The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) swooped into a New Mexico town unannounced and shut down an observatory last week, and to this day no one knows why. So of course, conspiracy theorists have concluded that it has something to do with aliens.
As The Albuquerque Journal reports, last Thursday was just a normal day at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot – that is, until the FBI showed up, by some accounts in a Blackhawk helicopter, and ordered everyone out. Scientists, technicians, clerical workers, and even the janitor were told to pack up and leave.
Otero County Sheriff Benny House said that workers were terrified and called local law enforcement to keep things from getting out of hand.
“Some folks that work at the laboratory called us, asked us if we could send a deputy to stand by while they were evacuating. All the employees were packing up and leaving.”
Oddly enough, as Albuquerque Journal reporter Matthew Reisen was on the phone with the sheriff, the phone went wonky and cut out while the sheriff was in mid-sentence.
It wasn’t just the observatory that was evacuated on a moment’s notice: a postal clerk working at the nearby post office said agents walked in and told him to take a hike. Reisen contacted U.S. Postal Service spokesman Rod Spurgeon, who called the situation “strange.”
“I wasn’t present … so I’m not sure which law enforcement agency told us to evacuate.”
[OFFTOPIC – probably] USPS and sunspot observatory closed. FBI remains mum. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day. Want to play along?
We are happy to offer ten Internet points to the environmental disaster conspiracy theory we like best. https://t.co/fHRpgk18wI
— altEPA (@altUSEPA) September 13, 2018
Seven days since the sudden closure, observatory workers and postal workers are still not back to work, and no one is saying why, according to KOAT-TV (Albuquerque). The FBI and the Postal Service are either keeping mum or denying any knowledge of the incident.
The agency that manages the observatory, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is also keeping quiet. On the observatory’s website, the association said that the telescope will reopen “soon.”
“With the excitement this closure has generated, we hope you will come and visit us when we do reopen.”
In the absence of facts, as The Independent reports, conspiracy theorists are drawing their own conclusions. And of course, since this story involves the FBI, a black helicopter, and a telescope, it could mean only one thing.
— Jeff Torrey (@jdtorrey) February 13, 2016
The newspaper, for example, points out that the observatory is about 125 miles away from Roswell, the site of a 1947 UFO sighting that got the modern UFO movement rolling. An unnamed YouTube user even claims to have seen a spacecraft hanging out near the observatory.
Another theory, posited by CNET, is that foreign influencers might have infiltrated or hacked the observatory’s equipment in order to spy on nearby White Sands Missile Range.
Of course, Occam’s Razor teaches that the simplest explanation is usually the best. And this writer’s theory is that, considering that the FBI closed down both the observatory and the nearby post office, perhaps an observatory worker and a postal worker were involved in some sort of contraband trafficking scheme – perhaps sensitive scientific equipment or radioactive materials, for example.
Or it could be aliens.