Thursday, January 27

Are there aliens? I think we have enough on our plate | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett


TOAs a kid, I loved unsolved mysteries and I’m not talking about detective novels. I’m talking about those big, fat, cheaply printed volumes that you could buy at Woolworths, which included anthologies of everything from Mary Celeste and the Loch Ness Monster to Kaspar Hauser and the Enfield poltergeist, including the Yeti and the Incident. from Moberly-Jourdain for good measure. I gobbled them up as well as being an avid reader of Fortean Times and an avid observer of the paranormal series Strange but True? – Television from the 90s introduced me to things that a young child doesn’t really have to know about, like spontaneous human combustion. The black and white image of a burnt armchair where a person used to be, with only their charred legs, will probably never leave me.

Second only to ghosts was my fascination with UFOs and aliens. The 90s were big on aliens: Alien autopsy It came out in 1995, and all the kids thought it was real (some adults seemed to think so too). And perhaps due in part to that movie, as well as Independence Day in 1996, which caused such a stir, aliens were everywhere: on TV, on T-shirts, and on the playground, in the form of eggs containing sticky aliens which, according to the feverish rumors, could actually be reproduced (since then this has been shown to be false, to almost no surprise).

So it’s fitting that at the same time the ’90s are back in vogue, aliens are back in the news too, with a Pentagon report on UFOs to be released. released some time later this month, looking at sightings of military personnel. Some of these videos, such as the 2004 sighting by a Navy pilot of a Tic Tac-shaped object near San Diego, are already available online. I’ve seen them, because really, what else is the Internet for? – but they didn’t give me the same sense of wonder or excitement that I used to have as a child. If the truth is out there, I’m not sure I’m that upset to hear it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an indifferent person, and in a way I’m in the target market for this kind of story: a kind of agnostic, a little bit hippy-dippy, a kind of ghost belief in the sense that I probably Let him end any discussion of his existence by saying: “There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horacio, than your philosophy dreams of”, although no one else seems to consider it as the trump card that I do. , especially now that the Cern has disproved its existence.

But there is a scientific basis for aliens, which somehow makes them less exciting for the ’90s kid inside me. That’s not to say I don’t want them to exist: like David Kestenbaum, whose contribution to the Fermi paradox episode This American Life is a must hear; It saddens me when I think of the prospect of all that cold, dark, empty space. And not “because we want liberation”, as the writer Sarah Jones recently speculated (I’m not convinced that any extraterrestrial life form can solve the plague-ridden bonfire that is our planet right now), but because the idea that humans are the most intelligent life forms in the universe is very depressing, especially in 2021.

Although we really have enough to deal with right now, without a possible alien invasion. The past year has been a long one – we don’t need another impending disaster in the mix. Also, for the past couple of years I have had the unsettling and strange feeling that we are in the future, and this has only been exacerbated by the dystopian feelings brought on by the pandemic. When Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites passed through london Recently, appearing in the sky as a bright dotted line of stars, it felt like it was here. With technology like that out there, weird aerial phenomena seem to have a scientific explanation these days, and while optical illusion or secret military technology are less compelling explanations, I suppose that’s part of the growth.

And yet the boy who used to be in bed, woken up by the terrifying idea of ​​alien abductions, wants the mystery to continue. I want the Loch Ness monster to possibly be a plesiosaur that somehow survived, and that maybe the curse of Tutankhamun exists, and that ghosts are almost definitely roaming the halls of ancient creepy inns on earth.

However, in this world of fake news and conspiracy theory, I realize that my desire for mystery is no longer so innocent. It is just as important to hold on to rational scientific evidence as ever. And an answer is not always a disappointment. The Moberly-Jourdain Incident of 1911, which involved two British women who, while walking through the gardens of Versailles, claimed to have seen the gardens as they would have been in the 18th century, with the ghost of Marie Antoinette and others, seems to have a plausible explanation. Hilariously, it seems these women may have stumbled upon a massive gay costume party. Marie Antoinette may well have been the flamboyant aristocratic poet Robert de Montesquiou, dressed in drag.

So sometimes even if a paranormal obsessed kid would disagree, the logical explanation is sometimes even more enjoyable than the mystery itself.


www.theguardian.com

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