Yeah, yeah, I know, first day of spring, vernal equinox and all that jazz. Everyone’s talking about that today. I want to talk about a much more important topic, though. I mean, Spring happens every year to everyone at pretty much the same time. Alien abduction, though? That’s pretty special!
Like alien abduction. Given this is, among other things, Alien Abduction Day I thought it might be appropriate if we take the topic for a spin. Who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and someone will be abducted while reading this.
[Note To Aliens: I have a list of people you’re more than welcome to probe. We don’t mind. Just ask.]
Aliens, those creatures from somewhere in the sky, have been a part of popular culture since the mid-twentieth century. While there is one possible mention of them as far back as 1896, that account never really credits the “humanoids” for having come from the sky or anywhere else. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the first somewhat credible stories began to appear, just as the concept of space exploration was beginning to take hold in science communities as a real possibility.
Now, that immediately raises some interesting questions. Assuming humans have been on this planet for a few million years (don’t argue with me), and assuming that any species actually achieving intergalactic travel is eons smarter than we are, one has to question why it is only at this late stage of our development as creatures that aliens are beginning to investigate who and what we are. Did they not know we exist or were we simply not quite interesting enough until now? Or perhaps, as some have suggested, does our own exploration beyond the gravitational reach of our home planet make us threatening to more advanced civilizations?
I’m aware that some people think the ancient Egyptians had some help from aliens, and more than a few people have suggested that Stonehenge is the work of some extraterrestrial engineers. I won’t argue either point since we’re not so much talking about the possibility of previous visits as much as we are their apparently recent desire to get up close and personal, checking out our physiology and such.
What I’ve noticed is that the whole concept of creatures from some planet other than our own really took off once the Wright brothers demonstrated that flight was possible. Even the earliest of pilots reported unexplainable encounters with bright lights and shining discs, most of which have been discounted either as some meteorological phenomenon or light reflecting off this thing or that.
Governments don’t like these stories getting too fact-based because, well, it might just prove we’re pretty much defenseless against anything with sufficient technology to handle long-range interplanetary flight. Piss off the aliens and we’re screwed. So, best to debunk the stories while trying to be the first to figure out what is actually going on.
Naturally, there have been plenty of proven hoaxes along the way, too, and more than one or two people have suggested the hoaxes were intentional government plants to discredit the accounts that couldn’t be easily explained. Again, governments are very much concerned about the chaos and panic that might result from one of these stories ever being proven as true. We’ve seen all the movies. Humans always panic. It never ends well.
Personally, it’s the timing that I find interesting. Stories begin popping up about that point in world history where both the Soviet Union and the United States were taking space travel quite seriously. Could early Soviet successes have been the trigger that woke extraterrestrial interest in the little blue planet? And if so, could our continued exploration and technological development be setting us up for even more visits in the very near future?
The late Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek series, set April 4, 2063, as the fictional “first contact” date between humans and Vulcans. While Roddenberry passed in 1991, the closer we get to his fictional date the more it would appear that we might actually be very close to achieving some form of faster-than-light travel, or at least trans-dimensional travel, by that time. It was human development of warp drive that triggered the visit by Vulcans in Roddenberry’s universe. Could he perhaps have been privy to some information not shared with the rest of us?
I’m also willing to accept the possibility that these stories are our future selves visiting our past selves, though exactly why we would choose the people we’ve chosen so far seems to spoil that narrative a bit. While visiting a head of state might attract too much attention, certainly they would want someone a little more astute than a couple of backwoods Mississippi fishermen.
Or not. Could it be that aliens look at intelligence and brain activity different than we do? Obviously, if they’re coming to us they know a great deal more than we.
Or maybe they are just checking to see how we taste with interplanetary chocolate sauce.