UFO Conjectures

Thursday, December 30, 2010

UFOs’ Attendant Mysteries


Armakan, in a comment for Anthony Bragalia’s posting here (below) about the myth of man-man flying saucers, bemoans such topics as he (Solway Firth) Cumberland “spaceman” photo taken by James Templeton in May of 1964.

This, for us, is the problem with “ufology” and those who think they are researchers in the scientific tradition, no offense to Armakan particularly.

The Templeton “spaceman” photo provides a slew of mysteries, some of which have nothing to do with UFOs per se.


There is the “image” that looks like a spaceman, of course, but one mystery, aside from the obvious one – Is it really a “spaceman”? – has to do with the photo itself. How did the photo occur; that is, how did it capture photographically? What caused the image? A photographic anomaly? A flaw in the camera? A flaw in the film? A flaw in the processing?

Then there are the “witness” mysteries: why didn’t Templeton or his wife (or daughters) see the image-maker – the so-called “spaceman”? Why didn’t others in the area see anything or anyone that could have been the cause of the “image.”

And what about the story that in Woomera, Australia, where Blue Streak missiles, like those launched near Solway Firth, two beings, similar to that in the Templeton photo, were spotted during a launch of a Blue Streak missile in the Solway Firth time-frame, May 24th, 25th, 1964? Is the story apocryphal? Or is it substantial?


(For us, the one-month – to the day – earlier sighting by Lonnie Zamora in Socorro, New Mexico, of two beings, clothed like the Templeton “spaceman,” outside a craft is interesting, mysterious.)


This just an example of elements in a UFO event that may have meaning, of various kinds, but are eschewed by UFO mavens and investigators, because the mysteries seem – and we accent the word “seem” – to have nothing to do with the ufological and debunker mind-sets – that UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin or just a lot of hooey.

If an episode, like the Templeton excursion, is not rife with clues to an ET explanation or is not an outright hoax or fraud, it should be dismissed some UFO aficionados say, while other incidents should be kept on the front burner, because they allow debates where those who want notoriety or a stab at 15 minutes of fame can try to acquire either by showcasing some kind of faux knowledge about things UFO related.

The UFO phenomenon opens inquiries of many kinds. In the Roswell event, one can study the mental faculties of witnesses, long-term memory loss or the mixture of reality with false memory for instance.


The phenomenon also allows a study of government intrigue and waywardness.

The phenomenon also provides insight to the ufological mind -- the hubris, the insanity, the fanaticism, the need to be noticed.

That some, like those who visit this blog, would compartmentalize the UFO phenomenon, goes to the heart of why the phenomenon remains unresolved and devoid of details that other sciences pile up to augment hypotheses or theories.

No, we won’t dismiss the Templeton “spaceman” photo or Roswell or Rendlesham or Socorro, among other interesting, mysterious events.

They are, in the Sherlock Holmes scheme of things, curiosities that intrigue the baffled mind, of which we are a collective example.



  • No offense taken, and a reasoned reply at that.

    However, I think doing this we (as the UFO/ET community) come dangerously close to turning into Mulder from the X-Files, denoting anything mysterious to somehow intertwine with the UFO phenomenon. Luckily for him, the X-Files were fiction, so he was always right :P

    To me, this is a fine line which can be crossed haphazardly, and we start making connections between the Loch Ness monster or sasquatch and aliens ("is it an ET pet?") Pretty soon, trying to connect mysteries such as these to the UFO phenomenon makes us like the mainstream UFO "advocates" (UFO Hunters anyone?), and then we further pidgen hole ourselves into the fringe and become even more of a laughingstock.

    My thoughts are we need to focus on what's able to be connected to the phenomenon at a rational level. I'd say there'd be more to the argument of connecting the spaceman photos if, say, there were evidence of the Woomera sighting (photo or video, not hearsay), or if, say, there was a UFO sighting simultaneous with the spaceman sighting. Until then, it seems to me to just be wishful thinking and trying to make puzzle pieces from a different puzzle fit into the already muddled UFO puzzle.

    So, I'm not saying these mysteries shouldn't be persued, but until more hard evidence is present, it seems like folly to try and connect them to the UFO/ET phenomenon. Just my two cents :)

    By Blogger Armakan, at Thursday, December 30, 2010  

  • Armakan:

    You are exactly right, in that, like a bad conversationalist, one shouldn't digress.

    That is, one shouldn't be distracted by peripheral elements of a UFO event.

    However, there does seem to be enough circumstantial minutiae with the Templeton photo that makes it interestng, if not for its UFO aspect but in other ways.

    Yes, we have been sent on a goose chase because of the resurrected spaceman photo, but we think there's enough strangeness to warrant a second or third look at the episode.

    However, we do find that persons who dealt with it initially -- Andy Roberts and David Clarke, to name two -- have moved on, seeing the story (and photo) as meaningless, in the UFO scheme of things.

    So you are in good company...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, December 30, 2010  

  • There sure are quite a few jabs within your article and reply to my comment that are subtle enough to be wrote off, but obviously insulting. I find it interesting the sort of snobbery that's associated with having differing opinions with the authors of this blog. And yet, I continue to return, because its still the best dialog on the subject I've seen. I think its interesting you'd make a comment that says basically people like me are what's wrong with UFOlogy, in that I'm looking for hard evidence, and scientific-style inquiry. I'd argue its people like me who attempt to keep this topic as well grounded as possible in fact. Sure, there may be something to the photos, and who knows, it could be ET. But if the goal of this blog is to get the topic of UFOs taken a bit more seriously, I think obsessing over a strange photograph is a bit wasteful, and not to the point. I seriously doubt anything more can be squeezed from the Templeton photos, but no doubt if anyone tries, it shall be you guys. If there's ever a connection proved with ET, I shall be the first to admit being incorrect. Until then, research away...

    By Blogger Armakan, at Thursday, December 30, 2010  

  • Armakan:

    I think the latent testiness of my response has more to do with the stress of the holidays than anything you've written.

    You'll excuse me I hope.

    One can easily get mired down or side-tracked by irrelevant material that has no relevancy to UFOs, even when that material is part of an incident.

    We do it all the time.

    But, often, in science or "ufology," there reside clues that are overlooked in the haste to be first with supposition.

    (This happens all the time in media where journalists and their bosses will do anything to scoop competitors, often overlooking or ignoring the meat on a story's bone.)

    What fascinates me about the "spaceman" photo is the apparent sincerity of Templeton.

    He strikes me as a completely honest bloke, who is truly baffled by the thing in his photograph.

    That aside, the Woomera incident, real or not, also intrigues, as a fraud or as a real tale.

    The psychology of it resonates.

    So, don't take our sh*tty elitism seriously.

    It's a facade we foster to keep the intellectually faint-hearted away from our blogs.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, December 30, 2010  

  • "However, there does seem to be enough circumstantial minutiae with the Templeton photo that makes it interestng, if not for its UFO aspect but in other ways."

    The only aspect worth determining is whether it was a deliberate hoax or whether the Templetons were merely inattentive.

    I've become less interested in the images than in the failure of the investigators to do any investigating, as evidenced by the Randles video, and yours and TemplarScribes' posts.

    I haven't paid much attention to ufologists on any case I've looked into, preferring to research the original material. By bringing this case to my attention, I had to look at ufologist methods for the first time. It is not a pretty thing.

    Has any investigator researched the original story -- for example, the Kodak connection? If they have, they haven't published it.

    Has any investigator interviewed the daughters? Identified the two old women sitting in their car?

    Has any investigator
    actually seen the negatives? Asked to see them? Have they had anything to say about the other two photos said to have been shot in close succession?

    Instead, they hop off to Blue Streak and Woomera, based on nothing besides a will to believe and their lack of investigatorial gravitas.

    "He [Templeton] strikes me as a completely honest bloke, who is truly baffled by the thing in his photograph.

    Then we can assume he kept the precious negatives and didn't misplace or lose them.

    According to Templeton supporter TemplarScribe: "I did note that in one of the interviews Mr. Templeton gave, he said the local paper borrowed the negative in order to make a print to
    send to Woomera for comparison to the image they had there of the two
    tall Men in White (MIW) who interrupted their Blue Streak launch on the same day. So, it's possible that either Mr. Templeton or the Cumbria News still has that negative."

    Well yes, it is possible. Has any investigator asked? And if the negative has been 'lost' or 'misplaced', then what about the other two negatives.

    I doubt the negatives will ever see the light of day.

    Blaming ufologists and their "ufo scheme of things" can not cover up that the Templeton supporters are adverse to simple investigatorial procedure and doing good research.

    Has anyone besides myself actually looked at these images? No. I mean really.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, December 31, 2010  

  • Don:

    We've never professed to be UFO researchers.

    We are merely curious humans who like the odd and profane.

    I agree that when the Templeton incident/photo appeared there was little real investigation as has been the case with many UFO sightings or UFO related events.

    Looking at the photograph, which you alone have done, evidently, does little to resolve the Woomera connection, which is real or not --no one has pursued that matter seriously either.

    We are scouring for more information from the time period, 1964, and looking for substantive addenda.

    Trying to capture more information by chastising those who dealt with the story, way back when, is futile, even though it makes us (and you) feel better by excoriating the original investigators.

    I get the impression you are trying to make a mark in ufology.

    But I don't see anything substantial from you in the matter either, except for interesting questions and appropriate badgering.

    Templeton, for me, was not a hoaxer or dishonest man, looking for publicity.

    The photo is strange.

    The Woomera incident, whether fiction of real, intrigues.

    That's it.

    Nothing about the photo or incident answers the UFO riddle.

    It's just a curiosity, about which we will not get as worked up as you seem to be.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, December 31, 2010  

  • "But I don't see anything substantial from you in the matter either..."

    You sound like Kevin Randle who responded to my pointing out the lack of Roswell researchers' establishing simple provenance for their claims, with the same.

    What have I done?

    1. Presented a second photo which no one paid any attention to no matter they viewed the video.

    2. Determined how Mr Templeton could have missed seeing the white figure (the camera has a non-return mirror).

    3. Identified the lens or shutter flaw in Mr Templeton's camera.

    4. Pointed out the difference in the shadows in the two photographs.

    5. Indentified evidence of the white figure in the 2nd photograph

    6. ...when the negatives are made available, I will name number 6.

    So, Rich, what have you done?

    "I get the impression you are trying to make a mark in ufology."

    Heh. Screw ufology.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, December 31, 2010  

  • Don:

    I've always given you credit for perceptive queries.

    You make some interesting observations about the photo(s), but we are still discussing the matter so there is no resolution.

    I'm not here to make a mark or establish a ufological credibility.

    I'm just a guy who finds little (and some BIG) mysteries captivating.

    The Templeton photo is one of those little mysteries.

    There are too many important matters in the world and one's personal life to get overly exercised by UFO detritus, of which the "spaceman" photo is an example.

    I like your questions, and your persistence in trying to resolve some UFO matters.

    But you are often casting pearls before swine. (I think you know that.)

    Cleaning the ufological platter clean is a futile effort.

    The topic continues to attract nuts and crazies, of which we may be part.

    Keep at it -- keep us on the straight and narrow.

    And, as always, thanks for your suitable comeuppances.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Friday, December 31, 2010  

  • Rich, my interest is not ufology. It is simply the 1947 flying disc wave. That also means the interest is in the public material about it, and not secret, conspiratorial stuff. I read lots of old newspapers, is all.

    Add to my a general disinterest in ufos, my unconcern about ET -- I am not trying to prove or disprove ET or anything else, and you do not have the makings of a ufologist here.

    I sympathize with Gust, Loedding, and Hynek in the Rhodes case (1947-1949). Their complaints about the CIC's failure to report the essentials of the case mirrors my complaints about ufologists' crappy reports of their investigations of, at least, Roswell and Rhodes.

    I find that interesting and worth the six months I've just spent on research (which, btw, put me out of pocket $3.95).



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Friday, December 31, 2010  

  • The ufo baseline for me is that they are not human made. The proof is their existence prior, by at least centuries, to our ability to even imagine such objects in language where "ET" or "UFO" would be meaningless.

    What is important about the 1947 wave is it is the moment when the ufo phenomenon become embedded in our society. In the past ufos may have had a local notoriety, but in 1947 it was global, easily crossing all borders and boundaries.

    There is also the persistence of information over time due to modern technologies and democratic political systems. Events are no longer forgotten as soon as the last participant has died (in eras of short life-expentancy to begin with), or available only in rare manuscripts to an elite.

    How people conceptualize the ufo phenomenon, whether they saw one or only read about them, rather than what the phenomenon is, is where my interest lies.

    Since the "secret" is the "aliens", not ours, and the alien hasn't seen fit to inform us, there is nothing outside our concepts to study. We veil the phenomenon in the analogies and metaphors available to us.

    We are a language-bound species.



    By Blogger Sourcerer, at Saturday, January 01, 2011  

  • I fail to see how the Templetons "not seeing anyone else around" can be used as evidence that the photo shows something "extraordinary".

    The story as traditionally told (or at least, as I've always heard it until recently) was that Mr. Templeton was "alone with his daughter" when the photo was taken, and therefore no one could have walked into frame.

    I only found out recently that his wife AND other daughter were there too. Instead of bolstering the "they couldn't all have missed seeing someone" claim, I think this actually makes it easier to explain the presence of... well, someone in the photo.

    Isn't it conceivable that the older daughter wandered behind her younger sister, momentarily unnoticed, when the photo was taken? Of course it is.

    If the figure IS the older daughter, someone more technically proficient than I would have to explain why she looks the way she does.

    (Although, in the photo of her lying on her ground, her dress looks quite a bit "whiter" in some areas than it does in others; I can also see a line at the figure's shoulder which matches the sleeveless dress the older daughter was wearing).

    If the figure in the photo is indeed a washed-out image of the older sister, then no connections to any other "extraordinary" events can be made.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Wednesday, January 12, 2011  

  • Matt:

    Check out some of the previous postings and comments here about the "spaceman" photo.

    You raise some interesting points, as have others, which help keep the
    mystery somewhat alive.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, January 12, 2011  

  • I've seen many of the other Cumberland postings on here - in fact, that's where I learned that the wife and older sister were with him.

    I haven't yet heard anyone suggest that the figure is the older sister. But it makes a lot of the objections to it being a real person there on the scene vanish.

    As I've said though, I am not technically proficient enough to investigate the matter further.

    By Blogger Matt G. (NYC), at Wednesday, January 12, 2011  

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