Strange Facts and True Stories About Area 51
Conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, ex-employee confessions, secret tunnels — there's no shortage of Area 51 controversies. While some of the conspiracy theories are extremely far-fetched, others might make some sense.
Did you know that the U.S. Navy had to confess to a strange flying phenomenon? And that Area 51's been involved in a lawsuit? There's also a UK version of Area 51 out there. Ready to find out what it is — and more?
Crossing the Gate?
Because Area 51 isn’t heavily gated in some areas, it’s common to think that you can cross the border into it. After all, all that’s showing at the gate is a sign stating you shouldn’t go in. But don’t underestimate that sign — the government can and will use all force necessary if you cross the gate.
Area 51 security is known colloquially as the "camo dudes." You can find them in a white pick-up truck, dressed in desert-style camouflage, which is precisely how they got their nickname. Their job is to patrol Area 51 to make sure there are no trespassers.
Area 51 vs. the Law
While the government might deny any alien activity at Area 51, it couldn’t deny that working there isn’t all that it seems. In the ‘90s, a lawyer was approached by Area 51 workers who fell ill due to the hazardous materials and waste they were repeatedly exposed to.
There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories when it comes to Area 51. Apart from the standard alien talk, one of the biggest theories is the fact that people seem to think the moon landing was actually filmed at Area 51. Of course, this hasn’t been confirmed, but according to National Geographic, space equipment was indeed tested by the astronauts near the controversial site.
Due to Area 51’s popularity and the lack of a visible security gate, the site attracts plenty of daredevil YouTubers who want to get the best possible footage of their adventures. In September 2019, two Dutch YouTubers were arrested for trespassing at the site.
Before Area 51 got its reputation among UFO fanatics, it needed some advertising done to convince government workers to move nearby. As you can imagine, packing your bags to move to the middle of the desert doesn’t sound appealing unless you’re a part of a cult.
These may not be UFO aircrafts, of course, but it’s almost just as exciting to find out that the United States Air Force captured Soviet MiG fighters when the planes mistakenly landed in Israel back in the late ‘60s. The aircrafts were tested at Area 51 in order to see their full potential and performance limitations.
Speaking of planes, because the Groom Lake area was a testing site, it was also home to some of the craziest planes ever. Some of these were kept top secret and weren’t even revealed to the public for years. One of them was the F-117 Nighthawk, a powerful attack aircraft flown in several wars but only officially revealed in 1988.
A Secret Until 2013
One of the reasons why Area 51 attracts so many people around the world is because it’s so secret. In fact, the government didn’t want to make it public until 2013. It was the first time the CIA even acknowledged it, mentioning that it’s mostly a testing site for the high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance plane.
Illnesses in the Area
Area 51 isn’t the only test site nearby — there’s also the Nevada Test Site, where the United States Department of Energy has conducted more than 700 nuclear tests. You can imagine how the area isn’t very eco-friendly.
Just Another Non-Existent Terminal
Just Another Non-Existent Terminal, or JANET, is an airline dedicated to Area 51 employees. Their aircraft has no airline logos other than a red stripe. It’s almost impossible to track by civilians, with its official destination listed as the Tonopah Test Range.
Imagine buying land anywhere close to Area 51. It’s a dream for many UFO fanatics but a nightmare for the Sheahan family, which owns Groom Mine, a mining area from the 1870s. The federal government became interested in the hope of expanding the Area 51 testing site there.
Independence Day vs. Area 51
You know your movie is a big deal when the actual military is involved in wanting to know about its scenes and not showing secret locations. When Independence Day was filming, the U.S. military really wasn’t happy about it.
The UK Version
Did you know that the United Kingdom has its own version of Area 51? Just like in the U.S., Rudloe Manor got caught up in UFO conspiracy theories back in the ‘90s. It was an underground bunker constructed during the Cold War and served as the Emergency Government War Headquarters.
Classified Crew That Passed Away
In November 1955, 14 men were on their way to Area 51. But unfortunately, they never made it. Their airplane crashed into Nevada’s Mount Charleston. Nobody was supposed to know they were there, and nobody did for 40 years.
Area 51 vs. NASA
Area 51 didn’t only fight with families and movie makers. It also threw some shade at NASA, whose astronauts were on the Skylab 4 mission when they caught a rare glimpse of Area 51. Now, remember: The government didn't acknowledge Area 51 until 2013.
UFO Capital of the World
Did you know that, due to the popularity of UFO sightings, Rachel, Nevada, was actually named the UFO Capital of the World? Of course, this is due to the fact that people may see a lot of experimental aircraft in the area, and because they look so unusual, it tends to be assumed they belong to aliens.
In 2008, a group of teenagers wanted to make a YouTube video about visiting the Area 51 gate. It all started as usual, until they were stopped by two grandmas who also wanted to know how to get to the gate. The teens told them to follow their car, but the grandmas happened to speed right past the gate sign.
Have you ever wondered if Area 51 has any other areas, like Area 1, Area 2 and so on? Considering its real name is Groom Lake, it’s unclear why Area 51 got its name. It’s assumed that the number comes from the official government diagrams and the Atomic Energy Commission grid-naming system.
Due to the mining site nearby, it’s assumed that Area 51 may be using underground tunnels that connect to other secret facilities. Similar tunnels near the border of the base were explored by a YouTube channel called EXPLORE WITH US.
There’s one theory that seems to be the most believable when it comes to UFOs. After a video captured an unexplained flying object in the area, the U.S. Navy confirmed that these weren’t just far-fetched images. They were, according to the Navy, real videos that were capturing true flying phenomena around Area 51.
Bob Lazar’s Confessions
Area 51 first became famous after an ex-employee, Bob Lazar, claimed he saw alien experiments at the facility. He was supposedly working on a spacecraft, which, according to Lazar, flew with its bottom at the front. He also described many other details.
There’s someone out there who most likely knows the full details of Area 51. That company is Google. Over the years, Google Maps revealed more and more details of Area 51. However, it’s unclear whether the current shape of the facility is actually revealed completely.
One of the creepiest cases of YouTubers visiting Area 51 belongs to a channel called MacADVentures. They’re a father-and-son duo and they love to travel. Like many other adventurers, they wanted to see how close they could get to Area 51.
Aquatone was one of the first secret projects carried out at Area 51 way back in 1955. It was authorized by President Eisenhower, and its first-ever test was carried out on the Lockheed U-2 aircraft.
It Continues to Expand
Perhaps the scariest thing about Area 51 is the fact that it continues to grow. Back in the day, it only had one runway and a few other facilities. These days, it’s grown into multiple runways along with plenty of infrastructure, some of which the public will never get to see.
UFO sightings became more frequent in the ‘50s and ‘60s, with many people claiming they’d seen spacecraft belonging to aliens — or at least that’s what they thought. The truth is, plenty of those sightings have been debunked and appeared to have been just manned reconnaissance flights.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Independence Day wasn’t the only piece of media that managed to capture Area 51 and introduce it to pop culture. Video game GTA 5 also had a go at introducing this military base. Although to avoid any trouble, the developers called it Area 69. Just like the real deal, this area is highly protected and operates a no-fly zone.
So what do government personnel think? Do presidents other than Eisenhower know what’s happening at Area 51? A ufologist claims that Donald Trump knows more about Area 51 than he's letting on after seeing one of Trump’s interviews.
Trump isn’t the only one. Even Hillary Clinton seems fascinated by the potential of what lies beyond Area 51. Before the 2016 election, Clinton revealed that she was committed to sharing what’s at Area 51 with the public. Of course, unless it was an actual threat to national security.