My daughter and her best friend loved the old X Files TV show. They were not alone; the Fox Mulder phrase “the truth is out there” went viral before viral was a term for anything but various flu bugs. A lot of episodes dealt with extra-terrestrials, close encounters, alien abduction. The flying-saucer craze waxes and wanes over the years.
Today, a news story mentioned a familiar name: Kenneth Arnold, the private pilot whose 1947 sighting of racing disks above Mt. Rainier started it all. The news was about Harry Reid, a former Senator from Nevada, admitting that in 2007 he and a couple colleagues pushed through secret funding for UFO studies. While the public debunking, dating back to the government-funded Condon Report, continued. While the most advanced Navy jets, it is now alleged, had no more success maneuvering against UFOs than World War Two P-51s. (Not long after Arnold’s original sighting, a Mustang went hard after a UFO with negative consequences for the pilot. So far no recent reports like that have leaked.)
Reid teased his readers with the intelligence he had been inside the notorious Area 51 and seen stuff too secret to reveal to the hoi polloi. Did he have a Coors with ET then? Or is this just another aging pol trying for another fifteen minutes of fame? (I was in Nevada when Reid was in the Senate, and given local news reports that never quite made national, I have my own ideas about his integrity, or lack thereof.)
But in the twitter-verse of present day, Reid has certainly stirred the pot again. Long ago, the shrink who was Freud’s contemporary and intellectual equal, mused that UFOs served an emotional need for a humanity whose gods had been supplanted by science. Benevolent beings from afar, or bug-eyed monsters, were the twentieth-century angels and demons. Jung may have added, and equally imaginary. But I don’t recall.
A wire-service story had a UFO photo that reminded me of some I reviewed the day after they were taken in 1968. I knew I had a negative somewhere on file, had used it in my own UFO story. Which as the song goes was partly truth and partly fiction. But I thought the Polaroid shots used in the front of a book of mine long-gone. The Polaroid snap isn’t much to look at. But similarities are striking. Then there’s the negative I used in my Medium story. Taken another day by the same guy who took the first ones.
And just in case the news sparks some interest, here’s a link to the story I posted here, from a collection of mine:
Well, there aren’t, really. Are there?