Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Man from Planet X, or Postcards from Nibiru



Well, here we are- the big countdown. 2012 hysteria seems to have collapsed under its own weight, despite all of the hucksters who've been laboring tirelessly to cash in on it. I have to say I was always a bit bemused by the 2012 thing, since the first I heard of it was when Jose Arguelles and crew were pushing the Harmonic Convergence, an event that catalyzed the emerging New Age movement at the same time it dumbed it down to its present state.

Even so, people took the y2K thing a lot more seriously than y2012K, which was helped along by its higher degree of plausibility (and the dark passions of a somewhat more sinister huckster, theofascist Gary North), but the day I received my new credit cards in 1998, all sporting the dreaded "2000" on their faces, I had a feeling the bullet would be dodged.

One of the stranger 2012 theories out there had it that Planet X (aka Nibiru) was going to collide with Earth or the Moon, or experience a catastrophic near-miss. According to Wikipedia, this theory was popularized by one Nancy Lieder, who claimed that Reticulan Greys had warned of the coming collision (Lieder obviously never read John Keel, for surely she would realize that those pesky Greys are notorious pranksters).

Wiki's source for this source seems to the Amazing Randi's former right-hand man Phil Plait†. The Bad Astronomy scold never tires of probing the bowels of the Interwebs for the fringiest strawmen, in order to discredit anyone who deviates a whisper of a hair away from the corporate dictates of the "Science" wing of the Military Industrial Complex.

But you don't need a full-time skepdick to tell you that if Nibiru were coming to ruin our Christmas that it would have shown up already. Amateur astronomers would have spotted it years ago, even with rudimentary backyard telescopes. Or with the naked eye, at this stage of the game.

All of this ultimately serves to shut people up about the mysteriously crowded Transplutonian reaches of the Solar System by associating free inquiry with Space Brother silliness. There was certainly a concerted effort to lay all this y2012k hysteria at Zechariah Sitchin's doorstep, which led an obviously-annoyed Sitchin to publicly denounce it all.

But speculation about a Planet X- or even a dwarf star- lurking out beyond our reach is nothing new. It's a hoary old past-time for starwatchers. And it's not just the Reticulan pen-pals who wonder what's out there; NASA and other space agencies are looking too.

Pluto wasn't discovered until fairly recently (1930, to be precise), and an even larger body dubbed Eris was discovered in 2003, practically yesterday in Astronomical terms. The discovery of Eris seemed to lead to Pluto being stripped of planet status a couple years back, a move that may be justifiable in some circles but seems somewhat suspicious in the context of the endless arbitrary changes being forced down our throats from every corner of the power structure.

All of which is to say that if you're smart you'll take everything that the so-called scientific establishment says with a grain of salt. As mentioned before, all the silly geek hype these days obscures the fact that scientists are nothing more than waterboys for the transnational corporate elite, and fraud and deception in establishment science has now reached epidemic levels.*


But whatever the facts may be of whatever lurks out there beyond Pluto, my question is the same as always: "Yes, but does it make for good science fiction?" In that spirit, I'd offer up this 1951 obscurity for your consideration, The Man from Planet X, a very fine serving of sci-fi indeed.

It's more a gothic horror film than a sci-fi romp, actually, with the alien in the role of vampire or sorcerer. There's plenty of what Chris Carter called "the Sherlock Holmes," meaning a misty, mysterious ambiance, specifically that of the Scottish moors. We not only get a Planet X flyby in this 1951 thriller, there's that pesky mind-control subplot which was later recycled for Invaders from Mars.

Bruce Rux has argued that MK Ultra wasn't inspired by reports of Soviet and Chinese brainwashing during the Cold War like we've been lead to believe, but from then-classified reports of alien contacts, specifically daylight encounters in Europe in the early 1950s. The evidence for Communist MK was rather thin actually, simply a bunch of statistics showing that Allied POWs in Korea had very low escape-attempt numbers. There's such a string of alien MK stories in movies preceding the Betty and Barney Hill brouhaha that you can't help but wonder sometimes.

The Man from Planet X also has strong foreshadowing of Night Slaves as well as politically incorrect depiction of a scientist performing acts of torture and sadism. All in all it's a terrific example of Cold War sci-fi as well as an early entry in the alien-occult narrative synthesis. I think it had a powerful influence on the producers of Doctor Who, since it strongly anticipates the appearance of the Cybermen at the end of William Hartnell's tenure. Old-school Whofans will definitely see what I mean.

There were some brilliant alien-themed sci-fi movies in the 50s and 60s as well as the 70s, films that resonate on levels the endless remakes of War of the Worlds we're bombarded with never could. It not only speaks to a stronger skillset among earlier writers but perhaps something more interesting and problematic as well. We won't be seeing anything of this caliber from Hollywood anytime soon, but there's no reason motivated independent filmmakers couldn't bring the brains back to the medium...

POSTSCRIPT: From the Secret Sun notice- "I can't quite explain why but these ostensible science-based narratives feel downright magickal to me, and reach into deep and strange reaches of my brain in a way that so much of the paranormal huffing and puffing out there can't begin to equal. It feels as if there's a parallel communication going on just beneath the surface here, a phenomenon I've been attempting to understand since 2001: A Space Odyssey blew my brains out."




† Randi must have mentored the younger Phil Plait in the arts of misdirection quite well, seeing as Plait manned the helm at the JREF (co-founded by convicted fraudster "Carlos," aka Jose Alvarez aka Deyvi Pena, a man who is curiously absent from the Randi and JREF wiki entries). Whether Plait will initiate his "adorable" young "friend" - a 13 year old YouTuber- into the Randiian dark arts remains to be seen.


*One day, future scientists will look on this current crop with the same disdain that the legions of scientists who enthusiastically plied their trade for the Nazis or the Soviets are regarded today, the eugenicists and phrenologists, the Stalinized scientists and so on.

3 comments:

Delorus said...

Dear Chris,
Thanks so much for the links to all the great movies lately! I really appreciate the fact that they can be watched on youtube. To try to track down movies and download them can be pretty impossible so again many thanks.

I too feel worn out from getting excited about much of anything presented to me from science or religion or politics or the media.
When I was born in 1953 things were really getting rolling for keeping everyone on edge all the time what with the bomb and commies and all, and I wonder after all the hair on fire inspiring scares if my ability to give a shit has been shredded to it's last fiber. Really, thank all the gods that I have people to love and cook for and friends far and wide to bounce ideas off of because the rest of the incoming stimulations are mostly batshit crazy.

I do think the powers use their crazy spook skills to be pains wherever it's easy. My phone crackles and echoes like a party line on the U.P Telephone Company when I was a kid. Is that because I am always happy to cuss the idiots that have nothing better to do with their Cray supercomputers than listen in to old ladies? Or is the grid just going to fall down? I guess the telling point is that I just barely care which it is.....

A holiday hug to you my friend and have a great solstice- something that is actually real!

Delorus

Delorus said...

Also, for good bad or indifferent, military or space brother or elusive companion, I am so privileged that I got to see the whatever it was in the night sky when I was about 10 because it freed me from conventional belief systems on the spot and helped me to learn to keep my own counsel and think for myself. Thank you whatsit, RAW, Jaques Vallee and you too Chris!

Red Pill Junkie said...

You reminded me of that Alf episode in which the Melmackian dude convinces the youngest member of the Tanner family that there's a planet in the Sol System beyond Pluto, which prompts the teacher to flunk the poor kid during the Science fair.

I guess nowadays the kid would get flunked just by insisting Pluto *is* a planet :P