"As an amateur photographer on a day-trip with my family, I took the photograph on Burgh Marsh on May 23, 1964. I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose - and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodak displaying what looks like a spaceman in the background." - James Templeton
by James Templeton
Daily Mail, London / England - Dec 13.02
As an amateur photographer on a day-trip with my family, I took the photograph on Burgh Marsh on May 23, 1964, using an SLR camera loaded with the new Kodacolor film which was processed by Kodak.
I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose - and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodak displaying what looks like a spaceman in the background.
I took the picture to the police in Carlisle who, after many doubts, examined it and stated there was nothing suspicious about it.
The local newspaper, the Cumberland News, picked up the story and within hours it was all over the world.
The picture is certainly not a fake, and I am as bemused as anyone else as to how this image appeared in the background.
Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities - most of which make little sense to me.
It should also be noted that I have received no payment for taking this picture.
The only suggestion that struck a chord with me was a letter from Woomera in Australia which came a month after the picture was shown around the world.
The people there were keen to see a good colour copy of the photo, as they had stopped a countdown of the Blue Streak rocket within hours of my photo being taken.
Apparently, two similar looking 'spacemen' had been seen close to the rocket.
Only later did I find out that part of the Blue Streak rocket was made and tested within sight of Burgh Marsh. - Daily Mail - London, England - December 13, 2002
The Cumberland Spaceman
Source: BBC TV program "Secrets of the Paranormal" presented by Jenny Randles
Summary: Mr Jim Templeton, who was at the time with the Cumbrian Fire Brigade, took his daughter onto the marshes nearby to have her photograph taken in her new frock.
Cumbria, May 1964 - At the time, Blue Streak missiles were being assembled in Cumbria and then being shipped to Woomera for test launches.
Mr Jim Templeton, who was at the time with the Cumbrian Fire Brigade, took his daughter onto the marshes nearby to have her photograph taken in her new frock. There was nobody else on the marshes apart from a couple of old ladies, and even the normally plentiful cows and sheep had huddled at the far end of the marsh as if they had been frightened.
After the photograph was published in a local Cumbrian newspaper Jim Templeton received calls from the Government telling him "not to persure the matter and to drop it". In the meantime Jim had two visitors who called at the fire station where he worked. They were dressed like typical bowler hatted Civil Servants who when asked would not show their identification. "Can I ask where you are from?" asked Jim, "No you can't, we are Her Majesties Government" was the reply. They asked Jim to show them the site where he took the photograph and drove him to the site in their car, a Jaguar. On arriving they asked Jim where he had seen the figure in the photo to which Jim replied that he hadn't. At this they walked away and left him.
This strange story may have ended there but for the fact that the photo had been sent over to Australia by the Cumbrian News where strange things were also happening on the Woomera Test Range. Unbeknown to anyone at the time a Blue Streak launch had been aborted due to two large men seen on the firing range. Technicians at the time did not know about Jim's sighting until it appeared on the front page of an Australian Newspaper and they said that the figure in Cumbria was the same as the ones they had seen on the monitor at Woomera.
Jenny Randles visited the Kew Records Office (where new files from around the same time had been made available) to search for references. Her first discovery relating to the incident was an MOD letter dated 29/12/64 which referred to the "Cumberland Spaceman", then references to the aborted launch and finally a report sent in by someone (at Woomera) asking what the large object was hovering which was impossible to miss. Jenny Randles also found a reference to film held by COI and invitations for people to view it. There was however no film in the archive, not even stills, even though film existed of other launches. The aborted launch was missing. What is strange, is the Governments reaction to such a strange picture. A picture that could have easily been dismissed as a prank.
From the BBC TV program "Secrets of the Paranormal" presented by Jenny Randles who is well known in the field of UFO's and is an active member of BUFORA.
So...what was it?
The figure behind Elizabeth looked like a tall guy in a spacesuit. What the hell? What was this spaceman doing jutting out of his daughter's head? Alright, so maybe that's not exactly what Jim was thinking. Jim and his family never saw another person on their walk, and this mysterious spaceman wasn't in any of the other photographs John had taken. He had taken three pictures in succession with his Kodak SLR of Elizabeth posing in her new dress. Only the middle one of the three had that spaceman in it.
The picture was exhaustively examined by Kodak for any tampering or signs of a hoax. They found none. They then offered a reward of free film for a year to any person that could solve the mystery as to how this spaceman got into Jim's picture. No one could figure it out, and the picture went worldwide.
As if the picture alone wasn't enough of a mystery, the area where the photograph was taken also adds to the mystique. The Burgh Marsh had been a hotbed of UFO activity, and people believed it had something to do with the atomic plant nearby. In fact, if you look closely, you can see the plant in the far right on the horizon.
Enter the Men in Black...As the photograph hit the newspapers all over the globe, Jim was visited by two strangers wearing dark suits. They pulled up to his house in a dark Jaguar and identified themselves as memebers of Her Majisty's Government. They requested Jim to take them to the site where the picture was taken. They asked Jim specific questions about the weather, any local animal activity, etc. on the day he had snapped the picture. They then tried to get Jim to admit that it was all a hoax. Jim refused to admit such a thing, so they left him there. It was a five mile hike back to the firehouse where Jim worked.
The plot thickens in Australia...Jim's weird photograph was in the newspapers in Australia soon thereafter. The newspapers in Australia requested a copy of the negative of the picture, as they had their own strange sighting that happened to coincide with the spaceman in Jim's photo.
Woomera, Australia was the launch site of a big space project called Blue Streak. When the reporters started digging, they found that on May 23, 1964 - a rocket launch countdown was aborted when security cameras caught two "men" in white spacesuits walking around the launch pad. This freaky incident happened within hours of Jim snapping his photograph on the otherside of the world on that same day.
Later, Jim learned that rockets used for the Blue Streak project were being manufactured in Spadeadam, England...which is only just a few miles from the Burgh Marsh.
Australian reporters wanted to view the film taken on May 23rd, but it seems out of all the canisters of film taken during the entire Blue Streak project, the one canister holding that footage is "missing."
Who or what is that spaceman behind little Elizabeth? You would think that Jim or his wife would notice a dude walking around back there in such a huge expanse of green hills. Jim was an avid photographer, and he wouldn't take such a great picture while such a figure was in the picture. What did the technicians in Australia see just minutes before launching an experimental rocket? Did they see the SAME spaceguys? It seems the Blue Streak project is the common denominator in both sightings. What does it all mean? - blazingtalons.com
NOTE: here are links to a few interesting videos: Jenny Randles - UFO investigation and Debunking the Cumberland "Spaceman" with Google SketchUp