So for Christmas I bought my wife the X-Files series on DVD – I’ve caught a number of episodes with her, enjoyed recalling some classic ones, and I’ve found my interest in all things paranormal reignited.
I can honestly say that the X-Files was never my favourite show when it first ran. Re-watching it, I can say it’s better than I remember it – and of particular interest to me are the episodes that deal with the existence of extraterrestrials and the conspiracy to hide their existence from the world.
The idea that aliens have been visiting earth (for various reasons) has existed in popular fiction for years. We, as a species, are in love with the idea that humanity may not be alone – even as the same idea terrifies us. Alien abduction claims stretch back decades, perhaps even longer, tantalising us with the idea that we are not alone.
There are many, many questions that need to be asked about the motivations of hypothetical visitors to us from other worlds. What is so fascinating as to keep them coming back? Do they need humanity in some way? Is life so rare in the universe that we are in fact one of a handful of species out there, watched over for our own good? Are we a resource, being exploited for someone else’s gain?
(the Smoking Man was involved in a cover up concerning alien visitors in The X Files)
Often found alongside ideas of abductions and aliens, is the idea that governments all around the world are suppressing the truth about their existence. This popular notion has fuelled stories and TV shows, not to mention many real conspiracy theories. As with the question of alien visitation, the question needs to be asked – why cover it all up?
The first and most obvious answer would be to prevent a mass panic. If the world learned tomorrow of the existence of extraterrestrials (and that they’ve been among us, abducting us and that our governments have been hiding all this from us) there’d be an explosion of anger and fear. People would be asking who might the aliens be, why are they experimenting on us, and why have our leaders kept the truth from us?
Let us rewind for a moment. Whilst considering hypotheticals, we actually need to take a step back. Does any of this seem likely, or even remotely plausible? What evidence – beyond the distorted memories of hypnosis – exists to truly support abduction claims?
There are sites out there that document alleged encounters, but the problem lies in verifying anything. Official investigations have turned up no evidence to support the idea that UFOs are either a threat or extraterrestrial craft – conspiracy theorists naturally dismiss these investigations as part of a cover-up.
(Project Blue Book was a famous and lengthy study by the US Air Force into UFO sightings)
Perhaps the chief problem of believers is that they are trying to prove something virtually impossible to prove. In respect of a conspiracy, these are usually by definition very hard to prove, since the conspirators aren’t going to leave any obvious proof lying around! In regards to actual abduction events, many of these can be explained through other means (hoaxes, misinterpreted dreams, etc).
So what is the truth? If we apply the idea the simplest, most obvious answer is the best one to go with, then aliens have not been visiting earth, and there is no conspiracy to deny this. It sucks, in a way – it’s much more entertaining to believe that there really is some vast secret, hidden away from us, and that even now a real-life Mulder and Scully are trying their utmost to bring it to light.