Fake News in 1947 Was the Reason for a Real Life X-File

It’s not every day that a freedom of information request is this good, but recently released FBI docs have it all: flying saucers, private meetings with intelligence officers, and a mysterious plane crash. By successfully requesting the file of noted conspiracy man and author Fred Lee Crisman, journalist Michael Best has identified a truly remarkable find: a real life X-file.

By Bryson Masse | MOTHERBOARD

Cue the famous intro music.

Long before the 90s show made us want to believe, the released documents in Fred Crisman’s file, labeled SM-X (Security Matter–X), made it all way to the director of the FBI at the time, J. Edgar Hoover. They contain investigation details belonging to one of the first cases of the American paranormal activity mythos. The FBI became involved in a case that was fueled by a post-war media raring to publish incredible stories in a world getting used to accelerating technological advancement. Much like today’s shifting media landscape, the early days of paranormal investigation were easy to take advantage of.

The events that were documented by the FBI in Crisman’s file are known as the Maury Island UFO hoax of June, 1947. Crisman was involved with “high weirdness,” according to a post by Best, that swirled around an island near Puget Sound, Washington. The reports helped solidify the imagery behind a couple of the UFO tropes we know and love. It was an early example of how folklore can turn very quickly into fake news and get widespread attention.

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