X-files and UFOs

Battle of LA

The HIGHLY doctored Battle of L.A. photo from February 1942.

In the excitement of the re-introduction of The X-Files I am gonna address one conspiracy theory head on. I am not doing it to be difficult, but to apply logic to the hype. We have not been visited nor are we being visited by aliens from other planets.  There is a period there.

Now UFO spottings are not an exclusively American phenomenon but we tend to specialize. Overwhelmingly most spottings are here in the US. Not even Mexico or Canada, but here, in the good old “Lower 48”. Which is a misnomer since Hawaii is not included in the “Lower 48” but is lower than the other 49. But back to the topic, Americans by far spot more UFOs than any other culture. Do the Aliens like us more or is it something else?

I love The X-Files, I like that they go off the Hollywood script of cop shows, doctor shows and ever changing reality programming of the season. But there is no logic in the “UFO” claim. Each generation of UFOs change. What type of craft being spotted changes based on two things. The last most hyped spotting, leading amazingly to others seeing similar craft never before seen, and ironically, whatever is being tested by the US Air Force.

Let’s also look at the term UFO. It means “Unidentified Flying Object”. Some may say that airports and pilots report UFOs regularly. Yes they do. They have to. But a UFO is not an alien it is a visually sighted object that does not show up on air traffic control screens. The leap about the term is also based on a basic miss understanding. Air Traffic and Tracking Control does not depend on radar. Planes “squawk”. They have transponders that deliberately send out a signal that identifies them as who and what they are. Most planes carry one. Many planes do not and do not have to. If they do not show up on air traffic control, that’s not unusual. It would be much more interesting if air traffic control can see them and no one else can.

The original “fly saucer” photo was long ago proven as a hoax by both the hoaxer stating it and technology showing in the photos that the “saucer” was pie pans. This was not the first time things had been seen in the sky and not understood though.  Likely the first famous sighting was the “foo fighters” in WWII.  That time gave a lot of energy to what going on up here.


Foo Fighters never seem to have any consistency other than flying balls.  Some say silver, some say solid, some say balls of flames .. you get the idea.  I think it was all a product of lexan and poly windows that make odd reflections that look displaced in space rather than in the window.  I had them on my racecar.  As for the flames, they were only at night and also reflections of the engines exhaust.  just my theory.


The Battle of L.A. was probably the next American exposure to this issue. This is so well documented as a  mistake and exaggeration and the photo that is famously attached to it is largely home made by the newspaper.  Not even well done although at the time, probably was beyond detection unless you were in the business.


Kenneth Arnold’s sighting in Washington state in 1947 is full of holes.  It got a lot of publicity though and is the miss quoted source of the term “flying saucer”.  He was flying a plane and spotted several, some say 7, some 9 objects flying about 20-25 miles away going what he estimated was 1700 mph but later changed it to 1200 mph, and initially stated that the objects were less than 60 feet across but later after talking to others changed it to greater than 100 feet across.  The Air Force later based on his description would say up to 275 feet across.    The miss quote was that he described their motion as skipping a saucer on a pond.  It was not till later after talking to others that he described them actually as saucer like in shape.


So to summarize, what Mr. Arnold described was 7-9 objects flying approximately 20-15 miles away anywhere from less than 60 feet across to more than 100 feet across but described as 275 feet across traveling at a first reported speed of 1700 mph and later revised to 1200 mph flying in a skipping motion.  All this from a plane going no more than 200 mph.  That’s alot of variation and yet a lot of detail for things going at least 6 times faster than you and at least 20 miles away all while flying your own plane.


I’m not saying this to discredit Mr. Arnold.  I am pointing out the progression of story telling.  When we tell a story we have opportunity to alter it.  If we feel it may not be believed or does not seem to be believed then we tend to distort it to better fit the audience.  He changed his story a lot.  It also seems unlikely to begin with.  A plane only 15 miles away reported seeing nothing.  Now I am just as excitable as another so I know that he could have seen something and felt it was true.  So he may not be lying but his facts sure seem very pliable.


Even the “flying saucer” term seems to be a whoops rather than an actual description.  yet decades later it is what people report seeing!  Psychological idea planting rather than witnessing.


We are very malleable beings.  We shape and form ourselves in response to our environment.  If we want to stand out, then go counter culture.  If we want to fit in, we stay trendy.  If we want to be heard, say something controversial.  If we want the world to hate us, we hate the world.  The world around us shapes us.  Even those who dress and act as rebels, have to go the opposite of the accepted and thus are defined by the norm.  Sorry goths and punks and rebels, you are just as culturally defined as the trendy.


We tend to be and do and talk about and in this case, discuss something as defined by our peers.  Yes the idea of the sighting was new for society, sorta.  Remember this was after the “Battle of L.A.  But the story changed so often it had to reflect the need for it to “fit”.  The truth doesn’t need to fit, it just is. We need to fit.

Roswell event in 1947 was not an alien crash. It was Project Mogul. High flying weather balloons used to hear atomic testing in Russia. It really was a top secret thing and a cover up. But that was because Russia could not find out we knew each time they tested an atomic bomb. That Alien Spacecraft claim lit a fire that has fed itself ever since.


The incident at the time was not as widely publicized as it became later after Charles Berlitz wrote a book about it in 1980.  He did this to build on the hype being put out by Stanton Friedman.  Most of what is ‘known’ about Roswell is revisionist history and good marketing.  Fear sells; books in this case.


It cannot be over stated that much of what we ‘know’ about flying saucers we don’t know.  There has been a lot published and talked a bout as facts that are not facts.  Most are a sighting, which is not a fact but an impression.  We know this in basic Psych 101 classes when the same demonstration has been done 100s of times proving that even a room full of 100 or more people will not report the same thing in a witness statement, when they all saw the same thing.


Facts are few and far between in the world of UFO science.  Even Friedman tried criticizing Carl Sagan for supporting SETI by saying that the Air Force’s project bluebook sited 100s of unexplainable sightings as proof of existence of UFOs already.  I can report made up events and they would be unknown as well if I told a good story.  But that is not proof.  So even someone claiming to be an expert and a physicist by the way, tries to use ‘unexplainable’ as proof.


This reflects a more defensive approach than a scientific or positive approach.  The ‘prove me wrong’ theory of pseudo-science.  If I cannot prove you wrong, it does not mean you are right.  But that and ‘unexplainable’ is the basis of much of the UFO marketing. [fear sells remember]

Over the decades the alien spacecraft have gone from saucer shaped, to arrow shaped to diamond shaped to boomerang shaped. This is the original pie pan hoax, to the SR-71 Blackbird being tested, to the F117 being tested, to the B2 bomber being tested. The theoretical next top secret aircraft is the Aurora. More recent UFO spottings have kinda gone back to diamond shape. So I would bet the Aurora is around that shape.

Lemme point out simple logic. Earth’s atmosphere is made of a pretty specific but simple combination of nitrogen and oxygen with some other things thrown in there. We have designed and almost perfected wings and lift bodies that fly through that specific combination of atoms. Look at the vehicles we use to get space craft out of our atmosphere, they are pretty aerodynamic. Look at the spacecraft they carry, anything but aerodynamic. Our planet has much more atmosphere than the planet and moon we have landed on.

There is no promise that any planet that has intelligent alien life has life like ours or based on the same atmosphere we have. If they came from a planet orbiting the closest sun to our own, almost 100% of the trip is in the near vacuum of space and does not require any aerodynamics. Yet the UFOs we spot all seem to be very aerodynamic. This makes no sense.

There have been many doctored photos like the Battle of L.A. There has been so much written about UFOs that make it seem real. Realize that if we want to believe we will find the evidence of it being true. The Coddington Fairies were believed by many for decades. Yet they look so fake today. The Loch Ness Monster, based on one photo, still has life today and has given birth to so many other “monsters” as long as the name rhymes. Nessie was proven as a fake within weeks of the original hoax. Yet the joke lives on as truth.

As a byproduct of technological evolution, the ability to take photos and video is on most of us at all times. The clarity of those images far surpasses the photos taken 20 years ago. When I go Jeeping, I carry a dedicated camera which can take video as well. I also have my cell phone, which can take photos and video. I also carry an ipod, which can take photos and video. The quality is all very high.

The irony here is that with so many of us carrying and in some cases wearing high tech photography hardware, UFO sightings have gone down. The quality of the few UFO images continues to be very poor. And the logic is slipping away.

It is not out of the question to think that a far superior life form might see us as a curiosity like we have ant farms and aquariums. It is also logical to think that since we seem pretty interesting to us, that others would find us fascinating! I really doubt it. If alien life is coming here then we are very far behind them in technology and likely not that interesting.

I could also throw in there that it is a big freakin Galaxy, much less universe. What are the odds of finding us? Yes we are kinda sending out signals both intentionally and not intentionally. But none of those have been around long enough to reach the next closest sun so it is a bit like me shouting to Belgium.

Like I have mentioned in the start of this, the US seems to have more spottings than any other nation. So do the aliens come from across the galaxy to just visit the US? Trust me, were really not that interesting. It is a myopic view of a culture that sees the word through its own glasses only. This world is not about us and the galaxy is certainly not about us.

Now there is the claim that aliens help us. Like they helped us build the pyramids. This is based on two pieces of evidence. 1, We don’t know how the pyramids were built so it must have been aliens since man did not have modern technology then. Ok, point one, if modern technology was required to build the pyramids yet modern technology can barely get us further than the moon, the two technologies are not in context with one another. Also, we know how the pyramids were built and it is incredibly simple, just very well applied.

2, There were pyramids built all over the globe at similar times when there was no communication between these cultures, much less awareness of one another. Ok, take a simple step back. When we as children went to the beach or sand box one of the first things we did was pile sand. If we get older we could easily say, want to build bigger piles of sand! That’s all a pyramid is, the most basic form of construction, a pile. So aliens came from across the galaxy to show us how to pile stone? No.

Here is my final point and it is a simple one. If there are aliens coming here, they would only come here with one of two intents. They would either come with no intent of being seen, or with the plan to meet and greet and glad hand and possibly sell us cookies or eat us.

If they are going for the stealth approach, they suck at it. Even if were not getting clear video, were here talking about them and they are trying to not be seen. If they are here to meet and greet and sell cookies, they suck even more at that.


It comes down to one basic thing to me.  We as a species and the US as a culture especially loves to feel special.  In the 20th century the US went from isolationist and largely agricultural and surprisingly illiterate to the world economic and military and cultural leader.  This gave in the time span of three generations the US culture an amazing rise in importance and thus, self importance.  This will be hard in the 21st century when we are surpassed by the Chinese in economics and possibly in science.


But this rapid rise is a lot like Paris Hilton.  She made no real money, she rode on the wave of money of the generation before.  The second half of the 20th century was a huge economic surge for the US, largely built on one generation.  The generation after largely grew self importance, not actual accomplishment.  Add technology of Television and computers and social media and we can easily imagine we must be the most important people in the world.  I have one  example of this perception; the Ms Universe competition.  It started in 1952, in the heart of the accomplishment era.  Need I point out the absurdity?  Amazing only earth women have won …


UFO sighting is about us, not aliens.  We need to and want to feel important.  In an age of technology and space travel it is understandable that being important to your neighbor or your mayor is just not cutting it anymore.  We tweet and post and facetime and skype and redit and tumbl and pin and link and vine and flickr and vine instantly …. and yes, we blog.  We do this in a hope of being relevant and seen and important.  I believe that UFO sighting have gone down as grainy and vibrating video and pictures are just not cutting it anymore in an  age of high tech image stabilization and auto focus and auto correcting images.


So I believe that UFO culture is in a burn out stage, witness Giorgio Tsoukalos… Tell me this man does not look like a burn out…

ancient idiot

Ok, all jokes aside I do believe it is burning out.  Social media has given a medium for proliferation of UFO sightings if they were still being made but no, were finding that talking about ourselves is far more effective than claiming other life forms are coming here to ‘check us out’.  We are myoptic and I get that.  Aliens that could travel here would be no more interested in us as we are in the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island.  Most of you have never heard of them …


So in the wake of the X-Files return, we renew our fascination with UFOs and I welcome that.
We have not been visited nor are we being visited by aliens from other planets.  There is a period there.



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