Sep 06, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Can We Find the Proof of Alien Life - and by Searching for Dead Alien Bodies?

It was in the heady, X-Files-dominated days of 1995 that Ray Santilli let loose upon an unsuspecting world the infamous “Alien Autopsy” film. Eleven years later, and after a seemingly never-ending period of controversy and debate, Santilli finally ‘fessed up to the fact that the controversial footage was nothing more than a, ahem, “restoration.” So Santilli’s highly convoluted story went, he really did have in his possession 1947-vintage U.S. military film that showed the secret autopsy of a bald-headed, pot-bellied alien who had had the unfortunate bad driving skills to crash to earth deep in the harsh deserts of New Mexico. Ironically, however, Santilli elaborated, the real footage had supposedly degraded to the point where it was both unwatchable and unusable from a broadcasting perspective; and so he enlisted the expert help of special-effects chums to work on that aforementioned restoration.

It would have been far too much to have expected this to lay matters to rest. And, indeed, it did not. The believers – or some of them, at least - continued to believe; while the disbelievers publicly scoffed at Santilli’s claims of “restoration” and maintained that the whole thing was nothing more than a straightforward hoax – albeit an ingeniously instigated and executed one. And even though the affair has now been relegated to the sidelines of ufology by all but those few that still have faith in Santilli’s original story, it is a seldom discussed fact that Santilli was not the first to claim knowledge of, or possession of, decades-old U.S. military film-footage and photographs said to show the bodies of dead and decaying ET’s.

(Nick Redfern) Get our hands on the dead aliens and we have the answers

A well-known collector of crashed UFO tales, the late Leonard Stringfield, was the recipient of a number of such claims – although, sadly and perhaps inevitably, no films. One such tale told to Stringfield came from the unsurprisingly anonymous ‘Mr. T.E.’, who, said Stringfield in 1980, “holds a technical position in today’s life.” T.E. told Stringfield that in 1953, at the age of just twenty, and while stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, he was summoned to watch a startling piece of film-footage at the base theatre. Reported Stringfield: “Without any briefing, the 16mm movie projector was flicked on and the film began to roll on the screen…the film showed a desert scene dominated by a silver disc-shaped object embedded in the sand…” Stringfield continued that: “Then…there was a change of scenes. Now in view were two tables, probably taken inside a tent, on which, to his surprise, were dead bodies. T.E. said the bodies appeared little by human standards and most notable were the heads, all looking alike, and all being large compared to their body sizes…They looked Mongoloid.”

Interestingly, T.E. and his colleagues were told immediately after the screening to ‘think about the movie’; but were later advised that: “It was a hoax.” And, eerily paralleling the Santilli film, T.E. told Stringfield that: “The 5-minute long movie certainly was not a Walt Disney production. It was probably shot by an inexperienced cameraman because it was full of scratches, and had poor colouring and texture.” Then, there is the little known story of Pennsylvania-based UFO researcher Joan Jeffers who – having read the “T.E. Report” – stated in a letter to Stringfield on February 6, 1979 that she, too, had spoken with a military source who claimed to have seen what sounded suspiciously like the same film – at a “radar facility” in Maine, USA around 1956.

And still further reports reached the eyes and ears of Leonard Stringfield. Two years later, in 1982, Stringfield wrote: “On a tip from Bill Hamilton of Phoenix, Arizona, at the MUFON Symposium in Houston, June, 1980, I was soon in communication with Ms. C.M. of Los Angeles, a successful freelance writer who knew about a secret movie allegedly showing a freshly recovered alien craft with occupants, filmed inside an Air Force hangar. The movie, in color with sound, and of 17 minutes duration, said CM, was in the possession of a person formerly in government service, whom she did not identify…one scene showed the removal of five alien dead bodies.” Despite attempts to cultivate the source to a greater degree, Stringfield was unable to do so. Another film had bitten the dust.

Quite possibly the strangest story of an alleged alien autopsy film involves – in a weird and convoluted way – the late country and western singer, John Denver, who died in a plane crash near Pacific Grove, California on October 12, 1997. Aside from music, Denver’s other big passion was for space travel: he even took, and passed no less, NASA’s physical and mental examination to determine if he was fit enough to cope with the extreme rigours of a journey into space. As a result, plans were made for Denver to travel on the Challenger Space Shuttle. But a twist of fate prevented him from joining the ill-fated January 1986 mission that ended in complete and utter disaster when Challenger exploded shortly after take-off, killing all of the crew. One of those aboard Challenger was astronaut Ellison Onizuka, who had told his close friend, Chris Coffey that, while serving in the U.S. Air Force at McClelland Air Force Base in 1973, he had viewed a piece of black-and-white film footage that showed “alien bodies on a slab” – alien bodies not unlike those said to have been found in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Roswell, it turns out, was John Denver’s home town: he was born there – into an Air Force family, no less – in 1943. 

Interestingly, in the same year that Challenger exploded – 1986 - English UFO researcher and author Jenny Randles was approached by a British Army source that she called “Robert,” who claimed to have read – and asserted that he had access to – hundreds of pages of seemingly Top Secret U.S. military files that had been found on classified computer systems at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. Contained within those files, Randles told me in an interview on March 28, 1997, were – according to Robert, at least – photographs that showed aspects of at least one alien autopsy. Randles further informed me that: “…there was a very detailed account that was mostly filled with medical jargon about the autopsy which he didn’t understand, and there was a photograph of this entity with a slit right down the middle from the neck to the navel.” She added:  “One of the things Robert said was that the aliens were very human-looking. He said that the head was completely bald, but the most unusual feature of the face was the nose, which was almost flush into the face – almost unnoticeable. Notably, Randles reported: “Bearing in mind, 1986 was years before the autopsy film [from Ray Santilli] surfaced. In fact, the connections with the autopsy film and with what Robert told me are chillingly similar. One of the impressions that you get from the alien autopsy footage is that the body is very human-like; and is around five foot in height. I have to say it struck me as soon as I saw the footage that this was very similar to what Robert had described.”

(Nick Redfern) Deep in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rain-forest could be the end of the puzzle

Keeping that possibility in mind, consider this, too: there is one central theme that runs throughout all of these “alien autopsy film”-related accounts – namely, the apparent and ridiculous ease with which each of the military sources seemingly had access to such apparent Top Secret material. The claim of Santilli’s “cameraman,” that he was able to keep the footage because no-one in the official world ever came to claim it, is both utterly absurd and beyond belief. That Leonard Stringfield’s twenty-year old source, “T.E.,” was openly shown – for no apparent reason that either party could determine – an alleged film of alien bodies laid out on tables also sounds unlikely in the extreme. And, as Jenny Randles told me with specific regard to one aspect of the story related to her by British Army informant, Robert – namely the apparent ease with which supposed classified files and photographs on dead aliens had been made available to him: “I more or less mutually decided that the most likely explanation was that Robert had been set up by someone, and that he really did have this documentation. If it was a hoax, then Robert certainly wasn’t guilty of it. And I’d probably still have to say that today.”

In view of this, we might do well to muse upon the possibility that deep within the bowels of the U.S. Air Force secret film-footage really does exist, and does appear to show the autopsies of one or more diminutive alien bodies. But appearances may be deceiving. We might argue that such footage was faked officially – decades ago, even – to test the loyalty of military personnel: deliberately expose them to such seemingly sensational material and then see if they keep their collective mouths shut in a fashion that is expected of them by their superiors; or watch them closely to see if they confide in their friends, family and the media. If the former: all well and good. If the latter: well, no actual real secrets have been exposed, and those that are found untrustworthy are quickly relegated to cleaning the latrines; or posted to guard-duty in some icy, polar region as punishment. Or, perhaps even, this was all part of a ploy to try and spook the former Soviet Union into believing that the West had access to crashed UFOs, alien bodies, and all of the attendant advanced technology that came with such a finding. History has certainly shown that Cold War psychological warfare operations took some bizarre and unique twists and turns; and history may one day show that the many tales of secret alien autopsy films have more to do with the shenanigans of spies, spooks, disinformation experts, and cigar-chomping Air Force generals than they do with diminutive, black-eyed aliens from the other side of the universe.

How about the legendary Chupacabra? Certainly, many people on Puerto Rico believe the Chupacabras are extraterrestrials and not just unknown animals. Let's have a look at the mystery. There is another reason why I was so intrigued by the potential UFO link to the chupacabra controversy. It was because of something that happened back in 2004. Shortly after the Proof Positive shoot was completed for the SyFy Channel, I spoke with a woman who had her own encounter with a UFO, but in a location where a chupacabra was seen only days later. As Rosario told me, it was early March 2000, and she was working in a grove near the foot of El Yunque where she picked plantains. Her attention was suddenly drawn to a deep, resonating hum, one that was coming from directly above her. Looking up, Rosario was startled to see a black, triangular-shaped object – about 25 to 35 feet in length - that was hovering overhead at a height estimated to be around 90 to 120 feet, and which had a glossy, shiny surface. Surprise and amazement turned to shock when a pencil-thin beam of light shot out of the base of the craft, fanned out, and enveloped Rosario in a pink glow. For what almost seemed like an eternity, Rosario was rooted to the spot, while her mind was flooded with images of widespread nuclear destruction and environmental collapse in the Earth’s near-future. The final image was of a large, bald head with huge, black eyes and that closely resembled the alien face on the cover of Whitley Strieber’s 1987 best-selling book, Communion – which Rosario was inexplicably drawn to read in the immediate aftermath.

 Suddenly, the light retracted and the flying triangle rose into the sky, heading slowly towards the heart of the rain forest. Interestingly, in the wake of the encounter, Rosario developed an overwhelming interest in environmental issues, and quite literally overnight – after a lifetime of eating meat – became a staunch advocate of vegetarianism. That was not all: three days later, and only a couple of hundred feet from where Rosario was working on that fateful day, two girls spotted a chupacabra of the bipedal, spiked and decidedly menacing kind. The beast spotted them, too. Evidently, however, it was a monster on a mission, since, after peering at them for a few moments it fell down on all-fours and bounded away into the heavy undergrowth. It was an event that – due to both the time-frame and the proximity – led Rosario to conclude the chupacabra was somehow linked to the UFO phenomenon. And here’s the clincher: she, too, had heard rumors of dead chupacabra, found in a crashed UFO some years earlier that had been secretly taken to Roosevelt Roads.

Also of relevance, while on Puerto Rico in 2005, with Paul Kimball and his Red Star Films crew, our guide, Orlando, was filmed talking about a 1990s-era event in which U.S. military forces reportedly captured several extremely vicious Chupacabra in El Yunque. What happened to them, beyond first being held at Roosevelt Roads and then flown on to the United States - in secure cages, aboard a military aircraft - is unknown. And then there was that 2010 story of alleged, classified experiments undertaken on monkeys and apes in an underground facility at the base that I described earlier. Was this all nothing stranger than modern day folklore in the making? Or, could it have been the cold, stark truth? That Puerto Rico is hiding the bodies of dead aliens?

Now, to the U.K. Without doubt, the expert on this complicated story is Andy Roberts; he’s a long-time researcher of UFOs and numerous other anomalies. As for what happened in January 1974, Andy says: “Prehistoric man lived and worshipped on the mountains leaving behind him a dramatic, ritual landscape dotted with stone circles…Folklore tells us that these mountains are haunted by many types of aerial phenomena, including the spectral Hounds of Hell: those who saw them recalled how they flew through the night sky baying as though pursued by Satan himself. To the south of the Berwyn’s at, Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, the locals were plagued by a ‘flying dragon’ – intriguingly, a common name for UFOs in times gone by.” He continues: “It is against this backdrop of history and myth that on the evening of January 23, 1974 an event took place on the Berwyn Mountains that was to perplex locals and spawned a veritable cascade of rumours, culminating in a claim that, if true, would irrevocably change our view of history and make us revise our plans for the future of both our planet and our species. The claim was that a UFO piloted by extraterrestrials crashed, or was shot down, on the mountain known as Cadair Berwyn and that the alien crew, some still alive, were whisked off to a secret military installation in the south of England for study.”

The witnesses speak: certainly, something happened on the Berwyn Mountains at approximately 8:30 p.m. on that famous night. No-one disputes that: it’s the nature of the events that provoke most of the debate. Anne Williams, of Bro Diham, Landrillo, recalled: “I saw this bright light hanging in the sky. It had a long fiery tale which seemed to be motionless for several minutes, going dim and then very brilliant, like a dormant fire which keeps coming to life. It would have been like an electric bulb in shape, except that it seemed to have rough edges. Then fell somewhere behind the hills at the back of my bungalow and the earth shook.” Police Constable Gwilym – off-duty at the time and knocking back a beer or a few in the local Dudley Arms pub - had something to say, too: “There was a great roar and a bang and the glasses shook. The sky was lit up over the mountains. The color was yellowish but other people in the valley described seeing blue lights.” Police Sergeant Gwyn Williams stated: “The walls shook and the mirror swung away from the wall,” he recalled. “My first thought was that a big lorry had hit the cinema – it was that kind of a roar and bang. Everyone ran into the street.” Around an hour-and-a-half later, what was described as a huge “luminous sphere” was seen by Ken Haughton, at a height of around 15,000 feet in the sky. He said that it seemed to fall vertically into the sea near to the town of Rhyl.

That strange lights had been seen maneuvering in the skies, and the fact that the ground shook to a major degree, inevitably provoked fears that an aircraft – or, possibly, something exotic and unearthly - had crashed somewhere on the vast mountains on that winter’s night. It’s no surprise, then, that on the early morning of the 24th a Royal Air Force emergency rescue team – operating out of the RAF Valley base – carefully scoured the Berwyns from overhead. They came away completely blank: there was no evidence of any kind of crash having occurred. There was no debris, no fires on the mountains, and no mangled bodies, human or otherwise. The entire thing was a mystery. Much ado about nothing? A very non-mysterious theory was put forward by the authorities: what some believed to have been a crash of something from the skies was actually an earth tremor. That does make some sense: it would have been very easy to mistake the effects of a small earthquake for a large object slamming into the ground. But, what of those lights that were seen in the skies – and at just about the same time? One theory was that they were actually the lamps of men out on the hills hunting for hares. Or, that there had been a meteorite shower – which there actually was. 

(Nick Redfern) Alien autopsies in the U.K.'s highly sensitive and secret facility, Porton Down

Not everyone was buying into this wholly-down-to-earth picture, however. A letter was fired off to the staff of the Wrexham Leader newspaper by a fairly irate soul, who wrote: “Regarding your front page article ‘Mystery Tremor’ in the issue of January 25, I find the explanation given absolutely ludicrous. The tremors shook houses over a 60-mile radius, and the lights were seen clearly miles away – this was reported by the national press and radio. I know nothing about ‘Hare hunting’ but unless the hunters use aircraft searchlights and kill their prey by lobbing a small atom bomb at them, then I fail to see how anyone can accept such an explanation.” For many, it was all a huge – and almost unique – coincidence provoked by those lamps, the meteorite shower, and an earth tremor that was powerful enough to shake homes and cause windows to shatter. All in relatively close proximity to each other. And all at around the same time. You can easily see why more than a few people might have chosen to use one word to describe the chaos on the mountains: “Hmmmmm.”

The coincidence angle is broadly the theory that Andy Roberts goes with. Indeed, Andy wrote an entire book on the subject - and from the perspective of everything being very much UFO-absent. Its title: UFO Down? The Berwyn Mountain UFO Crash. It should be read by one and all. While the U.K.’s ufologists of the 1970s were briefly excited by what happened – the possibility of a UFO presence in the area, and maybe even the crash of an extraterrestrial craft – it wasn’t too long before life returned to normality in the area and the incident was eventually relegated to the status of a local legend and not much more. Except, that is, for those ufologists who just couldn’t let it go: a number of articles were written on the subject in the 1970s and 1980s. It wasn’t until 1996, however, that the story was resurrected in a big-time fashion. From the shadows comes an insider source

We now come to what I suspect is the most significant part of this whole story – that of a connection between the Berwyns Mountains events and the experiments that occurred in Rendlesham Forest. While I think that Andy Roberts gave the UFO research community a highly plausible scenario for what happened on January 23, 1974, there is data out there that makes me conclude there were things far stranger than just meteorites in the sky on that dark night. We’re talking about phenomena that closely parallels what was perfected at the Edgewood Arsenal in the 1960s: controlled ball lightning. In 1996, a military whistleblower came forward, claiming that aliens had crashed on the Berwyn Mountains back in January 1974. The pummeled bodies of the dead crew were said to have been secretly rushed to Porton Down, for hasty examination and even hastier preservation. As is so typically often the case in such situations, the source chose not to provide his name to the UFO research community of the day. He preferred to lurk in the darkness, shrouded in mystery and intrigue. He shared his story only with Tony Dodd, who was a North Yorkshire police sergeant and UFO investigator. Dodd chose to give his talkative soldier the alias of “James Prescott,” who was said by Dodd to have been long-retired from the British Army. 

“I cannot named my unit or barracks, as they are still operational,” Prescott told Dodd. Prescott did, though, admit that his base at the time was situated in the south-west of England, which – as the crow flies – may have placed his installation not too far from Porton Down. In a very baffling way - and although the incident on the Berwyn Mountains occurred on January 23, 1974 - Prescott and his colleagues were ordered to be on “stand-by at short notice” on January 18. That was five days before the Berwyns were briefly highlighted in the nation’s newspapers. Prescott got right into the heart of the story: “We then received orders to proceed with speed towards North Wales. We were halted in Chester in readiness for a military exercise we believed was about to take place. On 20 January, the communication to us was ‘hot.’ At approximately 20:13 hours we received orders to proceed to Llangollen in North Wales and to wait at that point.” 

According to Prescott there was a huge amount of “ground and aircraft activity” over and around those huge mountains. Remember, this was still January 20, according to Prescott – three days before the ground shook those little old villages at the foot of the mountains. Prescott said that on that same night he and his colleagues were given further orders: “We, that is myself and four others, were ordered to go to Llandderfel and were under strict orders not to stop for any civilians,” claimed Prescott. On arriving at Llandderfel - a small, Welsh village - they could see soldiers racing around. Senior officers were barking orders here, there and everywhere. Aircraft were zooming across the star-filled sky. And all of this was against a background of overwhelming darkness. Prescott and his colleagues were ordered to haul a pair of large, wooden boxes onto the back of their truck, which they did in rapid-fire time. According to Prescott: “We set off with our cargo and during the journey we stopped to get a drink. We were immediately approached by a man in civilian clothes, who produced an I.D. card and ordered us to keep moving, and not to stop until we reached our destination.” 

Matters got really weird, as Prescott explained to Dodd: “We were at this time warned not to open the boxes, but to proceed to Porton Down and deliver the boxes. Once inside, the boxes were opened by staff at the facility in our presence. We were shocked to see two creatures which had been placed inside decontamination suits. When the suits were fully opened it was obvious the creatures were clearly not of this world and, when examined, were found to be dead. What I saw in the boxes that day made me change my whole concept of life. The bodies were about five to six feet tall, humanoid in shape, but so thin they looked almost skeletal with a covering skin. Although I did not see a craft at the scene of the recovery, I was informed that a large craft had crashed and was recovered by other military units. Sometime later we joined up with the other elements of our unit, who informed us that they had also transported bodies of ‘alien beings’ to Porton Down, but said that their cargo was still alive.” 

The big problem in all of this, however, is that it's very difficult to get your hands on a dead alien. Of course, if we could do such a thing, then we would have everything we needed.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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