Paperback: 284 pages (illustrated)
Publisher: PublishAmerica (7 Mar 2007)
Language English ISBN-10: 1424119553
"The Alien Autopsy" changed the world of ufology forever in 1995, shattering it into ever more polarised factions. Was it real or was it fake? The autopsy film transcended both categories to take on a reality of its own. British ufologist Philip Mantle was closely involved with the film from the start and in this book chronicles the passage of the autopsy from its birth, when Ray Santilli revealed it to the world, to its current status as icon of the impossible. All the four major theories (real ET, hoax, disinformation film and deformed human) are all looked into objectively and in some depth. And it's true to say there are pros and cons for all of them depending on where your beliefs lie and what constitutes your level of 'proof'.
There's enough information about the film to satisfy the most diehard skeptic or believer. Yet that's not the most interesting part of the book, by far. This comes in the penultimate chapter where Philip gets an exclusive interview with Ray Santilli. This is fascinating reading but I can't help thinking that Santilli is too slick, too full of glib answers. His excuses for why a piece of the film has never been released for analysis don't add up ("I don't think the circumstances have been right"), and his belief that the cameraman or his family may come out of the closet to put the stamp of authenticity on the film jibe with his refusal to let science authenticate the film, the canister or the written labels.
Ultimately Santilli is a business man and if a business man of his acumen really believed he had film footage of the greatest moment in planet Earth's history, I for one don't believe he would have handled it as he did, but instead would have had the film scientifically validated and made serious money and a place in history from it. As it is Santilli says the money he made was "all part of normal business". Can the final proof that the US military did an autopsy on a being from another planet really be reduced to 'normal business'? I don't think so. There are many ways Santilli could, if he wished, have settled the matter of the film's authenticity once and for all. Yet instead he chose to manipulate ufology and to create a media circus and a cash cow from which I don't think the last dollar has been yet milked. But this reviewers' cynicism, reeling with a head full of suspicion from too many years spent in ufology, won't alter the reality - whatever that is - of the AA film.
Twelve years on and this hybrid between Cluedo and the X-Files still provokes extreme reactions wherever it is discussed. If it's a hoax Santilli has pulled off the greatest in history. Santilli claims that those who believe it to be a hoax must prove it so. That's not the case - the onus is on the people making claims of alien origin for the cadaver to prove that's what it is. As neither they nor Santilli have done that, and the mystery and mythology continue to accrete around the film. Mantle has done an excellent job in rounding up all you need to know about the AA film and this book should be read by everyone with an interest in the subject of aliens.
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