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The Truth About Hoaxes

The truth is still out there...

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The truth is still out there...

Colin Gill, Staff Writer

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Roswell, New Mexico, 1947: A rancher discovers debris from a mysterious crashed object on his land late in the evening. A short time later, military officers show up to collect the debris. The craft was allegedly a weather balloon, but the mystery surrounding the incident lead many to believe the crash was of extraterrestrial origin.

To this day, similar conspiracy theories have gripped the minds and imaginations of the public. True or not, modern legends about government cover-ups of fantastic and otherworldly events flourish among true believers and amused skeptics. Even the most outlandish ideas of human and alien interaction can infamously find airtime on daytime television networks such as the History Channel.

Could these wild myths be real? Perhaps the truth is out there, within the CIA release of documents regarding the mysterious “Stargate Project.”

The Central Intelligence Agency is like a wellspring of outlandish stories of government projects. The CIA has been accused of orchestrating any given event of national importance since its foundation, including presidential scandals, assassinations, and even acts of terror.

The organization has not kept the cleanest record, either.  For example, during the 1960’s era CIA project MKULTRA, sources have proven the agency guilty of going so far as to expose American civilians to LSD to test its effects as a weapon. Though the documents contain information on strange occurrences, they have not technically been covered up. The documents have been public domain in the CIA’s local archives, assuming one could drive to Maryland during the national archive’s business hours.

Pressure, however, from activist groups led the intelligence agency to publish the documents for free on the internet. These documents include records of trials conducted with fraudulent psychic Uri Geller, to reports of UFO sightings, to low-tech espionage equipment.

Some people study these esoteric oddities for fun, while others are true believers. Junior Grant Ostrander believes he knows the truth about UFO truthers.

Grant stated that he believes UFOs could exist, “but not every sighting is real. Sometimes people misidentify stuff.”

He did speculate, however, that people are led to believe these bogus reports for existential reasons.

“People just wonder, ‘why are we alone?’”

To be sure, while most ET’s turn out to be smudges or weather balloons, people have found them compelling enough to keep their legend alive for a long time. Perhaps when it comes to tales of extraterrestrial encounters, truth is not what draws people in, but spectacle.

Documentaries like Ancient Aliens or UFO files have not become “educational” television’s most popular programs by accident. As 20th century writer/filmmaker Guy Debord once said, “In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.”

UFOlogy might wish to be considered academic, but “real life” accounts of aliens serve the same psychological purpose as an episode of The X Files. Coming through declassified government files gives the reader the same experience as vicariously accompanying agents Scully and Mulder through a tale of massive government conspiracy.

Unsolved mysteries, state coverups, contact with life beyond Earth. Real or fake, supernatural case files survive through their entertainment value. The fact that truth is subordinate to novelty could be considered a sad reflection of society by some. On the other hand, the possibility that the real world can ignite our imagination the same as any fiction could be inspiring. In the end, there are many mysteries in this world. Many of them have an explanation given modern science.

For others, however, the truth is still out there.

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The Truth About Hoaxes