Awesome - Man Takes A Family Photo, Then Notices A Figure Behind His Daughter

 Since the advent of photography, there have been numerous unexplained phenomena in pictures, whether they’re floating orbs or shadowy specters. When Jim Templeton snapped a photo of his daughter on a sunny day, he captured something quite unexpected in the background of one of the images. It appeared that their family outing was crashed by a mysterious visitor, but who — or what — was it?

It was 1964, and the Templetons wanted to enjoy a rare, sunny day in England. Jim, along with his wife Anne and daughter Elizabeth, traveled to Burgh Marsh, which overlooks Solway Firth in Cumbria.

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As Elizabeth enjoyed the day, her proud father took three pictures of her wearing a fancy new dress. While they were there, Jim only noticed two elderly women sitting in a car, but no one else was anywhere near them. 

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Later, Jim took the photos to a chemist, who developed them and pointed out an odd detail. Even though the family was alone that day on the beach, it appeared that someone was standing behind Elizabeth.

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The figure, dubbed “The Solway Spaceman,” only appeared in the second picture captured that day. In the image, a grainy figure wearing all white and some kind of helmet appeared behind Elizabeth’s head.

Jim Templeton

Jim was shocked. How dare a mystery man appear behind his five-year-old daughter? He reached out to the local police department. The investigators didn’t feel like there was cause for alarm, but this didn’t satisfy Jim.

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“It came to the attention of the local paper, the Cumberland News. From there it ran and ran. It was picked up by the Daily Mail and Express,” said Dr. David Clarke, an author who specialists in UFOs.

Express.co.uk

After the story ran in the local newspaper, Jim received thousands of letters with theories. Up until his death in 2011, people continued to contact him with new ideas with who the Solway Spaceman was.

BBC

Jim even repeatedly insisted that two government workers appeared at his house and wouldn’t give him their names. They only wanted to be called “Number 9” and “Number 11.” The pair wouldn’t show Jim any identification or proof they worked with any national agency.

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Next, Jim describes driving with the men to the site of the discovery. They drove him. When they arrived, Jim clarified that he hadn’t actually seen the spaceman in person while he was taking pictures. He said the “agents” stranded him. Seems suspicious.

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Close to when Jim took the famous spaceman photograph, there was a strange coincidence — a missile launch was canceled in South Australia. When the Blue Streak missile was supposed to be fired, it looked like two large figures were on the range.

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Later, the missile technicians saw Jim’s photo and reached out. They claimed the things they saw that day matched the spaceman. Could the spaceman have returned with a friend to watch the Australians test a missile? Anything’s possible, but no, probably not.

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As Jim dug through the letters and calls, more theories emerged. “Some people claimed it was a spirit, others believed Jim or his daughter had psychic powers they had not been aware of,” Dr Clarke said. Definitely creative.

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Another explanation is more realistic — many believe the mysterious figure was actually Anne. Jim took the picture on a Pentacon F SLR camera, which hides about 30% of the image in the viewfinder. This could be why Jim didn’t see her.

Jim Templeton

If this is true, then Anne would be standing away from the camera, and the overexposure of light made her blue dress stark white. Her light blue dress appears in other pictures as well.

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Ufologists heartily disagree with this theory. Looking at the picture, they argue that the simplest explanation makes the most sense, and to them, it’s the idea that a random space traveler happened to be secretly standing on Earth and appeared in Jim’s picture.

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When Jim captured the picture, the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Union was only getting started. With a growing collective interest in aliens, people were looking up at the universe and wondering what could be hidden out of sight.

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“There was a whole series of photos, usually taken with Box Brownie cameras showing flying saucers like you would see in Dr. WhoWar of the Worlds, and B-Movies,” Dr. Clarke said. Jim’s picture is much more exciting than others from this time though.

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Though the image is striking, it follows a clear pattern. “Ever since the invention of photography there have been pictures of angels, fairies and spirits,” Dr. Clarke said. “If Jim had taken his photo in 1864 instead of 1964, he would have taken it to the spiritualist church, and they would have said it showed a ghost.”

The Solway Spaceman continues to inspire viewers more than 50 years later. Though the theory of Anne’s accidental photobomb is the most probable, it’s not a conclusive solution. The mystery behind the spaceman remains, and even the camera company wants answers.

Jim Templeton

Photo specialists at Kodak tested the photo for tampering and pronounced it legit. They even offered free film for a year to anyone who could identify what appeared behind Elizabeth. To this day, no one can say what it is for sure. But the key could hide in a photographic controversy from decades earlier.

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Since it was the middle of World War I, 10-year-old Frances Griffiths and her cousin Elsie Wright were in need of an uplifting project. Frances had come from South Africa to stay with the Wright family while her father was fighting in the war.

Arthur Conan Doyle

The Wrights lived in Cottingley, England, in a lovely cottage with a wooded backyard that led down to a stream. Frances and Elsie, who was 16 and very artistic, spent many of that summer’s mornings playing by the water, escaping the stressful world around them.

Arthur Conan Doyle

However, as youngsters do, they often got into trouble. They returned daily from the stream with shoes and clothes soaked with water, and Elsie’s mother Polly was tired of it. When, one day, she’d had enough, they had an excuse ready.

Arthur Conan Doyle

“We’re only going down there to see the fairies,” they told her, and said they could prove it. Elsie asked her father, who was a hobbyist photographer, if the girls could borrow his camera to provide photographic evidence.

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He chuckled at the idea, but obliged, thinking there wasn’t any harm in letting the youths have a little fun. Frances and Elsie trooped out to the stream, camera in tow.

Arthur Conan Doyle

When they came back a half an hour later, they returned the camera to Mr. Wright with the triumphant declaration that they’d gotten a photo of the fairies. He was intrigued — what on earth could the photograph possibly look like?

Elsie Wright & Frances Griffiths

After dinner, he took the photographic plate into his darkroom to develop it. Lo and behold, there was Frances, gazing into the lens, and in front of her danced several fairy-looking creatures.

Elsie Wright

Arthur Wright was not easily fooled. He knew Elsie was a skilled artist, and that she’d worked in a photography studio for a bit. “These are paper cutouts you’ve photographed,” he decreed, putting the developed plate away.

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A few months later, the girls asked to borrow the camera again, and again produced a photographic plate to Elsie’s father to develop, this time of Elsie reaching her hand out to a gnome.

Frances Griffiths

Exasperated at what he deemed a foolish prank, Mr. Wright told them to knock it off. He worried they’d been messing with his camera and wouldn’t let them borrow it any more. But when Polly saw the photos, she was fascinated.

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She was a member of the local Theosophical Society, a religious study organization that entertained the idea of the occult as a part of normal life, and she believed the girls had captured supernatural evidence in these mysterious photos. So, at the society’s next meeting, she brought along the plates.

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Frances and Elsie didn’t think much of letting her show the photos around, but then the story began to snowball. Polly’s Theosophy peers were also convinced the images were real, and they asked to display them at the society’s annual conference.

Arthur Conan Doyle

By the time the images had reached Edward Gardner, one of the Theosophical Society’s leading members, it was too late for Frances and Elise to stop their spread.

Arthur Conan Doyla

The camera companies Kodak and Ilford were both called upon to verify whether or not the images were fake, and produced inconclusive results. Meanwhile, Elsie and Frances were being asked to speak and appear onstage at bigger and bigger Theosophical Society events.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Even famed writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — yes, the one who created the world’s most logical character, Sherlock Holmes — sent the cousins two cameras and asked for more photos. Pressured to oblige, they took three more.

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When Doyle saw the photos, he was ecstatic, believing unequivocally that the cousins had proved beyond doubt that fairies were real. He wrote articles in the press about it, and the story really picked up traction.

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By this point, the cousins were worried. There was no way the truth could be revealed now; they’d be in huge trouble. So they waited, and over the years, they maintained that the photos were real.

Frances Griffiths

But by 1983, when Elsie was 82, they figured it was safe to come clean. In an article published in the magazine The Unexplained, Elsie told how she’d drawn the fairies on paper, carefully cut them out, and attached them with long hatpins to their surroundings.

Elsie Wright

She even admitted that she’d used a book, Princess Mary’s Gift Book, as reference for the fairies, copying Claude Arthur Shepperson’s drawings of dancing girls from its pages and adding wings to them. Finally, the mystery was solved.

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Frances said, “I never even thought of it as being a fraud – it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun…[the adults] wanted to be [fooled].” The two girls knew this wasn’t the first time adults were confused by a fantasy.

Arthur Conan Doyle

A few centuries prior, the farmers of Woolpit were harvesting their crops when they noticed movement nearby. Out of one of the ditches crawled two small children, a boy and a girl. But the villagers were shocked; the children’s skin was bright green.

Not only was their skin green, but they were speaking an unknown language no one could recognize. The villagers brought the children back to Woolpit to decide what to do with them.

They took the children to the home of a wealthy man named Sir Richard de Calne. The kids looked starving, so Richard offered them an array of foods to eat. But the young boy and girl refused all of them — except for one thing.

The only thing the children would eat were beanstalks — and they refused to eat anything else for weeks. The young siblings also tried to make their way back home but got lost and decided to stay in Woolpit.

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It took awhile for the children to get used to their new surroundings; reports say they were overwhelmed by the sunlight in the village. Eventually, as the months went by, the girl learned to speak a little English and finally shared their story.

The girl explained that she and her brother had lived in a place they called “St. Martin’s Land.” No one in the village had ever heard of such a place, and the girl’s description left them with questions.

According to the girl, St. Martin’s Land was entirely green, just like the children. Not only that, but the entire place was covered in a misty green fog. But what the girl shared next was even stranger.

Village Green Recordings

She told the villagers that, across from a sprawling river, the children could see a bright light calling out to them. The villagers were stumped; none of them had ever heard of a place quite like that.

The girl claimed she and her brother were following their sheep when they got lost in a cavern. Before they knew it, they had ended up in Woolpit. Oddly, many historians think her strange story might actually have some truth to it.

The seemingly mystical description of “St. Martin’s Land” has fueled countless theories about where the children actually came from. Some of the theories are a bit more… wild than others.

William Guy Wall

People back in the 12th century probably believed in mythical beings like fairies, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the villagers exaggerated some of their stories about the children. One scholar had another idea entirely, though.

Based on the strange circumstances of their arrival, some scholars believe the children were aliens. As far back as 1621, academics posed the theory that the children came from another planet. But one modern researcher doesn’t buy either theory.

The Daily Beast

Paul Harris suggested in 1998 that the children might have grown up in a nearby town called Fornham St. Martin, which is where they got the name “St. Martin’s Land.” There’s one other similarity, too, that’s difficult to overlook.

Fornham St. Martin is separated from Woolpit by a river, just like their story. Even though it’s small and easily crossable, the young children might have seen the river as “sprawling.” But if the siblings were from a nearby town, why was their skin green?

One theory suggests the children suffered from hypochromic anemia, which leaves people with green-tinged skin. If the villagers had never seen it before, it’s understandable they would be a little freaked out. One key piece of evidence supports that theory.

Hypochromic anemia is caused by a poor diet. Several reports about the children suggest they were near starvation by the time they were found, which would line up with the disease’s symptoms. But why were they running away in the first place?

Harris noted that there was a battle at Fornham St. Martin in 1173, around the time the children arrived in Woolpit. Several Flemish immigrants were killed, which might have included the siblings’ parents, leaving them to fend for themselves.

The Independent

If the children were in fact Flemish, it could be the reason none of the villagers recognized the language they were speaking. The accounts of the children’s later lives differ, but they all agree on a few key details.

Most agree that the boy died not long after arriving in Woolpit, but that his sister lived to adulthood. Some records even indicate that she lived a long and healthy life — and maybe even got married!

We might never know the true story of the green children in Woolpit, but researchers can all agree on one thing: humans have been inexplicably spotting “green” people for centuries.

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