Part B10 : “Alien” photo in FBI files
The FBI files include the photograph below of an “alien”:
(Document at page 55 of 84 in Part 7 of the FBI’s 16 UFO files)
This photo pops up fairly frequently on online discussion forums. For example, it is discussed on the AboveTopSecret.com forum in discussions at the
Here’s a better copy of the relevant photograph (which is “Koi Alien Photo 04” in my database of infamous “alien” photos):
The FBI files show that their copy of the photograph was received on 24 May 1950, from an Intelligence and Security officer at the New Orleans Port of
(Document at page 51 of 84 in Part 7 of the FBI’s 16 UFO files)
That document indicates that the FBI apparently took the photo seriously enough to discuss it with Colonel Borden in the Air Force Office of Special
Investigations. Borden said his office didn't think it worthy of further study.
The FBI files indicate that a translation of the captions accompanying the photograph referred to Wiesbaden, but the FBI did not manage/bother to
trace the photo back to its source (which was, as detailed below, the relevant German newspaper, "Wiesbadener Tagblatt").
The first appearance of this photo in a UFO book appears to have been in about 1980 (in a book referred to repeatedly above, "The Roswell Incident"
(1980) by Charles Berlitz and Bill Moore), with the true story being revealed relatively very shortly thereafter. However, this has not prevented the
photo being republished in various books and on numerous websites - usually without the true story accompanying it.
Several popular websites are rather less forthcoming about the true story regarding this photograph. For example, see:
(1) The popular UFO Casebook website at the link below, which shows the photo with a caption "Alien from Germany, c. 1950s"
(2) The further website below, which shows the photo with a caption "Captured alien."
Even some usually very diligent researchers appear to have remained unaware of the true story behind this photo. For example, Kevin Randle and Russ
Estes wrote in their book "Faces of the Visitors" (1997) that little information was available and “…with no way to corroborate its
authenticity, this becomes just another picture that has no provenance and therefore must be disregarded".
In fact, Klaus Webner (still a local resident in Wiesdadener, and a UFO researcher) had managed to track down the source of the photo in 1981 as being
a 1950 April Fools Day issue of the German newspaper "Wiebadener Tagblatt". It was an April Fool's joke by then editor William Sprunkel and
photographer Hans Scheffler. Sheffler's five year-old-son Peter Scheffler acted as the model for the alien, with the "alien" head being painted
over him. The American military authorities gave permission for "Wiebadener Tagblatt" to use real military officers in the photograph.
The photograph was published on 1st April 1950 as an April Fools joke in a Wiesbadener Tagblatt article with three photograph under the headline
'Flying Saucers Over Wiesbasden. A Giant Flying Disc Crashed at the Bleivenstadter Kopf. Crew Member Is In Protective Detention. No Cause For
Panic.'". The text of that article reported the hunting down of a flying saucer which crashed during the night in the vicinity of Wiesbaden. Even a
crew member had allegedly been seized and put into protective custody. The article describes a 'stange creature with only one leg moving about a
rotating plate'. His arms came to an end in four stubby fingers. It was written that he had large glaring eyes and his head was an oval shape.
However, the Wiesbadener Tagblatt quickly published an admission of the hoax on Monday April 3rd 1950 under the headline “TUCHTIG REINGEFALLEN!”
Over 30 years later, o Wednesday April 22nd 1981 the Wiesbadener Tagblatt published a further article about its hoax 'A Tagblatt April Joke in the
Files of the FBI …. And now as a true saucer report in a book publication”
Respected UFO researcher Chris Aubeck has commented "The fact that the author confessed two days later, yet the hoax became immortal, is just so
typical" (Aubeck, 2008).
For anyone interested, I have detailed relevant discussions of this photo at FAR more length at the link below: