5 Ways Governments Battle The Paranormal

Rarely do haunted house movies end with the homeowners hiring a lawyer to sue somebody over all of the poltergeist damage. They totally could in the real world. There are all sorts of laws and policies on the books regarding paranormal dangers. For example ...

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5
Mysterious Italian Fires Were Officially Blamed On Aliens

Back in 2004, there were some serious Scooby-Doo hijinks afoot in Italy. Fridges, TVs, and other appliances were catching fire in a small town. That's not typical outside of the odd Stephen King story, so people rightly wanted to know what was up. Experts came in from all over to investigate, because that's what you do when shit randomly lights on fire. What you don't do is blame it on aliens, but we'll get to that.

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The first theory was that it was mass arson, but that was quickly ruled out. The next theory, which obviously jumped past Logical Theories 2 through 1,000, was that it was supernatural in origin. Faulty electronics? Power surges? Fuck no, it's the Devil. This was backed up by the Vatican when their chief exorcist said he'd seen things like this happen before. Did you know the Vatican had a chief exorcist? And that he assumes faulty appliances are the devil's handiwork? If you feel your date is losing interest, that's a pretty fun fact to throw out.

Instead of simply accepting that Satan was in your shower radio, the Italian government commissioned a full investigation of the phenomenon. It took two years to conduct, cost $1.2 million, and involved a team of scientists which included someone from NASA. And with all this, they determined that the fires were "caused by a high power electromagnetic emissions which were not man-made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts," and thus blamed it on aliens. Over a million dollars and two years of research led to aliens. So this actually was a Stephen King novel.

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The report also mentioned a nearby UFO landing site, which the people behind it tried to walk back when it came out, saying they hadn't 100 percent decided it was aliens, and that maybe it was just a top-secret weapon. You know, those weapons that implode your VCRs? Maybe they should've just stuck with aliens.

Related: 5 Sci-Fi Apocalypses The Government Is Actually Planning For

4
There Are Bigfoot Sanctuaries In America

Lots of people out there want to kill Bigfoot. Which is weird. Aside from starring in a questionable film in which he learns how to play basketball, the dude hasn't done much to offend. But let's be frank, if you manage to shoot a Sasquatch and show its carcass to the world, you're gonna go down in history. I mean, capturing a live Bigfoot would presumably be even better, but that sounds much, much harder (who knows what magic they're capable of). That's why there are laws on the books to keep fame-hungry hunters at bay.

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In 1969, Skamania County in Washington, home of the Fightin' Skamaniacs, declared it illegal to kill Bigfoot. This was partially done to protect a big, hairy fiction, and partially to protect the sorts of people who go into the woods with loaded weapons looking for those fictions. Some years later, the county had to amend the law because they had made it a felony before, and a random county doing that has about as much authority as you standing on your front lawn declaring that it's illegal to marry a Godzilla.

However, they still declared Bigfoot endangered and made the entire county a Sasquatch refuge. And if anyone were to kill a Sasquatch there, it would qualify as murder yet also be a misdemeanor. So Bigfoot's life is only worth one year in jail. Good for him, sorta.

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In 1991, Whatcom County hopped on the Bigfoot bandwagon and also declared themselves a refuge for the large-footed fellow, so he's got a few homes to choose from, should he ever decide to exist for real.

Related: 6 Shockingly Grim Disaster Plans (You Had No Clue Existed)

3
You Legally Have To Disclose A Haunted House To Buyers

The astute among you may read that heading and think, "Why should I disclose the fictional state of my home to potential buyers?" Well, that's a pickle. Whether hauntings are real or not, if you've ever publicly claimed that your home is full of ghosts, then you need to disclose that in many states when you put it on the market. No one is going to make you prove in a court of law that there are specters in your plumbing, but if the reputation is there, then by god, you're required to let everyone know.

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This all came from an actual court case called Stambovsky v. Ackley, in which one Mrs. Ackley had claimed many times that her house was up to its nuts in poltergeists. There was even a story in Reader's Digest about it. Later she sold the house to a dude named Jeffrey Stambovsky without ever mentioning this to him. So an appeals court ruled that since a haunting isn't the kind of thing you can pick out during a house inspection (since most of us don't bring along Ghostbusters gear), you gotta disclose it.

And hey, maybe you'll find one of those buyers who'll actually pay a premium for the chance to get stalked by the Babadook.

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Related: 6 Powerful Groups You Didn't Know Have Post-Apocalypse Plans

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2
The Politician Who Obsessively Hunted The Chupacabra

The chupacabra is a pretty popular cryptid, but what you may not be aware of is that it's also a Millennial, as the history of this Puerto Rican goat sucker only dates back to 1995. If you read the first eyewitness testimony and the ensuing analysis by a psychologist, you'll find notes that the description of the creature very closely matches the appearance of the alien from the movie Species, which the witness had just watched. So you might be inclined to think that it's not even real. But you wouldn't think that if you were Jose Soto, former mayor of the Puerto Rican town of Canovanas and zealous hunter of the dreaded chupacabra.

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After numerous reports of animals being killed around Canovanas in 1995, Mayor Soto was quick to organize hunting parties to track down the dreaded beast. He dismissed the idea that the witness had allowed a science fiction movie to influence her, and wholeheartedly jumped into the belief that Puerto Rico was beset by a monster. Soto lead a team of 200 hunters, including civil defense workers, police officers, and prison guards. They found nothing. So then Soto continued to hunt it every week for a year.

Six years later, there were still articles being published about Soto hunting the chupacabra in other towns in Puerto Rico. And he didn't need to use a town posse, since he brought his own. There was no follow-up to that story, so we can assume that Soto never found the chupacabra ... or, just as likely, he found it, befriended it, learned from it, and now uses its magic to improve the world. I've thought a long time on this, and I honestly don't see it going any other way.

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Related: 5 Insane Supervillain Schemes By Real Governments

1
Ronald Reagan Discussed Alien Invasion Policy With Mikhail Gorbachev

Ronald Reagan served in an era when the world was continually one button press away from nuclear Armageddon. Yet he spent much of his eight years in office oddly fixated on the prospect of an alien invasion. Sure, sometimes he brought it up a hypothetical or metaphor, like in this speech at the United Nations (about 29 minutes in):

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"Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world."

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That simply seems like a nice sentiment. But in a very real, if unofficial, way, Reagan and former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev made an agreement that, should aliens ever attack the Earth, they were going to press pause on the Cold War to deal with that shit. The story of how this came to be is short and sweet, as it was literally just a straightforward question Reagan asked of Gorbachev during their brief historic meeting. He'd clearly been eager to bring it up.

Colin Powell said later that he believed this came about because of the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still, which Reagan was a big fan of, to the point of not considering it to be entirely fiction. Sure enough, less than two decades later, those aliens would indeed arrive and start setting minor fires in Italy.

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