Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Spaceman mystery?

Jim Templeton's photograph, which showed the mystery "spaceman" behind his daughter, was taken on Burgh Marsh in 1964 and has been seen around the world.

No-one has yet come up with an explanation for it but the Ministry of Defence is just about to reveal details of files which chronicle UFO (unidentified flying object) activity over Britain.

And Jim, who is 87 and lives in Coledale Meadows, Carlisle, believes they may contain some answers to a mystery that has puzzled him for half his life.

He said: "It would be absolutely amazing if there was something in the files about the Solway spaceman. It is incredible but I still receive letters about it now.

"I have no explanation for the image but what I can say is that it is not a fake. The film was sent away for processing and came back like that.

What is even more strange is that shortly afterwards the launch of the Blue Streak rocket at a base in Australia was delayed because two similar spacemen were spotted on monitors there.

"Apparently they searched the area at the time but could find nothing, They said the delay in the launch was down to a technical hitch and it went ahead later. The interesting thing, of course, is that the Blue Streak was developed at Spadeadam to the east of Brampton. I was told about this by someone who worked there at the time."


The Templeton "spaceman" has long been one of my favorite Fortean enigmas. (Jenny Randles gives the subject a thorough treatment in "The Truth Behind Men In Black.")

15 comments:

Nick Redfern said...

Yes very weird - and almost quaint re the "alien attire"!

Mac said...

and almost quaint re the "alien attire"!

One clue, IMO, that we're not dealing with "aliens," per se.

Nick Redfern said...

Yeah, that could well be a cryptoterrestrial ruse: appear according to the then-current human thinking of what ET should look like.
Tricky little bastards those cryptos. Hope your book smokes them out!
I am looking forward to your book more and more.

W.M. Bear said...

If you look closely, you'll see from the position of the left arm (crooked at the elbow) that the "spaceman" is standing with his BACK to the camera. This realization makes the figure seem a bit less "weird" than if you make the mistake of thinking he (it?) is FACING the camera. For example, the "head" looks much LESS like a helmet "faceplate" if you realize that it's the BACK of someone's head. Personally, it looks to me like a guy dressed in white standing on a low ridge with his back to the camera. (Sorry to spoil everybody's fun!)

W.M. Bear said...

Sorry, I meant the position of the RIGHT arm (having a bit of trouble telling the difference these days!)

Mac said...

WMB--

You haven't ruined anyone's fun because it's clear you haven't looked into the case. For one thing, the suited figure isn't standing on anything... Again, I recommend Randles' book.

Anonymous said...

Rather harsh comment, Mac.

Since the suited figure is half- obscured behind the girl's head in the photo, it would be incorrect to conclude it was standing on either something or nothing. That is unknown, as is the origin of the figure. Perhaps only Mr. Templeton knows for sure.

Mac said...

Since the suited figure is half- obscured behind the girl's head in the photo, it would be incorrect to conclude it was standing on either something or nothing.

The site where the picture was taken was investigated. There's no way a person could have been standing where the "spaceman" is.

Mac said...

And I wasn't trying to be "harsh"; it's just that this is a complicated case that goes considerably deeper than the photo. No offense was intended.

W.M. Bear said...

You haven't ruined anyone's fun because it's clear you haven't looked into the case. For one thing, the suited figure isn't standing on anything... Again, I recommend Randles' book.

No offense taken, but I strongly disagree. I didn't read the book but I did read the summary on the Web site with the photo. It looks to me like the girl is seated on a hillside. Higher UP on the hillside is a very tall, burly man dressed in white standing with his back to the camera. The lower part of his body is obscured by the girl's head, so I agree, in a positivistic sense, you can't say whether he's standing on something or nothing. But physics and common sense tell me its probably something, i.e., the hillside. And if you look carefully at the photograph, you can see that it's entirely plausible that a tall man could be standing that way.

And how they got "Men in Black" out of a man in white is totally beyond me. The one strange detail (to me) is that the girl's father who took the photo doesn't remember seeing the man. But not noticing someone is not the same as the person not having been there (or having only "selectively" been there!)

mr. intense said...

"And how they got "Men in Black" out of a man in white is totally beyond me."

Click on the second link in the post (Templeton "spaceman"), which goes to ufologie.net, and read the article. Then it should become clear.

W.M. Bear said...

mr. i -- I was being sarcastic. My big problem with stories like this is the seeming credulity of the people doing the analysis. The presuppositions usually are 1) that it's not a hoax, 2) that everyone is an expert witness who accurately recalls every detail of the experience, and 3) that everyone is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in recounting the experience. (In fact, this is the same problem that I have with most of the UFO cases I read about here and elsewhere. Can't we have a little critical thinking applied to the subject? I'm not a CSICOP-type skeptic by any means. I just don't think "believer" and "skeptic" are the only two options. As here, I'm not making any attempt to "debunk" anything. I'm just trying to look and see what's really there.)

mr. intense said...

Oh, well, OK. Sorry, then. Didn't mean to rub your rhubarb the wrong way.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell when people are being humorous, sarcastic, simply ignorant, straight-forward, or sardonic in text without certain social cues and clues thrown in.

One reason I often throw in my traditional smiley [ 8^} ] when it's not necessarily obvious or my tongue is firmly planted in cheek.

Personally, I suspect the Templeton photo is a hoax, too, of some kind, although a really strange one, that got connected to other incidents that may not be related at all, or were just coincidence. It's in my "light grey" basket, marked odd and perplexing.

If Templeton wasn't involved in staging it, then it could have been someone involved in processing the film. OTOH, Kodak analyzed the prints and negatives, and concluded the "spaceman photo" wasn't a double exposure and hadn't been tampered with directly. Perhaps a re-photograph to create a "good" negative?

The figure seems so odd, too, with it's right arm fully formed,and crooked back, which would suggest the figure had it's back to the camera, yet the "helmet" seems to be facing forward. I considered a doll figure stuck on a stick some distance behind the girl, but that doesn't seem authentic, either.

The "chemist" he brought the roll of film to for processing was the one who initially pointed out the anomalous figure to Templeton. Throw in the odd coincidences in this case, and, as Lennon once said, it's "most peculiar, mama."

And there's nothing wrong with actual critical thinking--in fact, particularly in the ufo field, it's absolutely required to maintain real objectivity and to avoid the all too human traps of presupposition and belief biases.

CSICOP/CSI is a pseudoskeptic organization, not skeptical in the true, original sense of the term, which is to take a balanced, agnostic approach, which I'm guessing you would concur with.

A good anomalous phenomena investigator should have the talents of a detective and a counter-intelligence agent, among other skills and perspectives.

That's one reason why, regardless of what ufos are or may signify, I find the field fascinating and quite educational--the phenomena and the processes of investigation make one "think about thinking" and our own anthropocentric limitations, and how one might try to overcome these kinds of "blinders" without becoming too speculative, conservative, or recursive.

It's a balancing act, to be sure. Done properly, it's at the very least a good form of mental exercise and training.

Mac said...

That's one reason why, regardless of what ufos are or may signify, I find the field fascinating and quite educational--the phenomena and the processes of investigation make one "think about thinking" and our own anthropocentric limitations, and how one might try to overcome these kinds of "blinders" without becoming too speculative, conservative, or recursive.

Well-said.

Gordon said...

I thought you might like to see my analysis of the photo:

Analysing the Cumberland Spaceman photograph.

Its an interesting case, but it does seem to be explicable.