65 Things You Need To Know About The Mythology Of "The X-Files"

    Nine seasons of abductions, alien-human hybrids, black oil, and super-soldiers can be tough to follow — especially when so little of it seemed to make sense. In honor of The X-Files' 20th anniversary, here's an attempt at breaking it all down.

    The Syndicate

    1. The Syndicate was formed in 1973, when it broke free from the U.S. government.

    2. Throughout the years, members included Well-Manicured Man, Cigarette-Smoking Man, William Mulder (Fox Mulder's father), Victor Klemper, Deep Throat, and Alex Krycek.

    From left: Well-Manicured Man, Cigarette-Smoking Man, and William Mulder

    From left: Victor Klemper, Deep Throat, and Alex Krycek

    3. Prior to its official formation, the Syndicate existed as a secret group within the State Department as early as 1952.

    4. Their early pre-Syndicate jobs included relocating Nazi scientists, like Victor Klemper, to the U.S. to aid in alien experimentation.

    5. And covering up the 1953 rediscovery of the black oil.

    The Project

    6. On October 13, 1973, the Syndicate created the Project, a joint effort between the Syndicate and the alien colonists.

    7. The Syndicate exchanged their loved ones for an alien fetus, as genetic samples from both species.

    8. Cigarette-Smoking Man gave up his wife Cassandra Spender, while William Mulder reluctantly volunteered his daughter Samantha.

    9. The Syndicate and its Project were destroyed by the faceless aliens in 1999, though their work continued.

    The Colonists

    10. The Colonists, also known as the Greys, are the aliens working with the Syndicate on the Project.

    11. Because they come from the star system Zeta Reticuli, the Colonists are also known as Reticulians.

    12. They crash-landed in Roswell in 1947, though they previously existed on Earth in other forms.

    13. The Greys reproduce by gestating in humans who are infected with the black oil.

    14. The Colonists are birthed from their hosts as long-clawed aliens, but they eventually shed their skin and become Greys.

    15. The government has also used fake Greys to distract from the actual alien plot.

    Black oil

    16. The black oil, also known as "Purity" or "black cancer," is an alien virus with multiple functions.

    17. Black oil predates humans on Earth, and it first infected our primitive ancestors in 35,000 B.C.

    18. Purity may have arrived on our planet via a meteor from Mars that also contained the building blocks for human life.

    19. That same theory suggests that the black oil communicated with the aliens who crashed in Roswell, which is how the U.S. government learned of its existence.

    20. Some people infected with the alien virus gain special powers, like Gibson Praise, who could read minds.

    21. The plan was to infect humans by bees during colonization, with the bees carrying the virus through genetically-modified corn.


    22. The Greys' ultimate goal is the colonization of Earth, which would lead to the destruction of mankind.

    23. In 1947, Harry Truman became the first U.S. President made aware of the aliens' plans for colonization, but the government suppressed the information to avoid panic.

    24. The government collected genetic data for post-apocalyptic identification in the event of colonization, and kept it at the Strughold Mining Company, a front for the Syndicate.

    25. William Mulder believed the Syndicate's biggest mistake was working with the Greys on colonization, which led to his work on the vaccine.

    26. The date for colonization was set as December 21, 2012, which is when the Mayan calendar ends.

    The Vaccine

    27. Members of the Syndicate secretly worked on a vaccine called Purity Control that would resist the alien virus.

    28. The vaccine would reject the black oil and eventually destroy the alien race, preventing colonization.

    29. A successful version of the vaccine created by the Russians cured Mulder and Scully when they were infected with the black oil.


    30. Creating alien-human hybrids was a joint effort between the Colonists and the Syndicate as part of the plan for colonization.

    31. Hybrids would be spared during colonization, but they would eventually serve as slaves to the Colonists.

    32. Hybrid clones appear human, but have some alien traits, including caustic blood, the ability to breathe underwater, and faster healing powers.

    33. Failed hybrid experiments include Billy Miles, who was left in a vegetative state after his abduction.

    34. And Emily Sim, created from Scully's ova, who died from a rare blood disorder at age 3.

    35. And the Samantha Mulder clones, which were imperfect because they were lacking certain alien characteristics.

    Samantha Mulder

    36. Samantha Mulder's abduction, which was part of the Project, was hugely influential on Mulder and led to his work in the X-Files.

    37. She was cloned multiple times, and her clones were used by the Cigarette-Smoking Man to trick Mulder into believing Samantha was alive.

    38. But the real Samantha returned from her abduction as a child: She lived with Cigarette-Smoking Man and his son Jeffrey Spender, and she was subjected to continued experiments.

    39. Mulder learns that Samantha actually died as a young girl when her soul was taken by the walk-ins, benevolent beings who save children from unhappy lives.


    40. The Colonists monitor their abductees with implants, usually inserted into the nose, neck, or teeth.

    41. Implants are also used to keep track of hybrids, like Ray Soames and Cassandra Spender.

    42. Removal of a specific type of neck implant causes cancer, which nearly killed Scully.

    43. According to the Cigarette-Smoking Man, these chips may actually be able to cure all human disease, including cancer.

    Cassandra Spender

    44. Cigarette-Smoking Man's wife Cassandra Spender was the first successful hybrid, also known as Patient X.

    45. She was disabled by her multiple abductions, but she was later cured by another abduction.

    46. Once Cassandra learned of the plans for colonization, she wanted to die to delay the Greys' plans.

    47. The Syndicate planned to present her to the Colonists, but the meeting was infiltrated by the faceless rebels, who killed Cassandra and destroyed the Project.

    The faceless rebels

    48. The faceless rebels are renegade aliens, possibly of the same species as the Greys, who are trying to prevent colonization.

    49. Aside from humans, the rebels are the only beings in the universe not infected with the black oil.

    50. That's because the rebels purposely disfigured themselves, self-mutilating to protect themselves from the possibility of infection.

    51. Like the other aliens, the faceless rebels can shapeshift and are vulnerable in one spot at the base of their heads.

    52. They are responsible for the deaths of countless abductees, all in an effort to stop the Program and impede the Colonists.

    Bounty hunters

    53. Bounty hunters act as police for the Colonists, though they are likely also Greys.

    54. While they can shapeshift like the other aliens, they generally take the same form.

    55. The bounty hunters were tasked with destroying all the hybrid clones prior to colonization in order to get rid of proof of an alien presence.


    56. Super-soldiers are a type of alien deployed to make sure humans do not survive colonization.

    57. They are created by abducting humans, performing horrific experiments on them, and then infecting them with the alien virus.

    58. Billy Miles, the first abductee Mulder and Scully encountered, was eventually turned into a super-soldier.

    59. Super-soldiers sought out William, Scully's son, but once he was born, they realized he was not a threat and left.

    60. Like the other aliens, super-soldiers are vulnerable to magnetite, which is what killed Knowle Rohrer.


    61. William is Scully's son, conceived miraculously as Scully was thought to be unable to have children.

    62. It is hinted that Mulder is William's biological father, but this is never officially confirmed.

    63. At one point, William was believed to be a perfect human being and thus a threat to the super-soldiers, but they learned he was another imperfect hybrid.

    64. Jeffrey Spender injected William with magnetite, which removed his alien characteristics.

    65. Scully was forced to give William up for adoption, but now that he's human, he can go on to live a normal life.

    Any questions? The truth is out there.