The Unsolved Mystery Of The Solway Spaceman

It is one of those paranormal experiences that still can't be explained, but some UFOlogists have pointed to it as proof of visitors from another planet for more than half a century. A photo taken by British fireman Jim Templeton in 1964 of his young daughter Elizabeth revealed a man in what could only be a suit meant to protect him from the extreme conditions of outer space. Templeton told the BBC in 2014 that he never expected what came next.

What happened was that the photo of Elizabeth Templeton was plastered across tabloid papers and inspected by paranormal investigators for decades. Templeton's local newspaper first ran a copy of the photo, then it was printed by Express and the Daily Mail. Then the letters started arriving from all across the globe. Some called it a spirit. Some said the pic was proof that the Templetons possessed strange psychic powers.

But authorities couldn't find anything in the photo that would lend credence to such outlandish claims. The local police department found nothing in it to warrant an official investigation, and neither did Kodak. The film company even offered a reward to anyone who could provide evidence that the snapshot of that sunny summer day had been tampered with. No one ever received that reward. It may have seemed like nothing more than a big bunch of hullabaloo until the day a serious-looking pair of "Men in Black" knocked on Templeton's door.

The Solway Spaceman: ingenious hoax, or intergalactic visitor?

That pair of starkly dressed men — who referred to themselves as "Number 9" and "Number 11" — weren't the only strange sign that there really was something to the UFOlogists' claims. Just a couple days after the Templetons' day trip to the shores of the Solway Firth, technicians working on a missile test in Australia reported seeing a pair of similarly spacesuited men near the projectile they were about to launch. They were shocked when they saw the photo of the Solway Spaceman in an Australian newspaper a few days after the aborted missile launch.

Then things got even fishier after it was found that the missile they were preparing to test had been built at a Royal Air Force base just a few miles from the spot where Jim took that mysterious photo of his daughter. But was this proof that the Solway Spaceman was real?

UFO expert Dr. David Clarke told the BBC that he believed Templeton's claims that he didn't tamper with or set up the photo in any way, shape, or form. However, despite his desire to find proof of visitors from final frontier, Clarke didn't believe in the existence of the spaceman. "I think for some reason his wife walked into the shot and he didn't see her," he said, "because with that particular make of camera you could only see 70 percent of what was in the shot through the viewfinder." But that doesn't mean the case is closed, as we're still pondering the possibility of the Solway Space more than half a century later.