Not the Roswell Crash Photo

This was my first attempt at image editing while I was playing around with my new copy of Picture Publisher in 1995. It later found its way onto the Crop Circle Connector web site as a joke, and seems to have got one or two people on the Net rather excited. It even spawned its own web page which you can check out here

The original image comes from an early 60's episode of the Twilight Zone. If you want to see what it looked like before I got at it, click on the thumbnail above.

Alternatively, you can check out a slightly different version here.......

In December 1996 Sightings Magazine unexpectedly published this picture , claiming that it was of a model saucer created by two students in 1967.

The next month I walked into a newsagent and was amused to be confronted with the following issue of the magazine with the same picture splashed all over the front cover.

Inside was a remarkable and hilarious article entitled 'Stumbling on a Story' explaining how the image had been 'discovered' and describing the minimal attempts that Sightings had made to determine whether it was genuine.

It seems that Sightings had copied the picture from the web site of Dutch researcher Roel van der Meulen who had used on a page entitled Faking UFO's. Part of this page referred to the 1967 hoax by students Chris Southall and David Harrison, where one night they planted dummy model saucers in a string of public places across the UK. Van der Meulen said that he had used my picture to illustrate this because he thought the shape of the saucer 'reminded me of the shape of the saucers the two guys left behind'. Presumably he had been unable to find the original picture (below).

Evidently Sightings had been surfing the web looking for free pictures to illustrate their magazine, and had copied this one without bothering to properly read the explanation attached to it. When questioned later by Sightings, van der Meulen claimed that he 'picked the image off the web somewhere, but I don't remember where. It must have been one of the countless sites that holds many UFO pictures. I have no idea who manufactured the image.'

Despite having conducted such a fearless and searching in-depth investigation, Sightings conclude that they are 'none the wiser', and after indulging in some increasingly nebulous speculation as to whether the picture is 'proof' that the Santilli film is a hoax, they give up and appeal to their readers for an explanation.

Readers eagerly searching out the next issue of Sightings to read the sensational explanation of the mystery will have been disappointed to discover that the Sightings mailbox appeared to have been flooded with....just one letter, which was hidden away in the depths of the magazine:-

Real or Rubbish?

Dear Mr Forsyth,

I have been reading through Jonathan Dillon's article on disinformation on pages 16-20 of Volume One, Issue Seven of your magazine and immediately thought that it was April Fool's Day.

The bottom picture on page 19 which itself refers to a 1967 hoax by two UK students, also clearly shows Ray Santilli's 'Alien' lying beside it. Although the picture quality is poor, I am convinced that this is the same 'body' as we have all seen in the video footage being dissected.

This leads me to believe that either the staff at SIGHTINGS are having a joke at our expense, or this is proof that the video is a hoax as the majority of people believe.

I look forward to seeing if sightings are having a bit of fun, or if the question of the Santilli video has been finally been laid to rest, if you excuse the pun.

Barry Graney, London

Sightings sniffily replied that they had 'now investigated the image' (reality: I had sent them an e-mail telling what it actually was) and that they 'now believe the image to be a mock.'

Nevertheless, they have since published it again, without any explanation, as evidenced by this from Issue 11:

If you know of any other magazines or books where this picture has appeared, please e-mail me!

UPDATE: 10-6-98
Yesterday I received this e-mail from Roel van der Meulen which he has kindly allowed me to reproduce here:


Today for the first time I saw the commotion my innocent little self had caused by using the photo you had created in my Faking UFO article. Figure that, being quoted!
I didn't have a clue that my meagre research would be brought in as evidence by the thorough investigators of Sightings magazine :)

Indeed you found exactly the photo that I originally intended to put on my page (thanks!).

As I still have about 20 hits a day on that page, I've changed it somewhat to give you proper credit.

Hahaha, I can't stop laughing..
With making that page about Faking UFOs without having ever faked one myself, I played a part in confusing the issue myself.

I really liked the page you devoted to your photo, and wish you happy hunting for more sightings :))))

Roel van der Meulen

To see the full text of Roel's correspondence with Sightings, click here

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