WEIRD SCIENCE

CATERING TO VIEWERS' GROWING APPETITE FOR THE PARANORMAL, NEW TV SHOWS OBLITERATE THE LINE BETWEEN FACT AND FICTION

It was a wrenching transition, from space to spacey. The Today show devoted much of its program one morning to the successful rendezvous of the shuttle Discovery with the Russian space station Mir, including a live interview by co-hosts Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric with the elated American crew aboard the orbiting Discovery.

Immediately following Today, however, NBC turned its attention to other, seemingly unwilling space travelers: ordinary humans who claim to have been rudely kidnapped by aliens, taken aboard spacecraft, subjected to humiliating experiments and returned to Earth, stupefied but usually unharmed. This exercise in virtual unreality was conducted, apparently...

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