With the 60th anniversary of of the Roswell crash approaching this Friday, everyone seems to have UFOs on the brain.
After what was a rather uninteresting drought of decent developments in the field of Ufology, the floodgates have opened just in time to celebrate over half a century of flying saucers and government cover-ups. While investigators like Linda Moulton Howe are busy researching these latest 'drone' sightings, a Roswell deathbed confession has, for many, finally given us proof that we have been visited by extraterrestrial beings.
Personally, I couldn't be more pleased about this recent turn of events. I'd say it's about time Ufology made a comeback in a big way. However, with this increase in notoriety, the shrewd amongst us will be trying to cash in. Is there no such thing as bad publicity? Or are we on our way to seeing Ufology turned into one big advertising gimmick?
I'm afraid we'll be finding out very soon.
To say that there isn't a marketing and entertainment aspect to UFOs would be naive of me. Heck, an entire town's economy is based on the merchandising of an event that happened now nearly 60 years ago. Throw in all of the books, DVDs, television shows, periodicals and, of course, radio shows that derive their profit from discussing UFOs, and it becomes apparent the field is a lucrative one.
But I don't have a problem with any of that. The tacky shilling of Roswell branded trinkets may be a bit much, but if investigators and producers wish to devote their time to the study of UFOs, I see no reason why they shouldn't also seek just payment for their work. For the most part, these people are legitimate, hardworking individuals who genuinely care about the topics they pursue. The real danger isn't so much the commercialization of Ufology, rather it is the trivialization of it at the hands of advertisers who couldn't care less about trying to maintain public credibility.
Case in point, the viral advertising campaign for the upcoming Microsoft Game Studios shooter, Halo 3.
Known as Iris, the campaign centered around a new breed of 'alternate reality game' or ARG in which players must use their Internet sleuthing skills to hunt down clues to further the story. It started innocently enough with a cryptic posting on the game's official web forum by a mysterious user called AdjutantReflex. Soon afterwards, a web-based comic appeared on the Halo 3 site. Within the frames, a series of hidden numbers formed the Microsoft-owned IP address 188.8.131.52. As it turns out, it was the address for a countdown site to expire at midnight on June 21st. Then things got even weirder.
According to the Wikipedia article regarding the Iris ARG, players discovered a similar IP address to the first one which linked to a page titled Society of the Ancients. I tried my best to hunt down the player(s) that made the discovery of this particular linkage and give them proper credit, but was unfortunately unable to do so. In any case, the Society of the Ancients website may look familiar to anyone who has studied Ufology on the Internet. It is the epitome of the kooky UFO page, complete with scrolling banner text and a corny animated star-field background. In the 'Evidence' section of the site, numerous glyph and crop circle pictures can be seen, hinting that the Earth was visited by a race of super-intelligent beings in our ancient past. But what's most interesting is a link at the bottom of the page to the countdown site, undeniably linking this Society of the Ancients to Microsoft and Iris.
But the game didn't stay in the virtual world for long. Between June 15th and 16th, people dressed in yellow shirts bearing the same glyph found on the Sociey of the Ancients site appeared in street rallies across the UK, Canada, and the United States. One such rally at Times Square in New York was detailed in a posting at the MTV video game blog, Gamedrop. These faux UFO nuts handed out fliers containing a link to the Society of the Ancients.
The countdown at 184.108.40.206 has since expired to reveal an interactive game section of the official Halo3.com site. Although activity has died down in the past few days, rest assured there are still hordes of Iris devotees ready to continue the game if/when it picks back up again.
This story really has me torn. On the one hand, the video game and Internet geek in me thinks this is one of the coolest advertisements in a long time. The way they've combined forums, websites, and real life and encouraged fans to exercise their brains in figuring it all out has put a smile to my face. I had already planned to purchase this game, but I must admit that my hype level for it has certainly increased. But on the other hand, the wannabe Ufologist in me thinks this might be giving the field a bad rap.
It's hard enough getting respectable coverage on mainstream media sources for UFOs that doesn't involve lighthearted, 'before we go'-style fluff pieces about lights in the sky without hidden marketers handing out phony fliers. I don't want to come off as the prude of Ufology, but I don't see how advertising campaigns like this one can be any good for it. In the same way those Jack Links jerky ads have turned Bigfoot into a joke, a new generation of youth will mix Ufology with some unrelated product.
But then, as is the case with Bigfoot, maybe Ufology has crossed the line between legit and comical for too long. I fear no deathbed confession will be able to bring us back to that point of no return. Time shall tell.
:: Dead End ::
For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to
Keep your eyes peeled for the next K-Files, arriving sometime next
week. Later. ~Khyron, 2007.
For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.
Check out Khyron.net
Discuss The K-Files @ the USofE HERE
Check out Khyron.net
Discuss The K-Files @ the USofE HERE