Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

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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Posted in Aliens | 2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. T February 17th, 2012 6:11 pm

    All one has to do is look for an aura.

  2. sound thief February 23rd, 2013 5:53 pm

    Bill Cooper said more than that it as purported to be a bronze statue. He tried to find the original photographer and was given a difficult time of it. When he did the photographer refused to talk to him about this photograph.

    Strange, no?

    Check his full explanation on his Behold A Pale Horse video

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