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The Eerie Connection Between ‘The X-Files’ And 9/11

Madeline Hiltz
(Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting Company/ MovieStills DB and Leonardo Cendamo/ Getty Images)

The X-Files is known for taking inspiration from real-life events or stories but isn’t known for predicting the future. Yet, the X-Files spinoff show, The Lone Gunmen, eerily predicted the events of 9/11 six months before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Lone Gunmen and Scully

The Lone Gunmen and Dana Scully on an episode of the X-Files, circa 1993. (Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting Company/ MovieStills DB)

If you have never heard of The Lone Gunmen television show, that’s okay — we hadn’t either. The series only ran for one season, from March 2001 to June 2001. The single season only had a total of 13 episodes and dealt primarily with all kinds of secret activity happening within the government.

Throughout the X-Files series, special agent Fox Mulder often would read a publication called “The Lone Gunman.” The newsletter in the show was published by three conspiracy theorists who took the name from the Warren Commission that investigated the John F. Kennedy assassination.

The conspiracy theorists who published “The Lone Gunman” newsletter are named John Fitzgerald Byers (played by Bruce Harwood), Melvin Frohike (played by Tom Braidwood), and Richard Langly (played by Dean Haglund). These three men are the main characters in the television show The Lone Gunmen.

The Lone Gunmen Cast

The Lone Gunmen cast, from left to right- Tom Braidwood (Frohike), Bruce Hardwood (Byers) and Dean Haglund (Langley). (Photo Credit: Fox Broadcasting Company/ MovieStills DB)

Strangely enough, the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen featured a plotline that eerily echoed the events that would come to pass on September 11, 2001. In the episode, a computer hacker took control of a Boeing 727 airplane to crash the plane into the World Trade Center in New York City.

In the episode, Byers, Frohike, and Langley are able to launch a counter hack-attack against the original hacker and prevent a disaster just moments before the airplane was about to hit the World Trade Center. However, these events were just half the story of this pilot episode. The trio uncovers the fact that the event was created by a group deep within the United States government. In the episode, the intention was to blame these attacks on foreign dictators to start a profitable war for the US.

There are not only connections between the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, but also the theories that arose after these attacks. It should be stressed that the writers and producers of The Lone Gunmen had no prior knowledge of 9/11, and the people involved in producing this pilot episode were horrified to learn about the events on September 11, 2001.

World Trade Center

World Trade Center before the September 11 attacks. (Photo Credit: Leonardo Cendamo/ Getty Images)

In reality, the timing of the show’s air date and the events of 9/11 is perhaps why they are entangled. The pilot episode aired on March 6, 2001, in America, but the episode aired in Australia only 13 days before the terrorist attacks happened.

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Furthermore, there are similarities in this episode of The Lone Gunmen, but other television shows and books have also covered ideas similar to the one touched on by The Lone Gunmen. Stephen King’s short story, The Running Man, ends with the protagonist crashing an airplane into a television studio. Even the sitcom Friends had to cut scenes because they alluded to the events that happened on 9/11.