Published April 3, 2014
Newspaper articles from the time do not agree on whether the event was “full of people” or if the cinema, where the conference was held, was half empty. That perhaps depends on one’s perspective. At any rate, the event was somehow connected to the screening of the Hollywood film “Fire in the Sky” which was based on an alleged alien encounter in Arizona in 1975.
A series of lectures were held after the screening and many people “came out of the closet” with their beliefs in alien life forms and UFOs. One man, for instance, said he had seen a spaceship and little green men while picking blueberries. “I thought maybe they had a flat tire,” the man said.
The highlight of the conference, however, was unexpected and catapulted this minor event to the front pages of Icelandic newspapers. A conference guest announced that telepathic people all around the world had a direct connection to beings on other planets, and that through these human representatives, these beings had now announced that they would be landing on top of Snæfellsjökull, Iceland’s emblematic sub-glacial volcano. The aliens even furnished a precise time for their arrival: November 5, 1993, at 21:07. The newspaper headlines read “Aliens in Iceland in November.”
Most people were, not surprisingly, sceptical about this upcoming galactic event. It wasn’t hard to read irony between the lines in the media coverage. But of course, at this time, in late 1993, UFOs were trending. That September the first season of the “The X-Files” was aired in the United States and numerous films were being made on the subject. So while the public was dubious, it was nevertheless open to the possibility of this curious alien encounter.
And on the big day, November 5, hundreds of people travelled to Snæfellsnes. An advertisement from Hotel Búðir, which sits on a lava field close to the glacier, reflected a common sentiment: “If they are coming… it would be awful to miss them. If they are not coming… your stay won’t be any worse because you were not one of those who really believed they were coming. Whatever happens, everybody is welcome to enjoy the weekend here, earthlings and aliens.”
On the day before “the arrival,” the newspaper DV ran an informal survey: “An American woman living in Norway said, ‘there was a 51% chance that the aliens would visit,’ and added that people would feel them, even if they are invisible. Not everybody is excited about the upcoming alien visit. A woman in Grundarfjörður, a nearby village, said: ‘I do not want to meet the beings if they come. There is a real danger of abduction. I am scared.’”
In the end there was no need for worrying: more than 500 earthlings from different countries, among them international alien specialists, waited on a cold winter night, but no aliens were seen. The whole thing ended in a big party and fireworks were shot off as a token of friendship. There were no hard feelings among most of the members of this informal galactic “welcoming committee,” although several hardliners thought that there had been too much exposure, that the media frenzy and extravagant pyrotechnics had scared the arriving spacemen away.
Lemúrinn is an Icelandic web magazine (Icelandic for the native primate of Madagascar). A winner of the 2012 Icelandic Web Awards, Lemurinn.is covers all things strange and interesting. Go check it out here http://lemurinn.is