Today In Fact, 5 July

X-day and Poplifugia. Today marks an ancient Roman holiday in which the citizens of Rome recalled fleeing the city to evade an enemy army. The ancient Roman historians are unsure which enemy army their forebears fled but such details never got in the way of a good holiday. Some of the more “spiritual” Romans attributed this day to the moment when Romulus, the feral founder of Rome, disappeared from the earth.

Now ancient Romans were pagans and modern pagans have adopted this day in a parody Church; The Church of the SubGenius.

The Church of the SubGenius celebrates X-day today with an indie music festival and an auction. The Church of the SubGenius is a religion formed as a parody of cults and extreme religious groups, and their pamphlets and claims. Founder JR “Bob” Dobbs prophesied in the 1980’s that an army of alien invaders (known as the “X-ists” or “Men From Planet X”) would land on the planet Earth on this day in 1998 and destroy the world of “normals”, “pinks”, and “glorps,” while the members of the Church of the SubGenius would be rescued by the aliens and taken away into space.

When July 5, 1998 arrived and no alien fleet appeared in the sky, members of the Church began citing a large number of conspiracy theories to explain why the predicted end of the world did not take place. The manual page of the ddate program claims that the Church “declared that it had got the year upside down” and that X-Day will actually take place in 8661.

The most popular explanation for the failure of the prophecy in the Church is usually summarized with the statement, “the calendar is wrong and July 5th, 1998 has not really arrived yet.” Because of this, the Church has held annual gatherings around July 5 of each year since 1998 to celebrate X-Day and greet the arrival of the anticipated alien “Sex Goddesses.”

No flying saucer rendezvous has been confirmed as of 2012, but members of the Church have been undaunted. A more recent theory suggests that the X-ists did indeed come to Earth on July 5, 1998 as foretold by “Bob,” but through one of the most pervasive Conspiracy cover-ups, Earth and Mars were switched, and the “Earth” we know is actually Mars. And thus, as there was nobody on the True Earth at the time of their arrival, there was nobody there to witness the Rupture.

I think the ancient Romans and the Church of the SubGenius teaches us that we benefit from satire and the self mockery. Why do we take ourselves so seriously anyway?

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (

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