Myths & Legends

A panel of born storytellers is the best place to rest your exotically-shoed feet for an hour, especially if the storytellers are shooting the breeze about a topic so weighty as the X-Files. This was my experience at the X-Files track’s panel on Myths and Legends Thursday, featuring panelists Brian Froud, Ian McDowell, Graham Watkins, and Joanna Sherman. Well, sort of featuring Brian Froud: the most distinguished guest made like a faerie and … didn’t appear.

But the panel was worth attending nonetheless, if only to hear Ms. Sherman refer to the X-Files’ aliens as “adolescent anal-probers” (alliterative too!).

The question before the panel was: how does the X-Files relate to mythos? The panel was loosely structured to the point of being, well, sometimes pointless; but the real purpose of the panel was for us to hear the gifted storytellers McDowell, Sherman and Watkins tell fascinating ghost tales.

Ms. Sherman (who is perhaps a bit too sensitive to the arts?) recounted several experiences in which she was terrorized by rooms in museums, notably the Metropolitan Museum of the Art’s Pompeii exhibit (since redone). Mr. McDowell spoke of the headless naked woman who appeared in a dream, and so spooked him that he hurled a cat across the bedroom. And Mr. Watkins, in his ponderous baritone, remarked: “You’ve got to wonder about the sanity of a man [Special Agent Mulder] who can say ‘this is a classic case of demon baby harvest’ in complete deadpan.”

About the X-Files themselves, the panelists seemed hard put to reach any definitive mythic conclusions. The mythic elements of greenmen, gollums, magic fungus, and the possible neotony of aliens was mentioned, as well as a strange connection between 15th century witch covens and alien anal probes.

As well as the parting word from Ms. Sherman: “People – the truth right here. We are the truth. What else can I say?”

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