By Marty Russell
Sixty-five years ago, on July 8, 1947, something crashed in the desert outside Roswell, N.M., home to Roswell Army Base which was also home to the nation’s entire nuclear arsenal at the time.
That’s about all we can say with any certainty all these years later. Initial reports indicated an alien spacecraft, a flying saucer, had crashed and the military had recovered both the craft and the bodies of its dead occupants. Hours later the military recanted and said it was simply a downed weather balloon.
Decades and dozens of reports later, the government is sticking to its story that nothing unusual happened that day in the desert. But like all good conspiracy theories, there will always be those who don’t buy it and others who keep it alive like an ex-CIA agent who recently told the Huffington Post he had seen CIA evidence to the contrary. And so it goes.
We love conspiracy theories perhaps because they allow us to believe what we want without the truth getting in the way. That might also explain the state of modern news media, but that’s a column for another day. But, occasionally, the conspiracy theorists get it right.
Let’s look at some conspiracy theories and see if you can pick out which ones actually turned out to the true. (Hint: At least three of the following were eventually verified as the truth).
• The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a network of radio telescopes dedicated to searching for alien radio communications. In 2009, it picked up a signal from deep space warning the government to be on the look out for an invading force of alien slackers known as the Kardasians.
• Each July some of the nation’s most powerful men, including presidents and oil company tycoons, gather in a place called Bohemian Grove in California where they dress up like Druids, worship a 40-foot-tall statue of an owl and perform a ritual where they cremate a coffin named “Care.” This has been going on for decades, and the Manhattan Project to build the first nuclear weapons was actually hatched there. Oh, and the participants are encouraged to mark their territory by urinating wherever they please.
• Between 1963 and 1966, top government officials from around the world met at a place called Iron Mountain to discuss what would happen if world peace broke out. They decided it would not be a good thing and must be stopped even if it meant faking an alien invasion from space to give the military/industrial complex something to do to justify continued existence (and profits).
• In the 1970s the Church of Scientology staged the largest infiltration of U.S. government agencies in history in what was known as Operation Snow White to erase government reports on the church. Some 5,000 church members were said to be involved. Now we know where Tom Cruise learned all those neat “Mission: Impossible” tricks.
Answers: The last three are true. The verdict is still out on the Kardasians.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.