Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Final Tally

(Give or take several thousand)

Humans: 2,314
Creatures: 131
Aliens: 64

Ugh. It seemed like there were some inconsistencies, and so I went through the entire count. It turns out a few things were under-counted or miscounted, so the total now includes two more humans than was originally shown.

While the tally takes into account every confirmed death as well as estimates of the occasional pile of corpses that shows up, it's probably a little low. I didn't estimate on vague statements, such as the assertion that Luther Lee Boggs killed every animal in his housing project when he was a child. Or the almost certainly under-counted fatalities aboard the USS Allegiance and USS Ardent (not to mention the disappearance of the crews of nine other ships in the Bermuda Triangle of Aging). And though I counted small tallies in wartime situations, I made a Gimpy Rule excluding mass counts, which nullified Mr. X's claim that over 4,000 people were killed in Vietnam by a sleepless Marine unit. Given Michael Kritschgau's assertion that aliens are a giant hoax, as well as the fact that he turns out to be wrong, it is unclear whether the treasure trove of alien bodies Mulder comes across at the Department of Defense should increase the alien count quite a bit. And thanks to Cancer Man's historical killing spree, I also counted a few mentions of dead celebrities. Except Elvis, of course. And finally, a couple of humans could conceivably be transferred to the alien tally, assuming the super-soldiers are not quite human.

By the Season

Season 1: 181 humans, 10 creatures, 9 aliens
Season 2: 323 humans, 19 creatures, 35 aliens
Season 3: 388 humans, 28 creatures, 3 aliens
Season 4: 316 humans, 23 creatures, 8 aliens
Season 5: 206 humans, 8 creatures, 5 aliens
The X-Files: Fight the Future: 18 humans, 1 alien
Season 6: 122 humans, 16 creatures, 1 alien
Season 7: 173 humans, 10 creatures, 0 aliens
Season 8: 376 humans, 15 creatures, 2 aliens
Season 9: 196 humans, 2 creatures, 0 aliens
The X-Files: I Want to Believe: 15 humans

Top 10 Deadliest

In increasing order:

10. The Red and the Black (50 humans net and 3 aliens)

Over 50 humans are incinerated by alien rebels at the Ruskin Dam. A couple of the rebels are killed by the alien colonists, and at least one more is killed when his spacecraft crashes on an Air Force base. The reason it's a net count is that Cancer Man was confirmed to be alive, after being presumed dead for a run of episodes.

9. Humbug (53 humans and 2 creatures)

Mulder and Scully join the case to investigate the latest in a string of murders that has claimed 48 lives over the course of 28 years. It turns out to be from a circus employee's internal twin, who kills a few more people before finding a new home. This also marks the first time I counted historical deaths, and mention of a dead faux-mermaid created from a monkey and fish sewed together counted as two creature deaths.

8. Patient X (62 humans)

Prior to the Ruskin Dam deaths, alien rebels torched at least 61 people between Kazakhstan and Skyland Mountain, and a doctor in Tunguska ends up dead as well.

7. Per Manum (67 humans and an alien)

A room full of fetuses dead of horrific birth defects takes up most of this tally, along with the human mother of an alien, the alien infant, and a man who died in 1970.

6. Closure (77 humans)

The episode opened with the unpleasant discovery of 24 kids who had been murdered by a child molester. It grew to include a number of ghosts and children taken by "walk-ins," including Samantha Mulder.

5. Release (85 humans)

This might be a conservative estimate. Most of the toll comes from the Wall of Death kept by Stuart Mimms. Though it includes hundreds of photos of victims of violent murders, many seem to be duplicates, with five of Luke Doggett alone. Based on that, I guessed there were at least 77 individuals. The count was further increased by a couple of recent victims, some cadavers at an FBI training facility, and the deaths of Luke's murderer and the person whose identity Mimms takes.

4. Our Town (91 humans)

Life-lengthening ritual sacrifices in a chicken plant community end up claiming the lives of dozens of people within a 200-mile radius of the town over the years. The participants begin to turn on themselves shortly before the agents investigate and put a stop to the practice.

3. Badlaa (125 humans)

A chemical plant disaster in India claims 118 lives, with a beggar's son dying later as a result. The beggar's vengeful killing spree and Doggett's recollection of seeing his first body as a Marine increases the count by six. The ending is quite confusing, as the beggar is seen in India after being shot dead by Scully. I say she got him and he has a twin, or something like that.

2. Tempus Fugit (135 humans and an alien)

A commercial jetliner crashes after the military shoots down a UFO conducting a mid-flight abduction, and all 134 people on board (including Max Fenig) perish. The suicide of a military air traffic controller and an alien Mulder finds in the UFO wreckage bump the count up even more.

1. Piper Maru (139 humans)

Only seven sailors in the 144-strong crew of a World War II submarine survive a black oil infection and subsequent radiation poisoning. Trigger-happy French agents and a Gulf War training death add a couple more to this deadliest single episode.

All told, these 10 episodes (about five percent of the total episodes and movies) account for about 35.5 percent of the total fatalities.

Most Mourned

The Lone Gunmen: this lovable trio of geeks never let Mulder and Scully down, and were popular enough to get their own short-lived spinoff. They were symbolic of the Three Wise Men after William's birth, for crying out loud. At least they went out in style, sacrificing their own lives to stop a viral outbreak that would have killed thousands.

Agent Pendrell: another likable geek, Pendrell was an FBI lab tech who was infatuated with Scully. Pendrell also goes out somewhat heroically, if unintentionally so, when a bullet meant for a witness Scully is protecting ends up in his lung instead. He was popular enough that at least one memorial site dedicated to him survives from the earlier days of the Internet.

Max Fenig: the show liked introducing and killing off geeks that fans liked, apparently. The multiple abductee trailer gypsy with a keen insight into government conspiracies and a liking for Soul Coughing was killed in a plane crash (or rather sucked out of the plane when the Air Force shot down a UFO that was returning him to his seat) while trying to get an alien artifact to Mulder. He only made two appearances, but overall he left a pretty lasting impression on the show, also earning a memorial from the ancient days of the Internet.

Queequeg: Scully's pet dog, given to her by Clyde Bruckman after his owner (and Bruckman's neighbor) passed away. The little Pomeranian was gobbled up by a Georgia crocodile, or perhaps the not-quite-mythical Big Blue monster. He also has at least one old memorial site, and his untimely death was subtly referenced in the British comedy Spaced.

Clyde Bruckman: a curmudgeonly psychic and reluctant helper to Mulder and Scully, he commits suicide after leaving a note bequeathing Queequeg to Scully. Bruckman appears to have made a big impression on the fans; quite a few visitors to the site came looking for something related to him, and his name is dropped in the second movie. Seeing Peter Boyle in the role is also a little more poignant since the actor's death in 2006.

Mulder's entire family: Mulder's work has some pretty dire consequences for his immediate family. His father (sort of) is killed by Alex Krycek, his mother commits suicide, and he finally comes to accept that his sister is dead. Mulder himself spends three months under a tombstone before he is exhumed and treated for an effort to turn him into a super-soldier.

William and Melissa Scully: Scully also lost a few family members. She was most affected by the loss of her sister, who was fatally shot in a botched assassination attempt on Scully herself.

Deep Throat: a kindly old Syndicate informant and friend of Mulder's (sort of) father, he was killed when the Syndicate realized what he was up to. He had his dark history, but was a good help to Mulder, who kept him alive in his memory.

Mr. X: a much more abrasive informant who came into play after Deep Throat's death, X nevertheless proved to be a terrific character...even if he wasn't above murdering people and leading Mulder on. Like Deep Throat, the Syndicate takes him out once they realize he's involved with Mulder, but he goes out like the badass he is, writing a clue in his own blood to lead Mulder to Marita Covarrubias.

Alex Krycek: well, not so much mourned as established as a character deeply imbued with the X-Files identity. A conniving free agent who played the X-Files team, and the Syndicate, and the Russian gulag, and the FBI conspirators all to his own ends. He also used bloodborne nanobots to perpetually blackmail Skinner; the Assistant Director didn't much care for that, and Kycek met his end when Skinner put a bullet between his eyes in the FBI parking garage.

Cancer Man (C.G.B. Spender): OK, so maybe Mulder and Scully weren't too upset to see him go, and Doggett and Reyes never got to drop into the pueblo to say hello, but it was a little sad when he was finally killed. From the cool, collected way he belittled Mulder's efforts to uncover the truth to the sinister way he hung out in the background to the fact that he may have committed the two most notorious assassinations of the 1960s, Cancer Man stands as one of the best villains to grace the small screen. After not one but two brushes with death, he is finally blown up by a pair of black helicopters while hiding out in New Mexico.

Signing Off

What a long, paranormal trip it's been. I hope those of you who have been checking this out have enjoyed it. I'll wander back when the third movie comes around!


  1. Oh jesus! What a work you have done! Great job!... and scary tally. o-o
    I'm so glad you mentioned "The Most Mourned"... The Lone Gunmen were quite a loss...

    That's weird to say, but... let's hope we have more bodies to count on the third movie! =D

  2. Wow, extensive work my friend, and I love the site.

  3. Thanks for doing this. I recently began re-watching the series and have been tempted to count myself ~ glad I came across your sight first! Your methodology seems sound to me and I appreciate you explaining the details.

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  6. I Googled 'deathtoll xfiles' and I found your blog !
    Amazing and impressive work...

    I still wonder how a TV show so dark and so gruseome was SO popular...any sociological analysis ?

  7. So glad to stumble upon your website, looks like you have lots of guests in your guestbook, LOL! Keep up the good work. Partywear saree

  8. I'm re-watching the show on netflix, and it's just as good the second time around after all these years. Thanks for the all the hard work, I found this blog to be pretty interesting!

  9. Wonderful concept. You will have to delete Cancer Man though. He is back in the revival ;)

  10. Wonderful concept. You will have to delete Cancer Man though. He is back in the revival ;)

  11. I'm sure this is a long shot but does anyone know Scully's body count? Just the number of people she directly caused the death of, not including death by association like Melissa