Collection Finding Our Place when you look at the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond
In the 1940s and 50s reports of “flying saucers” became an American cultural phenomena. Sightings of strange objects into 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 come to represent the hopes and fears of this world that is modern.
Are these alleged visitors off their worlds benevolent and peaceful or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power for the Atomic bomb called into question the progressive potential of technology. Anxiety about the possibilities for destruction within the Cold War-era proved ground that is fertile terrestrial anxieties to manifest visions of flying saucers and visitors off their worlds who might be hidden among us in plain sight.
Aliens Among us and Fears associated with Other
If UFOs were visiting our society, where were these extraterrestrials? Could they be hidden in our midst? Comic books and television illustrates the way the possibility for extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of that era.
The 1962 comic There are Martians in our midst, from Amazing Fantasy #15, illustrates the way fear of extraterrestrials could reflect Cold War anxieties. When you look at the comic, a search party gathers around a landed alien craft, but it are able to find no sign of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to keep indoors. The action shifts to a husband and wife while he prepares to go out of their home despite a television announcer’s warning to keep indoors. As he waves goodbye he reminds his wife to remain inside. The wife however chooses to slip off to the shop and is dragged and attacked off. The husband returns home and finding it runs that are empty the phone in a panic. The anxious husband reveals that he and his wife are the Martians in a twist.
The fear that there can be alien enemies in fears of soviets to our midst resonates and communists from the McCarthy era. Ultimately, in this story, the humans are those who accost and capture the woman that is alien. The shift in perspective puts the humans when you look at the position of the monsters.
UFOs as Contemporary Folklore
Irrespective of depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be element of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and saucers that are flying a part regarding the mythology of America. You’ll find documentation of those kinds of experiences in folk life collections. A job interview with Howard Miller about hunting and hound dogs, collected as an element of Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia collection, documents ones own 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 had been daylight, and I looked up to see what happened. There is a light about that big, going up, drifting within the hill. It just faded out when I looked and seen. I am in the Marines, and understand what airplane lights seem like, and it also was too large for that.” When asked if he knew what it absolutely was he offered, “I don’t know what it absolutely was” but went on to spell out, “If there is such a thing as a UFO that’s what that was.” This check out here light that is unexplained a walk when you look at the woods is typical of many stories of the kinds of encounters. It is not only the media that tells stories and represents these kinds of ideas, documentation associated with experiences and stories Americans tell one another is similarly essential for understanding and interpreting what UFOs meant to century that is 20th.
Scientists and astronomers express varying examples of enthusiasm when it comes to likelihood of intelligent life when you look at the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the indisputable fact that there are aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision for the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the possibilities of alien people to Earth, and implies that there is reason that is good be skeptical of those. Most of Sagan’s work centers around debunking folk stories and beliefs and attempts to encourage more rigorous and skeptical thought. He similarly discussed criticism of beliefs in alien visitors in the earlier book, Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle at night.
This criticism that is zealous of in UFOs from Sagan, who was well recognized for his speculative ideas about the possibility of alien civilizations, might seem to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated from the possibilities of visits by ancient aliens in his essay through the early 60s contact that is direct Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.
Just how do 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 plus the interchange between myth and science about life on other worlds. Skepticism and speculative imagination come together as two halves for the whole. It’s important to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while during the time that is same and evaluating the validity of these ideas.