A Handshake With A Martian
“The unknown leaves me feeling lost and overwhelmed. Humanity fails to ask and consider important questions to our existence. People will pray to a god that they have never seen or met, but yet the existence of extra-terrestrial life visiting earth is laughed at by some and claimed to be implausible by others. The question is why? Are people too scared to try and discover the truth? or have we been trained to desensitise ourselves from reality and ignore the rebarbative question to why or how we even exist. A Handshake with a Martian is a personal investigation into the ufo phenomena in the United Kingdom and investigates whether or not we have been visited before and if we truly are alone” – Samuel Fradley.
Words by – Jonathan Tomlinson Photography by – Samuel Fradley

Provoked by his inner curiosity into the UFO scene in the United Kingdom, Samuel Fradley’s, A Hand Shake with a Martian is a personal investigation into the British UFO phenomena. Supported by official declassified documents, this project is a photographic response to his journey. Meeting the people who believe in and research ufos, as well as visit the locations where these famous sightings happened.

The project took Fradley across the United Kingdom, beginning on Dartmoor, where he investigated a series of bizarre and unusual animal mutilations that occurred in the 1970s. The first initial investigation on the moors left him with more questions than answers, so he visited a UFO researcher and former police officer named John. “John introduced me to the serious world of ufology and presented me with a range of documents, some declassified, which mentioned ufos and visitors from outer space. He also showed me an alien implant, that he says was taken from someone who said they were abducted, although neither of the two could confirm the true origin of this tiny metal implant.”

With the help and guidance of John, Sam explored several locations of previous ufo sightings in Exmouth, Brixham and Exeter, finally leading him to the location of the United Kingdom’s most famous ufo event at Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk. Rendlesham Forest forms the main basis of his investigation.

“In December 1980, a series of strange and bizarre lights were seen outside a USAF air force base, RAF Woodbridge, which is directly opposite Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk. Rendlesham forest is located between two bases, RAF Bentwaters and Raf Woodbridge, in which Bentwaters supposedly stored American Nuclear weapons during the Cold War, making the whole event even more suspicious.” says Sam. “This section of the project is where the title, “A Handshake with a Martian” originates from. The portrait featured is of a man called Derek and his brother Andrew. Derek is a medium, someone who can see and talk to spirits, ghosts and other paranormal entities. Derek told me about the time he had arranged to meet and shake hands with a Martian, thus giving birth to the title “A Handshake with a Martian”. After meeting Derek, he put me in contact with a larger group of mediums who I met and joined on a night walk around the forest in search of spirits, ghost’s, aliens and anything suspicious.” To this day, nothing has been officially released explaining what was witnessed on that fateful night in 1980. This mystery has left Fradley wanting to carry on his project further.