I Want to Believe


Author B. Brandon Barker can't find a buyer for his UFO novel, in which NASA's mysterious "Operation EMU" causes a film crew and several hundred Indians to disappear in the Nevada desert. So he starts a website that treats the story as true, to prove his ability to gin up publicity.

He includes a reader forum. Believers appear. Before long, there's an alleged witness:

Forum member John Nesbit, a 52-year-old crawfish farmer in Martinsville, La., used to be an Air Force mechanic and was stationed at Nellis in the early 1970s. He claims to have first-hand knowledge of Operation EMU.

"I get less dubious the older I get," says Nesbit. "I did know about Operation EMU, but it was a NASA training thing. That's what we were told. Only much later did it come out that it was broader than that, that they were training the military to fight aliens….The film crew thing, that's documented."

All of which comes as news to Barker. Operation EMU is "purely just a story," he insists.

"Maybe we're running out of conspiracy theories," Barker says in response to Nesbit's assertions. "You throw something out like this and people either have faulty memories or it sounds like something they heard about."