REVIEW: MIRAGE MEN / CERT: E / DIRECTOR: JOHN LUNDBERG, ROLAND DENNING, KYPROS KYPRIANOU / SCREENPLAY: MARK PILKINGTON / STARRING: RICK DOTY, GREG BISHOP / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 30TH
Most conspiracy theories surrounding extraterrestrials or unidentified flying objects are intent on convincing you that they exist. This one does exactly the opposite. Kind of.
During a time in America’s history when paranoia was at its height and espionage was an ever-increasing issue for the US government, it would seem that those behind the curtain hatched an ingenious plan: pretend all of their secret government research was of alien origin. To do this, they would need the assistance of Mirage Men, agents who would infiltrate the UFO-believing community, spreading disinformation and ultimately discrediting any and all sightings of otherwise classified projects. After all, who would believe that alien ships kept crashing in the desert or that aliens were mutilating cattle? Nobody, and that’s just what they wanted.
Front and centre of this unique conspiracy theory is Richard Doty, a former Special Agent who, in his day, was sent in to tackle tricky cases where ordinary citizens had stumbled across matters of national security and had sought to bring them to public attention. Swooping in like some kind of Deep Throat ‘yes man’, he would spoon-feed ‘alien intel’ to the point where the last thing on their minds would be a more terrestrial explanation.
To that end, early American tests for drones and stealth aircraft were sold as UFOs and alien visitations, while cattle mutilations (allegedly a US initiative to gauge radioactive fallout effects after an underground nuclear ‘fracking’ incident) were also passed off as an intervention by little green men.
If all is to be believed (and there’s no definitive proof to say that this story is any more genuine than the stories they allegedly faked), it was a genius initiative. As this mind-opening documentary reveals, it had its drawbacks though as UFO enthusiasts are understandably up in arms about it and some of Doty’s victims suffered horrendous mental issues as a result.
As UFO conspiracy films go, this is a breath of fresh air and an insight into both the world of those who seek the truth about aliens and (perhaps more interestingly) the ways in which the government potentially manipulates its populace. And whether you believe the lie, or the lie behind the lie, you won’t be able to ignore the logic behind Mirage Men’s message. “There were about nine crashes in the 1940s,” UFO researcher Peter Gersten explains, perhaps summing it up best. “And that would suggest to me that they were testing something that was crashing.”
Extras: 22 short films / Booklet