The X-Files is a 90s classic, a science-fiction show tinged with reality which lasted over 200 episodes without ever getting (too) bad. Mulder, the handsome believer in conspiracies and aliens, was always investigating the paranormal for answers to the mysterious questions shrouding every case. Scully, the semi-religious forensic scientist, looked for plain, logical answers — and sensibly so, since she was responsible for every autopsy performed. Over the course of their years-long relationship, however, Scully’s beliefs were bent and sometimes even broken when her autopsies yielded clues which could only be explained using the paranormal, the weird, and the magical. Here are five awesome forensic nursing moments from one of the greatest shows ever made.
1. Jersey Devil
A gem from the first season of this epic show, The Jersey Devil episode touches upon an eerie myth which has haunted the tri-state area for decades. When seemingly cannibalistic murders begin occurring in the state of New Jersey, Mulder and Scully are on the case. Moreso Mulder, who is a lot more interested in a skeptical Scully who flies out of town to attend her godson’s birthday party. Mulder finds similarities between the recent murders and that of a man in the 40s, when the victim’s limb was chewed off and a ‘hairy humanoid’ creature was killed whilst fleeing the scene of the crime. When Scully returns, the pair chase the creature through the woods, where it attacks Mulder before getting shot down. Scully, as always, autopsies the perp. Her autopsy is puzzling; no prehistoric bone structure is detected in the creature, despite the fact that it looks like somewhat of a missing link between humans and animals. She does, however, find human bones in its digestive tract.
2. The Host
In one of the nastier episodes of the X-Files, a creature or unknown entity sucks a ship’s crewman into the septic system while he tries to clean the ship’s toilet. His mangled corpse washes up in the sewers of Newark, NJ. Scully’s autopsy reveals a horrifying clue to the man’s death: a small flukeworm burrowed inside of his back. Sounds gross, but not like any monster. The plot thickens when another man is pulled from the sewers by his coworker after being thrashed about by what he believes to be a python. However, Scully notes that the wound upon his back bears remarkable similarities to the dead man’s flukeworm wound. Her theory is further proven when the man coughs up one of the worms and dies. More than just a parasite, Mulder stakes out the sewer systems and discovers a pale white, gooey-skinned man with a fluke-like mouth hiding — and hunting. In a comedic move, Skinner, Mulder and Scully’s supervisor, wants the mutant creature-man to undergo psychiatric evaluation and prosecution, but it continues to murder people instead.
Ice is a science fiction version of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which a group of hikers/campers died under extremely mysterious circumstances, sustaining wounds of unknown origin. The true story behind the incident has still not been discovered, though government testing and exposure to extreme levels of radiation have been the most plausible suggestions to date. In Ice, Mulder and Scully investigate a group of scientists who die under similar circumstances to those in the Dyatlov Pass Incident — quite suddenly, panicked, in the middle of nowhere on a snowy mountainside. The pair fly out to Alaska to investigate the violent murder suicides that took place, and find a dog who viciously attacks their pilot. The dog is sedated, but the little black sores on his body spread to his victim’s skin as well. During Scully’s autopsy, it’s discovered that the scientists all strangled one another, except for the ones who committed suicide with a firearm. An ice core sample is also found, possibly originating from a quarter of a million years ago. When the detectives open the bite victim’s sore, they find a tiny maggot-like worm inside his wound. The worms, believed to be of alien nature, were driving the scientists crazy and forcing them to kill one another and themselves.
In one of many religiously relevant episodes, Mulder and Scully begin investigating the murders of fake stigmatics, or people who falsely claim to be sustaining the injuries Christ did during his crucifixion. When a child named Kevin becomes the real victim of these mysterious injuries, he’s put under FBI protection to try and prevent him from becoming the next in a line of corpses. A man who kidnaps him is chased down and killed, despite his claims of protecting Kevin and doing God’s work. When Scully gives the man an autopsy, she finds that his body is performing similarly to “incorruptibles”. Incorruptibles, taught in catechism, are things which cannot be tainted, such as the kidnapper’s body which showed no signs of decay during the autopsy.
Similar to the debunked video of mystery scientists performing an autopsy on a grey alien claimed to be from the Area 51 UFO crash site, Nisei explores government conspiracies surrounding extraterrestrials — and the lengths they’ll go to keep it under wraps. When a group of Japanese scientists perform an autopsy on an alien corpse in an abandoned railroad car, they film themselves but are cut short when a team of armed men in black storm in, slaughter everyone, and steal away the alien body. Scully is her skeptical self, which is interesting because of the strong religious beliefs she struggles with in many episodes, much like in Revelations. As the investigation continues, it seems like the people the pair of FBI agents track down keep getting killed. They discover a Mutual UFO Network, and speak to members about alien-human hybrids involved in a worldwide government conspiracy. The alien in the autopsy was actually played by a ten year old boy who wore heavy makeup and large black contact lenses.