Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2020
THE KYW PHOTOGRAPH OF 1963
by: Rick Hilberg
Back in the 1960s my hometown of Cleveland was unique in having a weekly radio program entirely devoted to the UFO enigma on a clear channel 50,000 watt station that reached 38 states plus several Canadian provinces during its evening run. KYW radio (the KYW call sign was transferred to a Philadelphia radio station in 1965 because of an ownership swap) was host to personality Harv Morgan's weekly "Ufology Roundtable" on his nightly "Program P.M." talk show. Harv featured local and national (via an enhanced telephone line) UFO experts, and Allan Manak and I were fortunate in being able to participate many times over the years that this feature was run.
One evening in September of 1963 when Al was appearing on the show with Earl Neff, well known Cleveland ufologist and fellow member of the Cleveland Ufology Project ( Al would become chairman in 1964 and serve in that capacity until early 1966 ) , Harv presented Al with a letter and photograph while they were on the air, and asked him for his informed opinion of it. When Al inspected the photograph he said that he was totally flabbergasted by what the image showed. The envelope containing the letter and photo was postmarked Orrville, Ohio and showed what looked like a classic disk-shaped UFO over a cornfield. The letter was unsigned and stated simply that it was taken that June near Orrville. Al promised to have the photo analyzed by experts and report his findings on the program the next week.
The next week Al reported that two photo experts told him that the photo was taken at either 8:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m. The object in question seemed to be metallic and approximately 30 to 40 feet in diameter, and located at an estimated 2500 feet from the camera. Al stated that obviously these estimates ruled out the possibility that the object in the photo could have been a model or some sort of toy.
Earl Neff was also present as a guest that evening, and Al explained that two different professional photographers, Donald B and George S., enlarged the original photographic print until it was out of focus, so certain facts about the image could be determined. He also stated that the photographers in turn had a scientist in the field of optics, as well as an experienced photo analysis technician view five different copies of the photograph of varied enlargement sizes and contrasts.
After the program concluded, Mr. Neff asked Al to drive him home. As they chatted during the drive Neff asked if he might have some prints of the photo, and Al promptly mailed them out the next day.
Two weeks later at the monthly meeting of the Cleveland Ufology project, Neff, who was serving as chairman at the time, stated that he had sent his copies of the photo to a UFO group in Akron, Ohio, and that they believed it to be a hoax. Neff stated that their reasoning was that they claimed the photo was stained, and also that there were unusual scratch marks around the image that they felt were on the original negative.
However, the facts are that the photograph received by KYW was the one that Al took to the photographers, and therefore the negative that they made was a second generation copy. Neff's contacts in Akron made a third generation copy, and that copy was the basis of their negative conclusion. As you can clearly by the two different copies of the photograph (the color photo was the original image sent to the station ), there are no stains or scratches on these images, so the Akron group's conclusion just doesn't stand up to the facts.
Unfortunately, the witness to this case never came forward, so his or her identity remains unknown to this very day going on sixty years later. However, the photograph more than speaks for itself and is considered one of the best taken from this time period.