What did you do on 15 March this year? Did you perhaps attempt to communicate telepathically with aliens inviting them to come to our planet? If you did then you’d be celebrating World Contact Day an annual event in which people are invited to try and persuade `occupants of Interplanetary craft` or indeed those gas based lifeforms that don’t need spaceships at all to come to Earth. “We are your friends” goes the slightly unconvincing mantra. Established in 1953 by an organisation called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) it is based on the theory that if there is alien life out there in the Universe and if telepathy is real (admittedly a couple of especially giant leaps) then if a lot of people focus on a single message it will send a powerful signal through the ether.
|Albert Bender, founder of World Contact Day. World Giant Cigar Day however did not catch on.|
The self styled IFSB was set up in 1952 by someone called Albert Bender who had served in the US Special Forces and was somewhat obsessed with UFOs and contact with other civilisations. He was working at a company that made scissors which may or may not have inspired him to start collecting cuttings on UFO sightings. Once the organisation was formed it created quite a stir with reports coming in of alien visitations from all over the world. Bender’s own experiences on the first World Contact Day involved an out of body experience, strange voices and a headache. What he had been consuming that day is not reported. However he shut down the IIFSB the following year claiming he had been visited by extra-terrestrials or as he called them `men in black` who had advised him to desist in his attempts to communicate with them.
Nonetheless World Contact Day has continued for 65 years and counting and is still marked by various UFO groups especially in the US. There don’t appear to be any reports of any sort of response to this message however. In 1976 the Canadian group Klaatu even wrote a song about it. The group were named after the alien in the film The Day the Earth Stood Still and were once rumoured to be a reformed Beatles in disguise. Their song “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft` repeated much of the original World Contact Day message and even included an optimistically friendly response from the aliens. It was a minor hit for its writers but a much more substantial success in 1977 when The Carpenters covered it.
|An Interplanetary Craft, yesterday. Occupants not pictured.|
An unusual choice for a group who normally sang about more everyday subjects, Carpenters lavished an epic production on the song utilising a total of 161 musicians. The album version runs to seven minutes! Rather late for prog it did arrive with perfect timing ahead of a resurgence of interest in sci-fi thanks to Star Wars and with the likes of Close Encounters around the corner.
If you want to try contacting those occupants next March, this is the original 1953 message you have to think of complete with the “We are your friends” assurance which can’t help looking like an afterthought.
Calling occupants of interplanetary craft! Calling occupants of interplanetary craft that have been observing our planet EARTH. We of IFSB wish to make contact with you. We are your friends, and would like you to make an appearance here on EARTH. Your presence before us will be welcomed with the utmost friendship. We will do all in our power to promote mutual understanding between your people and the people of EARTH. Please come in peace and help us in our EARTHLY problems. Give us some sign that you have received our message. Be responsible for creating a miracle here on our planet to wake up the ignorant ones to reality. Let us hear from you. We are your friends
Meanwhile here’s Kaz and Rick Carpenter with a slice of seventies epicness though they might have shelled out a bit more for the video....