Famous UK UFO Photo Hoax
Now Said To Be Genuine
From David Clarke <>
The following story was released by news agencies in Sheffield, Yorkshire, on March 4, 1999:
Schoolboy Alex Birch, blamed for hoaxing the world with a sensational DIY flying saucer snap 37 years ago, now insists his story was true.
Alex, now an antique dealer and grandfather, claims pressure and ridicule forced him to claim the UFO sighting in 1962, which made him a world wide celebrity, was a fake.
Now he says the world must know the true story of what happened in the garden of a semi-detached house in Mosborough, Sheffield, on March 2, 1962.
Alex, then a 12-year-old schoolboy, was playing in the garden of his parents home with two pals. They were using an old Brownie 127 black and white box camera to take snaps of each other.
As they played together, they claimed five flying saucer objects appeared in the sky behind them, hovering over trees and bushes.
In the 20 seconds the objects were visible, Alex wheeled round and took a single picture. It captured the fuzzy objects, with the nearest and largest showing what appeared to be a dome on top.
The photograph was to change the life of young Alex. It was pronounced genuine by Kodak experts, and the [British] Air Ministry and the Pentagon examined copies and ordered an investigation.
The picture appeared in newspapers, magazines and on TV stations throughout the world and Alex became a celebrity guest at UFO spotters conferences.
The snap became one of the most convincing pieces of evidence in a 1960s Britain obsessed with flying saucers and proving their existence.
Alex and his father were called to London to be grilled by Air Ministry officials.
But then 10 years later, Alex called a press conference and said the photo was a simple cut and paste fake. He said it was a schoolboy prank which snowballed out of control.
He and his chums had cut out the shapes of flying saucers, pasted them on glass, and then took the picture which fooled the experts. At the time, UFO experts throughout the world refused to believe him.
Yesterday Alex, now 49, explained why he had changed his strange story yet again - and why the world famous Roswell Museum in New Mexico, set up after the sensational Roswell Incident in 1947, are now begging Alex to allow them to exhibit the camera that took the picture.
"People think I made a fortune out of the photograph, I have heard estimates of up to half a million pounds," he said. "In fact I made practically nothing, but I did become internationally famous for it. "The Pentagon had a file on the incident, the Air Ministry called me and my father to London.
"But with the fame came a lot of misery. I faced a lot of ridicule and pressure. I decided to claim it was a fake in the hope that it would all go away and the pressure would be taken off me. But it did not work like that.
"Stories and pictures continued to appear and to appear and some of the pressure even passed on to my son. Adrian. People were not prepared to let the story drop. "The reason I have now decided to let the real story be known now is because I think it is important that the public should know.
"Now my own five year old grandson is UFO crazy, with pictures and specially made models in his bedroom. "The Roswell Museum want the old Brownie camera to put on display because they believe the picture was genuine. I still have it and it's become an old friend and I have not made up my mind yet about parting with it.
"But it seems that one black and white picture taken in a garden all those years ago will be having an impact on our lives for some years to come."
By Robert Moore < 3-4-99
Sorry, I don't buy this at all! Alex Birches' photograph is a hoax, pure and simple. It looks like it is - a fuzzy image of 'UFOs' painted onto a sheet of glass!
Let us _not_ forget the picture of Birch that appears in "The Unexplained" in the 1980's (and other places), where he is shown, - next to a glass plate painted with small 'UFOs' - holding a camera and grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Grinning at _us_.......
He didn't look _too_ harassed there, to me. Just smirking, at the thought of making all those dumb Ufologists fall for his tricks! Smirking at all those credulous 1960's UK Ufologists, who formulated UFO propulsion theories based on this photograph (it's supposed to show water droplets suspended in an antigravity field)! Also, the noticeable blurring around the 'UFOs' (someone once claimed) was the result of a "force field" surrounding the 'craft'.
Handy things, force fields...... the absurd Adamski movie 'UFO' is also supposed to be physically distorted due to a similar reason. Not simply because it was merely a cheesy special effect (how dare you _think_ such a thing)!
OK; his pictures are "genuine"; funny, then, that the _very_ method that Birch originally claimed he used to fake it _can_ create an image identical to this - now "authentic" - UFO picture! Funny, too, that (through the very act of _his_ original confession) he obviously _had_ prior knowledge of this easily-applied hoaxing method!
Sadly, the U.K.'s Ufological history is littered with hoaxed photographs fabricated by children. It's even sadder still when some of these witnesses continue to claim these hoaxes are 'authentic'. Which will be all the excuse 'mystery' and 'hack' writers will need to keep pushing them as authentic 'true-UFO' images. Pushing such obviously faked images as 'authentic' obviously does the image of our subject NO favours, especially in the eyes of the scientific community.
This un-confession has nothing to do with the truth, and everything to do with the lucrative 'UFO Industry that has arisen in recent years. When the truth wasn't out there (i.e. before Chris Carter discovered UFOs) Alex Birch was seemingly quite happy to let us think these photographs _were_ hoaxes. Then, when the X-files era came upon us, it is suddenly realised what a goldmine this image is! But, oh dear, it's a confessed hoax....never mind, just take back the confession and a square of worthless photographic emulsion is transmuted into gold!
Another aspect _not_ mentioned in the story reproduced by Dave Clarke is that Alex Birch has become very aware of _how_ often his photograph has been used in books over the years, and has been asking for outstanding loyalties! Obviously, the value of a "genuine" UFO photo is greater than that of a hoaxed (or is that a 'just hoaxed for now') photograph!
Come on guys; let's not fall for this photo again! I, at least, will continue to hold the view that this photograph is at best highly suspect, and very likely a hoax.
Should we in this subject attempt to settle this matter, once and for all? Finally, and for good. In my view, these images _should_ be subjected to modern computer photographic analysis (by someone skilled in photographic SFX work).
Is Birch willing for these images to be so tested?
And lets also try to duplicate the photograph itself, via the means it was originally claimed to have been fabricated by.
Robert Moore