Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Cumberland Spaceman

I have done a video analysing the famous "Cumberland Spaceman" photograph taken near the Solway firth in May 1964.

Update 17th August 2011
The story has been presented that there was nobody there other than Mr Templeton and his daughter (other than two old ladies in a car by the main road). This is not true. Other photographs from the same film show a woman with the girl and Mr Templeton has stated that he was there with his wife and two daughters. This increases the possibility that there was somebody else present who could have got into the photograph. You can see the photograph on this very informative web page.


  1. they did always say though that they were completely alone and would definitely have noticed another person wandering that close to them. and they would definitely have waited for them to clear out before they took that photo. unless it was a slip of the finger or they are making it up.
    i have always thought this was genuine because it`s quite a silly type of hoax otherwise. It`s possible that the photo came back and looked weird so they made up the story then it got out of hand and they had to keep going with it, but that seems more far-fetched than the potential truth of a mystery man. so it comes down to which far-fetched reality you are more comfortable with or being totally open-minded and undecided.

  2. i'll admit, of all the "its a guy looking the other way theorys", yours has the best presentation by far.

    the odd part is that you note it was some random guy walking around and the dude taking the picture didnt notice. but you can't have your cake and eat it to.

    the dude who took the picture swore... not under oath... i dont think... that no one else was around. so either its an anomaly or hes a dirty liar!!!

    i personaly think its an alien construct with an anti gravity belt. he paused for roughly half a second, wich is equal to an hour in there time, to pose for a picture when he was sapozed to be researching the near by military base.

    for daralicksean of duty, ruining the dudes picture and exposing there extraterestrial presence on are planet, he was deprived of the super orgy for 3 days. wich is like a month or something in there time.

    cuz they move realy fast and junk...

  3. I would have to say that this video is, by far, the most enlightening, insightful, and interesting that I've seen trying to explain the Solway Firth 'spaceman' photo. Very well done!

  4. this is a very good explanation. the only element you didn't address would be the fuzzy white almost-halo like mass around the head. when i first saw the picture, my eyes immediately interpreted it as someone's back, so i was a little confused by the idea that it was a visor. any ideas, however, for the white mass around the head?

  5. I am not sure which white mass you are refering to, but the out of focus areas are subject to various effects caused by lens. This is known as "bokeh" and you can find out more about it here:

    This is a significant factor when understanding the out of focus areas in a photograph.

  6. I think this is fascinating stuff. I took a copy of the pic and filtered it. Now we can see quite clearly a man looking to his right, with blonde hair and a blacked out face! And he's definitely wearing a hoodie.

  7. Having stared at this picture for a while... i'm now wondering if it's actually a man with long black hair, in a white hoodie, looking up and to his left.. You can just make out the shape of his nose and jaw facing the left of the picture, with a mass of black hair on the right.

  8. Why is it so hard to believe that there was an unexplainable entity behind her? The Grey spot of the back of the "hood" what is that? Also why does its clothing look so smooth? In any type of photos you can see the wrinkles in clothing, you can even see where its shoulder blades start. It's a strange world we live in so much of it is not comprehensible even to our smartest minds. If the idea of other sentient beings from other planets or dimensions would come all this way just to meet you doesn't give you joy. Then what does?

  9. It looks smooth because its out of focus due to the depth of field of the lens. I suppose the issue here is what is the most likely explanation. In this case I think my explanation fits the verifiable facts best, but I am open to other ideas. Incidentally I am not a total debunker. I am fascinated by the Scottish fairy tradition and I think this is probably where we will find the answer to UFO and other phenomena.

    You might like this article:

    The Fairy Boy of Leith

    or this one:

    Similarity between fairies and UFO phenomena.

    I don't think UFO's are physical objects. I think they are probably psychic or psychological phenomena.

  10. I liked your research very much. I have done my own research at Cumberland Spaceman into the photo.

    I live near to the Burgh Marsh area and have met Jim Templeton he is a fine upstanding man, I wish I had had time to quix him about the spaceman incident but I felt he had probably had it a million times before.

    One area, I found interesting about your site is yout tech knowledge on the photo itself.

    This is somethign I know nothing about.


    Dave Armiatge
    Editor of

  11. Thanks Dave
    The camera was a 35mm SLR with a 50mm lens (or at least that's the camera he is holding in one interview). As film speeds were usually quite low then its unlikely there was much depth of field especially when the girl was quite close to the camera. Its not surprising, therefore, that the background is out of focus.

    One of the main reactions to my theory has been "how dare you say this is a fake, it was tested by the RAF and/or Kodak". This misses the point. Its not a fake and I have never suggested that it is. The photograph has not been manipulated or staged in any way. Its just been misinterpreted.

    With an SLR camera, especially older more basic ones, the viewfinder can be quite dark and obscured. Plus you can only see whats in the frame, not anything about to come into the shot (unlike a rangefinder or viewfinder camera). This is part of the explanation for why the photographer didn't see anyone. It all seems to fit (to me at any rate).

  12. Apologies for the spelling on that last one, it was very late when I wrote it. I have recently updated my own research into the Spaceman photo, taking into account the geography of the area. I have also linked to your page for anyone wanting to look at the more technical aspects of the photo and the camera itself as I believe it offers good insight into how the photo was taken and the way it looks.

    If I get the chance to catch up with Jim T again, I will find out (for definite) what make and model the camera was he used on the day.

  13. The logical thing to do is to now recreate the photograph. You could use a digital camera with a fixed lens of equivalent focal length (probably 35mm for most digital systems). It would need to be similar lighting conditions and a breeze would be useful. Would be good to know what the film speed was too as that will effect exposure and depth of field.

    By the way, if there was nobody else there other than the old ladies in the car who is that sitting next to the girl in one of the other shots from the series on your web page? Its a woman. Here is a link to the photo on your site:

    Mmmmm. I think this may be a clue.
    Did she own a white jacket?

    Time for a reconstruction I think.

  14. Hi Gordon, whilst doing a bit of investigating I came across the original local news report for Cumberland Spaceman report. It stated the following about camera : "Kodak SLR – (KODAcolour X at 100th of a second at f16)." Is there anything here you fing interesting? It's just words to me!!!

    Ps I've been meaning to get out to the solway firth all summer for abit of impromptu reconstructive photography but never got round to it. Oh well!

    Dave Armitage

  15. I am surprised that its f16 given how out of focus the whole background is. I checked and thats a 64 ASA film so not particularly slow. If thats the correct exposure then it was a very bright and sunny day.

  16. The vital thing that people need to know about this mystery is that the photographer, Jim Templeton, wasn’t just a regular guy who experienced a one-off bizarre event. Far from it!

    Shortly after the spaceman picture was developed, Jim took another “unexplained” photograph at the marsh, -- this time purportedly showing a spaceship taking off! If that wasn’t enough, a link to Venusian spaceman was made. Oh dear …

    The headline from the Cumberland news said “Fireman’s camera snaps up another marsh mystery”. The sub headline asked the question, “A picture of a long-haired venusian?”

    Jim Templeton is always portrayed as a regular guy who took a strange one-off picture. But that is not the case. He was an amateur photographer who tried to create a second “unexplainable picture”. However, his second picture doesn’t look that good and therefore it is not surprising that he never mentions his encounter with a spaceship --- to do so, destroys his credibility.

    Jim is also somewhat of a local celebrity and has brought out a book about his life.

    My information about the second photograph comes from a 1994 news clip in which Jim’s picture of a spaceship taking off is shown.

    I have the entire clip saved on my computer.

    My view: a good natured hoax. Jim’s mistake was that he shouldn’t have made the second photograph.

  17. To follow on from my avbove post, here is another recent example showing that Jim Templeton still likes to get in the papers with his "unexplained" stories. Here's a link in which he talks about his cursed tea set:
    The guy is a hoaxer, but a nice one!

  18. How many times have we heard this “not present at the time but showed in image later” claim?

    It looks as if Jim was a bit of a flying-saucer nutter and was influenced by Klatuu’s fencing-gear spacesuit. The mask, white padded vest, hand at hip, all seen from behind; but for Jim’s word, it’s all too obvious. The negative strip contained better pictures of Jim’s friend in his gear I’d bet. And when his instant celebrity had waned, Jim invented a MIB story for another fleeting rush of fame. Then there's his phony saucer photo.

    Forgetting Jim’s story (there’s nothing overtly ufoish about the figure), on a purely mechanical level, the picture’s interest lies in its ambiguity by juxtaposition of innocent child and menacing figure on a stark landscape, a bit of Sixties surrealism, whether by design or happenstance. It's all just typical ufoolery.