In October 1961, The Soviet Union defied the United States and dropped an unprecedented number of bombs in the Arctic Circle. It was meant to send a signal to America’s young president, John F. Kennedy, that the Soviets were not to be messed with.
It was a powerful demonstration of Soviet military might, akin to the dropping of the A-bombs. But it was also symbolic. No humans are known to have died in the momentous blast, which at the time was the largest single bombing in the history of the world.
But some people believe the Russians may well have killed someone else: Santa Claus.
President Kennedy hinted at that possibility in a letter he wrote to an 8-year old who was worried that rising US-Soviet tensions focused on the North Pole might jeopardize the life of a beloved figure in her life
Kennedy assured her that Santa was safe. He seemed to make it a personal guarantee.
The conflict with Russia would be resolved, he said. The little girl needn’t worry at all.
JFK was wrong. The Soviets struck, a move that led to global condemnation.
Has the government been covering up Santa’s death ever since, or did he somehow miraculously survive?
There haven’t been any sightings of Santa since that day but arguably there weren’t many credible ones before then, either.
But shouldn’t Santa have made a special effort to show himself, just to reassure the doubters, and console the grieving?
It hasn’t been needed. For one thing, the federal government is still heavily invested in the Santa myth. It even tracks Santa’s alleged movements each year through the North American Aerospace Command (NORAD).
The program started in 1955 when another innocent child called what she thought was a department store just before Xmas to inquire about St. Nick’s whereabouts. She had the wrong number. She’d actually contacted a military installation.
A colonel, Harry Shoup, answered the phone and decided to play along. He invented some airspace coordinates for Santa’s sleigh and then got the child’s parents on the phone, who also played along.
The incident was favorably recounted to Shoup’s commanders who relayed it up the chain of command. Before long NORAD had announced that henceforth the Pentagon planned to have Santa’s back on Xmas Eve.
It’s no joke. In 2017, the NORAD Santa-tracking program received 126,103 calls and answered 2,030 emails, and OnStar received 7,477 requests to locate Santa.
About 1,500 uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians and their families volunteer time on Christmas Eve to answer the children’s questions on Santa’s whereabouts.
The website NORADSanta.org received 18 million page views, and the Facebook page had 1.75 million followers.
All that official effort seems to be paying off. The Pentagon is still denying the existence of UFOs but it’s spreading the word that Santa is alive. It’s the greatest hoax since the Apollo moon landing.
And the kids keep believing.
Since the 1970s, about 85% of four-year-olds consistently say they believe in Santa and are waiting for him to deliver gifts on Xmas.
The number falls to about 60% when the kids turn 6 and then drop precipitously to 25% when they reach the age of 8.
Apparently, by then, many kids have read about the 1961 explosions, and not having seen Santa with their own eyes, they fear the worst.
Can you blame them?