When you look at the 1940s and 50s reports of “flying saucers” became an American cultural phenomena. Sightings of strange objects in the sky became the raw materials for Hollywood to present visions of potential threats. Posters for films, like Earth vs. the Flying Saucers from 1956 illustrate these fears. Connected to ongoing ideas about life from the Moon, the canals on Mars, and ideas about Martian Civilizations, flying saucers have come to represent the hopes and fears of this modern world.
Are these alleged visitors off their worlds benevolent and peaceful or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power regarding the Atomic bomb called into question the progressive potential of technology. Fear of the options for destruction into the Cold War-era proved fertile ground for terrestrial anxieties to manifest visions of flying saucers and visitors from other 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 potential for extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of this era.
The 1962 comic you will find Martians Among Us, from Amazing Fantasy #15, illustrates the real way concern about extraterrestrials could reflect Cold War anxieties. Within the comic, a search party gathers around a landed alien craft, but it are able to find no indication of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to remain indoors. The action shifts to a wife and husband as he prepares to leave their property despite a television announcer’s warning to stay indoors. He reminds his wife to stay inside as he waves goodbye. The wife however chooses to slip off to the store and is dragged and attacked off. The husband returns home and finding it empty runs towards the phone in a panic. In a twist, the anxious husband reveals that he along with his wife are the Martians.
The fear that there could 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 alien woman. The shift in perspective puts the humans in the position of this monsters.
Apart from depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be element of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part regarding the mythology of America. You will find documentation of the types 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 a person’s experience with a potential UFO sighting.
In A mysterious light, a segment of an ethnographic interview, Miller describes a strange light he saw once while hunting with his dogs in 1966 “All at once it absolutely was daylight, and I looked up to see just what happened. There clearly was a light about that big, going up, drifting within the hill. It just faded out when I looked and seen. I have been in the Marines, and know very well what airplane lights seem like, and it also was too large for that.” When asked it was he offered, “I don’t know what it had been” but went on to explain, “when there is any such thing as a UFO that is what that was. if he knew what” This light that is unexplained a walk in the woods is typical of many stories of the types of encounters. It is not only the media that tells stories and represents these kinds of ideas, documentation associated with the experiences and stories Americans tell one another is similarly important for understanding and interpreting what UFOs designed to century that is 20th.
Scientists and astronomers express varying quantities of enthusiasm when it comes to risk of intelligent life when you look at the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the basic proven fact that you will find aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the possibilities of alien visitors to Earth, and implies that there was reason that is good be skeptical of these. Most of Sagan’s work centers around debunking folk stories and beliefs and tries to encourage more rigorous and thought that is skeptical. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors in his earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle at nighttime.
This zealous criticism of belief in UFOs from Sagan, who was well recognized for his speculative ideas in regards to the probability of alien civilizations, may appear to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated from the possibilities of visits by ancient aliens in the essay from the early 60s contact that is direct Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.
Just how can we reconcile Sagan the skeptic utilizing the imaginative Sagan? Far from a contradiction, these two components of Sagan’s perspective offer a framework for understanding him as well as the interchange between myth and science about life on other worlds. Skepticism and imagination that is speculative together as two halves associated with the whole. It really is important to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while during the time that is same and evaluating the validity of these ideas.