I have an uncle with mental retardation who has always had an interest in UFOs. Relatives would always buy him books and magazines and documentaries. He is mid-level functioning and a little reclusive, so I've not actually seen his UFO library for almost 2 decades, but I'm sure it's quite the collection. That influence was always present in my youth but never taken especially seriously by me or any of my other relatives besides my dad who has an apparent interest in esoterica, mainly cuz he likes to debunk Christianity i think. but who doesn't?
In my teens I discovered the book "Acid Dreams" by Lee and Shlain at a local bookstore, Newbury Comics, and learned of the MK-Ultra stuff. At the time I was also full of teen angst and reading William Burroughs, who has written a lot about paranormal sutff, coincidences, etc. that I found very interesting and intriguing. I remember finding "Voices From The Tapes" at some barn sale in Maine many years ago and being quite excited. I Also was reading Terrence McKenna around this time, of whose book Archaic Revival has some interesting stuff about contact with UFOs and alien beings.
I attended a random film showing in the town I was living in, at a local popular artspace. There were few in attendance, certainly less than 10 all night. It was two documentaries about ritual abuse, with some really creepy testimony from children that was incredibly disturbing. The guy who did the film showing runs an organization called SMART which you can easily find references to on the internets. I find these topics very interesting, but in a detached way, as I have never seen a UFO nor do I feel that I have been mind-controlled anymore than the average jackass.
When I discovered the "New Age" section at Barnes and Noble I was very confused as to why there were some truly interesting books next to some Sylvia Brown and John Edward crap.
I have a library now of a few hundred books, and it's distressing to me that my peers don't read very much. TV is soooo much easier...
These topics did influence my decision to attend college and obtain a degree in psychology, however i did not find academic institutions to be particular receptive to these ideas. that is, few teachers would offer any encouragement to research these topics further. my grades were always good though. as a general social outcast and misanthrope, i never really broached the subjects with average peers, although i did use several class presentations as launching points for whole-class discussions which were insightful and entertaining, but only to the point where i can only live and wonder whether any of what i may have said or influenced others to say had any effect on their future way of thinking. whoa what a mouthful!
i thoroughly enjoy playing devil's advocate, and find it quite easy to do when it's so easy to admit that i have no idea what the hell is really going on. still waiting for the UFO landing on CNN though...