Area 51 is known as a notorious hiding place for highly classified US government projects, including the production and testing of Stealth aircraft including the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird.
Located 160 miles northwest of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert it is in an ideal position to hide away from prying eyes. This secrecy has led to numerous rumours over the years about what exactly goes on there.
So what are these tantalising secrets the military base is supposedly hiding? Rumours about extraterrestrial activity first became concrete in 1989, when Bob Lazar made the incredible announcement that he had worked in Area 51 – in section S-4, Papoose Lake, ten miles southwest of the main facility.
He said he was involved in studying the propulsion systems of nine extraterrestrial, flying saucer-type craft. They were allegedly shipped there in the early 1970s, each was housed in its own hanger, and Lazar claims the project to study these craft and ‘back engineer’ them began in 1979. They apparently operated by creating anti-gravity with element 115, and could travel faster than the speed of light.
According to Lazar briefings given by scientists informed him that aliens have been involved with our evolution for the past 100,000 years, and they came from the Zeta Reticuli star system. He also claims he saw a small machine that could generate huge amounts of energy, as well as secret reports relating to alien activities and technology.
However, Bob Lazar’s knowledge of physics, his educational qualifications and his actual involvement with Area 51 activities have all been questioned.
Writing on his website, angryufologist, Trevor Wozny is very critical of Lazar’s claims:
Mr Lazar on many occasions demonstrates an obvious lack of understanding of current physical theories. I feel that there is a good reason why his credentials cannot be identified and corroborated. Because they are made up and do not exist.
Since then others have come forward with similar tales.
Last year an anonymous vlogger claimed his (equally anonymous) neighbour, who was a military man based at Area 51, told him one night in a drunken outburst:
Hey, you see Orion’s Belt? You see how you see the two stars that are straight, very parallel to each other and there’s a little star that’s slightly adjurent to off to left…well, the bad aliens live on that adjacent star.
He went on to say the stereotypical grey aliens are the good guys, and tall brown ones that ‘smell’ are the baddies. To get here they apparently use interstellar craft that can warp spacetime using a device that generates power out of the vacuum of space.
A more credible whistleblower was the late Boyd Bushman, who worked as a Senior Specialist in the Special Programs Department for Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace, defence, security and advanced technologies company. In a video interview he claimed alien craft use anti-gravity propulsion, and they visit Area 51 using a special flightpath, which takes them to a landing area at the bottom of a shaft on the side of a mountain near the base.
Bushman claimed the aliens at the facility are short, 230-year-old humanoids with long fingers and webbed feet, who communicate using telepathy. They hail from the planet Quintumnia.
There are two groups of aliens. They divide them into two groups. It’s like a cattle ranch. One group are wranglers, and the others are rustlers – the stealers of cattle.
The ones that are wranglers are much more friendly, and have a better relationship with us.
As evidence of his story he provided a selection of very dubious looking pictures of UFOs and an alien doll.
In a deathbed confession, an anonymous former CIA employee claimed President Eisenhower, fearing an alien invasion, sent him and a colleague to Area 51 to report its activities back to him. At S-4 he says he discovered the crashed wreckage of the Roswell flying saucer stored here, and that he also saw living extraterrestrials at the base.
Another twist came with the publication of respected investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen’s book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base.
Jacobsen concludes by saying the Roswell saucer was actually a remote controlled craft sent by the Soviet Union to scare the USA into thinking it was an extraterrestrial machine. She says it was crewed by surgically altered children who, along with the wreckage, were whisked away to Area 51. However, the information came from an anonymous source and has been largely discredited.
Nick Pope, who ran the UK Ministry of Defence’s UFO project is sceptical of these stories.
In the case of Bob Lazar he told UNILAD:
I’ve never met him, and while I’m aware of some detailed critiques, I simply don’t have the scientific knowledge to evaluate his claims. However, I will make a more general observation. If one looks at people who have verifiably leaked classified information (people like David Shayler, Richard Tomlinson, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning), one can see that the authorities have gone after them vigorously and aggressively, using the full resources of the criminal justice system.
This hasn’t happened to Bob Lazar – or indeed to other supposed whistleblowers in the UFO field. The suspicion must therefore be that these people aren’t really divulging classified information at all, but are simply tellers of tall tales.
Certainly facts about the area are elusive. Chris Mellon, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence from November 1999 to January 2002, had access to Area 51 and was involved with reviewing other top secret military projects and so-called ‘black programmes’. He should know what is really going on there.
Even though he has a strong personal interest in UFOs, he admitted in a Huffington Post interview that:
I highly doubt the Defense Department (DoD) or any other government agency is concealing UFO information. I participated in a comprehensive review of DoD’s black programs and spent over a decade conducting oversight of the national foreign intelligence program, an almost totally separate world of secrets.
I visited Area 51 and other military, intelligence and research facilities. During all those years, I never detected the faintest hint of government interest or involvement in UFOs.
I’d love to believe we have a crashed saucer somewhere, but I’ve never seen anything remotely supportive of such incredible claims.
Nick Pope adds:
Unlike other UFO-related mysteries, there’s no debate about the basic part of the story: Area 51 exists, and it’s a location where the US government has developed and test-flown some pretty awesome, cutting edge aviation technology. As to whether any of that technology was back-engineered from extraterrestrial spacecraft, I doubt it.
And Pope confessed that we have similar facilities in the UK:
Is there a British Area 51? Yes and no. Exotic – but decidedly terrestrial – aviation technology has been designed and tested at RAE Farnborough, the BAE Systems site at Warton, and a handful of other locations. But geography is against us Brits. The comparatively small size of the UK means that there simply isn’t space to do what the Americans do. We don’t have deserted areas of hundreds of square miles where we can test fly our shiny new toys in private.
Nick concluded by telling us:
Area 51 is now so infamous, and so much a part of pop culture, that its usefulness may have declined. It may serve now as more of a distraction. The aircraft and drones of tomorrow are being developed and tested right now, but I suspect this is being done not at Area 51, but at a new and even more secret location – somewhere the media and the public has never heard of.