Many years ago – back when I was an impressionable young man, and the internet was still in it’s youth, there was a thing called “Usenet”, that latterly became known as “Newsgroups”. Although they still exist, most people forgot about them long ago – they were the predecessor of the social communities we now find on the world wide web (and far better in many respects).
If you started digging through the posts in particular usenet discussion groups, you would turn up all sorts of outlandish tales about lizard men, caves connecting various countries, the Vernian “Hollow Earth” concept, and even the “Flat Earth Society”. You would also read about crashed flying saucers, secret government projects, and encounters with the little grey men with almond shape eyes that have entered modern folklore.
Here’s the thing – there’s no smoke without fire.
In the years since reading the almost certainly fabricated usenet hyperbole, bits and pieces of it have become factual. Townsend Brown really did work on magnetic propulsion, and his work really was classified above top secret – as was much of the work of Nicola Tesla. Jessie Marcel really did talk about the child sized coffins at Roswell when he was terminally ill with cancer. Why did a weather balloon need coffins?
Perhaps the most amusing story in recent times surrounds the moment when Jessie Marcel was thrown under the bus by his superiors at Roswell – forced to show newspaper reporters the remains of a weather balloon. His superior officer sits in the background of the photograph with a folded teletypewriter printout in his hand. In the same way that government ministers are often caught with paperwork by long lenses, the tin-hat brigade of conspiracy theorists have had a good go at figuring out what was written on the piece of paper in his hand. It makes very interesting reading.
I’ve probably forgotten more than I ever knew about this whole subject. I guess like most people, I got older, and more cynical about everything. Given that a huge proportion of the planet now have mobile phones with excellent cameras, you might imagine something would have been recorded by now – and yet the more surveillance technology we have, the more scarce stories become of lights in the sky.
I’ll end this post with an entirely coincidental story – did you know the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind was given a private screening at the White House ?