Apollo 20: The Controversy Continues

In the article, The Apollo 20 Controversy, I took a look at the controversial claims of William Rutledge. He claimed to be a former US test pilot and mission commander for a secret mission to the far side of the Moon in 1976. That mission was dubbed Apollo 20 and launched, according to Rutledge, in August, 1976, from Vandenberg AFB in California.

The mission, conducted by the US Air Force, not NASA, and including three crew members, was to locate and explore an object on the lunar far side that was photographed by Apollo 15. The object (and it is real) appears as a cigar-shaped ‘whatever’ sticking out of the ground and is completely unlike anything surrounding it. Could it be a derelict, alien spacecraft?

Under the username of ‘retiredafb’, Rutledge posted several videos to YouTube, claiming them to be from the Apollo 20 mission. They were impressive, but few people thought they could be real. They just had to be hoaxed. Didn’t they?

Italian researcher, Luca Scantamburlo, conducted an email interview with Rutledge, who said he was retired to Rwanda, and, while still sceptical, thought his story had merit. Luca has now stepped back from active investigations, but his work can be found at his website: http://www.angelismarriti.it/ANGELISMARRITI-ENG/home-ENG.htm

The YouTube videos depicted the launch of the Saturn V from Vandenberg, a fly-over of the ‘spacecraft’ and some shots from the lunar surface. Some of these, particularly the surface shots of an alleged ruined alien city, have been shown to be fake. But does that mean the whole story is untrue?

Rutledge has removed his videos from YouTube and moved them over to another video hosting site. This can be found at http://revver.com/u/retiredafb/

On April 7th and 8th, 2008, two more videos were added to the revver.com website. Titled APOLLO 20 E.B.E. Mona Lisa TV unscheduled transmission and APOLLO 20 E.B.E. Mona Lisa 16 mm film, they show the inside of the lunar module (LM), one of the astronauts, probably famed Soviet cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, a piece of yellow paper with some odd markings and the body of a female ‘alien’.


Immediately, cries of FAKE! resounded from around the web and it is easy to see why. The interior of the LM looks impressive, as does the view out of the window, but the ‘body’ just doesn’t look right. It looks manufactured and plastic. Let’s cut Rutledge some slack, though. After all, ‘Mona Lisa’, as she was dubbed by Leonov, according to Rutledge, had been inside the alien craft for millions of years. He also said she was still alive, but she doesn’t look very sprightly in the video.

Okay, let’s look at the video itself, rather than its contents. It was allegedly on 16mm film, but there are periods that look like interference on picture. How is this possible with a film camera? The image is captured onto film chemically, not electronically, as with video, so electromagnetic interference should not be a problem.

The marks on the film, giving it the appearance of age, look like the sort that can be added in video editing software, rather than genuine scratches and dirt.


During the shot out of the LM window, there seems to be a dissolve, as though the shot of the approach to the window and the shot of the outside are separate pieces of film spliced together. Outside, there appears to be some sort of wheeled vehicle. An eagle-eyed member of the Above Top Secret (ATS) forum, ‘olegkvasha’, identified the vehicle as the Soviet Lunokhod rover. Lunokhod I set down in Mare Imbrium on the near side of the Moon in November, 1970. Lunokhod II landed in the Le Monnier crater, again on the near side, in January, 1973. While the first rover’s location is currently unknown, the second carried a photodetector and its location can be pinpointed to an accuracy of less than a meter. Were other Lunokhod’s launched to the lunar far side? Not officially. Could Lunokhod I have trundled thousands of kilometres around the Moon to the alien spacecraft in the space of six years? Unlikely.


The interior of the LM looks very clean. The Apollo astronauts told us that lunar dust was a major problem for them. It got everywhere and they tracked lots of it back into the LMs after their EVAs. Why isn’t there any lunar dust in evidence in the film? Also, why go to all the effort of creating an impressive LM interior and then bodge together an alien body that looks so fake?

 Rutledge also told Luca Scantamburlo that the head of another alien (a dead one) was taken back to the LM. Why isn’t this in the clips? If this female alien they returned to Earth is still alive, will Rutledge release ‘film’ of her walking about?

The whole Apollo 20 saga smacks of an elaborate hoax, but one wonders why the hoaxers have done this? How much money can they expect to make? After the Santilli Alien Autopsy debacle, I doubt the major networks would touch it with a barge pole. Maybe it was done simply for fun or to create some notoriety. Whoever did it (if it is a hoax) can certainly make good models (the LM interior, the lunar surface flyover, the lunar surface on the ground, the Lunokhod rover and, to a lesser extent, the ‘Mona Lisa’ body), so is it somebody with a background in film or television? Perhaps one day somebody will come forward, but I’m betting we haven’t seen the last video release from the elusive William Rutledge. What ‘wonders’ will we be shown next?



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Updated 16th August, 2012