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A faithful, long-time collaborator of FOTOCAT is Tom Benson, a veteran ufologist in North America. Tom has posted me huge volumes of photocopies of old US UFO journals with articles on UFO photographs, and one of those is Saucer News, a mimeographed publication edited by James Moseley in the nineteen sixties. In the December 1961 issue (pages 13-14), he wrote a story about a saucer photographed in West Virginia. While visiting Gray Barker, the acclaimed creator of UFO mythology, in Clarksburg, W. Va., Moseley “came across a very interesting sighting right in his home-town which the intrepid saucer investigator had overlooked.” A local teenager named Joe Gonzales claimed that, sometime in the spring of 1960, an object flew over his house and he was in time to snap a photo. That morning, the boy was alone, watching TV, when he heard a shrill noise, causing his dog to start barking. As the tale goes, he went outside and saw “a strange craft moving slowly over a nearby hill. Returning quickly into the house, Gonzales grabbed his camera and took several pictures, the best of which is the one he gave to us. Gonzales describes the object as saucer-shaped, about 40 feet in diameter. It had a giant rudder-like protrusion underneath, with portholes in it, and some sort of gas was escaping from this area.”

Clarksburg, West Virginia, spring of 1960. © Joe Gonzales. Credit: Tom Benson (James W. Moseley archives).

Moseley went on to say that the flying saucer had two large antennae on top. But as consultant Andrés Duarte has ascertained, this is nothing but the two extremes of a thread on which a model of flying saucer hangs (see following illustration). The young photographer explained the lack of confirming witnesses because he lived in a thinly-populated section of Clarksburg, and that one of his neighbors was asleep and the other was away. On 2012 James Moseley died and Tom Benson inherited his archives. Moseley used to file any picture reported in his newsletter with the corresponding journal issue. I requested Tom to mail to me the original print, which he immediately did. A cursory look at the picture gives the impression of a lousy trick. The object is more unfocused than the background tree tops, suggesting that it is a small size object located very near to the camera. But you do not need to be very wise to reach a conclusion like this. Moseley, who has been labelled as the “ultimate bull shitter”, wrote:one is tempted to wonder if the picture may not be of some more common object such a garbage lid with protrusions added. We cannot agree more. After examining the photograph, photographic expert Andrés Duarte pronounced: Indeed, the difference in focus reveals the proximity to the camera, but the absence of camera and lens data prevents quantitative evaluation of the defocusing. The rope or cable used is almost perfectly straight but it seems distorted near the edges of the object, this type of apparent deformation is due to the defocusing and is related to the “black drop effect”(1).

 Not two antennae but the visible part of the thread supporting a small model. © Andrés Duarte.

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