The X-Files' Scripts Had A Funny Way Of Leaking Into Real Life

If one paid attention to Chris Carter's groundbreaking TV series "The X-Files" for all 11 of its seasons and its two feature films, then one would get a portrait of the world that is just as much supernatural as natural. Although covered up by the government and carefully hiding themselves from public view, aliens are actually everywhere, as are vampires, djinn, invisible men, liver fluke men, stretchy guys, sentient computers, legit psychics, shapeshifters, and David Duchovny.

"The X-Files" comforted viewers in two ways: 1) It explained that one's suspicion of the government was completely justified, as the FBI actively moves to keep the public ignorant. And 2) It took place in a world where the paranormal and the extraordinary were definitely real. Oddly, both conclusions are met with a tone of sadness. The government still had the power to cover things up, leaving ordinary Joes feeling powerless, and knowledge of the paranormal often resulted in death, pain, and madness. Make no mistake though. Its downbeat, funereal tone was part of the appeal. 

The repeated mantra of "The X-Files," and one that appears in the opening credits of most episodes, is, "The truth is out there." That has a double meaning. The truth is waiting to be found, out there in the world. The truth is also, it seems, very "out there." 

The truth, it seems, was also in here. Back in 1994, actors and writers from "The X-Files" were interviewed by EW, and they revealed multiple eerie instances of how the show and real life would very occasionally overlap. 

More than a fluke

The two central characters of "The X-Files" are Agent Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Mulder was the true believer who took every psychic phenomenon and alien conspiracy to be totally true, whereas Scully was the skeptic and devil's advocate, always there to point out that even strange-looking things had a rational explanation. Making their dynamic more complex, Mulder was an atheist, while Scully was a practicing Catholic. In real life, it's Duchovny who is more skeptical of the paranormal, and it's Anderson who feels a little more excited about the possibilities of the unseen world. 

Anderson shares a story of how, prior to filming a scene wherein he character is shot, she dreamed of the very gun that would be used. Prognostications are most certainly a common phenomenon on "The X-Files," and Anderson was taken aback by the experience. While on the set, Anderson was quoted: 

"I had a dream about a week ago, a nightmare where I was shot at point-blank range. And it was really weird 'cause I couldn't say anything. When we were doing the scene just now where I get shot, I remembered (the weapon in my dream) was a very similar gun. It was really scary. Often when I read the scripts I get freaked out, creeped out."

But, Anderson says, exploration of the fringe still appeals to her, saying that "Psychokinesis appeals to me. ESP, telling the future, I love that stuff." Anderson, it seems, would have been a fan of "The X-Files" even if she weren't on "The X-Files."


Fern Levin, a makeup artist on "The X-Files," also tells an eerie story about how her work applying burned skin makeup happened to coincide with a real-life incident involving her own home. Levin lived in an apartment and found that her place had caught on fire. "I phoned home, and my apartment house was up in flames," she said. Luckily for Levin, the fire had mysteriously stopped right before it reached her unit. "The script was leaking into my life! I question everything now."

Disciples of "The X-Files" were taught to question everything. Both Mulder and Scully were very scientifically minded people. When they came upon a monster or a person with a supernatural ability, they were more interested in the mechanics than the horror. Mulder and Scully weren't people of action who charged in with guns blazing; it was rare that merely shooting a monster was the thing to dispatch it. No, Mulder and Scully were intellectuals who allowed the world to dictate its own rules to them. Nothing can break the laws of physics. The laws of physics merely need to be re-written to incorporate the extraordinary. Mulder and Scully were there with a notebook. 

A product of its time, "The X-Files" now feels quite dated. For those curious seekers, however, the truth is out there — on Hulu and on Freevee.