Some of the most fascinating photos of an UFO were captured in a blistering summer afternoon above the notorious Hoia Baciu forest in Romania. The flying object was disk-shaped, had metallic coating  and hovered without making a sound.


It was a windless August afternoon in 1968 when Emil Barnea, a 45-years-old construction technician, accompanied by his girlfriend Zamfira Mattea and another couple, were headed towards the Hoia Baciu forest near CLuj-Napoca, Romania, to escape the scorching 36 degrees heat.

They were preparing for a picnic inside a meadow within the forest close to the road leading from Cluj to Bucharest, capital city of Romania. Emil Barnea went in search of seasoned wood to start a campfire. There was no wind blowing, and the only sounds came from the chirping of birds and the fuss of insects.

It was about 1:24 p.m. when  Barnea heard his girlfriend call for him in amazement. He then rushed to the scene and noticed her pointing at a metallic flying object. It was round, with a dome on top, a silvery coat which reflected sunlight, and was hovering in close proximity to them. The UFO emitted no sound, as if it was flying without any engines.

The object was moving relatively slow, so Barnea kept his blood cold and hastened to his backpack where he had his camera. He took the first shot after quickly adjusting his position and lighting. A second shot was further possible because of the UFO moving calmly and without sound.

First two shots of the unidentified flying device

At this point, Barnea reported vivid lighting and other light variations on the hovering object. After displaying a colorful spectacle, the craft took off at high velocity, leaving the witness taking as many photos as he could.

In total, Emil Barnea made four photographs of the UFO, but the latter was never made available to the public because the other two witnesses were in the frame and they requested to have their identity anonymous. Nevertheless, the last image that was later shown to Ufologist Florin Gheorghita and Ion Hobana  showed the craft that had become a black line lost in a strange cloud.

The UFO manifested for approximately 2 minutes, time during which the four witnesses observed all the transitions the craft was going through. After the UFO had departed, the two couples remained in awe for a considerable amount of time before speaking to one another about what just happened. They seemed rather clueless of the UFO because of the closed communist regime Romania was under at that point in time, where no UFO magazines were available, and the information hard to come by.

After a few days, the shock they went through started to dissipate, and after a couple more weeks, the film roll in Emil Barnea’s camera was developed and ready for prints. The man was at first hesitant disclosing the material he had, knowing that those blabbing about such things as UFOs were generally treated with ridicule and laughter.

Barnea soon contacted Florin Gheorghita, an engineer from Cluj-Napoca with a keen interest in UFOs which he met during his career in constructions. Although during their previous sessions Barnea expressed his skepticism on this matter of flying saucers, he now had a drastically changed perspective.

When they met, he offered Gheorghita elaborate details of what had happened, together with the witnesses’s testimony. The UFO passionate managed to make calculations and estimate the altitudes and approximate size of the flying object. An investigation report was then published and the photographs were delivered to state news agency Ager Press.

The three shots of the UFO that were made available to the public

On September 18, 1968, one month after the event, the images were printed in several newspapers together with a brief review narrated by Barnea. From here on out, the situation escalated and people had their sides divided by the controversy of the subject. Subsequent tests were performed on the photographs by various experts and all spoke in favor of the authenticity of the material. There was no question of the photos being manipulated because editing tools were made available only decades later.

Technicians at the University of Cluj thoroughly analyzed the images and had built miniature scale models of the craft to see if the shading corresponds with the depicted maneuvers. Their observations came accordingly, and also pointed out that besides reflecting sunlight, the UFO seemed to have emitted its own light, exactly as Barnea reported before.

Among the reputed experts taking care of this unusual case was Ion Hobana, a Romanian ufologist and author who personally met with Mr. Barnea in 1968 and 1970 to obtain more insight. Hobana’s report came out as it follows:

Case Analysis Established by Ufologist Hobana

  • 1. The place where the picture have been shot is 4,7 kilometers west-south-west of Cluj;
  • 2. The temperature in the sun was 36°Celsius;
  • 3. The sky was cloudless but there was a curious nebulosity at hight altitude which became visible only after the passage of the machine through it: this vapor is visible on the fourth photograph;
  • 4. The camera was a FED 2 model with a F 2,8 objective, the standard fil roll was of DIN17, ORWO brand;
  • 5. None of the witnesses saw the object approaching, they first saw it when it was already above them;
  • 6. It first flew in straight line, towards the north-east;
  • 7. After having changed direction towards the south-west, it seemed to go down slowly towards the ground;
  • 8. Its altitude was reconstituted as being of 600 meters and the angle relative to the horizon was 85 degrés;
  • 9. The apparatus remained fixed as regards its gravity center all along it flightpath;
  • 10. It changed constantly its flight and flightpath at the begining of the sighting;
  • 11. It seemed to be made of metal and it shone more before each of its acceleration and before each of its ascencions (a little before the second photograph);
  • 12. This apparatus is matching no human-made apparatus;
  • 13. Its diameter must have been more than 30 meters, according to the witnesses.

When foreign press tailed into this matter and asked about the possibility of Barnea being nothing more than a man craving for fame and a hefty sum obtained by selling the photos, the ufologist explained that to pull such a stunt in communist Romania would only put the author in a grim light with no possible benefits, plus that it was illegal selling documents.

The Western world took hold of the subject and soon the public was aware of this remarkable incident that couldn’t be debunked in any way. Another note of Ufologist Habana speaks of a report published in French ufology magazine Lumières Dans la Nuit in 1971:

“The analysis by Belgian G. Delcorps is, in this respect, extremely interesting and instructive, not only by its conclusions, but also by the seriousness and the precision which characterize it. Unfortunately, Delcorps examined only the first two photographs. He noticed that on picture N.2 the UFO could not be at 85 degrees above the horizon, as stated by Barnea, but at about thirty degrees only. On the N.1 photograph, it is 20 degrees above the horizon and the calculable diameter is 22,3 meters, which was obtained by calculation and comparison with the trees and the solid masses. It left the assumption that the machine on photograph N.2 was within 600 m of the photographer. It is obviously possible since other calculations gave a value ranging between 360 and 480 m for the altitude.”

Trajectory of the UFO calculated by experts in the field

“Delcorps too was struck by the abnormal distribution of the shades and the light, detail which jumps at even the least informed eyes. Without having been informed of the conclusions of his Romanian colleagues, he came to the same results, namely firstly that the object on photograph N.2 is not the simple symmetrical image of that seen on photograph N.1, and secondly, that the machine had produced its own lighting. He estimates, moreover, that photographic faking is to be rejected completely.”

Hoia Baciu is not a forest without incidents. Various other researchers have come across abnormalities in these woods, ranging from bizarre lights, mysterious disappearances and unusual discoveries such as the ‘zeroids’ – biologic morphing entities described by American Ufologist Franklin Rhuel after his 1976 visit to Romania.

Reports of UFOs and other bizarre happenings are surfacing even today, and UFO enthusiasts are looking to crack this mystery that has been haunting this area of Transylvania for decades. Although opinions regarding these uncanny incidents are split, there is no denial of the existence of these unusual sightings.

Hoia Baciu forest in Cluj-Napoca remains a renowned hot spot for UFOs and is sure to reveal more of its otherworldly secrets in the years to come. Until that day, it’s best that we stay vigilant and keep an eye on the sky regardless of where we reside.

Reference – Uufologie / Patrick Gross


Some of the unusual features of Hoia Baciu forest, believed to be caused by alien propulsion engines
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