USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘aliens’
Myths
Narrative

The Anunnaki: A Myth

Hrmm, I mea- I’m not sure you wanna use this.  Alotta people have ridiculed Sitchin’s work and if you submit this, people will probably think that your Mom’s a nutcase (laughs).

 Okay so here goes: The Anunnaki are the (quote) “ones who came from heaven.”  They’re told of in the Sumerian texts and the story goes, at lease according to Sitchin in his Earth Chronicle books – which’s been wildly panned by all the scholars – is that the Anunnaki were extra-terrestrials who came to the Earth about five-hundred-thousand years ago to mine for gold. They uhh that they needed the gold to replenish their atmosphere on their planet called Niburu.

 So because Nibiru takes thirty-two-hundred years to circle the sun, they lived incredibly long lives. The miners – the Anunnaki – got restless and wanted help with their work, so the Anunnaki used their scientific expertise and created the Adamu – that’s Adam in the Bible – by mixing their DNA with the native creatures already existing on the planet. I always found it interesting that this story is probably the basis for the Adam and Eve story in the Bible. 

The Informant has always been interested in unconventional explanations for nearly everything. The disclaimer above is genuine, her interest does not entail belief. She believes stories can be valuable inherently, with truth underlying them playing a lesser importance (a natural folklorist!). I’m almost certain she first learned of the Anunnaki for the first time on the show Ancient Aliens. It piqued her interest and she began reading Zecharia Sitchin.

According to Sumerian mythology, the Anunnaki are descendants of the sky-god, An. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there are contradicting accounts of the Anunnaki, including the number of gods or even their function. Perhaps there were rivaling religious factions even in 2144 BC.

The mythology is written in stone, literally, but the academic world has widely rejected Stitchin’s creationist myth of the Anunnaki as an alien species responsible for creating homo erectus as a slave race to mine for gold. He has been accused of misrepresenting the Sumerian texts and mistranslating Sumerian to fit his claims.

Although this myth turned creationist myth is strange, oddity is a characteristic of mythology. The truthfulness of sacred myth, by definition, is questionable. Stitchin’s work is a good story and surely an interesting premise, but nonetheless a blatant exaggeration of the surely sacred to the Sumerian people in Mesopotamia.

Legends
Narrative

The Impossible Aircraft

Item (direct transcription):

My encounter with aliens was when I was flying back from Bangladesh about two summers ago. In the skies above Canada… um, this might have just been some weird aircraft or some weird, uh, phenomenon with the wind. Anyways, we were flying towards California, right, at a very high rate of speed, and I saw this—looking out my window—very far away I saw this tiny streak of, like… light going in the other direction. And it was flying pretty fast—in the other direction.

It had a smoke trail behind it. No, not behind it! In front of it! Which was the weird part. Like, then I guess you can’t call it a smoke trail, exactly. It looked like something was being emitted from the front, and it was, like, following that. It was so weird! But it was also very far away… there were no clouds in the area, though, so it couldn’t have been a cloud.

At the time, I had no idea what it was! Because no plane flies like this! I thought it was some kind of, maybe like, alien craft, or something. I don’t know. Maybe some secret government experiment.

Background Information:

The informant was very insistent in the validity of his testimony. He is certain that he saw this impossible aircraft. He thinks it must have been a high-tech craft built either by aliens or by a top-secret government project.

Contextual Information:

The informant accompanied his story with a simple drawing to illustrate the aircraft.

Analysis:

This story matches the format of a typical memorate. The informant has linked his experience to common American folk beliefs in aliens and top-secret government aeronautical projects.

Narrative
Tales /märchen

Unexplainable Alien Voice

The following story is collected from my friend. She lived in Russia for the most part of her life. Then she lived in England for few years and now lives in L.A. She talks about an event, which she considers to be unexplainable. This interview is done face-to-face. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

 

A: “Did you have any interesting experience in the past?”

B: “Yes. Okay so the story is this; Me and my friends were watching a movie together, and the most interesting thing ever happened to me… Guess I am kind of a boring person. It was me, my friend, and her sister watching a movie and then suddenly, the volume of the TV goes down to almost silent. Then we heard two guys in a very low voice talking in a language that is not distinguishable. Like a language that comes from outside of this world. Then a few seconds later volume of the tv goes up by itself. And movie continues. Me and my friends freaked out. I talked to my dad about this and he said, maybe it’s the people outside in the street and their radio interfered with our system but that does not make sense because we were watching it from a DVD player, which I don’t think has the ability to receive radio transmissions. Also, it was 10 years ago and we didn’t use the internet, so it can not be something related to that too. And I am not crazy, you can write that down, because my two friends heard it too. Very weird.”

A: “What do you think it was?”

B: “(Silence)… I don’t know… UFO”

A: “Do you believe in aliens?”

B: “I believe there are other intelligent beings in the universe… but I don’t prefer the word alien.”
In my opinion, she can not explain what really happened but she thinks it does not belong to this world.

 

Humor
Legends

Stalked by Aliens

(Actions/further descriptions, added by interviewer, are in parentheses.)

I had this one teacher in seventh grade, uh, my science teacher… and she was just a huge joke with the entire grade… and I guess all her other students, like, ever, because they… the general consensus was just that she was crazy, because… well, there’s a lot of reasons, actually, but… but the big one is, she’s, like, convinced that she’s being stalked by aliens. (Laughs.) Like, straight-up, dead serious convinced. And she told us this story once, about how she was stalked by aliens twice, and it was like… uh… it started off something like…

So she was, like, in her twenties or something, and she was driving alone, and she noticed that this one car had been following her for a while, so she… she pulls into this gas station and the other car just drives by. And she still waits there for a few minutes, like, just to be sure. Uh, but then once she’s back on the road, after a few minutes, she notices that the same car is still following her, so she, like, looks over at it, and she sees… she’s like, (in a mock Southern accent) “it was the strangest-looking man I ever saw!” (Laughs.) Um, so then she gets to her parents’ house, right? And the dude is still following her, so… uh, so she parks her car inside the garage, and then she goes out the back and knocks on her neighbor’s door and, like, asks if she can spend the night there, ’cause she would’ve been home alone at that point. Uh, so the neighbor lets her stay there, and the… the car, the dude’s car is just parked across the street from her house, and it’s there all night, and then, uh, finally, like, that night or the next morning or something, he’s gone, and she goes back home and everything is normal. But then, and this is, like, ten years later or something. Like, she’s moved to a different state, she’s gotten married, changed her name, she has a daughter, she drives a different car and everything… ten years later, she’s driving down the road, and she… and there’s this car that’s following her, right? And so she looks over and it’s the same car with the same guy in it, and it follows her all the way home, again! So she gets home, she locks all her doors, and runs to her daughter, and she’s, like, super agitated and, like, telling her daughter to hide under her bed and stuff, and then all of a sudden the doorbell rings, and she… You know those houses that have, like, the… the intercom things, where you, like, press a button and you can talk to… Yeah, so her house had that. So she, over the intercom, she goes (in a mock Southern accent), “What do you want?!” And he… So her house, her front door, there’s these, like, windows, uh, really narrow windows on either side of the door. So the dude, like, slaps a hand against each of those windows on either side, and, like, she still can’t see him, his face or anything, like, it’s blocked by the door, um, but it’s just his hands on her windows, and he just goes (in a deep, gruff voice), “I WANT YOU!” (Laughs.) And so then she calls her neighbor, who’s this big, burly, like, construction or maintenance dude or something, and he comes out of his house with this giant pipe and chases the guy off, and, yeah, the, I guess, “alien” dude just drives off in his car, and… and I guess she hasn’t seen him since.

 

Thoughts:

I find it interesting that my informant’s teacher saw a “strange-looking man” following her and assumed it was an alien. I am also unsure as to whether this teacher truly believes she was stalked by an alien and was truly afraid, or whether she simply made this story up to make her students laugh. Her reputation among students as “crazy” seems to stem from her belief in aliens, as well as other bizarre behavior which other students of hers have told me are due to her belief in/interaction with aliens.

Folk Beliefs
Narrative

Alien Almost-Abduction

Informant (L.P.) is an 18 year old student. I had heard her enthusiasm for telling ghost stories the week before, and set up this interview. L.P. has spent some time in NYC over the past several years. This interview is conducted at my house one Saturday evening.

After sharing several ghost stories, L.P. casually adds “one time I almost got abducted by aliens.”

L.P.: “I was in New York at aunts apartment asleep and this Alien screamed into my ear really loud, and I woke up & saw a white flash but my eyes were closed. I felt light inside of my brain but nothing was there. Then my Aunt came into the room all freaked out and told me I screamed, and I didn’t even know.”

I suggest this sounds like sleep paralysis

L.P.: “I had a mark on my arm, it was red & had dots in it.”

While the alien abduction was likely a memorate from a severe instance of sleep paralysis, L.P. firmly believes in the supernatural from ghosts to aliens, and enjoys the thrill of firsthand experience. In my findings, people who believe in, and actively search for these mysterious entities are the most likely to encounter them in one form or another.

Folk Beliefs

Blue Mountain Flying Saucers

Informant: Grandma Johnson once saw a flying saucer. Yes, she saw it—saw it hover, and then it landed in a field by her house. And when she went to go look at it, there was a—a burnt place, in the field. A burnt area.

Me: Did anyone else see it?

Informant: Not that one, no. Grandma Johnson saw that one. But one of the other families in town—their two little girls, they saw a flying saucer land near their house. And they wanted to go out and look, too—to investigate—but their parents, oh, they wouldn’t let them. They were hysterical! They wouldn’t even let them outside, they were so worried they’d go looking.

The informant (my grandmother) was born in Missouri and has lived in Berkeley, CA for close to sixty years. She has always been a remarkably hard worker; she was raised by her uncle on his farm, where she more than carried her own weight, and, after completing four years at Penn State (where she was the only female Chemistry major at the time), she insisted on paying her uncle back every dime of her tuition. The informant moved out to California, went to graduate school at Mills College, and became a nutritionist working with nursing homes and other care facilities to develop standards for feeding different types of patients. After having two sons, the informant became the President of the Parents Association for the Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA and remained an active member of the Claremont Book Club.

“Grandma Johnson” is the informant’s mother (born and buried in Blue Mountain, Missouri, despite having moved to Berkeley, CA for several years to be cared for by the informant), so the date of this flying saucer viewing would have occurred a little fewer than one hundred years prior to 2015, the date of the collection. Today, a Google search of Blue Mountain, Missouri yields one major result—the Blue Mountain Methodist Camp. The area, the informant says, has not changed too much; the landscape is still predominately rural, low to lower middle class, and religious.

UFO and flying saucer sightings tend to occur in regions of America (specifically America; the United States has an undeniable fascination with extraterrestrials) where there is less light pollution and a lot more open space (a flying saucer landing in a city would cause innumerable damage, but a landing in, say, a corn field, might be more discreet). The informant delivered her mother’s encounter with a flying saucer to me in a way which I believe indicates that the informant, too, believes in extraterrestrial contact with Earth.

Riddle

The Hat

The Hat

My friend was born in the U.S. He is currently a second year at USC.

The riddle goes like this:

Q: There are three people who were abducted by an alien. They are each blindfolded and put in a straight line. They are told that there are two black hats and a white hat. Each one of the abducted people is wearing either a white hat or a black hat. The last person in line can see both people’s heads in front of him, the second person can only see the first person’s head, and the first person can’t see anything. The alien then says that if they can guess the correct color of the hats, then they will be let free. Who speaks up and what answer would he give?

A: The person standing last in line would speak up only if he sees that the hats in front of him are the same color. If the colors were opposites then person in the middle would speak up. The middle guy would know that the person behind him is quiet because the hats in front of him are two different colors. By this deduction, the man in the middle knows that whichever color hat he is wearing is the opposite of the hat color he sees in front of him, and the same as the color of the hat color behind him.

The Analysis:

Me: Where did you hear this riddle?

J: My friend, Daniel Chun.

Me: When did you hear it?

J: I heard it about a month and a half ago. After sophomore accountability, we were just chilling in another friend’s room.

Me: Do you guys do this often?

J: Oh yeah, we just chill, share stories, talk, and stuff.

 

It should be noted that there was a similar riddle to this one about hats and prisoners but without aliens.

 

Legends
Narrative

“Flash, flash” legend

The informant describes the legend of  her aunt’s experience with extraterrestrial life.  The informant describes that this story has been shared and told many times within her family and is generally accepted as truth within the family.  The informant explains that this legend holds importance for her because it happened to someone she is close with and trusts. The story goes as follows:

One calm night, Aunt Jane was lying in her bed looking out over the ocean.  She was still awake late into the night, as she is known within the family for sleeping very little.  As she was looking out over the ocean she saw a “flash, flash” on the horizon.  A few seconds later, she saw the same “flash, flash” again, but this time it had traveled really far on the horizon.  There was no possible way it was a boat or a plane or anything like that.  So she kept watching it and it was moving really fast still and the next thing she knew, a really bright green light swooped down through her front yard, around the house, and flew off into the distance.  Aunt Jane is wholeheartedly convinced this was an interaction with a UFO.

The informant’s story of her aunt’s interaction with a UFO is quite entertaining and relates to similar legends of individuals interacting or seeing UFO objects.  It is hard to say what the green flashing light was, but what is more certain is that the story demonstrates the interest people have in extraterrestrial life.  There is a certain fascination people have with finding or interacting with life outside of what is known to man that may have some cause in the abundance of these legends.  It is also interesting how the informant’s entire family is convinced that this event occurred to the person they know.  This may demonstrate the increased belief one holds when hearing events that have happened to those close or related and trusted.

Legends
Narrative

Bermuda Triangle

So when I was a kid, uh, when I was like 4 or 5 probably, I first heard about this whole thing with the Bermuda Triangle? My brother told me about it, probably. And he told me that basically it’s this place in the Atlantic Ocean where if you fly over it you, like any of the planes that would fly over it would crash, they’d all crash, and like everyone would die. That’s like the 7 year old kid version, I guess. But . . . and then over the years I heard that it was more like there were mysterious disappearances and stuff, um. Wait, who was the famous pilot? There was a famous pilot, uh, uh, uh . . . um, Amelia Earheart, maybe? . . . There was a famous pilot who went down in the Bermuda Triangle. And there were a bunch of maybe World war 2 related things as well, where planes went down mysteriously, like, without any weather or anything, they would just go off radar, and then they would, the plane would disappear. Um, so a lot of people would dispute that it was like aliens or something. Some sort of mysterious energy, like magnetic energy over this triangular area of the ocean that made planes crash, and then the pilots were like abducted or something, or taken by, by the squid people of the Bermuda, I don—something like that.
It was kinda scary, cause we traveled a lot when I was younger. And we would fly over the Bermuda Triangle sometimes, and I would be like, “Uh, oh! We’re going to die! We’re gonna get captured by the squid people!”

The unexplained disappearances and technological failures of the Bermuda Triangle remain fascinating, because in a world where all seems explainable, all of us still feel helpless and ignorant in the face of the ocean, or when in an airplane flying across the globe. American explanations for the Bermuda Triangle tend to be exclusively scientific, or science fiction oriented. American is obsessed with science and the future, but when we were pushing the limits of technology during the time when circumnavigating the globe by airplane was becoming possible, planes, such as Amelia Earhart’s, would at times disappear without a trace. That mankind still did not possess the technology to fully explore the globe by air fascinated the nation. Even now the legend of the Bermuda Triangle is prevalent. My friend is particularly fascinated by it because he traveled as a child and was very frightened of their plane getting lost.
In this case his older brother, who did not believe the story, told him the story to scare him. When my friend grew older, however, he no longer believed the story either. Growing out of believing in stories like the Bermuda Triangle or the Loch Ness monster are signs one is maturing and entering adulthood.

Narrative
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire
Tales /märchen

UFO Sighting

Both my mother and sister claim to have witnessed a UFO several years ago while driving home from a Target store which is only about a mile from my house in Marietta, Georgia.  It was late and dark outside.  Through the front window, my mother saw a pair of white lights approaching the intersection outside of the Target.  She recalled that the object, which she definitely believed was a craft, was extremely low in the sky – she said maybe the height of a telephone pole.  She could make out a boomerang shape as it moved overhead, where to her amazement, it hovered in absolute silence.
While my mother will admit being uncertain as to the craft’s identity, she suggested that it was some form of secret military technology; in particular she indicated that the craft she saw resembled the stealth fighter she had seen in photographs.  This is one popular interpretation of unidentified flying objects, and it is a viable explanation for many such sightings, perhaps including this one.  Together with this idea of futuristic military (human) technology, it seems the idea of super-advanced alien technology forms the overwhelming majority of the public sentiment on the subject of UFO’s throughout the US and most of the free world.  Though many UFO witnesses (and many who hear second hand) ascribe a spiritual nature to their experience, these interpretations and others are far outnumbered by those that focus on the future and progress of the human race.  While my mother does not believe in aliens and simply gave an honest account of what she witnessed, people of other cultures would probably have provided vastly different explanations.

[geolocation]