Preview: Exhibition: Unexplained: the credulity of us all
Monday 01 December 1997
Credulity, it seems, never goes out of fashion. The Catholic Church was once happy to flog dubious relics of their original ET, Jesus Christ, and 500 years later the very reverend Mulder and Scully minister to an equally wide-eyed congregation.
X-phenomena apologists point to the frenzied interest in UFO sightings as a genuine, if naive, symptom of a millennial spiritual crisis, but this ignores the cynical encouragement of tabloid TV and film. The substitution of tawdry supposition for mundane investigation found in Mysteries with Carol Vorderman and the like nurtures this "strange but true" ingenuousness, not out of real interest in the paranormal but in the hope, one suspects, of producing an audience-friendly schedule-filler. Any vacuum of knowledge is quickly and inexpensively filled with bits-and-pieces science, cheap "reconstructions" and goggle-eyed "witnesses".
In this context, then, ought to be welcomed. This National Museum of Photography, Film and Television exhibition features the original images from various paranormal chestnuts. Amongst accounts of UFOs, alien abductions and cryptozoology, there are the Californian Big Foot pictures from the Sixties, a clutch of supposed Nessie snaps and footage of the alleged alien autopsy in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. So far out, so good.
Judging by its publicity, however, "Britain's first X Files exhibition" seems to have fallen victim to that tone of gobsmacked breathlessness with which its TV cousins gawp at anything slightly out of the ordinary. The exhibition breezily ranges from credible scientific posers to standard issue crank fare in the name of "the unexplained". For instance, investigations as to whether or not the Tasmanian devil is extinct take place a world away from the obsessive web of conspiracy and cover-up in which David Percy alleges that the moon landings were an elaborate US government hoax.
The truth is way out there.
Free. National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, The Art Mill, Upper Parkgate, Bradford BD1 (01274 203 300), to 19 April 1998
Life & Style blogs
'I am a paedophile': Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
Scientists discover 'stroke protection gene' – that also guards against heart attack and migraine
Dame Vivienne Westwood: The former Queen of Punk may now be an establishment pillar, but her work is still controversial – and much copied
Parenting gay teens: the book that all parents need to read
Regin: US and UK intelligence services could be responsible for snooping spyware
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 4 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...