Friday, May 16, 2008

Bigfoot

What's the story?
Since beyond the memory of the oldest storyteller, the Indians of the Pacific coast have told of- and feared- giant, hairy, bad-smelling, manlike creatures that live in the dense wilderness of the western slope of the Cascade Range, especially from northern California to British Columbia. Every tribe has a name for them, best known being the Salish Indian Sasquatch, the Yurok Indian Toki-mussi and the Hoopa Indian Oh-mah. People in the United States usually call them Bigfoot.

As the white man penetrated the Pacific coast area, they began to report Bigfoot and his spoor occasionally, beginning with a report made by Alexander Anderson of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1864. Hundreds of sightings, including a couple of dozen pretty believable ones, reinforced by fairly common discovery of tracks, nests, droppings, and other evidence, have been reported since.

In the late 1950's, the California Bureau of Public Roads began pushing a timber access road into the unmapped wilderness of the Bluff Creek area north of Eureka- and Bigfoot sightings began to increase. First to report signs were the road-building crew. Then loggers, hikers, hunters and visitors began to report sightings, tracks, and droppings with increasing frequency.

The recreational boom of the Fifties pushed more and more campers, hikers, hunters and fishermen into the eastern slope of the Cascades at the same time, and other sightings and evidences began to gather. Reports became more and more frequent, especially in reports by a few interested newspapers: The San Francisco Chronicle; the Humboldt Times of Eureka, California; the Portland Oregon Journal; the Longview, Washington Times, and the Agassiz-Harrison Advance, in British Columbia.

The sightings were concentrated in a few areas, though scattered additional reports came in as well. Most consistent have been from the Fraser River Valley, Vancouver Island, and the mainland coast of the Strait of Georgia, in British Columbia; the "Ape Canyon" area near Mount Saint Helens in southwestern Washington; the Three Sisters Wilderness west of Bend, in west central Oregon; and the area around the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation northeast of Eureka, California, especially the Bluff Creek watershed.

One other site of a long series of very mysterious happenings - and perhaps as many as a dozen unsolved killings - is the valley at the confluence of the Liard and South Nahanni Rivers, at the south end of the Mackenzie Range, near Fort Simpson in the Canadian Northwest Territories. Though far to the north of Bigfoot's usual haunts, the valley is heated by warm springs- so warm that missionaries have grown banana palms there.

Increasing reports of new evidence brought in the one student and chronicler of "Abominable Snowmen" around the world, Ivan T. Sanderson. A Cambridge-educated Englishman well versed in botany, zoology, geology and anthropology, Sanderson is internationally known as a writer and television personality, and has gathered "snowman" material since 1930.

After several extended trips into sighting areas, hundreds of interviews and a great deal of research, Sanderson produced feature articles in 1959 and 1961 for True magazine, then in 1961 published an enormous collection from his research, interviews, investigations and personal experiences. The book, Abominable Snowman: Legend Come to Life was published by Chilton Books, Inc., of Philadelphia. Even at $7.50, it has gone through three printings, and is a whopping good buy for anyone interested in the subject. (Patterson himself has published a book, a 172-page collection of newspaper clippings, interviews, photographs and drawings from his investigations through 1966. It serves best to update Sanderson's 1961 book for interested readers. It was published by the Northwest Research association of Yakima, and sold for three dollars.)

Largely as a result of Sanderson's work, Roger Patterson launched his stubborn search. When he got his pictures last fall, he and Sanderson collaborated on an article -first of a proposed series- for Argosy magazine of, February 1968. The issue sold out completely in the first week it was on the newsstands.

But because of the publicity from Argosy and his national television appearances, Patterson has been able to plan another expedition to Bluff Creek, a year-long project beginning in May of this year. It will be one of the largest and best-run search expeditions to date with every participant carrying a camera, and the capture plan built around a new tranquilizer gun reportedly rifle-accurate to a range of several hundred feet.

Patterson, in organizing and financing his expedition, has formed a non-profit organization called the Northwest Research Association. Interested readers can get the details free by writing Post Office Box 1101, Yakima, Washington 98901. They'll be invited to join the Association, too, which involves a chance to apply to go along on next summer's search. While only the exceptionally well qualified will get to go along, all the members will be kept posted on developments regularly.

That's the basic background story. Now, except for details, you know about as much about bigfoot as I did when I started working on the story. Here are the answers to some of the questions I asked along the way:

Why is there so little evidence?
In the first place, the terrain of that western slope is so rugged and densely overgrown that it has not even been mapped except by aerial survey. Anyone who has not seen it will have a hard time understanding its impenetrability, but it takes just one flight up the Coast Range to see why it is almost impassable, even by horseback and even on foot.

Why have no remains or fossils ever been found? Why not, indeed? Two explanations come to mind: First is that nature does not leave organic materials lying around the forest. Even the bones and antlers of large animals are quickly eaten or dispersed by the little forest scavengers. A second explanation, put forth by Sanderson, is that a sub-human race may well gather the remains of its dead for burial in a cave or burying ground.

Why hasn't someone shot one?
Well, reports of two shootings exist. First was by a group of prospectors who shot at one large creature and missed, then shot a second that fell into Ape Canyon and wasn't recovered. The prospectors were later driven out of their cabin by an unexplained but violent attack, supposedly by a vengeful tribe of the creatures, throwing rocks.

Second report was by a bear hunter, who wounded a young one in a tree by mistake. He was horrified to see that he had shot a "human'', and left precipitously when a bigger creature came out of the forest to rescue the wounded youngster.

Several hunters have reported having a bigfoot in their sights. Each one has reported later that he could not pull the trigger on such a human target, or that he feared a manslaughter charge ff he did.

A number of other people claim to have had actual contact with Bigfoot. One, Albert Ostman, of Chilliwack, British Columbia claimed to have been "kidnapped" and held for six days by a family of them near Toba Inlet on the Strait of Georgia. He escaped unharmed. Several mysterious killings have been blamed on Bigfoot, most convincing being the death by slamming to the ground of two guards posted to watch a mining camp on the Chetco River, near the Oregon-California border, in 1890.

Are they so human?
Apparently. Certainly they are not apelike or bear like. Apes do not have buttocks or breasts, which the creature in Patterson's pictures certainly has. Apes do not leave flat-footed human footprints, either. Nor have there ever been any apes on North America, or any fossil evidence of them.

Bears do not walk erect for more than a few steps, nor do they leave human footprints, even when their feet have been scarred in forest fires.

Having seen several showings of Patterson's movie film, I can say without fear of contradiction that, whatever the creature in the picture is, it is neither an ape nor a bear. And if it was a "man in an ape suit", it was a very big man with a very strange stride in a very good ape suit.

Then what could it be?
The most interesting and plausible solution was expressed in the recent Argosy article. Bigfoot could be a sub-human creature, not unlike lava or Peking man, which like the American Indians migrated to this continent over the land bridge that has existed between Siberia and Alaska several times over the past few million years.

Presumably, they may have found the benign climate of the Pacific coast to their liking. Presumably they were driven back from the coast later, when the smaller but better-armed Indians claimed the coastal areas for themselves. That could be the foundation of the Indian legend of Sasquatch.

What do the experts think?
In the Argosy article, the editors interviewed three well-known scientists on that subject:

Dr. John R. Napier, Director of the Primate Biology Program of the Smithsonian Institution, said that he saw nothing in the film that, on scientific grounds, would point conclusively to a hoax. He expressed some reservations about the exaggerated fluidity of movement of the creature in Patterson's film, and suggested that despite the apparent breasts, he would tend to think the creature a male because of the crest on its head, which occurs only in male primates.

Dr. Joseph Wraight, Chief Geographer for the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, confirmed that a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska has existed several times in the past million years, and at those times, the climate in the bridge area was relatively mild. A migration from Asia, then, would have been logically possible.

Dr. Osman Hill, Director of Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center at Emory University, confirmed that the creature in the film must be hominid- manlike- rather than pongid - apelike. He went on to say that this opinion does not eliminate the chance of a masquerade, but added that if such was the case, it was extremely well done. Dr. Hill expressed the thoughts of dozens of hopeful men as well: Whatever was shown in the film, it should stimulate the formation of a truly scientific expedition to the area, to seek really concrete evidence one way or the other:
Argosy's experts didn't commit themselves as, either believers or disbelievers. Being scientists, they can t make conclusions without hard evidence. At least they were willing to talk about Bigfoot; most scientists will not.
One thing everyone involved agrees on: Somebody should get into the bush on a large scale and find out if Bigfoot is really there. I can't take the time to go along on this summer's expedition, but I'd give anything for the chance to go along. Wouldn't you?

Werewolf in the History

A werewolf in folklore and mythology is a person who shapeshifts into a wolf, either purposely, by using magic, or after being placed under a curse. The medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury associated the transformation with the appearance of the full moon, but this concept was rarely associated with the werewolf until the idea was picked up by modern fiction writers. Most modern references agree that a werewolf can be killed if shot by a silver bullet, although this is more a reflection of fiction’s influence than an authentic feature of the folk legends. A werewolf allegedly can be killed by complete destruction of heart or brain; silver isn’t necessary.

Many European countries and cultures have stories of werewolves, including France (loup-garou), Greece (lycanthropos), Spain (hombre lobo), Bulgaria (varkolak, vulkodlak), Czech Republic (vlkodlak), Serbia (vukodlak), Russia (oboroten’ , vurdalak), Ukraine (vovkulak(a),vovkun, pereverten’ ), Croatia (vukodlak), Poland (wilkolak), Romania (varcolac), Scotland (werewolf, wulver), England (werwolf), Ireland (faoladh or conriocht), Germany (Werwolf), Denmark/Sweden (Varulv), Galicia(lobisÛn),, Portugal(( lobisomem)) Lithuania (vilkolakis and vilkatlakis), Latvia (vilkatis and vilkacis), Andorra (home llop), Estonia (libahunt), Argentina (lobizon, hombre lobo) and Italy (lupo mannaro). In northern Europe, there are also tales about people changing into animals including bears and wolves.

In Norse mythology, the legends of Ulfhednar (an Old Norse term for a warrior with attributes parallel to those of a berserker, but with a lupine aspect rather than ursine; both terms refer to a special type of warrior capable of performing feats far beyond the abilities of normal people. Historically, this was attributed to possession by the spirit of an animal) mentioned in Haraldskvaeoi and the Volsunga saga may be a source of the werewolf myths. These were vicious fighters analogous to the better known berserker, dressed in wolf hides and said to channel the spirits of these animals, enhancing their own power and ferocity in battle; they were immune to pain and killed viciously in battle, like a wild animal. They are both closely associated with Odin.

In Latvian mythology, the Vilkacis was a person changed into a wolf-like monster, though the Vilkacis was occasionally beneficial.

A closely related set of myths are the skin-walkers. These myths probably have a common base in Proto-Indo-European society, where the class of young, unwed warriors were apparently associated with wolves.

Shape-shifters similar to werewolves are common in myths from all over the world, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves.

In Greek mythology the story of Lycaon supplies one of the earliest examples of a werewolf legend. According to one form of it Lycaon was transformed into a wolf as a result of eating human flesh; one of those who were present at periodical sacrifice on Mount Lycaon was said to suffer a similar fate.

The Roman Pliny the Elder, quoting Euanthes, says that a man of Anthus’ family was selected by lot and brought to a lake in Arcadia, where he hung his clothing on an ash tree and swam across. This resulted in his being transformed into a wolf, and he wandered in this shape nine years. Then, if he had attacked no human being, he was at liberty to swim back and resume his former shape. Probably the two stories are identical, though we hear nothing of participation in the Lycaean sacrifice by the descendant of Antaeus.

Herodotus in his Histories tells us that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia were annually transformed for a few days, and Virgil is familiar with transformation of human beings into wolves. In the novel Satyricon, written about year 60 by Gaius Petronius, one of the characters recites a story about a man who turns into a wolf during a full moon.

There are women, so the Armenian belief runs, who in consequence of deadly sins are condemned to pass seven years in the form of a wolf. A spirit comes to such a woman and brings her a wolf’s skin. He orders her to put it on, and no sooner has she done this than the most frightful wolfish cravings make their appearance and soon get the upper hand. Her better nature conquered, she makes a meal of her own children, one by one, then of her relatives’ children according to the degree of relationship, and finally the children of strangers begin to fall as prey to her. She wanders forth only at night, and doors and locks spring open at her approach. When morning draws near she returns to human form and removes her wolf skin. In these cases the transformation was involuntary or virtually so. But side by side with this belief in involuntary metamorphosis, we find the belief that human beings can change themselves into animals at will and then resume their own form.

France in particular seems to have been infested with werewolves during the 16th century, and the consequent trials were very numerous. In some of the cases - e.g. those of the Gandillon family in the Jura, the tailor of Chalons and Roulet in Angers, all occurring in the year 1598 - there was clear evidence against the accused of murder and cannibalism, but none of association with wolves; in other cases, as that of Gilles Garnier in Dole in 1573, there was clear evidence against some wolf, but none against the accused.

Yet while this lycanthropy fever, both of suspectors and of suspected, was at its height, it was decided in the case of Jean Grenier at Bordeaux in 1603 that lycanthropy was nothing more than an insane delusion. From this time the loup-garou gradually ceased to be regarded as a dangerous heretic, and fell back into his pre-Christian position of being simply a “man-wolf-fiend”.

The lubins or lupins of France were usually female and shy in contrast to the aggressive loup-garous.

In Prussia, Livonia and Lithuania, according to the bishops Olaus Magnus and Majolus, the werwolves were in the 16th century far more destructive than “true and natural wolves”, and their heterodoxy appears from the Catholic bishops’ assertion that they formed “an accursed college” of those “desirous of innovations contrary to the divine law”.

The wolf was still extant in England in 1600, but had become extinct by 1680. At the beginning of the 17th century the punishment of witchcraft was still zealously prosecuted by James I of England, and that pious monarch regarded “warwoolfes” as victims of delusion induced by “a natural superabundance of melancholic”.

Many of the werewolves in European tradition were most innocent and God-fearing persons, who suffered through the witchcraft of others, or simply from an unhappy fate, and who as wolves behaved in a truly touching fashion, fawning upon and protecting their benefactors. In Marie de France’s poem Bisclaveret (c. 1200), the nobleman Bisclavret, for reasons not described in the lai, had to transform into a wolf every week. When his treacherous wife stole his clothing, needed to restore his human form, he escaped the king’s wolf hunt by imploring the king for mercy, and accompanied the king thereafter. His behavior at court was so gentle and harmless than when his wife and her new husband appeared at court, his attack on them was taken as evidence of reason to hate them, and the truth was revealed. Others of this sort were the hero of William and the Werewolf (translated from French into English about 1350), and the numerous princes and princesses, knights and ladies, who appear temporarily in beast form in the German fairy tales, or Marchen.

Indeed, the power of transforming others into wild beasts was attributed not only to malignant sorcerers, but also to Christian saints. Omnes angeli, boni et mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra (”All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies”) was the dictum of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Patrick transformed Vereticus, a king in Wales, into a wolf; and St. Natalis cursed an illustrious Irish family with the result that each member of it was doomed to be a wolf for seven years. In other tales the divine agency is still more direct, while in Russia, again, men are supposed to become werewolves through incurring the wrath of the devil.

Some werewolf lore is based on documented events. The Beast of Gévaudan was a creature that reportedly terrorized the general area of the former province of Gévaudan, in today’s Lozère département, in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France, in the general timeframe of 1764 to 1767. It was often described as a giant wolf and was said to attack livestock and humans indiscriminately.

In the late 1990s, a string of man-eating wolf attacks were reported in Uttar Pradesh, India. Frightened people claimed, among other things, that the wolves were werewolves.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bob Lazar

Between December 1988 and April 1989, the area known as Groom Lake, on the Nellis Air Force Range in central Nevada became unusually popular. The now infamous Area 51 and especially the Groom and Papoose dry lake beds were relatively unknown terms to the mainstream community from the mid 1970's to 1989. The scientific circles knew it as "Dreamland" or as the "Skunkworks" or simply as Groom Lake. One night in May 1989, a reporter broadcast a story from a satellite link in Las Vegas Nevada. A young physicist spoke under hidden identity, and told us of nine alien discs held near Groom Lake by a small, autonomous group of the American government. He used the pseudonym "Dennis" which turned out to be the name of his superior at the base. A few weeks later he went on camera using his real name, Bob Lazar, and he has been the subject of world-wide curiosity, speculation and controversy ever since.

Bob Lazar is the main reason the public is aware of Groom and Papoose Lake today. When he went public in 1989, he ignited a firestorm of interest in Area 51 which burns to this day. As most of you already know, Lazar described how he was flown from Las Vegas to Groom Lake, then taken on a bus with blacked out side windows to a facility he determined was known as S-4.

Lazar claims to have received a short briefing paper about two pages long which essentially stated that extraterrestrial exist, they have been involved in human history and their spacecraft are being housed at S-4

Lazar described the facility as being built into the base of the Papoose Range, with 9 hangar doors sloped at about a 60 degree angle. He said the doors had a sand-like texture coating to them, and Gene Huff later said the doors were rollup type doors. There were 9 of the hangar bays in all.

S-4 is located just southwest of Area 51. Over the mountain range that many speculate is a huge underground base.

Evidence supporting his claims is considerable. In addition to his claiming Naval Intelligence work at S4 (15 miles southwest of Area 51) from late 1988 to early 1989, Robert Lazar claimed to have worked at the Meson Physics lab, a part of the Los Alamos National Laboratories. The FBI is still dragging its feet in investigating his employment there, even though former Nevada Congressman James Bilbray asked it to investigate over four years ago. Evidently, FBI agents are still scratching their heads, wondering how to both deny his employment at Los Alamos and explain why his name is in an old telephone directory of Los Alamos scientists. An article by staff writer Terry England in the June 27, 1982 edition of the Los Alamos Monitor, which shows a picture of Lazar standing next to a jet car and refers to his employment as a scientist with Los Alamos, is also hard to explain. Two-dozen odd Los Alamos employees told former KLAS-TV anchor George Knapp that they remembered Lazar. Some of them said that they had been warned not to talk about Lazar and that they were afraid to talk about him. Four of them, though, confirmed for Knapp that Lazar had been working on classified projects there. After denying Lazar’s employment there since 1989, Los Alamos in April 1994 finally changed its story and said that he had been employed there. Knapp also talked to former employees of the super-secret Groom Lake base, who corroborated Lazar’s description of such details as how one gets to the base dining room, what the dining room looks like, and how one pays for meals there. It’s extremely unlikely that an outsider would know such information.

Area S4

When people leak information about a Top Secret project to the public, eye brows of government "personnel" are sure to rise. If you want to make government "personnel" stand up and stare, then write something about Area 51 and Aliens. It seems that Top Secret Aliens, Stealth, SR 71, S4 all have a common thread with Area 51.

AREA 51, part of the Nellis Air Force Base is approximately 80 to 125 miles northwest of Las Vegas. At Area 51 the U.S. government has been test flying highly secret BLACK PROJECT aircraft for many years, several people think this includes UFO's. They call one part of this military site Groom Dry Lake area. It has been proven the Stealth and SR 71 projects were built and tested at this famous Area 51. People who work in and around this military installation refer to this highly secret area as "Dreamland" or "Skunkworks" or sometimes just "Groom Lake."

To date, only one person, Robert Lazar, has gone public and revealed the inner workings of Area 51 and S4, an even higher secretive part of the military base only 15 miles from Area 51. According to several newspaper articles and interviews, Mr. Lazar came forward and was the first person ever publicly to speak about this Top Secret area. All was fine at this highly sensitive base until that one night in May 1989 when Mr. Lazar, a physicist working at Area 51, spoke to the press about Aliens and their space crafts. As anyone can imagine, all Hell broke loose and it still has never settled down.

Robert Lazar opened the veil of security and was ready to back up his outlandish story. He explained his involvement in Area 51 and S4. He detailed the items in Area 51 and S4 that contained the project that shocked the world. He was so precise that he even gave the exact coordinates of Area S4, and they are N 37ー 01' 40", W 115ー 46' 35".

Whenever someone first reveals unusual information in this country everyone immediately thinks that the person is either wrong, crazy or a person with some wild story fabricated to get personal attention. American history has had many outlandish stories told and later proved accurate. In the past decades many outlandish stories have already proven that some were facts and some are left to wonder about for years to come.

Area 51

Every weekday morning, some 500 people arrive at a guarded terminal on the northwest side of McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here they board one of a small fleet of unmarked Boeing 737s. Using three-digit numbers prefixed by the word “Janet” as their call signs, the 737s fly off every half-hour. Their destination is Groom Lake, a dried-up wash in the Mojave Desert, better known as “Area 51,” an installation so secret, its very existence is denied by the government agencies and contractors who have connections there.

Clearly marked but not actually fenced, the entire boundary of the installation is patrolled by an anonymous security force equipped with high-tech surveillance gear. Surrounding the secret facility are signs, declaring that you are “Entering A Restricted Area.” And, if you enlarge the sign, you will see on the bottom, the words: “Use of Deadly Force Authorized.”

Area 51 has become a part of popular culture. An installation the U. S. government denies exists is mentioned in everything from video games to serious news programs. Why all the hype? It is generally accepted that classified airplanes, such as the U2, the SR-71 Blackbird and the Stealth Fighter were tested at Area 51, but what has people really intrigued is what is rumored to be there. Namely, alien spacecraft and, (gulp), space aliens.

History

From what few pieces of information the U. S. Defense Department will divulge, it seems the area began life as a secret base in 1954, when the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation arrived to develop the U-2, a high-altitude spy plane used for surveillance inside enemy territory. (If you can remember the name of the U-2 pilot whom the Russians knocked out of the skies ever so long ago, you are showing your age.)

Tony LeVier, Lockheed’s test pilot assigned to test-fly the U-2, claims credit for recognizing Groom Dry Lake as a suitable test site. The U. S. Central Intelligence Agency had given U-2 designer Kelly Johnson the task of choosing and building a secure aircraft test site. In March of 1955, Johnson sent LeVier and Lockheed foreman Dorsey Kammerer on a mission to visit potential test sites in the deserts of southern California, Nevada and Arizona. After two weeks of investigation, LeVier presented Johnson with his impressions, and Johnson chose Groom Lake.

The Groom Lake facility has been known by many names since its construction. Kelly Johnson named the place “Paradise Ranch.” (The word “ranch” in Nevada has certain special connotations, which we won’t get into here.) When Johnson’s test flight team arrived in July 1955, they simply called it “The Ranch.” In truth, the secret base was formally named “Watertown Strip,” after the town in upstate New York, near Lake Ontario, where CIA director Allen Dulles was born. In June of 1958, it was officially designated “Area 51” by the Atomic Energy Commission.

In 1989, the simple pleasure of having a secret installation as a neighbor faded when the name of a self-described physicist named Bob Lazar flashed across the Las Vegas TV news. Lazar claimed he had worked at Area 51 for a few months the previous year, “reverse-engineering” one of nine captured alien flying saucers housed there to learn precisely how its extraterrestrial power source worked.

Lazar’s personal academic credentials were suspicious (he claimed his educational records, from both the California Institute of Technology and MIT, were destroyed by government agents). Nonetheless, Lazar’s description of how a flying saucer works was enticingly elaborate—as are the U. S. Government pay documents Lazar can show for the period he claims to have worked at Area 51. Within weeks, tabloid TV and grocery-store checkout rags had picked up Lazar’s allegations. Before long, flying saucer and conspiracy buffs from around the world started showing up in southern Nevada to check out the “facts.”

What, Indeed, Are The “Facts” About Area 51?

Area 51 is a block of government land located north of Las Vegas. It is surrounded by the Nellis Air Force Range. The name “Area 51,” which the government does not publicly acknowledge, supposedly came from a designation appearing on an old map of the Nevada Atomic Test Site.

Those who have managed to get close enough to the installation to take photographs have brought back images, which show nothing more than a few hangars and other surface structures. It is believed that Area 51 actually stretches miles underground as part of an enormous subterranean military complex. We do know that the exact coordinates of Area S4, an even more secretive part of the southern Nevada installation located not far from Area 51, are N37° 01’ 40”, W 115° 46’ 35.”

In the past, the installation at Groom Lake was used as a testing ground for super-secret military projects. The U-2, A-12, SR-71 Blackbird, and F-117A were flight tested here long before being made public. Since the government won’t acknowledge anything about the facility, it’s impossible to know what is going on there now.

A widely circulated rumor holds that Area 51 has recently been home to an entirely new breed of spy plane. Dubbed “Aurora,” this $20 billion plane supposedly runs on controlled explosions of cryogenic methane, which propel the triangular matte black aircraft to eight times the speed of sound. Aurora may, conceivably, have left behind two pieces of evidence. The first was a powerful “sonic wake” that some observers say tripped a trail of earthquake sensors beneath its flight path over the Mojave Desert in June 1991. Other observers describe seeing a unique looking contrail in the air that resembled “doughnuts on a rope.”

In recent years, witnesses have allegedly sighted incredibly exotic airborne craft over the Area 51 test site, which exceed all of mankind’s known current technological abilities. This, along with reports of alien bodies and strange extraterrestrial artifacts supposedly witnessed by persons who have worked at the base, lead some individuals to believe that Area 51 houses much more than a few highly sophisticated test aircraft.

Space Aliens???

This time-honored techno-myth endures on a barren stretch of geography. It seems an unlikely place, this land of tumbleweeds, bullet-ridden road signs, ravens, free-roaming cattle, and extremely hospitable “ranches” (which on the way out, proclaim “Come Back Soon.”) Trust me, I know. But it is here, insiders argue, where the amazing truth behind mankind’s long alleged involvement with aliens from outer space will finally be revealed.

Area 51, supposedly, is where the preserved remains of two space aliens and their exotic aircraft are stored in a mysterious bunker known as Hangar 18. The possibility that there are aliens and alien spacecraft in Area 51 has drawn thousands of visitors to the remote desert town of Rachel, Nevada, to an installation that is not supposed to exist, and kept the pulse of the town alive as surely as many persons believe the government has kept alive the beating hearts of aliens in a clandestine hangar. Are there space aliens here? I don’t know. Honestly, I worry about more mundane things such as how, in this dreadfully hot summer (2005), I am going to pay my electric bill.

If You Visit

Interestingly, Las Vegas is the closest metropolis to Area 51. Both places seem to thrive on mystery and illusion, and having Las Vegas nearby makes for the ultimate road trip. As many persons find out, gambling, aliens, paranoia, and a fast rental car make for a wicked combination (for some reason, I think of Chevy Chase).

Area 51 is 135 miles from Las Vegas. From Vegas, take I-15 north to U. S. 93, continue north on 93 for 85 miles to NV 375, then head west on NV 375, Nevada’s “Extraterrestrial Highway.” Even though you don’t see much along the way, the drive is still interesting because of the mystery and anticipation surrounding Area 51.

Most visitors will likely visit the nearby town of Rachel, Nevada, and drive a couple of miles down the base access road. Actually viewing Area 51 requires extensive preparation. Since the military annexed the land that provided easy viewing, you can now only see the base from 30 miles away after a dirt road drive and a strenuous desert hike.

Near Mile Marker 29.5 on Highway 375, one sees a lone mailbox used by a local rancher. Since this “Black Mailbox” is the only recognizable landmark in a lonely stretch of highway, it is here that “true believers” tend to congregate. Many visitors, normal and possibly paranormal, claim to have seen flying saucers here, although the rancher himself claims to have seen nothing.

There used to be two viewpoints on public land close to Area 51 – White Sides and Freedom Ridge – where a visitor could legally view the super-secret base. However, these areas were closed by the Air Force in 1995. You can still see the installation from a distant mountain, Tikaboo Peak, but it requires a difficult hike from a remote desert road.

In summer, there are group hikes sponsored by the Area 51 Research Center. The Area 51 access road is near Mile Marker 32 on NV 375. It is the wide dirt path going off toward a distant ridge. Known as the Groom Lake Road, it is in the middle of nowhere.

The greatest danger in visiting what can be described as remoteness personified is wandering across the unfenced Area 51 border, which action would result in your immediate arrest and a substantial fine. Wherever a road crosses the border, “Restricted Area” signs mark it. In the desert, orange posts every 50 yards mark the border. It is unwise to hike near the border at night because the posts become invisible. A major danger when driving is getting stuck on an unmaintained dirt road that your vehicle cannot handle.

“Cammo Dudes” is the nickname for the anonymous private security force that patrols Area 51 border 24 hours a day. They wear camouflage fatigues without insignias and drive white Jeep Cherokees with government plates. The guards keep close watch on any visitors who come within a few miles of the border, but are under orders to avoid contact. Trespassers are reported to the local sheriff, who must get extremely tired of trying to enforce federal regulations.

Whenever anyone leaks information about a Top Secret project to the public, eyebrows of government security personnel are sure to rise. If you want to get the attention of those security personnel, write something about Area 51 and space aliens. It seems that Top Secret--Space Aliens--Stealth--SR-71--S4---all have a common thread with Area 51. It is the most secret military installation in American history. If you visit, do keep in mind the title of this article.