The Solway Firth Spaceman (also known as the Solway Spaceman and the Cumberland Spaceman) is a mysterious figure seen in a photograph taken by Jim Templeton in 1964 at Burgh Marsh, situated near Burgh by Sands and overlooking theSolway Firth in Cumbria, England. Templeton claims the photograph shows a background figure wearing a space suit and has insisted that he did not see anyone present when the photograph was taken. The image has been a source of international fascination ever since.
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. Templeton said the only other people on the marshes that day were a couple of old ladies sitting in a car at the far end of the marsh. In a letter to the Daily Mail in 2002, Templeton stated, “I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose – and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodakdisplaying what looks like a spaceman in the background.” 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.
Templeton told reporters, “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 figure 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 claims to have been visited after the photograph was published by two Men in Black from Her Majesty’s Government who refused to show their identification. Templeton says: “They said they worked for the government and that they were only identified by number.” After taking the men to the site where the photos were taken, Templeton claims that when he explained that he had not seen the figure at the time, the men became angry and drove away leaving him to walk home.
In a BBC Look North interview and a letter to The Daily Mail, Templeton also claimed that a Blue Streak missile launch at the Woomera Test Range had been aborted because the figures of two large men were seen on the firing range. Templeton alleged that technicians later saw his photograph in an Australian newspaper and found the figures to be exactly the same.