"I'm just going to write because I can't help it."- Charlotte Brontë

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Marvellous Mysteriousness of Mysteries

So the C.I.A. finally admitted that yeah, Area 51 actually exists, and here's a great big sorry-about-that to all the folks we've called delusional nutters for decades (well, maybe I made up the apology bit, but hey, if pants-on-fire statements are good enough for leading government agencies, then they're good enough for me). If the C.I.A.was expecting cheers and kudos for their belated honesty, which was, let's not forget, forced upon then, they must have been mightily disappointed. Military buffs and alien conspiracy theorists all over the world responded to the confession with a resounding d'oh and demanded they move on to the really good stuff, a.k.a. extraterrestrials and saucer-shaped hovering objects.

Alas, the CIA is stubbornly sticking to the it's-just-a-test-site-for-super-cool-spy-planes-and-invisible-bombing-machines-none-of-which-were-constructed-from-the-debris-of-crashed-spaceships line, but those who believe in aliens on Earth, either already dissected or held in detention camps so we can pump them for information and force them to provide us with technological goodies, are hopeful that The Truth will soon be revealed:

''I'm thinking that they're probably testing the waters now to see how mad people get about the big lie and cover-up,'' said Audrey Hewins, a woman from Maine who runs a support group for people like her who believe they have been contacted by extraterrestrials. ''We're hoping the CIA is leading up to disclosure'' of the existence of space aliens on Earth. ''We know that they're here and have been here for a long time.''

So one of the great, fun, mostly-for-adults mysteries of our times is hotting up again, and citizens are gleefully girding their pens to write letters to their local representatives demanding that all be revealed, and inundating the C.I.A. with petitions to come clean about their despicable desert autopsies. You wonder if such tales of Little Green Folk, be they of the leprechaun type or rewritten for modern audiences as refugees from Alpha Centauri, will ever go away. People, I suspect, are reluctant to give up on the mysteries that make this mundane world that little more magical and exciting. It's the little kid in us grabbing at anything that will recreate the wonder we used to feel for the world's amazingness before we grew up, decided we knew everything, and became cynical.

My brother was telling me just yesterday about the young daughter of a friend who is presently all excited about the Lock Ness Monster and keeps bombarding everyone with information about the reclusive beastie as if she herself had hunted it down and dragged it ashore, and she acts as if we obviously jaded adults needed to be educated about how truly thrilling this possibly-a-surviving-dinosaur discovery is. She's probably right. My brother and I laughed, remembering all the stranger-than-strange, believe-it-or-not mystery books full of weird cases that enthralled us, and maybe even scared us a little bit in a good way, when we were kids. I was actually happy to hear that in this day and age, those lovable old faithfuls Nessie and the Abominable Snowman still have the power to set off fireworks in young brains.

Mysteries are time-honoured incentives for further intellectual investigating and getting out there to explore the murky ponds, exotic jungles and inscrutable mountain peaks of the world.

And the mystery of Area 51, for all it's attendant nutbaggery, does invite people to look at the universe and wonder the kind of what ifs that question our place in the cosmos, as well as the honesty of human governments.

Are we alone amongst the stars? If so, then I'm glad we have Bigfoot along for the ride to keep us company.


Steve Cameron said...


Last night I went online looking for a book that I read from cover to cover, many many times as a teen.

Readers Digest: Strange Stories, Amazing Facts.

Is this the same book that enthralled and scared you?

I suspect it' a bit out of date (and perhaps not as well researched as I'd like) but I absolutely loved those articles and stories.

We all know Area 51 is full of greys.


Gitte Christensen said...

I'll bet it was one of the many books I had on unexplained phenomena - we had Readers Digest stuff all over the place. It's funny, I can't remember what my most favourite book of mysteries and strange facts was called, yet I can see whole pages, complete with old-fashioned illustrations and blurry photographs, clearly in my mind, probably because I read so very many times. I wonder whatever happened to it?

As for the greys - it goes without saying. Time for the CIA to 'fess up.