A Strange UFO Encounter at Trinidade Island Some of the most exciting UFO encounters are those that have been witnessed by multiple witnesses at the same time. If you add in a selection of witnesses who are traditionally considered reliable, and then throw in photographic evidence to boot, well, then you have gold. There are only a few good instances of all of these elements coming together in just the right way, but when they do, it all serves to propel a good amount of debate, analysis, and discussion. One such strange incident supposedly happened out at a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, and which produced photographs and testimony that have been picked apart to this day. On January 16, 1958, the Brazilian ship Almirante Saldanha was off the coast of the remote and rugged island of Trindade, around 680 miles from the east coast of Brazil. The island is a sparsely inhabited, 3.9 square-mile rough slash of volcanic rock lying in the middle of nowhere, its only inhabitants an oceanographic post and a meteorological station run by the Hydrography and Navigation Division of the Ministry of the Brazilian Navy, and the Almirante Saldanha had been brought here for Naval oceanographic research as part of the International Geophysical Year project. Aboard the vessel were Captain José Teobaldo Viegas, various scientists, explorers and a civilian photographer by the name of Almiro Baraúna, brought aboard to take underwater pictures for the expedition, as well as some other civilian reporters and assistants. Trinidade Island On this day the ship, which had been anchored at Trinidade for several days, was preparing to depart headed back towards Rio de Janeiro when at around midday a number of those gathered on the deck observed something very strange in the sky approaching the island from the east, and flying towards the “Pico Desejado” (Wished Peak). The object was described as gray, metallic and glinting or shining, and roughly spherical in shape, with what seemed to be a ring around it, similar to the planet Saturn, as well as a greenish, phosphorescent vapor wreathing it. It was so unusual and moving at such high speed that it was obvious to those who saw it, including the photographer Baraúna and Captain Viegas himself, that this was no normal aircraft. Baraúna would later say of the sighting: The object apparently approached the peak to eerily hover over it for a few moments before disappearing behind it momentarily, and then reappearing, after which it continued its inscrutable journey out over the forlorn sea. This all happened as the crew stared in awed fascination, but Baraúna was a professional photographer and had the presence of mind to snap a series of four pictures of the mysterious object. He would explain of this: When the otherworldly object was gone, the ship’s commander ordered the negatives to be developed right away and they were amazed by what they saw. Several of the crew aboard the ship would report that the vessel had experienced technical malfunctions during and after the encounter, as if the craft was exerting some influence on their electrical systems either accidentally or intentionally. Baraúna would say of this: Once the ship was back in Rio, Baraúna was then allegedly approached and interviewed by various Naval officials about the mystery object he had photographed. The military wanted to know numerous details about the sighting and were very interested in analyzing the photographs, which apparently impressed them very much and were deemed to be genuine after exhaustive testing by the Laboratório de Reconhecimento Aéreo da Marinha, which is the Brazilian Navy’s Aerial Reconnaissance Laboratory. Baraúna said of his time with these officials and the analysis of the images: One of the photos It was not long before the photos got out into the wild, and they were featured heavily in Brazilian news publications and in the media at large. They generated a huge amount of discussion and debate, and through it all the Brazilian Navy stayed quiet, neither confirming or denying the alleged incident. The negatives were still floating around though, and before long the story was leaking out of official mouths, and with all of the rabid media attention it was getting, the Navy Ministry was forced to say something on the matter, giving a typical government opaque and ambiguous statement that reads: In Brazil, the photos have widely been accepted as very good photographic evidence of UFOs, but there has of course been skepticism to wash all of it down. The U.S. Air Force’s UFO task force Project Blue Book labelled it curtly as a hoax, and Baraúna has had much damning criticism levelled against him. It has been pointed out that the photographer was a known hoaxer and fraud, apparently having a long history of faking pictures of things such as bogus treasures on the ocean floor, and he often used trick photography in humorous articles, including even one devoted precisely on how to fake UFO photos. It has been suggested that what is shown in the photos is trickery at best, and merely a misidentified aircraft seen through fog at best. Yet, we are still left with the estimated 50 witnesses aboard the vessel who apparently saw the phenomenon. In the end, the Bralilian government has not had much else to say on the matter, and it is technically unsolved. The photos still do the rounds, and there are myriad explanations and in-depth breakdowns and analyses to be found. Yet, they still manage to remain elusive teases that can’t really be proven or disproven. Indeed, the whole Trinidade Island incident is mired in a muck of uncertainty, government opaqueness, and a lack of straight answers. While it has so many promising elements of something exciting, it is unfortunate that it is likely to remain a specter that will never truly be solved or find a consensus, and will go on as just another one of the many UFO accounts that will probably remain swirling about without landing on one thing or another. .