A recreation of the 'alien autopsy after the Roswell crash in New Mexico, 1947
A recreation of the 'alien autopsy after the Roswell crash in New Mexico, 1947

The UFO community was shocked by a confession that a photograph of what they believed was an alien was in fact the desiccated remains of a four-year-old boy.

The image from the Roswell Slides were reportedly taken by Bernerd A. Ray, an oil exploration geologist who worked near Roswell in the 1940s.

Many UFO enthusiasts believe they show aliens from a crashed spaceship and covered up by the US government in 1947.

The image was due to be unveiled in front of an online event called Be Witness.

Researchers hailed the picture as a "smoking gun" which gave positive proof that aliens had landed on planet Earth.

However, hopes were dashed when Tony Braglia, a principal investigator who examined them, made a public apology.

Alien UFO hoax
UFO believers hopes were dashed when a researcher apologised for mistaking a mummified child for an alien being. Don Hurlbert, NMNH Department of Anthroplogy

He stated that the 'dead alien' was in fact a Native American child who lived in the city of Mesa Verde.

But Braglia denied there was no intention to mislead the public, saying it was "a serious case of mistaken identity" rather than a "hoax"

He issued a statement saying: "I must offer my sincerest and deepest apologies to the Native American people of the Southwestern United States.

"One of their children, a dead child from well over a century ago, was made a spectacle. Whoever you are, you deserve to be extended dignity and respect."

Researcher Floren Cabrera de Teresa identified the images as those of a three or four-year-old mummified child kept at the Smithsonian Museum.

He accused an unknown party of doctoring the images: "There are deep questions to ask of those who dare derail our search for the real disclosure of the existence of extraterrestrials," he told Mirror Online.