The X-Files Rewatch: ‘Squeeze’

The X-Files-Squeeze

Squeeze
Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, directed by Harry Longstreet
Season 1, Episode 3

Recap

Yellow eyes peer out from a sewer drain, watching a business man walk unaware to his car. When the business man arrives at his office … something follows.

The wires in the elevator twitch, as if being climbed. The screws on a tiny vent turn, letting something inside.

The man enters his office and closes the door behind him. Watching from the outside, we see him thrown against the closed curtains — a struggle so violent, it cracks the wood of the office door.

Blood drips onto the generic carpet, splatters every surface inside. The screws of the vent slowly spin themselves closed.

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The X-Files Rewatch: ‘Deep Throat’

The X-Files-Deep Throat 10

Deep Throat
Written by Chris Carter, directed by Daniel Sackheim
Season 1, Episode 2

Recap

Police surround a house in a suburban community in Idaho. Mrs. Budahas rushes forward, because it’s her house. An officer stops her and explains that her husband broke security and stole a military vehicle. The police bust into the house and investigate, finding Mr. Budahas huddled in a corner, shaking and covered head to toe in unusual rashes.

In D.C., Scully meets Mulder in a busy bar, where he presents the case of Col. Robert Budahas, who was a test pilot at Ellens Air Base in in Southwest Idaho. He notes that Budahas disappeared (after the incident mentioned above) and that his wife has reported this to the FBI as a kidnapping — and yet, the FBI de-prioritized the case shortly after receiving it.  Since the case has, as Mulder says, “a distinct smell to it, a certain paranormal bouquet,” they’ll be traveling to the “Spud State” to investigate.

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‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Strives to Provide Hope

Unsolved Mysteries

The original Unsolved Mysteries began in 1987 and continued for 11 seasons before being cancelled in 1999, being aired first on NBC and then for two years on CBS. It was later resurrected by Spike from 2007 to 2010 (something I wasn’t aware of until just now).

The episodes features a host, who presented stories about cold cases, paranormal phenomena, and conspiracy theories — related through a combination of reenactments and interview segments from witnesses, officers, and other folks. At the end of each episode, viewers were urged to to get in contact with Unsolved Mysteries if they have any new information about the case.

Netflix has now rebooted the show, which launched on July 1st. The reboot features a slightly altered format, eschewing the host in favor of diving directly into the story. It also focuses more on interviews from witnesses and officials than on reenactments. As a result, this new iteration of Unsolved Mysteries foregoes sensationalism, feeling more grounded than what I remember.

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‘Hellier’: A Syllabus

Hellier is a paranormal documentary series (produced by Planet Weird), in which a team of researchers — Greg and Dana Newkirk, Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Tyler Strand —  conduct a several-years-long investigation that begins with a strange case of Kentucky goblins (possibly aliens) and leads to a greater expansive discussion of synchronicity, the Mothman, and other strange phenomena.

As Cassandra Rose Clarke writes in her excellent discussion of the show:

“Hellier isn’t really about proving or disproving anything. It’s about following a trail. The trail starts with the doctor’s email but doesn’t track to a single line; rather, it fractals out, so that what started with an email about aliens ends with a ritual to the god Pan inside an Appalachian cave.”

Part of the trail that the team follows is research, including the reading of books and articles to expand their knowledge of the paranormal, the occult, and magic. One of the first things I wanted to do upon finishing the series was to gather together a list of all the books and media mentioned, so that I could explore them myself as an entry point into learning more about experiences of high strangeness.

Here is that list — combing works that were key to the series (such as The Mothman Prophecies and Secret Cypher of the Ufonaughts), while others were only mentioned briefly.

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The Great X-Files Rewatch Begins – S1 E1 Pilot

The X-Files

Then

The X-Files had a significant impact on my teenage years — not surprising since I started watching the show when I was thirteen.

Every Sunday I settled in front of the TV with my dad and we watched the latest episode. In between episodes, we chatted theories about what was really going on with the aliens, government conspiracies and other oddities the show revealed.

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Experimental Paranormal Investigations in ‘Spirits of the Stanley’

Spirits of the Stanley

The concept of the paranormal, of something beyond what we see and hear, has always fascinated me. Over the span of my life, I’ve watched a number of shows about ghost hunting and paranormal investigations.

Most recently, I’ve been captivated by Hellier (YouTube/Prime),  a show in which a team of investigators are asked to look into a strange case of Kentucky goblins — only to have the investigation spiral off into progressively weirder territory.

Two of the investigators in Hellier, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall, began their work as paranormal investigators at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, a site well known for having paranormal activity and for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shinning. From the period of 2009 to 2016, the hotel hosted five-hour paranormal investigations for the public, which Pfeiffer and Randall participated in as guides.

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