from eBay and one from a YT video. Not at all related. What are the chances?

I'll sort through all the gazillion videos on this channel and see if I can find more about this wheel style.

... later
 
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Someone else has already done the research and has identified what this object is.

It's part of a baby buggy wheel.
That's all very interesting and everything, but I'm curious why the rest of your post contained zero images of baby buggy wheels that look like the object in question, and lots of photos of things that it isn't. The latter space is literally infinite, adding more photos of things that it isn't reduces the search space by a ratio of (infinity minus one)/infinity, really not a game that worth playing.
 
That's all very interesting and everything, but I'm curious why the rest of your post contained zero images of baby buggy wheels that look like the object in question, and lots of photos of things that it isn't. The latter space is literally infinite, adding more photos of things that it isn't reduces the search space by a ratio of (infinity minus one)/infinity, really not a game that worth playing.
He is explaining the terms used, that's all.

I think identifying this as "an ordinary object used to make a hoax UFO picture" is of primary importance in the debunk, and "thrown in the air then photographed" is a pretty good guess which has been shown to be feasible. The actual identity of the object is not so significant.
 
I was wondering what that bracket on the cap is for. It has one spoke attached to it; probably for stability
the spoke isnt attactched to it. i'm going to call it a lock mechanism, the inside is heavy like steel and the pretty outer case, moms see, is lighter like aluminum (not saying its aluminum, just painting a picture) the manufacturer needs to attach the heavy inside bit with the pretty outside bit. i ran into that kind of thing with a door knob or door lock once.

2-25-2024 9-53-23 AM.jpg
 
It seems that there was a trend in the '30s, '40s and early '50s for smaller wheels and larger hubcaps.

02022252c6b8ae266520a6be40acb5e4.jpg
1_6cec01a85db9483bbbea677842e590c3.jpg

And baby buggies that look like cars.
01844b36dd1ad072deca185d228abccf.jpg


This one is close. Very close.

Heywood Wakefield.png

James Fox's Phenomenon Scan Mailed color corrected K.png
Heywood Wakefield 6.png
Heywood Wakefield 4.png
James Fox's Phenomenon Scan Mailed color corrected K.png
You can see that the surface on our left is actually flat with its own small rim. The major difference is the "knob" on that surface. But... that surface has a paper sticker. What if that sticker were damaged? And there's a ragged flap? And what if the flap was enlarged due to motion blur due to the thing spinning?

I'm also aware that the inside rim is not entirely symmetrical. But I don't think that's a fatal flaw. If the asymmetrical part of the rim were facing away from the camera, this might not be a problem.

I'm not ready to declare a winner here. But it's close.
 
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This is a premeditated model hoax photo, with quite a lot of work put into it.
Quite likely. But, in my opinion of course, there is still room for "Dang (or "Crikey" or something!) this picture I just took in the garden looks like a flying saucer! I am surprised! Hmm, I wonder if I can pass it off as one? Would require me to take certain hoaxy steps, like maybe arranging a witness or recruiting an accomplice. The first might be easier if I could figure out how to make this pic look like I just took it at some later date. Let me get busy with that!" A butterfly as the object photographed seems increasingly unlikely, to me, but I don't see any harm in those interested continuing to try and make their case.

The "tossed pram hub" used in an intended hoax that included the taking of the picture also works, and the physical resemblance of the baby-buggy bit to the UFO is very strong. I'd be very comfortable explaining the sighting in those terms, my only minor quibble there is that it would have been easier to use a larger model. He might have to make one, to get it to look like what we see, which means finding the object used will never happen as it would not otherwise exist (other than the actual model used for the pic).

I am not a proponent of the butterfly hypothesis, I do not think that is what is shown in the picture.

I am not a proponent of the normal picture that happened to have a UFO-looking thing in it leading to a hoax being perpetrated hypothesis, but I think it remains tenable.

I am a proponent of the small nearby object tossed or suspended on a string and photographed with the intent of faking a UFO picture, quite possibly the pram hub identified by Charlie Wiser but possibly something larger fabricated for the purpose. And any of those remain more likely than "It was aliens," unless and until aliens can be shown to exist, to have flown around in our atmosphere and to enjoy flying pram-hub-shaped UFOs sideways over Australia!

(Edited to clarify a confusing set of verbiage...)
 
Isn't discussion of this photo a "UFO & Aliens" topic rather than Skydentify? It's a famous UFO picture that's been claimed to be a possible alien device for decades.
From the Usborne book of UFOs Circa 1970:
1708885052124.png
 
From the Usborne book of UFOs Circa 1970
ufos melbourne.jpg

-With a bit of artistic license! (And some minor editing by me).

Loved that book, along with its 2 companions, Ghosts and Monsters. (And Jets. And the spaceflight one. And The Future.)
The World of the Unknown: UFOs, Ted Wilding-White, Usborne,1977.

Interesting that they chose to use an artist's impression rather than the photo (photos were used in the book).
There's a page showing how to fake a UFO photo, including by chucking something into the air (but using two people- the thrower and the photographer).
2.JPG 3.JPG
Full page viewable at this sort-of retro pop culture blog, "We Are the Mutants", link here.

In the text for the Balwyn UFO illustration in the Usborne UFOs book posted by Giddierone, it says
The man who photographed it wished to remain anonymous in case he was ridiculed.
Content from External Source
I wonder how much of that is true, and how much is a bit of a UFO enthusiast's trope, a bit like
(1) He/ she's a pilot/ police officer/ in military service, therefore reliable and a trained observer
(2)They're a quiet, respectful/ respected member of this community with a job and/ or family.
(3) They didn't want any publicity, but reluctantly they've agreed to be with us today/ they're writing a book etc.

UFO enthusiasts often state that experiencers/ claimants often shun publicity, but I'm not sure if that's generally the case;
going off-topic a bit but here's Barney Hill, of Barnet and Betty Hill alien abduction fame (New Hampshire, 19 Sept. 1961) on panel show "To Tell The Truth", 12 December 1966. The panel have to guess which of 3 men were really abducted by aliens
(YouTube, approx. 9 mins 13 secs, posted by user Need To Know, 2018):


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhZ24yUpXSM


Incidentally, for whatever reason I've never really doubted that Barney was telling the (subjective) truth.
 
Interesting that they chose to use an artist's impression rather than the photo (photos were used in the book).
They probably didn't have a good copy of the photo, and/or no license to print it.
UFO enthusiasts often state that experiencers/ claimants often shun publicity, but I'm not sure if that's generally the case;
The statement is not made because it's true, but to pre-empt the accusation that the observer invented their report to get in the newspaper.
 
It slots into the groove at the end of the journal, to keep the wheel from falling off. (This is the primary function of the cap.)
That makes sense. There's a groove on the journal. I was thinking that maybe there's a spring clip that fits over that, but that doesn't make sense. How would you get to it?

Your suggestion works better. The spoke pulls on the bracket and the tension keeps the other end of the bracket in the slot.

To take the wheel off, you take the spoke off, and push the bracket in. And reverse the process to put the wheel back on. Rather delicate arrangement but it's a light duty mechanism.

I think this assembly was put on the wheel hub at the factory, and wasn't meant to ever come out of the wheel hub.

The "hub cap" assemblies for sale on eBay came out of trashed wheel hubs. I'm betting that the same could be said for Kibel's Flying Saucer.
 
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That makes sense. There's a groove on the journal. I was thinking that maybe there's a spring clip that fits over that, but that doesn't make sense. How would you get to it?
The wheels I've used had indeed spring-loaded brackets. This is so people can easily take off the caps, take off the wheels, and make the pram fit the boot of their car.
 
I think identifying this as "an ordinary object used to make a hoax UFO picture" is of primary importance in the debunk, and "thrown in the air then photographed" is a pretty good guess which has been shown to be feasible. The actual identity of the object is not so significant.

Unfortunately for those resistant to "debunking" in general, producing the precise object is the only thing that's likely to sway them. To that end, I do periodically check my local Gumtree (like Craigslist) for vintage prams to try and find an exact match. What was leading me more toward a bell is that pram hubcaps generally are flatter rather than bell-shaped. However, today I found this - note it's a doll's pram, not a baby's pram, titled "Vintage toy pram 1960's":

1709078927058.png

Close-up of front wheel from another pic in the series, where the knob on "top" is clearer:

1709079103183.png
Source (not sure if non-Aus viewers can view this)

Comparison with the UFO:
1709079417541.png
 
That last one is from Cyclops, an Australian toy manufacturing company (on Wikipedia) which has a brief write-up here.

A piece of genuine Australian heritage, Cyclops were the makers of tricycles, pedal cars, dolls prams, and other wheeled and tin toys since 1913, although their heyday was undoubtably in the 1950s and 60s.
Content from External Source
They also made toy pedal cars and tricycles, which could be other hubcap options for the UFO (perhaps Kibel's parents still had his old toys at the house).

1709081696764.png1709081735558.png
 
However, today I found this - note it's a doll's pram, not a baby's pram, titled "Vintage toy pram 1960's":
i was looking at doll carriages yesterday. unfortunately that wheel style doesnt jive with the
1709082715350.png

i think that is @Ann K 's point, chances one can find an exact match (from small blurry photos) to another small blurry photo, are pretty slim. Most viewers can recognize the possibility without finding exact matches.

ps most carriages with that wheel style i saw say 1950 or even 1940..so that carriage is ikely under priced :)
 
i was looking at doll carriages yesterday. unfortunately that wheel style doesnt jive with the
1709082715350.png

I guess I don't understand why?

This restoration video of a 1930s Cyclops doll pram show the wheels with holes for the axel - the hole presumably goes all the way through to the front of the wheel, so a hubcap with a "stalk" (as on the UFO) would snap on [00:55]:

1709083210584.png

(The knob on the hubcaps in the video are hexagonal which I don't think can be ruled out for the UFO) [00:38]
1709083322606.png
 
As others have said, it's perhaps unlikely we'll find an example of the exact object that (many of us suspect) Kibel used.
-It would be great if we did, though!

I think it's more significant that posters (especially @Charlie Wiser) have shown that, with not too much practice, it's possible to take a snap similar to Kibel's, by yourself and in a very short timeframe.

On the evidence, it must be more likely that Kibel was involved in a relatively simple hoax than he photographed an alien spacecraft.
 
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