by Rebecca Schatte
Dec 4, 1995
When I first heard about the alien autopsy film [last] February, I was immensely curious. This film sounded wonderful to me. At last we would have the "smoking gun." While friends and acquaintances formed varying opinions based on things they were hearing and seeing about the film, I preferred to remain "open minded" until I saw the film, which wasn't until August 28, 1995, like most other people around the world. And seeing the film actually did not solve anything for me.
Before the film's debut to the world, I carefully followed what people were saying about the film on the Internet. I was intrigued and impressed when I saw that Bob Shell was investigating the authenticity of the film. Here, I thought, was something ufology needed, a seemingly disinterested party, a real expert who was actually testing the film.
[Here] is Bob Shell's Film Evaluation, dated August 19, 1995:
I have been hard at work on this film. I have now physically examined a section of the film, a section showing the "autopsy" room before the body was placed on the table, but clearly consistent with the later footage.
The film on which this was shot is Cine Kodak Super XX, a film type which was discontinued in 1956-57. Since the edge code could be 1927, 1947 or 1967, and this film was not manufactured in 1927 or 1967, this clearly leaves us with only 1947 as an option.
The image quality, lack of fog, and grain structure apparent in the film lead me to the conclusion that this film was exposed and processed while still quite fresh, which would be within a "window" of three or four years.
Based on this, I see no reason to doubt the cameraman's claim that this film was exposed in June and July of 1947, and processed "a few days later."
From my own research on the physical characteristics of the film, I am willing to go on record as giving a 95% probability that the film is what the cameraman claims it to be. I am only hedging 5%, because I still want secondary chemical verification from Kodak based on the chemical "signature" of the film.
I do not put my name on a statement like this lightly, and it is only after very careful consideration, and detailed examination of the film, that I do so at this time.
Permission to cross-post granted, so long as this is quoted in complete form and not altered in any way.
[End of Shell's Evaluation]
Seemingly, an expert was saying and documenting that this was real, at least in all probability. He had been "hard at work," had given the film and his statement "very careful consideration," and had made his statement only after a "detailed examination." WOW! This film must be real! An honest-to-god, disinterested, third party had given it a 95% probability of being what the cameraman said it was.
It wasn't until after the showing of the film on August 28, 1995, that I started communicating with Bob Shell via e-mail and telephone. And it wasn't until very recently that I began to doubt the expert, Bob Shell.
Let's examine Mr. Shell's statement. He said right there in the first sentence, "I have been hard at work on this film." That is relative, but I think more than likely, Mr. Shell had been not-so-hard at work! Unless you wish to count the numerous radio and online forums he had been conducting, as well as the book he had been peddling as part of his work on the film. I now seriously question just what he meant by "hard at work."
He goes on to say that the section of film he examined was of the autopsy room before the body was placed on the table, but that it is clearly consistent with the latter footage. But is it? In personal correspondence to me dated 9/20/95, Bob Shell says: "No, I didn't analyze blank film. I have a strip with the autopsy room without the critter and another strip showing the doorway into the room. There'd be no point in working with blank film." He goes on to say: "The second strip is in the video, and can be seen to be part of the whole." [But] in a later message dated 10/2/95, Bob Shell replies to my questions of what is on the strips he has received thus far: "...Kodak refuses to do any testing on the film clips which Ray has sent me (two very small pieces so far, neither of them in very good condition, and not suitable for measuring since one entire edge is torn off." And he goes on to say: "Even if we did prove that these clips were from 1947, it would prove nothing about the rest of the film, because we cannot prove that they are continuous. I have three frames showing a room with a table in it. I am told it is the autopsy room without the alien. I have no way of verifying this other than to take Ray's word for it."
First it is "clearly consistent," then "part of the whole," and then finally, "we cannot prove that they are continuous." Which is it, Mr. Shell?
Mr. Shell emphatically states in his "FILM EVALUATION" that the film is Cine Kodak XX that was discontinued after 1956-57 and must be from 1947 since that is the only date available that matches the date coding. This leads one to believe that Mr. Shell has actually seen film with a date code and that he reached his conclusion that way. It also causes one to wonder how he arrived at the Cine Kodak XX type? There is no mention in the "FILM EVALUATION" of what tests were performed.
Note that in the message of 10/2/95, Mr. Shell informed me that one entire edge was torn off the film he received from Mr. Santilli. It did not dawn on me until a couple of weeks later that that edge could be the one with the date codes. Mr. Shell had been so adamant in his "FILM EVALUATION" that I assumed he had to have seen the date codes. I had learned that the strips that FOX received from Mr. Santilli also were minus an edge. On 10/9/95, I phoned Mr. Shell and learned for the first time that the strips he received did not have a date code. How does one date film without a date code? Chemical analysis? That would seem logical, but Mr. Shell informed me that he did no chemical analysis. He went on to confirm this information on 10/10/95 in an e-mail message: "The strips I have and the one Bob Kiviat [at FOX] has have no edge markings, so we must at the moment take Ray's word for the markings." So there. An expert witness, a professional, has no date codes on his film, yet he manages to date it because Ray told him what symbols were on the film. WHAT????
Well, maybe he did do chemical analysis. I ask: How would one date film with no edge markings? Mr. Shell had been talking about acetate propionate, triacetate and nitrate. Those sounded like chemicals to me, so I asked how he could tell that this was CINE KODAK XX? He replied in the same message: "If you bend film and it breaks, it is on acetate propionate or cellulose nitrate base. Cellulose nitrate wasn't used for 16 mm film except on special order." Hmmm? How do we know this film was not special order? Mr. Shell goes on to speak of acetate propionate, which he claims "has a characteristic vinegar-ish smell." He adds: "This film stinks!!!!" So the only test he performed is a smell test! Why wasn't this mentioned in the "FILM EVALUATION?" He did not "put his name lightly" on the film evaluation and did so only after "very careful consideration and detailed examination of the film." This just does not seem reasonable to me.
As my suspicions grew, so did my involvement in investigating the validity of the film. It seemed like daily, I thought of new questions. As information came in and began to contradict other information, I started calling more and more people. I have spoken to many people since mid-September in my investigation of this story -- I have the phone bills to prove it! Some of the people I encountered in my search for the story were Ray Santilli, Mark and Graham Birdsall of "UFO Magazine" (UK), Linda Moulton Howe, Dave Roehrig (segment producer of "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction"), and countless others. They all made themselves easily available to answer my questions. (One person whom I really desired to speak with was Stan Winston; however, that could not be arranged.)
As mentioned earlier, it was on October 9 when Mr. Shell told me of his "test" that he performed on the film, and related the problem with the edge codes. Oct. 10 he confirmed what he had [said] on the phone, via email. That was the final straw for me.
There [has] been just too much subterfuge. I find it curious that there is no mention of what tests were performed by Mr. Shell to lead him to his 95% certainty in his FILM EVALUATION. He says that he will only go the extra 5% when testing by Kodak is complete, yet despite having to take Mr. Santilli's word for what the symbols were on the film and even what the film actually depicts, Mr. Shell has apparently made no effort to get a chemical analysis on the frames that he has. He sure seems to be putting a lot of faith in what Mr. Santilli tells him.
Incidentally, Mr. Shell is writing a book. I had no problem with that. But now that he has entered into an agreement with Mr. Santilli to include stills from the film in his book, how unbiased do you think it will be? And how independent does that make him now? Mr. Shell had a story to tell. He could have told it no matter the outcome of those elusive tests. It would have been a valuable book either way.
Once I put all this together, it made perfect sense to me. This film has to be a hoax. For now, we have nothing. No film. No cameraman. Nothing. Just a video. Which proves NOTHING.
And if the film is eventually tested and the questions are addressed, I will be open. But for now, the film is pathetic hoax.
Original file name: CNI - B.Shell.RS edit 12.7
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