For readers of The Daily Grail who are interested in the weird UFO theories that began to pop up amid the US research community in the late 1980s and early 1990s –especially if you’ve already gotten your hands into Adam Gorightly’s book Saucers, Spooks and Kooks– then this documentary is definitely worth your while.
The Conspiratologist pays homage to the life and work of Japanese-born American researcher Norio Hayakawa, a name who may not be as famous as that of the likes of Bill Cooper or Bill English –who themselves may not even be as prominent nowadays as they once were thirty years ago, back in the days of Art Bell’s Coast to Coast and UFO bulletin boards on Compuserve; but nevertheless Norio managed to find himself, either by chance or fate, right in the center of the paranoid storm that took UFOlogy over in the 90s after the release of the infamous MJ-12 documents, which managed to convince a great deal of enthusiasts and investigators that the US military apparatus had recovered a number of crashed flying saucers over the years, and were busily engaged into trying to replicate their technology in ultra-secret bases like Area 51, away from the eyes of the public –and even outside any sort of Constitutional oversight.
This is the type of conspiracy thinking that not only gave rise to “The X-Files” in popular culture, but eventually festered on and mutated into a myriad of right-wing anti-government mythologies; like Project Blue Beam, which would make use of classified military technology to simulate a bogus alien invasion that would facilitate the establishment of the New World Order, or the construction of FEMA camps (which were going to be revealed “any minute now”) where citizens would be sent in if they resisted the NWO ‘globalists’.
The old conspiracy theories of the 1990s are the roots that permitted Alex Jones and the modern Q-Anon to blossom in the 2020s.
But Norio is no tinfoil-hat conspiracy loon. He prefers the term “conspiratologist” (a neologism coined by Gary Schultz) in order to distance himself from the crowd who type in all caps and keep maps tangled with colored threads in their basement office. And in truth, some of the experiences he had while he was actively investigated the claims of Bob Lazar, could have made anyone spiral down into madness –like being chased down by an unmarked black helicopter while he was escorting a Japanese TV crew to film alleged UFOs near Area 51.
So it is a credit to Norio that for whatever reason, either his cultural origins or his other life interests (he’s an accomplished musician and his love for his adopted home of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is shown in his passion for Western country music) he successfully managed to peer into the Abyss and turn away just in time, before the Abyss consumed him entirely.
Nowadays Norio is not a full-fledge skeptic because he still believes there IS something going on which causes people (like his own parents) to experience UFO events occasionally. But the things he observed around people like Bob Lazar –things you will NEVER hear Jeremy Corbell mention in an interview– convinced him that, aside from the genuine mystery, there is also an ongoing effort to exploit UFOs in order to manipulate public perception and belief systems. And the spread of misinformation becomes fertile soil for opportunists who will always be there seeking to profit from the confusion.
Perhaps the only way to inoculate oneself from the modern heirs to 1990s Conspiranoia (we all know who they are) is to pay attention to what happened before they arrived to the scene, in order to better understand how anti-government mentality and disparaged mythologies crosspollinate with the UFO lore until one can’t tell shit from shinola, as Terence McKenna used to say.
…And maybe learning to play the keyboard and singing Country music wouldn’t hurt either, as I’m sure Norio would agree.
Many thanks to filmmaker Justin Jay Jones.