Mark Pilkington’s book Mirage Men is one of my favorites on the topic of Unidentified Flying Objects and supposed alien contact. Pilkington, you see, has come to the conclusion that UFO stories are the the products of lies and hoaxes. Well, no kidding, right?
Sure, but it’s who is doing the lying and why that’s so interesting. After doing a lot of research, he thinks that it’s government intelligence agencies that are spreading these stories, and it’s not to cover up the existence of alien bodies in Hangar 18 or the reverse-engineered UFO at Area 51: It’s to distract people from getting close to top secret military technology, and to make sure that anyone who does sees something classified loses any and all credibility when they try to share their story with other people.
Think about it: If you tell someone you saw a UFO then there’s a good chance that you’ll be regarded with well-warranted skepticism, but if you tell the same person that you think you saw a weird looking jet fighter late last night then they’re likely to believe you. If you keep telling enough people, someone may get curious enough to start doing a little poking around themselves. That person will probably be a reporter, but what if it’s a spy or saboteur? Suddenly there’s national security issues at stake.
It’s an interesting idea. The mirage men are Men in Black in reverse: “That wasn’t a coded military message that you accidentally picked up on your HAM radio last night. It was an alien communication. Hang on. Let me go get some documents out of the car and “brief” you in. Don’t share these with those UFO buffs!” (hint, hint.)
I loved Mirage Men when I read it a few years ago, and now Pilkington, along with directors John Lundberg, Roland Denning, and Kypros Kyprianou, just released a documentary based on the book. Also titled Mirage Men, the film expands on the premise of the book and feature interviews with some of the mirage men and the people who believed their stories. It’s a nicely put together documentary, and some of the stories are – well – kind of hard to believe, but that’s the fun.
Mirage Men is definitely a case of truth being stranger than fiction, but it’s going to be up to you to decide which is which, and the Mirage Men themselves aren’t going to make the job easy.