"Alien Autopsy" - Some Questions and Answers
This document sets out to clarify some of the facts relating to the controversial "alien autopsy" footage which a London based businessman, Ray Santilli, claimed to have acquired in the United States.
It does not attempt to cover all of the issues, but will hopefully provide a factual summary of the background and significant developments in the story so far.
And it's quite a story, with much more complexity and depth than is perhaps generally appreciated.
The facts behind many of the issues covered will not be common knowledge and this document will hopefully help to place the extraordinary affair in it's true perspective.
James Easton, 15 January 1997.
(c) James Easton
What is the basic story of how the film was allegedly acquired?
Ray Santilli was in Cleveland looking for some archive music footage and memorabilia. He met an elderly cameraman who had some relevant material and who also subsequently offered to sell the "Roswell" footage.
When did this take place?
Originally, Ray claimed that, "As a result of research into film material for a music documentary I was in Cleveland Ohio USA in the summer of 1993". He had confirmed this on a number of occasions.
Subsequently, it was revealed that this actually took place a year earlier than claimed and Ray acknowledged this fact.
What are the particulars of the story?
Ray Santilli's "formal" statement claims that:
"As a result of research into film material for a music documentary I was in Cleveland Ohio USA in the summer of 1993. Whilst there I had identified some old film material taken by Universal News in the summer of 1955. As Universal News no longer existed and I needed the film to investigate the source of the film and was able to determine that the film was shot by then a local freelance cameraman. He had been employed by Universal News because of a Film union strike in the summer of 1955".
This poses a scenario where, whilst in Cleveland, specific archive music film had been identified and the cameraman located. This is subsequently confirmed:
"The cameraman was located, following which a very straight forward negotiation took place for his small piece of film i.e.: cash for three minutes of film. Upon completion of this the cameraman asked if I would be interested in purchasing outright very valuable footage taken during his time in the forces. He explained that the footage in question came from the Roswell crash that it included debris and recovery footage and of most importance autopsy footage".
"...After hearing the story I was taken to the cameraman's house and viewed the footage".
Was the footage in a condition to be shown?
Bob Shell, Editor of Shutterbug Magazine and Technical Editor/Correspondent for a number of photographic magazines, had offered his assistance to Ray Santilli and Bob has since become involved with the footage story. I asked Bob about this point and he confirmed that, "The film Ray/Volker have is, according to them, extremely brittle. If the pieces I have indeed come from this film, it is far too brittle to be projected. That is why I assume a later copy is what was projected.
If the condition is as in my samples and as stated for the rest, this would be completely impossible".
Ray claims that not all of the film was in this condition and the cameraman was able to project some of it onto a wall in his house.
In an interview given to Philip Mantle, Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) on 27 June, 1995, Ray Santilli further clarified that:
"About two and a half years ago we were in the States researching what was a music documentary and we were looking for some early footage of people like Bill Hailey, Pat Boone and Elvis Presley, and we came across a cameraman who in the 1950s was a freelance, he was working for various different people as and when he was employed, and at one time during the early part of 1955 he was employed by Universal News to film over a particular weekend what was a variety of rock concerts and so forth at different high schools across America. The reason he was employed by Universal News was that there was a union strike on and Universal News could not use their usual news cameraman, so he was used..."
The cameraman was subsequently given the name of "Jack Barnett".
During October 1995, French TV station TF1 broadcast a documentary in which reporter Nicolas Maillard located Cleveland based disc jockey Bill Randle, well known during the 1950s. Randle confirmed that he co-produced with Universal Pictures a film called, "The Pied Piper of Cleveland". This film was shot in 1955 in highschools in Cleveland and featured Bill Haley and the Comets, Pat Boone, and for the first time the relatively unknown Elvis Presley, invited by Randle.
Randle further confirmed that on 4 July, 1992, Santilli was in Cleveland, looking for this footage.
The film was shot by director Arthur Cohen and a Chicago newsreel cameraman called Jack Barnett.
Jack Barnett was never in the army and died in 1957.
Has Ray Santilli commented on this coincidence?
In public correspondence with Ray, discussing the discrepancy with the dates and the fact that the "cameraman" has a seemingly identical persona to the late Jack Barnett, Ray commented that, "I still maintain that the story of the films acquisition is true, certain non-relevant details were only changed to stop people getting to the cameraman. Yes the trip to Cleveland was 1992, Yes during that trip I met Bill Randle but he was one of many people we met. Yes during that trip I met the cameraman and NO the cameraman's name is not Jack Barnet, I have always made it clear that the name had been adopted to protect the cameraman's real name".
Is there evidence that Ray Santilli acquired memorabilia on this visit?
Yes, in correspondence Ray recently mentioned to me that, "I came back with many hours of rare Elvis film, so rare that Polygram commissioned a report by ex-BMG (RCA) director Roger Seaman".
This is substantiated by an article Ray alluded to and which I was able to locate a copy of.
The article was published in the London "Daily Mirror" on August 17, 1992 and is headed, "ELVIS: his last amazing letter". The article mentions Ray Santilli and his company by name.
Is this supposed to be the same Roswell case as documented in recent years?
Ray Santilli has confirmed this on a number of occasions, e.g.:
"The one thing I can tell you that may be of interest to your readers is that our cameraman states that the event that occurred in Roswell occurred about one month before it was announced in the press. What happened was that the vehicle did crash and they were sent there to film and to clear up the area. The whole area was totally cleaned up. And then, purely by accident, a small piece of debris was found in an area that had been cleaned up and when that was found, the military had to go back in to the area again. That was a couple of weeks after the main event happened".
(Interview dated 8 April 1995 for "Phenomena" magazine).
Bob Shell has also confirmed that the "cameraman claimed that a rancher found some debris on a ranch near Roswell and caused a real commotion at the base", and that after completion of the operation they found they'd missed a whole bunch of debris which had fallen on the Brazel Ranch...".
Have any independent witnesses spoken with the alleged cameraman?
Philip Mantle received a call from someone claiming to be the cameraman, but didn't discuss specifics of the case, it's understood that John Purdie, the producer of the Channel 4 documentary spoke with someone also claiming to be the cameraman and Ray Santilli claims that his partner, Gary Shoefield has also spoken with him.
Where did the "Cameraman's statement" originate?
Bob Shell worked from Ray Santilli's secretary's translation of an alleged audio tape, the "rough draft transcription" having been forward to him by Ray.
He confirmed that, "What I did was take the Irish secretary's transcription (much of which she apparently had difficulty understanding) and correct obvious spelling errors, and put the language as it ought to be when spoken by an American. I also researched the names mentioned, found out who they were, and inserted this information parenthetically".
The finalised statement was available during August, 1995.
A later version of the statement is headed, "OPERATION: ANVIL - Now known as the Roswell Incident". Is there any information on Operation Anvil?
There is a relatively well known WWII exercise which for most of the planning stage was known as Operation Anvil, the code name subsequently being changed to Operation Dragoon.
There's no indication of any subsequent operation with the same name.
Do the claims in the statement check out?
The names mentioned are contemporary, but there are only two basic claims which can be researched; that he "filmed the tests at White Sands" and "had not long returned from St. Louis, Missouri", where he had "filmed the new Ramjet".
It's well documented that Berlyn Brixner was responsible for all filming of the actual July 16th, 1945 Trinity test and when this was pointed out, it was claimed the "cameraman" had filmed from the air. It's not clear whether it's claimed he filmed the actual Trinity test. There is no known aerial film of the Trinity test.
According to the company, all tests of McDonnell Aircraft Company's Ramjet helicopter, "Little Henry'", were likely to have been filmed by McDonnell's own staff, Chester Turk and Bill Schmitt.
When did the "autopsies" allegedly take place?
It's apparently claimed this was between July 1 and July 3, 1947.
Is there a sketch of the alleged craft and what does it look like?
A sketch was supplied via Ray Santilli.
It shows a "teardrop" shaped object with upward "fins" on both sides at the rounded back.
Has this been seen before in connection with the Roswell case?
Yes, it's a close match with the sketch drawn by "Frank Kaufman". Kaufman is not universally regarded as a credible witness and his sketch relates to a completely different location.
Has the "cameraman" described the location of the "crash site"?
Ray Santilli has given a location, allegedly provided by the cameraman.
Bob Shell and Michael Hesemann work closely with Ray Santilli and have attempted to locate the exact area. Both have spoken in "conference", with Ray Santilli claiming to be speaking with the cameraman on another phone. Some assistance was apparently provided in seeking the "crash site", via this method.
However, Bob Shell claims that, "Michael, Wendelle (Stevens) and crew were nowhere near the crash site" and some information he received from the "cameraman", via Ray Santilli, was also wrong.
Bob further commented that, "even if his overall story is true, it seems that the old fellow is suffering from lapses and mental confusion at times".
Has there been any further information on the alleged cameraman?
He is apparently over 80 years old and was once in the "film archive business".
Have Kodak authenticated any of the footage?
Kodak have never been presented with any film known to contain images from the footage.
What film has Kodak seen?
Kodak in Hemel Hempstead, London were asked to verify the dating of a blank film strip, approximately 2 inches long. The edge codes indicated a date of either, 1927, 1947 or 1967.
Peter Milson, Marketing Planning Manager and Motion Picture and Television Imaging Manager, explained:
"...and what he's done, obviously I can't blame him for this, is given me a bit of the leader, or given us a bit of the leader and said this is the same as the neg, this is from the same bit of film".
Kodak in Copenhagen were also asked to verify the dating of a similar blank strip. The film was forwarded to them by Tripple Entertainment, based in Denmark. It seems that Tripple Entertainment wished to have some film authenticated during business negotiations with Ray Santilli's company.
Again, the edge codes indicated a date of either, 1927, 1947 or 1967.
Kodak in Hollywood were asked to verify what Ray Santilli terms, "film with image". It's not known what the image was.
Laurence Cate of Kodak confirmed that two people asked if someone could look at a piece of film in a 16mm canister. As his office is nearby and he was aware of the request, he offered to assist. Laurence was asked what he could say about the age of the film and having explained that he couldn't carry out a scientific examination there and them, he offered to have a look at the edge codes on the print film.
The edge codes again indicated a date of either, 1927, 1947 or 1967.
Are Kodak prepared to carry out a detailed analysis of film with images known to have come from the footage?
Yes, there is a standing offer. According to Bob Shell, Kodak "want to see a strip at least 50 frames in length so they can do some sprocket spacing measurements. Spacing of sprocket holes was changed around 1960 when new equipment was installed, and Kodak can easily determine whether the film was made before or after this equipment change if given a long enough strip.
Kodak also needs to see a strip which is intact from edge to edge, since this is an important measurement to determine film shrinkage. Film shrinks as it ages.
Kodak also wants to perform chemical tests on a piece of film which can be firmly established to be from the same film on which the alien appears".
Ray Santilli is aware of this offer, but it has never been taken up.
Didn't Bob Shell verify a film sample as dating from 1947?
Bob Shell's statement, dated 19 August 1995, was:
"I have been hard at work on this film. I have now physically examined a section of the film, a section showing the "autopsy" room before the body was placed on the table, but clearly consistent with the later footage.
The film on which this was shot is Cine Kodak Super XX, a film type which was discontinued in 1956-57. Since the edge code could be 1927, 1947 or 1967, and this film was not manufactured in 1927 or 1967, this clearly leaves us with only 1947 as an option.
The image quality, lack of fog, and grain structure apparent in the film lead me to the conclusion that this film was exposed and processed while still quite fresh, which would be within a "window" of three or four years.
Based on this, I see no reason to doubt the cameraman's claim that this film was exposed in June and July of 1947, and processed "a few days later". From my own research on the physical characteristics of the film, I am willing to go on record as giving a 95% probability that the film is what the cameraman claims it to be. I am only hedging 5%, because I still want secondary chemical verification from Kodak based on the chemical "signature" of the film.
I do not put my name on a statement like this lightly, and it is only after very careful consideration, and detailed examination of the film, that I do so at this time.
Permission to cross-post granted, so long as this is quoted in complete form and not altered in any way".
Isn't this solid evidence that the footage may date from 1947 as claimed?
No, subsequent information determined that:
- the film strip is print film, not camera original film
- there is no evidence that the film sample shows the "autopsy" room and it is not clearly consistent with the footage which directly follows
- the only evidence that the film stock was Cine Kodak Super XX, came from the alleged photocopied reel labels, not from the sample itself
- Bob's samples do not actually have any edge codes, the edge with the codes has been torn off.
On 20 April, 1996, Bob commented publicly that, "My 19th August statement was written when I still thought I had camera original film. It has been superseded by new information. Please disregard it".
Discussing this at length with Bob, he recently also confirmed that, "Really the only evidence for Super XX that we have at present is the cameraman's word and those film boxes".
No actual film boxes have apparently been seen. Bob did hope to analyse the claimed boxes, but as he was about to do so, they were seemingly no longer available.
Are the sample frames definitely from the footage?
The samples frames are all from the opening sequence of the "second autopsy" footage in the "Roswell: The Footage" video. They are not seen anywhere else.
The frames handed out are missing from the video sequence, having seemingly been distributed before the other frames in the sequence were added.
They show some stairs and an open doorway through which a covered table can be seen. The height of the table appears to be clearly too low for it to be the "autopsy" table. This very brief sequence is followed by some blank frames before the "autopsy" footage begins.
The sample frames can not be linked to the central footage and could be frames from anywhere.
Has Ray Santilli commented on this?
Ray responded that, "The reason the frames were not included in the sell-through video or broadcast programmes is simply we could not make head or tail of the images and felt them irrelevant to the story and film itself. For that reason we only included the frames in the version of the film containing all the footage from the relevant reels.
The frames were contained on the outside edge of one of the reels and were in such poor condition they fell apart on handling. We did not falsely recompile the frames which we could easily have done we presented them on the video in their natural state which is why the frames jump.
The fact the image fades from black on the video is irrelevant and normal practice when presenting images on video.
The frames are part of the film, however if people wish to think otherwise that's fine by me. They are wrong".
What film samples are known to exist?
John Purdie, producer of the Channel 4 documentary has some 10 strips, Bob Shell has two short strips of film and both Philip Mantle and Bob Kiviat have a single, short strip.
None of these frame samples contain images from the actual "autopsy" footage.
Have these frames been date tested?
Philip Mantle's sample was recently date tested and it seems the results are currently inconclusive.
What did Ray Santilli claim to have purchased?
"I came away with 22 reels of film, 21 safety prints and one negative".
"There are 22 reels plus scraps, etc. The reels were 3 minutes in duration apart from scrap reel of 10 mins approximately".
What footage is known to exist?
There are four sequences of film:
1. The "tent examination".
2. The "debris".
3. The "first autopsy".
4. The "second autopsy".
When did each first appear in public?
The approximate dates were:
The "tent examination": late December '94/early January '95
The "second autopsy": April 1995
The "first autopsy": April 1995
The "debris": June 1995
Which videos contain the footage?
1. "Roswell: The Footage".
This is the most complete. Released by "Roswell Footage Limited", one of Ray Santilli's companies, it contains the "raw" footage and essentially features the entire "second autopsy" and "debris" footage. A slow motion replay of the "second autopsy" is included.
It also helpfully documents the description of each reel shown, the descriptions allegedly originating from the reel labels.
2. "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?"
The well known and hugely successful FOX production.
3. "Incident at Roswell".
The UK based Channel 4 documentary, with the entire "second autopsy" footage following on from the documentary.
What happened to the "tent examination" and "first autopsy" footage?
The "first autopsy" video was only shown privately to a few people.
It was subsequently claimed that the "first autopsy" was effectively owned by a German acquaintance of Ray Santilli's called Volker Spielberg. According to Ray Santilli, Volker Spielberg helped finance the purchase of the film canisters and is a "collector".
The "tent examination" footage was not included in the "raw" footage video as it apparently came from the "scrap reel" and could not be definitively linked to the other footage, the "cameraman" himself being unsure of the circumstances under which it was filmed.
Who has seen the "tent examination"?
This was the first footage to be shown. Video copies were given to at least Colin Andrews and Philip Mantle.
An approximate two minute sequence from the "tent examination", seemingly "bootlegged", can be seen on a video entitled, "Penetrating the Web 2".
What does it show?
A "body" on a table, in a very poorly lit environment, possibly a "tent". The "body" has a long sheet draped over it. A head, what seems to be the right hand and two feet are evident.
The primary light source is a lamp suspended above the table. Two people wearing white coats are attending the body and there is an unidentifiable figure to the left hand side of the camera, apparently observing proceedings. The "attendant" nearest the camera appears to be female, but the overall quality is too poor to be absolutely certain.
Neither of the "attendants" are wearing face masks, nor are they apparently wearing protective gloves.
The male attendant is seen performing some kind of procedure which involves using a knife to cut away either some material or a part of the body.
Due to the overall poor quality, it's not possible to determine if the "body" is consistent with the "autopsy" footage.
However, Ray Santilli apparently has a copy of this footage which is very clear.
David Roehrig, Producer of the FOX program, confirmed that, "We have a copy that is very "blackened".
When asked if this appeared to have been intentional, he commented, "My guess is that it was. But, it's only a guess. Having worked with telecine equipment before, I can't imagine how that would happen by accident".
Who has seen the "first autopsy"?
Maurizio Baiata was apparently shown this footage by Chris Cary, an associate of Ray Santilli's, on 26 April, 1995. Reg Presley may have accompanied Baiata to this showing.
According to Philip Mantle, his wife and himself were shown this footage in Ray Santilli's office, on 28 April, 1995.
How does it compare to the "second autopsy"?
Apparently extremely similar. It seems to be filmed in the same room and those performing the procedures are wearing the same "protective suits". The "body" is hairless, is similarly "humanoid" and evidently "female", with an enlarged head, enlarged abdomen and six digits on the hands and feet.
It does not however have any apparent damage, i.e., nothing comparable to the leg wound or partially severed right hand in the "second autopsy".
The autopsy begins with the eye coverings being removed and similar to the "second autopsy", the eyeballs are visible underneath, rolled upwards. The body is cut open and various "organs" removed and placed in receptacles. The head is cut open and the skull sawn open to remove the "brain". The procedures are performed by two people who take notes as they proceed. Through the observation window, someone wearing a surgical gown, cap and mask can be seen.
The film does not go out of focus so much, but there are fewer close-ups.
Is the "second autopsy" footage consistent with the "cameraman's" claims that the contents are from a few reels "held back", but never collected?
The "second autopsy" footage seems to be completely at odds with this claim.
In the "Roswell: The Footage" video, each reel is preceded with a description and we have the following for the "autopsy".
------------- Reel Description -------------- Clock Autopsy Reel No. 53 Body No. 2 10:05 Autopsy Reel Un-numbered Body/Leg 10:20 Autopsy Reel No. 56 Body/Leg No. 2 10:40 Autopsy Reel No. 59 Chest No. 2 Autopsy Reel No. 61 Chest No. 2 Autopsy Reel No. 62 Head/Eyes No. 2 Autopsy Reel No. 63 Head No. 2 11:30 Autopsy Reel No. 64 Head No. 2 Autopsy Reel Un-numbered Brain 11:45
The time is taken from the clock visible at certain points in the footage.As with the second reel, the last reel isn't numbered on the video, but the content follows on from the previous reel and judging by the time on the clock, it would seem to effectively be "Reel No. 65".
The first reel, which shows the opening sequences is numbered 53, the last, say, 65. The total number of reels used during the one hour and forty minutes of filming would therefore be 13.
If Ray Santilli has 9 of those reels, only 4 are missing and that's assuming they are not reels he theoretically has and from which images couldn't be recovered.
The "cameraman's" story which claims that these are reels which were never forwarded, would therefore mean that, at best, only 4 rolls of film could ever have been.
What is important to note is that on the reels which allegedly do exist, there are frequent breaks in filming during which significant sections of the "autopsy" are missing. Most of the one hour and forty minutes of the "autopsy" could not therefore apparently have been filmed.
There was no other cameraman present, but it is claimed that a stills photographer took photographs during these numerous breaks. There is no evidence of any stills photographer in the footage.
The footage which exists is in essence a summary of the alleged event.
Is Ray Santilli aware of this and how does he explain this seemingly major anomaly?
Yes, this has been detailed for Ray on the CompuServe MUFON forum, which he sometimes contributes to, and Ray commented that, "all I can do is go back to the cameraman and ask for further details regarding the reels that were sent back and why some were retained. ... For my part the information I have provided in relation to the reels I collected is correct".
No explanation has been forthcoming as yet.
Have any of the other alleged reels been documented?
Yes, three photocopies of what are claimed to be the original reel labels have been made available. These include "Reel # 64", which is accounted for in the "second autopsy" footage, and the following two reels:
Reel No. 31 Recovery Reel No. 52 Truman a...
No footage from these further two alleged reels has ever been seen.
Wasn't there supposed to be footage of President Truman?
Ray Santilli claims he was led to believe that the Truman footage existed and optimistically stated that it could be recovered. The label which it's claimed belongs to the reel with the footage of Truman is headed "Truman a...", the rest of the description being torn away.
Ray claims that this reel is stuck together, but it is hoped that images can be retrieved some day.
The "debris" footage is also documented on the "Roswell: The Footage" video, as three reels simply marked "Tagging".
Is the "debris" footage consistent with what has been described by witnesses to the debris found by Mac Brazel?
The "debris" footage is essentially the link between the "autopsy" footage and the Roswell case. The panels with six-fingered hands imprinted are a link to the "autopsy footage" and the I-beams with "hieroglyphics" are similar to those described by such as Dr Jesse Marcel Jnr.
Dr Marcel Jnr. has on a number of occasions described the "hieroglyphics" he recalls as being "embossed". Curiously, in the Channel 4 "Incident at Roswell" documentary, when asked for his comments on the I-beams in the "debris" footage, he said the embossed symbols in that footage are different because, "the ones I saw were not raised above the level of the beam".
Dennis Murphy recently mentioned on the CompuServe MUFON forum that he had spoken to Miller Johnson, who designed a "replica" I-beam with Dr Marcel Jnr.
Dennis commented that, "I asked Miller Johnson if Jesse Marcel Jr. knew whether or not the symbols were embossed into the I-beam. He stated that Jesse was not sure if they were or not. The subject had come up though".
The "hieroglyphics" on the "replica" I-beam are unlike those in the footage, the "hieroglyphics" in the footage being relatively consistent with what Dr Marcel Jnr. had previously described.
In summary, what can be accounted for from the claimed 21 reels of 3 minutes duration, plus the "scrap" reel?
According to Bob Shell, "As I understand it, this roll of negative film has nothing to do with the rest of the film and was apparently included by accident". Part of the "tent footage" also apparently originated from the "scrap" reel, and that leaves 20 theoretical 3 minute reels to account for.
This seems to include the following:
------------- Reel Description -------------- Duration Reel Un-numbered - Tagging - 1:05 - Tagging - 2:10 - Tagging - :32
Reel No. 31 Recovery Reel No. 52 Truman a...
Autopsy Reel No. 53 Body No. 2 1:57 Autopsy Reel Un-numbered Body/Leg 2:37 Autopsy Reel No. 56 Body/Leg No. 2 1:37 Autopsy Reel No. 59 Chest No. 2 1:50 Autopsy Reel No. 61 Chest No. 2 2:03 Autopsy Reel No. 62 Head/Eyes No. 2 2:02 Autopsy Reel No. 63 Head No. 2 2:30 Autopsy Reel No. 64 Head No. 2 2:15 Autopsy Reel Un-numbered Brain 1:47
The duration of each reel is an approximate timing.
Only photocopies of the claimed labels from Reels No. 31 and 52 have beenmade avialable, no images have ever been shown from these alleged reels. We still have to account for the "first autopsy" footage. According to Philip Mantle, that footage is approximately a minute or two shorter than the "second autopsy" footage and as such, it would seem to account for most, if not all, of the remaining reels.
Is this consistent with what Ray Santilli claims could be recovered from the reels?
It appears to be inconsistent with what was apparently recoverable. Ray Santilli has stated that, "A good 50% of the footage we had, we were not able to retrieve an image from" and has confirmed this on other occasions.
Even making considerable allowances, this doesn't seem to agree with what can be documented.
Is Ray Santilli aware of this and has he offered any explanation?
This has been put to Ray and he commented that, "...in your calculation you have not taken into account the length of film contained within what we called the scrap reel".
The scrap reel has been stated to contain "10 mins approximately" of film and allegedly contains part of the "tent examination" footage and , according to Ray Santilli, film "most of which has nothing to do with the event but will be of interest as it gives an insight to the cameraman (for example, on the scrap reel there is approx 5 mins of what appears to be a local American football game played in a field).
Who allegedly has the original film?
According to Ray Santilli, "there are three of us with footage, myself, the cameraman and the collector".
The "collector" is apparently Volker Spielberg.
Has Volker Spielberg commented on his alleged financing and, at least, part-ownership of the claimed archive film?
It seems Volker's only public comments were when TF1 attempted to interview him:
"I want to be left alone. I'm a collector, I want to be out, and I want to have no contact with nobody regarding this matter because this is my personal thing....Simply I'm not interested. You see, the whole matter is of no interest to me, I have made up my mind. I have my belief and that's it. And I got what I want. I'm happy and that's it."
"What have I to do with this? As to my knowledge, I'll keep all the cans, yes, as to my knowledge, that's all I can tell you. Well, as to my knowledge I am, uh, possess all the film reels. Whether this is true or not, that's not up to me to judge, but that is my belief, yes."
Spielberg was a Hamburg based music producer and has possibly now moved to Austria. On 8 April, 1995, Ray Santilli confirmed in an interview that his company, "The Merlin Group", had offices in London and Hamburg.
Is there any evidence that archive, 16mm film was transferred to video?
I had been pursuing this aspect for some time and eventually Bob Shell publicly confirmed that, "Film to video transfer was done in London by Rank".
He subsequently added that, "My understanding is that Rank first made a very high quality 16 mm film duplicate of the footage because it was damaged and in poor shape. The video was then made from the dupe".
"When I asked Ray who had done the copying of the original film to a 16 mm dupe, he said that he wasn't sure. He told me that they had gone to one company who had agreed to do the work while they waited, and that this firm had then changed their story and said they would have to leave the film and come back and pick it up later, which they certainly would never have done.
There was then a general conversation in the office as to who had ultimately done the work. Ray said something like "We ended up having it done by Rank, didn't we?" and Chris (Cary) said something like, "yes, it was Rank. I'm pretty sure it was Rank."
They promised to provide me with documentation when they had a chance".
Having established from the Rank Organisation plc that Rank Video Services of Brentford, would undertake any such work, I asked Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO Magazine (UK) if he would like to "officially" confirm this important and potentially significant information.
Graham first spoke with Paul Gooderham of Rank Video Services and Paul confirmed he had seen the footage, but only on TV. He knew of it, but confirmed that Rank Video Services had not been involved with it in any capacity. He suggested speaking with Roy Liddiard at the main laboratory as he was the person with overall responsibility for such matters within the company and may be able to assist further.
Roy was also very helpful and further confirmed that his company had no involvement in any capacity.
Has Ray Santilli offered an explanation?
As far as is known, no explanation has ever been offered, despite requests for one.
Is there anything else of possible significance on the copies of the claimed reel labels?
Yes, each of the labels bears a stamp.
The stamp shows the emblem of either the National Military Establishment (NME) or the Department of Defense (DoD), the NME emblem subsequently becoming that of the DoD. The stamp bears writing which is not legible.
In response to a query from researcher Robert Irving, Alfred Goldman, Historian at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, confirmed that, "The original seal was for the National Military Establishment. It was changed to the Department of Defense in August 1949. The original seal could not have come into existence until some time in October 1947 or later".
Although the stamp may not be an official seal, it bears the emblem of an organisation which did not exist at the time of the claimed filming. It would therefore seem it must have been applied some time afterwards.
Has the film been proven to be a hoax?
There is no conclusive proof that the film is a hoax.
Is there any evidence that the film is a hoax?
There seems to be no "creature effects" artist who believes the footage to be authentic. It has been pointed out that the "body" in the "autopsy" is very rigid, "muscley "and the skin seems to be drawn by gravity towards the feet, rather than down towards the autopsy table. All of these features are consistent with a model made from a body cast, taken in a standing position.
The "body" is also handled very cautiously and we never see it being turned over, or even moved, to any significant extent.
The filming is also consistent with a hoax. There are significant breaks in filming and what would be particularly challenging sequences, such as the opening of the body, are missing.
The "tent examination", "autopsy" and "debris" films are all filmed in environments which are consistent with scenes which have been staged.
Missing is any film showing the alleged crash site, military personnel, the recovery, or any footage from the three weeks the "cameraman" allegedly spent at "Wright Patterson" (which would have been Wright Field at that time), "working on the debris".
Is there any evidence that the film might not be a hoax?
Some of the "autopsy" footage is convincing and there's a lot of detail in it.
The "brain removal" sequence in particular seems challenging as a special effect. Also, when the body is first shown with the chest area open, a "rib cage" is evident and the "organs" are in an arranged order. Later in the "organ" removal sequence, what seem to be cut or sawn ribs are apparent. The "skin" also appears to be actually cut into at some points.
Some of the comments from the SFX community indicate that as a perceived special effect, a high degree of specialised skill is evident.
The wall clock, telephone, telephone cord , microphone, plug points and medical equipment are apparently all contemporary.
There are some frames in the film which are out of sequence, consistent with the story of archive film being pieced together.
Anyone who may be interested in a detailed explanation of the special effects aspects and who has world wide web access, can find an excellent presentation by Trey Stokes, of the "Truly Dangerous Company", at:
But keep in mind, that's one person's opinion, not necessarily shared by others.
Would the autopsy table and equipment seen, be available from a prop company?
Some prop companies provide a specialised service for medical props.
What is the general consensus of the medical profession?
Medical opinions seem to cover the entire spectrum.
Some medical professions believe the body is that of a genetically deformed young girl, in some cases claimed to be suffering from progeria. Others are simply unsure or are dismissive of the footage.
Some professionals, eminently qualified in pathology, believe the "pathologist" in the footage exhibits signs of surgical training, but is not a pathologist.
Could the body be human?
For a number of reasons, this doesn't seem possible.
There are no apparent veins or arteries, there is no obvious subcutaneous layer of fat, no known record of any genetic defect which could explain all of the characteristics evident and neither the "organs" or "brain" can seemingly be explained in terms of a human body.
A significant amount of the research undertaken on the footage, has been carried out by Theresa Carlson, a member of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). When Ray Santilli learned of Theresa's work, he offered a "Beta SP dub taken from the first generation master of the film copy".
Using video capture equipment and having access to a superior quality copy of the footage, Theresa has carried out an extensive analysis of the frames and has been responsible for identifying many of the details present.
Has the "cameraman" given an interview?
Earlier this year, a person who is claimed to be the cameraman filmed himself answering some questions. According to Robert Kiviat, the Executive Producer of the "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction" documentary, Ray Santilli "arranged to have the cameraman answer 25 of my questions concerning the story".
On 9 December, 1996, during an on-line internet interview with OMNI, Kiviat stated, "I have that video "in the can" as we say and we are planning a possible broadcast to show the cameraman's face for the first time on television anywhere. Unfortunately, it's not a full interview and it may not be up to network television standards. I am doing the best I can. Truly".
When news of the "interview" was leaked, I asked Ray Santilli about it and on 30 August, 1996, he wrote:
"The content of the cameraman's interview really wasn't the problem. The problem revolved around the way in which it was filmed. To cut a long story short he insisted on filming it himself as he wanted to be in control of the lighting and the style of the interview (he wanted his image in silhouette).
However expert he may of been with film in the old days, he made a complete mess of the shoot (digital tape) because by turning up the brightness of any viewer you could get a clear picture of the man himself. The other problem was his nervousness (for the most part you can see him shaking). It is great film footage however we have promised not to let it go".
Doesn't this suggest the footage will not be shown?
It may be that the circumstances have changed.
Kent Jeffrey, a driving force behind the International Roswell Initiative and the Roswell Declaration, located a potentially significant corroborative witness for Santilli's claimed cameraman.
In his MUFON Journal article on the "autopsy" film, Kent commented:
Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Daniel A. McGovern served during WWII with the Eighth Air Force in the European theater, where he was a combat cameraman on B-17 bombers flying highly dangerous missions over Germany. He shot much of the footage used in the famous wartime documentary "Memphis Belle.
After the Japanese surrender in August 1945, McGovern was the first American military cameraman to photograph the devastation on the ground at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just four weeks after the atomic bombs had been dropped, McGovern was on the scene at both cities, where he shot thousands of feet of 16mm color film. The historical footage was classified shortly after it was shot. Much of it has still never been seen by the public.
McGovern remained in "specialized photography" during his 20-year career in the military. When he retired in 1961, he was stationed at Vandenberg AFB, California, where he was the commander of the Photographic Squadron. After his retirement from the military, he became the civilian chief of the photographic division for the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California.
On the basis of the information that has been made available to him, Dan McGovern, like his colleagues, Bill Gibson and Joe Longo, feels the Santilli film is a fraud. However, McGovern is willing to keep an open mind and to give Santilli the benefit of the doubt. Just as Kodak has offered to authenticate the film, Colonel McGovern has offered to authenticate the cameraman. McGovern would require the cameraman's full name and serial number so that he could verify his military service with the Air Force Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Colonel McGovern, a man of his word and a man who has held a top-secret security clearance, would reveal only his conclusion. He would keep other all information, including the cameraman's identity, strictly confidential, revealing it to no one.
Aside from the cameraman's name and serial number, the only other requirement of Colonel McGovern is that the cameraman make one 15 minute phone call to McGovern. At the time of his retirement, McGovern was one of the highest ranking photographic managers in the military. Considering his experience, he is probably the most qualified person available to evaluate the alleged cameraman. In short, authentication by him would be of extreme value because no impostor in the world could fool Colonel Dan McGovern. Furthermore, Santilli's alleged cameraman, who was stationed in Washington D.C. in Jun 1947, would surely enjoy talking with McGovern because, in addition to a common background and probable common acquaintances, they have something else unique in common. In June 1947, Colonel Dan McGovern was a "motion picture project officer" for the Air Force -- stationed in Washington, D.C".
Referring to the possibility of showing the "interview" footage to Colonel Dan McGovern, Robert Kiviat added, "If I had it my way, I'd be flying to McGovern's house tonight to show him the footage. The only reason I can't do that is because my agreement with Santilli is that we both hold rights to the cameraman's interview and I have to clear that with him. My guess is that sometime in the next few months during the course of producing another program, McGovern will be shown the footage. That's my hope. Santilli clearly is asking for more money and to have it be part of a production that I would make. Unfortunately, I do not have a green light for production yet".
Wasn't there a connection between Steven Spielberg and a 50th anniversary film on the Roswell case, featuring the "autopsy" footage?
On 9 August, 1992, the "Sunday People" newspaper published an article entitled, "Move over ET, the real alien is here...". The article was an "EXCLUSIVE by Carl Nagaitis".
The article was essentially a promotion for the forthcoming BUFORA conference, featuring William Moore's lecture on the Roswell case. However, it also mentioned that "Now Hollywood golden boy Steven Spielberg plans a big-budget movie about the alien crash-landing...".
On 22 December 1993, the "Daily Mirror" newspaper published the following article:
STEVEN SPIELBERG TO MAKE FILM ABOUT UFO CRASH MYSTERY
ACE Director Steven Spielberg is deserting science fiction for sci-fact. The genius behind movie blockbusters ET, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Jurassic Park is secretly working on a 50 million pound movie that he claims will unmask a government cover-up of an alien spaceship crash in New Mexico in 1947.
Project X is based on the Roswell Air Force base incident which gave the world the term "flying saucer". Spielberg believes the US military took away alien bodies from the crashed UFO.
Hollywood insiders say the director has got hold of previously unseen film footage of the flying saucer crash scene taken by a military officer. "Everybody is talking about Project X," says a Tinseltown source. "Spielberg has already got a team at Hamlin* Productions working on the script. This is going to be a totally different film from the likes of ET which was just a fairy story.
It's about the UFO crash and the political intrigue that followed." The movie is due for release in 1997 - the 50th anniversary of the alleged alien landing".
* Should be Amblin Productions
The article is not credited to a journalist, however, I obtained an extract from the newspaper's library database and the by-line was credited to two journalists. I spoke to both and unfortunately neither could recall where the article had originated.
I also spoke to Carl Nagaitis and Carl denied any involvement with this article, but did recall that the story of Spielberg's interest in a Roswell movie had been rumoured in the US and that was the source of his earlier mention.
It seems that the Steven Spielberg story had therefore grown to encompass the "archive" footage story, the claimed existence of the footage being known by this time.
The same story was also featured in the November 1994 issue of OMNI and the claims were formally denied by Amblin Productions, Spielberg's company.
It seems the rumours of Spielberg's interest in a Roswell based movie had no connection with Ray Santilli's "Roswell" footage and both stories were mistakenly linked in that article.
Discussing with Ray Santilli, the background to his involvement with Carl Nagaitis and Philip Mantle, he clarified, "Carl worked for Mirror Group Newspapers and the Daily Mirror did a centre page spread on our Elvis find back in 92". He also added, "One other point, I came back with many hours of rare Elvis film, so rare that Polygram commissioned a report by ex-BMG (RCA) director Roger Seaman. I can send it to you, however it does nothing to help the Autopsy film".
I was able to track down the "Daily Mirror" article. It's dated Monday, August 17, 1992 and headed, "ELVIS: his last amazing letter".
The article also features some pictures of Elvis which have never previously been shown and describes some of the considerable memorabilia which will feature in a forthcoming two-hour TV documentary, called "Private Presley", to be shown worldwide.
The article does mention Ray Santilli and his company, "The Merlin Group".
I had also recently asked Philip Mantle if he could clarify the background to his early involvement with Ray Santilli. The initial contact came via Carl Nagaitis, co-author with Philip of "Without Consent", a book on the subject of "alien abductions".
As a result of our discussions, Philip asked Carl if he would release a statement confirming the sequence of events and this was the resulting statement:
This is to confirm that I first met Ray Santilli in l992 while researching an article for the Sunday People about some never-before-seen photos of Elvis Presley. Ray was interested in selling the rights to the story through a national newspaper.
Although we didn't do a deal, Ray and I got on well and he told me how he had made many trips to the USA in search of the material.
When I left Mirror Group Newspapers in January l993 I kept in touch with my contacts, including Ray, and I had several meetings with him about various possible projects. It was during one of these meetings, in February or March of l993, that he revealed that he had seen some remarkable material while in the USA. He did not reveal the nature of that material.
Later in the year, when Ray and I were discussing the possibility of a video on UFOs and alien abductions (another aborted project) he went on to add that the film he had managed to get from the USA was connected with the Roswell Incident.
I remember that he mentioned this to be before I actually introduced him to you (Philip Mantle). Now looking back, I suspect his interest in the UFO video was simply a convenient way for me to help him to locate a UFO expert i.e. yourself, to give his project some added credibility before approaching the market place.
The brief facts above are based on my diaries for the period.
Sorry I can't give you any further detail.
Philip Mantle states that he first met Ray Santilli sometime during the summer of 1993, Philip being unsure of the exact date. Later that year, Philip mentioned the "Roswell" film story to John Spencer, now BUFORA's Chairman and Walt Andrus, International Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
Are there any anomalies with this timeline?
Yes, there is one obvious major anomaly.
Ray Santilli stated on a number of occasions that having been offered the footage in Cleveland during the summer of 1993, he contacted Philip Mantle to find out what "Roswell" was all about.
When it was discovered that the Cleveland visit actually took place during July 1992, a year earlier, that left an approximate one year gap unaccounted for.
During discussions with Ray Santilli on the claimed acquisition of the footage, he commented, "I still maintain that the story of the films acquisition is true, certain non-relevant details were only changed to stop people getting to the cameraman. Yes the trip to Cleveland was 1992, Yes during that trip I met Bill Randle but he was one of many people we met. Yes during that trip I met the cameraman and NO the cameraman's name is not Jack Barnet, I have always made it clear that the name had been adopted to protect the cameraman's real name".
In response to the question of whether a deposit had been paid, Santilli confirmed, "A small down-payment was made in 92. I couldn't raise the rest which is why I turned to Volker. So he didn't pay the full amount. In return a certain amount of the footage was his to keep and he retained a financial interest in the exploitation through the media".
This is where the anomaly seems to present itself.
If the film had been viewed in 1992 and a deposit paid, why did Ray Santilli not apparently actively seek any information on the Roswell case until almost a year later?
This poses a scenario where he was actively attempting to raise capital to acquire film of unknown provenance.
Did Ray Santilli know that the footage allegedly related to the Roswell case?
Apparently so; according to Santilli's own account:
"Upon completion of this the cameraman asked if I would be interested in purchasing outright very valuable footage taken during his time in the forces. He explained that the footage in question came from the Roswell crash that it included debris and recovery footage and of most importance autopsy footage.
At this time I had no knowledge whatsoever of the Roswell event but when someone tells you they have real footage of an alien autopsy of course it's of interest.
The cameraman was in his eighties seemed a genuine enough person, he explained that from 1942 to 1952 he worked as a cameraman for the Army Airforce and special forces, that during this time he was sent to many places and filmed many events including the tests that were part of the Manhattan Project.
He explained that on June 2nd 1947 he received an order directly from General McMullan stating there had been a crash and to go immediately to White Sands and film everything he could. He was instructed to stay with the material recovered until it was dispatched, further he had authority over and above the on-site commander. The cameraman only reported to McMullan.
The cameraman flew to Roswell then was taken by road to the site he describes as being a dried up small lake bed".
Despite the apparent lack of knowledge about the Roswell case and even though almost a year later Santilli was speaking with Philip Mantle about UFO related video projects, it was seemingly only some time afterwards that Santilli enquired what the Roswell case related to.
Has Ray Santilli commented on this apparent anomaly?
On 12 March 1996, following these discussion with Ray Santilli, I wrote to him:
"Leaving the question of the verification of film and the facilities house details aside, there is one point which I would greatly appreciate your comments on.
In "The Independent" newspaper article, dated 6 July 1995, you confirmed that you had first contacted Philip Mantle because, "...I needed Mantle's help, because when I was first shown the film, I had never heard of Roswell. I needed someone to explain it all for me. I agreed that in exchange for his help, he could show it at his August conference."
You had also confirmed this during the Q & A session during that BUFORA conference:
Q. Did you ring Kodak at the time to verify this film?
RS: "Well, no, not to verify it but to ask them what I need to look for and I also called Philip Mantle and I said to Philip at the time, can you please tell me what Roswell is all about and my agreement with Philip at that time was that he would educate me on the subject and point us in the right direction."
Philip also confirmed the relevant dates in his formal statement clarifying his involvement:
"I was first contacted by Ray Santilli almost two years ago when he discussed with me the possibility of putting together a UFO documentary video. For a variety of reasons the planned documentary with Merlin never came off but it was during this time that Ray Santilli told me the story of the Roswell film footage and how he obtained it."
Later in his statement, Philip dates it, "We have attempted to follow up any rumours that could at least be feasible but to date (29.5.95) none of them have yet stood up to scrutiny." If you first contacted Philip almost 2 years previously, that would be in the Summer of 1993, which ties in with when you had initially claimed to have been offered the film and had indeed contacted him.
However....all of these statements were made when you were maintaining that the Cleveland visit took place during the summer of 1993, before it was known that visit actually took place during July, 1992.
Is it therefore the case that the first contact with Philip to verify what this footage was all about, what the Roswell case was, whether the footage had any commercial value, etc., actually took place a year after you had been offered the footage and paid a deposit on it?"
Unfortunately, Ray Santilli has never offered an explanation for this anomaly.
We're now at the beginning of 1997, exactly two years since some of the film, the "tent footage", was first shown in public. After all the analysis and research which has been carried out, why hasn't the film been proven as either a hoax or shown to be authentic?
Primarily because the key evidence, the claimed archive 16mm film and the cameraman, have never been available for authentication.
Also, Volker Spielberg, the claimed financier and apparently the owner of the alleged canisters of film, has not been accessible, or keen, to verify key parts of the story.
Overall, there's a consummate lack of evidence that the footage and it's surrounding story are authentic and some apparent anomalies and discrepancies in the story of the film's alleged genesis, acquisition, and processing.
For example, the "autopsy" footage is certainly not just "a few reels kept back" as claimed; it's effectively most of the film which could conceivably have been shot.
The video footage however, has held up remarkably well and if it is solely the product of special effects work, it should perhaps be regarded as a masterpiece of illusion.
It seems that very few people working in the special effects industry believe the footage is authentic, but those who have tried to reproduce even part of the footage, have fallen well short of the required standard.
As a hoax, it's the most extraordinary and intricate deception and there must be a considerable number of people either involved, or who know it is a hoax and no-one has spoken out so far.
There are four people visible in the "autopsy" footage at one point and the addition of the person filming, means there were at least five people involved, one of whom had apparent surgical skills. We also have to account for the special effects personnel, video editing staff, the "cameraman" who appears on the interview video, the person claimed to be his son and who handed over the interview tape to Robert Kiviat, and of course the people behind the promotion of a hoax. Even allowing for some dual roles, that still seems to involve a most elaborate set-up. But if the entire affair is a hoax, that's the scale of involvement which it seems there must be.
However, any alternative hypotheses which suggest that the footage and the story of it's origins may be authentic, seem devoid of the necessary evidence to support them and that's why, two years on, the truth remains an enigma.
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(c) James Easton