If you’re a science fiction fan (and if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you are) then you you’re probably familiar with Roswell and Area 51. But, other than what you’ve learned through watching Independence Day and/or the X-Files, how much do you really know?
In the 1990’s, the majority of people polled about Roswell believed that aliens had in fact landed on Earth. Given the recent success of Paramount’s new alien invasion film, Arrival, it seems necessary to examine the country’s biggest extraterrestrial conspiracy theory. People continue to be fascinated with the idea of extraterrestrial life.
It all began on July 8, 1947 when an unusual aircraft crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, a small town located about 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque. In an official report from the Roswell Army Airfield, their public communications officer stated that a “flying disk” had been recovered from the crash site.
Shortly afterward, William Brazel, a foreman working on the nearby Foster homestead, came forward. He claimed that three weeks earlier, on June 14th, he and his son had discovered crash “disk” debris consisting of “rubber strips, tinfoil, tough paper, and sticks” 30 miles north of Roswell. His claim indicated that there were at least two crash sites, raising eyebrows and spawning subsequent UFO crash theories.
In addition to describing “disk-like” shapes, a few witnesses went so far as to claim that alien life had been recovered from the site on July 8th. The extraterrestrials were described as smaller in size than the average American, with big eyes and no hair.
The United States Air Force (USAF) was quick to respond, claiming the crashed aircraft was a weather balloon. This explanation seemed to satisfy the public. UFO and ET rumors quickly subsided.
It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the UFO suspicions resurfaced. A team of UFO researchers, after analyzing evidence and witness accounts, claimed that there had been multiple UFO crash sites in and around Roswell in the late 1940’s and that alien life had been recovered. They claimed further that the crash site debris and extraterrestrials had been transported first to the Fort Worth Army Air Field in Texas, and then later to Area 51, for testing.
In an effort to dispel the conspiracy theory’s growing popularity, in the 1990’s, the government released information about the crash site in Roswell. Called Project Mogul, the documents claimed that the aircraft was a high-altitude balloon, decked out with microphones to detect Soviet Atomic Bomb test sound waves.
Hmmm. Considering our 40-year Cold War with the Soviets was just beginning, this explanation doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch…
But what about Area 51?
Also known as Homey Airport, Groom Lake, Papoose Lake, Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, and Water Town, for those of you unfamiliar with Area 51, it is a “remote detachment” of Edward Air Force Base Test and Training Range, located approximately 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. For all you professional and amateur pilots out there, the airspace around the field is known as Restricted Area 4808 North. Until recently, it was completely restricted, all the way up to outer space.
Conspiracy theorists believe the site is a massive underground facility with camouflaged, disappearing airstrips, and a subterranean, transcontinental railroad system.
Because of the Freedom of Information Act, a request for intel about Area 51 was filed in 2005, and in July of 2013, the CIA officially acknowledged its existence. While the exact use of the base is still unknown, many believe it houses experimental aircraft, weapons systems, and “black projects.” In US and British military jargon, a “black project” is a highly classified military or defense project that is publicly unacknowledged by the government.
Before the CIA ever acknowledged Area 51, it was the location of many a government conspiracy. The most popular, is that it not only houses the remnants of the Roswell crash, as well as the alien life that was found there, but that the government is manufacturing aircraft based on that alien technology. Other theories suppose that energy weapons, weather control, time travel, and teleportation devices, as well as nuclear propulsion systems are all being developed there.
How did all the rumors surrounding Area 51 get started?
In the 1950’s and 60’s, the number of UFO sightings increased substantially. Many of these sightings occurred in and around Area 51, so it’s no surprise that decades later, UFO researchers and analysts began to attribute these sightings to experiments being conducted in the top-secret government facility.
But, along with its acknowledgement of Area 51 in 2013, the CIA lays claim to these “sightings,” chalking them up to upgraded aircraft technologies. In the mid-1950’s, civilian aircraft flew under 20,000 feet and military aircraft flew under 40,000 feet. When Lockheed developed the U-2, a single-jet engine, ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, it was flown by the CIA and USAF at 60,000 feet, high above all other aircraft. At such a far distance from Earth, the CIA claims that the U-2 was easily mistaken as a UFO.
Well I guess that makes sense…
There is one, seemingly credible eyewitness account of extraterrestrial life found at the Roswell crash sight. In a 1996 documentary titled “Dreamland: Area 51,” written and directed by Bruce Burgess, a 71-year-old mechanic, and former Area 51 employee is interviewed. He claims that he worked on a “flying dish simulator” at the facility in the 1950’s, as well as with J-Rod, an alien, telepathic translator.
Hmmm. It’s hard to lay stock on one eyewitness, even if he does claim to have an Area 51 working history…
So what do you believe? Do you think that extraterrestrials really did crash land here, decades ago? Or maybe the government propagated these rumors to cover up a bigger, non-Alien conspiracy?
We may not know today, but, the truth is out there…
(cue X-Files theme music)