Editor’s note: The video above is from a 1989 series aired on KLAS TV in Las Vegas in 1989. See the entire series here.
MYSTERY WIRE — Fraud or not, “Billy” Eduard Albert Meier’s photos claiming to show clusters of UFOs over the Swiss countryside are a prominent part of the lore surrounding UFO investigations.
News that they sold for $16,500 at auction to an unnamed bidder at Sotheby’s Auctions should come as no surprise. They have ascended to icons of the controversial field of ufology, which at the time was in a constant struggle for its reputation.
The website curiosmos.com describes one of the photos as “the most famous UFO image in history.”
The 3 1/2 x 5 inch prints on Kodak paper — not the negatives — have gained even more fame since one was featured in a poster in “The X-Files,” gracing the office of Mulder (David Duchovny) with the phrase “I want to believe” superimposed.
Sotheby’s describes the items here.
Notably, the show’s producers failed to secure rights to use the photo.
The photos are widely dismissed as fraud, even though they held up to initial scrutiny when they came out in the late 1970s. Meier’s ex-wife has said he built the disks in the photos out of odds and ends, and his reluctance to share the slides was the start of doubts that eventually turned ufologists against him.
The photos sold in four lots, and at least one website expressed outrage that someone could be duped into buying worthless prints that have been available for years. Theflyblog.com says proceeds from the photos likely went to the group Open Minds, which secured from another owner for the reported price of $50,000.