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  • Jonathan Shiek

Disturbing Yet True Events That Inspired The X-Files Episodes

No thanks, I think I’ll stick to aliens and baba yaga.

I was never really aware that The X-Files series ran for almost 10 years, with a couple of revival seasons as recent as 2018. I just knew that it was an iconic part of my childhood. I remember getting so scared after watching the week’s episode that I’d refuse to go to the bathroom alone and would get nightmares. My parents would comfort me by saying that it’s just a made up story, that none of the things I saw was real.

But now I realize that’s not entirely true. Out of all 218 episodes, the writers can’t have made up every single thing. And a quick search proved that the episodes based on real events are probably more terrifying than any imaginary monster featured on the show.

Credit: Den of Geek


1.The Toxic Lady

In the finale of season 1, ‘The Erlenmeyer Flask’, a suspect that Mulder and Scully (the main characters of this show, FYI) were investigating suddenly loses consciousness and is driven away in an ambulance. His body starts emitting a poisonous gas when pricked by a needle. Later in the episode, Mulder discovers the suspect hiding in an attic, and when the suspect is shot, Mulder passes out from the gas that escaped from his gunshot wound.

This plot was inspired by an actual case of a woman called Gloria Ramirez. On 19th February 1994 she was brought to an emergency room in Riverside, California. While attending to her, 23 staff members became incapacitated by the smell of her blood. Some fainted, while others experienced shortness of breath and muscle spasms, resulting in five of them being hospitalized. Ramirez herself died 45 minutes after her arrival.

It has been suggested that Ramirez, who was suffering from late-stage cervical cancer, had been self-medicating using dimethyl sulfate. The resulting chemical reaction produced an extremely poisonous and carcinogenic gas, which would explain the effects it had on the people treating her.


2. Jeffrey Dahmer a.k.a. The Milwaukee Cannibal

‘Irresistible’, the 13th episode of season 2, starts with an assistant director of a funeral home getting fired for cutting the hair off of a corpse that was being stored there. The so-called ‘death fetishist’ then began to exhume bodies from local graves and mutilating them, and ultimately started kidnapping and attacking women to satisfy his desires.

The writers definitely drew inspiration from the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. I won’t go into detail, but he murdered and dismembered no less than 17 people, and was also involved in necrophilia, cannibalism and the preservation of body parts. Shudder.


3. Unit 731

This is a two-part episode in season 3, called ‘Nisei’ and ‘731’. It starts with a group of Japanese scientists conducting an autopsy on an alien body. The scientists were then murdered, and the alien body was taken. Mulder and Scully went on to investigate this case, and found links to the notorious Unit 731. The whole episode carried themes similar to horrific human experimentation.

Unit 731 really did exist during the Second Sino-Japanese War of World War II, from 1937 to 1945. It was a covert biological and chemical warfare R&D unit that carried out lethal human experimentation and was responsible for some of the most unspeakable war crimes. It had active branch offices in South East Asia, too. Maybe the term ‘Kenpeitai’ will jog your memory.


4. The Tunguska Event

Another two-part episode, this time in season 4. ‘Tunguska’ and ‘Terma’ features a prehistoric meteorite fragment which oozes out black oil when cut into. This is said to be fossilized alien bacteria. Mulder theorizes that the fragment is related to the Tunguska event which happened in 1908.

The Tunguska event was a massive explosion that happened in Russia, which was estimated to have flattened 80 million trees covering an area of over 2000 km². It was caused by the air burst of a meteoroid falling, although no impact crater was found as it is believed to have disintegrated between 5 to 10 km away from the Earth’s surface. Analysis of micro-samples taken from the impact site showed fragments that could be of extraterrestrial origin.

Credit: Dr Dalek


5. The Philadelphia Experiment

In Season 2, episode 19 called ‘Død Kalm’, a US Navy destroyer escort was found and all the sailors on board appear to have aged a few decades in the span of a few days. The ship disappeared in a location referred to as the 65th parallel where Mulder believes a ‘wrinkle in time’ exists and that the ship was the subject of the Philadelphia Experiment from World War II.

This alleged military experiment was said to really happen in October 1943. It was claimed that the US Navy destroyer escort called USS Eldridge had been rendered invisible, teleported to a few locations and through time, encountering aliens at some point, and killing several sailors on board along the way.

Honestly this last one sounds like a myth at best, although it didn’t stop people from being fascinated by the idea. This is evident in the amount of films produced about this experiment and references made in pop culture. I guess at the end of the day it wouldn’t be called a conspiracy theory if it isn’t slightly far-fetched. With that said, I hope I don’t get any X-Files themed nightmares tonight.

#conspiracy #xfiles

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