1958 – “White Wilderness” premieres

The legendary documentary that began the whole “lemmings commit suicide” myth, White Wilderness was 72 minutes of the Disney Corporation making nature more interesting (for a given value of ‘interesting’) in another ‘True Life Adventure’. The scene of the lemmings jumping into the ocean has been at the centre of a number of controversies over the years – it’s actually a river, not the ocean; the filmakers built an apparatus to push the lemmings along; and, of course, lemmings are no more suicidal than any other species.

To be fair, at no point does the narration state that the lemmings are deliberately committing suicide, but nonetheless, this is the starting point of that urban legend.

Referenced in:
Lemmings — Blink 182
Hey Lord, Don’t Ask Me Questions — Graham Parker
Potshot Heard ‘Round The World — Dead Kennedys

1947 – The Roswell Incident

Will we ever know the truth of what happened that day?

For more than sixty years now, the Roswell Incident has been a mystery, one only obscured further by the mass of claim and counterclaim that it has inspired. Even leaving aside fictional treatments (of which there are over a hundred), the ‘true’ accounts given by various people disagree in nearly every possible particular, from what happened to where it happened. But all speculation and rumour leads back to the few incontrovertible facts: the Air Force issued a statement on July 8, 1947, attempting to stem a tide of rumours regarding what it might or might not have picked up the day before. Unfortunately, later that same day, a second press statement that contradicted the first in some details was also released.

Wacky hijinks ensued, and fifty years later we were all watching The X Files. Strange but true. The rest of it, while definitely strange, is less clear as to truth…

Referenced in:

Hangar 18 – Megadeth
Roswell 47 – Hypocrisy
Aliens Exist – Blink 182
Hangar 84 – Pitchshifter
Motorway to Roswell – the Pixies
Remember 47 – The Skitzophones
Roswell that Ends Well – Far-Less