I don’t say this nearly as often as I’d like to, but this week has been a truly seminal one for outer space news. Yes, Lady Gaga is going and that’s groundbreaking in its way, but more importantly, we learned that there could be as many as 11 billion other “habitable” planets in the Milky Way, a discovery scientists are lauding as representative of “one great leap toward the possibility of life, including intelligent life, in the universe.” In other words, the existence of aliens is seeming more and more like a reality.
All of which leads to a pretty obvious next question: if aliens are real, would they ever come to Brooklyn? Have they already? It’s unclear. The borough is home to “The Brooklyn Bridge Incident,” considered by some to be the most heavily witnessed alien abduction of all time. Linda Cortile’s 1989 abduction actually took place at her apartment on the Lower East Side, but a number of witnesses claim to have seen the night’s events from on or around the bridge (hence, the name). UFO researcher Budd Hopkins wrote an entire book on the subject (Witnessed: The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge UFO Abductions), though Publisher’s Weekly notes that “because [Hopkins] has changed the names of all the participants, allegedly to spare them ridicule, little in his text can be checked.” But, as the story goes, Cortile was “taken, against her will, by what appeared to be ‘greys’, a popular form of alien, usually short and skinny in stature with a large head and black orbital eyes.” They questioned and examined her before returning her to her bed, Cortile says.
Like anywhere else, videos crop up now and again of blurry lights in the sky that are maybe, probably alien life; a couple years back, YouTube user the fallguy53 posted footage of some mysterious lights in Bushwick, with the caption, “I was sitting on my stoop, waiting for my girlfriend to come home from work. Two kids walk by and said, “those aren’t airplanes…” as they walked passed. I turned my head and my mind was fucking blown. This just set the paranoia out the roof. shiiiiit. There’s probably a rational explanation but i really hope it’s aliens.” At the time, a few other people confirmed that they’d seen the same thing from vantage points in Manhattan and the Bronx (people also thought they saw UFOs over Brooklyn this past 4th of July).
But if we’re trying to be scientific and comprehensive here (we are, yes?), a guy named Lee Kourelakos has created a database of Brooklynites with alien abduction and encounter stories that stretch out over the past few decades. “All except one were, to my knowledge, mentally stable,” he notes. Of his and other researchers’ findings, Kourelakos writes, “They should, in my opinion, be exposed to a larger audience.” But, y’know, will they? Just last month, Weekly World News warned about alien ice from the planet Gootan (“They are just reminding us that they are here and that they will attack when they want,” WWN explained), and somehow everybody’s just been sleeping on that story. If I were the kind of person to publicly call things out as conspiracies (and I am), well, you know where this is going. Gootan aside, I want to believe.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.