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One Year: Elvis, the Pledge, and Extraterrestrials


Three stories from one day in August 1977. Elvis Presley dies, and the National Enquirer goes after the ultimate tabloid scoop: a photo of the King in his coffin. A New Jersey high schooler becomes a pariah when she refuses to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Astronomers in Ohio get a mysterious signal from outer space—could it be a message from aliens?

One Year is produced by Josh Levin, Evan Chung, and Madeline Ducharme. Mixing by Merritt Jacob.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey slow burn listeners thanks for all of your great feedback on our new show. One year we really appreciate it. We're gonna drop a few more. Besides in this feed, while slow burn team is hard at work on season sex coming out this fall but best way to follow one year, is in its own feed in your podcast up, you'll get off or episodes as soon as they come out, plus bonus content. You can't get anywhere else. Just one year from slate on any podcast up. one thousand two hundred and twenty eight a dot m on August 16th. One thousand nine hundred and seventy seven and from Indiana snapped a photo of Elvis Presley with a codec is ETA Cameron, That picture shows Elvis at the front gate of grace land heading back home after a late made dentist appointment, he's driving a black luxury car. the black hawk three all this is right. Hands on the steering wheel and he's holding up his left is, though, is.
a casual wave he's wearing Our sunglasses, It's like you might be smiling, but it's hard to tell As far as anyone knows it's, the law asked image ever taken of Elvis Presley alive Lastly, the king of rock and roll down at the age of forty two, you saw millions of records more than any one in the music industry, except the Beatles we are left with is a life that business stuff on savings. I think he'll be wasting every member that came out of America. on the afternoon of August sixteenth, in Calder convened an emergency meeting at his office in Land Hannah Florida. We will agree do you still alive running a major front? Page story Elvis culture was the editor of the National inquirer, It was on him to decide how to cover the kings death he had got. The hell you got fat, he was not. major star. That particular point.
Change, big time when he died. You don't have to be any kind of brilliant caution to know that this was the biggest thing I decided I gotta sending troops were less covered either to get a whole bunch of reporters to Memphis Tennessee, and he needed to do it very quickly? We rented the jet. put about six different people on the jet plan worth fifty thousand dollars in cash and said Let's just do it. How do you get fifty thousand dollars, I call my money guy, my treasurer instead get me fifty thousand dollars they met. Banking picked it up We sent another fifty those later that money with the inquirers, not so secret weapon, the report Is that even called or send to Memphis Regan? buy up as many scoops as possible. Under traditional journalistic ethics? Paying
Information is forbidden, the New York Times, Wouldn't do it and neither with the Memphis commercial appeal but the nest? to enquire how absolutely no qualms, happened was that the local papers, who really do like us stocking make up a big story? They want to give money aware there trying to bright people and stuff like this, True, we know the money and with the right people we just did it legitimately the Enquirer and its huge pile of cash ripped through Memphis. like a tabloid tornado after This is death cauldron, his team broke every rule of journalistic propriety and when there it was done. They'd, made newsstand history Elvis is death on August. Sixteen nineteen, seventy seven, debated the nation but it wasn't the only thing that happened that day
on this season of one year, we're looking at most consequential and fascinating moments of eighteen, seventy seven and in this ex episode, I'm going to three stories from a single day in August, one is about a mysterious signal from outer space. Another is about a high school sophomore. came in american pariah. But first national inquires quest for the ultimate celebrities, I'm Josh lobby is one year Eighteen. Seventy seven.
This episode of one year is brought to you by season. Two of the relentless podcast from lead studios and century twenty one real estate. an award winning host author, an entrepreneur Kristen minds her for conversations with diverse leaders about the surprising ways they deliver extraordinary experiences for their clients. You learn. These leaders are embracing change during these president at times and find out. Their staying, relentless fees. Two of the relentless is out now listen and subscribe. Wherever you get your pot costs incurred, I started working for newspapers in Scotland when he was sixteen years old the media scene in the UK was extremely competitive and culture would do anything to win. If some little kid had trained in a canal. You would go in an interview? The pimps and I learned The cry on cue but then
that's your photographs, we need a photograph of the little boy. Are you trying to say of every single picture in the house. So when the other, papers that there would be a desert, your second, the hellish a problem here, the baby away, because the other guy would do the same thing culture got hired by the Enquirer in nineteen. Sixty four in those days the american tabloid distinguished itself by publishing Gore, including a photo of a police officer marrying a severed head but by the Seventys the Enquirer had cleaned itself up and become supermarkets staple cultures? newspaper ran stories on government waste fad diets, and every kind of celebrity scandal in eighteen. Seventy seven threat a weekly regulation of five million material staff hard charging mischievous british experts, the bizarre replacing the world were you ever. Unlimited budget, basically
if you wanted to sit beside of celebrity on the key Could you could do it? Tony Brenner He was a roving editor for the Enquirer, which lead to the Philippines, Japan, Moscow, pretty nice gig. Actually when Elvis Presley died When I got on that private jet from Florida Tennessee in the days that followed the Enquirer sent more and more reinforcements and took off an entire floor of a holiday and turned it into a news room. in fact she phones and them we have Sir TE reporters string is there in August. Nineteen, seventy seven it fell. the whole world had descended on Memphis
it was as if the king of England died. It was insane thousands of mourning, Rosalie bands who had been working on members came from all over the nation. I just can't the lady Fani terrible, I dont know I was personally, but I've seen lavish shows. I feel like he's. A friend of mine is unreal. Why now living in a day? All of those people wanted to pay their respects to the king of Rock and Roll and they wanted something to remember Elvis by something they could hold onto This is going where these teachers right, really as I think it was I would really like you know they probably does. I think its spirit consciousness rather layers around the inquirers money can buy the stories that Elvis fans were desperate to read, who is with him when he died. What final hours look like what
the family secrets that had yet been revealed. All that counts could also by exclusivity for the Enquirer? came out only once a week Signing sources to exclusive contracts was essential. The only and they had to beat the daily papers, and so it was a huge coup when the tabloid struck a deal with the paramedics that carried out this out of grassland. They told enquire, did Elvis his face and neck were blue, and then it took five p the lift him under a stretcher that that Elvis's father cried over the body. Recognising the value of what they had. The Enquirer put them medics on a plane to Florida, where the competition couldn't find them being We are also bought up Elvis his girlfriend Ginger Alden, Odin was in bed with us on the morning of August Sixtyth that afternoon
He found his body slumped in front of the toilet. When I was the big get we we saw, nobody could be add because we had her entire exclusive story. ginger organs first person account was gonna, sell a lot of newspapers but inquirers owner generosity, Pope Junior demanded something more Pope believed he you're stood what readers we're looking for. if they didn't know it themselves in called her again the major, think what you gotta get afford to avail mission is coffin that was late. maybe the PS, the resistance. How could people We loved elvers not want to keep that as a souvenir. there are a bunch of competing accounts of how the national enquire went about getting that photo, but those stories I'll start in the same place, the pie like viewing of Elvis his body August: seventeen, nineteen, seventy seven
and entered a small ante room. It was almost build a copper casket. He was dressed in a white tuxedo. Wearing above sober time. Many of the people as they came out with rock of thousands of mourners passed through grassland to get a glimpse of the open casket But cameras were strictly forbidden, an l his body guards were ready to enforce that order. They suspected tabloids Russia might try and do something crazy like this stuff. They were right even with those bodyguard standing wash the inquiry. Did try to sneak in some photographers one editor later claimed, they went far as sending in people dressed as nuns, but in the end he said, We want just chickened out by this point it was clear they we're gonna need another way in their best hope. Mister some help from the inside the income.
errors photographers waited outside grassland, looking for family members walking out the gate when they spotted one they try. him to his next destination, the guy in a bar and then goes into the air? The restroom you're doing whatever he doesn't at their and our guy sailors up beside him, and says I am from the Enquirer you're one of elvers. He police it yeah, I'm his second cousin or every was he said. You like to make a few thousand dollars negation. Tell me about When that cousin heard the assignment he said he but a try. Do I gave him a three hundred dollar mean ox by camera, with its range set to five feet. The cousin managed to snap for images the Enquirer than whisked him and the camera downwards Florida headquarters on yet another private chat. This was pressed cargo
in the tabloid, wanted to develop the photos in a secure location. We and took it over to the dark room. Well, waiting in the fallen a photo editor. He called me first picture said: how was it He said the guy had a camera in the wrong direction. He took a picture himself, Oh, my god, minutes later. He comes second one terrible. He put up in the Arctic, a picture of the lights above Elvis? Oh my god, willing to learn. The third time he said, Fanny it was almost like a provisional picture, with was exactly the same: Those pictures should the right side of Elvis Presley space in profile. His hair is jet black in his is and lips are closed. He looks at
bid younger than in that photo taken. Just after midnight on August, sixteenth the one the chosen driving back from the dentist office in the coffin. He seemed serene and on bothered, of timber six nineteen, seventy seven issue of the National Enquire featured six pages of exclusive Elvis material. There was that interim. With the paramedics, in the tell all from girlfriend ginger. All then the result you a story about Elvis's, bizarre behaviour in the months before he died. Did he kicked his career partners in the green talk to his own reflection, and hired someone to sing the high notes. He can no longer hit. the grocery shoppers and new stand browsers, didn't need to fly inside to see the p the resistance, right there on the front, the last picture Tony Brenna and Ian Calder Savior abolition media did not respect the inquiry
journalistic crime. This is described All this is disgusting stuff. I mean those those sort of comments I call from the AP should eat bread, They want the story on how terrible it was that we would run a picture of- Elvis discover as well. Let me tell you said almost The king, you know of any one user nervous via the London pictures and a reduced demanded that we do the pay and we would only what you could do it. Presley's cousin got eighteen thousand dollars for those photographs, the equivalent of one thousand today for the Enquirer was a great investment. The September six nineteen. Seventy seven issue, so nearly six point: seven million copies most a million more than the tabloids. Previous all time record, an ash suit yourself, I mean I was every copy reprinted that those
story, I dont know, I believe, were a couple of Bandage commend to hold up a supermarket take money. They took all the copies of the over story and photographs. I don't know I've believe that story either those sales figures. However, we're very real: the inquirers owner, generosity hoped Junior was extremely pleased, but Pope didn't get everything he wanted. I actually got thrown out of Memphis by the police a school. To the airport because of Pope I see Elvis, is organs on the scales in a mortuary. We tried to buy some mortuary attendance and to try to get them to photograph day. He would never of population these pictures. He just wanted to see you He does one of them for his personal collection of Oregon foot us a one
the sea elvers, his liver, Elvis his heart and I dont know why he wanted to see it, but he did. He was a very quirky guy and you said- ok I'll, do it I'll try to get that for you? I say why I? U mood did what I was asked to do and resume recycling pay an assassin. If you want- You can buy the Elvis coffin issue of the national enquire on Ebay for about twenty dollars. there's another less tightly cropped version of the famous coffin photo inside the paper on page twenty three. The captain says at peace,
Next, a high school student in New Jersey takes a stand by referred to stand up. You can challenge: America itself. As long you should leave the flag alone. The minute you with that you are the worst kind of person in many people's eyes, on August. Sixteen nineteen, seventy seven she got. Her day in court. That's coming up after the break. If you're listening to this part cast I'm guessing you're a curious person who likes to new stuff about the world. If that's you, I've got a recommendation. You should check out wonder that's w, o n D, r R. U em it's the streaming!
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Writs, I got them to allow girls to wear pants to school Deborah lip she was born in nineteen. Sixty one, up in northern New Jersey, her Arterial rebellion came an elementary school girls, worship, as to where skirts- and I just wasn't having it. So I would just go to school in my pants and the other girls added to notice that I was not getting in trouble and within a few weeks all the girls were wearing pants to school. I got back into a corner. This was not something I felt I should be doing so I didn't do it. calls herself allowed mountain and she's Sir childhood wasn't a peaceful and contented one. I was very combative. I was angry alot moody smarter than everybody. Absolutely convinced that the fact that I was,
Mark made me exempt from many of lace roles definitely made the decision when I was twelve, that Judaism was not feminist and therefore I did not wish to be bought mitzvah, and so I reef used to go through with that, the nineteen seventy five lip moved to Massachusetts to live with her dad for the next year and a half. She went to what describes as a hippie school. It was great Higher school was run one person, one vote. You decide what classes you're going to you put together your own educational curriculum. You can decide, never go to place it on. So I didn't attend a lot of classes, but I knew rubber tools of order. lips dream education, didn't last in earth
in eighteen. Seventy seven her dad got a job back in New Jersey living room in public school in Mountain lakes, a small hilly suburb. Third, miles outside New York City. She was an tenth grade. I was in peak angry rebellion. I was new in town in a small town where everybody had gone to kindergarten there. My social life was, you know, basically disaster, and then I had to have this you allegiance. The pledge of allegiance has been around since the early eighteen languages and it began marketing gimmick France's Bellamy, who worked for a magazine called Youths Companion wrote the pledge is part of push to sell american flags to public schools. Bellamy. Was a former Baptist preacher and he believed
The true americanism was, threatened by mass immigration, he once wrote that the we must guard more jealously even than their liberties, the quality their blood, the play, Was quickly adopted in classrooms across Amerika up until world war to stay, recital it with their right arms outstretched in stiff salute that got change to hand over the heart, because regional gesture resembled the Nazis, sick, Heil another Change came in thousand fifty four when Congress added the words under God to destroy the United States as values from those of godless communism. I just knew that that was something that I believed in I am very conscious: of the way that religious liberty in this country is one of the core
freedoms that we have and most of the people who want to say under God. I believe that this is. Christian nation, and it is not the pledge of allegiance hadn't been a thing Deborah lips, hippy school in Massachusetts, but it mountain legs high school in New Jersey Stand, up to say. The pledge was an everyday home room ritual one that lip few to go along with that. minute, I was seated during the pledge of allegiance. There were people cursing at me. Other students there were people muttering under their breath in their pointing at me there being, directive, I'm not the one being disruptive and the teacher was doing nothing on like this. For a couple of months, Deborah Lip can you to stay seated and her classmates. And you d grumble and then and may nineteen seventy seven she got your home room teacher
I was sitting the rest of the class withstanding. The teacher was standing in front of the room with her hand over her heart and, with her other hand, going like making hissing at me and and motioning to get up. When the kids, muttering under their breath, when the teacher is making that hissing sound. Does that make you feel more like adamant that, if you're trying to get me to do it, I'm gonna sit that much More firmly in my sea, oh yeah, like doesn't react that way when they are told here is the one thing you must not do her lips teacher. She was until the next morning I got to school. A few minutes early and she grabbed me outside the classroom and said you can eat
stand or you can be expelled. So I went to the principal and he pulled out a little hand book of the legal rights of students in the state of New Jersey, and I was shocked at nineteen. Forty three The United States Supreme Court ruled that public schools could not for students to salute, american flag and say the pledge of allegiance but a new Jersey, state law requires students like Deborah lip. To always a full respect of the flag by standing at attention to bandit attention for the pledge of allegiance is in fact participating, and I knew I had the right absolutely understood the sitting was a form of speech. I was, able to articulate this. In these words, when I was sixteen, but the thoughts were definitely these- that the way
to be a loyal American to me is not to make a pledge of loyalty. The way to be an American is to be fundamentally a revolutionary to fight for, what's right to use constitutionally provided protections to advocate for free speech and freedom of religion and freedom of the press and in oath of loyalty is the opposite of that threaten by her teacher and principal lip had to make a choice. I mean one of them. Thoughts that went through my head is, I could just be late every day for school until I graduated so as to miss the pledge mean I didn't know what to do and at home from school that afternoon, found, the seal you in the phone book, and they took my case within
full of weeks, a New Jersey judge issued a temporary restraining order, borrowing its high school from punishing her I remember. Turning to my stepmother and say I guess this is gonna show up in the citizen, which was the local weekly give away like had no idea what was about to happen. Somebody picked it up and if, when very quickly from local to the New York Times, then it was everywhere In that times, article lip called the New Jersey law absolutely absurd. She said if I'm We breathe a stand and not sit during the pledge that I'm not free at all the story also included a photo of the teenager. She was wearing glasses and a striped halter dress and she was standing in front of an american flag. Once lip story had the papers some support of phone calls strangers praising
quest for justice and telling her she was brave. one of those well wishers would later become her first husband. I remember thankfully, that I was cleaning up a huge mess that the dogs had made, so I was just eager to take a phone call. You know He had seen my picture in the times, so he called- and he congratulated me in any chatted me up and then he flirted with me and then he asked me out on a date and our first date was the fourth of July, which was great as it turned out, because there was a rally against me in my home town, but I wasn't home for it the better the foreign wars, disabled american veterans, catholic WAR veterans we're all united against her in the year. through the flag waving frenzy, the bicentennial that July. Fourth rally reflected the mainstream consensus endeavour. community Someone even made bumper stickers that said ship, the lips to Siberia,
we're passionately vitriolic and the level of nastiness and anxious. ways Venus to this day, blue To my mind, I hadda five rolled sister Was not allowed to play with the five year old across the street because she was a lip. What was the five year old gonna? Do my parents? They were kind of horrified politically. They agreed with me, but they did not want this to be happening. They did not want the attention they did not want any of it. I ask if we could have and unlisted phone number, because they hate calls, would not stop and they said will all of our friends this number that would inconvenience us so in addition to being a listed phone number. I is required to be the one answered all phone clause so that if it was hate speech, I
the one receiving it, it was brutal, you're. A communist go live in Russia string unintelligible curses bomb threats. and Anti Semitism that that will be the highlights on The sixteenth nineteen, seventy seven Deborah lip travelled to a federal district court the Newark New Jersey. She went with attorney and her boyfriend the guy she met over the phone her parents chose not to attend. I was complete confident and my lawyer was also a hundred percent, confident the judge his name was Curtis meaner and he was very Norman Rock, while looking guy he rolled in court. That day We were not in court for even a half an hour judge it is meaner, declared the New Jersey State LAW unconstitutional. He said illegally compelled symbolic speech. In violation of the first amendment. Anything.
the Deborah lip. Would cause any disruption by sitting down. So long as she didn't whistle drum or tap dance. I felt great, I felt vindicated I felt Patriotic, I do remember that my case was decided the day that Elvis start so my picture, and this picture or on the front page of every paper. In the? U S, you dont forget a thing like that. not long after the judge ruled in her favour Deborah leapt. Back to mountain lakes, high school for her junior year. A lot of people hated me, but the teachers gave me a wide berth because they knew that if they messed with me, I would fight them and I became- kind of a little bit of a leader among the alternative people and they hippies, which was very few in that very conservative town. I had a voice
Berlin is sixty years old, now, she's a practising wicked actors on paganism and the occult. she's also the author of the ultimate James Bond Fan book, I'm kind an interesting person and most of the other things. I've done have not been political, but I look back at this case and I am proud that I did it and I still believe that what I did was patriotic. So that was traumatic. I got some skittish nervous that took me a fairly long period of time to get past in terms of not wanting to be exposed like that again. If I may a public place today, and everybody stands for the pledge allegiance. I actually do stand because my time, parents for being attacked by crowds, has gone down as I've aged. I fight for things all that time. I remain a troublemaker bed. I learned the hard way that make
a spectacle of myself isn't an easy thing to live with. Victory change the law in New Jersey. The pledge of allegiance is still highly contested terrain. The supreme It has never ruled on whether its constitutional require students to stand at attention during the pledge. All these AIDS, later children nationwide or fighting the same fight Deborah lifted in eighteen. Seventy seven Texas in supporting a huge area school expelled, a student after she refused to stand for the flag or in the U S eleven year old, pull county student arrested at school. After fusing stared for the pledge of Visas asked me to get up. I mean our Stuart said. No, but spirit and snatching me out of a chair, frustrating to you to see this story still in the world. Its enormously frustrating. I have made it a point. Every time, there's in a case since then to sit down and right supportive letter. My
daughters, high school teacher contacted me because you wanted me to know that my daughter was sitting during the pledge of allegiance and then she wanted me to give permission for that, and I said by law you cannot ask for my permission. She has the app look right to do that. Regardless of my opinion, the teacher, responded. Ok, just wanted to make sure she had your permission. horrifies me that their teacher, These are not taught that students have civil rights. weep for a country that doesn't cherish its own freedoms to the extent that I am the villain and somebody else's story- don't know what it is to be an American of next justice
we're midnight on August, fifteenth, nineteen, seventy, seven and explain. Transmission arrives from outer space. I There is a strong point. Stability then was a signal from extraterrestrial civilization. We'll be right back. This episode is brought to you by male champ. As the host one of the most employee
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Eighteen, seventy six and seventy seven it featured up on the Bermuda triangle them he's curse and big thing he's been seen many times in the rugged mountains, in the words of the Pacific Northwest, the encounters have not always been peace in episode, twelve host, LINEAR Nimois took on the biggest question of them all. The stars and galaxies beckoned us to ask. Are we alone we listen for the answer, The episode was titled a call from space. It just on a group of scientists who believed that giant ultra sensitive instruments might help them to enter. frequencies of other worlds, One of them was an astronomer at Ohio State University. His knee was John Kraus. I think one of the exciting things about all this work is lived. Those of
who were involved are like pioneers. We are exploring the universe a pioneering venture to find out what is out there and perhaps who is out there chrome designed and built a massive radio telescope near the city of Delaware, Ohio and start in eighteen, seventy three: he used the telescope to do something unprecedented. He launched the first ever long term systematic Seti project he searching for extraterrestrial intelligence probability of life developing elsewhere, is hard to determine definitely, but I dont think it is zero If it is not zero, then I think we have a chance crust. Telescope was nicknamed big ear. Well, yes,
big antenna, an enormous antenna flat reflect. About one acre in size, its move in Maths, RAP Reflex incoming waves into the parabola big year had been set up to detect narrow ban radio signals. Is the kind of signal travels by this and we would suspect that any civilization there would you signals of that type? The tell us obscure the skies twenty four hours a day. Three hundred sixty five days a year, some colleagues, Bob Dixon was in charge of the search. Once we had everything running with the telescope through place in the sky. Every few days, Peter would process how the data twelve seconds and IBM mainframe calculated the strength of the radio signal. The telescope was detecting the sea.
not a noise ratio got recorded using a single character, either a d it from one to nine or for anything stronger. A letter from a to Z, every four or so days, ignition gathered the latest readings then bring those reports to volunteer named Jerry, amen Let me see. I've got a shade here, so we're almost up to four hundred pages, so we use a lot of paper even didn't find much to get excited about the thing. those big ear was getting worse, particularly strong. And there was no indication that they were coming from far off worlds. the grandiose quest to communicate with extraterrestrials had turned a dull routine. It seem like that call from space may never come, Nevertheless, joy amen, kept up with a tedious work of poring over those printouts, some
I'm around August Nineteenth eighteen, seventy seven, he sat down his kitchen and began. His usual ritual just sitting at the table. Looking at the print out here, did one sheet of paper that another as usual. you didn't notice anything remarkable and then suddenly he sighed There is just a few pages in hurt me, maybe ten seconds after seeing it, and I just without taking just wrote the word, while excrements compliance with my red ten, thing had come into big ears, receiver on August, fifteenth, eighteen, seventy seven at eleven sixteen pm eastern time, on Jerry Eamon Sheet of paper. That signal appeared is a peculiar string of letters and numbers. I saw the sequence six eight year, J five in channel to that's
whence wasn't a secret code. It was a measure of signal, strength, overtime, six goes to what goes on to queue which goes up to you and then down the J and then down to five stronger signal I had ever seen on the computer printouts six, each you! U J Fox, meant that the radio signal got stronger and stronger picking at the Are you then got weaker until after seventy two seconds it disappeared? looked at their sequence and realized. I looked I've got an antenna pattern here that suggested. The signal itself was coming from a fixed position, in other words, it wasn't getting stronger and weaker because it was moving around in the sky. It was like a flash. Late with shining down from space and the telescope, did the beam for a brief moment as the earth rotated past it.
Even had never seen anything like six, each you! U J, five! He thought be a broadcast from another world, a message from aliens. Can you explain why you wrote wow and the margin well I am actually surprised to hear that question. Most people, speak English, no What the word while means, I think me and said you are surprised yeah surprise something unusual interesting are you there a guy who says wow a lot in day to day life no, not really. If I see, video of the Grand Canyon, I'm thinking while or animals that are behaving in an interesting fashioned fitted
After Jerry Eamon scribbled wow on that sheet of paper, he could This colleagues, John Kraus and Bob Dixon, here's dicks, he said well with reform something here. You ve brownish, look at this. and we all go together for a meeting at the observatory and re excitedly discuss this. Trying to think of something that could have made haven't I accidentally the tea big ear, wasn't going to jump to the conclusion that they found a sign of intelligent life, While the rest of the world was morning Elvis Presley, they ran through all the most plausible explanations for six eat: you? U, J! Five! They control star catalogues to see if the signal might have come from a sunlike object but didn't find anything in that area. The sky there weren't any space probes in the vicinity either and because this no track the pattern of the telescope. So precisely it didn't seem
possible that it was just interference reset the telescope to scan that same region again, but the sick. I'll never reappeared All they had was one tantalizing clue. The astronomers have bigger started, calling it the wow Signal Was intentional broadcast a sort of casting a thing out into space, or was it part of some space communication is it. Maybe there was a how civilization had a spacecraft and then what militating rather just I to be in our direction and protect our time on their? Never again, there's no doubt major doubt that it is a technological signal. The question is just: did it come from earth or did it come from elsewhere Amy Green is the associate editor of future tents partners. Between Slate New America in Arizona State University, Ask her to lay out the evidence that the signal
might be a sign of extra terrestrial life. I think the biggest indication that its extra time, Israel is that it's a very narrow signal. The telescope was recording at fifty different chow. Else, basically- and this is only on one of them and natural sources, while they may be loud on one channel more noise sort of on adjacent channels. Nature doesn't make such clean signals. There is nothing that we know human made out in that direction. So like we picked up a dial tone that someone was shooting from far out there, but there's a good chance. The wireless signal actually came from closer to home, the most plausible donation is that it was some sort of terrestrial earthly technology bouncing off of something and the telescope, was so rudimentary that we just been able to figure it out and there's no,
for us to possibly there's no way to figure it out. Now, it's just gonna, be this enticing thing forever. All of the information that we have is that one speak of a signal. There was something there. It got loud got quiet because we passed away from it. That's all, we know, there's there's no data from the telescope other than that that we could begin to our process herb or squeeze for more information. in nineteen. Seventy seven, the good beyond loomed incredibly large in the popular imagination. The two I grossing movies at the American Box Office Star wars and close encounters of the third Kind but the astronomers that bigger weren't looking to capitalize on all that outer space height there were serious scientists and they didn't to be accused of peddling science fiction, and so, for a while. They kept their fight, to themselves Bob Dixon
did reference. The wireless signal obliquely in document every broadcast, an early nineteen. Seventy nine that's an action that we receive signals. Have you received signals that we simply can't explain there's one really protect each other. I really thought about care from outside the earth. We think there is no question about that very strong but it was only once. John Kraus finally published an article about the well signal in the summer of seventy nine. His conclusion it Would have been a signal from an extra terrestrial civilization, but until comes back again. We can only wait and wonder. No one has ever been able to figure out what it was and it's the biggest unsolved Seti candidate Signal mystery that we have Jamie Green is writing a book.
how we imagine alien life beyond her in science, and science fiction, so we went through a thought. Experiment What would it mean in the gray the scheme of things if our signal did come from extraterrestrials. I think if there is a second instance of complex labour, technologically advanced life, in the galaxy, there's probably a lot of it. I think a lot of scientists would agree that either life is unique or it is abundant understand, so it's either one or a lot. I think so yeah. I think, once you could know that life has evolved more than once to me. That's the ballgame. That means that it's probably everywhere. And odds are mathematically that if there is another technological civilization
it would probably be more advanced than us and so ones. You sent us this little dial tone saying hello, were here, this little beacon are their conversations to be had. Is there a back and forth? in close encounters of the third kind, the science figure out how to communicate with the aliens mothership basic traveller, Yes, but if the wireless signal was a message from aliens and all certainly wasn't too close and counter dependent how far away they are. That could be response. Time of centuries me most and really interesting thing to think about is, if they're, so far away that it's just not really possible to have a conversation. Then what is the point? And even if we could get back and forth, would we be able to actually communicate if they dont send us a Rosetta stone,
all we know might be that they're out there Why would a civilization send us a signal in the first place said that idealistic theory is that they want to welcome a thin TIM, the galactic community. They. The really idealistic version is that they see that we are struggling, whether that's with climate change or war poverty, and they, being so advanced, have solve these problems, and so they're gonna send us the solution. They might just be curious. They might be silent. You know, maybe they just want to know who's out there. There are also the more cynical view of this. The thing want to find us so that they can come, murderous and steal our water or whatever. But it's a lie, of energy to expend to murder. Someone do, I guess, is also a lot of energy to expend just to give some one of long distance hug so
Let's imagine an alternate, mine here, where the wireless signal comes in, for whatever reason were able tat confirm with degree of certainty that its extra terrestrial signal in eighteen, seventy seven. How do you think world we live in now would be different. If at all, I would think that there would have been a big push to send a message back. I think that it would have been diplomatically very interesting. You know who gets to decide what the messages like who gets to speak for earth very idealistic view of this would be that it would have inspired. Sir small global unity may be ended, the cold war a little earlier. Maybe it would have exacerbated the cold war and made ever and more freaked out by aliens coming to kill us there are so many people and animals all across the planet that don't
we enter into our daily sphere of concern? So what how and when there are more people? of miles away. How does that change our daily life and are now I think I mean one thing they are a kind of circling around. Is that One reason to do this kind of Sir just that tells us something about ourselves? It's a mirror way that we imagine aliens to this a lot about what we think is even more intrinsic than human nature. You know what is biological nature. Do assume that becoming more advanced, becoming more intelligent means developing technology. We had radio technology because of the military because of conflict, because of war. Do we assume that war is universal? Do you, war is something to be transcended and that Plans are gonna, give us a little boost. The way that we imagine,
aliens is ways of trying out different futures for humanity. big ears, search for extraterrestrial intelligence went on for twenty two years. The tell US Nope never found anything like the wireless signal again, but sick eat you, U J, five hasn't been forgotten by scientists who are still looking for extraterrestrial life or purveyors of science fiction allows in August Seventy seven, my buddy Jerry, even found a transmission on the print out like this, so excited he read while in the markets, where was here signal thirty times stronger than galactic background noise, the wireless signal is the best evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. They maintain ninety eight for you After that x files episode aired big ear. got demolished to make way for a golf course. The astronomer who designed the telescope John crowds in two thousand for
Some day, this call from space may come It's hard to say when it will the signal that we are looking for might be found within a day when it might be weeks years. It will have profound significance to man. Bob who ran big ears, search for extraterrestrial intelligence thinks it's very likely that there are other civilizations out there. Alex, even so vast was so many millions of stars and planets starts a thing of all the other galaxies. There are the universe It just doesn't seem likely that life evolved over on this particular planet. This is a really really hard question. Earth is a really good play. to live on the sun is a particularly com star. We are lucky to be here, but there's this principle has just called the current.
In principle, this, like a rule of thumb, you should never assume that we are central, that we are special, that we are any of that. So I think I don't know. I want it to be. I want there to be lots of other people out there. You have a rooting interest here, don't you I mean when that be better. Sleep last members can hear more about the culture of eighteen. Seventy seven and the making of one year in a series of members only shows in Timor. Alison you'll, hear one year producer, Evensong and Christmas currency. The host of the late. Podcast him talk. But the music of nineteen seventy seven from number one- hence they Stevie wonder Fleetwood MAC and the Eagle
to the nineteen seventeen library music that you ve heard on this show to listen and members. Only episodes of one year go to sleep dot, com, slash one year, plus it's only a dollar to join sleep loss for your first, my Once you remember, you get all Slade Podcast with no ads and you'll be supporting our work here and one year that sleet outcome Life one year plus next time on one year, nineteen, seventy seven, how America analyse arbored got swept up in the roots phenomenon
very first days, repression, laughter, Sicily, tie simply my mother doktor. My Angelo played my grandma, I mean who was? I was nineteen year old kid from Sacramento. One year is produced by me and having trouble with editorial direction by low in lieu Gabriel Wrong. Madeleine Bouchard, is one year's assistant producer. You can see speed back and ideas and memories from eighteen. Seventy, seven and one year at sleep, dotcom, we'd, love to hear from you are mixed engineer is marriages. The hour for one year by Jim Cook, He called her wrote a book about his time running the national enquire. It's called the told story and Tony Brenna is the author of an unpublished, memoir anything for a headline.
Thank you to the Library of Congress and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Archives in special thanks, a camel did. George plus Gettys built me Mark Joseph Stern Caleb Sharp Isn T right Son Park, Katy Rape, hush a solution Amber Smith Staff Brown, Rachel strong in chow too, thanks for listening we'll be back with more from eighteen. Seventy seven next week.
Transcript generated on 2021-08-05.