The “Real” Solway Firth Spaceman

Jim Annie Templeton camera spaceman photo

Jim Templeton taken around 1964

It’s now 50 years since a local Cumbrian man takes one of the most extraordinary and debated UFO photo’s, of the 20th century.

It was May 23, 1964 and a local Cumbrian (UK) firefighter called – Jim Templeton, took his wife Annie & daughters Elizabeth & Francis to Burgh Marsh, an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Solway Coast – approximately eight miles west of Carlisle, Cumbria (UK).

Before Jim Templeton set foot there, Burgh Marsh’s claim to fame was as the site where King Edward I died in 1307 of dysentery on his way back from Scotland.

Jim, who was an amateur photographer wanted to take some photos, especially of their daughter Elizabeth’s new dress, with his Kodak SLR – a KODAcolour X set – 100th of a second at f16. Elizabeth posed for him sitting on the grass what was to become one of the most remarkable photographic mysteries – ever.

As best as I have been able to pin down from interviews with Jim, this is very near to the location of the photo on the Marsh. Strangely enough, the location of the photo is marked out by a huge concrete arrow – which the bomber crews used in practice runs, during WWII :

burgh marsh concrete arrow

Google Streetview :


View Larger Map

A few days later, Jim sent the photos off to his local chemist, who in turn sent them to Kodak and whilst popping into the local Photographic depot (then on West Walls, Carlisle) to collect the developed snaps, the manager remarked to Jim that the photo’s had come out well, on the new Kodak gold film. Here is one of the three :

One of three cumberland spaceman photo's

But, the manager remarked, it was a pity about one of the photo’s spoiled by the “big man” behind her.

The famous Photo - click for bigger link

The famous Photo – click for bigger link

The figure appeared to be standing right behind Elizabeth and at an angle, how had Jim not noticed this bizarre tall figure encroaching his shot?

Jim and his family said that they never saw another person on the marsh (bar two old ladies sitting in a car on the road knitting, some distance away), and this mysterious figure wasn’t in any of the other photographs Jim had taken.

He also said that all of the family – wife Annie and daughter Francis had been standing to his rear and that only photographee – Elizabeth, had been in the shot.

He had snapped three pictures and only the middle photo of the three, had this figure on it. (The third of the 3 photos is not in the public domain!).

The story could have ended there but word soon got round and the photo made the local Cumberland Newspaper, which sold out and then the national papers followed.

The photo was also passed to the Carlisle police and sent on to Penrith, Cumbria – where photographic experts studied it and finally, Kodak – who checked the camera for faults and the original negative for signs of overexposure, faulty stock and/or tampering – they found nothing.

The photograph was then sent by the Cumberland News team ‘down under’ following a request and was published in Australian newspapers, soon after. The Australians contacted Jim directly and requested a copy of the negative of the picture.

Shortly after this, Jim reported that a Technician from the ‘Blue Streak missile project’ in Australia contacted him and told him they had spotted similar looking figures, wandering around the launchpad, during an aborted countdown on May 23rd (the same day).

bluestreak missile woomera australiaWoomera, Australia was the launch site of a big space project called Blue Streak. When the site was checked later by security staff, no person or tracks could be found, the operator who had reported the incident was then sent on leave.

This incident allegedly happened within hours of Jim snapping his photograph, on the otherside of the world.

Later, Jim learned that rockets used for the Blue Streak project were being manufactured at RAF Spadeadam, England about 25 miles east from Burgh Marsh on the English/Scottish border.

The picture and negative was exhaustively examined by Police and then Kodak’s experts for any signs of tampering or hoax but none could be found :

news-and-star-original-article-spaceman-investigation

KODAK
also offered a reward of free film for a year, to any person that could solve the mystery. As to how this figure got into the picture. To this day the reward lies unclaimed.

This is where the legend of the Cumberland Spaceman was born.

Recent recreation of the Cumberland Spaceman PhotoStranger still, Jim was then visited by two dark suited strangers. Who claimed to be Government officials and who drove a dark Jaguar car. They pulled Jim out of his day job at the Carlisle fire station, to direct them to the site where the photo was taken.

They asked Jim to show the exact spot of the photograph and quizzed Jim about weather conditions, had he seen any local people or animal activity on the day? Jim pointed out that the animals on the Marsh which usually roamed its entirety, stayed huddled down one end on the day.

The men then asked Jim if he had seen an Alien, to which Jim replied he hadn’t actually seen anything whilst taking the photo.

It was at that point the men retreated to their car and promptly drove off and leaving Jim with a 5 mile hike back to the firestation.

Australian reporters wanted to view the blue streak film taken on the May 23rd, but were told it was missing from the archive where it was usually stored.

About a year later, Jim and Elizabeth returned to the marsh and took more photo’s. They sent them off as normal but the negatives were returned unprocessed with a letter advising as such. For a while, Jim said he had to send photos to be processed under the name of his neighbours.

The only known fact in this case, is the photo has never been conclusively proved to be fake and Jim has never attempted to make any serious money from it.

Spaceman

My Spaceman produced vids :

Now read my own investigations into the mysterious Spaceman incident, below :


Investigations Into The Solway Spaceman Photo- My Own Investigation
Spaceman/Woomera/Blue Streak incident – The Spaceman On The Launch Pad In Australia
The Men In Black Visit Jim Templeton – A look at the MIB incident
Jim Templeton – Bio/Obituary

Additional Reading
Also of interest taken from the News and Star website 13 August 2011

An MoD official recently responded to the paper in regard to MOD Files on the incident, that the Templeton photo was of no interest to the MoD and added: “With regard to a photograph taken of a space-suited figure by Mr James Templeton of Carlisle in 1964, if such information has survived, it will now be open for viewing at The National Archives.”

MOD files were routinely destroyed after five years until 1967 when they were generally preserved for the National Archives. A few have survived before 1967 and these together with records up to 1977 are now available for public viewing.

The National Archives can be contacted at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU or telephone, 020 8876 3444.

The National Archives also have a website giving information about the records they hold and how to access them at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk. > The Ministry of Defence

Freedom of Information website also contains some released information on UFOs. This can be accessed via the internet at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence/about/publication-scheme


Comments

The “Real” Solway Firth Spaceman — 30 Comments

  1. Hmm, quite the mystery.  Who is the elusive Spaceman?  Personally I always had my doubts about The Stig  :)  That video clip is pretty interesting too, though the only real proof it brought to light is to the theory that you can never expect to get a word in edgeways once you’ve got ol’ man Jim reminiscing!

  2. Hmm, quite the mystery.  Who is the elusive Spaceman?  Personally I always had my doubts about The Stig  :)  That video clip is pretty interesting too, though the only real proof it brought to light is to the theory that you can never expect to get a word in edgeways once you’ve got ol’ man Jim reminiscing!

  3. (Brasil:) Alguém parou para pensar que a imagem do homem na foto pode ter sido inserida no estúdio fotográfico por algum funcionário no momento da revelação?

  4. (Brasil:) Alguém parou para pensar que a imagem do homem na foto pode ter sido inserida no estúdio fotográfico por algum funcionário no momento da revelação?

  5. According to the book Out of the Shadows by Dr David Clarke the photo is a fake. The photo was analysed by a Roger Green of Bradford University who concluded that “the photo was a composite made using some superimposition technique”.

    However Dr Clarke does not believe that Jim Templeton faked it himself. Jim Templeton had a reputation as a bit of a practial joker and was well known by the staff where he got the photos developed. Dr Clarke believes that they faked the photos as a way of getting thier own back, and were going to tell Mr Templeton later. However the whole thing quickly got out of hand, and after all the attention the photo attracted they felt they had no option but to keep quiet.

    As for the M.I.B, Nick Pope believes they were civilians impersonating MoD officials for their own ends.

        

  6. According to the book Out of the Shadows by Dr David Clarke the photo is a fake. The photo was analysed by a Roger Green of Bradford University who concluded that “the photo was a composite made using some superimposition technique”.

    However Dr Clarke does not believe that Jim Templeton faked it himself. Jim Templeton had a reputation as a bit of a practial joker and was well known by the staff where he got the photos developed. Dr Clarke believes that they faked the photos as a way of getting thier own back, and were going to tell Mr Templeton later. However the whole thing quickly got out of hand, and after all the attention the photo attracted they felt they had no option but to keep quiet.

    As for the M.I.B, Nick Pope believes they were civilians impersonating MoD officials for their own ends.

        

  7. I watched the film. Interesting but there are glaring inconsistencies between what is said by him and the written evidence. The female researcher mentioned about the ‘hovering objects spotted at the blue streak launch’, yet mr templeton stated that he was told ‘2 large men in the firing area dressed space suits’, similar to his spaceman, were spotted in woomera ( not objects as stated in the film by the interviewer)and they had to stop the launch. The report in Australia in fact makes no mention of spacemen, but does appear to refer to an extraordinary object hovering nearby, not 2 men in spacesuits. Also,the photo was taken on a coastal marsh, which is at least 20 miles away from where the blue streak was getting assembled, and not in the direction in which the photo was taken.The reporter says the film missing was dated the same week as mr templeton’s photo was taken,not the same day.

  8. I watched the film. Interesting but there are glaring inconsistencies between what is said by him and the written evidence. The female researcher mentioned about the ‘hovering objects spotted at the blue streak launch’, yet mr templeton stated that he was told ‘2 large men in the firing area dressed space suits’, similar to his spaceman, were spotted in woomera ( not objects as stated in the film by the interviewer)and they had to stop the launch. The report in Australia in fact makes no mention of spacemen, but does appear to refer to an extraordinary object hovering nearby, not 2 men in spacesuits. Also,the photo was taken on a coastal marsh, which is at least 20 miles away from where the blue streak was getting assembled, and not in the direction in which the photo was taken.The reporter says the film missing was dated the same week as mr templeton’s photo was taken,not the same day.

  9. In my opinion (you may think this is slightly far-fetched), this figure is a time-traveller – from the future. Whoever this person is comes from an age where time travel is possible, and they have also mastered invisibility for the human form through a practical white suit. The invisibility factor would allow this person to go around the laws or the paradox because he can therefore not be seen by anyone and in turn, alter the future. However, obviously it is not invisible to the eye of a camera and that’s why he can be seen in the picture above. I would appreciate if you would spend the time to e-mail me back with your opinions, zidaniel99@hotmail.co.uk

  10. In my opinion (you may think this is slightly far-fetched), this figure is a time-traveller – from the future. Whoever this person is comes from an age where time travel is possible, and they have also mastered invisibility for the human form through a practical white suit. The invisibility factor would allow this person to go around the laws or the paradox because he can therefore not be seen by anyone and in turn, alter the future. However, obviously it is not invisible to the eye of a camera and that’s why he can be seen in the picture above. I would appreciate if you would spend the time to e-mail me back with your opinions, zidaniel99@hotmail.co.uk

  11. Hi Zidaniel,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I have always looked for the rational explanation with this. but have always been careful never to pour scorn on the ‘otherworldly’ theory. I mean we have nothing to measure it against but that doesn’t mean its too fantastically to be true and that’s for me where the Spaceman mystery gets its interest from. It’s never yet been proven as a fake.
    The other thing about the otherworldly theory is to discount it would be playing into the hands of human arrogance, there are things we think we understand so we attach theories to them which are never challenged. There is also much we do not yet understand about the Universe.
    If you are interested in some further reading on it, check out the solway/cumberland Spaceman threads on David Icke forum, the otherworldy aspect is the main topic.
    Any ideas you have I would love to hear.

    Dave Armitage

    —– Reply message —–

  12. Hi Zidaniel,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I have always looked for the rational explanation with this. but have always been careful never to pour scorn on the ‘otherworldly’ theory. I mean we have nothing to measure it against but that doesn’t mean its too fantastically to be true and that’s for me where the Spaceman mystery gets its interest from. It’s never yet been proven as a fake.
    The other thing about the otherworldly theory is to discount it would be playing into the hands of human arrogance, there are things we think we understand so we attach theories to them which are never challenged. There is also much we do not yet understand about the Universe.
    If you are interested in some further reading on it, check out the solway/cumberland Spaceman threads on David Icke forum, the otherworldy aspect is the main topic.
    Any ideas you have I would love to hear.

    Dave Armitage

    —– Reply message —–

  13. OMG. I am not even kidding, my mum’s friend has a photo exactly like this that her dad took when she was younger. I’ll try and get in contact with her to see if she can locate it and if she knows where it was taken. It is a picture of some scenery and there is a spaceman in the shot!

  14. OMG. I am not even kidding, my mum’s friend has a photo exactly like this that her dad took when she was younger. I’ll try and get in contact with her to see if she can locate it and if she knows where it was taken. It is a picture of some scenery and there is a spaceman in the shot!

  15. Not to steal your thunder for putting together a well-researched sight, but the only really mysterious aspect of this case is why people continue to assume Jim Templeton’s word is infallible.

    The photo itself can be explained by a normal human being standing with their back to the camera, wearing any number of clothing items (the lack of clear focus makes positive ID on their fashion sense difficult :p) and only Mr. Templeton’s claims suggest this is not the case.  There is no evidence to show that he took these photos in such quick succession that no passerby could butt in, there is no evidence that his family was the only one in the vicinity at the time, there is no evidence that any shadowy men ever picked him up and harassed him, and there is no evidence his ‘spaceman’ was ever in Woomera.  This needn’t make him a liar, for if he was completely oblivious to the presence of this other person, his statements and reaction to the photo have the ring of truth about them.

    Personally I believe that Mr Templeton was so fixated on his lovely daughter that he did not notice the white-clad person ambling about, that the odd shape and spooky ‘infiltration’ aroused his curiousity, and once the media ran with the story, that he dare not suggest it might just be a fella in a white top, for fear of ridicule and the loss of public interest, and let’s face it, it’s nice to be interesting.

  16. Not to steal your thunder for putting together a well-researched sight, but the only really mysterious aspect of this case is why people continue to assume Jim Templeton’s word is infallible.

    The photo itself can be explained by a normal human being standing with their back to the camera, wearing any number of clothing items (the lack of clear focus makes positive ID on their fashion sense difficult :p) and only Mr. Templeton’s claims suggest this is not the case.  There is no evidence to show that he took these photos in such quick succession that no passerby could butt in, there is no evidence that his family was the only one in the vicinity at the time, there is no evidence that any shadowy men ever picked him up and harassed him, and there is no evidence his ‘spaceman’ was ever in Woomera.  This needn’t make him a liar, for if he was completely oblivious to the presence of this other person, his statements and reaction to the photo have the ring of truth about them.

    Personally I believe that Mr Templeton was so fixated on his lovely daughter that he did not notice the white-clad person ambling about, that the odd shape and spooky ‘infiltration’ aroused his curiousity, and once the media ran with the story, that he dare not suggest it might just be a fella in a white top, for fear of ridicule and the loss of public interest, and let’s face it, it’s nice to be interesting.

  17. The camera used was not a Kodak, but one of the East German Zeiss Jena Contax/Pentacon F series with large wind-knobs. (For details of this camera series see: http://www.praktica-collector.de/100_Contax_F.htm) The Pentacon F was the decendant of the Contax S, an early series-production SLR, first released in 1950. I use a 1951 Contax S, so I am quite familiar with this design. As the camera used in the spaceman pictures has large wind knobs it can’t have been made before 1956.

    I believe the “Kodak SLR” reference is erroneous and is a conflation of the film’s manufacturer with that of the camera. Kodak did market a range of SLR’s from 1959 onwards, but these were the West German Nagel-manufactured “Retina Reflex” series and have a very different appearance to the camera in the images on the cumberland spaceman site, with a selenium meter cell on the right front of the camera and a plain top cover with bottom lever film advance, not knobs on top. (For more detail see; http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kodak_Retina_Reflex)

    One of the features of the Contax S/D/ Pentacon F is that it has a primitive plain-glass view screen (Steven’s Screen) for focussing, which makes the finder image quite dim and only really sharp in the centre.

    The viewfinder image is quite restricted and shows approximately 70% of the full 24×36 mm frame of the 135 film format. Any modern SLR would have a brighter viewfinder covering at least 92% of the frame.

    Therefore an object at the very edge of the frame may not be seen before taking the picture.

    Another limitation is that the Contax/Pentacon F also does not have an “instant return mirror”, so once the photographer presses the shutter release the viewfinder goes black and stays that way until the camera is re-wound for the next shot.

    The lens appears to be a Zeiss Jena 58mm Biotar with a maximum aperture of f/2.0. These were (are) superb professional quality coated lenses of a double-Gauss design and easily match a modern DSLR lens for image quality. 2/58mm Zeiss Biotar’s are highly sought-after today and can fetch hundreds of pounds in good condition for use on DSLR’s. With such a top-quality coated optic I really doubt that the “spaceman” image is a result of internal reflections or an optical flaw, particularly as the rest of the images on the roll came out properly exposed and without artifacts.

    So in summation the relevant technical issues are:

    1) the view finder image is quite dim
    2) the viewfinder only shows 70% of the frame
    3) once the shutter is fired, the viewfinder goes black
    4) lens used was of professional quality

    In conclusion, if an object or person appeared at the edge of the frame immediately before the shutter was fired or during the taking of the image, the photographer may not have known about it. 

  18. The camera used was not a Kodak, but one of the East German Zeiss Jena Contax/Pentacon F series with large wind-knobs. (For details of this camera series see: http://www.praktica-collector.de/100_Contax_F.htm) The Pentacon F was the decendant of the Contax S, an early series-production SLR, first released in 1950. I use a 1951 Contax S, so I am quite familiar with this design. As the camera used in the spaceman pictures has large wind knobs it can’t have been made before 1956.

    I believe the “Kodak SLR” reference is erroneous and is a conflation of the film’s manufacturer with that of the camera. Kodak did market a range of SLR’s from 1959 onwards, but these were the West German Nagel-manufactured “Retina Reflex” series and have a very different appearance to the camera in the images on the cumberland spaceman site, with a selenium meter cell on the right front of the camera and a plain top cover with bottom lever film advance, not knobs on top. (For more detail see; http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kodak_Retina_Reflex)

    One of the features of the Contax S/D/ Pentacon F is that it has a primitive plain-glass view screen (Steven’s Screen) for focussing, which makes the finder image quite dim and only really sharp in the centre.

    The viewfinder image is quite restricted and shows approximately 70% of the full 24×36 mm frame of the 135 film format. Any modern SLR would have a brighter viewfinder covering at least 92% of the frame.

    Therefore an object at the very edge of the frame may not be seen before taking the picture.

    Another limitation is that the Contax/Pentacon F also does not have an “instant return mirror”, so once the photographer presses the shutter release the viewfinder goes black and stays that way until the camera is re-wound for the next shot.

    The lens appears to be a Zeiss Jena 58mm Biotar with a maximum aperture of f/2.0. These were (are) superb professional quality coated lenses of a double-Gauss design and easily match a modern DSLR lens for image quality. 2/58mm Zeiss Biotar’s are highly sought-after today and can fetch hundreds of pounds in good condition for use on DSLR’s. With such a top-quality coated optic I really doubt that the “spaceman” image is a result of internal reflections or an optical flaw, particularly as the rest of the images on the roll came out properly exposed and without artifacts.

    So in summation the relevant technical issues are:

    1) the view finder image is quite dim
    2) the viewfinder only shows 70% of the frame
    3) once the shutter is fired, the viewfinder goes black
    4) lens used was of professional quality

    In conclusion, if an object or person appeared at the edge of the frame immediately before the shutter was fired or during the taking of the image, the photographer may not have known about it. 

  19. The one thing I do find interesting about this is the fact that, since this picture has become famous around the world, no one has come forward claiming to be the person in the image behind the girl. Anyway, I love a good mystery, and maybe some things should just be left that way!

  20. The one thing I do find interesting about this is the fact that, since this picture has become famous around the world, no one has come forward claiming to be the person in the image behind the girl. Anyway, I love a good mystery, and maybe some things should just be left that way!

  21. The ‘Cumberland Spaceman’ is just a Mark Apollo Spaceman toy held up behind Elizabeth!! Check it out!  Note the very white plastic, and in particular the shape of the helmet! Templeman was known to be a joker!  This must’ve succeeded beyond his wildest dreams! My father was Dr Geoffrey Doel, Chaiman of BUFORA  in the early 1960’s, so I’ve been brought up in ‘Ufology’ and am not gullible. They are ‘out there’ – but this pic should not be part of the story.  Trouble is, it’s become a UFO legend or myth – so people won’t accept the obvious solution!  btw – the spaceman’s head is on backwards …..

  22. The ‘Cumberland Spaceman’ is just a Mark Apollo Spaceman toy held up behind Elizabeth!! Check it out!  Note the very white plastic, and in particular the shape of the helmet! Templeman was known to be a joker!  This must’ve succeeded beyond his wildest dreams! My father was Dr Geoffrey Doel, Chaiman of BUFORA  in the early 1960’s, so I’ve been brought up in ‘Ufology’ and am not gullible. They are ‘out there’ – but this pic should not be part of the story.  Trouble is, it’s become a UFO legend or myth – so people won’t accept the obvious solution!  btw – the spaceman’s head is on backwards …..

  23. A toy held up behind the head is an interesting hypothesis but the “spaceman” exhibits depth perspective akin to being around 20 foot behind the girl. If it were a toy right behind her head, why wouldn’t it appear “closer” and more “detailed”. Remember, this is in the days before photoshop. My theory is the figure is Jim Templeton, his wife is taking the photo and Jim is standing on the Burgh Marsh flood defence to give the figure some height. The figure is about the same buils, size as Jim was based on photographs from the 1960’s. check out my other article “Investigations Into The Solway Spaceman Photo! for more on this. Regards.

  24. A toy held up behind the head is an interesting hypothesis but the “spaceman” exhibits depth perspective akin to being around 20 foot behind the girl. If it were a toy right behind her head, why wouldn’t it appear “closer” and more “detailed”. Remember, this is in the days before photoshop. My theory is the figure is Jim Templeton, his wife is taking the photo and Jim is standing on the Burgh Marsh flood defence to give the figure some height. The figure is about the same buils, size as Jim was based on photographs from the 1960’s. check out my other article “Investigations Into The Solway Spaceman Photo! for more on this. Regards.

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