If you're into UFOs and alien abductions, chances are that in 1993 you rushed to your nearest multiplex to watch Fire in the Sky, the Hollywood movie based on Travis Walton's homonymous book.
Chances also are, that nearing the end of it you felt an overpowering compulsion to throw your bag of popcorn on to the screen, and yell "THAT'S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED!" as you stormed out of the theater --or were escorted out in handcuffs. Fact is, Fire in the Sky is paradoxical in being the best AND worst cinematic depiction of the alien abduction phenomenon in a major motion picture.
In an exclusive excerpt from his book Silver Screen Saucers [Amazon US & UK], film researcher and author Robbie Graham shares with us the inside story of what really happened during the arduous journey to bring Fire in the Sky to the big screen; a movie studios rejected from the get-go, because they couldn't understand it or place it in the usual Sci-Fi box where they put all aliens and space monsters.
In a way, Hollywood's repudiation of abductions is but a symptom of how our society at large still hasn't found a way to tackle with this confounding phenomena, even 4 decades after Travis Walton suffered his amazing experience in a snowy Arizonian woods. Which is why Robbie's work is so important for the people inside and outside of the UFOlogy field.
SILVER SCREEN SAUCERS:
SORTING FACT FROM FANTASY IN HOLLYOOD’S UFO MOVIES
by ROBBIE GRAHAM
(TAKEN FROM THE CHAPTER ‘BREAKING THROUGH,’ WHICH EXAMINES HOLLYWOOD’S DEPICTIONS OF ALIEN ABDUCTION)
***FIRE IN THE SKY: THE INSIDE STORY***
Screenwriter reveals why that infamous abduction scene was so creatively distorted…
1993 saw the release of Fire in the Sky – Hollywood’s take on the famous Travis Walton UFO abduction case of 1975, in which the Arizona logger claimed to have been taken aboard a flying saucer and later into an expansive spaceport, and to have interacted with two different species of aliens – the now archetypal ‘Grays’ (or a variant of them), and attractive human-looking beings (commonly known in UFOlogy as ‘Nordics’). What distinguishes Walton’s story from innumerable other accounts of cosmic kidnapping is that his apparent abduction was witnessed in part by the six other men on his logging crew. They sped back into town that night to inform bemused authorities of how a UFO had zapped Travis in front of their very eyes. Assuming he was dead, the terrified loggers had left their colleague where he lay, the saucer looming above his lifeless body.
A swirling storm of confusion, anger, and allegations was soon to descend on the sleepy town of Snowﬂake. The loggers, having reported to police that their friend had been
What's the end game of late-stage capitalism? What provisions are The Powers That Be making for the Coming Collapse; for Climate Chaos and other Catastrophes? This is the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. In this series we'll see how they plan on making their getaway, and how we can work to steal the future back.
We start this series of posts by looking at the arrival of the Hyperloop; the latest piece of science fictional technology to be delivered to us - as if plucked from the future readymade - by that great prophet of the Myth of Progress: "the real world Tony Stark" himself, Elon Musk.
We'll hop aboard the "fifth mode of transport" to examine the California Ideology so prevalent in Silicon Valley today and visit Tim Leary & Co's idea of SMI2LE. Then we'll head into the shadow realms, to penetrate the secret world of Classified Technology, and the mythology that surrounds it.
Our ultimate destination is to come to an understanding of how these two different aspects of the world we live in are being actively merged to a create an almost unimaginable life for the privileged few that will be admitted to it, and the price the rest of us will bear to achieve it.
Between a near-future of vast private infrastructure - of fusion power and off-world colonies - and a world full of hyperconnected refugees fleeing war & climate chaos.
Our mission is to build up a vocabulary for discussing these extraordinary conditions, as we teeter ever more precariously on the knife edge between Dystopia and Utopia. To do this we'll have to undertake a wider than usual survey of pop culture; from the land of sci-fi and spy-fi into the murkier waters of conspiracy theory and ufology and back out again, into reality with our heads made bigger and eyes widened ready for the task ahead.
The opening parts of this series are framed largely through the fictional universes of two films: Tomorrowland and Kingsman: The Secret Service, with a little help from the comic books of Jonathan Hickman. SPOILERS AHEAD FOR ALL THREE.
A ride on the Hyperloop from the Shadow State to the Breakaway Civilisation.
Hyperloop Technologies, Inc., is the world’s next breakthrough in transportation, engineering unique transportation solutions worldwide for both cargo and passengers. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, California. For more information, please visit http://hyperlooptech.com
Here's some of the hyperbole they bust out in the launch video; a near complete transcript of sound bites:
- WHAT IF THE FUTURE IS NOW?
- HYPERLOOP IS REAL
- A chance to change the world. To change the future.
- From Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30mins.
- It's going to bring the world closer together.
- Live anywhere. Work anywhere.
Unless you've been living in a cave - or boring tunnels for an unknown corporation - you'll be well aware that Hyperloop is another of Elon Musk's grand inventions for improving the planet. Unlike the Tesla electric car or powerwall, the SpaceX rocket or whatever else Musk has dreamt up since, this is one idea he is just giving away.
More than that, he's actively encouraging other companies to develop the technology, sponsoring a competition in the same vein as the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge and the X-Prize (a non-profit that Elon sits on the board of) - reminding the world: "Neither SpaceX nor Elon Musk is affiliated with any Hyperloop companies." But the founder of the X-Prize, Peter Diamandis, is one of the backers behind Hyperloop Technologies.
And so it has begun... HYPERLOOP IS HERE!
But where, exactly, has it come from? It can best be thought of as sharing aspects of two different places, two different dimensions of reality. The second, we can think of as Spook Country. The first, is - as our friend Red Pill Junkie described it elsewhere - a Disneyfied Breakaway Civilization (we'll come back to that phrase shortly).
Tomorrowland: The Future That Got Away
This is the vision the young hero of Tomorrowland, Casey Newton, gets when she holds her pin that serves as an invitation to go there; it's all very Field of Dreams - "if you build it, they will come" could be another tagline for the film. It's just that everyone else seems to have stopped trying. To her alone is extended the last 'golden ticket' to visit an alternate dimension where the future can be built, unbridled by messy things like government restrictions. Where the Precautionary Principle is left behind. This is the secret homeland of the Myth of Progress.
As this trailer for the film shows, the pitch is that it's all about recruiting people - dreamers, high achievers - who want to ... Read More »
Mirrors are powerful objects to humans. From John Dee's scrying mirror, the metaphor of a black mirror popularized by the eponymous television show, and admonitions to cover a mirror under many circumstances, like the Jewish shiva or superstition.
Take Bloody Mary. There are many interpretations of this legend, but here's what I learned as a kid. At midnight, stand in darkened room facing a mirror and chant "Bloody Mary" three times. She'll appear in the reflection and bad things will happen. Fortunately, the worst that happened to me was scaring the shit out of my seven year old self. According to Wikipedia, Bloody Mary shows young girls if they will marry or if they will die.
Opie and Tatem's indispensable A Dictionary Of Superstitions expresses a measure of caution with looking glasses:
In the chamber of death .. a dread is felt of some spiritual being imaging himself forth in the blank surface of the mirror .. I suspect that the true reason for shrouding the looking-glass .. is that given me in Warwickshire, that if you look into the mirror in the death-chamber, you will see the corpse looking over your shoulder.
What are we seeing if nothing paranormal is afoot?
The obvious, and unexpected, answer is "ourselves".
A recent study with the catchy name "Dissociation and hallucinations in dyads engaged through interpersonal gazing" by Giovanni Caputo, late of the University of Urbino, reveals people who stare at other people for extended periods begin to hallucinate. Chitra Ramaswamy at The Guardian notes, "90% hallucinated a deformed face, 75% saw a monster, 50% said their partner’s face morphed into their own and 15% saw a relative’s face."
The latter two statistics are intriguing, where faces became more familiar and familial. Ancient burial practices focused on imparting immortality upon the deceased. Neolithic plastered human skulls and ancient Egypt's ushabti are physical representations of the deceased, reminding our forebears of the deceased's wisdom and, likely, manifesting as visual and/or auditory hallucinations. These artifacts are part of the archaeological underpinnings of Julian Jaynes's compellingly controversial theory of the bicameral mind: that before humans became properly conscious, our actions were guided by the voices of ancestors and gods originating from our brain's right hemisphere.
Jaynes's description of consciousness, in relation to memory, proposes what people believe to be rote recollection are concepts, the platonic ideals of their office, the view out of the window, et al. These contribute to one's mental sense of place and position in the world. The memories enabling one to see themselves in the third person.
Bringing us back to Bloody Mary and Giovanni Caputo.
People staring at themselves in the mirror are looking at a different self, the unconscious visible in the conscious body. After ten minutes of eye contact humans apprehend their other half, kept in check by the rational left hemisphere. These hallucinations may communicate the subconscious's instincts and reactions kept silent during waking life. Wisdom formerly ascribed to archaic gods and the dead.
Do you trust yourself enough to give it a shot?