Sunday, November 20, 2011

The science fiction connection




Blogger Kenn Thomas came upon an interesting story that I would like to repeat to you here.  It concerns the seminal science fiction film, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and a man named Wilhelm Reich.

Wilhelm Reich was a psychoanalyst by training but he also did research into the nature of what he called "orgone," a sort of naturally occurring primordial energy that he claimed to have discovered.  According to research by Thomas, Reich worked in his lab on ways to harness this natural energy.  As he did so, strange red UFOs appeared over the lab.  Concerned about this, Reich developed what he called the "cloudbuster," a cannon of sorts mounted on the back of a pickup truck.  Said cannon would collect and redirect the flow of orgone, allowing Reich to fire it at the UFOs and mitigate them into retreating.  Supposedly, Reich did battle with alien spacecraft over Roswell, New Mexico.

Let's turn now to the movie.  In Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, the concept is pretty direct.  Aliens attack the Earth, represented by then cutting edge special FX by Ray Harryhausen.  Unable to defeat the aliens by any other military means, our scientists invent sonar cannons and mount them on trucks.  The cannons are then fired at the attacking spaceships in scenes that are said to be quite reminiscent of Reich's desert battles with UFOs.  In fact, the film was released only a few years after Reich's own supposed alien combat.  

There are a few more interesting side connections to this science fiction film.  When the invading aliens are revealed, stripped of their mechanical suits (yet another trope ripped off by Independence Day), they bear a more than passing resemblance to the Roswell greys.  Also, Donald Keyhoe, the man that some call the founder of modern Ufology, supposedly requested that his name be removed from the credits of EVTFS when he learned that it was going to be a fictional film. I have no idea in what capacity Keyhoe served for the film but I suspect he was a consultant of one sort or another.

Does any of this mean that Earth vs. the Flying Saucers was based on real-life incidents?  Wilhelm Reich was certainly not without his share of controversy in life and he was involved in a few odd endeavors.  I don't think that it's that much of a stretch to say he claimed to have fought aliens.  What I don't know is just how much, if at all, his supposed experiences had to do with the movie.  The similarities are, however, intriguing. 

I plan to keep reading on this subject.  For more connections between UFOs and Hollywood science fiction, please visit Silver Screen Saucers at the link above.


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