We all know government agencies can sometimes be a bit on the, shall we say, extremely paranoid side. Here in the U.S., the FBI had extensive files on ex-Beatle John Lennon of all people. But if you think that’s extreme and silly, then this one really takes the cake. In the mid to late ’90s, Scotland Yard (the U.K. police headquarters) had secret files on Star Trek and X-Files fans in the years and months leading up to the turn of the century amid “security concerns.” They also monitored fans of the shows Roswell and Dark Skies as well as viewers of the movie The Lawnmower Man, fearful that they might create some kind of cyber attack
I’m just shocked there were ever enough fans of The Lawnmower Man to even be monitored.
For reasons still unclear, Scotland Yard believed that when the year 2000 hit, British fans of these shows would go mad and kill themselves, turning against society or starting “a weird cult.” This was during the height of Y2K paranoia, when everyone thought the moment the clocks hit 2000, society would meltdown. (The late Leonard Nimoy made a Y2K Family Survival Guide video, so maybe that’s their weak-ass Star Trek connection?)
While the whole “start a weird cult” aspect might be feasible, a dangerous one? It’s almost like Scotland Yard never bothered to watch the shows they were against. Star Trek always delivered a peaceful utopian message, and X-Files played on people’s fears of the end of the world — not a desire to have it actually come to pass.
Most of our knowledge of this “secret file” came from an undated confidential report to the Metropolitan Police, which seems to have been filed around 1998/99 regarding conspiracy theorists who believed the end of the world was coming soon.”Fuel is added to the fire by television dramas and feature films mostly produced in America” (I get it Brits, all of this is our fault. You didn’t create Doctor Who or anything).
The late ’90s weren’t quite the Nerd Nirvana we live in now, but it was a really good time to be a fan of both Star Trek and X-Files; the latter was still on the air and was a big cultural force, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager were still in first run, with The Next Generation in movies and re-runs in heavy rotation on TV. If they thought all that geekery could drive fans into madness, just imagine what they’d think today’s pop culture landscape might do to people. Better start building your underground bunkers now.
HT: The Telegraph