Alien Autopsy Casebook
The Spyros Melaris Story
By Philip Mantle
It was 1993 when I was first contacted by London businessman, Ray Santilli. It was 1995 when Ray Santilli’s controversial ‘Alien Autopsy Film’ was released around the world. I have covered events surrounding this film in many publications around the world and in my book, Alien Autopsy Casebook, so forgive me if I don’t cover old ground here.
On June 22nd, 2007, I travelled by train to London to meet up with Ray Santilli and his business partner, Gary Shoefield. We had a pleasant lunch together and Ray Santilli showed me some frames of film encased in a type of Perspex material. Santilli claimed these were original vintage 1947 frames of film from the alien autopsy. As they came with no official seal of approval or had been authenticated by anyone, they were useless.
Within a couple of days of this meeting, my friend and colleague, Russel Callaghan, editor of UFO DATA Magazine, had a phone call from a man by the name of Spyros Melaris. This man claimed he had led the team that faked the whole alien autopsy film. He was a magician and filmmaker and he was now ready to spill the beans. He gave Russel a rundown of the who, what, why and where of the whole affair.
Because of my involvement in this affair, Russel was soon on the phone to me with the details. It wasn’t long before I spoke to Spyros Melaris myself and he was telling me things in great detail. During the next few weeks, I had several telephone conversations with Spyros Melaris and also put him in contact with US TV producer, Robert (Bob) Kiviat, at his request. Spyros was considering the best way to go public with his story. He had a book planned and thought that a TV documentary might also be a good idea.
Along with my colleagues Russel Callaghan, Michael Buckley and Steve Johnson, I was one of the co-organisers of the UFO DATA Annual Conference. It just so happened that the 2007 conference had a loose Roswell theme to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Roswell Incident. My colleagues and I discussed the possibility of asking Spyros Melaris to make his first public statement on this whole thing at our conference and, eventually, he agreed. The conference itself was held over the weekend of October 20th & 21st, 2007, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, UK. A packed audience saw Spyros take the stage on Sunday October 21st. I had met him in person for the first time the night before at the hotel and I made loose arrangements to formally interview him at his home later in the year. As promised, Spyros took to the stage and told of his involvement in the making of the alien autopsy film. A small few members of the audience were rather upset to hear this, but the vast majority were fascinated by what he had to say.
I made arrangements to visit the home of Spyros Melaris on November 16th, 2007, and I drove to his house in Hertfordshire with my partner, Christine. Before the formal audio-taped interview began, we had lunch with Spyros and his lovely wife, Anne. Over lunch, Spyros showed us some of the documentary evidence he has to support his claims. This included his diary from 1995, hand-drawn sketches of the alien, a full list of hand-painted storyboard images of the whole alien autopsy film, original fax messages from Kodak in the USA, providing copies of 1947 fill canister labels, and a large portfolio of research material. This was mainly of vintage (1940s) US military vehicles and some vintage US military medical photographs. The interview itself lasted around two hours and we only touched the tip of the iceberg. The full interview can be located online at:
I would like to thank my colleague, Steve Johnson, for transcribing this interview in full. The following is based on that interview.
Who is Spyros Melaris?
As the name might give it away, Spyros was originally born in Cyprus. As a boy, he was taught a magic trick by his grandfather and his love of magic was born. The other passion as a boy, growing up in the UK, was filmmaking. At school, he told his careers officer that he wanted to be an actor, but this was discouraged. A proper job was what he should have. So a proper job he took and, after leaving school, became an apprentice-trained motor mechanic. However, his love of magic and filmmaking won over and he eventually became a magician and a filmmaker. He now owns his own TV studio in London and makes TV shows for all the major networks in the UK and independent production companies alike. In short, in his owns words, we make programmes for “anyone who books us.”
How Did he Meet Ray Santilli?
In January, 1995, he was to attend the MIDEM music industry event in Cannes, France. He was taking a film crew there and had some spare time on his hands, so he sent fax messages to four production companies, picked at random from a media directory. He basically asked them if they wanted to hire him and his crew while in Cannes. One of these happened to be the Merlin Group, owned by Ray Santilli. Spyros and Ray Santilli had a few telephone conversations, but did not meet and arranged to meet in Cannes. By pure chance, they bumped into each other at a restaurant in Cannes and it was here that Ray Santilli first told Spyros Melaris that he had obtained film footage of an alien. Holding back a smirk, Spyros asked Santilli if he was serious and he replied he was. Not only that, he wanted Spyros to make a documentary from this footage.
They eventually agreed to meet at Ray Santilli’s office back in London. A few days later, Spyros kept his appointment with Santilli at his office in London. Here he met an almost distraught Ray Santilli, who told him he’d bought this film, but it had turned out to be very poor quality. Spyros was shown what has become known as the ‘tent footage’ and he immediately recognised it as being shot on video. The tape he was shown was on VHS format. Santilli seemed surprised that he had recognised it as being shot on video so quickly and he realised the game was up. Again in Spyros’ own words: “If I can’t get it past this guy, I’m not going to get it past anyone else. He realised it was game up. That’s when the meeting ended. I thought the guy’s mad. He’s trying a fast one. I thought it was over at that point.”
So How Did the Idea of a Fake Film Come About?
Melaris met up with his friend and colleague, John Humphreys. Humphreys is a Royal Academy trained sculptor whose work had sometimes overlapped into film and TV special effects. Melaris and Humphreys had known each other for a long time and had worked on a number of things together in the past. Melaris simply put the idea to Humphreys, “John, do you fancy sculpting an alien?” Melaris told Humphreys of his meeting with Santilli and basically came up with the idea of making it. They talked things over from a legal point of view and how it might help them break into other projects, even Hollywood. The idea was to make it, release it to the world and then make a second programme shortly after, showing how they did it. Humphreys agreed and Melaris pitched the idea to Santilli. Santilli looked like a man reborn, almost, and agreed. The budget put forward by Melaris was about £30,000 and it was Santilli’s business partner and friend, Volker Spielberg, who put up the money. The funding was in place, contracts and a confidentiality agreement were signed and the ball was rolling.
The Team Behind The Making of the Film
First off, there was Spyros Melaris. He designed and directed the film, directed, instructed and paid the rest of the team, made the autopsy table, along with many of the other props, he also made the ‘contamination suits’, as well as obtain the props and cameras. The main researcher behind it all was Spyros’ then girlfriend, Geraldine. She was the one who checked the medical books, spoke with surgeons and pathologists and she even played the part of the nurse in the film. Geraldine is not her real name as she wishes to remain anonymous.
John Humphreys, of course, made the aliens’ bodies. The mould was actually made from John’s ten year-old son, who was quite tall. As a trained sculptor, Humphreys had also studied anatomy, so he was the man who played the surgeon in the film. Another friend of Spyros’ was Greg Simmons. He was seen occasionally in the film in one of the contamination suits and he also played the part of the soldier in the Debris Footage. Gareth Watson, a colleague of Santilli and Shoefield, was the man in the surgical mask behind the glass, and, finally, Spyros’ brother, Peter, helped behind the scenes. The set was built in Geraldine’s house in Camden in London. The property was in the process of being converted into three flats (apartments) at the time and was, therefore, empty. The props were obtained from someone Spyros knew in the USA. She was not told what they were for and were all ordered separately and delivered to different addresses so as not to arouse suspicion. The cameras were obtained by Spyros, one bought and one borrowed from a friend.
Why Are There Two Separate Autopsy Films?
According to Spyros, the first ‘Alien Autopsy’ film went pretty much as planned. However, upon completion, Geraldine noticed that a few of the medical procedures were not correct. They therefore had to make another creature and film another one. Apparently, Santilli was ready for packing it all in at this point, as there was no more money in the budget to film it again. They persevered and made another one at Spyros’ cost the very next day. This, too, was not without problems. The foam latex used to fill the dummy had not worked right and an air bubble had left a hollow space in the creature’s leg. Humphreys was despatched to the local butchers by Spyros to get a leg joint of a sheep. This was inserted into the hollow part in the alien’s right leg, a few other things were added, the outside of the leg was gently burnt with a blowtorch and, hey presto, the leg wound. Some of the inner organs were manufactured by Melaris and animal organs were also used for the alien’s innards, although altered with a scalpel and coated with latex. The alien’s brain was actually made from three sheep’s brains and part of a pig’s brain cast in gelatine. This is how there came to be two separate autopsy films, one of which was shown in its entirety, while the second one made has only ever been released in part.
The Wreckage and I-beams
These were all designed by Spyros himself. At the October 2007 UFO DATA Conference, Spyros showed me how he had designed the ‘writing’ on them and what it said. The wreckage was then manufactured by John Humphreys, Spyros and his brother Peter. He told me that he based it on Greek lettering, a bit of ancient Egyptian stylising and some artistic license. On the main large beam, if translated correctly, it reads ‘FREEDOM’. Spyros thought this a fitting name for an alien spacecraft. While designing the letters which spell the word ‘FREEDOM’, Spyros noticed that, if the word is turned upside down, the word ‘VIDEO’ could be seen. He adjusted some of the letters to better facilitate this, so the piece would throw a little red herring into the mix. The translation of the smaller beam is being held back for Spyros’ book.
The Cameraman’s Home Video Interview
According to Melaris, Ray Santilli was put under a lot of pressure by various parties to arrange an interview with the fictitious cameraman he allegedly bought the film from. Of course, according to Melaris, there was no such person, so he came up with the idea of creating this aspect of the whole affair as well. The basic scenario is that Melaris flew to Los Angeles and met up with Santilli’s partner, Gary Shoefield. Melaris wanted to find an eighty-year-old tramp on the streets of LA, pay him a few hundred dollars, put him in front of a camera and ask him to read from a script. Santilli and Shoefield were nervous and not sure this would work, but Spyros was confident he could pull this off and went ahead.
He found an old guy living rough on the street, offered him $500 and a night in the hotel and he duly agreed. Again, by pure chance, the chap had been an actor many years ago. Melaris took his name and the name of a movie he had appeared in. These details will be released in his book. He cleaned him up, gave him a shave and added a bit of make-up and a false prosthetic nose and chin and the job was done. The man himself did not know what he was reading or where it was going to be used. There was little chance that he would see the broadcast either. No-one would recognise him in a thousand years. And they never did. This film was delivered in person in New York to US TV producer, Bob Kiviat, by Gary Shoefield and a man claiming to be the cameraman’s son. Eventually, the film in question was broadcast on TV in Japan only and, from there, it was copied and distributed to UFO researchers around the world. The trick worked, no-one has identified the man in question and Melaris claims he is the only one who can do this.
The Crash Site
There are a number of people who believe the alien autopsy film is authentic, not because of the film itself, but because of the crash site. Ray Santilli released details, supposedly from his cameraman, as to where the incident took place in the desert. How did this come about? Well, according to Spyros, this was quite simple. In 1995, he flew to Roswell. Here, he interviewed many local people, including Loretta Proctor. Mrs Proctor was the neighbour of rancher, Mac Brazel, and it was she who suggested that Mac take some of the UFO debris into town after he found it. Spyros also met and hired private pilot, Rodney Corn. He asked Corn to fly him over the UFO crash site, to which he replied, “Which one?” There are, in fact, at least three such sites. So, Spyros flew over all three of them, filming as he went. Rodney Corn was able to show Spyros a great deal from the air, far better than would have been possible on foot. This included small dirt roads and long-forgotten landmarks. Before the interview took place, Spyros also informed me that he obtained both old and new maps of the area. All of this information was handed to Ray Santilli and it was Santilli, not Spyros, who then put it all together to make a location for a nonexistent crash site.
The Grand Plan
I asked Spyros what was the grand plan. The research was done, the film was made, so what next? Apparently, it was a rather simple plan. To release the film to a broadcaster, ask them to investigate and see what happens. They were confident that it would not be exposed as a fake. Then, after a few months, the plan was to hold their hands up and tell all. The reason this didn’t happen was money. Spyros had signed a confidentiality agreement with Ray Santilli and Santilli was still adamant that he needed to recoup his initial investment allegedly paid for the tent footage.
Santilli told Melaris that he had invested a lot of money on this film and he must recoup that before they were to go public. Santilli reminded Spyros that he was bound by the confidentiality agreement and he was not to say or do anything until Santilli said so. Apart from a cheque for about £10,000, which Spyros split with his team, no royalties were ever paid. Santilli told him that, due to the fact that he had stated publicly that it was a military film, that it had simply been copied by third parties without permission and used without payment, as the people who were using the film believed that the copyright was vested with the US military and not with Santilli. Eventually, time went on and Spyros just got on with his life. He was constantly working on other projects with Santilli and earning a living and the alien autopsy film was all but forgotten.
Continue Reading Part II: Going Public; The Doubters - Interview with Spyros Melaris; Checking the Facts; Michael Hesemann’s Decision
This article is published with the expressed written permission of Philip Mantle for publication on The Alien Jigsaw: alienjigsaw.com