I Wanted To Believe: A Confession
Right off the top, I want to give anyone reading this some idea of who I am and what I think of the paranormal. In the 1990s, alien abductions were big money. These wild stories about people, apparently, being abducted by aliens from outer space spawned television shows like the X-Files, and Roswell, and Dark Skies. Fire in the Sky was screened in theaters in 1993 and became a cult classic. Shows like Unsolved Mysteries, Sightings, The Paranormal Borderline, explored the paranormal with all the class of tabloid news shows like A Current Affair, and Hard Copy. Flip on AM radio and you could hear Alex Jones or Coast to Coast AM doing phone-ins with people who claim they were taken by E.T.s UFO fever was in full force and in the mainstream for the first time since the 1950s.
As a teenager during this time, I was instantly fascinated and frightened about the idea of visitors from another world kidnapping people in the middle of the night and experimenting on them. I bought the idea lock stock and barrel. Then one night I watched Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County on UPN. It was the first found footage film I ever saw. Despite its poor production values, I fell for it. At the age of 15 years old, I slept with my lights on for two weeks for fear I'd be abducted by aliens. Little did I know that not only was Incident at Lake County was a hoax, but it was a fucking remake of a hoax.F
For years, I wanted to find the truth about aliens. My findings led me to believe that anyone purporting that they were kidnapped by aliens was full of shit. All of them. Don't get me wrong, it would be incredibly naive to think we are the only living things in the universe. I believe that life exists out there. However, have they visited Earth? Now? In my lifetime? Absolutely not. Anyone who thinks that is either mentally ill or doesn't understand physics, biology, or human nature. I recently watched Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story on Netflix yesterday, and wow, nothing but more hokum. If you thought this story was real, prepare to feel really stupid.
This documentary is about a man named Stan Romanek, a self-proclaimed UFO expert. Among other things, he claims that he has been abducted by aliens multiple times. Like most people who make such claims, he also claims that he is a "Starseed", which is someone who has cross-bred with aliens to creature hybrids. That said, it should also come as no surprise that this guy also thinks he is some kind of Christ like figure due to his alien boning.
Like any Charleton of this magnitude, he has books to sell that document his experiences. Most people who believe the tripe this guy spews out, usually believe it because there is "so much" evidence. Who knew that quantity increases gullibility so exponentially. If you want to see the depth of this numb nuts' delusions, check out this cached version of his website. Why am I not linking the original site? Well, you see, Stan was recently arrested and is facing charges for possession and distribution of child pornography. Stan's inner circle thinks this is some kind of government frame job to silence him from telling the "truth".
In typical, tin foil hat fashion, Stan's website has now shifted focus from talking about aliens to claiming that the police force in Loveland, Colorado, are secret Nazi storm troopers because distrust of authority is in vogue these days. The change in website content is, I presume, a poor attempt at drawing parallels between his getting busted for child porn with the recent increase in cases of police brutality in the media.
Has he been discredited? Many, many, times and yet this snake oil salesman still endures, because people who believe in conspiracies maintain a cult like attachment to their false prophets.
Who Needs Impartiality?
A documentary needs to do a few things:
- Tell a story
- Remain Impartial
- Tell Both Sides of the Story
This documentary fails at all of the above within the first few seconds. Clearly, the makers of this documentary believe Stan's accounts without question. Nothing is questioned. Everything is seen at face value. Everyone interviewed in the film talks about how "normal" Stan is, and how he's just a "normal guy". Nobody questions his claims and explanations of any kind are surprisingly absent from the film. We're just supposed to accept this as being true based on faith alone. Calling this movie a documentary is about as accurate as putting your finger in a blender and saying that it was an enjoyable experience. If anything, this movie qualifies as propaganda and nothing else. The fact that not a single person scrutinizes any of the "evidence" Stan presents is incredibly telling. But hey, anyone who questions the authenticity must be part of the cover up! Correct me if I am wrong, but paranoia is not a justification to believe in unadulterated bullshit. Allow me to explain:
Single Source ≠ Proof
The movie primarily focuses on the "evidence" that Stan has compiled over the years, and presenting apparent evidence to prove his claims. The majority of which was collected between the years 2000 until about 2008. It starts, with a shaky hand held video, of Stan explaining to a friend how he saw a UFO in the mountains near his home. Naturally, this was recorded after the fact, so there is no proof. This is a perfect opening shot if they were foreshadowing the fact that you're going to see nothing of value in this movie.
What follows are blurry, and out of focus shots of lights in the sky, still, photos that claim to capture paranormal phenomenon, audio recordings, supposed threats, and lastly video footage that claims to show real aliens.
Let's take a look at some of these outrageous claims and how they could have easily been faked.
Exhibit A: UFOs in the sky
The documentary starts with footage of what Stan claims are UFOs that he has recorded in the sky. One thing you pick up immediately is that he is terrible at operating his camera or at least is pretending to be awful at his camera. We're talking camcorders from the early 2000s, I think that Mr. Romanek was smart enough to know the technological limitations of these recording devices and uses them to exploit his delusions. An out of focus image of an object or light in the sky does not prove that they are UFOs. Here's a great example on how unimpressive this video is:
That my friends is a screen capture of a YouTube video taken in 2012 of someone filming the outside of their airplane window at the ground below. If you didn't know any better you'd assume that it was a picture of some strange lights in the sky, when in fact it's just city lights taken from a high elevation with a shitty camera. From Stan's vantage point he could have easily been filming ordinary terrestrial aircraft. The people in the background that can be heard questioning what the object in the sky could have easily been staged, or the people involved are really that stupid.
Also, filming yourself in night-vision explaining what you just saw doesn't count as proof, so why we have to sit through Stan stammering through an explanation is anyone's guess. Who edited this documentary? A film school dropout?
Exhibit B: Dream Equations
Having dreams about equations which Stan later writes down is another claim that he is making contact with aliens. His argument is that there is no possible way he should know any of these equations.
One such equation is the Drake Equation, which estimates how many intelligent extraterrestrial beings could exist in the Milky Way Galaxy. At this point in time, it is impossible to check the validity of this equation. Namely, because the values are the product of conjecture, especially since the last four parameters are unknown and very hard to estimate. Oh, but Stan solved that little problem!
Adding "x 100" doesn't really change the equation considering the fact that, as I said, some of the parameters are unknown. This also means fuck all since he provides no numerical values for R, Fp, Ne etc. If you were getting this information from an alien source that is supposedly light years ahead of us, I think they would have figured out the math by now.
The Drake Equation has existed since 1961, for someone who is into UFO's it seems outlandish to suggest he doesn't know what the Drake Equation is. Not knowing what it means doesn't mean you didn't memorize the formula either.
Then there is this:
Syriac Aramaic is a precursor to the Arabic alphabet. Here's a fun fact: It looks nothing like this. Which people would know if they actually spent the same 30 seconds it took me to look this information up. The two languages don't have the same alphabet either, so it's not just a simple matter of replacing an English letter to a corresponding Aramaic word. Also, if you try to find a translation for the word propulsion on a online dictionary for Aramaic, you will discover that there is not a translation. Which is not surprising since the word propulsion wasn't coined until 1610, and Aramaic is a language that died out in 300 BC. Let's also note that the "aliens" apparently don't know how to spell the word propulsion. It's not like Stan established he is terrible at spelling or anything....
Exhibit C: Medical Anomalies
Then there are the accounts of medical anomalies. The first being mysterious cuts and bruises that Stan claims come from his abduction experiences. As "proof" that these wounds are otherworldly, Stan shows photos of these injuries under a black light to show that they glow. First of all: If I wake up in the morning with some strange cuts on my body, my first thought isn't going to be shining a black light on them. My thought is going to be to go see a doctor. Also, glow in the dark scabs aren't that hard to pull off. Lots of normal everyday items glow when put under a black light. Even if you're hard up finding black light responsive paint, there are plenty of household products you can paint on that will have a similar effect.
Another thing to point out is the fact that these are still images and it's pretty easy to fake a black light effect using Photoshop. As you get further into the film you start to notice that Stan and his people seem pretty adept at manipulating images to try and prove what they are saying is real, so really, is faking these such a stretch?
Then, there is an audio recording of Stan seeing the doctor because his knee immobilizer went missing. First of all, who is Stan's doctor? Also, since this is an audio recording, the person he is talking to could be anybody. Also, his claims about his knee immobilizer magically disappearing isn't all that fantastic when you consider how easy they are to take off.
Exhibit D: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
If you were buying everything up to this point, here's where stuff gets ridiculously bad. These all detail moments where Stan has close encounters with aliens. There are many in this film, but I'm going to only do the most obvious ones.
One piece of footage shows what Stan claims is a UFO spotlight caught on his security camera. As it approaches the camera the video suddenly cuts out. Do I even need to tell you that this is obviously a flashlight? As for the tape cutting out, clearly, it's a VHS tape that's being recorded on. It wouldn't take a whole lot of effort to damage the tape to create the effect.
The "next day" he shows a picture of the side of his house where his security camera used to be. Apparently, we're supposed to think that the alien ship blew up his camera. Here's the thing: Why is the area around the camera white, and everything around it kind of sooty? If the camera was destroyed wouldn't there be burn marks on the final? Also, why doesn't the mark go all the way up to the roof?
If anything, this looks like the vinyl is dirty and someone sprayed a small area with a pressure washer. If the security camera was destroyed, why isn't he showing the remains ?
If this isn't unbelievable enough, then there is the claim that some men came to his house to replace the vinyl siding, apparently, they were hired by his landlord. According to Stan, his landlord hired no such person, and when he looked up the company he found that they didn't exist.
All this, we're supposed to take at face value, as the guy who usually records conversations didn't record this one. Also, we never get a clear look at the name of the company, so it's not like anyone can verify his claim that this is some sort of covert government black ops contracting outfit.
Strange Phone Calls
Stan also plays recordings of a strange woman named Audry who speaks with a British accent. She calls Stan to give a number of vague warnings, and instructions. She keeps calling him the Starchild, of course. Stan claims that this woman knows something.
However, if you listen to the voice, although it sounds British, it also sounds like a text-to-speech reader. In fact, there is a text-to-voice reader called Audry. Go ahead and try it, it sounds exactly like the voice in Stan's little movie.
It wouldn't be very difficult to fake this at all.
The Infamous "Boo" Video
See this one for yourself:
Stan claims that this is authentic, however, he needs to hire a better acting coach. Secondly, he claims that this could not have been faked. However, the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Society proved that this could have easily been faked for about $90.
I could go on and on deconstructing this entire film as a fraud for hours with nothing more than Google.
Move Along People, Nothing to Believe Here
The problem with Stan's story is the fact that he can't keep anything straight. He failed a polygraph test that was conducted by George Noory from Coast to Coast AM. He has admitted to faking some of his videos. This is a guy who claims that he has a learning disability due to his dyslexia, yet later claimed he has a genius level IQ. This is also a guy who claims that he was a youth in the middle of the rising violence between the Crips and Bloods. He says that this was during a period in time that his father, who was in the military, was stationed in Los Angeles. At the time of this writing, Stan is 54 years old. While he was a teenager during the 1970s, when the rivalry between these two gangs began, I don't think the military had their men live in Compton.
What I'm getting at here is this: I believe that Stan Romanek is a guy who was going nowhere in life and fabricated this fantasy world where he is some kind of alien messiah to make up for an otherwise boring existence in Colorado. It seems to me that nothing short of dumb luck managed to convince conspiracy theorists that he was something special and they made him something of a celebrity. People were gullible to believe in it, and now to say otherwise would be akin to committing religious blasphemy. The last thing a conspiracy theorist wants is to be excommunicated from the group.
This movie is worse than garbage because it tries to pass itself off as something real when it's doing nothing more than perpetuating a fraud. It's time that we stop giving these snake oil salesmen our valuable money and time and let them wither away into the nobodies they truly are.