Over the last two months the Santilli alien autopsy saga has rapidly declined into farce. Nevertheless there still seems to be an enormous appetite for it, especially out there in cyberspace: the subject provides an unceasing source of fascination, although few now dare to hope that we are dealing with a real alien, and it seems that what we are left with is simply an overblown whodunnit.
It is now six months since the first public screening of the alien autopsy footage. At the time I bestowed the name "DORA" on the wretched alien: this stands for Dubious Origin Roswell Alien. (It was also appropriate since my erstwhile mother-in- law was called DORA and many had the distinct impression that she was an alien.) Now, however, I believe that the name "HILDA" is more appropriate and, if you will bear with me, I will attempt to explain why.
I have been pressed several times to reveal what I really think about the footage and whether I consider it genuine or not. Until now I have avoided that question in the hopes of obtaining access to further footage, inside information and perhaps even contact with the mysterious "cameraman". That was obviously not to be. What I do believe is that the whole production is a scam and most probably one that was conceived in 1993 and carried out during the year 1994. If I am not mistaken there were several people involved in this project which was devised and executed in London. Most likely the footage was shot on video and there never was any "original 16 mm" cine film. I suggest that the US telephone and clock in the "autopsy room" were carefully chosen by the perpetrators to match the supposed 1947 scenario. Likewise, the surgical instruments were selected as the correct sort for that era. Despite much that has been suggested to the contrary by many people, including medical men, the alien corpse is most likely a special effects dummy.
Reasons for extreme doubt
Reasons for extreme doubt
What reasons are there for thinking that the
footage is bogus?
Primarily there is the fact that Mr Santilli has told us things which are demonstrably untrue. He has changed his story again and again and, more recently, he has been caught out (on French TV) in a gross falsehood as regards his original story of how he supposedly obtained the footage. I don't intend to enumerate all the discrepancies in the story --which is now falling apart at the seams-- but a few instances will illustrate this.
1) We were told that President Truman could be clearly seen in the footage. Quoting Colin Andrews in his newsletter (March 1995), he says: "I asked Santilli what was the most impressive thing he had seen on the film. What had convinced him that it was authentic ? -- 'I had no doubts', he said, 'when I saw President Truman'." No film of Truman has ever been produced and nor will it be.
2) Reg Presley and Philip Mantle were told separately that the footage showed the debris site in the desert, the crashed disk and a crane used to recover it, as well as many military personnel. None of this footage was ever produced.
3) In the same newsletter as (1) above, Santilli is reported as saying that "the prestigious Royal Society in London had agreed to assist with their high-tech. computer enhancement facility". Bob Shell was told that Rank in London had carried out the processing needed to copy the original 16 mm film. Santilli also said that the processing was done in the U.S. Checks indicate that none of these claims are true.
4) On French Television's Jacques Pradel show on the TF-1 network on October 23rd Santilli was confronted with the fact that the early Elvis footage which he claimed he purchased from the mysterious "cameraman" in Cleveland had in fact been bought from one Bill Randle. Randle had helped promote concerts in Ohio including one in 1955 where Elvis shared the billing with Bill Haley and Pat Boone. However the cameraman who shot the actual footage, which Randle sold to Santilli (accompanied at that time by Gary Shoefield), was a certain Jack Barnett who had died in 1957. Santilli was obviously highly embarrassed by this revelation but sought to maintain there was another cameraman, called Jack Barrett, who had also sold him Elvis footage in Cleveland at this time and subsequently sold him the "Roswell" footage. Others on the Jacques Pradel show shook their heads in disbelief at this hasty attempt to shore up an obviously false story.
5) Santilli maintains that at the time of his purchase of the Elvis footage (completed after a long negotiation process on July 4 1993), he had never heard of the Roswell incident. There is every indication that as a result of pre-release information about the "Roswell" movie in 1993, he knew only too well about the story of the recovery of alien bodies at Roswell in 1947.
6) Then there is the unbelievable "cameraman's story" (see Bulletin 10) to which volumes of objections could be written. The search for the "cameraman" has become something of a wild goose chase and numerous dead-ends give the strong impression that the cameraman is a fictitious composite character based on the long-since dead Jack Barnett (see (4)) and plenty of invention. Some of the obscure military detail in the cameraman's story, such as the reference to "Tooey" (General Spaatz), may well have been provided by someone with a connection to the US Intelligence establishment (such as Jim Schnabel, to whom we shall refer later, maybe ?).
7) Despite numerous requests for pieces of original film to test by various interested parties, like Bob Shell and FOX, Santilli has only ever sent 16 mm leaders or small snippets of film for testing which have no definite connection with the autopsy sequence. As one would expect, these pieces of film all come from 1947 or roughly that era, as either the edge markings or inspection indicates; he would hardly send such pieces of film if they were NOT about 1947 ! Pressed for a whole section of film on which there are images of the supposed alien, there have only been excuses, such as that he no longer has control of the original film. The frames showing a lighted doorway, supposedly that of the autopsy room, could easily be taken from any 16 mm film of that era such as footage of early rock stars. (The fact that some of the film strips received are mutilated, with one edge missing, may show that it's even quite tough to find a passable bit of film, such as the lighted doorway, which is _exactly_ 1947!)
We could continue with all sorts of other discrepancies and objections but most of these have been covered already in other Internet postings. A more telling instance occurred during a conversation which I had with Santilli on May 17th 1995, which is reported here verbatim:-
GW: One very, very final point: There was a group of circle hoaxers, Robert Irving & Co., who were at the meeting [i.e. the May 5th screening in the Museum of London] ... um.. are they friends of yours ?
RS: I've never heard of them. Who are they?
GW: Never heard of Robert Irving, John Lundberg and, and er, Rod Dickinson ?
RS: Never heard of them, never heard of them ... got no idea who they are.
GW: They are hoaxers; they're prominent hoaxers who hoax UFOs, hoax crop circles and all that sort of ...
RS: They were at our screening?
GW: They were at your screening, yes ...
RS: I've got no idea who they are. Once again, no relationship with them. They've not even contacted me.
GW: Oh, ... OK.
I now have evidence that Ray Santilli knew both Lundberg and Dickinson and had done for some time. Note the use of the word "relationship" in his denial: not a word that I ever used to him but one that is extremely relevant, especially in view of certain revelations which have occurred since then.
The Black Project
The Black Project
In July 1995 an anonymous fax was received by someone who had taken great interest in the Santilli footage. It was sent by a person who worked for a major UK film distributor and who expressed concern that their revelations in the fax could cost them their job. In fact the name of the sender is known to the recipient of the fax but cannot, for obvious reasons, be disclosed.
The fax said that the "Roswell" film footage was a hoax conceived by Ray Santilli, Gary Shoefield and two others (one of whom was said to be an Englishman called "Jack Barnett" or "Jack Barrett" -- names that have also been attributed to the alleged cameraman) associated with that particular film company in July 1993. The inspiration for this hoax was, of course, the forthcoming release of the "Roswell" movie, starring Kyle MacLachlan and Martin Sheen, which was to be released in the US in 1994 and in Britain in 1995.
The plan was known as the "Black Project" and it was apparently considered to be a "guaranteed money making project". Success would depend on producing a realistic alien corpse which would be the subject of an autopsy. For this purpose, I understand, according to the fax, two accomplished London model makers -- special effects artists-- were engaged. Although not named in the fax, there can be little doubt that the two referred to are John Lundberg and Rod Dickinson, both of whom live in London and are experienced in making foam latex dummies and puppets for TV and theatre, as well as making medical prosthetics.
The fax itself could, of course, be a hoax but it did not seem that way. A copy of it was passed to the Serious Fraud Office in Scotland Yard in case fraud was involved. However fraud is only committed where deception is directly used to relieve people of their money and it seems that the police found no grounds at the time for any specific charges. Nevertheless, the aforementioned film company sent a stiff solicitor's letter to the original recipient of the fax threatening legal action if any accusation was made against them or their name was made public in this connection.
To the surprise of some, Irving, Lundberg and Dickinson were present at the May 5th screening in the Museum of London and sat together taking a great interest in the proceedings. They were not seen to approach Santilli though almost everyone else present tried hard to speak with him in order to find out more about the footage. This trio were far more interested in observing other peoples' reactions and, indeed, recorded some impressions on tape including an interview with Philip Mantle.
Since that time Lundberg has written an article on the affair in the Fortean Times and, together with Dickinson, written a more recent article for UFO Magazine. These articles fairly present the case that there is nothing in the Santilli footage that could not be rendered using contemporary special effects. They go into some detail to prove that the alien in the autopsy could well have been made of foam latex, describe how a scalpel cut on such a dummy can be made to dribble fake blood, and how several aspects of the footage show that it could easily have been produced on a modest budget.
In writing such sceptical articles dismissing the film footage, which are undoubtedly sincere, the two have attempted to place themselves beyond suspicion, so long as their association with Santilli is not known. This tactic has associated their names with well known detractors of the film such as Kent Jeffrey, Stanton Friedman, Jenny Randles, Graham Birdsall and Maurice Chittenden. Consequently who could ever believe for a moment that, perhaps, they were the chief perpetrators of the hoax?
This possibility simply does not become evident until one examines the background of Irving, Lundberg and Dickinson as hoaxers. From 1992 onwards Robert Irving has been a leading crop circle hoaxer and has in that time produced many complex designs in the cropfields of southern England. He has been closely associated in this enterprise with Jim Schnabel, a former employee of the CIA, who once worked for the DDI (Deputy Director of Intelligence) at CIA headquarters in Virginia. Whether or not Schnabel's stay in England from around 1989/90 until 1993, ostensibly to pursue a Ph.D. course at Oxford University and later at Bath, had any connection with his previous line of business is a moot point.
Schnabel and Irving claimed that their circlefaking activities were aimed at finding out who had been producing the circles and pictograms in Wiltshire from 1988 onwards; many of these have never been explained. In fact their chief delight seemed to be in deceiving crop circle and UFO groups researching the phenomenon and which were often engaged in watching the fields and the skies at night.
Besides making many different crop formations, this pair next took up launching hoax UFOs in the form of light-carrying or luminous-painted balloons in the area of Alton Barnes (Wilts) in order to fool the CSETI group and others who had organised such watches in 1992 and 1993.
During 1992-1993 Irving and Schnabel met with John Lundberg and Rod Dickinson both of whom had also taken up circlefaking. A network of circlefakers evolved and the various teams often met to plan and co-ordinate their activities. These culminated in 1994 in some highly elaborate designs the most dramatic of which were made by Lundberg and Dickinson, occasionally assisted by Irving. An article by myself in the Winter 1994/5 issue of The Cerealogist, entitled "O, what a tangled web we weave ...", exposed their activities and identified them as the creators of several well known formations such as the Froxfield Flower (August 4 1994), the Spider's Web at Avebury (August 10- 11 1994) and the large 1994 Scorpion designs, though of course none of them admit to authorship of these circles or any other particular formation.
Although Lundberg and Dickinson described themselves as circlemakers or "crop artists", their circlefaking activities were none the less illegal and involved considerable deception. Their compulsion to fake circles and UFOs was best illustrated in an exhibition which they put on with some help from Jim Schnabel at the Independent Art Space in London in February- March 1994. This included pictures of many of their crop circle formations and also faked UFOs - "four anomalous photographs of disk like objects" produced by Rod Dickinson. But their theme of 'the paranormal as art', and their unspoken ideal of creating icons for the true believer, ran even to the inclusion in the exhibition catalogue of two brief items on cattle mutilations. One, by John Lundberg and Bill Ellis, was entitled "Altered Steaks" and the other was an extract from Linda Howe's "An Alien Harvest", reproduced as a project for IAS by John Lundberg. (I do not suggest in any way that either has ever hoaxed cattle mutilations!) Also in the exhibition were 7ft by 7ft oil paintings of the alien head from the cover of Whitley Strieber's book "Communion".
The logical progression from here was, obviously, to create an alien. Not just a model or a statue of an alien but one that would be widely accepted as the real thing. Certainly a model - a special effects dummy - was required to do this but it had to be filmed in such a way that people would believe that it was genuine. I suggest that is exactly what was done.
For anyone who still doubts that it is possible to create a convincing special effects dummy of this sort, I recommend that they read "Alien Autopsy -- Faked or Fiction?" by The Truly Dangerous Company. This can be found on the WWW at URL:-
To make your alien, first find two skilled special effects artists, such as Messrs Lundberg and Dickinson. Then you will need a cameraman. Maybe commercial photographer Robert Irving, who is quite handy with a video camera, will do ..?
Next, follow the instructions (such as those given by the Truly Dangerous Company). After much hard work and a lot of video filming, you will eventually have your alien autopsy footage. The alien is, of course, called HILDA, which, in case you hadn't guessed, stands for Hoaxed Irving-Lundberg-Dickinson Alien.
In this scenario - the "Roswell Film Footage" scam - the motivation was there, the mentality was there, the timing was right, and the perpetrators were exactly those who you would have expected if you had known the background information. However, as with all the hoaxed crop circles which I claimed they had made, one should anticipate nothing but denials from these gentlemen.
George Wingfield, November 22nd 1995.