The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

As UFOs make headlines, public reaction has been muted

MJ White

Chances are, if you open a newspaper or turn on the TV, you’ll be met with headlines about the UFO phenomenon. Never before has the subject been handled so ardently, and by institutions that once dismissed the issue as irrelevant and absurd. 

 Apathy soon went out the window in December 2017 when The New York Times published videos of strange crafts captured on camera and radar by U.S. Naval pilots. One of these witnesses was Commander David Fravor, a pilot assigned to the USS Nimitz. The encounter occurred during a routine training mission while Fravor was flying off the coast of Southern California. 

A second witness that day, among others, was Lieutenant Commander Chad Underwood, whose jet was equipped with a highly advanced infrared camera. The footage obtained stunned both civilians and political officials worldwide. The craft they caught on camera became known as the “Tic Tac,” and it would mark the beginning of a new era in the public discourse surrounding UFOs. 

 The fountain of revelations hasn’t stopped. In July, United States Air Force officer and former intelligence official David Grusch sat under oath for a congressional hearing in which he claimed that the U.S. government is not only aware of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAPs), but that they are in possession of non-Earthly crafts, and even non-human biological remains.

 Possibly even more shocking is that Grusch also stated that these visitors may be here to stay. He suggests it is equally possible that the phenomenon many are witnessing is interdimensional. If true, that would mean guests from another reality could be co-existing alongside our own, harnessing the ability to peel back the quantum curtain that divides us. Even 10 years ago, such claims would have seemed too outlandish to believe.

 But why, only now, is the subject being taken seriously?

 “We know so much more than we did 20 years ago, and 20 years before that,” said Tricia Hermes, DePaul professor  who teaches composition and rhetoric with a primary focus on ghost stories. “I think there’s a lot more out there that we will learn to accept, and maybe our brains need to catch up with it.”

 To say the truth about UFOs has long been deliberately hidden away by clandestine government agencies and shadowy multinational organizations was once thought an opinion relegated only to eccentrics and fringe believers. However, those days are gone. 

A global surveillance state and a shadow campaign of torture were only a few of the hard truths revealed by Edward Snowden and Julian Assange in the Aughts and early 2010’s, leaving many unable to belive that our elected officials are always acting in our collective best interest. 

Hermes teaches on the human tendency to engage in conspiratorial thinking, finding often within misinformation is a grain of truth. She points to a more terrestrial example, the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  

 “This was the big story with JFK,” Hermes said. “There is more to this story, but they don’t want to tell us, because it will freak people out.”  

 Why then, even with highly credible sources backing these claims, does the public seem largely disinterested in the UFO phenomenon? 

A popular theory is that our institutions of power have slowly and subtly been revealing the truth to us for decades. That they do so subliminally in the content and information we consume.

 Rather than risk untold chaos by hastily revealing that we are not alone, the reaction can be mitigated by decades of subtle hints and suggestions. Then, when the truth is realized, it is greeted with acceptance or even indifference.

Of course, this is only a theory. 

 “The UFO phenomenon has reached an unparalleled level of popularity and credibility among the public,” said author Mark O’Connell. O’Connell is known for his biography of famed UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, “The Close Encounters Man,” as well as his work as a writer on “Star Trek: Deep Space 9.” “But at the same time, I think there are so many other things crowding into our consciousness, that it makes it hard for a lot of people to get excited about it.”

 Not long ago it seemed impossible that there would ever be congressional hearings where immensely credible witnesses would openly discuss the possible reality of non-Earthly lifeforms and interdimensional travelers. Yet, where is the chaos and social upheaval?

 After decades of perpetual war, a pandemic, intense political polarization and the widening gulf of economic inequality, it is no surprise that the possibility of extraterrestrial life is being met with a certain level of disinterest.

 However, when considering this, one must ask: wouldn’t a time of unrest and countless distractions, such as now, be the perfect time to begin extraterrestrial disclosure?

 “Before you form any definite conclusions,” O’Connell said. “Read up about some of the famous cases of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and some of the people who were involved in the research and investigation of those studies… Read some of the books and look up some of the articles before you make up your mind.”

 Maybe, deep down, we have already accepted the possibility that there is life beyond our planet and plane of reality. It may also be true that the eternal question, “Are we alone,” has already been answered and replaced by another: – “Who is here with us?” 

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