Cumberland Spaceman

Austin Popper

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Some things in this thread are bordering on what has become a pet peeve of mine. Too many people new to the UFO field seem to have the attitude that the people investigating cases like this were morons, or at the very least incompetent doofuses. Some of the people I've seen posting silly assumptions about famous old cases couldn't carry John Fuller's notebook, or Allen Hynek's pipe.

The real story of the early investigators is quite an interesting one. Many bright, well educated people (including a lot of professionals in various relevant fields) invented ufology by adapting investigative and analytical techniques used by those in law enforcement, anthropology, physical sciences, history and journalism. Many of them had the means and the contacts to do an excellent and thorough job of it even though it was essentially a hobby. They made dozens of phone calls when it was not cheap to do that, went and interviewed witnesses, examined sites, and consulted various experts in many fields. They did the legwork that so many "investigators" on the internet assume never was done. They weeded out thousands of hoaxes and honest mistakes as they went. Read some books before making silly pronouncements, armchair experts! Seriously, reading the detailed accounts of such investigations is fascinating. Those books are full of interesting details that never make it into the three-paragraph brain-fart blog entries most people seem to think ufology is about.

One of the most egregious examples of the kind of crap I'm talking about was making the rounds several years ago, when some arrogant twit decided that Lonnie Zamorra was a poor witness because he wore glasses. Morons. Some people still claim he saw some non-existent prototype for the lunar landers, a "theory" that's laughable for a good dozen reasons. Some of those reasons are so obvious it's beyond funny.

The idea that the MoD, Kodak, and whoever else was involved in the Templeton case lacked the means to extract whatever details exist in that photo, or weren't smart enough to think of doing it, is just lame. Military photo analysis was quite sophisticated decades before Photoshop was invented.

I'm sure it won't be long before some future generation assumes we all lived in caves before computers and the internet liberated us from our primitive state. /rant
 

Old Master Q

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The idea that the MoD, Kodak, and whoever else was involved in the Templeton case lacked the means to extract whatever details exist in that photo, or weren't smart enough to think of doing it, is just lame. Military photo analysis was quite sophisticated decades before Photoshop was invented.
...At the age of 11 (circa 1973) I found an old Kodak Box Brownie. Within weeks I was taking my first faltering steps processing my own B&W film (the only way I could afford to do it). By 1979, when I left school I'd become quite accomplished with both stills and cine. - Which secured me an ACTT apprenticeship, the first year of which was spent as a (Trainee) Audio Visual Technician at the University of Strathclyde before moving to Thames Television in London where I spent 3 1/2 years before qualifying as an ENG/EFP cameraman and another 18 months to be considered a 'Journeyman', fully fledged cameraman.

I returned to my native Glasgow in late 1985 - started my own production company and in parallel served as a Special Constable with Strathclyde Police (my fallback plan was to join the police had my business not succeeded) until the end of 1989. - I've worked in broadcast, industrial and news television ever since... Including a stint of 12 years lecturing (part time) in TV production at the same Creative Industries department that brought you acts such as Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol alongside many that you would know as household names. - Now educated to Masters level I've actually authored SQA-Approved material and helped design courses for them. Systems technology is a primary component of my skillset.

38 years of professional experience in photography, film, video and the audio industry generally says that Kodak - who examined the Templeton negative and camera only for signs of double-exposure and camera faults - would have found very little. It's not known whether Kodak (actually the main office at Hemmel Hempstead AFAIK) got to examine the single negative or the uncut roll (it makes a difference) - and I can tell you they would most certainly have struggled to resolve the sort of detail that has been recovered recently. - There is no evidence the time or the money was available; nor that Mr Templeton was entirely free with his material.

Of course - and I'll be happy to have Jenny Randles arrange this - if the Templeton family care to turn the NEGATIVES (ideally the whole roll) - over to me for a week or so (or even have archivists at Bradford provide the scans) I'll be happy to scan them on a professional negative scanner and see what else can be extracted. - Factually photographic analysis, particularly of vintage material - has come a very long way since the 1960s!
 
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Old Master Q

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I'd be very interested in seeing some of this newly recovered detail. Does anyone have any links or anything?
To be clear here, what I said was that given the negatives (and/or a suitably high quality scan of them) - I'd be in a position to recover much from those negatives; and there are others out there in a far better position to do so than me. Simply do a google image search on 'Solway spaceman' and you'll come up with as good an analysis as any...

Taken together with the circumstantial evidence from accounts, it stands up well.

One - of many points - worth considering is that it would have taken months (if not years) of work using traditional (i.e darkroom) techniques to apply to the sort of brightness/contrast/colour examination we can do nowadays using modern photographic processing software. - Back in the day, there just wasn't the budget, the time nor really the facilities.

Kodak was - and remains - a commercial entity; not a club for friendly Fortean boffins who have nothing better to do than obsess over any and every mystery; their services come at a cost! The same is essentially true for both police and military forensic analysis facilities... They don't exist for the purposes of entertainment!

By way of illustration... Let's prod one of the many holes in the story. Sent by the local chemist to be processed by Kodak? Now I'm happy to be corrected on this, but every account I've heard or read speaks of colour negative film processed to prints via the local chemist shop... For a start, this slightly-knocks Jim Templeton's supposed status as a 'passionate photographer'. - If you're that you generally shot (back in the day) Black and White (B&W) and home processed it, Ektachrome (in the 60s this was E1 or E2) again home processed - or Kodachrome reversal film - which only Kodak processed.

But there is, in fact, reference to the shot being taken on Kodacolor-X - Which was a common C-22 processed film more usually associated with the 'Instamatic' range and that any local lab would have handled under licence. So the notion that 'Kodak' processed the film is a little doubtful to start with! - The film would have been returned as prints plus negatives cut into strips of four or five shots. - Where are the negatives?
 

Austin Popper

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I did a google search and didn't see anything that impressed me much. It has been a long time since I paid any attention to the case, and I don't recall anything about the negatives not being made available. That is a big red flag. I never thought the "mysterious figure" was an astronaut. Astronauts were all over the news at the time so we have some artifacts from then that seem kind of silly now. Unlike a lot of people, I did not need an answer for what it was. I'm happy enough to leave some questions open. The cartoonish nature of the photo and the event seems to fit into some kind of "trickster" category. Still, I don't really have an opinion. That seems to bother some people on other boards. Oh well.
 

Old Master Q

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I did a google search and didn't see anything that impressed me much. It has been a long time since I paid any attention to the case, and I don't recall anything about the negatives not being made available. That is a big red flag. I never thought the "mysterious figure" was an astronaut. Astronauts were all over the news at the time so we have some artifacts from then that seem kind of silly now. Unlike a lot of people, I did not need an answer for what it was. I'm happy enough to leave some questions open. The cartoonish nature of the photo and the event seems to fit into some kind of "trickster" category. Still, I don't really have an opinion. That seems to bother some people on other boards. Oh well.
...So where are the negs? I've never seen them nor even a really good scan of the picture; not that'it's really necessary.

Fact is it's 2017. And almost-anyone has access to photo analysis software the allows them to outstrip in a few moments what would have taken years to achieve back in the 1960s. - It's the woman in the blue dress seen in other frames - got into the background and 'blown out' by the very (sunlight) relied upon for modelling in the main shot.
 

Austin Popper

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Thanks for the info. I wonder if anyone tried to recreate the photo. Seems like it would have been pretty easy since the place was public, the date and time known. I know such things were done back in the day. Seems like it would have been worth a roll of film and a few hours time. Film and processing weren't cheap, of course, but not prohibitively expensive either.
 

Cochise

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The adjusted picture is earlier in the thread - it is very clearly the same woman who also is partly visible in one of the other photographs. I freely admit I was puzzled by the picture until I saw that. Of course it might have been photoshopped - anything might have happened - but you'd have to ask the person who posted it about that.

It's not a hoax, its not a spaceman, it exactly the sort of mistake that could happen with an early SLR with the need to make several movements before pressing the button - stopping down, checking the metering, releasing the shutter. Hence also the slant on the picture.

Not only have I used such an SLR (Russian Zenit, built a little later but generally fairly primitive) I had a pretty poor success rate until I replaced it with something more modern. And I had graduated from quite serious non-reflex cameras before. I could only afford B+W film in those days and I didn't generally photograph people, but I had numerous pictures that were out of true or included things I didn't mean to be in the picture.
 

bakelite brain

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Despite the case being cleared up (as far as I'm concerned anyway) it does throw up some interesting side notes.

1) That there were some convincing stories that the local photo development lab had decided to play a practical joke for some seemingly plausible reasons.
2) That there were supposedly officials that took a great interest in the story.

Maybe this is just an example of how a good mystery generates and spreads its own memes.
 

Cochise

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Yes, that's the second photo to which I referred. It not only has the lady in it, again possibly unintentionally since there is only part of her, but also is again slightly on the tilt. Particularly noticeable both in this picture and the spaceman one is the cut of the dress around the lady's arm.

For me its 'case closed'.
 

EnolaGaia

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You can see the spaceman really clearly in that photo!
Maybe ... Or else the mystery figure is Annie - the other, older daughter everyone conveniently fails to mention.

The Templetons had two daughters at the time, and Templeton's early descriptions of the outing repeatedly indicated both daughters were there that day.

(See post #255 from 2012).
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Maybe ... Or else the mystery figure is Annie - the other, older daughter everyone conveniently fails to mention.

The Templetons had two daughters at the time, and Templeton's early descriptions of the outing repeatedly indicated both daughters were there that day.

(See post #255 from 2012).
Good point, but whether it's mum or big sis in the pale blue dress (which looks vaguely like a white spacesuit when overexposed) it surely knocks on the head the whole spaceman mythos.
 

Ermintruder

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You can see the spaceman really clearly in that photo
I think the antigravity / 'floating' mechanism is also revealed...it's also known as an upper grass slope in the rear of a picture, giving the perspective effect of implicit giants or jetpacks.

I was aways fascinated by the audacious alienness of the picture, which we (in our era, with our tropes) translate into being extraterrestrial instead of being an over-contrasted chemical process colour photograph of Mum's elbow.

I could never reconcile that damned illogical limb. For me, that opposed articulation was too much of an illusion eliminator.
 
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It's not a hoax, its not a spaceman, it exactly the sort of mistake that could happen with an early SLR with the need to make several movements before pressing the button - stopping down, checking the metering, releasing the shutter.
Yes, I think this is the key sticking point: I don't believe the Templetons were lying, but that doesn't mean that Jim accidentally photographed a spaceman or other mysterious figure, non-human or otherwise.

I tend to think they were not lying about the MIB-type visit either, but that's just based on instinct / intuition. I've a pretty good track record of spotting liars a mile off. Certainly it's hard to imagine how inventing the mystery could do Mr T* anything but harm.

I'm assuming neither of the daughters has ever come forward with their version of the events?

*No, not that one, fool!​
 

bakelite brain

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For those new to this mystery, it's emplaned in post 289 on page 10 of this thread. Nothing sinister, just interesting. Also explained in this video:


 

Jayceedove

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Annie was there on the day and that was the reason Mrs Templeton was so adamant to me that it wasn't her in the shot in question. She said she was playing with her behind the camera actively to keep her out of shot at the point where Jim was trying to get a good image. The shot you see above is one of several where she said she was trying to stop her getting in the way. But she was pretty sure to me she never went behind or intruded into the shot in question.

Neither of the girls remembered anything particular about the day but were, of course, aware of the aftermath dimly.

As I have said before pretty obviously this never was a 'spaceman' and what the shot actually shows is really for me not that important as I have never considered it supernatural.

So - whilst I have reservations based on what the Templeton's told me repeatedly - I do see the possibility that she was the cause of the photo.

But the story for me here is the interest shown in it by (allegedly) the Ministry and the visit of the two men - which loosely we might term MIB.

It was that which caused me to get interested in this case enough to interview them at length, not the photo itself.

That interest - from whoever the visitors were - was fuelled by the photo and assumed links to the Blue Streak/Woomera launch. It really is fairly irrelevant that neither that link nor the status of the photo as paranormal are actually true.

That someone at the time thought it might be was what caused the visit and why I was so intrigued wanting to identify who the visitors were.

Whilst Nick Pope told me adamantly they could not be from the Ministry as visits on site never happened and so he insisted that they had to be rogue UFOlogists playacting or maybe just crackpots - I disagree.

I disagree because we KNOW he is wrong and the MoD did indeed visit witnesses in certain cases. Aside from all the other unproven cases where we just have the witnesses story but of the ones I have interviewed for my MIB book I am sure they were being honest - we have the two police officers - Alan Godfrey and Colin Perks - both of whom did not report visits to them by the MoD at the time because they both later told me they were asked not to under the Official Secrets Act which as police officers they had to sign.

Alan has now chosen to publicly reveal the story he told me in confidence years ago and which I verified via his sergeant (who was married to my cousin). And, whilst the Godfrey MoD file has gone AWOL like the Templeton one, the Perks file WAS released and does document that two men from the Ministry followed his sighting up and interviewed him on site and took away samples of a glassy material found beneath where he saw the UFO on the night. No analysis of that material was released.

So I am sure the two men did visit Jim Templeton and, despite Nick Pope's view, not convinced they could not have been from the MoD.
 

humanoidlord

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Annie was there on the day and that was the reason Mrs Templeton was so adamant to me that it wasn't her in the shot in question. She said she was playing with her behind the camera actively to keep her out of shot at the point where Jim was trying to get a good image. The shot you see above is one of several where she said she was trying to stop her getting in the way. But she was pretty sure to me she never went behind or intruded into the shot in question.

Neither of the girls remembered anything particular about the day but were, of course, aware of the aftermath dimly.

As I have said before pretty obviously this never was a 'spaceman' and what the shot actually shows is really for me not that important as I have never considered it supernatural.

So - whilst I have reservations based on what the Templeton's told me repeatedly - I do see the possibility that she was the cause of the photo.

But the story for me here is the interest shown in it by (allegedly) the Ministry and the visit of the two men - which loosely we might term MIB.

It was that which caused me to get interested in this case enough to interview them at length, not the photo itself.

That interest - from whoever the visitors were - was fuelled by the photo and assumed links to the Blue Streak/Woomera launch. It really is fairly irrelevant that neither that link nor the status of the photo as paranormal are actually true.

That someone at the time thought it might be was what caused the visit and why I was so intrigued wanting to identify who the visitors were.

Whilst Nick Pope told me adamantly they could not be from the Ministry as visits on site never happened and so he insisted that they had to be rogue UFOlogists playacting or maybe just crackpots - I disagree.

I disagree because we KNOW he is wrong and the MoD did indeed visit witnesses in certain cases. Aside from all the other unproven cases where we just have the witnesses story but of the ones I have interviewed for my MIB book I am sure they were being honest - we have the two police officers - Alan Godfrey and Colin Perks - both of whom did not report visits to them by the MoD at the time because they both later told me they were asked not to under the Official Secrets Act which as police officers they had to sign.

Alan has now chosen to publicly reveal the story he told me in confidence years ago and which I verified via his sergeant (who was married to my cousin). And, whilst the Godfrey MoD file has gone AWOL like the Templeton one, the Perks file WAS released and does document that two men from the Ministry followed his sighting up and interviewed him on site and took away samples of a glassy material found beneath where he saw the UFO on the night. No analysis of that material was released.

So I am sure the two men did visit Jim Templeton and, despite Nick Pope's view, not convinced they could not have been from the MoD.
nick redfern wrote several books in this subject, dint he?
 

CuriousIdent

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I agree with posts above on the subject of 'Men from the Ministry'. That's far more interesting than the photo itself. The notion that somebody absolutely was taking it seriously. Because while the photo itself likely was just a passer by (or similar) caught in the back of a photograph at the wrong/right moment that suggests that, regardless, somebody believed that that image bore a striking enough resemblance to some other genuinely recorded phenomena to warrant further official investigation.

That's a far more intriguing thing to know. :)
 
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dr wu

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After all the discussion it does seem fairly obvious this was either Mrs Templeton or the sister....but I can't imagine how the Templeton's didn't realize this themselves all those years ago. It's hard to imagine they actually believed it was something weird.
 

Analis

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Yes, that's the second photo to which I referred. It not only has the lady in it, again possibly unintentionally since there is only part of her, but also is again slightly on the tilt. Particularly noticeable both in this picture and the spaceman one is the cut of the dress around the lady's arm.

For me its 'case closed'.
Yet, this explanation falls short of the fact that it implies the notion that the woman was on tilts, on a (non-existant) mound or ascending slope, levitating... The laws of geometry, perspective and human morphology don't allow us a choice, they discount the explanation. You've stated once that we could see the same effect on your avatar, but in fact it would refutate this lead. The figure emerging in the background, filmed from a higher height, is clearly lower than the figure on the foreground. Moreover, the woman must've been at a greater distance, making even more impossible (if this has a sense) that it was an unnoticed Mrs Templeton. In fact, attempts at reconstructing the human being supposedly at the origin of the picture have produced comical results.
http://apegallery.angelfire.com/cumberland_spaceman/index.album/the-cumberland-man?i=4
http://apegallery.angelfire.com/cumberland_spaceman/index.album/this-is?i=6
http://apegallery.angelfire.com/cumberland_spaceman/index.album/cumberland?i=10

So, relating to this lead, I would say Dead end. Even the explanation by a bird 'frozen' by the photograph, although really unlikely, has more plausibility. In addition, while I can discern, with really a good amount of will to believe, a slight likeness of the mysterious figure with Mrs Templeton's dress , it lies in the eye of the beholder. Seeing Mrs Templeton uncannily whitened as well as a spaceman in the figure is in both cases a matter of pareidolia.
 

Cochise

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There's nothing wrong with the angles. It's what happens with that type of camera if it is tilted, and it clearly was if the (verbal) evidence to the effect that the surrounding land was flat is to be believed. The fuzziness is due to the camera being used with settings for a limited depth of field, as you do if taking a portrait .

I'm dead against superficial 'nothing to see here' explanations of the abnormal, too often it results (IMHO) in the possibility of real but rare things being ignored but in this one case I'm convinced.
 

Jayceedove

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After all the discussion it does seem fairly obvious this was either Mrs Templeton or the sister....but I can't imagine how the Templeton's didn't realize this themselves all those years ago. It's hard to imagine they actually believed it was something weird.

They were both absolutely adamant that it was not fabricated by them. This was what annoyed Jim more than anything because he was an official photographer working with the police on fire scene cases and, whilst he did have a bit of a history of creating trick photos (he showed me some) he made clear that there was absolutely nothing fake about this.

For a long time I assumed the most likely answer was that someone tricked him via a double exposure set up after the fact. Though Kodak supposedly felt it was definitely not a double exposure. Likely they were going to confess but then Jim - wary of the hoax idea settling on him and putting his work with the police in jeopardy - called the police in and asked them to investigate.

That would have wrong footed any joker and could well have seen them not confess in the way they had planned in case they were now charged by the police. Something they would never expect.

Whilst that still must be a possibility what really matters is that Jim's desire to prove his integrity to the police at the time likely saw him focus almost entirely on the hoax possibility. When I raised the issue of his other daughter or wife getting into the shot with them I got the impression it did not exactly catch them on the hop and was not something they had never considered, but that it clearly had not been a primary focus of their thinking at the time. Which I am sure was on the figure being someone in a suit (they talked about a fire suit as wore by those at Chapel Cross and did consider some kind of freak mirage from there as the weather that day was said by both of them to be 'unusual').

They both insisted they were aware of their whereabouts at the time of shot and it was not any of them because at the point where he was taking the best shots they were conscious of not getting in the way. But you cannot argue that this was not a possibility, though really that's all it is. The other shots show the potential. But, of course, also show his wife clearly recognisable even though angle and lighting of Elizabeth seem similar.

So I buy the solution as an option. But so is a hoax on him by someone who tampered with the film afterwards. Neither are perfect explanations but it really matters little as one of them seems sure to be correct as it clearly is not a paranormal event.

It is one of those cases that will be talked about in the next century and will likely only get resolved when someone builds a time machine, travels back in time to watch what happens.....

.....and accidentally gets into the shot and causes the very thing they went back to investigate. :)
 

Ermintruder

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annnnnndddddd.... i think we have the explanation right here
freaking time travelers
Whilst I don't think that this is being suggested by @Jayceedove as a literal solution to the Cumberland case (I'm sold on the simple overbleached mum explanation, but baffled by the visit(s) by members of Officialdom) I've often felt that the concept of non-extraterrestrial origins for at least some of mankind's curious visitations deserves a much-closer examination.

I'm amazed by the confident audacity of the time-travel hypothesis implicit within the overall Knight-Butler 'Who Built the Moon' proposition. Whilst I struggle to believe this suggestion (along with much else in the universe, I confess) no-one can say with absolute certainty that long-distant future technologies will not be able to view (or visit) the past that is our present.

I've always favoured the Wellsian perspective on postulated time-travel, and that is that if it works, it can just be damn-well got on with. No deflections and confusions regarding timeline paradoxes or causal loops (Bradbury's butterfly has much to answer for).

In which case, Marty's Mutated Morlocks may indeed be clumsily-visiting us, from far beyond the year 802,701 BCE
 
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humanoidlord

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Whilst I don't think that this is being suggested by @Jayceedove as a literal solution to the Cumberland case (I'm sold on the simple overbleached mum explanation, but baffled by the visit(s) by members of Officialdom) I've often felt that the concept of non-extraterrestrial origins for at least some of mankind's curious visitations deserves a much-closer examination.

I'm amazed by the confident audacity of the time-travel hypothesis implicit within the overall Knight-Butler 'Who Built the Moon' proposition. Whilst I struggle to believe this suggestion (along with much else in the universe, I confess) no-one can say with absolute certainty that long-distant future technologies will not be able to view (or visit) the past that is our present.

I've always favoured the Wellsian perspective on postulated time-travel, and that is that if it works, it can just be damn-well got on with. No deflections and confusions regarding timeline paradoxes or causal loops (Bradbury's butterfly has much to answer for).

In which case, Marty's Mutated Morlocks may indeed be clumsily-visiting us, from far beyond the year 802,701 BCE

(ps did I post previously about a curious incident supposedly occuring in the 1500s/1600s, in the Tower of London? A long-duration bright light appearing above or near the Crown Jewels....was this confirmed as being part of a sci-fi short story, or was it a reported actual experience?)
i was just jpking but yeah ufos are likely an interdimensional phenomena
also could you tell me about this story of the crown jewels?
 

GNC

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The One Show tackles the CS:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09ql6z8/the-one-show-07022018

Go to 42 minutes in. They try to recreate the pic, but oddly don't mention the treated version of the original that blows the spaceman theory out of the water. Doesn't explain the MIBs, though. Needed more Jenny Randles! She did an excellent BBC programme on the case about 25 years ago and could have brought them up to speed.
 
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