How Hollywood and news media shaped Alabama’s remarkable extraterrestial history

The interrelation between staged news photography, Cold War paranoia and Hollywood science-fiction

The movie posters of It Came From Outer Space (1953), Forbidden Planet (1956) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) (From left to right © Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Walter Wanger Productions)
Figure 1: Two officers and Ann Hodges pose for a news photographer under the hole through which the meteorite crashed. (© Alabama Museum of Natural History)
Figure 2: Ann’s husband Eugene cradles the meteorite like a newborn baby (© Alabama Museum of Natural History)
‘The Comet’ drive-in theatre at 1176 Odens Mill Road, Sylacauga, photographed in 1949. (Photographer unknown)
Sci-fi films like It Came From Outer Space (1953), Forbidden Planet (1956) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) represented America’s societal fears (From left to right © Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Walter Wanger Productions)
The town of Fyffe was the location of multiple UFO sightings. Between February 11–12, 1989, more than fifty people called the Fyffe Police Department to report sightings. (© Brian Stansberry)
Weekly World News is one of the many papers that retroactively reported on Ann Hodges’ life as a tragedy (© Weekly World News, 31 December, 1991)
Josua Hutagalung posing with the meteorite (© Josua Hutagalung)

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Jelle Havermans

Jelle Havermans (1994) is a visual artist and writer. He writes about horror, true crime and the history of photography and film.