Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Calvine 1990 Photo: Missing Rumored 'Most Spectacular' UFO Photo Found!

It was only a week or so ago that I posted on a UFO group, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "the Calvine UFO photo is the best 'classic' UFO photo that nobody has ever seen, except Nick Pope." That was then; this is now.

UFO celebrity Nick Pope claims to have investigated UFOs for the British government, a claim he repeats often. Too bad it isn't true. The reality is that Pope was little more than a file clerk for the UK Ministry of Defense, who had no responsibilities for investigating UFO sightings, or anything else. But a credulous media almost invariably accepts his claims, and hangs on his every statement, no matter how absurd. Just one example: in 2006, Pope, described as a "former MoD chief," warned in the Daily Mail that "the country could be attacked by extraterrestrials at any time." Like Luis Elizondo in the US, Nick Pope claims to have led a UFO investigation program for his country's defense establishment. Both claims are equally bogus; neither of them was responsible for investigating anything.

Nick Pope wrote, "The Calvine UFO photo is the most spectacular UFO photo ever sent to the Ministry of Defence. It's also missing." In brief, the story is: When Pope was working for the MoD, his boss had a poster-sized copy of one of the Calvine UFO photos hanging on the wall by his desk. Later it was taken down, and it (along with the photos themselves) had apparently disappeared. Here is what Pope wrote about it in 2020.

The analysis was nothing short of sensational. The photos hadn’t been faked.

They showed a structured craft of unknown origin, unlike any conventional aircraft. There was no fuselage, no wings, no tail, no engines and no markings of any sort.

Color image re-creation of Calvine UFO photo, by the Cynon Valley Leader. Not the real thing!

Well, it appears that one of the Calvine photos has been found! Dr. David Clarke is a folklorist and skeptical researcher who teaches journalism at the Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. He is the author of the delightful 2015 book, How UFOs Conquered the World - The History of a Modern Myth. I reviewed that book for The Skeptical Inquirer.

At long last, one of the actual Calvine UFO photos!

After a long and difficult investigation, Clarke finally located a print of the Calvine UFO photo, in the possession of the retired RAF officer Craig Lindsay. Here is a video of David Clarke and other researchers going into the background of the photo in more detail. After Clarke released the photo, Pope released the following gobbledygook statement in order to try to remain relevant:

Calvine UFO Photo: It's my policy not to comment on leaked information, especially if it might be classified, so until I receive Ministry of Defence advice, I can neither confirm nor deny if this is the picture that was displayed on my office wall when I ran the MoD's 'UFO desk'.

It's not my intention to delve into an analysis of the photo yet. That will require more time, and better scans. The only scans of the photo available so far are.JPEGs, which is a lossy compression scheme and does not preserve fine details. 

So far, most serious UFO investigators seem to be "underwhelmed" by it. After so much hype, just another fakey-looking UFO photo. Some of my initial comments are:

  • The "UFO" seems to be the only object in the photo that is actually in focus. That suggests that it is small and close to the camera, which was focused for it.
  • Nick Pope wrote that the Calvine photos consisted of "colour photographs," but the print we have seen is black-and-white. What explains the discrepancy?
  • David Clarke is suggesting that the object is an authentic photo of a supposed US secret supersonic aircraft called "Aurora." I can't accept that for a number of reasons. This supposed aircraft was built over 30 years ago. Where has it been since? Why hasn't it been revealed? (Think of how many people must know about it, yet we have no leaks.) It flies only over northern Scotland, and nowhere else? And nobody sees it, except these two guys? New secret aircraft are tested over the deserts of Nevada and California, not half a world away. Also, I don't see how that thing can fly, it's not going to generate lift. While alien UFOs can reportedly use anti-gravity propulsion and Element 115, terrestrial craft must be built using the technology available at the time, more than 30 years ago. So what powers it, and how does it fly? Also, the photographers claimed that the object was "hovering" for about ten minutes. How does an aircraft do that?

When more details are available about "the most spectacular UFO photo ever sent to the Ministry of Defence," you will read about it here.




  1. 'Nick Pope wrote, "The Calvine UFO photo is the most spectacular UFO photo ever sent to the Ministry of Defence...' But he also says he doesn't comment on leaked information, etc. Will the real Nick Pope please stand up? And then leave the room for some distant monastery where he may reflect upon the real world, and his place in it?

    There has never been much love lost between Pope and David Clarke. The former must be chewing the carpet over his enemy's coup. Tee hee. I am pretty sure the latter knows more about this picture than he's let on so far, so we await developments. Meanwhile some interesting speculation about it has appeared on the web. There's more to discuss!

  2. I agree about the idea of this being a classified aircraft. It does not make much sense because evidence of such a crafts existence in some form would have surfaced by now. As for the color film, the analysis mentions the old Ilford XP1 film. I remember testing it for astrophotography in the late 80s (it was not a good astrofilm). It was black and white that was developed using the same c-41 process used to develop color negatives. So there may be confusion about this. It was b&w developed as a color negative. The negative still came out as a b&w negative.

    1. As I understand it: The Calvine photo we have seen comes from a black-and-white film that was developed using the same process used for color negatives, which is OK. And it was printed on color paper, which is why the black is not quite black. All of that is fine.

      But since, according to Pope, the original photos, which were blown up to poster size and hung on the office wall, were in color, we should expect to be dealing with a color negative. But we're not.

  3. I'm flabbergasted how a "skeptical researcher" who understands "that when stories parallel folklore, it suggests they are fiction not truth" [from your review of his book] can change his mind in the space of a few months that the secret development 30+ years ago of huge gravity-defying craft with no visible means of propulsion, and no parallel engineering and physics advances in the scientific and commercial world, can suddenly be a thing - just because he tracks down a crappy photo and I guess changes his mind about which of his sources is now telling the truth. Newbie public servant Nick Pope's leg was pulled by his colleagues - is David Clarke pulling ours with this unexplained flip-flop?

    1. I have never doubted David's sincerity as a researcher, nor his zeal to pursue truth. But in this case I think he is quite wrong. To put it simply, he trusts too much in the conclusions of "experts," and doesn't realize how wrong the "experts" can sometimes be. 'The experts say that the unknown object is large and distant, therefore it must be some secret aircraft.'

      As I wrote to David in a private email a few days ago,

      "I wouldn't be too impressed by the fact that MoD "experts" thought it was a real aircraft. If the UK MoD "experts" were as bad as the US DoD "experts," they have no experience or understanding whatsoever of supposed 'UFO photos', and are easily fooled.


      And the Pentagon's "UAP task force" is headed up by this idjit.
      https://badufos.blogspot.com/2022/06/meet-face-of-pentagons-uap-task-force.html "

  4. There's substantial doubt that the jet, which has always been labelled as a BAE Harrier, actually is one. The nearest facility that flew military jets had Buccaneers and Hunters on hand, and the Hunter does fit the image very well. Hopefully someone can track down flight records for the nineties which might narrow down a specific date for the photograph.

  5. I've read that the witnesses did make 6 photos of the object. Where are the others?

  6. Thank you Robert. I always enjoy your take on these. Being a critical thinker isn’t easy, but I am trying to get the hang of it.

  7. Ahh Pope the ufoology tea maid is up to his old games again lol

  8. Apparently The Scotsman newspaper claimed an RAF air traffic controller was startled to see a radar blip emerge from the area of the joint NATO-RAF airbase at approximately “three times the speed of sound!” But when the puzzled controller phoned the base on the Kintyre peninsula to ask what type of aircraft it was he 'was promptly told to forget what he had just seen!’

  9. Just looks like a trick of perspective: fence is in foreground, but the "sky" is water. "UFO" is a mountain reflected; "plane" is a fishing boat reflected.

  10. The object in exactly the middle of the "real" photo just happens to be the same shape and in the same location as an image effect produced in many photo by amateur photographers. It's basically a photo of the inner working of the camera's optics.


Keep your comments relevant, and keep them civil! That means no personal attacks will be allowed, by anyone, on anyone. Commenters are welcome to disagree with me, or with other comments, but state your arguments using logic, and with a civil tone. Comments in violation of these rules will be deleted, and offenders banned.

Comments should be in English, although quotes from foreign-language sources are fine as long as they're relevant, and you explain them. Anonymous postings are not permitted. If you don't want to use your real name, then make up a name for yourself, and use it consistently.