Collection Finding Our Place into the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond

In the 1940s and 50s reports of “flying saucers” became an american phenomena that are cultural. 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. Connected to ongoing ideas about life regarding the Moon, the canals on Mars, and ideas about Martian Civilizations, flying saucers have started to represent the hopes and best college paper writing service fears associated with the world that is modern.

Are these alleged visitors from other worlds peaceful and benevolent or would they attack and destroy humanity? The destructive power associated with the bomb that is atomic into question the progressive potential of technology. Fear of the number of choices for destruction in the Cold War-era proved fertile ground for 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 for the Other

If UFOs were visiting our world, where were these extraterrestrials? Could they be hidden among us? Comic books and television illustrates how the chance for extraterrestrial visitors reflected anxieties of this era.

The 1962 comic you can find 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 craft that is alien however it will find no indication of alien beings. Radio announcers warn those nearby to keep indoors. The action shifts to a husband and wife as he prepares to leave their house despite a television announcer’s warning to remain indoors. While he waves goodbye he reminds his wife to stay inside. The wife however decides 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.

Driving a car that there is alien enemies in our midst resonates with fears of Soviets and communists from the McCarthy era. Ultimately, in this story, the humans are those who accost and capture the alien woman. The shift in perspective puts the humans into the position of this monsters.

UFOs as Contemporary Folklore

Aside from depictions of UFOs in media, UFOs may also be section of American folk culture. Ideas of aliens and flying saucers are a part of the mythology of America. You can find documentation of those types of experiences in folk life collections. A job 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 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 together with dogs in 1966 “All at I looked up to see what happened once it was daylight, and. There was a light about that big, going up, drifting within the hill. Whenever I looked and seen it simply faded out. I’ve been in the Marines, and know what airplane lights look like, and it also was too large for that.” When asked it was he offered, “I’m not sure what it was” but went on to describe, “If there is such a thing as a UFO that’s what that was. if he knew what” This unexplained light on a walk when you look at the woods is typical of many stories among these types of encounters. It’s not only the media that tells stories and represents these kinds of ideas, documentation of this 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 into the universe. However, scientists generally dismiss the proven fact that you will find aliens visiting Earth. In Pale Blue Dot: A Vision associated with the Human Future in Space, Carl Sagan reviews the number of choices of alien people to Earth, and suggests that there was reason that is good be skeptical of them. Most of Sagan’s work focuses on 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 in the Dark.

This criticism that is zealous of in UFOs from Sagan, who had been well known for his speculative ideas concerning the possibility of alien civilizations, may appear to be a contradiction. Sagan himself had even speculated in the likelihood of visits by ancient aliens inside the essay from the early 60s Direct Contact among Galactic Civilizations by Relativistic Interstellar Spaceflight.

How can we reconcile Sagan the skeptic utilizing the imaginative Sagan? Far from a contradiction, these two areas 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 speculative imagination come together as two halves of this whole. It’s essential to entertain and explore new ideas, however strange, while during the same time testing and evaluating the validity of the ideas.