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 Case summary

The following picture appeared on the front cover of the October 1972 issue of the French UFO magazine Lumière Dans La Nuit.

Praia de Armaçâo

The story behind the picture is told on page 13 of the magazine. We translate:

Photograph from Brasil

25 January 1971. - It's about 9:30 a.m., not far from Praia de Armaçâo, in the state of Santa Caterina. A young man of 18, Gunar Gruenzner, is taking pictures of the landscape when suddenly an intense light enters his field of view. The luminous intruder moves as if wanting to execute a descent. The young man has his finger on the shutter release button and photographs the scene. He then tries to find the object he just photographed with his eyes, but without success : the sunlit sky is empty. He forgets what happened, thinking he was the victim of an optical illusion, and continues to photograph the panorama. It is only in February, after he had his Agfacolor film developed and printed, that he notices something odd in one of his pictures. On the initiative of Mr. Fleischresser, owner of the optical shop where the witness had his film developed, the case is brought to the attention of the newspaper "La Nouvelle de Joinville" and consequently the public. The details of the shot, as given by its author, are : aperture 11 or 16, speed 1/125, distance set at infinite. The witness heard no sound (the sea being close by), there was no smell or heat. The negative was submitted to photographic experts and was labelled authentic, with no trace of trickery.

Editorial note by LDLN : On the other hand, two Brazilian professional photographers stated that the peculiar shape is due to a film defect. To us, this seems practically impossible. After all, the witness stated that he saw the object through the viewer of his camera.


- "Observations diverses à l'étranger" in Lumière Dans La Nuit, Vol. 15, No. 120, October 1972, p. 13.


Normally, UFO pictures are easier to evaluate when they are accompanied with an eye-witness account, but this is not always the case. The intense light the young witness mentioned may well have been what he thought it was when he saw it : an optical illusion, perhaps a lens flare or sunlight reflecting off the fuselage of an aircraft. There is only an assumed connection with the unidentified image detected a month later on one of the pictures he took that day. Judging from the picture itself, if the photographer had spotted a genuine unidentified object in the sky, it must have been quite large and spectacular. Not something you would soon forget.

What is certain though is that the object in the picture bears a striking resemblance to a film defect, a flaw in the film emulsion that shows up in other black and white pictures of that period. Film flaws of this type are caused by a chemical reaction that results in a radial migration of emulsion grain (the white, sharply defined elliptical space) and a concentration of migrated grains clustering together at the periphery of the flow-out (the dark aura). Below are two pictures displaying similar film flaws. In both cases nothing out of the ordinary was noticed when the pictures were taken.

film defects

Left: a picture taken by an employee of the Defense Mapping Agency Inter Amercan Geodetic Survey. It shows former US President Jimmy CARTER and a White House media crew departing from Fort Clayton to Tocumen International Airport in the Republic of Panama. The photo was taken on June 17, 1978, at 1:20 p.m., using a motor-driven Nikon camera and a Tri-X film. The incident is not to be confused with CARTER's personal sighting of a UFO in 1969, when he was still governor of Georgia (the 1969 UFO was later identified as Venus). Right: a picture taken in New Braunfels, Texas, on March 18, 1978, at 11 p.m. This photographer used a Canon AT-1, but it is not specified which film.
[Images scanned from the August 1978 issue of International UFO Reporter]

 Our opinion

We follow the opinion of the two Brazilian professionals who stated that the unidentified object in the picture is a film defect.

 Notes & References

- For another example of a similar film defect, this one in the shape of a circle, see