Monday, April 25, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: U is for Unmarked Helicopters

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories U
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: U is for Unmarked Helicopters

Few things say "New World Order" or "Military Industrial Complex" quite as nicely as an unmarked military helicopter.

Sightings of unmarked helicopters began in 1970s, often in conjunction with or near cattle mutilations (which I have not even touched yet).  They were even spoken about in  Hal Lindsey's book "The Late, Great Planet Earth" (which I have talked about before).

 More recently Unmarked Helicopters have been the center of growing concerns about the military arming of local police and the extensive powers used by the US government to keep tabs on the American citizens.  Like what Homeland Security does.

There is also some evidence (though nothing I could easily verify) that the CIA was using a black Vietnam-era helicopter to put in phone taps.  

My first experience with Unmarked or Black Helicopters was from the movie Capricorn One. A movie about a conspiracy to fake the first manned mission to Mars.

The UFO Connection

Many sightings of black or unmarked helicopters will occur after a purported UFO sighting.  The most commonly held belief is that these helicopters are from the government and looking to either investigate or cover up the sighting details.  I even read one where the helicopters are in fact the same people/aliens/group that were responsible for the UFO.

Cattle Mutilations

We never hear much about this anymore, but in the 1970s this was newsworthy stuff.  Typically a rancher or someone would find dead cattle that had organs or body parts removed such as an eye, ear or sexual organs. The wounds would clean and sometimes even cauterized.  There would be a complete lack of blood found in the area leading some to believe that the cattle had lifted up and out where the mutilations would occur and then deposited back.  No mean feat when you consider your average cow weighs around 1,600 lbs and a bull over 1 ton.   Since the helicopters were usually spotted in the area it lead many to believe that they were the cause of it.  Obviously, these people never took my stats courses where I make sure my students know that "correlation is not causation."

The rumors that the military was testing some sort of new "death ray" (these conspiracy types really want a death ray) mounted on silent unmarked helicopters were the most popular. 


I have learned that if I want a crazy conspiracy theory in my games there is nothing I can create that will outdo the theories created by my players.  When I am putting ones together I try to keep a certain level of game logic in place. That way when things come up I have a reason for it.  My players are not burdened by such.  So sometimes I throw something out there just to get them spinning.

Unmarked helicopters are great for this.

Have a scene where the characters are investigating something?  Doesn't really matter what. A murder, a UFO sighing, a kitten stuck in a tree?  All of these things are now suddenly more sinister and involve the "Deep State" by putting an unmarked helicopter in the sky above it.

I got to see this demonstrated in real life at work a few years ago.  We were all sitting in our office on the 5th floor just having a normal day when someone spotted a helicopter hovering over the building across I80 from us.  Now seeing a helicopter over the interstate or expressway in Chicago is not a big deal, there are traffic and new helicopters in the sky all the time.  But this one was just hoovering there in the middle of the afternoon.  Well after the morning rush and well before the evening rush.  We all had to stop and watch it.  To see what it was doing.   Turns out it was changing the light fixtures over the interstate. It was hoovering because we could not see the ground crew affixing the new light fixture to it.  Normally this would have been done by crane, but the light was situated in such a way that a crane was not easily maneuverable in that area. 

So next time I need to shamelessly turn up the tension I'll put an unmarked helicopter in the sky and have it fly off before any of the characters can capture any details about it. 

And I have play this song as well.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).


PT Dilloway said...

These days they can probably use drones for a lot of the helicopter stuff. A lot smaller and quieter.

Lisa said...

Oh, black helicopters! My brother is quite a conspiracy guy. He saw some "black helicopters" once when he was checking gas lines in a remote area. Of course, he believes a lot of crazy things...

Jayashree Srivatsan said...

The cow story seems creepy !!

Arlee Bird said...

I've heard of the "Black Helicopters" for quite sometime. I don't know that I've ever seen one, but it is certainly possible. There are helicopters flying over where we live quite often, but they are almost always Sheriff Dept copters. But every once in a while there are those weird off-the-wall helicopters that I don't know what they are. Probably just private helicopters or something.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out