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Extraterrestrial life: the history and impact on civilization


Extraterrestrials (ETs) are a pop culture, and even a generational icon, mostly in the United States of America. The U.S. is reported to have the most extraterrestrial sightings in the world. But how did this become such a big part of pop culture as a whole, and why do so many people claim to have seen ET or encountered them personally? 

Humanity has historically maintained a deep-rooted fear of the unknown; this is highlighted by the horror genre within mass media. One aspect of horror, a type of horror that relies on the fear of the unknown, referred to as Cosmic Horror, uses this fear to a terrifying degree; this is seen in media such as in the writing of H.P Lovecraft. 

The idea of extraterrestrials has plagued the thoughts of humanity all over the world for centuries. It is seen in everything from Japan’s “The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter” to the Turkish “Vera Historia;” even ancient Greece had a theory about it, called cosmic pluralism.  

In the modern day, there are plenty of movies, comics, and books about ETs, making them out to either be villains, such as the xenomorph from “Alien,” or generally neutral, such as in “E.T.” 

The first movie with ETs ever made was the French film “A Trip To The Moon” (1902) where they were portrayed as a more neutral force.

In a Pew Research Center study of 10,417 Americans, they found that approximately sixty-five percent of Americans believe in extraterrestrial life. 

Even with all of the advances in technology and an increased willingness to explore space, no decisive evidence that ET life is out there has been found. Most “definitive evidence” that has come to light has been disproven or nonconclusive. 

One very interesting piece of evidence was revealed in 2020, when, seemingly out of nowhere, the Pentagon revealed three videos of U.F.O.s (Unidentified Flying Objects) recorded by the Navy. 

Area 51 is one place rumored to have extraterrestrials, making the public intrigue of this area higher. People even planned to raid it in Sep. 2019 after a meme joking about it went viral. 

During the infamous raid, the majority of the crowd didn’t show. The 40 people who attended the “raid” threw a space-themed festival outside the base’s perimeter rather than actually attempting to enter Area 51.

Drillers off the Rig

Bakersfield High School staff were asked if they believe in aliens themselves. Here’s what they had to say:

  • David Wells, an English teacher
    • “I will not discount their existence, there is a vast universe out there…”
  • Lonnie McConnel, a biology teacher
    • “Not really, no.”
  • Shannon Sauter, a math teacher and math department chair
    • “Yeah, I think there’s something out there.”
  • Sergio Espain, English and Chicano literature teacher
    • “I refuse to believe that we are the most intelligent species.”
  • Garrett English, a social studies teacher
    • “I don’t know, it’s hard to imagine we’re alone in such a large world.”
  • Scott Frystack, a biology teacher
    • “Not really, I think they will exist.”
  • Mark Brewer, a social studies teacher
    • “Oh yeah, they’re out there… the universe is too vast too big… I think God is creative.”
  • Kourtney Hawkins, an English teacher and the Oracle advisor
    • “Possibly… because the universe is so vast … it’s ever-expanding.”

Do you believe in extraterrestrial life? Share your thoughts at [email protected] or on social media.

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Michael Bard, Staff Writer

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