At the time of the 1995 Cannes film festival Spyros, a film-maker and magician, sent faxes to Warner Bros. and EMI offering his services. He also sent one to Ray Santilli, who happened to be a neighbour of his. The two men met at Cannes, and after a couple of bottles of wine Santilli boasted that he had an ‘alien autopsy’ film. He showed it, and Spyros declared that it was the worst thing he had ever seen. Filmed in Milton Keynes, it featured an alien with a papier-mâché head, and was shot on low-band video, which did not exist in 1947.
Back in London, he discussed the matter with his friend John Humphreys, a sculptor and special effects man, whose best known creation was ‘Max Headroom’ TV character. They agreed that they could do a better hoax than the one Santilli had shown. Due to the secrecy required, they involved as few people as possible. Spyros’s then girlfriend, ‘Geraldine’, did research into how an autopsy might have been conducted in Roswell in 1947. Her thoroughness led her to discover that there were no pathologists in the military stationed there, so that any autopsy would have been conducted by the base surgeon, who would have gone about it quite differently to a pathologist.
Humphrey’s ten-year-old son acted as a template for a mould, around which a latex alien was formed. The head was sculpted separately to make it bulbous, and the hands and feet to give her six toes and fingers on each. She was a toothless female because teeth and male genitals proved too difficult to make. The brains were actually sheep’s brains bought in a butcher’s.
Spyros did everything to make the set realistic. Geraldine discovered that at that time, British pathologists would have used tools with wooden handles, but in America they would have been all stainless steel. She had some good luck at a government library in Marylebone. Discussing the matter with a librarian, he said that his late father had collected antique medical instruments, and he himself had kept them in his cellar. She said that she wanted to photograph some for an unspecified project, and he lent her an authentic set.
The room in a Roswell military base in 1947 was actually assembled in an upstairs room of a derelict house in Camden, north London. Personally, I would expect that if such an autopsy had really been filmed, it would have been with a fixed camera at one side of the room. Instead, it was done with a hand held camera obviously held close up to the surgeons as they worked, apparently oblivious to it. Again, one might expect it to be continuous, but the result had gaps which were to allow the actors a tea break.
Subsequent viewers do not seem to have queried those things, but Geraldine said that the film, as first shot, could not be used, because it was the way that pathologists would have done it, which was quite different to those of a surgeon. So they filmed it again the next day. This time, the new latex alien developed a bubble before setting, which left a hole in her right leg. A doctor who later saw the result declared that it was a bullet exit wound, showing that a soldier had shot her from behind.
Now, there are some pictures and videos that one suspects to be fakes, but cannot see how they might have been forged. An interesting example is the ‘Photo 19’ of Ed Walters, said to have been taken on 12 January 1988. Now, he took several UFO pictures which might well have been a small model saucer suspended from a piece of invisible thread. But this particular one shows it hovering over a road, with a light underneath creating a pool of light on the tarmac. This must be at least fifty yards away from the car (it was evidently photographed through a windscreen, as some minor reflections can be seen on it). He says that, shortly after taking it, “Five beings were then deposited on the road.” The fact that he did not manage to photograph those is highly suspicious, but I have never been able to work out how he might have got the pool of light to appear on the road.
In the same way, though I never had any belief the Alien Autopsy film, I could not understand how come it was examined by experts from Kodak and elsewhere who confirmed that it was nearly fifty years old. The film edge markings, a square and a triangle, show that it was made in 1947. That in itself does not prove when it was shot or processed, but it was pointed out that it was Super XX-Panchromatic 16mm Safety Film, which was unstable and had a lifetime of no more than two years. This eliminated the possibility that someone in the 1990s had got hold of an unexposed reel of film from the 1940s.
The explanation turns out to be quite simple: Spyros had acquired an actual film from 1947, which showed a baseball match, but it was not obvious from the opening sequence what it was about. He cut this at a point before the original subject became apparent, onto which he spliced his own footage. The experts had only examined the first few frames.
Spyros made it on a budget of £35,000, which is not much compared to the $33 million it has made, though unfortunately this money has not come to him. Experts have since devised explanations for apparent inconsistencies. She had no navel because they reproduce by cloning, for example. Numerous people have adopted the name: one can buy ‘Alien Autopsy soap’ and there is an Alien Autopsy pop band.
A book by Spyros Melaris is due to come out in October. He has not yet decided on a title, because so many people have appropriated ‘Alien Autopsy’. -- Gareth J. Medway