8 Tips for Surviving an Alien Invasion

Artist rendering of an alien reaching toward the view with multicolored lights in the background
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Meteorites are falling from the sky. Strange lightning storms dot the horizon. Oh, and your dog has run away.

Giant alien spaceships have appeared over the major cities of the world, but the government is urging everyone to remain calm. What to do? Run for the hills or hunker down? Here’s a fast and easy set of rules — gleaned from Hollywood and alien experts — that you can follow when extraterrestrials are breaking down your door or coming through the air vents.

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Beware long desolate roads

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Aliens have popped up in human history since ancient times. “Thousands of years ago, extraterrestrials landed on Earth, where they were hailed as gods and helped shape human civilization,” said Erich von Däniken, a controversial author whose most famous work explores the influence of aliens on human culture. Some people say places like Peru’s Nazca Desert, the giant human figures of Easter Island and the giant carvings of Puma Punku in the Bolivian highlands are evidence of this inhabitation. Others point to the Book of Ezekiel and Sanskrit epics for evidence of flying vessels.

In more modern times, alien encounters are believed to occur most frequently on desolate spots away from civilization. One of the most famous cases of alleged abduction took place in New Hampshire on Sept. 16, 1961. In “Mysteries of Alien Visitors and Abductions” by Kathryn Walker, Betty and Barney Hill claimed they were abducted on a lonely road in the White Mountains. Under hypnosis, they revealed that aliens had conducted medical tests for two hours, only to erase their memories of this experience.

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Quickly identify yourself as a peaceful environmentalist

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Some suspect that if aliens were to invade, they would not all be conquerors, and more interested in saving us from ourselves. Check out “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” released in 1951 and remade in 2008. In both versions, aliens arrive to destroy the Earth unless humankind can learn to live peacefully.

In “The Extraterrestrial Answer Book,” alien expert Jim Moroney says, “Sustainable development will be the future of humanity ... Human beings are part of the environment and we have the potential to live in harmony with it with minimal impact.” Moroney proposes that living green will help people participate in an evolution of consciousness with aliens.

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Avoid national monuments at all costs

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If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that aliens like to make aggressive statements by blowing up objects of patriotic pride and sentiment. Look no further than “Mars Attacks” and “Independence Day.” An unintended effect of this destruction is that the destruction of sentimental monuments only stirs the human need to fight back.

Stephen Hawking believes that an aggressive alien invasion is entirely possible and would not end well for us. “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” Hawking says.

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Careful with that video camera

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If aliens were to invade, who wouldn't want to capture the event? But this can be a tricky. Filming an alien invasion would put you right in the middle of the first attack wave. And as alien movie buff James McMahon notes, it is possible to take your filming duties too seriously.

In reference to the film “Cloverfield,” McMahon writes, “it was quite ridiculous that none of the characters, faced with a gigantic extraterrestrial creature striding through New York ... didn’t put the video camera down at least once.” So, if you decide to film, use common sense and make sure your video camera is not a hindrance to your survival.

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Avoid meteorites and their crash sites

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If aliens were to plan a more subtle invasion, they might first enter our planet via seemingly innocuous meteorites. Meteorites can turn out to be spaceships with disastrous results. In John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” an alien life form wreaks havoc in the Antarctic after researchers reveal a buried space ship.

In the real world, NASA continues to look for evidence of alien life. At the NASA-sponsored Space Science Institute’s Alien Earths exhibit, children are taught that the first alien life we discover most likely won’t be green and have enormous eyes. Rather, scientists will be looking for microbes and other life forms in the atmospheres of distant planets.

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Stockpile ordinary stuff like water

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Despite clear technological superiority, it is possible that aliens might be thwarted by the simplest substances on our planet. In the film “Signs,” aliens initiate an elaborate invasion that doesn’t take into consideration that our water is toxic. Humanity prevails.

But not all aliens would be so easily dissuaded. Aliens have taken many biological forms throughout history, but the predominant class of aliens sighted today are called “grays.” Based on alleged abductees’ testimonies, expert Frederick V. Malmstrom reports that grays generally appear short and gray. Further, “80% of our sample [of reported aliens] had the typical UFO face: prominent, somewhat diagonally oriented eyes, double-slit nostrils, and little or no evidence of a mouth.”

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Prepare for biological warfare

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Simple things might be our greatest defense against aliens, but what about more complex organisms, such as the flu virus? H.G. Wells’ science-fiction classic “War of the Worlds” mentions that flu and bacteria — as "God in his wisdom has put upon the Earth" — could spell the end of invading aliens. So it's worth a shot to sneeze and cough in the direction of alien invaders. Finally, don’t rule out a biological weapon that might appear as a result of an alien/human hybrid. As evidenced in the TV miniseries “V,” a new bacteria based on the alien invaders could be used against them.

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Have unfinished business

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Finally, survival of an alien invasion is almost ensured if you have an emotional issue to work out with your family. Tom Cruise reunites with his estranged family at the end of Spielberg’s remake of “The War of the Worlds.” Will Smith’s familial relationships are affirmed at the end of “Independence Day.”

Susan Sontag discussed science-fiction films from 1950 to 1965 in her essay “The Imagination of Disaster.” As Sontag wrote, “For one job that fantasy can do is to lift us out of the unbearably humdrum and to distract us from terrors — real or anticipated — by an escape into exotic, dangerous situations which have last-minute happy endings.” So if you aren’t estranged from anyone, consider making it so.