I Want to Believe: Extra-Terrestrial

Mulder, it’s me. We’ve got a case.

-Dana Scully, in almost every episode of The X-Files ever.

Ah yes, it’s time. I’ve waited for this moment ever since the I Want to Believe column began. Drum roll, please… And now, the conspiracy topic we’ve all been waiting for: aliens. You knew it was coming eventually, didn’t you?

Me, as an alien.

Perhaps the crown jewel of all conspiracies, the aliens capstone; in a sea of UFO sightings, ancient astronaut theories, and paranormal TV shows, the stories are truly endless. Unfortunately, between The X-Files, James Cameron, and pop culture, science fiction became a familiar joke of sorts- something to kid about, a not-so-serious hypothesis about our future, and perhaps… our past.

As a result, we tend to forget that our universe is far more extensive than we care to recognize.

From Roswell and Area 51, foreign bacteria to the Greys (and no, not Grey’s Anatomy), we’re here to debunk, discover, and discuss. I’m going to give you some history, share some stories, but ultimately, this question is something only you can answer: are extraterrestrials real?

These are by no means the only theories out there, nor are they the absolute best of the best; I can’t decide that for you, but I can show you what I believe is interesting and worth sharing.

Not every discovery has been announced.

Dr. Farouk El Baz, NASA scientist.

Aliens, while a popular topic of discussion, are considered to be somewhat taboo. Either way you look at the subject, it’s controversial; believers versus non-believers. There are those who say that aliens traveled to Earth to build the pyramids and thus, helped to shape our history. There are those who do not. Maybe UFOs are just military test flights. Maybe they’re not. E.T. phone home and all that good stuff.

Similarly, to some of you, I’m sure I lowkey come across as a psychopath- what with my conspiracy-based column and whatnot.

Also me. Photo Credit

But hey, you wouldn’t be reading this if you (or I) cared about that.

I’ll start with a bombshell, because here in Philly, we go big or go home. Now, close your eyes- actually, don’t. Keep reading, but imagine: you are a die-hard believer in the theory that life does NOT exist outside of Earth. According to you, it never has, and it never will. Science fiction movies are shameful, and E.T. is the most harmful children’s film to ever have been made. (What a killjoy you are!) So, with this in mind, what would you do if I told you that a NASA scientist claims to have fossilized evidence of bacterial life- found only inside of a rare class of meteorites?

Marshall Space Flight Center’s Richard Hoover argues that alien life does, in fact, exist- and proof has been on Earth for years. In the March 2011 edition of the Journal of Cosmology, Hoover wrote that the Orgueil meteorite contains so-called “indigenous fossils” of microorganisms.

The Orgueil meteorite is a non-metallic meteorite that did not melt during its descent into the atmosphere. While the parent body may have been modified, the broken piece that fell in Orgueil was not damaged; thus, it falls into a meteor class consisting of mostly primitively understood meteorites. It fell near Orgueil, France, on May 14, 1864.

The Orgueil meteorite was recovered and examined by scientists, who found the unmodified fragment unusual- most fallen meteorites are melted or otherwise affected. The nature of the fragment initially led them to believe that bacterial life within the interior of the meteorite may be a possibility. The theory was debated and eventually dismissed, although the discussion resurfaced a century later.

Hoover proposed that, “The complex filaments found embedded in the Orgueil meteorite represent the remains of indigenous microfossils of cyanobacteria.”

I know. What on Earth does that mean?

Basically, the filaments he discovered fixed in the meteorite are “micro-fossils of extraterrestrial life forms”- at least, so he claims. Supposedly, these fossils were embedded in the meteor prior to the meteor’s entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. While this shockingly candid statement also, by extension, suggests that life on comets is a possibility, Hoover stands by his claim. He has been written off as histrionic, but his theory holds water- although the validity of his paper has been questioned.

Whether you believe Hoover’s theory or not, it opens the floodgates for not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of extraterrestrial theories. There’s so much more for you to know. For that reason, whether this information will be useful to you later or not, I’ve condensed some Real Fun Stuff™ for you to dissect. I could’ve done the whole piece like this, but where’s the fun in that? Some things need elaboration.

Below is a list of some quick definitions and summaries, and those are followed by some super fun conspiracies still boggling the world today! Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

What is the SETI Institute? SETI stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. SETI researchers seek evidence of extraterrestrial life; their current focus of study is to pursue some technological signature that could be sent by other intelligent lifeforms. They believe that, based on our knowledge of the origins of life on Earth, “given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets.” Researchers say that whether these extraterrestrials will blossom into intelligence may be speculated, but if there is such a civilization, its signature could be detected over vast distances in space. Thus, discovering such a race is SETI’s goal.

Jodie Foster actually starred in a movie as a SETI employee- it’s called Contact, if you’re interested. Moving on.

What about Area 51? Area 51 is generally known to be an army testing facility, but rumors have spread about its suspicious secrecy. It is widely believed to be a UFO test site, the place at which alien autopsies are conducted, and an experimental platform where crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft are reverse engineered for our own military. It lies near Nevada State Route 375, otherwise known as the Extraterrestrial Highway. Who knows what happens there?

What are the Greys? The Greys are grey extraterrestrial creatures, named for their skin tone. They are otherwise known as “Alien Greys”, “Roswell Greys”, and “Zeta Reticulans”. Their existence is debated upon and often discussed in “ufological, paranormal, and New Age” communities. If they were to exist, their name suggests they hail from the Zeta Reticuli star system, which lies in the southern constellation of Reticulum. The Greys are often associated with alien abductions.

Why are you wasting my time? I don’t know, why are you still reading?

Armed with this new knowledge, allow me to redirect your attention to front and center stage, as I’m going to present to you:

** tears up ** I’m in my prime.

It’s difficult to pick a starting point, so we’ll work chronologically. Have you ever heard of ancient astronauts?

Cue the eye rolls and tab closings- but no, this is a real, complex theory. They even made a show about it on the History Channel called Ancient Aliens, which I’m sure you’ve heard of; there are memes about it. However, if you haven’t studied up on modern memeology, then maybe this is news to you.

The ancient astronaut theory is a pseudoscientific concept- pseudoscience is a system of beliefs that are incorrectly regarded as scientific. For example, astronomy is a science, but astrology is considered to be a pseudoscience. So, with that in mind…

Ancient astronaut theorists contend that at some point in our history, intelligent extraterrestrial creatures visited Earth and not only established contact with humans, but actively participated in major events in antiquity. Such related events are the building of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Pumapunku, and the like. Theorists go so far to even suggest that great battles were fought amongst rival E.T.s in the sky, above human settlements, resulting in evidence reflected in art made by humans themselves.

The aerial conflict over Nuremberg, as depicted in 1561. Photo Credit

One particularly famous example is the aerial conflict of 1561 over Nuremberg, Germany. Supposedly, hundreds of people witnessed unidentified flying objects foreign even to our technology today. According to eyewitness reports, the battle lasted for one hour, and at the conclusion, the remaining aircraft flew towards the sun and disappeared.

Unfortunately, we’re not covering the vast subject that is UFO’s today. That’s for another time. The point is, ancient alien “experts” basically suggest, through all of their theorizing, that we are missing major chapters in our history… Which, surprise surprise, coincides with Species with Amnesia. But I digress.

Skip forward a few hundred years, to Roswell, New Mexico. On July 7th, 1947, a ranch owner named Mac Brazel discovered an unusual object in his sheep pasture. According to History.com, what he found was an incomprehensible “mess of metallic sticks held together with tape; chunks of plastic and foil reflectors; and scraps of a heavy, glossy, paper-like material.” The papery materials were resistant to tearing, and the metal was surprisingly lightweight. As Brazel was unable to identify what the crashed craft was, he called Roswell’s sheriff. The sheriff, equally stumped, called the Roswell Army Air Force base. The base was nearby, and soon Air Force soldiers gathered the debris from Brazel’s field. They took it away in armored trucks.

On July 8th, the news station for Roswell, the Roswell Daily Record, had featured a front-page story on the incident. “RAAF (Roswell Army Air Force) Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region.”

It sparked curiosity among inhabitants living in the otherwise unassuming town.

The very next day, on July 9, the news report had been amended. According to an Air Force official, “The alleged ‘flying saucer’ was only a crashed weather balloon.”

Ah, how lowly the government thinks of us, how simple-minded. It was said by witnesses that, to anyone who had seen the wreckage, whatever it was, it was certainly no weather balloon. Many people suggested-and several still believe- that the crashed craft was not Earthly in origin. They concluded that the craft “must have come from an alien spaceship,” thus explaining why it was carted away so quickly and secretly, as well as the blatant lie about it being a weather balloon- which it clearly was not.

The Roswell incident is famous for the skepticism associated with it, and since, it has opened the door for extraterrestrial theorists to share their beliefs with less scrutiny than before.

To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.

Stephen Hawking.

Now, part of this theory happened before Roswell, and the rest happened after, so… Whatever. Another notable theory is the Black Knight Satellite.

Way back in 1899, Nikola Tesla believed that he had heard from aliens.

What a way to begin, right? Tesla was a brilliant inventor, credited with the Tesla coil, experiments with x-rays and short-range radio communication. For a time, he lived in Colorado Springs to work on wireless power. While Tesla was toying with it, he instead may have received a message from an otherworldly source.

A reporter from the Albany Telegram interviewed Tesla in 1923. During the conversation, Tesla revealed his experience.

“I have a deep conviction that highly intelligent beings exist on Mars. While experimenting in Colorado, I obtained extraordinary experimental evidence of the existence of life on Mars. I had perfected a wireless receiver of extraordinary sensitiveness, far beyond anything known, and I caught signals which I interpreted as meaning 1-2-3-4. I believe the Martians used numbers for communication because numbers are universal.”

While Tesla was deeply respected in his field, his revelations about martian contact brought doubt and scrutiny from his peers. His claims were dismissed as a publicity stunt, but in the years since, the Tesla Society has suggested the possibility of Tesla receiving radio waves from deep space or even static interference from Jupiter’s massive storms.

Whatever the case, years later, another theory was formed. This claim suggested that what Tesla intercepted was 13,000 year old extraterrestrial artifact. This object was supposedly in orbit around Earth, and it has since adopted the name of the Black Knight Satellite.

The Black Knight Satellite actually doesn’t have its own independent history, but rather a compilation of stories sharing the single similarity of a UFO trapped in Earth’s orbit. The beginnings of the legend are unknown in origin, but it has remained a constant feature in alien lore, from Tesla to the launch of the International Space Station.

In the 1960s, TIME magazine wrote about the discovery of an object in polar orbit, which should’ve been impossible, as both the US and Soviet satellites at the time were in equatorial orbit. The US Department of Defense later claimed that the mystery object was identified as debris from the Discoverer satellite. It was written off by professionals, but not by the public.

Then, in 1998, the Space Shuttle Endeavor photographed this image, depicting a strange black object hanging over Earth.

Real or not, it looks like something straight out of a science fiction film. Ominous.

In terms of conspiracies, the less there is known and understood about something, the more intriguing it becomes. If the Black Knight Satellite is a receptor for alien communication, count me out.

Next up: Project Blue Book.

Surprisingly, the government was fairly transparent with Project Blue Book, taking into account how important confidentiality in government missions usually is. It was a systematic study of every reported case of alleged extraterrestrial contact and spacecraft. In a sense, it was an experiment to test whether anyone could provide substantial proof of alien interaction. Supposedly, this conspiracy also goes hand-in-hand with the Men in Black.

The Men in Black are dogs for the government’s alien-related dirty work; witnesses of extraterrestrial phenomena claim to have been threatened into secrecy by suited agents. Hard-core conspiracy theorists believe that the Men in Black are everywhere in disguise; going so far as to suggest that they might even be aliens themselves. My guess is, we’ll never know for sure.

Lastly- yes, you made it!- is Area 51 and the Greys. What do we know about abduction culture?

Area 51 is a highly classified base, whose secrets make it all the more suspicious. It’s surrounded by a no-fly zone, as well as mounted threats warning trespassers that “use of deadly force is authorized.” According to many conspiracies, what little we know of Area 51 is just “the tip of a paranormal iceberg.”

Allegedly, the base boasts experimentation with alien technology (these technological advancements are only thanks to reverse-engineered alien tech), collaboration with extraterrestrials themselves, among other otherworldly activities.

SETI is always in pursuit of intelligent extraterrestrial life who could produce such tech, so if it’s right here on Earth, it makes their job all the easier. If there’s anyplace in the United States that hides the existence of extraterrestrials, it’s probably Area 51.

Area 51 is a melting pot of scattered theories, but one particularly interesting claim came from two different, alleged former Area 51 employees- and they reported working with an extraterrestrial being. Supposedly, their project consisted of developing a telepathic translator and cloning alien viruses.

The Grey alien, calling himself “J-Rod”, was a friendly one. In interviews with the creature, he claimed that his race initially lived on Earth, prior to human beings. They left because of several natural, planetary issues (i.e. solar flares), but have returned because of a ‘lost genetic factor’ from the human race. J-Rod also insisted that ideally, their kinds would “hopefully establish a friendship, if possible.”

After some time, J-Rod supposedly built a strong friendship with the interviewer, and was granted permission to return to his people. From there, he was taken to Abydos, Egypt, where he disappeared through a “natural star gate,” never to be seen nor heard from again.

Allegedly “leaked footage,” from the ‘J-Rod’ interview. Photo Credit

This desire for friendship may be unexpected, considering the Greys are supposed to be the abductors-the bad guys- in most alien abduction cases. However, if they’re trying to recover a lost gene from their DNA sequence, I suppose human abduction and experimentation makes sense.

Don’t worry, guys. They’re just trying to be friends. Probing isn’t such a big deal.

Guess what? Reader, you made it through 3000 words of alien-raving. Congratulations! I might make a conspiracy theorist out of you, yet.

We may never know the truth about extraterrestrials, but whether you believe in them or not, something could always happen within the next century. Never stop looking at the sky. The truth is out there.

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Resources, although I probably could’ve spewed nonsense about aliens without doing ANY research:

History.com Staff. “Roswell.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

“Some of the Very Best Alien Conspiracy Theories.” Motherboard. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

Www.arcturi.com. “GREY ALIENS | GREYS.” Grey Aliens | Greys | Who Are The Grey Aliens. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

Ivan. “10 Incredible Quotes about Alien Life and UFO’s from Astronauts and Government Officials.” Ancient Code. Ancient Code, 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.

“Our Work.” Our Work | SETI Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

“Roswell: Truth And Consequences : Martin Cannon : Free Download & Streaming.” Internet Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

“The Amazing Story of J-Rod 52 the Alien – Patricia Cori.” Patricia Cori. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.

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