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Netflix UFO docu-series explores real-world Indiana Jones encounter with an alien corpse

By Josh Weiss
Indiana Jones Crystal Skull Still

Whether you think Kingdom of the Crystal Skull "nuked the fridge" or not, the fourth Indiana Jones adventure is actually rooted in more fact than you might think. Well... fact is such a strong word, but the opening sequence in which Indy (Harrison Ford) is forced to locate a wooden crate containing the remnants of an alien corpse from the infamous crash at Roswell may very well have been inspired by the experience of Colonel Philip J. Corso.

Chronicled in a brand-new Netflix docuseries — Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified — the story of Corso's close encounter unfolds at the Kansas-based Fort Riley in July of 1947 (the same month as the infamous Roswell incident). While at the military installation, Corso claimed to have come across a dead extra-terrestrial body preserved in fluid inside a long wooden box.

Per the series' narrator, he described what he saw as "a four-foot tall creature with bizarre-looking four-fingered hands; thin legs; and an oversized, incandescent, lightbulb-shaped head with no eyebrows or any facial hair. The creature only had a tiny flat slit for a mouth, which was completely closed, resembling more of a crease or indentation between the nose and the bottom of the chinless skull than a fully-functional orifice."

Corso eventually wrote a book about it — entitled The Day After Roswell. Co-written with William Birnes, the work of non-fiction was published in 1997.

"I'd say it happened and I'd add onto that: give information to the young people of the world and in this country," Corso remarked during an interview prior to his death in 1998. "They want to hear it. They want it. Give it to them. Don't hide it and tell lies and make stories. They're not stupid, they're not young men that'll panic ... They want this information, they deserve it. It's their information; it doesn't belong to the Army of the Department of Defense. It's theirs."

All six episodes Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified are now streaming on Netflix.