Viral marketing campaigns are apparently an integral part of paranormal research these days. It seems every other new movie that comes out is in some way connected to a deep dark paranormal legend that no one has heard about except those directly associated with the film. Of course this is merely fun and games, and generally leads to good storytelling, but these campaigns can be so persistent and convincing that sifting through the hoaxes can waste lots of valuable time. Such is the case with the Nome Alaska Alien Abduction story.
Alaskan UFO reports are sparse. There have been less than thirty in the whole state reported total to the Mutual UFO Network in the last fifty years. And yet here comes a movie touting an extremely high profile UFO abduction case that the producers just happened to uncover. The movie outwardly proclaims that the events in the film were real in much the same way “The Blair Witch Project” did, but to an even greater extreme. Because of the location, not many people just happen to pass through Nome. Even now forum entries are being posted all across genuine UFO forums asking if this Nome case is even real, and responses are popping up from newly joined members touting how they had heard of the story years ago, and then posting links to “news articles” saying the same. Three clicks from the news articles, however, and you realize they are utter fabrications made for news websites that are merely a subsidiary of the film The Fourth Kind. There is an active disinformation campaign going on with the intention of convincing a paranormal community, desperate for answers, that a truly documented well produced UFO story has been packaged and sold in theaters.
It stands to reason then, if this small team of advertisers that have been paid by a major motion picture studio can spread such a convincing lie all across the internet in the span of a few days and with no more resources at their disposal than simple web development tools, could their ability to obfuscate the truth be enhanced all the more if given access to more? What could such a team of people be able to convince us did or did not happen? The possibilities are limitless, really. Given more time and money, such a team could convince us a town existed where none had been present before.
Of course the paranormal field will not be seriously damaged by this or any other single viral marketing campaign. Still, it is yet another black eye to the field of research and investigation that will only inhibit any sort of truthful evidence to come out. The alternative is to create an institution that works to take all the fun out of paranormal research, and render it as dour and serious as the “hard sciences.” It should be noted, however, that the people who didn’t buy the Nome Alaska abduction story were the same people who didn’t buy stories about Roswell New Mexico being merely a weather balloon. Good company, and an interesting class of person indeed.