Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

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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Posted in Aliens | 5 comments

5 Comments so far

  1. WolfRevo November 26th, 2009 6:00 am

    “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.” I have a scanned copy of Klaus Webners article out of his book “Wesen aus dem Weltall” which covers this story at all. Do you want that copy in german or should I mail you the important parts translated by myself? You have my mail already 😉

  2. Vintage U.F.O. December 25th, 2009 4:10 pm

    […] blog Forgetomori has a post on the following image that’s become a classic in UFO lore:Die Fälscher Alien. Excerpt: t’s one of the most iconic alien images. The men in trenchcoats are described as agents […]

  3. SadieJane April 19th, 2010 2:05 am

    At very first glance, the photo just screams “hoax”.
    So many features are inconsistent.

    It is comical to think how many people were probably fooled by this in 1950.

  4. […] The original has apparently been located, but I wasn’t able to run it down on line. Forgetomori does a an outline of the history of the photo, known as Die Fälscher Alien. I chose it becasue it is kind of a creepy picture, that’s […]

  5. forgetomori » Koi’s Aliens November 12th, 2011 7:31 pm

    […] the note I wrote about it, “Die Fälscher Alien”, I quoted Koi himself, through the kind collaboration of “Internos”, from the ATS forum, who […]

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