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The photograph of Templeton's daughter Elizabeth shows a white figure projecting at an angle behind her back.

The Solway Firth Spaceman (also known as the Solway Spaceman and the Cumberland Spaceman) refers to a photograph taken in 1964 at Burgh Marsh, situated near Burgh by Sands and overlooking the Solway Firth in Cumbria, England. The image, which shows in the background a white figure in what the photographer Jim Templeton took for a space suit, remains unexplained. While it has been suggested by some that the figure is merely someone with their back to the camera, perhaps wearing a hat or helmet, Templeton insists that he did not see anyone present when the photograph was taken. The image has attracted interest from ufologists and has become a source of international fascination.[1]



On 23 May 1964, Jim Templeton, a firefighter from Carlisle, Cumberland, (now part of Cumbria,) took three photographs of his five-year-old daughter while on a day trip to Burgh Marsh.[1] The only other people on the marshes that day were a couple of old ladies, and although cows and sheep would have normally been plentiful, they were huddled together at the far end of the marsh.[2] In a letter to the Daily Mail in 2002, Templeton recalled, "I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose - and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodak displaying what looks like a spaceman in the background."[3] Templeton insists that he did not see the figure until after his photographs were developed, and analysts at Kodak confirmed that the photograph was genuine.[1]


Templeton tells of a visit after the photograph was published by two men who, he says, claimed to be from Her Majesty's Government,[2] but refused to show their identification.[1] He says that they referred to each other as numbers and asked him questions about the weather conditions on the day of the photograph and about the activities of local bird life. They drove Templeton to the marsh, where he says they tried to make him admit that he had in fact photographed a passer by — a suggestion that he strongly rejected. The men then became angry and drove away leaving him stranded on the marsh five miles from home.[4]

Templeton spoke to the Daily Mail in December 2002. He said of the photograph: "I took the picture to the police in Carlisle who, after many doubts, examined it and stated there was nothing suspicious about it. The local newspaper, the Cumberland News, picked up the story and within hours it was all over the world. The picture is certainly not a fake, and I am as bemused as anyone else as to how this image appeared in the background. Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities - most of which make little sense to me." Templeton asserted that he had experienced no financial gain as a result of distributing the photograph, nor did he ever pursue it.[3] In an interview recorded for BBC television, Templeton spoke candidly about the photograph, saying: "Who is he? Where's he from? Those are the two questions we want answered."[5] The case was also covered in the BBC One series Secrets of the Paranormal, presented by Jenny Randles.[2]

Australian connection

A Blue Streak launch at the Woomera Test Range, using Cumbrian-built weaponry,[5] had been aborted because of two large men seen on the firing range. Technicians at the time did not know about Templeton's sighting until it appeared on the front page of an Australian Newspaper, and they said that the figure in Cumbria looked the same as the ones they had seen on the monitor at Woomera.[2][3] Templeton told the BBC that technicians considered the two figures to be "exactly the same type of man: same dress, same figure, same size" as in the original photograph.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Lytollis, R. "E.T. phone Cumbria". Times & Star, 7 July 2007. Retrieved on 4 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "The "Cumberland Spaceman"". UFO Evidence. Retrieved on 4 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Cumberland Spaceman / Solway Firth Photograph". UFO Evidence. Retrieved on 4 November 2009.
  4. ^ "The Solway Firth Photo, 1964 (Spaceman)". Ufocasebook. Retrieved on 4 November 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Jim Templeton interview". BBC Look North. BBC. BBC One. January 10, 2008. No. 1/1.

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