Mermaids, Elvis And The Wow! Signal

June 13, 2009

Only once have I ever bought a tabloid newspaper. I can’t recall the exact headline, but I do vividly remember the photo that made the purchase a necessity.

The black and white picture was of an old, bushy bearded salt holding a sandwich with both hands. His mouth was wide open, but he was frozen just before biting into the feast as he recoiled – one eye squinting, one wide open – in disgust.

Sticking out from opposite sides of this unfortunate mariner’s sandwich was the head and tail fin of a mermaid.

It made me dream of a journalistic life, bringing the truth to the people of such amazing things – things that the anti-mermaid sandwich, mainstream media apparently deems to be not newsworthy.

Then, I got distracted thinking about having a fish sandwich.

Happily, the dream is not dead. The other night, I stumbled across something that – with a bit more research – will certainly land me a supermarket rag cover story and, subsequently, journalistic accolades.

It began when I read a story on SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – and how this scientific project is now capable of monitoring a far vaster portion of the skies for potential transmissions from deep space and, thus, proof of alien intelligence, than ever.

The article made mention of The Wow! Signal (pictured above). This signal was one received for 72 seconds on August 15, 1977. There’s a lot of superfluous, scientific gibberish on this signal, but the upshot is that some experts believe “the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal.”

Apparently, in human talk, the source of the signal could have had an intelligent extraterrestrial origin.

The scientists have never found the transmission again.

It was the date, though – August 15, 1977 – that had me forget about aliens and clicking the keyboard to figure out why that date seemed to have some significance.

It was the day before Elvis died.

It should be obvious as to the implication of these two, seemingly unrelated events occurring within a single twenty-four hours…

…the alien signal resulted in – for reasons I have yet to make up – Elvis being sucked into space.

I was headed for third grade when Presley “died” and only remember Vegas Elvis. That period is burned into my synapses.

So, forgive me, but I’ve never really cared enough about the man to take him as even cheap entertainment.

Instead, here are some songs that were hits during the week that Elvis was beamed up and out.

(and, curiously enough, there was a song called The Martian Boogie on the charts)

Alice Cooper – You And Me
from Lace And Whiskey

Ram Jam – Black Betty
from Ram Jam

Supertramp – Give A Little Bit
from Even In The Quietest Moments…

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
from The Spy Who Loved Me soundtrack

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