Within the UFOlogical community, an alien autopsy, a medical examination of an extraterrestrial being, is supposed to have occurred in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico.
The supposed autopsy first gained prominence during the 1990s when Ray Santilli, a London-based video entrepreneur, promoted a 17 minute black and white film purporting to be footage of the autopsy. In 1995, the film was sold to television networks internationally and broadcast with high viewer ratings in more than 32 countries.
In 2006, Santilli admitted the film was not entirely authentic, claiming that it was a reconstruction of lost footage of an actual alien autopsy film that he viewed and that a few of the frames embedded in his video were from the original. After this admission, Santilli's film is largely considered a hoax.
While dismissed as fantasy by most people, belief that alien autopsies have been carried out forms a core component of a number of UFO conspiracy theories, though the term itself is used within UFOlogy, fiction, and in popular culture, regardless of the factual status of the imagery that is being presented.
The Santilli film
In 1995, Santilli instigated wide-reaching controversy when he claimed to possess footage of an "alien autopsy," shot by a U.S. military official shortly after the 1947 Roswell UFO incident. Santilli first presented his 17-minute black-and-white film to an invited audience of media representatives, UFOlogists, and other dignitaries at the Museum of London on 5 May 1995. The footage, purportedly of doctors performing an autopsy on an alien body in a tent, has subsequently been screened in more than thirty countries worldwide.
Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction
Fox television broadcast the striking footage in the United States on August 28, 1995 under the title Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction. The program caused a sensation with Time Magazine declaring that the film had sparked a debate "with an intensity not lavished on any home movie since the Zapruder film". Fox re-broadcast the program twice, each time to higher ratings, with the November 1995 broadcast winning its time slot again with 11.7 million viewers and a 14% share. Although in the broadcast version some parts of the autopsy were pixelized or edited out because of their graphic nature, the aforementioned editions have what Santilli claimed is the complete and unedited film, plus previously unreleased footage of a wreckage presented as the remains of the alien craft reported to have crashed in Roswell.
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