UK Government Investigated Trekkies As A Possible Death Cult
Star Trek fans can be passionate, and sometimes a little annoying.
Beneath the surface of their fiery passion for the Klingon language and Romulan mythology, the British government of the 1990s once thought something more sinister could be lurking: Violent anarchism and a proclivity for mass suicide.
According to The Express, a recently-disclosed document from London’s Metropolitan Police reveals they were keeping a secret dossier on fans of Star Trek, The X-Files, and other science fiction shows out of fears that their fans might abruptly become suicidal cultists or start a rebellion against the rest of society.
The paranoia was related to the approach of the year 2000, and thoughts that the new millennium could somehow drive hardcore sci-fi fans into a frenzy of UFO mania or apocalyptic fervor.
“These [shows] draw together the various strands of religion, UFOs, conspiracies, and mystic events and put them in an entertaining storyline,” the declassified, undated report says. “Producers of programmes, including The X Files, Millennium, Dark Skies and Star Trek, know what psychological buttons to press to excite interest in their products. Obviously this is not sinister in itself, what is of concern is the devotion certain groups and individuals ascribe to the contents of these programmes.”
The police might not have been entirely off their rockers, either. In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult in San Diego committed mass suicide in an effort to reach a spaceship they believed was following the comet Hale-Bopp. Notably, the cultists wore armbands describing themselves as the “Heaven’s Gate Away Team,” a reference to terminology used in the Star Trek franchise. Also, as the report notes, “much of their free time was given to viewing the television programmes Star Trek and The X Files and then seriously debating which series is superior.”
British police weren’t just worried about Heaven’s Gate imitators, but more ambitious follow-ups who could undermine the very fabric of society through “an act of extreme violence” inspired by the new millennium. The memo cites conspiratorial fears about new technology and supposed government cover-ups as possible sources of violent agitation.
“An obvious area of interest to UFO and Pentecostal factions is microchip and bar code technology,” it says. “This could have implications for various industries, most notably international banking, as some groups appear to be interpreting their computer systems as the tool of the Anti-Christ.”
Interestingly, the document also takes something of a xenophobic approach, noting that these possibly subversive sci-fi shows were all American in origin. While at the time of the memo’s writing suicidal space cults were a purely American phenomenon, the author also ominously warns that “it is being imported into the UK.”
As it turns out, fears of maniacal nerds overthrowing society proved to be overblown, and the year 2000 arrived not with a bang but with an exceptionally impressive fireworks show along with some mundane drunken hooliganism.
The hidden memo was uncovered by author David Clarke, who found it while conducting research for his upcoming book How UFOs Conquered the World.
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