March 29, 2009

Five Old Pictures in Search of an Explanation: Up in the sky of 1943, it's.....

One of my tasks to prepare for my mother's 90th birthday was to create a "memory wall" out of photographs spanning her life. My brother went through her albums and brought me some sixty old pictures, in varying degrees of preservation, to have scanned and printed.

One of the pictures he brought for scanning was this one (reproduced at approximately the size of the original):
Mom & Dad, just married, Los Angeles

It would have been taken in the mountains above Los Angeles on some day in either 1943 or 1944. Like a lot of the others it had dirt, scratches and smudges, but I was sure I could clean up the image. Then I started to look more carefully at the smudges in this shot once it had been scanned....

Here's a section of that shot blown up from the scan and sharpened with the contrast boosted:

And a closer section from the shot, blown up even more and enhanced:

Closer still and bumped up another notch:

And then, at the end, this:

I don't know if I should clean up this scan and get rid of these smudges or not.

[Originally published on Novermber 25, 2004]

Posted by Vanderleun at March 29, 2009 3:38 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Those are not UFOs. Those are experimental aircraft Howard Hughes designed, based on Jane Russell's nipples.

Posted by: Lileks at November 25, 2004 7:06 PM

Lillian Russell, perhaps.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at November 25, 2004 7:19 PM

a 12 gauge over and under would take care of the anomaly

Posted by: Ripley at November 26, 2004 1:17 AM

I wonder if they aren't those things they hang on high-tension wires to alert flying beings to their presence, seen from an odd angle...?


Posted by: Mark Alger at November 26, 2004 6:55 AM

now i know your origin-----they are alien sperms!

Posted by: couisn mike at November 26, 2004 9:42 AM

Great are a spittin' image of the old man, although as I remember, he was much wiser. As for the smudges, I agree with brother Mike...They explain alot..

Posted by: McNair at November 26, 2004 11:04 AM

So, along with all your other talents you were an early photoshop expert and fond of a little leg pull every once in a while.

Posted by: Roy Lofquist at March 29, 2009 7:25 AM

I would recognize that scene and trail anywhere. It must be in the hills up above Sunset Blvd, off or near Will Rogers State Park, one of my favorite places. There are trails there that can take you all the way to Malibu. What a great old pic and terrific looking couple.

Posted by: Webutante at March 29, 2009 8:56 AM

Early breast implants?

Posted by: MarkH at March 29, 2009 9:42 AM

I notice that the shadows on the people and the shadows on the "UFO's" appear to be coming from two different angles.

Even though I was not in Los Angeles in 1943 or 1944, I'm pretty sure we only had one sun.

Posted by: TennesseePoplar at March 29, 2009 10:30 AM

You UFO deniers always say something like that. Your masters from Sirius pay you to do so.

Posted by: vanderleun at March 29, 2009 10:46 AM

The forties and fifties were the golden age of UFO's, which appeared in photos around the country, although some locales in the southwest were hot zones for aliens. Perhaps there was a "conspiracy" of photofinishers back in the day to insert UFOs into other people's family photographs? Maybe just a little geeky joke that started small with a couple of guys fooling around in the darkroom, waiting to see if anybody noticed something new in their pictures? Once some of those photos made headlines, other photofinishers would try and one-up the previous effort and before long we've got flying saucers all over the place....or not.

Posted by: Boots at March 29, 2009 11:44 AM

The question needs to be asked - how long after said photo were you born???

Posted by: teresa at March 29, 2009 12:08 PM

Humm, never thought of that. Let's see. It would have been eight months and three weeks to the day now that you mention it.

Posted by: vanderleun at March 29, 2009 12:15 PM

They aren't UFO's. They're honest to God flying saucers. Big difference, you know.


Posted by: jwm at March 29, 2009 9:25 PM

This explains the Eric Cartman anal probe show from South Park. Looks must still be hung over from all those alien stories you edited at the magazine.............

Posted by: Robert Hows at April 1, 2009 2:22 PM