The following extract from an article about unmanned drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a perfect illustration of the ways that technology and folklore can become entwined, and of the psychological power wielded by those with the technological advantage.
The masses are piteously ignorant. They just don’t know that the drones are not material creatures. Actually, they are spiritual beings. They don’t need earthly runways for taking off… They live in outer space, beyond the international boundaries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. When they feel hungry, they swoop down and kill innocent Afghani women and children. They eat the corpses and fly back to their spacial residences for a siesta. When they again feel hungry, they again swoop down and kill another lot of innocent women and children. Having devoured the dead bodies, they fly back to their bedrooms in space. It has been going on and on like this for years.
A H Khayal in Pakistan’s The Nation, from The Independent, 6 April 2010
Even though we in the West are used to media images of drones, seeing one hovering overhead would still be an unnerving experience, while catching a glimpse of an highly advanced black project aircraft could well prove soul-shaking.
As I describe in Mirage Men, John Lundberg and I caught sight of an unusual aircraft hovering over Holloman AFB in New Mexico and, despite the fact that we were on the perimeters of a key testing ground for UAVs, we still found ourselves highly excited, even disturbed.