Timothy Good, author of Alien Base, had this to say about Daniel’s movies:

“I have always been dubious about the authenticity of Fry’s 16mm films of UFOs (copies of which are in my possession), particularly an object he said he saw in Oregon in May 1964, which to me looks like a couple of lampshades or similarly shaped devices fixed together and suspended with fine twine. He went into some detail as to the circumstances of the filming, and claimed that some frames show the limb of a cloud coming in front of the saucer. I remain unconvinced; the movement of the craft gives every indication of being a suspended fake. Perhaps I am wrong. But does this prove that Fry was lying about all his previous experiences? I think not. Most probably, he thought that a few fabricated movie films of ‘saucers’ would bolster his unprovable claims.”

Alien Base, Timothy Good, 1998, pg 77

I contacted Timothy Good and got a copy of the film and managed to dig up an original of Daniel’s “Saucers Unlimited” 16mm film which also contained footage of Daniel’s 1964 Oregon UFO. Both are now available on a single DVD, for sale on the Multimedia page.

After studying the footage closely, it is clear the UFO(s) are fake.

The most revealing feature of the film is that the craft’s motion looks exactly like a hanging spinning model. Here, look for yourself:

The first thing to note is that the second clip is slowed down.  If you watch both clips side by side, compare the speed at which the noise, those black dots and streaks, appear on the screen.  It is clear this second clip has been slowed down.

The second thing is that the second clip is much darker than the first.

The third thing the second clip makes clear is that it is a film of a film.  If you look at the top right of the second clip as it plays, you can see a bent corner and then the camera is moved down slightly to hide the top right corner of the film being filmed, which revels the bottom edge.  Below, I have put two screenshots next to each other, the first is before the camera is moved down and the second after.  Notice in the left first picture, the top right has rounded edge and in the second bottom picture, after the camera moves down, the bottom right is now curved.


Here is what Daniel did – he played the first film through a projector and slowed the film down which slowed down the noise, then using likely the same camera, he filmed the first film a second time which reduced it’s brightness…  By slowing it down to half speed, he was trying to make it look like the model was moving but without the tell-tale side to side and wobble motion it had when hanging.

Another thing in later shots is that it is pretty clear how the models are held up:

Retaped UFO showing support

  • See the white bar in the top right? It is not noise or a cloud.

Which explains why the Oregon model is so close to the camera and filmed in the top half.  If the camera was any farther back, the stick holding it up would be visible in the top corner of the film, as it is above.  

Conclusion: Having seen the original films, it is pretty clear they were faked.

Update October 2023 -Eric Erpelding and Håkan Blomqvist (Contact Page) have been asking some interesting questions over the past week and here is the results of that conversation.

To properly understand the context, you will need to read Håkan’s blog post on the provenance of Tahahlita’s famous photo.

Eric asked if the photo could be geolocated?

From this picture of Tahahlita’s

Here is the best guess based on a Google elevation map (link):

The red arrow points to the background ridge. If you look closely, it goes up to 2400 feet which is higher than the ridge behind it at only 2200 feet leaving the sky blue and uninterrupted.

The blue arrow points to the little area on the other side of Interstate 5 which is notable because it is higher up in the picture than I5 which matches the elevation map. The picture below makes it clear that the highway is itself elevated and clearly has fence posts along the edge, likely to keep vehicles from plunging into “Maple Creek” down the hill from the highway. Street view along I5 is not very useful as the trees along the road are so high.

The green arrow is the side of the hill that the pictures were taken from, near the 1800′ elevation line and the view lines are shown below:

The yellow arrow points in the direction of Merlin.

It is hard to tell from the photo, but the video seems to make it a bit clearer that there is at least one ridge running down the side of the hill toward the highway.

The key features of the photos are the:

  • The Interstate 5 highway in the middle ground
  • The flat hill behind Interstate 5 has with a flat space between it and Interstate 5
  • Interstate 5 goes straight through the photo and has fence posts along it
  • The valley where the creek runs between the foreground hill and beside Interstate 5
  • The foreground hill where the photo was taken from
  • The sloping hill in the background which has no peaks and has no visible mountains behind it.

There are not a lot of places near Merlin that would correspond to Tahahlita writing “Taken over Merlin, the International Understanding Centre” (source).

In regards to Merlin and the International Cultural Center, Fry actually had a few buildings in Merlin. He built this building in Merlin in 1961:

Which still stands today (Google Street View) but it is the “Merlin Development” company not the International Understanding Centre. It is pretty amazing the building still stands considering it is now 62 years old and Merlin has changed so little that even with it being in the middle of town, it hasn’t been replaced. When I met Julene, Fry’s daughter in 2005, she still owned that concrete building.

Here is the building that use to be the Cultural Center building, now a baptist church (Google Maps) but it is now where near Interstate 5 and none of the mountains match the photos.

My guess is my geolocation is about %80 correct.

Håkan asked “What is your general assessment of the validity of the Tahahlita photos?”

Tahalita is definitely the source for those photographs not only because the geolocation fits Tahalita’s description of it being “Interstate 5” as referenced, but there is film footage Fry took from the exact same position of the exact same UFOs.  They are definitely human made models and not alien.

Here is what happen on that sunny clear day on the afternoon of November of 1968 in Merlin Oregon:

Daniel, Tahalita and their friend Mrs. “Billie” Thompson, parked their car at the end of the path highlighted in yellow below with a couple UFO models, a couple long poles, fishing wire, a regular still camera and a moving picture camera. It was probably a half hour walk.

The recent satellite map shows the area is now overgrown with trees but there is a trail coming from the direction of Merlin that goes right by the photography spot.

Then, facing the highway to the east, Fry attached the first round UFO model to fishing wire which was tied to the end of a thin pole. Billie then stood to the left and slightly up the hill with the pole and dangled the round model in middle of the frame. Once the model was aloft, Fry shot B roll footage for his organization “N.I.C.E. Inc.”,

Which is described in the Contactee biography:

Although Daniel’s life was going through rapid change, having retired, moved to Merlin and divorced his long time wife, the Understanding organization still had more than twenty years of life left. One of the next things Daniel did was to attempt to build a radio station. The building for “Voice of Understanding”would get completed in September of 1964 but it would never see a broadcast day because of alack of funds. The 20,000 watt transmitter alone cost $15,000. Although Daniel, through the Merlin Development company, was going to donate half of the funds, they still needed money for the considerable yearly operation and maintenance costs. To meet FCC requirements, Daniel created an organization called “News, Information, Communications and Entertainment” or N.I.C.E. Inc. to run the station. Each donor was given shares in N.I.C.E. in accordance with their donations, for example, some donations, like those from Coleman and Kertu Campbell added up to $1250. After the radio station failed to find enough funding, N.I.C.E. evolved into an educational corporation which Daniel used to make films such as “Saucers Unlimited” and “The Romance of Space.” These films where used during Daniel’s talks and also at an Understanding booth in the California State Fair in December of 1964 which saw six to seven thousand visitors. N.I.C.E. published a small study course on science based around the physics in Daniel’s books.

“Contactee – Was Daniel W. Fry. Telling the Truth”, Sean Donovan, Page 86

From footage that Fry took (available for purchase), recovered from reel-to-reel tapes that were lent to me by Timothy Good, we can see it is clearly a busy highway, as I suspect Interstate Highway 5 would be, especially when you see a big fast moving semi-truck go through the frame @44s.

This semi-truck or eighteen wheeler @44s is important because Tahalita referenced it in her origin story:

“a truck went by our freeway – or interstate 5. I took the truck…”
(By “took” I assume she means “took a picture of” and by “truck” a semitruck or eighteen wheeler)


Here are screenshots from Fry’s footage and can you see the the string holding up the “UFO” and the pole cutting through the left edge of the frame. It is even clearer in the video…

Both models of the UFO are seen in the same frame and were obviously taken on the same day as the background is the same and the sun is bouncing off both from the same direction, within an hour of the footage and the still photos.

You can tell by the sun’s reflection off the rim of the UFO models that it was mid afternoon and the sun was over the photographer’s shoulder to the west.

Fry likely used the top of a rare “Dietz Air Pilot #8” kerosene lantern and modified it slightly. The picture on the left is a closeup of Tahahlita’s UFO model and on the right is the top half of the “Dietz Air Pilot #8”:

The similarities are striking:

  • The roof of Tahahlita’s UFO and the Dietz Air Pilot gas lantern are curved.
  • The top section is about a third of the overall diameter of the base
  • They both reflect the sun in a similar way (or flash in the case of the seller’s photo)
  • Fry and or Tahahlita replaced the tell-tale handle with a small tab, looped a metal piece with holes around the vents on top and coloured the underside black as most kerosene lamps are enamelled white.
  • The wall of the top part is vertical which is typical for most kerosene lamps and atypical for most lamp shades.

There are two similarities that do not match:

  • The Deitz Air Pilot has a notable lip around the bottom edge, however, it is hard to tell if Tahahlita’s UFO model has the same because it is either viewed directly from the side or from the bottom. As evidence by the photos below, that lip around the bottom is not very pronounced on the newer models (the first one with the extra ridge around the upper part in the gallery below).
  • The curve on Tahahlita’s UFO is not as sharp as the curve of the Dietz Air Pilot.

Here is what the entire kerosene lantern looks likes and stands a little over a foot high:

The size of the upper part of the Dietz Air Pilot is maybe only six inches high and maybe half a pound which means it has very little inertia and fits with how, in the footage, it moves around with the slightest breeze or bump.

There seems to be numerous varieties of this particular lamp for the North American and European markets with the comparison model being the European variant. Here is one for sale in Ukraine (I ran the listing through Google translate) and of note it says it was manufactured “After 1960” which lines up perfectly when Fry would have used it in 1968.

Why Fry would have the European variant is unknown, maybe they were sold in America too, or he brought one home with him after his travels.

Other possible lamp shades were considered as well:

However, none of them fit because the top section is not wide enough relative to the flared bottom and it doesn’t have the same curve to the top. Kerosene lamps are good match for Tahahlita’s UFO model because they need larger diameter tops to let the higher amount of heat escape.

Which is what Tahahlita then took pictures of:

Håkan then asked “But why would Tahahlitha and Billie Thompson agree to participate in such a scam?”

“Participate” makes it sound like it was Daniel’s idea, but his goal on that day was to shoot raw footage for the Saucer Unlimited film and it was Tahahlita who took the still photographs and sent them around. I don’t think Fry cared one way or another what she did.

To speculate on why she took those picture, it was for a lot of reasons:

  • Merlin is a “one-horse”(def) town even today, and when Fry swept in as a rich bachelor to start his own property development company, he was noticed.  Tahahlita was a minor celebrity in the area, for example, on my trip through Merlin when doing research for the biography, I stopped off, randomly, at a local antique shop in Merlin and here is what I wrote in my journal back in 2005:
    Once finished with the interview (of Julene Fry), I drove around Merlin and stopped off at an antique shop on the side of the road to see if I could find anything Daniel related. Turns out the owner knew Tahahlita and even had some newspaper articles about her stapled to the wall. Had a great talk with him and because I had problems with my camera, he was kind enough to give me a 3.5″ disk with pictures from his own digital camera of the newspaper articles.”   (sorry, I did not record the name of the business, and a google search today turns up nothing)
    (The caption below the picture on the left says “Tahahlita says she would rather help people than win the lottery” and the caption on the right picture says “Tahahlita poses for an MGM picture”)
    And she was pretty:

    The point is that they were bound to bump into each other and Tahahlita, being stuck in a backwater town found Fry’s prestige alluring.  Today, we look back at those times with a bit of incredulity as in “What were they thinking?!”, but she got caught up in the zeitgeist (def), as in “Here is something big and wonderful beyond my small life” and having a relationship with Fry no doubt helped.
  • Daniel Fry was utterly committed to his story and that commitment was compelling.
    • Mrs. Billie Thompson donated or lent a building to be used for the International Cultural Center.
  • My guess as to their logic “If I fervently believe aliens are visiting the earth, what difference does a fake photo make, as long as it gains attention?”  To Fry, Tahahlita and Billie, fake photos and movies were in the category of “white lie”, and not easy to prove otherwise.

Håkan asked “Did anyone of them ever confess the fake?

Not that I know of.

“Why did they do it during this period in the Understanding organization?”

(Speculation) Because Daniel was creating footage for his N.I.C.E. films and the opportunity for Tahahlita to take the photos was low cost as Daniel was setting everything up anyway.

At this point in 1968, Daniel’s contact had happened over a decade ago and I can only imagine the pressure that Daniel must have felt to continue to produce new information and photos. That he so clearly left evidence of the fake in the footage was a nod to those, like us, who look closely. We were not his target audience because fake pictures were the click bait (def) of the day, to get people to pay attention, and once his audience had seen everything else Understanding had to offer, they might stay. The Understanding organization was reaching it’s peak so he had an audience to feed.

“With this information, what would be your general assessment of Daniel´s contact with Alan?”

As evidenced by this decades old Controversies Page, that Fry filmed and photographed fake UFO models, Timothy Good concurred, is not new. Perhaps worse, as I outlined in the research section in the last half of the Contactee book, the prehistory part of Fry’s story regarding Atlantis and Mu destroying each other with nuclear weapons is fake too because it has no concrete evidence, as I like to summarize: “Where are the bricks stamped with “Atlantis” or “Mu” buried under 30,000 year old sediment to be found in the archaeological record?” There is nothing (molded megaliths not withstanding)

As to why Fry falsified photos and parts of his story, he explained it as:

“I would never knowingly be a party to any attempt to convince the leaders of any branch of the armed services of the reality of the craft or of the existence of their operators. I cannot conceive of any agency more likely to toss a monkey wrench into the machinery of interplanetary relations. In composing my report of the incident at White Sands, I took great care to present it in such a manner that it would immediately be dismissed as nonsense by the `military’ type of mind, and yet would present all the vital information in such a manner that its value could readily be understood by the type of mind capable of making use of it. The Air Force has frequently stated that it does not believe that these objects exist. If this statement actually represents their opinion then I believe that this is a very fortunate situation, and one which should be allowed to continue as long as possible, or at least until we have had time to become better acquainted with our visitors.”

“OPEN LETTER Daniel W. Fry to N.I.C.A.P.”, January 1958, NICAP and Fry)

I, too, suffer from the same dreams as Tahahlita of wanting to be apart of a world more interesting than this one.

Håkan concluded with this question “What I find strange is that Daniel could spend his whole life for a good cause, Understanding, by trying to convince people with obvious fake movies/photos? He must have realized that this would soon be discovered. Maybe as you say it was a white lie to for the good cause.”

I really don’t know, or like to speculate much, however, the motivation for the “white lie” might be because of Fry’s intention to:

I took great care to present it in such a manner that it would immediately be dismissed as nonsense by the `military’ type of mind, and yet would present all the vital information in such a manner that its value could readily be understood by the type of mind capable of making use of it. ” (“Understanding”, Open letter by Daniel Fry, 1958)

Maybe fake photos were part of the “took great care to present it in such a manner” part.  The best lies are those with a bit of truth mixed in and maybe the best truth is the one with a few lies mixed in.