Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for November, 2009

Die Fälscher Alien


“Above, one of the most impressive photos of an alleged extraterrestrial creature recovered from crashed UFOs. For many years it was thought the photo originated from a crash in the USA, but recently it was found it was captured in Germany, shortly before the Second World War. The officers who hold the being are high-ranking members of the SS” [Brazilian UFO mag, n.18, p.18, dec 1991]

It’s one of the most iconic alien images. The men in trenchcoats are described as agents from the FBI, KGB or even SS. None of these is true.

The famous image actually first hit the ufological circles when it was published in an Air Force bulletin in the USA on 1950:

“The June 1950 Talk of the Times reproduced a pair of photos received from Cologne, Germany, one of which is a retouched picture of Dr. E.W. Kay’s model saucer that appeared in the press on January 11, 1950. The other is of two agents holding up a small humanoid with proportions somewhat like a small monkey. The caption reads, “As one silver capsule broke: the first Mars man was captured! Eyewitness G-man, McKenerich, from Phoenix (Arizona), reports ‘I was astounded by the importance of this great moment. For the first time I was seeing a being from another world. At the same time I was equally amazed by the desperation of this Aluminum Man. His body was covered with a shiny metal foil.’ The observatory in Phoenix, Arizona, presumes that this is for protection from cosmic rays.”” [Varicose Brains, Part 3: Headhunt]

The story generated quite a buzz at the time, and it was quoted in Donald Keyhoe’s 1954 book, “Flying Saucers From Outer Space”, but apparently not along with the photo. And not even Keyhoe believed it. No one found the so-called McKennerich, and the Phoenix Observatory didn’t know anything about it.

Fifteen years later, the photo finally gained wider audience when circulated by the “Interplanetary Intelligence Report”. There it was associated with Ray Dimmick’s tale, reason why it was said to be taken in Mexico, even though the men and their suits are not very Mexican-like. As with most of the other alien photos, though, somehow the knowledge the image was originally from Germany and a hoax was around there, because in 1982, the magazine “Contactos Extraterrestres” published the following comment by none other than J. Allen Hynek:

“This photo is a hoax that’s been around for many years. It’s my understanding that it originated from Germany, and that the alleged pilot of the crashed UFO was in fact a shaved monkey.”

Wait a minute, shaved monkey? That’s new. As you will remember, to make things somewhat more complicated, we have another very similar alien photo that also comes from Germany, 1950. Not only that: in 1953, there was another famous alien prank in Georgia, USA, played by local barbers Ed Watters and Tom Wilson along with butcher Arnold “Buddy” Pane, involving… a shaved monkey.

So there may be some confusion here. Or not. Fact is, the photo itself is clearly dubious. As quoted by “Isaac Koi, Jenny Randles and Peter Hough’s book “Looking for the Aliens” (1991) mention a very interesting analysis:

Ole Henningsen reports various enquiries into the so-called ‘silver-man’ photograph. For example, commercial artist Claus Westh-Henrichsen had studied it in great detail and found many problems. For instance, he notes that the hand positions of the ‘security men’ indicate that they were gripping a rigid object. After carrying out tests, he proposes that they were actually pushing a pram!"

"Similarly, it appears that by examining the feet of the two security men and the alien (not fully visible on the print), it transpires that the alien would have to be floating above the ground."

"For these and a host of other reasons, Westh-Henrichsen is certain that the picture is another hoax, formed from an amalgam of a shot of the two men and the ‘pram’, with the ‘alien’ superimposed over it."”

I produced this quick and dirty montage to show how indeed the two men’s hands are aligned, and in a position that suggests they were holding a rigid object. A baby carriage is a very good guess:


Compare it to this photo from the other 1950 German hoax of two soldiers holding a real little person’s arms:


The most telling evidence of hoax, however, was noted by Hans-Werner Peiniger. The authors of the original article quoted on Talk of the Times are G. Falcht and R. Logen. This is literally translated as ‘forged’ and ‘make-believe’.

If any German reader is able to search for Cologne newspapers, particularly around April 1, 1950, they may finally put to a much due rest to this photo.

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Das April Fool Alien


In 1979, Barry Greenwood, from CAUS, obtained a version of this photo from the FBI files through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It was originally sent to the Bureau by an unknown informant on May 1950, who said it showed “a Martian in the USA”. Soon it made its way to the seminal book “The Roswell Incident” (1980), by William Moore and Charles Berlitz.


The explanation for this photo was quickly found and reported by James Oberg in his 1982 book. German researcher Klaus Webner had seen the image on Moore and Berlitz’s book and was amazed because he had previously discovered it on the Wiesbadener Tagblatt newspaper archives, from Wiesbaden, his home town.

But it was originally published on April 1st, 1950.

Webner contacted the original author of the story, Wilhelm Sprunkel, as well as the photographer, Hans Scheffler, and got confirmation it was indeed an April Fool’s prank. In fact, the confirmation it was an April Fool’s was already published on the same newspaper on April 3, 1950.

Sprunkel told Webner he was inspired by a flying saucer story he read about earlier. It was the tale told by Ray L. Dimmick circulated the month before. It referred to a “pigmy-sized man, about 25 inches tall”, a “tiny visitor reputedly had a large head and a very small body”.

With the idea for the joke, they contacted the Wiesbaden US Army base and amazingly got their cooperation. The soldiers are thus actually American. But the alien? It was photographer Scheffler’s 5-years-old son, Peter.


After some collage and airbrushing, the photo of the child was turned into a one-legged alien with “a large head and a very small body”.

Reportedly, “Webner informed Moore of the fraudulent nature of the image but the latter just replied that it was "bullshit!", and published a sour response in the Swiss magazine Ovni-Présence, complaining about that he was tired with Klaus Webner”.

For anyone wondering the original photos could be real, as Luis Ruiz Noguez noticed the hose between the alien and the soldier don’t cast a shadow. As you can see in the original images with Scheffler’s son, that’s because the hose was airbrushed in.


Interestingly, this photo and the story by Dimmick referring to pigmy-sized visitors would influence the common Gray alien archetype we came to recognize in recent years. Martin Kottmeyer discusses the subject on a series of articles published on Magonia:

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A Message of Faith in Despeñaderos


rosary “The photo was captured during Valentino Mora’s baptism. The moment priest Osvaldo Macaya throws holy water, the falling liquid forms a rosary. The story started on October 10, when the month-old baby, son of Erica Mora, a 21-years-old single mother was baptized. The photo of Valentino’s baptism has raised the locals’ faith. They go to Erica Mora’s house to touch the boy.” [cadena3]

The priest himself doesn’t seem to be very happy with it:

“The photographer, [María Silvana], was very happy [when she discovered the image] and soon the whole town knew about it. I don’t like those signs, I hold the sacraments. Actually the Bible for this week says ‘this perverse and evil generation asks for a sign, and it will not be given to them because it has the sign of Jonah, and here there’s someone else besides Jonah, referring to Jesus’ death at the cross for everyone’s salvation”, says father Macaya.

The image is definitely a message of faith, at least when it spreads as an email chain letter telling us to pray with rosaries. Which is how I received it.

The photo itself is not necessarily a message of faith, and can be understood as simply the quirky behavior of water, freezed by the camera. Ironically, it also had something to do with the priest’s way of throwing holy water, so he was part of the “sign”.

Notice how the water is not actually forming a lace of prayer beads: one can see the water fills the inside of the lace. Also, the cross is a conjunction of water droplets, which in fact looks more like an inverted cross. Anyone familiar with high speed photography will see similar images.

And perhaps even more interesting scenes:

The amazing thing is to realize how that sort of stepped reduction of a water droplet over water happens all the time. We are just not usually able to see it. It doesn’t depend on the movements of the hand of a priest or even on pareidolia. That happens all the time as an interaction of several physical effects, from superficial tension to gravity.

Imagine billions and billions of water drops, like tiny beads, getting smaller and smaller at a determined rhythm, as if they were being counted so fast no human could see it. I like this rosary better. [hat tip Eustáquio Patounas, video via cgr v2.0]

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The AMOCO Alien


It’s an impressive image. With an unimpressive source: even hardcore believers will tell you this came from an ad published in the late 1980s:

“In November of 1989 AMOCO placed a full-page advertisement in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine headlined "Technology so advanced it will help you answer some big questions." On the back was a full-page color photo of an alien head and shoulders with his four-fingered hand raised in a gesture of friendship.” [Donald M. Ware]

The photo of the alien was on page 51 (got it?). As we have seen, the fact an image has a very prosaic origin is no obstacle for it to enter UFO lore. Even when some UFO buffs know from the beginning what it was and where it came from. So this was no different: it wasn’t simply an ad. That would be too boring.

AUFORN quotes three stories related to the photo. The first one is the most widely known:

“Explanation 1. In a video of a UFO conference the speaker, the late William Cooper states “ the official explanation was that this is a photo of a BRONZE statue. How can it be BRONZE…if you look closely you can see pores in the skin, fine hairs coming out of the side of the neck, and moisture in the eyes and nostrils. Linda (Moulton) Howe says she saw the statue, but she couldn’t be sure it was the thing in this picture”.”

It’s no surprise this is the explanation that Mexican UFO buff Jaime Maussán promotes, almost verbatim. In the clip below details of the image are highlighted and the bronze statue story is questioned:

Bob Dean (whom you may recall) gives a slightly different story:

“Explanation 2. In another video, this time from a UFO conference in Brisbane in 1996, Robert Dean shows the same picture but has a different story. He tells how the image is “supposed” to be one of a CLAY MODEL. And the artist, this time a woman…was asked if she would sell the model for $100,000 US. She never produced the ‘bust’ for sale. Dean then goes on to say he does not think the picture is one of a model, and then he shows a photo of an ancient skull, which resembles the shape of the alien picture…especially the top rear area of the head.”

And finally, for the most plausible explanation:

“Explanation 3. When this picture was recently posted on the AUFORN list, I received many emails from interested list members. One was from an American who works in the film industry, in special effects. He claimed that it was a model…this time by yet another artist…named William Bosco. He said he could prove it without a doubt…that his daughter has photos of the Alien model in the artist’s studio and that he will send me copies of the pictures . Nothing has ever arrived …and that surprises me because this guy was so definite in his manner when explaining what he “knew” about it.”

This is a no-brainer. Some people claim, or speculate, that an image published in an ad looks too real to be fake. And that’s it. They claim that an actual alien would pose for such a photo, and that the image would be published in an ad for AMOCO. Of course, those that suggest it are Cooper, who doesn’t need introductions; Bob Dean, who also promoted an alien from the Intruders movie as the real thing; and Jaime Maussán, who recently promoted a skinned monkey as an alien (and that’s just the most recent of his adventures). Suspension of disbelief, quite simply.

I don’t think the sculpture was made of bronze, as Cooper claimed was the “official explanation”. Bronze could have been used in the creation process, but it’s probably not a bronze bust. It could be made of clay, which could also be part of the sculpting stages, but my bet is that that’s a latex alien bust.

It’s highly detailed, with what seems to be pores and even veins. But then, even E.T. had those.


The best thing about the AMOCO alien is the lighting, which leaves much to our own imagination.

Reportedly, the ad didn’t boost AMOCO sales, but they got a lot of calls asking about the alien. That was viral marketing two decades too early, and not capitalized on. In any event, we are now calling it the AMOCO alien, so in the end it may have been worth it. [via ATS, with thanks to internos and Luis Noguez!]

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Orion’s Belt Alien?


The image was originally sent to Art Bell and published in 1999:

“From the Producers of Strange Universe: Two young men in Michigan who are wedding videographers said they had received an anonymous package in the mail with an out-of-town postmark. Inside the package was a videotape of what appears to be the dead body of an alien being. The two said since they received the package, they feel as though they’ve been followed and that there was a mysterious fire at their office.”

I’m told (thank you, you know who!) it’s a still from the original “Men in Black” (1997) movie. It’s an excellent suggestion and it does look like the tiny Arquillian alien inside the old man’s head:


But! Not only I couldn’t find the exact frame source for the image in the movie, there seems to be some differences between the original Art Bell image and the Arquillian alien – nose, neck and skin wrinkles, for instance.


So I will put this into a so far unsolved image category. It could be a promotional shot of the Arquillian alien from MIB, or an alien from some other movie. It very probably was taken of a movie because horizontal streaks can be seen in the original image, suggesting it was another photo captured of a screen.

If you know where this alien came from, please email us.

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PS.: Please accept my apologies, I know I’m a couple of days late, until the weekend I will resume normal schedule. There will be 30 alien images this month! That unless the MIB silences me. They already tried.

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