By Nate Odenkirk and Bob Odenkirk | Staff and Guest Writer
The Department of Defense for the first time last week acknowledged the existence of unidentified flying objects and admitted to covering up the evidence. “Roswell, Area 51, nearly every suspected incident by the public at large was, in fact, real. You were right, we totally did all of that, and then covered it up because, well, just because…” the 509-page white paper states candidly.
The now-unclassified report is riddled with reliable, contemporaneous accounts of alien encounters, documentation of physical evidence, and highly detailed photographs of extraterrestrial activity between 1949 and last year. “Well, that clears that up!” says 99% of the public. “We ain’t buyin’ it one bit!” says the other 1%, made up of alien conspiracy heads who predicted a government cover-up in the first place.
One. “Your proof proves nothing!”
“No sir, I ain’t buyin’ it!” Said Hem Hankerling, a 95-year-old U.F.O conspiracist. Hem has believed in flying saucers since he was 25 and he hit his head on the bottom of a canoe that had gotten stuck in a tree during a portaging accident (long story—see earlier article “Hilarious Portaging Accident Leads to Life-Long Pursuit!,” unpublished).
Hem is not alone in not buying into the notion that he’s been right all these years. In fact, he now finds himself in an even more elite group that insists that “Your proof proves nothing!” It’s a collection of ding-dongs and fruit-loops that includes some very good people who are fun for reporters to report on.
“I have seen or heard 63 U.F.O.s,” says Josh Foster, a junior community moderator on alien message boards, quickly adding, “Every day,” for emphasis and incredibleness. “They fly over my house, maybe 100 feet above the ground. They’re big, and loud, and have bright flashing lights. One kept me up yesterday, in fact!” Foster, who lives right next to an international airport, was one of the many “alien huggers” to immediately dispute the Department of Defense’s admissions.
“I have seen or heard 63 U.F.O.s,”
“They’re saying I was ‘spot on’? Well, forgive me, but I don’t believe me for one bit. Just because the government says I’m right, doesn’t mean I’m right. I won’t drink the kool aid, even if I mixed the drink myself,” he emphatically insists. Josh’s natural instinct for doubting, a powerful source of pride for him, kicks into hi-gear when met with incontrovertible proof that he’s been right all along. Perhaps his biggest issue of them all, the flaw so critical that it leads Foster to throw the whole “U.F.O.’s are real”-baby out with the bathwater-of-proof, is on page three.
“The photo. It’s a fake.”
Two. “The photo”
The photo in question is a highly detailed snapshot of what the government declares to be a genuine alien spaceship. According to the Air Force, it was taken in 2013 outside of General Lee Memorial Air Force Base near Columbus, Ohio by an army photographer.
It’s a round U.F.O., with a beam of light emanating downward from the central atrium of the ship, and Foster isn’t buying it even a little. Another doubting Thomas (whose name isn’t actually “Thomas”), clarifies that, “A real photo of an alien spaceship disk looks nothing like this crisp, detailed picture.”
“I won’t drink the kool aid, even if I mixed the drink myself.”
This “non-Thomas” is one Michael Branzino, a professional-looking amateur in the field of various extraterrestrial discoveries, suspicion, and consternation. We met in his one-bedroom studio apartment-shaped condominium that he bought from his mother after she suffered a fall from a canoe that had gotten stuck in a tree during a portaging accident.
After a dinner of Branzino’s self-described ‘brain food’ (mixed nuts and orange juice), Branzino got down to business. Most of the existing U.F.O. footage from the community show blurry and undefined shapes well off into the distance, he told me. Branzino produced an image to that effect, one that he had taken earlier in the day.
“Now THAT’S a U.F.O. Big one, too!” He exclaimed. “If the government had come out with grainy, black and white dots in the sky, we’d be having a different conversation. If the alleged U.F.O. doesn’t look like a camera trick, or a smudge on the lens, then it’s probably a fake.” Branzino alleges that the release of the report itself is the conspiracy: “they pulled back the curtain, just so they could pull the wool over our eyes. They’re hiding something… I know it.” He quickly looked behind his shoulder, to make sure no one was following him in his home, which he wasn’t certain was his home after all, and he expressed hope that he hadn’t “eaten some stranger’s nuts and juice.”
“If the alleged U.F.O. doesn’t look like a camera trick, or a smudge on the lens, then it’s probably a fake.”
When reached for comment, the government defended its decision to release the cache of evidence. “We saw so many people had questions, and we were happy we could put this issue to bed” said an agency spokesperson in an email. “We would have released all of this earlier, we just had no idea people cared about this.”
Three. What to do now?
Others are disappointed that the Department of Defense killed what was a really fun hobby. “Their evasiveness was super suspicious, and cool,” said Patrick Lyles, who operates a twice-daily email newsletter about alien sightings he witnessed. “We formed a whole community around aliens, and now what? We were right? Who cares if we were right? They should have just left us alone to speculate. Oh well,” he said, taking a deep breath.
Lyles struck a sentimental tone with me as he looked out at the majestic Mojave horizon, brilliantly illuminated on his desktop screensaver. “Maybe it’s time to move on from this U.F.O. conspiracy silliness. Do something serious with our lives, something rewarding in its own right.” He paused for reflection—this may be the seminal moment he, and the thousands of “alien huggers” like him, turn their lives around. By not looking for life outside our solar system, they can perhaps begin their own lives here on Earth.
Lyles suddenly lit up. “Two words,” he says.
“Nazi gold.” ♦
The Inquirist endeavors to unmask shadowy truths behind conspiracies, paranormalities, and othersuch concealments with top-notch journalism and hunch-based reporting. Read similar articles here.