Study Guide

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Close Encounters is a movie brimming with mystery, but the most puzzling question must be: Why did the extraterrestrials choose to meet in a Wyoming state park? No offense to Wyoming, but...Wyoming? Did their dad plan this road trip?

While we don't know the practical reason the aliens chose Devils Tower, it does prove interesting from a visual viewpoint.

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Religions and mythologies often link mountains with gods, like Mount Olympus, home of the gods in Greek mythology. There are similar examples in Hindu, Buddhist, and Judeo-Christian (we're looking at you, Mount Sinai) traditions. With their peaks rising towards the sky, they come to be associated with celestial realms high above our own earthly one.

Also, since mountains can be climbed, they're often a meeting ground for humans and deities. Typically during these meetings, the deity will bestow upon the mortal some divine gift or knowledge. In the Bible, Moses gets the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. The Transfiguration of Jesus took place on a mountain. And Asita, the hermit sage who prophesied that Gautama Buddha would become a great king or a sage, lived on a mountain before coming down to make his divine proclamation.

The Not-So Ancient Aliens

Naturally, all this talk about religion brings us back to aliens. While the aliens don't meet us on a mountain to provide spiritual enlightenment, they do come from the heavens to grant us a gift and knowledge. The gift is companionship, and the knowledge is that we're not alone in the universe. Like gods, the aliens provide these gifts because they want to have a relationship with humanity.

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