The Secret Links Between Keanu Reeves, UFOs & Polish Sci-Fi
#language & literature
#photography & visual arts
small, Keanu Reeves in still from 'A Scanner Darkly' by Richard Linklater, 2006, photo: Warner Home Video promotional materials, keanu_reeves_a_scanner_darkly.jpg
With Keanu Reeves set to star in CD Projekt Red's 'Cyberpunk 2077', it's yet more proof of the famous actor's love of Polish sci-fi culture. Don't believe us? Well, have you heard of the link between Keanu Reeves, UFOs and Poland? Our intrepid reporter Dagmara Staga reveals all…
At the end of 2014, the Kuyavian and Pomeranian Voivodeship – the Polish equivalent of, let’s say, Nebraska – posted a video on its official Youtube channel in which Keanu Reeves declares: 'Kujawsko-Pomorskie. It’s great to be here'. As a typical Polish girl from the eastern part of the country, and probably much like everyone else who watched the clip, I started to wonder why a Hollywood star, teenage crush and idol, feels so great in northern Poland, which is no doubt a pleasant place to be, but an infrequent glamour destination, to say the least.
On occasion, Western celebrities are hired by large Polish banks or corporations to advertise their services, but this here was a commercial from a public regional organisation, making the whole story even more mystifying. Here is Keanu below in all his enigmatic glory – and for those wondering, he makes a pretty good job of pronouncing 'Kujawsko-Pomorskie'.
Did Keanu Reeves do it because he has Polish roots? Pretty much everyone does, so that wouldn’t be much of an explanation. Perhaps he was dating a Polish model? Here Colin Farrell and Alicja-Bachleda Curuś’s marriage popped into my mind. Maybe he’s just into post-communist countries with complicated histories, or is it simply that he fell in love with the irresistible taste of pierogi?
It then occurred to me that the explanation for Mr Reeves’s fondness for the area might be much more surprising than one would assume at first. It is a well-known fact that the Kuyavian and Pomeranian Voivodeship possesses a wealth of beautiful landscapes and cultural events. Nevertheless, one of its main attractions remains unknown to the unitiated: among the colorful fields, lush forests and crystalline lakes lies the disturbingly fascinating townlet of Wylatowo, better known as the Polish Roswell. Is it possible that Keanu Reeves is a UFO enthusiast?
The Polish Roswell
Taking into consideration that the entire earth is contaminated by American culture, it’s easy to forget that there are unexplained incidents in other parts of the world as well. It took one occurrence in 1947 to make Roswell eternally famous for its alien popularity. Wylatowo, Poland’s Roswell, is even better, because it is constantly being visited by aliens (at least that’s what the UFO monitoring system states).
Wylatowo (Vee-la-TO-vo) is a small city with only 600 inhabitants, located center-west of Kujawsko-Pomorskie. Wylatowo appeared on the map early during the XIIth century. Since then, its small population of inhabitants has been leading a simple and peaceful life concentrated on agriculture and local business. Time and again, this idyllic picture was disrupted by a fire which burnt the city to the ground – first in 1458 and then in 1892. The modest character of the city is also confirmed by the fact that the only other historical event reported in Wylatowo is that in 1458, out of the 20 households of the village, two unfortunate men were sent, perhaps unwillingly, to a legendary battle against the Teutonic Knights. Since the sacrifice of those two poor soldiers, not much has happened. That was until 2000, when the first crop circles appeared.
Pictograms or crop circles are geometrical marks of unknown origins. In Wylatowo, they were first noticed by a farmer, Jan Szulecki, in the summer of 2000. A media craze erupted immediately. Three years later, Wylatowo was invaded by tourists from all over the world. Each of them came to the small Kuyavian city with the same hope: to witness alien pictograms. The year 2003 also marked the year when the Nautilus Foundation, an organisation specialising in documenting and monitoring supernatural events, started to to install camera surveillance in the area.
Here you can see all pictograms: click!
Nowadays, Wylatowo has a well-developed monitoring system that records all unidentified objects. The last appearance of an unidentified flying object in Wylatowo (video above) was observed on 23rd January 2015. Statistically, that's far better than the 'famous' Roswell.
Homeland of science & imagination
While you may think the alien explanation for Keanu Reeves’s love of Kujawsko-Pomorskie might strain the truth a little bit, it's important to remember that the power of any hypothesis is that it remains a hypothesis unless proven otherwise. So while I await Keanu’s confession, I kept looking for more alien presence in Poland, and the first area I investigated was the literature of my mother tongue.
Besides Chopin, all the most famous Polish artists are writers. The Romantic Mickiewicz, the voyaging Joseph Conrad, the controversial Gombrowicz: there is a lot to choose from when it comes to Polish literature. Nevertheless, aliens are not a frequent subject. The most likely candidate to cover such a topic would no doubt be Stanisław Lem, author of Solaris and other futuristic masterpieces.
One of the 20th century’s most prominent futurologists, Lem wrote science-fiction which was translated into more than 40 languages. And surprise surprise, he was also one of leading authors writing for a cultural review for Kujawsko-Pomorskie (called Kwartalnik Artystyczny: Kujawy i Pomorze). Coincidence?
Solaris, his most recognised novel, was adapted into a movie twice, so we can be pretty certain that Mr Reeves likes it, all the more so since a bunch of his Hollywood buddies were in the more recent one. We can definitely entertain the hope that George Clooney would have discussed Solaris with Keanu. Who knows, the famous actors perhaps even discussed Lem’s most poignant passage:
We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything: for solitude, for hardship, for exhaustion, death. Modesty forbids us to say so, but there are times when we think pretty well of ourselves. And yet, if we examine it more closely, our enthusiasm turns out to be all a sham. We don't want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos. For us, such and such a planet is as arid as the Sahara, another as frozen as the North Pole, yet another as lush as the Amazon basin. We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don't want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange. We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact. This is another lie. We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is. We are searching for an ideal image of our own world: we go in quest of a planet, a civilisation superior to our own but developed on the basis of a prototype of our primeval past. At the same time, there is something inside us which we don't like to face up to, from which we try to protect ourselves, but which nevertheless remains, since we don't leave Earth in a state of primal innocence. We arrive here as we are in reality, and when the page is turned and that reality is revealed to us – that part of our reality which we would prefer to pass over in silence – then we don't like it anymore.
When I first read Solaris, I highlighted these lines with tacky pink marker. When I first saw The Matrix, Lem’s books were the first association I made. Not only Solaris, but this particular quote, which deserves to be recalled whenever exploring space or earth.
Somehow all of these seemingly peripheral facts fit into one other like blocks in a tetris game. What brings them all together: Poland, of course. My homeland appears to be the secret thread that brings a Hollywood star, supernatural events and high quality literature together. Quite impressive, even if all of this turns out to be mere chance. But now with the advent of Keanu Reeve's appearance in Cyberpunk 2077, the biggest sci-fi game made by the biggest Polish video game developer, it looks more and more likely that these theories are adding up...
polish sci-fi literature
unidentified flying objects
cd projekt red
*The author of this text is not a UFO specialist, enthusiast or adversary and each comment will be priceless to widen her consciousness and knowledge, as well as feed her unstoppable curiosity.
** The author is looking forward to feedback from Keanu Reeves about his personal interests in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, and would be grateful if someone could transmit him this information.
*** The author is also aware of the hypothetical character of this hypothetical text and even if the truth is much more down to earth and boring, she very much enjoyed exercising her imagination and detective skills. She hopes her readers will feel similarly.
Written by Dagmara Staga, Feb 2015; updated by AZ, June 2019.
Sources: Culture.pl; www.kwartalnik.art.pl; www.kujawsko-pomorskie.pl; www.wylatowo.pl; www.gazeta.pl; Stanisław Lem, Solaris, MON, 1970; Mogilno, Strzelno, Trzemeszno i okolice, PAN, 1982.