- Last year independent UFO researchers
Phil Mantle and Tim Matthews conducted an in-depth investigation into the
possible UK origins of the so-called "Tent Footage" after Phil
was contacted by an insider with intriguing information on making of the
- It subsequently emerged that this was
a very low-budget UK production undertaken by people associated with ARK
Music Ltd. of Milton Keynes, an outfit owned by Andy Price-Watts and Keith
- Thanks to our efforts a full expose of
this sorry affair appeared in today's "Mail on Sunday" (UK) newspaper.
The two page article by journalist Nick Fielding included further details
of the making of the film and information about Ray Santilli's relationship
with ARK Music Ltd.
- Once again we have been able to penetrate
the web of lies surrounding an important UFO hoax.
- -Tim Matthews Lancashire UFO Society/British
UFO Studies Centre
- By Nick Fielding Chief Investigative
Reporter The Mail On Sunday (London) From Stig Agermose <email@example.com
- "We could hardly stop laughing"
- THE figures are hazy, the light poor,
but there appears to be no doubt. Lying on a table, covered in a white
fabric, is an alien, its skin grey and staring black eyes expressionless.
- Two people hover around the extra-terrestrial
and one of them begins to cut the fabric and remove handfuls of innards.
Another, dressed in a long coat, appears fleetingly. This, according to
those in the know, was US President Harry Truman.
- And then, after little more than a minute
and a half, the grainy black and white film ends. Some versions contain
a security coding in a corner: 'Restricted Access. A01 Classification.
Subject 1 of 2. July 30th 1947'.
- The so-called 'tent footage' purports
to be an examination of an alien recovered from a spacecraft which crashed
near the isolated New Mexico town of Roswell in 1947.
- These few seconds of video, which first
appeared in 1994, and another better-known segment of film - the 'alien
autopsy' footage which appeared a year later - have intrigued UFO enthusiasts
and generated lengthy debate on the Internet. They have been shown on countless
TV stations and subjected to every conceivable test to discredit them.
Yet despite detailed analysis - down to the types of table lamps and clocks
on the walls - no one has been able to crack the mystery of where they
came from. Until now.
- For we can reveal that the Roswell tent
footage was shot in a barn in Bedfordshire by two men whose previous claims
to fame included karaoke videos and another which featured animals singing
- The official story, promoted by London-based
video producer Ray Santilli, is that both films were shot by an anonymous
former US army cameraman. Santilli claimed he had been offered the footage
by the cameraman when he had been searching in the US for early film of
- The truth, according to video producers
Keith Bateman and Andy Price-Watts, is somewhat different.
- Bateman and Price-Watts, whose company,
AK Music, is based in Milton Keynes, say that in the summer of 1994 they
were approached by Santilli, who they had known for many years and who
occasionally bought some of their bizarre videos.
- Santilli told them he had a video of
aliens, but it was of poor quality. Could they enhance it?
- They tried, but could get nothing from
the film. Santilli was disappointed and the matter was dropped. But knowing
Santilli was in the market for this kind of material, Bateman and Price-Watts
decided to try to make their own version.
- Their research led them to the story
already well established in UFO mythology - of how, after a spacecraft
had supposedly crashed at Roswell, an alien had been taken to a barn nearby
where a medical examination had taken place. President Truman was rumoured
to have visited during the operation.
- 'We found a barn in the quiet village
of Ridgmont, Bedfordshire, through a farmer I knew,' says Andy Price-Watts.
'I had an old paraffin lamp and we brought along a table, some sheets,
overalls and rubber gloves.
- 'We filmed it in the evening to make
it look as if it had been shot in the dark. The gloves - Marigolds - looked
too modern so we had to discard them. We tried to get a mannequin from
a local store, but it was impossible. Elstree Studios offered to make us
one for £25,000, which was ludicrous.
- 'In the end we used a wig holder we bought
for a few quid, which Elliot Willis, our tape operator, transformed using
painted orange peel for the eyes. Elliot and the local butcher, Roger Baker,
played the two medical staff. Roger got the part because he could supply
the chicken guts we used as the alien's innards.
- 'We were thinking of using pig guts,
but they looked too human.'
- As they were filming, the farmer walked
in to see what they were doing. 'I suddenly thought we could use him,'
says Bateman. There was an old scarecrow in the corner of the barn and
we got the coat from it, put it on him and he had a little cameo role as
President Truman. We could hardly stop ourselves laughing as we shot the
video, which took about an hour and a half to complete.'
- Andy Price-Watts's 12-year-old son played
the alien, with his head covered by the sheet and the dummy head placed
- 'We used a Sony video camera on a tripod
and kept jogging it to give the impression it was being held,' says Andy.
'The strange camera angles added to the veracity of the film'.
- The resulting film was edited down to
six minutes. Shot in colour, it was processed to black and white and animators
in the studio drew scratch lines on computer and overlaid this on to the
film. It was then transferred between different video formats to make it
as grainy as possible.
- 'We then went to see Santilli and told
him we had some alien footage which we had bought in the States,' says
Bateman. 'He told us we had been conned and didn't think it was very good.
He said it should have been clearer and should also have had a restricted
notice on it.'
- Bateman got the film back, superimposed
the bogus classification message and sent it back to Santilli, who told
the two men he could not use it.
- Early in 1995, Bateman says, he was surprised
to hear Santilli's friend and UFO enthusiast Reg Presley of Sixties pop
group The Troggs mention the tent footage in an interview.
- Despite having rejected their film, Santilli
refused at this time to criticise it in public.
- That summer, Bateman and Price-Watts
decided to put their film out on a video being made by producer Bruce Barlow
called Penetrating The Web 2. 'In the meantime Santilli had apparently
acquired his alien autopsy film and, unknown to us, was planning a huge
media launch in about a dozen different countries,' says Price-Watts.
- 'I had already got a slot on GMTV to
talk about our film and when Ray heard about this he was not pleased. He
flew back from a holiday in America and came straight to our offices, telling
us our film would mess up his launch.
- 'He offered to pay us if we agreed not
to promote the film for 10 weeks, which we agreed to.'
- With his potential competitors out of
the way, Santilli launched the main autopsy film around the world. Of much
better quality than the tent footage, it purports to show an autopsy taking
place in an operating theatre.
- Despite knowing the background to the
tent footage, Santilli adopted an ambiguous attitude to it.
- "The first piece of film I saw at
Santilli's office was the tent footage', says independent UFO researcher
Philip Mantle. 'He said it came from a "scrap reel" from the
army cameraman. It had been processed by some friends of his, but when
he had taken it to America and shown it to the cameraman after processing,
the man said he did not recognise segments of it.
- 'Only later did he admit it had been
tampered with, although it now appears it was shot entirely in the UK.'
- On numerous other occasions Santilli
failed to state the truth about the tent footage, namely that it had been
faked by people he knew.
- In June 1995, for example, when asked
during an Internet UFO conference if the people in the tent footage had
been identified as actors or military personnel, he replied: 'Those seen
in the tent footage have not yet been identified, but in time I am sure
- The story resurfaced last year when a
former colleague of Bateman and Price-Watts published some details on the
- Bateman says the pair were pestered with
calls, letters and e-mails after their names and addresses were published
on the Internet and he even moved home after becoming worried about the
safety of his family.
- 'That is why we have decided to talk
now. We are fed up with the crazy UFO nuts for whom this story is the centre
of their lives.'
- Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO magazine,
said most UFO researchers would be unsurprised to learn the tent footage
had been faked.
- He added: 'It clearly casts even more
doubt on the so-called alien autopsy footage. It may only be a matter of
time before the whole story comes out.'