How Military Base Area 51 Became the Heartland of Alien Conspiracy Theories
Article by Jayden Collins September 4, 2020 (happymag.tv)
• A secret military base sits in the middle of the Nevada desert, about 82 miles northwest of Las Vegas known as ‘Area 51’. It has become the subject of endless pop culture references and memes, as well as the epicentre of the world’s most famous alien conspiracies. How did this Air Force facility become linked with extraterrestrial folklore, and are they really holding tea parties with alien lifeforms inside the base?
• The government used the desolate Nevada desert region as a weapons test range during World War II. In 1954 it was commissioned Area 51 by President Eisenhower as an Air Force base that tested spy planes, such as the U-2, far away from the public and Soviet spies. Perhaps today’s conspiracy theories are rooted in the base’s history of Soviet espionage.
• In 1947, there were reports of a weather balloon crashing on a ranch in southeastern New Mexico near a town called Roswell. But rumors abounded that the US military had taken a crashed UFO craft to Area 51. Then in the late 1980s, Robert Lazar came forward to claim that he had been one of the scientists reverse engineering alien spacecraft at Area 51. Lazar even claimed to have seen an alien himself. Lazar became a cult hero among conspiracy theorists, and while his credentials were pretty quickly discredited, it was his interview that would forever link Area 51 to the unknowns of outer space.
• The phenomena of Area 51 grew in the ’80s and ’90s, and took on a life of its own within popular culture. The science fiction television series The X-Files continually referenced the facility and the government’s agenda to keep the existence of extraterrestrial life a secret. In 1996, Area 51 was prominently feature in the film Independence Day, about an alien attack on Earth. In 2011, the comedy Paul depicted an extraterrestrial who has escaped from Area 51. The secret base was even referenced in the kids’ movie Lilo & Stitch, with the aliens in the film choosing to name planet Earth, Area 51. Barack Obama was the first US President to publicly acknowledge Area 51 in 2013.
• In June 2019, 20-year-old student Matty Roberts created a Facebook event called ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us’. The event was set for September 20, 2019, and quickly turned into a trending meme, with 2 million people clicking ‘going’, and 1.5 million clicking ‘interested’. What was initially intended as a joke turned into a serious issue for the US government. The military’s public relation office made a Twitter post with a photo of military personnel and a B-2 stealth bomber. The caption read: “The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today.” The tweet was later deleted. However, only 1,500 people showed up to the hastily assembled music festivals, while only 150 people ventured to the gates of Area 51.
• So, what is really going on at Area 51? Apart from the creation of U-2 and A-12 aircraft and an early spy mission, we don’t officially know. However, according to Annie Jacobsen, author of the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, it’s a whole lot of reverse-engineering – and not just of alien craft. Foreign technology captured on battlefields is often brought back to the facility to be tested and re-created. Jacobsen believes that Area 51 is still the location used by military intelligence to create counterterrorism tactics, weapon systems, and surveillance platforms, all of which are hidden from the public.
• Yet in July of this year, the Pentagon released three videos of UFO-like objects moving quickly through the air. They were accompanied by a report which stated the objects were “off-world vehicles not made of this world.” Since then, the Pentagon has set up a UFO task force in an attempt to discover the nature and origins of these objects, further fueling the fire of UFO-related suspicions surrounding Area 51.
Located 134km northwest of Las Vegas is a dirt road leading out from Nevada’s ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’ and down towards Homey Airport, the home of a notorious US military base.
What lies within this military base is mostly a mystery to the public. It goes by various names including Paradise Ranch, Red Square, Nevada Test and Training Range, and of course, the one most commonly used in myth and legend, Area 51.
This secret base sits in the middle of the Nevada desert and has become the subject of endless pop culture references and memes, as well as the epicentre of the world’s most famous alien conspiracies.
But just how did this air force facility become linked with extraterrestrial folklore, and are the United States really holding tea parties with alien lifeforms inside this bewitching base?
A Soviet spy station
Commissioned in 1954 by President Eisenhower, Area 51 was created in order to test spy planes far away from the public eye, with the ultimate goal of infiltrating the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program.
The area within the Nevada Test and Training Range was already used for nuclear weapon testing back in World War II, and as such, it was the perfect location to ensure the public would keep their distance. What came out of the espionage work done at Area 51 would ultimately be significant in maintaining the United States’ superpower status.
First up was the commissioning of the U-2 spy plane, an aircraft that could fly as high as 70,000 feet in the air (an unfathomable feat at the time), travel across the US without needing to refuel, and carry cameras that could spy on Soviet land below.
From its expeditions, the U-2 plane discovered that the Soviet military was not as advanced as what was claimed by its leaders, leading the United States to believe that they weren’t too far behind their military rivals. However, the plane was shot down in Soviet airspace in 1960. Both the pilot and aircraft were recovered, keeping them out of the hands of the Soviet Union; however, US authorities were forced to admit the purpose of the mission.
This lead to the creation of the Lockheed A-12, an aircraft that could fly across the US in 70 minutes at an altitude of 90,000 feet, photographing objects on the ground that were just one-foot long. With the number of A-12 flights coming in and out of Area 51, reports of unidentifiable flying objects grew in the area. The aircraft’s titanium body and bullet speed resembled nothing seen in the US before.
With the nature of these military aircraft, coupled with the secrecy surrounding these espionage missions, it’s easy to see why conspiracy theories arose around the goings-on inside the military base.
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