Inspired by a report that close to four million Americans may have been abducted by aliens, Chris Carter set to work writing the pilot episode which would later be roundly rejected by FOX in 1992. Not to be deterred, Carter returned a few weeks later with a beefier version that pleased, although the word on the street is that Gillian Anderson could have been “taller, leggier, blonder and breastier,” for the execs tastes. Me? I think the casting was a slam dunk; Fox Mulder and Dana Scully’s chemistry was pitch perfect. Of course, after a nine-year run these things appear more obvious.
Here are some fun X-Files referrals for the Z to A in May crowd.
First up. From the Top Ten Myths about the FBI page:
Myth #9) The FBI has “X-Files.”
Well, first off, the FBI is NOT on point to investigate the supernatural as Scully and Mulder did on the X-Files TV show. Yes, we do have files
on some unusual phenomena—like cattle mutilation, UFOs, and Roswell—but generally only because people reported something and we made a note of it. Some of the files do involve cases involving a potential violation of federal law under our jurisdiction that we did investigate. One example is Operation Majestic 12, the supposedly secret group of government officials tasked by President Truman to study the Roswell incident. When what appeared to be a top secret document about the formation of the Majestic 12 surfaced in the 1980s, we were asked to investigate a possible breach of classified information. The Bureau concluded that the document was a fake. So, bottom line: while FBI agents chasing aliens and other supernatural creatures may make good entertainment, it’s not part of our job description, and we don’t have a secret collection of “X-Files” squirreled away somewhere.
Pay special attention to that last sentence. “…we don’t have a secret collection of ‘x-Files’ squirreled away somewhere.” Of course not, but you just know that somewhere, someone has read the denial and has launched an all-out informational assault to get to the bottom of what the FBI is hiding. (By the way, if you clicked the “some unusual phenomena” or “Operation Majestic 12” links – they take you … NOWHERE! Conspiracy? What are they hiding? WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?)
I should add that there is actually some compelling research on alien abduction. I don’t want to come across like there’s nothing to this. In fact, my interest in the subject matter peaked back in 1995 when I was a student at IU. I found a book called Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens, by Harvard Psychiatrist John Mack. One doesn’t often come across a Harvard professor writing on the subject of alien abduction, so I did the only sensible thing one could do. I bought it, read it, and now I’m telling you to do the same.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough, if for no other reason than some of his colleagues tried to bury him for having written it. His main contention for taking on what many consider to be “tabloid fare” was that the standard psychiatric “treatment” for people claiming alien abduction was to get them to deny that it ever happened. He argued that just because the experience falls outside a “mainstream” point of view, doesn’t mean that clinical professionals shouldn’t treat their patients with respect. He said that the closest comparable case a psychiatrist is likely to encounter would be a rape victim, and there is no shortage of agreement on how detrimental it would be to “treat” a rape victim by assuring the person they were never raped.
There are other good reasons to believe that we are not alone in the universe, and the X-Files capitalized on our zest for wanting to hear some of them. Each week we’d tune in just to speculate on what small part of the fiction might have been based on something real. We wanted to believe.
Ultimately the X-Files collapsed under the weight of its own brilliance. Perhaps the sheer scope of the yarn was impossible, but, as an author, I hope not. I’d love to take the idea out for a joyride!