I recently started watching Season 1 episodes of The X-Files series....

I wanted to know if there is any verification for the claim that stories shown in its episodes are real-life stories or just a publicity stunt?

There is this link which I found, but it was not that convincing.

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    Welcome to Movies & TV. First of all, what is the meaning of the word "season" in your question? Apart from that, where did you hear that the stories ought to be real-life stories? If it is really only that link that sparked this idea, it doesn't seem too far-fetched that 4 out of a feeled million of X-files episodes were inspired by real-life events, especially since mere inspiration doesn't mean exact copying of actual events. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 12 '13 at 13:32
  • mmm....season as in season 1, season 2....etc...don't know exactly what's the term for that...and i read it somewhere(apart from the quoted link) that some of its episodes are based on real-life events!! – NoobEditor Dec 12 '13 at 13:36
  • So what season is it then that you're refereing to? If you mean the whole of the TV-show, the usage of the word "season" without any number seems inappropriate. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 12 '13 at 13:38
  • season 1....i started watching it from there only...imdb link => imdb.com/title/tt0106179/episodes?season=1&ref_=tt_eps_sn_1 – NoobEditor Dec 12 '13 at 13:57
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    Now I've had a chance to read the link (blocked from work) I think that the first line might go someway to answering your question : "First thing's first: "The X-Files" is fake." – Pat Dobson Dec 12 '13 at 17:29

Considering that all the X-Files are concerned with paranormal events (aliens, werewolves, sentient computers) and that none of these are what the scientific community will call 'proven' then no, none of it is based in 'fact'.

However, episodes quite often are based on common folklore (wild man in the woods, aliens visiting) so, you may find background material that is basically the same...


I can't say the X-Files usually would try to follow a real-life story in its episodes.

However, in many instances, I noticed the show to get inspiration for episodes from real-life information and feature many interesting facts. They are usually mixed with fiction so it's hard to tell without checking.

For example, in Season 1 episode 19 "Darkness Falls", Mulder and Scully got locked up in the woods with a saboteur (or alternatively an eco-terrorist) named Spinney, this dialog takes place:

MULDER: When Mt. St. Helens erupted, there was a large amount of radiation that was released from inside the earth. Strange things started to grow. There’s actually this lake where they’ve discovered a kind of amoeba that can literally suck a man’s brains out.

SCULLY: Oh, a brain-sucking amoeba.

SPINNEY: No, it’s true. Spirit Lake. And there’s documented cases of swimmers being infected.

This is actually a real-life reported event. The amoeba is called Naegleria fowleri.

Things like this are usually not listed in the episode guide, so you can't claim the story is based on real-life events, but often if there is real-life inspiration for the episode it is incorporated in the dialog in a similar fashion to this.

As a rule of thumb, once per episode, if you hear something briefly mentioned that is exact it's worth checking. Often one or more characters go into citing some exact-sounding information to provide a feel of "historical context", and often the data is real-life.

Don't expect them to always refer to actual organisms like this amoeba but the show usually (attempts to) accurately refer to folklore as such, historical mysteries, interesting organisms, unanswered questions in science, or other astonishing real-life stories they find, and then they turn on their imagination and do something with it.

By the way the show itself takes its roots on such different real-life controversies as studies by Mack M.D. on abductions, the Watergate scandal or the assassination of JFK.

  • Yeah I recall several instance of Mulder saying, something also like, "There have been reported events of XYZ and another one in ZYX," etc. It would be interesting to see if these were real; and also, if any of the things happened are inspired by real events ('reported events'). – Mikey Jun 14 '16 at 10:35

None of the stories are taken straight from any actual accounts but they are all based on common paranormal theories or urban myths. If you really pay attention to each episode, the cases that come up often match the profile of an X-File including other similar occurrences, many of these are taken from actual accounts from people who claim to have experienced them in real life. Draw your own conclusions about whether or not they are real.

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