USAnians may never have heard of this really neat story that has remained a mystery for decades. Has the origin of this mysterious picture finally been solved? There is now an explanation for why there appears to be an astronaut in the background of a picture of a little girl in the English countryside. Of course, not everyone will accept it.
On a bright summer’s day in 1964, a Carlisle fireman took a photo of his daughter that created headlines around the world. Fifty years later are we any closer to solving the mystery of the “Solway Spaceman”?
A white suit. A helmet. A dark visor. Mr Templeton, they believed, had photographed a spaceman.
Other than his wife, Annie, and two pensioners sat in a car, the Carlisle fireman maintained he had not seen anyone else that day on Burgh Marsh, overlooking the Solway Firth in Cumbria.
It was, he said, only when the chemist who processed his pictures pointed out the shot had been spoiled by a figure that he realised there had been somebody – or something else – present.
The picture was not tampered with. The media grabbed hold of it. The story evolved to include Men in Black visiting Templeton and a report of similar figures seen on a missile range. This was during the time of the space race. Tensions were high, imaginations were active. But the real story was both more simple and more complicated. There was no evidence for visits by suspicious figures from the government or other witnesses’ accounts of spacemen. Dr. David Clarke, a folklorist, concludes the interpretation of the picture is in the eye of the “holder”. It’s most likely that the mother of the child wandered into to the background of the photo and the overexposure and hidden lower half makes her resemble what people were thinking of at the time. She appears in other photos and this looks like a match. Clarke notes that with today’s Photoshop ability, people would be more questioning of such a picture but it was an innocent time.
Tip: Mark Richards (@savvo on Twitter)