The Nevada Test and Training Range is more well-known as Area 51. It is a large piece of Federal property that is about the same size as the state of Connecticut. This area is the subject of more speculation, suspicion, and conspiracy theories than perhaps any other place in the world. You likely have heard about the “Storm Area 51” event that started out as a joke, but become a viral phenomenon, as people headed to Nevada in an effort to see if “the truth is out there” and on the off chance, perhaps “see them aliens.”
The beginning of Area 51 is directly related to the development of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. After World War II, the Soviet Union lowered the Iron Curtain around themselves and the rest of the Eastern bloc, creating a near intelligence blackout to the rest of the world. When the Soviets backed North Korea’s invasion of South Korea in June 1950, it became increasingly clear that the Kremlin would aggressively expand its influence. America worried about the USSR’s technology, intentions, and ability to launch a surprise attack – only a decade removed from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In November 1954, as a response to the threats to current aircraft flying reconnaissance missions over the USSR, President Eisenhower approved the secret development of a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft called the U-2 program. As soon as U-2 testing began in July 1955, unidentified flying object sightings began to circulate, and the conspiracy theories began rushing forward with speed and intensity. Conspiracy theorists could never get enough of them.
There are, of course, the alien conspiracies that galactic visitors are tucked away somewhere inside. One of the more colorful rumors insists the infamous 1947 Roswell crash was actually a Soviet aircraft piloted by mutated midgets and the wreckage remains on the grounds of Area 51. Some even believe that the U.S. government filmed the 1969 moon landing in one of the base’s hangars. Here are some of the more wild theories out there.
Extraterrestrials are kept hostage there
In conjunction with the alien spacecraft that conspiracy theorists believe are at Area 51, extraterrestrials are also believed to be located there, including ones that are supposedly held hostage.
In the 2018 Netflix documentary, Bob Lazar – a purported whistleblower and controversial figure in the scientific community – said that he was walking down a hallway at S-4 and for an instant, saw a small, gray extraterrestrial between two men in lab coats through a small window. Lazar claimed that he was told by a guard to stop looking and move along.
Alien autopsies have been performed there
Conspiracy theorists also believe that following the supposed extraterrestrial spacecraft that crashed in Roswell, N.M. in 1947, the dead bodies of the aliens aboard were taken to Area 51 and dissected.
In the mid-1990s, a fuzzy black-and-white film supposedly showed a team of scientists and doctors cutting open one of the beings was aired on TV. Eventually, this footage was proven to being a hoax after the producers came out and said they had faked the autopsy.
The government controls the weather from Area 51
One other popular claim from conspiracy theorists is that the government has set up shop to control the weather at Area 51.
While the government has put forth research projects in the past to modify clouds and the weather, according to a report from the National Science Foundation, there has been no evidence that this research took place at Area 51.
Now that we’ve indulged in some of the really wild theories, let’s do some factual exploration of Area 51.
Annie Jacobsen, author of the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, has some better-articulated insight to Area 51 than the typical wild, hysterical theories. Let’s look at some of them.
Origin & Purpose
Jacobsen says, “Area 51 was the birthplace of overhead espionage for the CIA. It’s where the U-2 spy plane was first built back in the 1950s, and it’s where the intelligence community has worked with its military partners and others to work on espionage platforms.
“It’s also a place where all elements of the Defense Department work on some of their most classified programs along with members of the intelligence community, of which there are many.
“There’s also an element of Area 51 where the CIA trains its foreign paramilitary partners in counterterrorism tactics. They do this out on the wilds of Area 51 because they can bring some foreign fighters there who would otherwise not be welcomed into the country.
“So the US can fly them in a plane with the windows drawn, drop them off, train them, and neither the fighters nor the American public have any idea where they were or what was going on.”
“Well, it remained obscured to the outside world until the late 1980s, when an engineer named Bob Lazar went on a local Nevada news program and stated that he had worked at Area 51 on a flying saucer that he believed had come from outer space. Bob Lazar also told the public he thought he saw an alien.
“That was the moment Area 51 became a public fascination. It had been completely cloaked in secrecy before that.
“And in all the decades since, interest in the site has gained momentum around two ideas: the theory that the US military has been reverse-engineering UFOs and alien technology at the site, and the truth about the base that some of the most remarkably advanced technology platforms have been created and tested out there.”
“I have interviewed scores of very smart, very highly placed government personnel who visited the base and believe the technology they saw is so advanced that they question whether or not it’s manmade. That’s intriguing to me. I don’t report on that because there is no documentation to support that claim, but that is the opinion of many people that I know.”