UFOs, Aliens, Ghosts, Shadow People, and other paranormal investigations were the focus of the popular series, The X-Files. In a recent interview with Dean Haglund, who played the character Richard “Ringo” Langly, he shared with me that there may be more truth to the show than most believe.
Haglund’s character, Ringo, was part of a hacker/conspiracy group called the Lone Gunmen. They were originally only going to be part of one episode. However, the reaction by fans in the X-Files online newsgroups was overwhelming, so they became a permanent fixture, eventually warranting their own spin-off program.
Appealing to the technocrats the X-Files got involved with the online communities early on, before blogs and forums when the hot near-instant communication happened on newsgroups, the 8 track of online communities. To further appeal to this crowd Carter and the writers solicited advice from a popular hacking journal called 2600 in order keep Ringo’s hacking lingo up to par.
The show’s creator, Chris Carter, was intent on keeping his show as realistic as possible. In fact, the show’s first episodes were based on actual unsolved FBI files that delved into paranormal strangeness. Haglund said that FBI agents would visit the set at times, and tell the cast and crew that they didn’t know how close to the truth the show really is. According to Haglund, there was a period of time where Carter had asked the actors not to speak at Science Fiction conventions. Carter said that he didn’t consider the X-Files Science Fiction, but “Science Probability”.
Haglund is now often seen at Sci-Fi and UFO conventions. Fans have not forgotten their beloved show. The X-files was a huge hit with a great following of devoted fans, including Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, John Podesta. He is said to enjoy X-file themed birthday parties. Haglund said he came to visit the set, but unfortunately Haglund was not there that day. Podesta’s interest in UFO research is so strong, that he joined the Sci-Fi channel and UFO researchers at the Washington Press Club in a plea to the government to release their secret files on the subject.
It wasn’t all roses though, Haglund had heard about at least one famous critic of the show. Perry Farrell, singer for the bands Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros felt that because of the shows negative bent, it had set back human-extraterrestrial relations by 20 years. Hopefully he is wrong, and no ETs were offended. If they were, I can only imagine what they think of the TV series V.
Haglund says he has always been interested in UFOs, but meeting many credible researchers and seeing their work has made him even more interested. He is also frequently approached by people who want to share their personal encounters with the paranormal. Haglund feels that these people don’t have anywhere to go with their incredible experiences, and so they come to the X-Files actors, who unfortunately can do little more than listen. He shared with me a few of these more fascinating stories.
One of the more interesting stories is one that goes back to the inception of the X-Files. As Chris Carter was getting ready to pitch The X-Files, he met a psychic woman at an exclusive Hollywood party. She told him that whatever he was working on would make it big. Of course she was right, and Carter went on to create one of the most popular TV series in history. However, this woman’s strange story doesn’t end there.
According to this psychic woman she was hired by the CIA to go to Hollywood parties and report back to them the nature of her conversations. She said that she had no idea why they had chosen her, but she accepted the mission of course. She would be informed of the parties of the Hollywood elite and when she would show up, sure enough her name would be on the guest list. Afterwards she would be debriefed. Haglund believes that perhaps this was the CIA’s way of keeping up on what was going on in Hollywood.
If you think that was a strange story, they get better. One gentleman approached Haglund and told him that he was a retired Navy mechanic. He told Haglund that in 1977 in Hawaii he and a few other servicemen were asked to stand in a circle on a patch of grass. The guy in charge threw a metal cube into the center of the circle, and then radioed someone telling them that they were ready. The men all watched in amazement as a dime sized hole melted in the cube. It seemed as though they were part of a test to check the accuracy of some sort of metal melting laser that was not in sight. After this apparent experiment, the men were asked to go on their merry way and told that his event had never happened.
One of the most perplexing stories came from a woman who asked Haglund to sign a drawing of someone that wasn’t him. Haglund asked who the man in the drawing was and the woman told him that he was her husband who was an FBI agent that went missing. The couple lived in Minneapolis and her husband was called off to work on a case in LA. Soon afterwards she received a phone call telling her that her husband had been in a terrible accident and was in a coma. She went to see him, but the man in the bed at the hospital was not her husband. Her husband was over 6 feet tall, and this man was barely 5 feet tall and looked much different. The doctor and officials said that the fingerprints and dental records matched her husband, and that as far as they were concerned, this was him. Nobody believed her, so she turned to TV actors who played characters that investigated these stories. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything Haglund could do but sign the picture and offer his condolences.
Since his character “Ringo” was a hacker, Haglund had hacker fans as well. While working in a production studio, a place he was rarely found, he received a phone call. This shocked him because he didn’t think anyone knew he was there and there were no direct lines to the studios, you had to be connected through the receptionist. The person on the phone said he was part of a hacker group called the Ninja Strike Force. Halglund asked the caller how he knew where he was and how he got through to this phone. The hacked replied, “Dude, I got skills.” The caller wanted Haglund to wear a Ninja Strike Force T-shirt on the spin-off show, The Lone Gunman. Haglund told him that if the Ninja hacker sent them, he would wear one. Unfortunately, the show got canceled soon after they received their shirts, so they didn’t have a chance to make the hacker crew famous.
Among all of these incredible stories, none of the actors or staff had any of their own incredible experiences to report, except for Chris Carter’s run in with the psychic. The writers were believers and had vast libraries of UFO and paranormal material.
Haglund also shared that although Gillian Anderson’s character, Scully, was the skeptic, Anderson was much more open to the idea of paranormal phenomena than her counterpart, David Duchovny.
He also cleared up another mystery for me regarding the Scully character. I, like others, found myself more and more Scully crazy as time went on. Haglund let me in on a little secret. The increased Scully infatuation was all by design. At first she was supposed to be more of a frumpy book smart character, however once they realized that they could market her attractiveness, they made her more hip and fashionable as time went on. All the while, chumps like me fell prey to their scheme, but I am not the only one. Many X-File fans I have talked to felt the same. It’s good they did something, because her annoying skepticism would have been harder to bear if she wasn’t so dang cute.
One last story that I thought was funny is actually about aliens. The little grey ETs were first played by little boys. However, these rambunctious little fellas found the suits fun to wrestle and fight in, similar to those big sumo blow-up outfits. The producers didn’t appreciate how they damaged the expensive costumes with their horse play, so they replaced the little boys with little ballerina girls who were very polite and well mannered. I think their graceful nature made the ETs even spookier.
You can keep up with Dean Haglund at his website: www.deanhaglund.com