‘American Horror Story’: Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and Eisenhower alien lore featured in latest season – Desert Sun

There have been countless reported alien sightings at Joshua Tree National Park over the years — recently singer Demi Lovato claimed they had a “crazy experience.” It’s no surprise, then, that the park, and Palm Springs, got tapped for some out-of-this-world frights in the latest season of “American Horror Story.”

The long-running FX anthology series is currently in its 10th season, called “American Horror Story: Double Feature,” and is split into two parts. The first six episodes, which formed the “Red Tide” portion of the season, focused on a writer who heads to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to find inspiration — and sharp-toothed monsters. The remaining four episodes, called “Death Valley,” are all about extraterrestrial happenings in the desert.

Split into two time periods, the seventh episode, aptly named “Take Me to Your Leader,” begins in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1954, where a mother and her young son have been visited by what appears to be a UFO. The 1950s time period is shown in black and white.

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Just a few states over, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, played by Neal McDonough, is relaxing in Palm Springs by golfing with friends. Even without a title card giving away the location, local viewers will be able to recognize the mountain range in the background that can only point to the Coachella Valley. 

The president’s game, which doesn’t seem to be his strong suit, is interrupted by news of some type of aircraft being shot down just north of Edwards Air Force Base, located in Kern County. Eisenhower asks if Russians were responsible for the attack, to which an aide says, “We don’t think so.”

As Eisenhower begins to head toward the base, telling First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, played by “American Horror Story” alumna Sarah Paulson, he’s headed to a dentist because he cracked his tooth, she calls out his inability to lie and questions who he is really off to see.

History fans might recognize this moment from the show as one that has been widely talked about from Eisenhower’s presidency. He was on a golf vacation in Palm Springs on Feb. 20, 1954, when suddenly he left the Smoking Tree Ranch, where he was staying, after dinner, according to a 2004 article by The Washington Post. The next morning, a press spokesperson said the president visited a dentist the night before because he chipped a tooth while eating a chicken wing. He was also seen attending a church service in Los Angeles.

Some aren’t convinced, however. Michael Salla, a former American University professor, told the Washington Post he believes Eisenhower went to Edwards Air Force Base and met with extraterrestrials.

Jim Leyerzapf, an archivist at the Eisenhower Library at the time, however, told the newspaper “There’s nothing in the archives that indicates that” the president met with ETs.

Read more: President Eisenhower and extraterrestrials? Film explores urban legend

In “Death Valley,” once Eisenhower makes it to the base, he sees things that can only be explained by the work of aliens, such as the return of aviator Amelia Earhart, who, at that time in history, went missing nearly 20 years prior.

In the modern-day time period of the show, shown in color, a group of college students — played by Kaia Gerber, Nico Greetham, Rachel Hilson and Isaac Cole Powell — decide to go on a technology-free camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s all fun and games until they get lost and find several dead bulls that look like they’ve been sliced in half, except there are no pools of blood. Even weirder? One of them opens its eyes and begins to moo.

As the group books it out of the park in the middle of the night, their car begins to malfunction and a bright light appears out of nowhere. Someone, or something, approaches the car, and tentacles take hold of the four passengers. 

But almost as quickly as the unexplainable event takes place, they all wake up, disoriented, and somehow in different seats than they originally were in. Back home, more confusing things begin to happen.

Could it be because of an alien abduction? Viewers will have to keep watching to find out.

“American Horror Story: Double Feature” airs Tuesdays on FX and episodes are available the next day on FX on Hulu.

A number of UFO sightings were reported in the 1950s locally, and in 2015, UFO enthusiast John Greenewald posted all of the Air Force UFO files on his website, The Black Vault. 

Read more: UFOs in Palm Springs: The desert’s other tourists

According to a report, two pilots witnessed a blue light flying at high speeds on Sept. 5, 1954, in Palm Springs. No explanation was ever found for the incident. In another report, on Oct. 25, 1958, in Yucca Valley, a man sent a film strip to the Pentagon claiming it showed proof of UFOs. Although the military did not know what the object was, the report indicated it was a possible hoax.

Ema Sasic covers entertainment and health for The Desert Sun. Reach her at ema.sasic@desertsun.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.



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