More than 50 years ago, more precisely in May of 1964, a man called Jim Templeton snapped an image that would soon become one of the most mysterious images ever photographed.
In May of 1964, Jim Templeton, his wife, and daughter spent the day at the Solway Fjord in northwest England.
Jim was a photography enthusiast, and like all new parents, his main motivation was his daughter Elizabeth, five years old at the time.
That afternoon he took three photos, and when he went to reveal them, he found that the best picture of his daughter had been ruined because someone had appeared walking behind.
The only problem was, there was no one there.
Jim was entirely sure that the three of them were alone that day. So, who or what was the mysterious figure seen behind his daughter?
The curious photograph was published in a local newspaper in Cumberland on June 12 of that same year, and the next day, it was also picked up by the Daily Mirror and Daily Express.
As expected, it soon attracted the attention of all kinds of curious people, ufologists, and paranormal investigators who were trying to solve the mystery surrounding the photograph.
Following the publication of the image in various newspapers, a number of different theories were proposed. However, none of them seemed to satisfy.
One of the strangest theories proposed had Aliens written all over it.
One theory suggested that an alien spacecraft had landed near them and that both the ship itself and the aliens were protected by some sort of cloaking device, which made them imperceptible to human eyes but not to the camera.
The Alien theory developed and quickly turned into a conspiracy theory.
Some reports suggest that soon after the image was published in newspapers, Mr. Templeton was visited by the mysterious Men in Black, who asked him to take them to the exact area where the events took place.
Templeton explained later that the two men who had visited him refused to show their identification and that “They said they worked for the government and that they were only identified by number.”
After taking the men to the site where the photographs were taken, Templeton said that when he explained he had not seen the figure at the time, the men became angry and drove away, leaving him to walk home.
In September 1964, Templeton dismissed the two men as frauds, saying: “It all looks like a leg pull to me. I’m sure the men were not security agents.”
Trying to solve the mystery, Jim took the photograph and the negative to Kodak, so they could check the original had been manipulated in any way or contained a photographic error of some sort.
However, all attempts to explain the mystery figure were in vain, and tests showed that the photograph was authentic, and had not been manipulated.
The photographic company even offered a prize of free movies for life to that person who managed to prove otherwise.
Let it be known, the prize has not been claimed, but more than fifty years after the event took place, a few people remain interested in this mystery.
In 2014, UFO author David Clarke explained that the mysterious figure standing behind Jim’s daughter was most likely Templeton’s wife, Annie, who was present at the time and was seen on other photographs that were taken that day.
“I think for some reason his wife walked into the shot, and he didn’t see her because with that particular make of camera you could only see 70% of what was in the shot through the viewfinder”, said Clarke. Annie Templeton was wearing a pale blue dress on the day in question, which was overexposed as white in the other photos; she also had dark bobbed hair. It has been argued that, when using photo software to darken the image and straighten the horizon, the figure increasingly appears to be a regular person viewed from behind. Of its impact, Clarke said: “People will still be talking about it in another 50 years.”