Merging the universes of science fact with science fiction, AlienCon began as a way to celebrate the History Channel's Ancient Aliens franchise, but its other aim is to explore the larger idea of extraterrestrial life and its influences on human civilization in the past, as well as the modern implications for human society. This past weekend, its second iteration drew about 20,000 fans, believers and truth seekers from all walks of life and all over the globe to the Pasadena Convention Center.

David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi from The X-Files, Sean Astin from Stranger Things, Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica and Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos, as well as Chariots of the Gods 83-year old author and Ancient Aliens consulting producer Erich von Däniken were there, along with high-profile UFO researchers, scientists and authors.

Credit: Alex Distefano

Credit: Alex Distefano

On Friday afternoon, many were drawn to a lecture titled “Alien Invasion: Likelihood, Protocols and the Need to Know” by Dr. Travis S. Taylor, a certified space defense industry scientist with two Ph.D.s (quantum physics and aerospace engineering) working in conjunction with the U.S. military and other government agencies to prepare for an extraterrestrial invasion of Earth.

Later in the afternoon, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the matriarchal hero of UFOology research, renowned author Linda Moulton Howe spoke about the threat of artificial intelligence to all human beings on this planet. Howe spoke of killer autonomous robots and the danger they might pose. It might sound like science fiction, but according to Howe, it's a real-life scenario. Billionaire genius Elon Musk has made several dire warnings this year about the serious “existential threat”  A.I. poses to humanity.

AlienCon was a Lollapalooza of all things sci-fi and out of this world. For many devoted fans, the fun was in embracing the symbols, dressing up and letting loose. Think of the atmosphere of Comic-con mixed with the academic nature of a college symposium. The diversity was amazing. Among attendees were families, seniors in wheelchairs, millennials with colored hair, teens taking selfies and even college professors. UFO researchers walked next to alien greys, little green men, Sasquatch, humans wearing tin foil hats and other characters in costume, all roaming the UFO/paranormal-themed swap meet.

50 Years of Chariots of the Gods panel featuring Giorgio Tsoukalos, Erich Von Däniken and Kevin Burns.; Credit: Alex Distefano

50 Years of Chariots of the Gods panel featuring Giorgio Tsoukalos, Erich Von Däniken and Kevin Burns.; Credit: Alex Distefano

Saturday and Sunday were filled with panels ranging from the 50-year anniversary of Chariots of the Gods, ancient archaeological discoveries and a look at “UFOology: Beyond Roswell,” as well as discussions about UFO abductions, space travel and the history of ancient Egypt.

Sunday morning began with a highly anticipated panel celebrating 25 years of The X-Files, including a Q&A session with star David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi. The critically acclaimed show exploring UFOS, the paranormal and government conspiracies ran for 11 seasons, including the two most recent seasons after a hiatus of more than a decade, totaling 218 episodes and two feature-length films. It has inspired generations of fans and continues to appeal to younger viewers, and likely will continue to do so despite the recent show finale.

Pileggi, who starred as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner in the show, told L.A. Weekly, “At this convention, for the most part, the actors really aren’t the focus, it’s more the authors and people who research this stuff. I am having fun just taking a back seat and hanging out.”

Pileggi told L.A. Weekly that The X-Files is more than just a TV program. “I think the show has had a huge impact on a lot of people’s lives, in so many ways,” he said. “People have connected and come together because of the show, and I have met over the years many law enforcement officers who were really into the show as well.”

Pileggi said he is grateful for the fans and amazed at the interest and legacy it continues to have. “I meet 10-year-olds who are binge-watching the show, and that is so cool,” he said. “You have parents getting into it, then their kids get into it, and they pass it to their kids, so there are three generations of fans now, and it’s just so amazing to be part of that fandom.”

AlienCon sold out all three days, proving beyond a doubt that UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation on Earth are no longer fringe topics that a minority of people subscribe to. This is a growing subculture, permeating academia, music, film, art, literature and society as a whole. AlienCon was the perfect place for like-minded and open-minded individuals seeking answers to some of the biggest questions and mysteries facing humanity and the universe.

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