Templeton tells of a visit after the photograph was published by two men who, he says, claimed to be from Her Majesty's Government, but refused to show their identification. He says that they referred to each other as numbers and asked him questions about the weather conditions on the day of the photograph and about the activities of local bird life. They drove Templeton to the marsh, where he says they tried to make him admit that he had in fact photographed a passer-by — a suggestion that he strongly rejected. The men then became angry and drove away leaving him stranded on the marsh five miles from home.
Templeton said of the photograph: "I took the picture to the police in Carlisle who, after many doubts, examined it and stated there was nothing suspicious about it. The local newspaper, the Cumberland News, picked up the story and within hours it was all over the world. The picture is certainly not a fake, and I am as bemused as anyone else as to how this image appeared in the background. Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities - most of which make little sense to me." Templeton asserted that he had experienced no financial gain as a result of distributing the photograph, nor did he ever pursue it. In an interview recorded for BBC television, Templeton spoke candidly about the photograph, saying: "Who is he? Where's he from? Those are the two questions we want answered."