Tin Foil Hats Required
UFOs, Area 51, Alien Abductions. Americans have been fascinated with the idea of aliens among us for decades.
We have movies, TV shows, books, and conspiracy theories that remind us on nearly a daily basis that “the truth is out there.” You would think eventually the new would wear off this particular obsession, but it never seems to. We have been happily chasing ET for almost 100 years and we don’t want him to go home.
Out of everything to choose from, my personal favorite example happened the night before Halloween 1938. Orson Welles had a live radio show, and that night he directed a radio adaptaion of H.G. Well’s “War of the Worlds” (you probably know the Tom Cruise version). Welles and his actors pretended like it was a “breaking” news cast, fooling many people into thinking we were being invaded by Martians! Don’t worry, Americans aren’t the only ones fooled. In 1949, a radio station in Quito, Ecuador pulled the same stunt. People ran out into the streets to look and hid in churches, expecting the world to end. When they found out it was just a joke, they burned the radio station down.
We bought into it hook line and sinker here in the States. From 1947 to 1969, the Unites States Air Force actively sought out stories of alien invasion, Unidentified Flying Objects, and abductions. They called the program Project Blue Book and operated it out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. A total of 12,618 sightings were reported to the USAF during that time, and they were able to identify all but 701 of them. This is a small, but significant number that lends credence to the theories of the tin foil hat wearing alien freaks.
Speaking of those freaks, you can’t talk about aliens in America without mentioning the Roswell incident. Sometime in July of 1947 (so the urban legend goes) the USAF recovered a crashed alien craft and the bodies of alien invaders near Roswell, New Mexico. Conspiracy theorists insist there was a massive cover-up by all branches of the government to keep the public from panicking. The bodies and vehicles were supposedly kept at Area 51 on Nellis Air Force Base. Sixty-five years later, Roswell has turned this “cover-up” into a tourist attraction, and the tin foil hat wearing brigade gathers there every summer to celebrate. They also apparently try to invade Nellis, which is a federal offense. According to the Huffington Post, a documentary crew from the BBC found this out last year when they ignored the REALLY big signs all over the place saying “DO NOT ENTER” and walked onto the base through a back entrance, carrying movie cameras.
So, what has us thinking about aliens again now?
This past week, redOrbit’s Michael Harper told us about a memo the FBI claims is the “most visited” in their Vault – a repository of publicly available documents. The memo, “UFOs or NO? The Guy Hottel Memo” references an incident three years after Roswell when an Air Force Investigator supposedly discovered three “so-called flying saucers.” The unnamed investigator told someone who told Mr. Hottel, who was the head of the Washington DC field office of the FBI. Wow, that sounds reliable, right? Sounds more like an elementary school game of telephone, to me. Apparently, Hottel felt the same way. He declined to follow up on the report.
Well, according to the FBI’s site, over a million people have gone to look at the memo in the two years since the Vault launched. One million, yes, you read that number right; one million folks looking to find proof of little green men invading our planet.
Break out the tin foil, the Martians are coming!
Image Credit: Photos.com