I first learnt of the footage - when was it, a year ago - in a TV documentary on a remarkable incident in 1947, when a UFO was supposed to have crashed in the desert in the United States. The programme showed a clip of film of an autopsy being performed on one of the aliens. My first reaction was to paint the windows white and hide under the table. This was panic, and it passed. Soon, I accepted the fact that we were regularly receiving visits by aliens and got on with my life, as did we all.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I met a representative from the Fortean Convention who said that the complete footage, the director's cut, as it were, featured an appearance by President Harry S Truman. The first faint shadow of doubt passed over the "Believing in Alien Autopsy" part of my head.
Could it be that the convincingly grainy footage and lumpy camerawork was lying to me? Of course, if bad camerawork was proof of authenticity, then Kids would be true (I haven't seen Kids, but I have a strong feeling it has bad camerawork). And if the alien footage is a lie, then what about Fritz Lang's documentary Metropolis? Are we to believe none of that happened?
So my mission was simple. Find the alien autopsy footage and decide for myself whether or not it was the real enchilada. I contacted a friend of mine who had the whole thing off a C180. He had received it from a friend in Ontario way before it was even news, and while I could have watched it at any point over the preceding year, I just didn't have the interest before.
Now, having watched the entire tape every day for two weeks, over and over again, I have to say that there are some things that just don't add up. Here's a quick list of my findings.
1. There are opening titles. "The Alien Autopsy!" comes up in letters that curve diagonally across the screen. The exclamation point seems, in this context, inappropriate.
2. President Truman enters the room and says "How is the alien autopsy going?" and the scientists reply "It's going very well, President Harry S Truman." This seems too pointed.
3. When Truman says "alien autopsy", he makes little a quotation mark gesture with his hands.
4. Truman can't stop laughing. At one point he has to sit down.
5. In one shot, you can see a sign outside the window saying this way to the (unclear) alien autopsy". The missing word, obscured by the branches of a tree just outside the window, appears to be either "exciting" or "bogus". Whatever the word, it is doubtful that someone would put up signs on the street pointing to an authentic alien autopsy.
6. The alien has a chunk missing in his thigh. The contents of the thigh don't appear to be organic matter. (This has led many observers to believe that the alien is actually a massive cake. The "scientists" may simply be revellers at a birthday party.)
7. More than once, the scientists use the term "space alien" in describing the creature. I don't think real scientists would say "space alien". They'd either say "alien life form" or "spaceman".
8. There is a constantly underlying hum throughout the footage. When amplified electronically by me turning up the volume, the hum became less like a hum and more like "The Life of Riley" by The Lightning Seeds, otherwise known as the theme from Match of the Day. Then I realised it was "The Life of Riley" by The Lightning Seeds.
9. At one point, there is the distinctive burr of a mobile phone. The "scientists" look at each other, look at the camera, cough, and then one says "Oh ... there goes the ... electronic radiometer ... machine. Again." Then the other says ... yyyyyeah
10. About two-thirds of the way through, the "alien", moving discreetly and very, very slowly, scratches his thigh.
11. An unidentified woman comes in, says "Tschh ..." and leaves. In real life, women are not allowed to come in and make disapproving noises while men are doing important stuff.
And that's it. Not conclusive, I know, but you have to admit it all smells a bit fishy. I mean, that woman coming in? Truman laughing all the time? It's just completely ridiculous. How anyone could have thought us so stupid that we would believe this! It's just completely ridic-
Wait a second! I don't think that was the real tape! I may have been watching the wrong tape!
If anyone could find the authentic fake alien autopsy footage, could they please send it to Graham at the Independent address.