Fact Check

Was This Video of an Authentic Alien Autopsy?

Social media users claimed various clips showed an autopsy on an alien recovered from an alleged UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico.

Published Aug 14, 2023

 (Twitter user @CosmicMysteryX)
Image Via Twitter user @CosmicMysteryX
Claim:
Old video clips that went viral most recently in August 2023 depicted an authentic alien autopsy.
Context

The clips were of a staged autopsy captured in London by, among others, film producer Ray Santilli.

In August 2023, clips from a strange, black-and-white video recirculated on social media, allegedly depicting an authentic, space alien autopsy. "Here is another leaked alien autopsy video," one social media user captioned one of the viral videos. "It is believed this is footage from an autopsy on the aliens recovered from the UFO crash in Roswell New Mexico," the caption continued.

(Twitter user @CosmicMysteryX)

"I hope it's not real. Too bad for the alien," one TikTok user captioned another similar-looking clip. Reverse image search results showed that the clips had been shared on various websites, many claiming they proved the existence of aliens in Area 51. We tracked down the source of the viral clips, and it turned out the autopsy was staged.

The video clips originated from a film released in 1995 by Ray Santilli, which at that time claimed it showed an authentic, alien autopsy. 

A Time magazine article from that time read:

The 17-minute film, silent and in muzzy black and white, has enough implicit melodrama to fill a satisfying sci-fi epic. But some people believe, or hope, that it may be genuine--evidence of an alien life form on earth, conceivably connected with the report (and alleged government cover-up) of a UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Professional skeptics find the film a clever or clumsy hoax. Others believe it's real, but not from Roswell. The UFOlogical combatants duel it out in magazines and on the Internet while poring over the footage with an intensity not lavished on any home movie since the Zapruder film.

Moreover, in 1995, FOX Network television aired a documentary investigating the footage allegedly filmed by the U.S. military after the legendary UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. In the film, Santilli claimed it was a real alien autopsy. What's more, experts from various fields asserted the creature in the video did not look human and underscored how difficult it would be to create such a fake.

The truth about the video's nature was revealed in the Eamonn Holmes documentary from 2006 "Eamonn Investigates: The Alien Autopsy":

For more than 10 years now that piece of film has divided opinion across the world. Some said it's an irrefutable proof of alien life on another planets. Some say it's the greatest hoax of all time. Well I'll let you in on this secret. It's a fake. But maybe not all of it. 

In the Holmes documentary, Santilli referred to the production as a "reconstruction" of a real alien autopsy film he viewed in the early 1990s, confirming that it was not a recording of an actual event. Importantly, however, Santilli has never provided evidence of the autopsy on which he allegedly based the reconstruction.  

The staged film was captured in a small flat in London converted into the set for the autopsy, and Santilli claimed that materials used came "from all over the world." John Humphreys, who is also interviewed in the film, was responsible for creating the creature from scratch, and said it took him over three weeks.

Moreover, Humphreys confessed that the brains visible in the video were not alien brains, but sheep brains covered in jelly. "The body was cut up into small bits and burnt," he explained to a journalist about the disposal of the rest of the body.

Given that viral videos were actually clips from a film by a producer who admitted that it was a reconstruction, we have rated this claim as "Miscaptioned." As of the time of this writing, there was no evidence of the footage Santilli allegedly based the reconstruction on.

Additionally, one of the videos shared on social media was a clip from a humorous film based on Santilli's story. 

Sources

Alien Autopsy. Directed by Jonny Campbell, Ealing Studios, Fragile Films, N1 European Film Produktions GmbH & Co. KG, 2006.

Alien Autopsy: (Fact or Fiction?). Directed by Tom McGough, Kiviat/Greene Productions Inc., Waterfall Studios, 1995.

AUTOPSY OR FRAUD-TOPSY? - TIME. 16 Dec. 2009, https://web.archive.org/web/20091216074850/https://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983764-1,00.html.

Eamonn Investigates: The Alien Autopsy. Directed by Keith Bunker and Isobel Williams, Bite Yer Legs, Waterfall Studios, Whatever Productions, 2006.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.