Paranormal Phenomenon Omnibus

Area 51

Essay by Matt Allair

There is a location in Nevada that has developed an infamous reputation, a site that has been given the codename "Dreamland", Area 51. Due to the high level of secrecy at Area 51 rumors have run rampant for well over a decade. The X-Files episode, Deep Throat deals with the mystique of top secret bases like Area 51. Officially it does not even exist, even though President Clinton has briefly acknowledged its existence before exempting it from Federal health and safety legislation. It is located at a corner of the Nevada Test Site, where highly classified national security projects have been developed for several decades. Some of these projects include spy planes such as the U-2, the SR-71, the Stealth aircraft as well as technology developed for the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars").

Area 51 is secured with a twenty-five mile perimeter and surrounded by inhospitable mountain ranges. Due to the area being highly restricted, over-flying is not allowed resulting in swift, terminal action. It is secured with motion sensors, guarded towers and private security unit's that scout the twenty five mile perimeter. The general public cannot get access to sights of the base itself, with the exception of one mountain range where the base can be viewed. Generally speaking, Area 51 is the top secret area around Groom Dry Lake, about 80 miles (128 km) to the north of Las Vegas, other sites include Nellis Air Force Range and the Nevada Nuclear Test Site.

In recent years, observers have noted and reported on seeing odd lights maneuvering in ways conventional aircraft cannot maneuver; flying at great speeds, stopping abruptly and then hovering for periods of time. The majority of the early sightings were almost all at night; in a few instances witnesses saw the objects reflected in the moonlight and determined the objects resembled huge triangles. In May of 1990, daytime observers reported crafts of the same shape. The sightings were later reported in an October 1990 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology. The Triangles had been spotted over the northern end of Antelope Valley, near Edwards AFB and Mojave, California, as well as central Nevada. The author of the article, Aviation Week editor John D. Morrocco, has commented that a quantum leap in aviation had taken place under conditions of great secrecy. Mr. Morrocco has also noted that although the reports have similarities, there are differences between those in Europe and those in the Nevada/California area.

This has triggered the belief and speculation by some that these Triangle ships were the result of crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft which had been stored at Area 51 of the Nevada Test Site; that these aircraft were of unearthly origin. Aviation writer James C. Goodall has written about rumors of remains of an alien spacecraft being stored somewhere on the grounds. That some of these systems involve force field technology, gravity drive systems and the use of 'flying saucer' designs. Various informants have made claims that could not be proven; the most notable informant was a former employee of Area 51, Robert Scott Lazar, who appeared on a Las Vegas television show in November 1989. Lazar made claims that while working at Area 51 he became aware of advanced propulsion systems being developed. Between December 1988 and March 1989 Mr. Lazar spent a total of six or seven days at the Groom Lake facility known as S-4, in underground hangers. Mr. Lazar apparently worked for the Weapons Division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory on particle beams for the Strategic Defense Initiative from 1982 until physicist Dr. Edward Teller helped him get a job at S-4 in 1988.

He claims he was taken there blindfolded, with severe restrictions placed on where an individual could go. He even claimed that conversations between technicians were forbidden. Mr. Lazar claimed he was given a security badge bearing the code "MAJ", and that the project used funds siphoned from a "black budget" as well as funds allocated to the SDI program. According to Mr. Lazar, not even Congress, nor the President knew about these projects and it was unlikely that the American public will ever be made aware of them. Lazar claimed to have been given briefing papers that detailed the project's involvement with UFOs and autopsy reports. That the government had gained possession of several intact UFOs that were being test flown at Area 51. Mr. Lazar also claimed he was shown a UFO upon his second visit, he describe it as a circular machine 30 feet (9 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.5 m) high.

Of course his description contradicts other descriptions of Triangle - shaped crafts. Mr. Lazar has described the ships interior as being rounded -- "like it's made out of wax and heated for a time and then cooled off" -- the seats seemed to be made for children. Mr. Lazar described that these advanced propulsion systems were powered with an "anti-gravity reactor", which utilized a new element called 115. Mr. Lazar has made claims that he had seen the crashed UFO's that this technology had been developed from. During his brief time in the hanger, he claimed to have seen one flight of a craft which, under remote control, lifted some 20-30 feet (6-9 m) off the ground before settling back down.

Information has been uncovered that questions Mr. Lazar's credibility; his claims about his educational background and his employment could not be verified and it has become impossible to corroborate parts of his background -- for instance, that he received a master degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When he started making his public statements, Los Alamos denied that he ever worked there, yet when a copy of their internal telephone directory was produced that showed Lazar's name, Los Alamos changed their story to state that he only worked on "non-sensitive" projects. His defenders claim that there has been a campaign to discredit him. On the other hand, researchers have located his wage slip for five days' work at an unnamed government site in Nevada, which bears the budget code "E-6722MAJ".

In 1990 he was arrested for his involvement with a Nevada brothel, which has put his character in question. Nevertheless, such reports have triggered wild rumors and folklore of government-extraterrestrial contacts, including a treaty in which aliens have provided the American government with UFO technology in exchange for permission to abduct citizens, including even more wild claims of a secret government run faction of the CIA and "international bankers" in alliance with aliens, and that slave colonies have already been established on the Moon and Mars. Chris Carter has used a sizable percentage of such folklore as the basis for the Mythology of the X-Files. The sixth season two part episode "Dreamland" used Area 51 as its backdrop.

While the extreme secrecy of this part of the Nevada Test Site has triggered some wild speculation, it should be noted that there is a legitimate basis for such security. The Government and the Military does have a justification in protecting technology that could be used by rival countries or terrorists against American interests. Nevertheless, the flames have been fanned to trigger conspiracy belief and folklore about this site that officially doesn't exist.

Sources: "Unexplained!; 347 strange sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena." by Jerome Clark, © 1993 Visible Ink Press
"The Mammoth Book of UFOs" by Lynn Picknett, © 2001 Carroll & Graff Publications

Page Editor: XScribe

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