Possibly no event in the UFO community has triggered as much debate as the ‘alien autopsy’ film. The film, showing a purported autopsy performed on a dead alien from the Roswell, New Mexico crash, offers a unparalleled view into what a real alien could possibly look like. The film first surfaced in 1995 on a British television talk show. Later aired on the Fox network in the United States, it garnered an audience of over 10 million people.
Ray Santilli, the purveyor of the film, will not disclose the identity of the filmmaker although it is believed that Ray may have slipped up in a public Usenet post and revealed the name of the cameraman – Jack Barrett, a 82 year old male from Florida. Ray mentioned the cameraman as ‘Barrett’, a typo on Ray’s part, in a public newsgroup post after which Ray continued using ‘Barnett’ as a pseudonym for the cameraman. In the post, Ray described how he had been searching for early film of Elvis Presley when he was contacted by ‘Barnett’ regarding the sale of a early Presley film. After making the sale, ‘Barnett’ told Ray of another film that he may be interested in. He commenced to describe the alien autopsy file and explained that he had once been a cameraman for the U.S. Army.
Ray took a look at the film and was finally convinced of its authenticity when the cameraman was able to produce proof that he was indeed a cameraman for the Army. ‘Barnett’ convinced Ray to conceal his identity since the information that Barnett was releasing was highly confidential. Barnett produced 22 canisters of 16mm film claiming that the films were ‘outtakes’ from a filming session shot in 1947.
The film, appearing to be a black and white home-type movie shot in the 1940’s, shows in graphic detail the autopsy of an alien being – presumably a victim of the Roswell Incident. Barnett further elaborated on the events that occurred on the day the film was shot. Barnett claims he was called to White Sands, New Mexico to film the crash site of a Soviet spy plane. Barnett states that upon arriving at the site, it was apparent this was no Russian spy plane. The object was shiny and disc shaped, resting upside down. Barnett claims that 3 of the 4 occupants were still alive when he arrived. Calling these visitors, ‘freaks’, Barnett stated that military men had beaten some of these creatures in order to force them to release ‘boxes’ that they held tightly clutched to their chests.
After a few days, the craft was transported to Wright-Patterson air base in Ohio. Barnett alleged that the air in the craft was ‘thick’ and difficult to breathe in. Once the wreckage was cleaned up a little, the craft was loaded on a truck and taken to the base. Barnett went along and filmed the wreckage over a period of 3 days. Afterwards, he was sent to Fort Worth, Texas where the body of the 4th creature was stored. It was at this location that Barnett filmed the alien autopsy. Interestingly, Barnett claimed that one of the other creatures must have died since he filmed 2 autopsies during his stay in Fort Worth.
Barnett has pointed out that he processed his own film. He had shot hundreds of rolls which he processed and promptly sent to Washington. Several of the rolls required special processing and after the film was eventually readied, he notified his superiors. After hearing no reply he once again notified the officials of the remaining, highly classified films he had in his possession. Upon still hearing no reply, he resolved to keep the films to himself.
Santilli’s eventual presentation of the films came about in a rather peculiar way too. Rather than grandly presenting the earth-shattering films to the public, the films had to literally be pried from Santilli’s hands. Rumors of the films had circulated for a couple of years before Santilli could finally be convinced to show them at a British UFO convention. Prior to that, only a handful of persons had been allowed to see the films (including Reg Presley, lead singer for the 60’s rock group, The Troggs). At the convention, attendees were required to sign special legal releases and were frisked at the entrance to assure they were not carrying any photographic or recording equipment.
Some UFOlogist debunk the film’s authenticity offering the following reasons as support:
- autopsy procedures are incorrect
- Santilli ‘caught’ in several lies concerning the film’s origins. Once Santilli claimed that President Truman appeared in one of the films, a claim he later modified stating instead that one of the film canisters was labeled ‘Truman’.
- ‘security markings’ disappeared from the tape after being labeled ‘phony’ by military experts
- Hieroglyphics on the supposed debris spell out slightly altered English words
- ‘Barnett (the supposed cameraman) claims to have also filmed atomic testing at the Trinity site. Records of the Manhattan Project do not contain anyone named ‘Barnett’ or ‘Burnett’ or ‘Barrett’.
- The alien in the film differs in appearance from the descriptions given by previous Roswell witnesses (the alien in the film had 6 fingers rather than 4, was 5 feet tall rather than 3 feet tall, etc.)
Supporters of the film believe the Roswell cover-up is continuing and debunkers are simply furthering the cover-up. Supporters indicate that authenticity can be proved by:
- props and background objects seen in the film are entirely accurate for the late 1940s and would be difficult to obtain today in order to produce a fake
- Graphic autopsy sequences seen in the film would require extremely advanced special effects that could only be created by a handful of Hollywood’s top production companies
So is the film a fake or the real McCoy? The general consensus to date is that the film is a fake. But who shot the film and how they managed to create such a realistic procedure has yet to be adequately explained.