This was supposed to be an interlude post, a small little appetizer for you, dear readers, while you waited for the full course meal that was Holy Land USA. Little did I know I had more than enough to make a full weekly post on the topic. In fact, this will be a two parter. The first will deal with the Satellite, the second will deal with the events attributed to it.
Many conspiracy theories stretch the boundaries of logic and reason to their very limits. Ones like “Every leader is actually a cannibalistic psychopathic lizard” or “9/11 was actually caused by a space laser combined with holograms”
Then you have the ones that, while still unbelievable, are within the realms of possibility, if only just barely. Disclaimer: I don’t actually believe the black knight is an alien satellite; its just a fun yarn to talk about.
Now before you scoff at the idea of an alien satellite cut loose into the vast vacuum of space that contains coordinates back to it’s makers as the rantings of a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist with ten years of canned food in his garage, remember that we did the exact same goddamn thing when we made Voyager, but with a solid gold slab of two naked people…. and among other things a photo of a laughing woman standing alone and eating grapes in a grocery store aisle. Yes we are so obsessed with photos of women laughing alone while eating fruits and veggies that we actually immortalized our society with one.
(Image credit: National Astronomy And Ionosphere Center)
The idea of the black knight, in it’s most basic form, probably resonates with us because it’s something that humans have already done to try to make contact, so it would stand to reason that we wouldn’t have been the only species to think “hey lets launch a notepad into space”. It’s actually a pretty sane alien conspiracy theory. Alien sends out probe, and an untold thousands of years later the probe gets stuck in the orbit of some backwater ape planet in the outer arms of the milky way. It doesn’t assume the other society is advanced enough to break any laws of physics like with FTL drives or wormholes, and it doesn’t assume that object in question is hyper advanced other than that it’s a very durable solar powered probe (Well within the realm of physics). This is one of those rare times that “aliens” would be a reasonable explanation, if not for the fact that if it were infact an alien radio beacon the scientific community would be creaming their drawers in excitement and it would be all over every newspaper. After all, there is no containment procedure supposedly enacted on the satellite, and while it is true you have to be knowing what your are looking for, there are so many SETI people out there I doubt every last one would pass up on a lead as big as a supposed alien probe if it meant sifting through space junk. After all, our technology is far more advanced than that used by the first person to supposedly hear it’s signal: Tesla. According to the proponents f the theory, we have even photographed it multiple times, and you can find the photos on NASA’s website. Its pretty obvious why the story sticks with us in that regard, and no advanced narrative analysis is needed here.
Stuff gets a little weirder though, as peoples imagination will always go wild when presented with blank spaces to fill in. One of these theories thrown around is that the Black Knight Satellite is actually an ancient space weapon from Epsilon Bootes, that destroyed human civilization 13,000 years ago, and that Whales are really the rulers of the planet, and the satellites actual target. And that they are so traumatized by it’s effects they are hiding deep in the ocean to escape it’s terrible, terrible gaze, lets they get shot again.
Where the hell did that come from?
Well as it turns out, the idea of early humanity being annihilated-but-surviving circa 11,000 BC seems to be a re-occuring story and a favorite of everyone from UFO enthusiasts to the rapture-expectant. Googling “12,000 BC” for example, returns conspiracy results on the very first page, including such theories as “America was nuked” (That location is important for part 2, keep it in mind) or “Noah’s flood actually occurred during this time.” Welcome to the rabbit hole.
Well looking into the general date range (because 13,000 years ago can mean anything from 11,000 BC (2,000AD-13,000 years) to 13,000 BC we see several things. The first is, regardless of whether you are talking about 13,000 BC or 11,000 BC, that it’s considered the beginning of the “rise of civilization”. Mankind began to domesticate animals and invent technology faster. The 13,000 BC calamity theory seeks to explain why we didn’t do all this earlier with an answer of “we did; it was taken away from us.” This theory also references the fact that the most recent Quaternary extinction event was, you guessed it, 13,000 years ago. We aren’t actually entirely sure what caused the most recent Quaternary, although scientists believe it was a combination of over hunting and climate change. But one hypothesis stands out as the source for all these 13,000 BC calamity theory; the comet hypothesis.
We are getting closer to finding the origin: the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis. First presented circa 2007, the hypothesis says that the earth, or more specifically North America, was bombarded by comets, not only causing climate changes but also creating explosions powerful enough to produce nano diamonds, a mineral found in the ground where a nuclear explosion has taken place. Now nano-diamonds are not necessarily the result of nuclear explosions, and the comet hypothesis is one of the most controversial put forward to explain the Quaternary Event, but we see here the birth of the 13,000 BC nuke theory. If the black knight arrived in 13,000 BC, that would coincide perfectly with the timing of the Younger Dryas Impact hypothesis. But why is the Black Knight “13,000 years old.” We know that bad stuff happened around then, but why is the satellite attributed to it? well as it turns out the Black Knight Satellite is attributed to a lot of stuff throughout history, much like Sarkozy was in that fresh hip meme circa 2009 where they would insert the former french President into every historical event ever.
(Image Credit: Pablito’s Fakes)
It has been attributed to the black object sighted during the space race and to the signals that Nikola Tesla detected from space. The Black Knight is, in this regard, a sort of “instant answer” to many conspiracy theories. Tunguska event? Black Knight. Nicola Tesla’s signals? Black Knight. Anachronistically advanced satellites during the cold war? Black Knight. Quaternary Extinction? Land owning black-clad soldier who has revoked his fealty to a lord. But once again, why 13,000?
There are indeed sightings of what is described as a “Black Missile (here meaning moving object) appearing in the sky during the cold war far before man was supposedly capable of putting an object in such an orbit. This sighting is genuine, and it even shows up in a newspaper.
In other words, it’s true that an unknown satellite did in fact pass through the sky, but in yet another story of cold war shenanigans it was the government fooling itself, by not properly telling itself about it’s own secret satellite it spurred countless low rung CIA agents into a sweaty panic, as while the higher ups knew of it’s existence the foot soldiers were likely convinced they had fucked up colossally, as in “Soviet satellite has been watching you for weeks and you didn’t notice” colossally. This is one case where saying “Aliens” would have led to less public panic.
Nicola Tesla did in fact claim he was receiving signals from an extra terrestrial source, but he never said it was from a satellite, let alone the Black Knight. In fact, he thought it was from Mars.
Long Delay Radio Echoes had been reported in scientific studies since at least the 1920s (Tesla’s report did not gain acceptance, it appears) and Professor Bracewell of Stanford University said he had heard talk among radio astronomers of an object that would mimic and return any pulse sent to it within three or so seconds. This distance would place it somewhere in the vicinity of the moon’s orbit, but not on the moon itself. He concluded it was some kind of alien probe, and the results of the LDRE experiments Tesla conducted earlier were retroactively attributed to this mysterious probe in the vicinity of the moon. This part of the stories evolution makes sense; by this point astronomers knew that Mars most likely did not have hyper advanced life on it (though they hadn’t ruled out the possibility of more primitive life yet) and so attributing Tesla’s “Mars signals”, which had to have come from within the solar system, as actually coming from the supposed moon probe is an easy jump to make (since both assume Extraterrestrial communication anyway). The connection between the top secret Corona satellite and the black knight probably steams from the fact that the Corona was described as “black” in the eyewitness reports, and “unknown satellite that is black and has been orbiting before we were able to put satellites in orbit” is pretty much an exact description of the black knight. Not a huge logical jump here. Duncan Lunan, considered the father of the black knight theory, took it upon himself to decode the pulses detected circa 1920. He followed Bracewell’s suggestion that the signals were a star chart, and set to decoding the numbers. Eventually he produced what did indeed appear to be a star chart, but it placed a star in the wrong location… for the present day. Thirteen thousand years ago, the position supposedly given by the satellite would have been correct, which means if this signal did come from a probe it was made or at least programmed thirteen thousand years ago, when the star would have been in the position shown on the chart. The chart itself seemed to focus on the Epilson Bootes system, so that’s where the satellites apparent origins and apparent age enter the narrative. Duncan Lunan since withdrew this theory (since it recently became apparent the star was too young for intelligent life yet) but it had already stuck. So now all that’s left for this half is where on earth the name of “Black Knight” comes from.
According to Google analytical data, the name was already in use when data was first recorded in 2004.
But Duncan Lunan did not even use the phrase “Black Knight” or even “black” in his study of the probes supposed signal. So the name must have entered the discussion sometime between the 1960s and 2004, unless the name already existed and was retroactively attributed to Lunan’s research (as it seems tons of things regarding the black knight are).
In fact, the closest mention of the name was from the 1960s, where the DOD calls it the “dark satellite” when acknowledging the reports they have received. It appears that the name was made up by an unknown third party, a jump from “dark satellite” to “black knight Satellite”. Not only did it sound really goddamn cool, but Black Knights were master less knights, unable to wear colors due to not having a lord. So it was a fitting name for a weaponized observation satellite cut loose in the wind.
Now that we know the narrative origin of the Black Knight, we will take a look at the events attributed to it, why they are blamed on our favorite Monty Python character, and how, according to some doomsday preachers, it apparently proves that whales are actually the masters of the world, biding their time until the shifting poles drive us insane. Or something. See you in a few days!
Next time, Narrative Analysis of Conspiracy, Double Feature: the 13,000 BC Calamity & The Black Knight Satellite. Part 2: The 13,000 BC calamity.
I for one welcome our new Whale overlords.