One of the most enduring political conspiracy theories is the belief that an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell, NM in 1947, and the episode was kept secret by the US government which has used technology from the wreckage of the craft to reverse-engineer advanced stealth aircraft. There are many reasons to be skeptical of this story…but early newspaper reports did carry official military releases about “UFOs” and “flying disks” which were hastily retracted within days and replaced with innocuous reports of “weather balloons.” (The weather balloon stories later turned out to be false.)
I’m not anxious to revisit the controversy over Area 51, though you are free to do so in comments if you find the topic interesting. What really interests me is the idea of how impossible it would be to report an actual UFO story even if one were a reliable eyewitness. A law of journalism (and human behavior) seems to be that when your story is sufficiently fabulous, the more proof you provide, the less likely you are to be believed.
Let’s say you’re out hiking in an isolated area. An egg-shaped silver craft drifts down from the sky and lands in a clearing near you. The hatch opens and a small human-like creature emerges, speaks to you in an unintelligible language, watches you for a while through a clear helmet faceplate, and then retreats into the craft which lifts noiselessly into the clouds and disappears. You wander home in a daze and…then what? Who will ever believe you?
Even if you had the presence of mind to snap pictures with your cell phone, you would not be believed. Your life would be destroyed by mockery, scrutiny and accusations of fraud. If you had half a dozen people with you and all swore to witnessing the same event, nothing would change. The whole story would either be viewed as an elaborate scam or some kind of bizarre group madness.
What if a whole city saw the same thing? No difference. The Phoenix Lights were seen by thousands of people in 1997 and on two occasions since and remain unexplained to this day…but nobody is paying much attention.
So I’d like to ask the group members…have you ever personally witnessed a UFO? If so, what was it like? And do you believe we have been visited by illegal aliens or are currently being observed? I don’t know about the latter but I do believe there is strong evidence of our planet having been visited in the past, contained in ancient writings, myths, hieroglyphs and even cave art.
And if they came once, there’s no reason to think they won’t come again.
In fact, the only thing I can’t believe is that the notoriously “leaky” US government has been able to keep actual extraterrestrials a secret for more than half a century. That one really does strain credulity.
This conspiracy theory has a rating of 4 tinfoil hats: