Deep in the Nevada desert lies a military base that is surrounded by so much official secrecy that the US government has even refused to acknowledge it exists. The base was built by the CIA and all pilots, ground crews and the staff have to retire from their original military departments and join the agency before taking residency on site. As a CIA installation it operates independently of other government departments. To this day, signs at the entrance warn all visitors that they have no constitutional rights on site, and armed units guard the perimeter. It is the UFO world?s worst kept secret, and the area is now a pilgrimage point for alien watchers. This is Area 51.
Built in the 1950s around the Groom Lake Air Force base, and next to the Nevada atomic test range, Area 51 was a perfect site to carry out classified aircraft tests. It had a large flat surface perfect for laying runways, few local residents, and a highly unattractive reputation to new settlers due to the nearby nuclear pollution. Initially it was built purely for testing the U2 spy plane, but the programme was such a success that all the United States secret aircraft were experi?mentally flown there. The base grew in size, creating its own small community and the landing strip was increased to three miles long. The Blackbird and Stealth planes were developed on site, and countless unknown technologies are housed in the base?s hanger. Many people believe these technologies are, quite literally, from a different planet, and the base is actually a test zone and hiding site for alien aircraft. At night, strange lights are seen in the sky above the base, and many watchers believe the site hides enormous underground installations.
More in-depth knowledge of operations there have come through one man, Bob Lazar. Lazar is a scientist who was employed by a company called EG & G in 1989 who said they were working on a propulsion project at their testing centre near Area 51, on a base called S4. In later conversations Lazar revealed that he and other scientists were employed to pull an alien aircraft apart and see if they could manufacture it using man-made components. As part of their work, the scientists were informed about the role of aliens in the history of the Earth, and on one occasion Lazar even claims to have briefly seen at first-hand, a real, live alien at S4.
Over time, Lazar says he decided to rebel against his employers. In the evening of 22nd March 1989 he and a friend went out to the Groom Lake road and watched a flying disc test flight. The following week Lazar, his friend and three others visited the same area. They saw a disc flight, which Huff described as ?the thrill of a lifetime?. The disc they witnessed glowed extremely brightly, and flew so close that they felt they had to move backwards. The following week, on the way back home from another UFO-spotting trip, the group were seen and stopped by base security patrolling the outlying area. The next day Lazar was sacked from EG & G?s employment. He has subsequently revealed that nine discs are said to be held at S4.
Some of the unsettling things that go on at the base are more real than others. The road to its entrance is known as “The Widow’s Highway” because of the high numbers of?workers at the base who die through contact with fatally poisonous materials. Many experts suggest the area is a secret dumping ground for toxic substances, rather than a UFO base. In either case, the workers are sworn to secrecy, and cannot reveal details about what they have been handling to their doctors. This has led to their wives launching court proceedings against the US government, who have traditionally refuted the allegations on the grounds that Area 51 does not officially exist. However, a statement made in January 2001 by President George Bush did refer to the ?operating location near Groom Lake?, which is the first official recognition of Area 51. But Bush also said that the site was exempt from environ?mental disclosure requirements, so the widows are still fighting their case. But at least we now know the place is not just a figment of our imaginations.