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Roswell 1947 - Articles by researchers

The discussed article:

This article belongs to my category "the alleged alien autopsy footage." See here for other articles related to this discussion theme. See here for all the articles. See here for the main page of my Roswell incident section.

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The "Autopsy footage", holding of the scissors:

One of these images comes from the alleged - and admitted fake since then - "autopsy footage" of an alleged extraterrestrial being, associated with the Roswell inciden, the other comes from a film by the US Army showing the holding of scissors during an autopsy. The two compared images were sometimes presented as evidence that the alleged film is false because the holding of the scissors would be incorrect.


The following notes and comments are not a discussion on the veracity of the Roswell autopsy footage. They are notes and comments whith the reduced scope: "is the holding of the scissors in the alleged Roswell autopsy footage correct or incorrect?"


A great case was made about the manner the scissors are held in the autopsy footage.

Ed Uthman, MD, Diplomate, American Board of Pathology member and owner of the Carl Sagan Yahoo Group, wrote in his September 1995 web article:

"3. The prosector used scissors like a tailor, not like a pathologist or surgeon. He held the scissors with thumb and forefinger, whereas pathologists and surgeons put the thumb in one scissors hole and the middle or ring finger in the other. The forefinger is used to steady the scissors further up toward the blades."

Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)'s Joe Nickell quotes him in a December 1995 article in CSICOP's magazine "The Skeptikal inquirer":

"Houston pathologist Ed Uthman (1995) [...] also pointed out that "the prosector used scissors like a tailor, not like a pathologist or surgeon" (pathologists and surgeons place the middle or ring finger in the bottom scissors hole and use the forefinger to steady the scissors near the blades)."

Joseph A. Bauer, a surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of South Shore Skeptics wrote in a february 1996 article for CSICOP's magazine "The Skeptikal inquirer":

"Scissors, for example, are not held with the forefinger and thumb awkwardly pointing off sideways, as was done in the film. Instead, the ring finger and thumb are placed in the scissors' holes, the middle finger stabilizes, and the index finger is used to direct the scissor tip precisely."

UFO debunker Hal K. Korff writes in his 1997 book "The Roswell UFO crash":

"The first obvious point has to do with the way the scissors are being held by the alleged pathologist. In real autopsies, the scissors are held in one's hand with the thumb and middle finger. The index finger is used to steady the scissors."

However, in a 1997 contribution to the UFOupdates discussions, "Luc", who says he has a B.Sc. Biology, Computer Science (McGill University) and a D.D.S. (McGill University) and 10 years practice in Dental Surgery reacts to the scissor holding problem:

"This is the most ludicrous statement that I have ever heard. There are standard techniques to old scissors that are thought for different procedures, but I have seen so many variations of them employed by instructors and surgeons over the years to make that broad statement impossible to prove anything one way or another. From my own experience, while performing surgery I would switch from one position to the other depending if I needed control or power. While doing anaesthesiology training I have even seen a renowned thoracic surgeon who held his scissors completely backward with the blades towards him in the palm of his hands. I'm still sitting in the fence on that one."

To a question asking "I noticed that in the KGB autopsy, the cutting scissors were handled the same way as in the Roswell film. Are both surgeons mishandling or is this correct procedure?" on the UFOupdates discussions, german ufologist Joachim Koch, who is involved in the International Roswell Initiative, answered:

"Well, I am a surgeon. The way to hold scissors, as described above, is the way you learn it. But by the time, you develop your own way of holding instruments."

"So the handling of scissors in some "autopsy footage" is no way proof for authenticity. And: a pathologist working with dead tissue may hold the instruments in a different way than a surgeon who has to do very careful cuts."


  1. Whereas I thought that at least a certain number of pathologists had pointed out the supposed wrong holding of the scissors, it appears that such is not the case. There were only two experts who voiced this as an issue: Ed Uthman, MD, owner of the Carl Sagan Yahoo Group, and Joseph A. Bauer, surgeon, and member of South Shore Skeptics.

    Of course the two experts are quoted in many articles presenting the "alien autopsy" film as a hoax.
  2. Counter-opinions exist on "the other side of the fence", the counter agrument being that the handling of the scissor is not written in stone. It does seem that the opinions expressed so far do not emanate from "blind" questions to experts not involved in alien matters. To ask a surgeon or pathologist without telling him of any extraterrestrial context may be a simple and objective way to close this issue satisfactorily, yet, it does not seem that anyone did this so far, in my knowledge.
  3. Because I have no authority in this topic, I have spent a few hours searching on the Internet for some standard procedure in the holding of scissors in pathology websites. I have found no such thing. Actually, search engines used with keywords such as "holding autopsy scissors" or "autopsy scissors fingers" - and further keywords combinations with "handling" "holding" "guideline" "procedure" "standards" etc - results return the CSICOP articles first rank, and other Roswell autopsy footage discussion pages, but apparently nothing of the professional litterature which would even give advice on the correct manner in holding scissors has made its way to the Internet. While much is said on the Internet on what is done with scissors un a surgical or autopsy or dental operation, it does not seem at all that professional have decided that there is a "correct" and a "wrong" way to hold scissors.

Patrick Gross - March 2005.

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