Calvine UFO Photo - Reflection In Water Hypothesis

Easy Muffin

Active Member
But not necessarily around sunset... not sure how much prior to sunset you can get this effect, though.
The altitude of the cloud base would have the biggest effect I suppose. Higher base = more chance to be lit from below.
The cloud cover in the sun's direction might play a role, too. Clear sky all the way vs overcast sky to the horizon that blocks incoming rays.
Local topography is another thing. The sun might disappear earlier altogether behind the mountains of the Highlands to the north, although I reckon the cloud base over the Pitlochry area would need to be quite low to be influenced by this.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
Alternate idea. It's a piece of tape stuck on a pane of glass. Nothing is a reflection. The sky is the sky. The piece of tape doesn't have to be symmetrical because it's not a triangle, it's a diamond. There's very little land visible at the bottom of the frame because the camera is pointed up. The top of the fence is visible because it's just the top of a fence in front of the camera. The tree branches are visible because they are just tree branches hanging down.

The lens is (sort of) focused on the tape. The fence and tree branches are a little out of focus because they're a little too far to be in optimal focus. The plane is right side up and it's blurry because it's too far away to be in optimal focus.

The tape... or paper... was folded over and cut out. Like you made paper hearts in elementary school. That's why it has a line down the middle (the fold) and it's roughly symmetrical but not exactly.

 
Last edited:

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Alternate idea. It's a piece of tape stuck on a pane of glass. Nothing is a reflection. The sky is the sky. The piece of tape doesn't have to be symmetrical because it's not a triangle, it's a diamond. There's no land visible because the camera is pointed up. The top of the fence is visible because it's just the top of a fence.

The lens is (sort of) focused on the tape. The fence and tree branches are a little out of focus because they're a little too far to be in optimal focus. The plane is right side up and it's blurry because it's too far away to be in optimal focus.
Someone else suggested this as well. My reluctance with the theory, and with any theory of a made model, is that it's a really odd shape to pick. Not so much the diamond, but the bubbles on each end. Seeing all the negatives in sequence would really help, of course. As would seeing any shots that didn't "work" and were discarded. I don't think we even know if the Daily Record received a strip of negatives or cut ones? (Big red flag if the latter, of course.)
(I also think there's too much symmetry in the markings to be coincidental.)
 
Last edited:

Doodiewiz

New Member
Hello all,

I’m new here and this is my first post. Just wanted to say I work in 3D and video and this is IMO almost definitely a reflection. I have set up a rough scene in 3D and works almost perfectly as a reflection - here is a youtube link:
Source: https://youtu.be/5PRGHRU4MLg


Lastly, if you look bottom left at the 1st fence post in the original photo I fancy there is some very minor water distortion on that fence post.

2 points I am not sure of. The plane in the sky would be upside down in the reflection if the plane was flying upright. Secondly, the issue of the darker reflection of the rock. However, with diffuse overcast lighting, it may be possible to have a lighter reflection, and could we be looking through the water at the bottom of the stone anyway?

Cheers
Luke
 

Easy Muffin

Active Member
Just wanted to say I work in 3D and video and this is IMO almost definitely a reflection. I have set up a rough scene in 3D and works almost perfectly as a reflection
Do you think you'd be able to recreate a similar scene by simply pointing the camera at the sky? Or would there be an issue with perspective etc that would make it more difficult to compose than a reflection?
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Hello all,

I’m new here and this is my first post. Just wanted to say I work in 3D and video and this is IMO almost definitely a reflection. I have set up a rough scene in 3D and works almost perfectly as a reflection - here is a youtube link:

Cool - can you add the plane?
Regarding the left "post" - I don't think that's a fence post, it's something hanging off the wire which is why it's so thin and wobbly. The actual post is behind the bush on the far left.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
I wonder how fast thinking these guys must have been, because everything has to come together when the plane starts to fly by. The hoaxers would have this instant idea to look into the pond, look at the corner of the box in the water, wait for the jet to pass by overhead, make a quick sequence of images and thats it.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I wonder how fast thinking these guys must have been, because everything has to come together when the plane starts to fly by. The hoaxers would have this instant idea to look into the pond, look at the corner of the box in the water, wait for the jet to pass by overhead, make a quick sequence of images and thats it.
I'm unsure if that is a stronger argument for the UFO not being a reflection, or the plane not being a real plane.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I wonder how fast thinking these guys must have been, because everything has to come together when the plane starts to fly by. The hoaxers would have this instant idea to look into the pond, look at the corner of the box in the water, wait for the jet to pass by overhead, make a quick sequence of images and thats it.
If you walk out there a lot, and often see low flying planes the thinking is done before the event then you just go to the spot and wait for a plane to go over.

One day you are out walking and see the reflection and a plane goes over, the next time you take your camera.

I often plan my bird photos like this, envision the photo one day then go back and execute it the next.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
If you walk out there a lot, and often see low flying planes the thinking is done before the event then you just go to the spot and wait for a plane to go over.

One day you are out walking and see the reflection and a plane goes over, the next time you take your camera.

I often plan my bird photos like this, envision the photo one day then go back and execute it the next.
All possible I guess, yes.
 

Unys

New Member
Air Commodore Simon Baldwin wryly told David Clarke in a face-to-face conversation that it was an "airborne Nessie":

https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/2021/07/31/the-ufo-that-never-was-the-calvine-photographs/

We now know from Clarke's latest findings that the witnesses were two English teenagers/young men who took a summer job as kitchen porters at the Atholl Palace hotel in Pitlochry. The photo analysis suggests someone who is competent with photography, so perhaps studying photography at school/college.

The problem is the positive identification of the RAF Harrier, which not only shouldn't have been in Scotland but also, if we believe the witnesses, should have some fantastic footage of the object as the Harrier "circled around it". However, if instead it was there to escort the object, then how come the three-star US General got so het up when he saw copies of the photos? Either way, the RAF Harrier is more out of place than the object (in my opinion).

So those words of the Air Commodore suggest a different hypothesis: it is indeed a reflected object, but rather it was a poor attempt at hoaxing a Nessie hump by two English students about to head off to the Scottish Highlands? Nessie was a lot more 'mysterious' 32-years ago and the media ever hungry for sightings and photos. However, a Harrier jet flew over their English location - where it was meant to be - and gatecrashed the photos. They are developed and suddenly.... the Calvine UFO is born...!

They then have the nerve to take the photos to the Daily Record along with a cover story but it either lands them in hot water with the authorities and they go silent or they simply give up when the photos don't appear in the paper, thinking they have been rumbled. When Nick Pope digs the case up years later they are now in respectable careers and simply don't want the notoriety.....

Well, it's a thought, the object does look like a poor Nessie hump and it strikes me as teenage behaviour...
 

Rory

Senior Member.
We now know from Clarke's latest findings that the witnesses were two English teenagers/young men who took a summer job as kitchen porters at the Atholl Palace hotel in Pitlochry.

Can you link to where it's stated that they were English? And also where it's said they were kitchen porters please? Haven't read that yet.
 

Unys

New Member
Can you link to where it's stated that they were English? And also where it's said they were kitchen porters please? Haven't read that yet.
Information gleaned primarily from this Youtube discussion with Dr David Clarke detailing how he came across the newly-discovered actual photo:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgekUVzMSCc&t=5s

He tracked down the RAF Press Officer who handled the photos back in 1990 and is now in his 80s. The two young men have been described as "chefs' and Clarke was able to track down three members of the hotel staff from 1990, but it is also mentioned that they were mostly washing dishes. Other information from Clarke's website.

Also, it seems the embargo on their identities is an interpretation of the Data Protection Act. Moreover, based on the length of the embargo being when they reach their 100th birthday, I have seen it suggested that one of them was just 16 at the time, although it seems they had a car so presumably the other witness was at least 17 (I confess I haven't yet researched how such embargoes function)
 
Last edited:

Rory

Senior Member.
Found it, around 46:40. He says the guy he spoke to had an English accent and that they were doing holiday work "mainly washing dishes for pocket money".

That was I think the only bit of the video I'd skipped over! :D

One thing to note: some Scottish people's accents sound like English accents.

But I guess that kiboshes the chef thing. And maybe the poacher thing too - seems that would be something locals would more likely get into rather than summer holiday kids.
 
Last edited:

Vee7

New Member
But I guess that kiboshes the chef thing. And maybe the poacher thing too - seems that would be something locals would more likely get into than rather than summer holiday kids.

This just occurred to me, wasn't this during the 1990 stock market crash?
So maybe there'd be no telling how far some people would travel for work.
 

Unys

New Member
Found it, around 46:40. He says the guy he spoke to had an English accent and that they were doing holiday work "mainly washing dishes for pocket money".

That was I think the only bit of the video I'd skipped over! :D

One thing to note: some Scottish people's accents sound like English accents.

But I guess that kiboshes the chef thing. And maybe the poacher thing too - seems that would be something locals would more likely get into than rather than summer holiday kids.
Good points.

In 1997 enjoyed a short break in a bed and breakfast in Invergarry and did the whole Loch Ness experience thing. I was struck by how hostile my Scottish hosts were to even the concept of a monster, which they very much felt was an English obsession. That makes me think English lads would be more likely to attempt a Nessie hoax than local boys, but that is only informed speculation.

I worked in a New Forest hotel in the 1990s where we had three Scottish members of staff and I recall hotel employees were pretty mobile back then, so the idea of a couple of lads going cross the border for a summer job isn't far-fetched.

To my mind, that RAF Harrier shouldn't have been in Scotland, certainly not that part of Scotland, and the RAF denied they had Harriers operating in Scotland in August 1990. The identification of the location by Clarke and his colleagues is based on the fencing posts and precious little else. The witness had an English accent, the Harrier should have been in England... perhaps that is the one bit of the hoax these lads messed up on by not doing their homework. I have a gut feeling that "airborne Nessie" wasn't a throwaway remark by the Air Commodore, whom Clarke acknowledges considered the photo to be a hoax.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
To my mind, that RAF Harrier shouldn't have been in Scotland, certainly not that part of Scotland, and the RAF denied they had Harriers operating in Scotland in August 1990.

Agreed. The rationale to the plane being a Hunter from RAF Lossiemouth is, in my opinion, much more sound. However, not at 9pm on a Saturday night.
 

Unys

New Member
Another argument for the original attempted Nessie hoax photos taking place at home in England is that there are a lot of eyes on the accessible parts of Loch Ness during the tourist season and so any fooling around with an object to resemble a hump might well have been rumbled.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Another argument for the original attempted Nessie hoax photos taking place at home in England is that there are a lot of eyes on the accessible parts of Loch Ness

I thought one of the guys confessed to it being done at Loch Ness? And isn't the shoreline visible in the uncropped version?

So maybe there'd be no telling how far some people would travel for work.

As far as I remember it wasn't exactly 'Grapes of Wrath' territory - I doubt whether British teenagers would have even noticed it (I didn't). And apparently "the British economy continued to grow until the third quarter of 1990" (wikipedia) - and now that I think about it 89-96 were pretty boom times for the businesses I was involved in.

But, anyway, about that reflection hypothesis...
 
Last edited:

Unys

New Member
I thought one of the guys confessed to it being done at Loch Ness? And isn't the shoreline visible in the uncropped version?



As far as I remember it wasn't exactly 'Grapes of Wrath' territory - I doubt whether British teenagers would have even noticed it (I didn't). And apparently "the British economy continued to grow until the third quarter of 1990" (wikipedia) - and now that I think about it 89-96 were pretty boom times for the businesses I was involved in.

But, anyway, about that reflection hypothesis...
I hadn't seen the Loch Ness location confession, these are a couple of fast evolving threads, Clarke is pretty convinced the photo was taken near Calvine
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
But I guess that kiboshes the chef thing. And maybe the poacher thing too - seems that would be something locals would more likely get into rather than summer holiday kids
Or possibly moves it more towards poaching for fish (does ownership of the fish run with the land in Scotland, or is there somec"right to fish?" Only wondering because going fishing puts us back around potential reflecting bodies of water...
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
This just occurred to me, wasn't this during the 1990 stock market crash?
So maybe there'd be no telling how far some people would travel for work.
Or just travel for adventure. When I was in Iona in 1995 (a tiny island off Scotland that takes two different ferry rides to reach) there were a couple of young sisters working there that were native Maoris. It's as if they looked at a globe and said "OK, what's the furthest possible place from New Zealand where we can go walkabout?" That's the kind of thing you can do when you're young and not tied down to a family.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Cool - can you add the plane?
Regarding the left "post" - I don't think that's a fence post, it's something hanging off the wire which is why it's so thin and wobbly. The actual post is behind the bush on the far left.
it could be a piece of straw (grass), i saw a few of them on my google car drive down B847, none went over the top but not odd if one did.

but here i have occasionally seen when a barb wire goes slack they put like a wire hanger (hook top and bottom) off the top and bottom wires to like make them go togehter at right distance (although why they dont just bring a staple gun out with them and twist the wire tight then stable... i dont know)

And also where it's said they were kitchen porters please?
if they worked in the kitchen then it is totally a moldy ravioli hanging from a tree branch and the "pearl" is a straight pin or "hat pin" through the middle to secure the string. :)
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Throwing in the possibility that the jet is a model on a fishing line, to solve the possible upside-down orientation of the jet's reflection if the photograph has not been flipped (I'm not yet keen on the idea the image was flipped).

Using Andrew Robinson's (now deleted) analysis, the apparent size of the plane is slightly longer than two barb spaces on the wire (which are 10cm apart) so a 9cm model would be hanging well in front of the fence.

model.jpg
Matchbox Harrier - 9cm long:

1660649778411.png

Not so nice plastic Micromachines Harrier (from mid-80s-90s) about 9cm long:

1660649313083.png

Or a larger model further away. It could also be thrown into the water but this would be a lot more work to get multiple shots as the jet moves. Dinky Toys Harrier is 1:61 scale = 20cm/8" long:

1660649178375.png

1:32 diy model would be 40cm (15.7") long:

1660650057592.png
 

Unys

New Member
Throwing in the possibility that the jet is a model on a fishing line, to solve the possible upside-down orientation of the jet's reflection if the photograph has not been flipped (I'm not yet keen on the idea the image was flipped).

Using Andrew Robinson's (now deleted) analysis, the apparent size of the plane is slightly longer than two barb spaces on the wire (which are 10cm apart) so a 9cm model would be hanging well in front of the fence.

model.jpg
Matchbox Harrier - 9cm long:

1660649778411.png

Not so nice plastic Micromachines Harrier (from mid-80s-90s) about 9cm long:

1660649313083.png

Or a larger model further away. It could also be thrown into the water but this would be a lot more work to get multiple shots as the jet moves. Dinky Toys Harrier is 1:61 scale = 20cm/8" long:

1660649178375.png

1:32 diy model would be 40cm (15.7") long:

1660650057592.png
Clarke has previously speculated that the inspiration for a hoax involving an object and a military jet may have been a discredited photo taken in 1988:

Source: https://twitter.com/shuclarke/status/1425853596881625088

(click on the photo to see both images)

It is feasible the Puerto Rican image may have made it to a British UFO magazine or other form of media and the similarity is striking. I'm pretty sure Birdsall's 'UFO Magazine' was being published then and was widely available. I remember picking up a copy in the mid-90s and it was full of UFO photos from across the globe.

Edit: if you follow the link to the original Puerto Rican photo it is even more similar to Calvin and features overhanging trees (the image above has been magnified). It would also seem it was published in an Italian magazine, certainly the text is Italian, so maybe more likely a British publication or group would have got hold of it.

There is also a suggestion within the twitter comments that Calvine was hoaxed by a Ufologist who had seen the 1988 image
 
Last edited:

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
It is feasible the Puerto Rican image may have made it to a British UFO magazine or other form of media and the similarity is striking. I'm pretty sure Birdsall's 'UFO Magazine' was being published then and was widely available. I remember picking up a copy in the mid-90s and it was full of UFO photos from across the globe.
At this point, the witnesses are nothing to us but "English dishwashers". The fact is, they might've been keen photographers with that fancy film, or photography students, so the hoax was easy for them. And/or keen UFOlogists who knew about the Puerto Rico pictures.
 

john.phil

Member
"to solve the possible upside-down orientation of the jet's reflection"
I've been following all threads on this subject from the beginning and would like to throw in my 2 cents, as I haven't seen anyone mention this hypothesis:

It's not an airplane, it's a bird that photobombed their Nessie hoax, it's flying between the camera and the top of the lake, so we're seeing it from top-down, flying from right to left. Then they went home to develop the film and noticed they had a better hoax than Nessie.

1660662168955.png
https://drdavidclarke.files.wordpress.com/2022/08/watermarked-jpeg-2.jpg

1660661357389.png
1660662143671.png
1660661810743.png
1660663149278.png1660663890939.png

Any thoughts? What bird would fit the silhouette? The bird could had just took off or was coming for landing, thus it was adjusting its feet and flying close to the water, and the neck was not fully extended. Grebes are endemic to the UK and Scotland, but it may have been another bird if it's a bird at all and not pareidolia.

The lack of reflection from the "bird" is an argument against it being too close to the water, but still high enough that its reflection would fall in the cropped area of the photo, that would also require the bird to be closer to the photographer.

Another hypothesis that fits is that the "bird" was high up and the quality of the photo cannot tell us if we're looking at the dorso or the belly of the bird through its reflection. If it's the reflection of the belly, it explains why the webbed feet (or tail) are seen extended.
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
oh snap. i dont even need a rock reflection if the water level is correct.
(dont get too excited, with this theory i think my "pearl" is on wrong side of rock. i dont process upside down reflections well. but still other triangular rocks in area could be UFO)
reflectiondiamond.jpg
angle you need to be
distance.png
Link


to see top half proper
1660664409686.png
Link

problem is the fence reflection, not sure we can achieve an angle to move fence reflection far enough out into spill area
fenepost reflection.png


flicrfencereflection.png

Link
 

Vee7

New Member
does anyone here live in scotland, possibly near that area? it's supposed to rain there from thursday onwards. Perhaps some experiments can be done?
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
this pic claiming to be May 1990 shows a bush right there near the triangle rock. maybe the "tree" is not a tree.
http://www.mortondesign.co.uk/gallery/scotland/perthshire/pitlochry.html

view 1990 may.png
I think the issue I have with this location is that it is a river - Pitrevie Lock if I'm not mistaken - which has flowing water rather than a static pond. Any picture of the surface of the water would show ripples, eddies and would not look as mirror-like as in the original photo.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
I made a simple gif using the hi res picture, where I tried to find the mirror line by eye. I think I did an honest job here, but two things bother me. The white upper blob is not symmetrical with the bottom blob, and I notice these "herringbone" shaped lines diagonally.. Am I the only one seeing those?
ufo.gif
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I notice these "herringbone" shaped lines diagonally.. Am I the only one seeing those?

I think in the bottom half there's definitely something that implies the line you highlighted. But for the top half I think that seems more of an optical illusion, suggested by what we might expect to be there. In isolation I'm not seeing it at all:

1660680330010.png
 
Top