Friday, January 14, 2011
Introduction: The Tremonton, Utah incident involved film taken during a sighting by US Navy Warrant Officer Delbert C Newhouse on 2 July 1952. Commonly referred to as “the Tremonton film” and “the Utah film”.
The Tremonton film was one of two motion pictures of UFO sightings considered by the Robertson Panel, organized by the CIA, in January 1953.
Some of the documents from "Project Blue Book"
Click for video - original film
Account: Warrant Officer D.C. Newhouse, USN, obtained 16 mm color movies of a group of UFOs which he and his wife observed visually near Tremonton, Utah. At relatively close range, UFOs appeared flat and circular "shaped like two saucers, one inverted on top of the other."
Mr. Newhouse unpacked his Bell and Howell Automaster camera, with 3-inch telephoto lens, from the trunk of his car and obtained about 1200 frames of the UFOs on Daylight Kodachrome film.
During the filming, Mr. Newhouse changed the iris stop of the camera from f/8 to f/16. The film was submitted to Navy authorities, who forwarded it to the Air Force at ATIC in Dayton, Ohio, where it was studied for several months.
According to Mr. Newhouse, frames of the movie showing a single UFO moving away over the horizon (hence providing some ranging information) were missing when the film was returned.
The hypothesis that the objects were out of focus sea gulls was considered by the Air Force, but could neither be confirmed nor denied. The report of Photogrammetric analysis by Dr. Robert M.L. Baker, Jr., Douglas Aircraft Corporation (which included a study of the 1950 Montana film) also examined this possibility. He states:
"The motion of the objects is not exactly what one would expect from a flock of soaring birds, not the slightest indication of a decrease in brightness due to periodic turning with the wind or flapping."
Dr. Baker reports that no definite conclusion could be reached, but "the evidence remains rather contradictory and no single hypothesis of a natural phenomenon yet suggested seems to completely account for the UFO involved."
INVESTIGATIONS AND SUMMARY
On July 2, 1952, at 11:00 am, on a bright, clear morning, Warrant Officer Delbert C. Newhouse, accompanied by his wife and two children aged 12 and 14, was driving along the open highway a half dozen miles from Tremonton, in Northern Utah. Shortly thereafter he testified to his Navy superiors:
"...my wife noticed a group of objects in the sky that she could not identify. She asked me to stop the car and look. There was a group of about ten or twelve objects - that bore no relation to anything I had seen before - milling about in a rough formation and proceeding in a westerly direction. I opened the luggage compartment of the car and got my camera out of the suitcase. Loading it hurriedly, I exposed approximately thirty feet of film. There was no reference point in the sky and it was impossible for me to make any estimate of speed, size, altitude or distance. Toward the end one of the objects reversed course and proceeded away from the main group. I held the camera still and allowed the single one to cross the field of view, picking it up again and repeating for three or four passes. By this time all of the objects had disappeared."
He also wrote to Project Blue Book, an Air Intelligence Officer then interviewed Newhouse and learned that at relatively close range, before Newhouse could start filming, the UFOs appeared flat and circular:
"shaped like two saucers, one inverted on top of the other."
The witness explained to the Intelligence Officer that he had heard no sounds, seen no exhaust or wake effects emanating from the objects. Before, during, nor after did planes, birds, balloons, or other recognizable phenomena appear in the unidentified aerial objects viewing area. He restated that the one unknown which took off on its own pursued a course opposite to its original one and to the flight path maintained by the remainder of the group. Newhouse was convinced the light from the objects resulted from reflection and that they were as long as they were wide and thin (i.e disk shaped.)
Delbert C. Newhouse, at the time of his sighting, had been graduated from the naval photographic school, and was a veteran with nineteen years' service as a warrant officer, logging more than a thousand hours on aerial photography missions, and twenty two hundred  as chief photographer.
He was considered particularly reliable and a qualified observer. He had no implication in UFO research before his experience, and made a sensible report, noting for example that evaluation of distances was impossible from the film because no reference point could be filmed together with the objects.
The equipment Newhouse employed in the motion picture of the flight of the UFOs against the deep blue morning sky was a professional Bell and Howell 16 mm. Filmo Auto Loadmaster camera with a three-lens turret on which he fortunately had time to pivot the turret mount to the three-inch f.1 telephoto lens. He used two Kodachrome Daylight and the camera was hand-held during the f/8 and f/16 exposure times. It was set at 16 images per second.
At relatively close range, UFOs appeared flat and circular "shaped like two saucers, one inverted on top of the other." Mr. Newhouse had to unpack his Bell and Howell Automaster camera from a case in the trunk of his car, then unpack a film cartridge from another case in the trunk of his car, and then only he could start to film as the objects were already far away. He stated in 1956: "When I first saw them they were nearly overhead, but by the time I got the camera ready they had moved to a considerably greater distance." During the filming, he had to change the film, as he ran out of film, he then changed the iris stop of the camera from f/8 to f/16 because he was afraid that the whole film may be overexposed.
He stated in a 1956 interview by the Air Force: "Toward the end, one of the objects reversed its course and proceeded away from the rest of the group. I held the camera still and allowed this single object to pass through the field of view, picking it up again later in its course." He explained that the isolated object did not join the group again and that "I turned, swinging the camera just in time to see the rest of the group disappear over the western horizon."
He added: "I've studied the film and I'm very disappointed. The film falls far short of what I saw with the naked eye - due to the delay in getting the camera going and to my error in exposure. - If I had had that camera on the seat beside me, loaded and ready to go, there wouldn't be any need for questions. The Air Force would have the answer." And: "They were a bright silvery color" and finally: They had a metallic appearance. They seemed to be made of some kind of polished metal."
According to Newhouse, the 10 to 20 first feet of the movie showing the UFOs at closer range were missing when a low quality copy of the films was returned to him. He never received his original films back. The two films had originally about 1600 frames, the remaining version only has 1200 frames, totaling 90 seconds. Newhouse did not make a big fuss about this, but explained later with bitterness that it never occurred to him that he would not receive his films back, and that if he had suspected that he would only have sent a copy. (Of course, if the Condon commission had analyzed the complete film instead of a shortened copy, they would have reached the same conclusion than the previous Navy and Air Force analysis: the objects are not seagulls.)
The claim that the film was returned incomplete are exactly reminding of the same claim by Nick Mariana, witness of a very similar visual and filmed observation in Montana in 1950, and the accounts by witnesses claiming the Air Force does not return photographs and films are numerous.
In April 1954, the Cleveland Press, a Scripps-Howard paper, was asking authorities at ATIC for permission to see the Tremonton, Utah film, because there were other numerous consecutive sightings by US Marines that created UFO interest in the press again at this time. The Pentagon dragged its feet, but finally agreed to let a journalist see it at Dayton. By the time the reporter was ready to make the trip, ATIC told him that their only copy had just burned up. No worry, said ATIC, as there was a master copy at the Pentagon. When the reporter spoke with an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, he was told, "we have no copy here, but we believe there is one at Dayton." The reporter gave up. The Press ran a January 6 headline, "Brass Curtain Hides Flying Saucers."
The film was taken seriously by both the U.S. Air Force and the Navy. The Air Force and the Navy were convinced enough about Newhouse's credibility to spend considerable time and money on the analyses and to classify this film as "Top Secret".
The Air Force conducted a first analysis at the Wright Field (home of ATIC, the Air Intelligence, and home of project Blue Book.) The analysis concluded that the objects were not balloons or aircraft, and most unlikely to be birds. Captain Ed Ruppelt, head of Blue Book, and Major Dewey Fournet, liaison officer between Blue Book and the Pentagon, were convinced enough by the analysis to decide that the film, together with the Nick Mariana filming and other evidence, should be presented before a panel of scientists so that they examine their collection of best evidence that there are real UFOs that are not trivial phenomenon.
The USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory at the Navy's Anacostia facilities performed a second analysis, as the Air Force asked them for a second opinion, This team had expended approximately 1000 man hours of professional and sub-professional time in the preparation of graph plots of individual frames of the film, showing apparent and relative motion of objects and variation in their light intensity.
Because the analysts noted the complete absence of any evidence to indicate birds, such as fluttering, birds were the first and easiest discarded explanation. There was almost a complete consensus that birds could not be the explanation; it was so untenable that the analysis concentrated on reasonable other possible causes such as balloon or aircraft.
It was the opinion of the P.I.L. representatives that the objects sighted were not birds, balloons or aircraft, were "not reflections because there was no blinking while passing through 60 degrees of arc" and were, therefore, "self-luminous." Plots of motion and variation in light intensity of the objects were displayed.
It should be emphasized that neither of the two analysis remotely suggested that the objects photographed were birds of any type. Contrary, there was almost a complete consensus that such a deduction was untenable.
THE ROBERTSON PANEL:
Blue Book asked that a first evaluation panel composed of qualified scientists looked at their best evidence, before they would have a larger and official public panel look at it. The CIA took charge of the organization of this Panel, lead by scientist H.P. Robertson, chosen by the CIA. The panel studied the film, ATIC's interpretation, and received a briefing by representatives of the USN Photo Interpretation Laboratory on their analysis of the film.
While the Panel Members were impressed by the evident enthusiasm, industry and extent of effort of the P.I.L. team, they started to look for flaws and loophole in the unspoken conclusion that the film was evidence of extra-terrestrial aircraft.
The astronomer of the panel found that an incorrect procedure was used by the Navy in their densitometer use. It was decided that the Navy will rerun the tests, but this has never been done and it is still impossible to know if this erroneous procedure would have affected the results, and if it would have affected them in reinforcing or weakening the extraterrestrial explanation.
Dr. Thornton Page, another member of this panel, said the objects looked like seagulls. Ignoring the two analysis and the witness description of flying saucers when the were closer and before he could start filming. His argument was simply that he saw seagulls were he lives, and that it was a similar sight than the images on the film. It became the conclusion of the Panel.
Finally the panel explained to Ruppelt that Blue Book should receive more support and increase its activities, and that all reports, analysis, films, photograph should be accessible to the public. However, in the written document of the proceedings of the panel, it was recommended that the public should be "educated" so that it looses any interest in the UFOs, and when Ruppelt wanted to give a copy of the film to the Press, it was absolutely vetoed by the Pentagon. Soon afterwards, Ruppelt left Project Blue Book.
THE ANALYSIS BY ROBERT L. BAKER, JR:
The report of Photogrammetric analysis by Dr. Robert M.L. Baker, Jr., Douglas Aircraft Corporation (which included a study of the 1950 Montana film) examined the possibility of seagulls. He states: "The motion of the objects is not exactly what one would expect from a flock of soaring birds (not the slightest indication of a decrease in brightness due to periodic turning with the wind or flapping)." Dr. Baker reports that no definite conclusion could be reached, but "the evidence remains rather contradictory and no single hypothesis of a natural phenomenon yet suggested seems to completely account for the UFO involved."
THE CONDON REPORT:
The Condon Report devotes nine pages to the case. It points out that Menzel's opinion that the film show birds because of its poor quality is erroneous. But the comments by Hartmann are also at odds with the facts, ignoring the witness visual report of flying saucer, ignoring several important points such as the presence of a telephoto lens on the camera, and trying to extend all numbers so that they become compatible with the seagulls hypothesis.
Interestingly, I have the proof that at the time of the Condon studies, the image analysis were secretly conducted at the NPIC service of the CIA. Whereas Condon claimed that "all guarantees" exist that the Condon studies will be independant from any military influence, NPIC was secretly contributing to the Condon studies.
The Condon report does not conduct any new analysis, the investigator did not care to interview the witness, or to show the film to an ornithologist. It ignored what the U.S. Naval Photographic Interpretation Center found, in brief, that the unknowns are "a light source rather than reflected light," (Condon, p.423) and that no species of bird could be responsible for the glow inherent in the objects. Added to these determinations they estimated the speed of the objects to be within a range depending of the possible distances, indicating that any possible speed is above the possible speed of birds. The Condon Report investigator estimated that if the object were at 2000 feet, they would fly between 20 and 95 miles an hour, and thus be birds. The telepho lens is forgotten, the witness account is discarded, the fact that the manoeuvers of the objects would require resolvable wing flapping was ignored, and again, the investigator concluded that the objects are birds because he drove to Tremonton and watched birds and found that they look similar to the UFOs on the film.
The Newhouse Testimony
Newhouse: The exact date of my sighting was July second, nineteen fifty-two, at eleven A.M., Mountain Standard Time. I was driving on US Highway thirty-south, with my wife and son, Delbert, and our daughter, Anne. We were on our way from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Oregon - on vacation - before moving to my new duty station at the Aviation Supply Depot, Naval Supply Center, Oakland, California. About seven miles after passing through Tremonton, Utah, Norma, my wife, noticed a group of objects in the sky, which she could not identify. I pulled off onto the shoulder of the road and stopped the car. I got out, looked up and saw the objects. There were about twelve of them, milling about in a round formation and proceeding in a general westerly direction. They were like nothing I had ever seen before, although I've logged some 2,000 hours in the air. They were identical in appearance.
Captain: How would you describe these objects?
Newhouse: The shape of two saucers - one inverted over the other. I had no way of estimating the altitude. They appeared to me to be the size of B-29s at 10,000 feet.
Captain: Did you immediately photograph them?
Newhouse: I watched the objects for several moments before I got my camera out of the suitcase. I lost more time getting the film out of a second suitcase and then loading the camera. When I first saw them they were nearly overhead, but by the time I got the camera ready they had moved to a considerably greater distance.
Captain: What type of camera was it?
Newhouse: A Bell and Howell 16 mm. Filmo Auto Loadmaster camera with a three-lens turret. I selected the three inch lens and set it at f:8. I focused on infinity. The camera was set at sixteen frames per second - I did not think to shoot at a greater rate, although that would have improved the coverage. I centered the objects in the view finder and made the first shoot. Then I decided that the objects would show better if the sky were darker. I stopped the lens to f:16 and continued photographing. This proved to be an error, as the film would have been of better quality had I left it at f:8.
Captain: Did these objects remain together as a group at all times?
Newhouse: No. Toward the end, one of the objects reversed its course and proceeded away from the rest of the group. I held the camera still and allowed this single object to pass through the field of view, picking it up again later in its course.
Captain: Did this single object return to the group?
Newhouse: No. I allowed the single object to pass through the field of view two or three times and then it disappeared.
Captain: In what direction?
Newhouse: Over the eastern horizon.
Captain: What did you do then?
Newhouse: I turned, swinging the camera just in time to see the rest of the group disappear over the western horizon.
Captain: What was the weather like?
Newhouse: The day was bright and cloudless.
Captain: Good visibility?
Newhouse: The visibility was excellent.
Captain: How does the film you shot compare with what you saw with the naked eye? You have studied the film?
Newhouse: Yes. I've studied the film and I'm very disappointed. The film falls far short of what I saw with the naked eye - due to the delay in getting the camera going and to my error in exposure. - If I had had that camera on the seat beside me, loaded and ready to go, there wouldn't be any need for questions. The Air Force would have the answer.
Captain: What is your full name, please?
Newhouse: Delbert Clement Newhouse.
Captain: Are you currently on active duty in the Navy?
Newhouse: Yes, sir, I am.
Captain: What is your official Navy rank?
Newhouse: My title is Chief Photographer. I am a Commissioned Warrant Officer, United States Navy.
Captain: How long have you been in the service?
Newhouse: Twenty-one years.
Captain: Is there anything else you can add to the description of these objects?
Newhouse: They were a bright silvery color.
Captain: Can you describe any particular details?
Newhouse: They had a metallic appearance. They seemed to be made of some kind of polished metal.
Tremonton's 'bright, silvery' saucers stand up as one of top-rated UFO sightings
By Emily Jensen
The date: July 2, 1952. The time: 11 a.m. The place: seven miles out of Tremonton, Utah.
The event: unidentified flying objects.
Delbert Clement Newhouse was driving with Norma, his wife, and their two children Anne and Delbert Jr. from Washington, D.C., to Portland, for a family vacation.
The sun shined through a cloudless sky. As they passed through Tremonton, Norma noticed some strange objects flying in the sky. Pulling off onto a shoulder and stopping, Newhouse, a Navy officer, tried to determine what they were looking at; was it planes, or birds, or maybe, unidentified flying objects.
Today, it remains a mystery with no certain solution.
"There were about 12 of them, milling about in a round formation and proceeding in a general westerly direction. They were like nothing I had ever seen before, although I've logged some 2,000 hours in the air. They were identical in appearance," he said.
He went on to explain that the objects were a "bright silvery color" and were "in the shape of two saucers, one inverted over the other. I had no way of estimating the altitude.
"They appeared to me to be the size of B-29s at 10,000 feet," he said. Trying to quickly get out his camera, Newhouse realized that the film was in another bag. By the time he had successfully loaded the camera, the objects were much farther away. Nonetheless, he shot with his amateur movie camera. The family watched as the objects disappeared over the eastern horizon.
Later, Newhouse found the developed film disappointing. In an interview, filmed by Greene-Rouse Productions for inclusion in the documentary, Unidentified Flying Objects, he said, "The film falls far short of what I saw with the naked eye, due to the delay in getting the camera going and to my error in exposure. If I had had that camera on the seat beside me, loaded and ready to go, there wouldn't be any need for questions."
Newhouse was interviewed and the film was examined. In the hearings before the 90th Congress of the Committee on Science and Astronautics on July 29, 1968, Dr. Robert L. Baker explained that "preliminary analysis [of the film] excluded most natural phenomena. More detailed study indicated that the only remaining natural phenomenon candidate for the Utah film was birds in flight," he said. The bird idea seemed the most factual as the Salt Lake area is known for the white seagull.
This sighting, almost 40 years ago, along with countless other reported UFO sightings fascinate thousands of people. One web site, "National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena," boasts that it is "an international peer reviewed directory of the best UFO evidence." This site, found at http://www.nicap.co.uk, directs one to look at various reports and articles on UFO sightings. From this site, one can access the "UFO Intelligence Summary Selected Best Rated Cases." Here, they will find that the Newhouse sighting is ranked as one the best along with 13 other sightings from around the world inclusive of the period 1948-76.
Although not ranked as one of the best sightings by NICAP, another Utah UFO sighting was reported Feb. 28,1959. This time it was in Cedar City. Private Gerry Irwin was heading back to El Paso, Texas, from Idaho when he reportedly saw a glowing object land in a field. He thought he had just seen an airplane crash, so he left a note telling someone to call the police, wrote "STOP" on his car with shoe polish and then proceeded to go investigate.
An hour and a half later he was found unconscious in the field which had no sign of an airplane crash. He awoke in the hospital and couldn't explain the events he had seen. And six weeks later he failed to report for duty and was labeled a deserter.
Another sighting was on Oct. 2, 1961. Waldo J. Harris, a private pilot, was taking off at the Utah Central Airport at noon. In the distance, he noticed an airplane. As he became airborne, he noted that the plane was in the same place, and again after gaining some altitude, saw that it was hovering. As he looked this third time, he watched as the plane tilted and glinted in the sun. Harris reported that it didn't have any wings or tail. He radioed back to the airport and seven people shared binoculars and witnessed what Harris was radioing.
Harris attempted to get closer. As he flew, he watched as the object reportedly rose 1000 feet in a second or less. Harris continued to try and close the distance in his Mooney Mark 20A, but the object flew off before the military jets that the observers had called could arrive.
Finally, there was an update on the NICAP web site on the Newhouse sighting. It was a letter from James E. McDonald to Arthur C. Lundahl, dated May 4, 1970. McDonald, writing about a recent conversation with Newhouse about his sighting, explained to Lundahl that when he asked if he rejected the final "gull hypothesis," Newhouse said was insistent. He said the same thing he had and told those filing the official report, "You'd better go take a better look at some sea gulls!"
LETTER TO MAJOR KEYHOE OF NICAP BY THE AIR FORCE PRESS DESK
Received your latest bulletin. The order form has been turned over to our engineering library upon request and they intend to send for a membership. This, at the request of the research dept.
I have not heard further from de Garvaho since mailing him your address but expect that you will hear from him shortly.
In a recent TV appearance, Bob Baker and I opposed a Captain Eccles, of Col. Dean Hess' office, and a Dr. Bartolt ( not sure of the spelling) . We ate 'em up, and at the end had the good Doctor on our side. He was one of those endorsing the mirage and optical illusion theories. Capt. Eccles stated outright that he was not going to give personal opinions but would merely be representing the official AF position.
Incidentally, am enclosing a copy of Baker's report on the Montana and Utah sighting. Thought you might not have seen these. The analysis took over one year to complete. Baker is very interested in receiving any further motion picture films on the subject and will do similar analysis work for NICAP free of charge. The only request he has to make is that he be anonymous in the NICAP organization.
Baker is currently working with the Aero-nutronics Company, in Glendale, California and is tied up in AF Farside project, which explains his reluctance to be identified with NICAP as a special advisor or otherwise. I know he would be happy to get a chance to tie into those Miami films if they could be made available. All films will be returned as soon as the analysis is completed, along with a full report on the findings.
Baker's personal opinion (after working on the Montana and Utah films) is that there is a great need for further research of this type. He feels (but won't state flatly) that there are possibilities these things are interplanetary vehicles.
At any rate I think you might well consider Baker's proposition. I did give him your NICAP address and I suppose he will be sending in his membership fee. . . .if he doesn't forget it --you know how absent-minded these scientists are.
That's all for now... I know how busy you are. Meantime let me know if there is anything I can do on this end. I understand from Clarence Greene that the people at Cal Tech borrowed his film "UFO" for a private showing last week at the university. I do not know who the audience comprised.
Click for video - original film and interview
"Military captures saucer on film: The 1952 Tremonton Film", by Brian Keene - The Golden Age of Flying Saucers #9, October 1998
"Hearings before the House Committee on Science & Astronautics", paper by Robert L. Baker, July 29, 1968
"Report of scientific advisory panel on unidentified flying objects", Robertson Panel report