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When you look at the 1940s and 50s reports of „flying saucers“ became an American cultural phenomena. Sightings of strange objects within the sky became the materials that are raw Hollywood to present visions of potential threats. Posters for films, like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers from 1956 illustrate these fears. Attached to ongoing ideas about life in the Moon, the canals on Mars, and ideas about Martian Civilizations, flying saucers have started to represent the hopes and fears associated with modern world.
Are these alleged visitors off their worlds benevolent and peaceful or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power of the bomb that is atomic into question the progressive potential of technology. Concern with the options for destruction into the Cold War-era proved ground that is fertile terrestrial anxieties to manifest visions of flying saucers and visitors off their worlds who may be hidden among us in plain sight.
If UFOs were visiting our society, where were these extraterrestrials? Could they be hidden among us? Comic books and television illustrates the way the chance for extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of that era.
The 1962 comic There are Martians in our midst, from Amazing Fantasy #15, illustrates the way anxiety about extraterrestrials could reflect Cold War anxieties. Into the comic, a search party gathers around a landed craft that is alien however it can find no sign of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to remain indoors. The action shifts to a wife and husband while he prepares to go out of their house despite a television announcer’s warning to stay indoors. While he waves goodbye he reminds his wife to remain inside. The wife however chooses to slip out to the store and is dragged and attacked off. The husband returns home and finding it empty runs towards the phone in a panic. The anxious husband reveals that he and his wife are the Martians in a twist.
Driving a car that there might be alien enemies in our midst resonates with fears of Soviets and communists from the McCarthy era. Ultimately, in this story, the humans are the ones who accost and capture the woman that is alien. The shift in perspective puts the humans into the position associated with monsters.
Apart from depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be part of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part of this mythology of America. You can find documentation of these kinds of experiences in folk life collections. An interview with Howard Miller about hunting and hound dogs, collected as part of Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia collection, documents an individual’s knowledge about a UFO that is potential sighting.
In A mysterious light, a segment of an ethnographic interview, Miller describes a strange light he saw once while hunting along with his dogs in 1966 „All at once it absolutely was daylight, and I looked up to see just what happened. There is a light about that big, going up, drifting within the hill. Once I looked and seen it simply faded out. I am in the Marines, and know what airplane lights seem like, and it was too big for that.“ When asked it was he offered, „I’m not sure what it absolutely was“ but went on to explain, „If there is any such thing as a UFO that’s what that has been. if he knew what“ This unexplained light on a walk within the woods is typical of numerous stories of these kinds of encounters. It is not only the media that tells stories and represents most of these ideas, documentation for the experiences and stories Americans tell one another is similarly important for understanding and interpreting what UFOs meant to 20th century America.
Scientists and astronomers express varying examples of enthusiasm when it comes to possibility for intelligent life when you look at the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the indisputable fact that you can find aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of this Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the number of choices of alien visitors to Earth, and shows that there is certainly reason that is good be skeptical of these. Most of Sagan’s work centers around debunking folk stories and beliefs and attempts to encourage more rigorous and thought that is skeptical. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors inside the earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
This criticism that is zealous of in UFOs from Sagan, who was well recognized for his speculative ideas concerning the probability of alien civilizations, may appear to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated from the likelihood of visits by ancient aliens in the essay through the early 60s Direct Contact among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.
How can we reconcile Sagan the skeptic with all the imaginative Sagan? Far from a contradiction, both of these elements of Sagan’s perspective offer a framework for understanding him while the interchange between science and myth about life on other worlds. Skepticism and speculative imagination come together as two halves associated with whole. It really is important to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while in the time that is same and evaluating the validity of these ideas.