Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Area 51
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Area51 Since 1955 when President Eisenhower approvedit as a test site, Area 51 has become shorthand for “scary secret government facility usedto keep paranormal secrets.
” It remains enough of a pop culture touchstone that asrecently as 2015, the director of Paranormal Activity released a terrible movie on thesubject.
While we can’t say with complete certainty that nothing supernatural is storedor tested at Area 51.
There are many interesting things we do know about the famous testingplace one hundred miles north of Las Vegas, NV in the Groom Lake Bed.
The CIA Only Confirmed Its Existence VeryRecently Although it was one of the most open of secretsin military history for decades that the facility existed (even being given network televisioncoverage in 1994 on a special hosted by Larry King) the government was very reluctant tosay anything on the matter of Area 51.
It wasn’t until 2013 that the Central IntelligenceAgency acknowledged the existence of this experimental facility.
The method used toconfirm it wasn’t to make an official statement or anything obviously public, so much as itwas through releasing documents a full eight years after Freedom of Information Act lawswere enacted.
The main points that came to light were that the facility was used fortesting planes like the U-2 and the A-12 and certain matters related to the Atomic EnergyCommission.
As we’ll see later, this prolonged secrecy had a very horrible impact on people’slives.
Drone Testing The U-2 spy plane which the personnel at Area51 were instrumental in developing is still in use today, but in 2013, Area 51 was seentesting a new model of a completely different sort of military hardware that became publicin 2014.
In 2011, the Iranian government displayed a captured RQ-170 surveillance drone and quicklybegan reverse-engineering it.
This seemed to expedite the creation of a new model drone, so only two years later, the RQ-180 model, which was meant to correct some of the issuesthe previous model had with aerodynamics, was released.
It was sleeker, more maneuverable, and had a range of over 1, 200 miles while being able to stay aloft for 24 hours (comparedto the previous model’s six hours maximum).
Not a bad contribution to the USAF for a sitethat was reported as being abandoned in 1997 by Popular Mechanics magazine.
Boyd Bushman’s Confession Video In October 2014, the internet was brieflyrocked by a video of Boyd Bushman shot two months earlier before his death, where heclaimed to have interacted with extraterrestrial beings and to had been involved in implementingtheir anti-gravity technology at Area 51.
The specifics of his outlandish claims includedthat there were essentially “wrangler” and “rustler” aliens that he interactedwith and that they could travel between Earth and their home planet in only forty-five minutes.
On paper, Bushman did not seem like the sort to engage in crank conspiracy theories.
Hehad worked as an aeronautical engineer with Lockheed Martin for forty years and his twenty-fivepatents mostly owned by the same company included developing laser-guided smart bomb systems.
But as news outlets like Snopes were quick to point out, he did not provide any informationabout how the anti-gravity technology was supposed to work, which as an engineer who’dbeen part of the project, would be presumably be well within his abilities.
Also a purportedalien in a photo was quickly identified as a doll that was available at Walmart.
Mine Fight Few families have been as directly affectedby Area 51 and the operations that took place in it as the Sheahan family.
In 1880, theypurchased mining rights for an area three miles from the testing runway for Area 51.
Practically as soon as the base opened, they started getting trouble from it.
Over theyears, the family claimed that rounds were fired by planes flying over their home inan attempt to get them to leave.
Members further claim to have been held at gunpoint on theirproperty.
In 1954, they filed a lawsuit against the base when they claimed their mill (previouslyrendered unusable by nuclear testing) was firebombed by the Air Force, dropping thesuit only when they ran out of money.
Eventually, the family was offered $5.
2 million for agovernment expansion, which they refused to accept.
In October, the four hundred acresof land was simply seized after the offer expired and the USAF sued them, meaning thatthe Sheahan’s have received nothing for their trouble.
Paradise Ranch A lot of people think of members of the scientificcommunity as being willing to go anywhere or do anything in the name of following anorder.
Apparently though, according to radar tester Edward Lovick, who worked on the basefor three decades, one of the senior aircraft designers felt a need to try to entice scientistsand personnel with a deceptive name.
So Clarence Johnson originally dubbed the Area 51 location“Paradise Ranch” in the hope it sounded more appealing than calling it “Groom Lake”or anything that more accurately reflected what a dry, uncomfortable place it was.
There’ssomething ominous about naming a location used for testing weapons, especially nuclearweapons, a paradise.
Moon Landing Tests One of the many conspiracy theories surroundingArea 51 is that it’s the place where the supposedly fake 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landingwas filmed.
Although the claim that the moon landing was staged at all has been thoroughlydebunked, it does hit close to the mark.
The Area 51 facility itself did not haveanything to do with the landing, but at a nearby base that was part of the Nellis RangeComplex, equipment that NASA used for the moon landing was developed and tested.
Probablythe best known piece of equipment was the lunar rover.
It’s almost as if Area 51 decidedit just couldn’t get enough intrigue and decided to steal some of its neighbor’s.
The Runway As stated before, the A-12 spy plane was testedat Area 51 during the 1950s and 1960s, but there was a pretty big issue with that.
See, while the Nevada desert was great for keeping the operations isolated and cheap, the weatherwas almost always perfect for flights, and the lake bed was flat and good for buildinga runway, it was so dusty that the plane’s engines would get jammed.
To combat this, the crew onsite had to literally sweep and vacuum the runway.
Anyone who served as aprivate in the military knows that a lot of it is dusting or greasing the same surfacesto a ridiculous extent over and over again, but vacuuming the runway almost seems likea joke.
Slight Basis in Truth Shortly before the CIA’s official releasingof documents confirming the existence of Area 51, Annie Jacobsen interviewed a number offormer workers for her 2011 book Area 51: An Uncensored History.
Although the book wassubsequently criticized for factual errors by some of its interview subjects and indulgingin nonsensical theories that the claims aliens were at Area 51 was the result of a Sovietscare hoax, truths came out which explained where some of the more ridiculous theoriesabout Area 51 came from, such as that alien technology was being adapted for militaryuse, that there are underground tunnels for storing secrets, or that there were flyingsaucers about.
The notion that aerospace technology was beingreverse-engineered from alien technology seems to be based on the fact there actually wasreverse-engineering of foreign technology going on, such as the Soviet jet fighter knownas the MiG.
There actually were secret underground tunnels, but they were part of a nuclear programcalled Project NERVA which was conducted near Area 51 in a spot called Jackass Flats.
Andthe flying saucers? Those were a misidentified vehicle dubbed the OXCART, which had a fuelcarrying pod in a circular shape that when viewed from the ground looked much more likea flying disc than a conventional airplane.
BBC Crew Barged In The BBC holds itself up as a respectable, time-honored news organization (at least, as far as people in America know).
But in2012, a camera crew with BBC Channel 3 sunk to what can best be described as a news stuntwhen they attempted a break in at Area 51, or at least knowingly trespassed on governmentproperty.
When they arrived at the location, there was no one to greet them and nothinggoing on, so they did things like silly dances just to have something to record.
Onsite personnelwere naturally not happy with this, and the crew was held at gunpoint and forced to layface down in the dirt for three hours while a background check was run on them.
In lightof what the government is willing to suppress in the name of national security (as we’llsee in the next entry), the crew should have been thanking their lucky stars they got outunharmed.
The True Crime While there probably haven’t been any paranormalsecrets being kept at Area 51, something really quite heinous came to light in the 1990s.
That was when a class action lawsuit was filed against the government because during Areas51’s operations, hazardous material had been disposed of in an extremely unsafe manner, along with classified equipment.
Specifically, it had been dumped into deep ditches, dousedwith jet fuel, and burned.
In 1980, the ground began being removed en masse, which spreadmore hazardous material into the air.
Naturally, people onsite developed severeskin and respiratory problems, and cancer rates even in surrounding communities increased.
Government workers sued just so that it could be disclosed what they had been poisoned withso that doctors could better determine how to treat them.
In 1996, President Clintonsigned an executive order protecting the administration of Area 51 from disclosing anything to theEnvironmental Protection Agency, and the lawsuit was dismissed for the same reason.