Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Met Files: how Police kept dossiers on TV sci-fi shows

This was in the Times today...page 22...May 18th

by Tom Whipple...

The Metropilitan Police kept dossiers on the X-Files and Star Trek, fearing that the telivision series could cause riots and mass suicide newley released documents have revealed.

In particular, Scotland Yard worried that the dramas could fuel a rise of of civil disorder and apocalytic cults that would reach a peak around the millennium and result in an "act of extreme violence".

According to the 1997 dossier UFO New Religious Movements and the Millemium: "Fuel is added to the fire by telivision dramas and feature films mostly produced in America. These draw together the various strands of religion UFOs, conspiracies and mystic events and put them in an entertaining storyline.

It is not being suggested that the production companies are intentionally atempting to foment trouble.However, producers of programmes including The X Files, Millenium, Dark Skies and Star Trek, know what psychological buttons to press to excite interest in their products.

"Obviously this is not sinistair in itself. What
 is of concern is the devotion certain groups and individuals ascribe to the contents of these programmes.

Scotland Yard was especially concerned that as the millenium approached Britain might produce it's own version of Heavens Gate, an American group whose Philosophy mixed Christianity with science fiction. In 1997, 39 of it's members committed suicide in the belief that they would be transported to an alien spacecraft that was following the comet Hale_ Bopp

"This group like many others drew inspiration from science fiction," said the report, which was obtained under a freedom of information request by David Clarke, author of the book How UFOs conquered the world The History of a Modern Myth. "Indeed much of their free time was given to viewing Star Trek and The X Files and then seriously debating which series is superior. The problem is that growing members are not trating this as entertainment and finding it immpossible to divorce fantasy from reality.

The concern was not so much tht this might lead to mass suicide, but that such an outcome could actually be best case scenario..

" The worring aspect is that some elements, as in the case of Heavens Gate, take extreme measures.. On that occasion the group imploded. We can not be certain that other groups in the future will take such 'limited' action.

"Although an American phenonemon, it is being imported in to the UK.

It easy to  dismiss these beliefs as deluded and of no consequence, but the Heaven's Gate  deaths show these beliefs can and do influence others.

"It does not matter that we do not believe," the report concluded before adding in a line that could easily have been scripted for Dana Scully, The X Files heroine. "What really matters is they do".

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