On Tuesday night, primaries and special elections were underway in five U.S. states-- Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington--where the ongoing and contentious battle for the political future of America continues.
As the primaries were underway, all eyes were on Ohio, where as of Tuesday night things were still too close to call as far as candidates vying for a House seat which, for three decades, has been held by Republicans.
Don't worry though... Mysterious Universe hasn't begun covering U.S. elections. Our interest has to do with odd claims one of the candidates, who is associated with the Green Party, has made in recent weeks.
Joe Manchik isn't exactly a paragon of eloquence, politically or otherwise. First among things any of the voters who are aware of him might recall would be an odd interview where a T-shirt-clad Manchik appeared on camera, seemingly unable to recall his own campaign website URL. In the video, he states his ambitions to run for the House seat in Ohio's 12th district, and that this is his second time doing so.
Manchik's appearance and slightly odd demeanor aren't all that have people scratching their heads about him though. Apparently, Manchik has also espoused the belief that he is descended from aliens.
According to online profiles, Manchik has stated that "My distant relatives originally came to planet Earth from a planet orbiting a star in the Pleiades star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus."
Fringe theories about aliens from the Pleiades have circulated for years, and largely involve supposed extraterrestrials that are human-like in appearance that have visited Earth for untold periods. Alleged UFO contactee Billy Meier's photography has also been associated with claims of UFO visits from the Pleiades.
In addition to his extraterrestrial heritage, Manchik claims to be multilingual and lists Old English, "English Language in the United Kingdom," "Spanglish," Latin, Middle English, "Nicaraguan Sign Language," "Oldspeak," Polish Language, "Transliteration of Ancient Egyptian," "Nissan," and "Sheet Music" among the languages he speaks.
It is unclear whether or not Manchik intended these claims as humor.
Manchik also says his original (terrestrial) hometown had been one the most strangely-named locales in the country: the cozy-sounding Hell, Michigan, The Mirror reported.
Whatever the case, during Tuesday night's primary Manchik surprised everyone by claiming more than just an extraterrestrial heritage: he also managed to draw the votes of no less than 1,127 Ohioans, who chose him over Republican Troy Balderson or Democrat Danny O'Connor. Analysts say that without the Green Party candidate taking votes from O'Connor (the presumed candidate most would have chosen in Manchik's absence), the election would likely have required an automatic recount.
Interest in UFOs and extraterrestrials is nothing unusual in American politics, although Manchik's claims are indeed on the "out-there" side of the spectrum. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had publicly advocated greater transparency of the UFO subject, as had her campaign chairman John Podesta, who has been a longtime advocate of UFO disclosure.
Several past U.S. presidents have also expressed interest in the subject. Bill Clinton said that he asked associates of his (namely Webster Hubbell) to look into things like Area 51 and the Kennedy assassination, later stating on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he had found no additional information on UFOs but would have reported such things to the American public if he had. Former presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter both claimed they witnessed UFOs prior to their presidencies, as well.
Arguably, the strangest thing about Ohio's Special Election is that an otherwise tight race might have been so obviously affected by a Green Party candidate claiming extraterrestrial heritage... maybe it's just further proof of the "anything goes" atmosphere in American politics today.