15 Things You Didn't Know About Area 51

Area 51 is the United States Air Force facility that is located in Nevada. The facility and the area have long been shrouded in secrecy and no one really knows what really goes on there. The area and the military experiments have been kept a secret for years. Both the government and the CIA refused to acknowledge its existence. In fact, it is only recently that the CIA has admitted that Area 51 exists. As a result, many rumors and theories pertaining to Area 51 and its experiments have been started.

Most Area 51 conspiracy theories claim that the area is used for alien experiments. According to those who believe this theory, the government and the CIA know that aliens exist but are keeping this knowledge secret from the rest of the world so as not to cause widespread panic. Access to Area 51 is forbidden. If you dare to try and enter it, you will be greeted by guards with guns. It is said that it is very easy to disappear in Area 51 and thus most people are not daring enough to try and sneak into the secret military base. While Area 51 is still off-limits to most people to this day, one can find rare photographs of the area online. Nowadays Google also includes the location of Area 51 on its Google Maps. You can even view a satellite image of Area 51, which is quite interesting but as one can imagine, doesn’t give too much away.


15 Area 51 Has Many Names

The secret U.S. military installation located in Las Vegas, Nevada is known to most as Area 51. However, over the course of its existence, the area has had many other names, including Homey Airport, Groom Lake and Dreamland. Furthermore, the area has had many nicknames, such as Paradise Ranch, Home Base and Watertown.

The CIA says that the correct names for the secret facility are Homey Airport and Groom Lake. However, in a CIA document from the Vietnam War the area is referred to as Area 51. Why Area 51, you might ask? Well, the number 51 refers to the grid (on the map) that the secret facility sits on.

Interestingly, before the facility was named Area 51, it was dubbed as Paradise Ranch in an attempt to attract workers to work on the U-2 Spy Plane.

14 First Project - Project Aquatone


Area 51 was set up in order to accommodate CIA’s aircraft Project Aquatone. Project Aquatone involved making and testing aircraft U-2 which was later used to spy on Soviet aircraft. Since U-2 was a high-flying aircraft it was supposed to go undetected by the Soviets. But just to be sure, the CIA had come up with a cover-up story for all the planes. They claimed that aircraft would fly from Watertown Strip in Nevada for the purpose of weather observation.

As predicted, the U-2 aircraft went undetected by the Soviets. But in 1960, a Soviet surface to air missile hit a U-2 aircraft. The U-2 in question was piloted by Francis Gary Powers who went unharmed. However, even though there was no harm done it was agreed that better camouflage for the aircraft was needed.

13 Its Current Primary Purpose Is Unknown

Nowadays the area’s purpose is not known. However, if past experiments carried out in area 51 are anything to go by it is likely that the area is still used for developing and testing aircraft and military defense projects.

Of course, the fact that the U.S. government and CIA refuse to disclose what is going on in the area has meant that many conspiracy theories have been proposed. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous while others are easier to believe.

Of course, until the purpose of Area 51 is officially disclosed, people will continue to come up with various, sometimes outrageous, theories. However, such disclosure seems unlikely. If Area 51 is still used for developing and testing military aircraft, we must remember that this information could leak to foreign countries, thus completely undermining the project.

12 Secret Underground Tunnels Connect Area 51 To Other Secret Sites


Some people believe that in 1947 a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The government supposedly took the wrecked ship and the body of an alien within the ship to Area 51 where studies and examinations were carried out, both on the body and the ship.

But some people don’t just stop there – they also claim that Area 51 is connected to other secret facilities around the country by secret underground tunnels. All of these secret sites, including Area 51, supposedly contain alien technology and even live alien specimens.

Still others say that the whole area is actually run by aliens. Aliens supposedly can no longer reproduce by themselves so they are trying to create a human-alien hybrid.

11 Robert Lazar Claimed He Worked On Reverse Engineer Alien Technology Close To Area 51

The year 1987 was a great year for those who believed that Area 51 had something to do with aliens. That was the year when a man named Robert Lazarus went on TV and shocked the world by claiming that he worked on reverse engineer alien technology on S-4 site which is located near Area 51.

Lazarus was supposedly hired to reverse engineer alien craft technology for the use in U.S. military machines. Lazarus claimed that while working there he found “Element 15”, a substance by which alien aircraft is powered.

However, it seems that much of what Lazarus has said is not true, including information about his personal life. But of course Lazarus claims that his information only seems untrue because the government is trying to discredit him.

10 Theory – Moon Landing Was Faked And Filmed In Area 51


Some people believe that the 1969 moon landing never happened. According to these people, the moon landing was in actual fact filmed in Area 51. According to Bill Kaysing, a conspiracy writer, NASA scientists found out in the 1960s that it would not be at all possible to send astronauts to the moon due to deadly radiation.

But the Apollo program was up and running and shutting it down would have been a huge embarrassment, not only to NASA and the U.S. government but also to American citizens.

So an ingenious solution was proposed – Apollo 11 crew were sent to Area 51 were they acted out the moon landing in front of cameras. The rocket that was intended to carry the Apollo 11 members to the moon was actually launched to make the whole thing seem more believable.

9 Hazardous Waste Was Dumped In Area 51

It turns out that Area 51 was not just a place where aircraft was developed and tested. In the 1970s and 1980s the area was also a place where hazardous waste was dumped into open pits. The hazardous waste was then burned. But the burning waste resulted in toxic fumes which affected the area’s workers.

Many workers and their families ended up suing the United States Air Force and the United States Environment Protection Agency. The most famous case involved Helen Frost. Helen Frost was the wife of Robert Frost, a man who worked in Area 51. Robert Frost died 1988 and when an autopsy was carried out it was found that his body contained high levels of carcinogens (substance that causes cancer) which were said to have been caused by the toxic fumes. The case was dismissed because of the military’s national security privilege.


8 Sheahan Family Forced To Move Out From The Area


A private lead and silver mine, known as the “Groom Mine”, overlooking Area 51 is owned by the Sheahan family. The family has owned the land ever since Ulysses Grant was President. That’s more than 130 years.The family has never talked about their life so close to the secret area.

But recently they decided to speak up. Dan Sheahan, the owner of the Groom Mine said that bullets were fired over their property and their buildings have been bombed by military jets. One bomb fell on the mill and destroyed it, thus ending the mine’s production and the Sheahans' financial stability.

Nowadays every time the Sheahans try to enter their property, they have to go through a checkpoint and are sometimes held at gunpoint. Air Force is offering the Sheahan family $5.2 million but the sum doesn’t even cover the value of the minerals that can be found at the mine.

7 Boyd Bushman’s Confession

In 2014, right before he passed away Area 51 scientist Boyd Bushman confessed to the aerospace engineer Mark Q. Patterson that the government has been in contact with aliens for some time. According to Bushman, aliens resemble humans and are “approximately four and a half to five feet tall”, “have three backbones” and can communicate telepathically.

Bushman also claimed that there are two types of aliens: the first type are called “wranglers” and the second type are called “rustlers”. "Wranglers" are supposedly friendlier. Bushman provided a photograph of an alien as evidence. However, when the photos were uploaded online, a Reddit user claimed that the photo was of a toy alien doll that could be bought at Walmart.

6 President Obama - The First President To Acknowledge Area 51


Barack Obama was the first U.S. President to mention Area 51. At a 2013 reception during which actress Shirley MacLaine received a lifetime achievement award, Obama confessed that “when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is what’s really going on in Area 51.”

MacLaine is said to be a firm believer in alien line, so Obama further continued by saying that “When I wanted to know, I’d call Shirley MacLaine. I think I just became the first President to ever publicly mention Area 51. How’s that, Shirley?” As one can imagine, people who believe in the theory that Area 51 is used for alien testing got quite excited at Obama’s mention of the area and the aliens.

5 BBC Film Crew Was Held At Gunpoint For Trespassing – And So Is Anyone Else Who Tries It

In 2012, a BBC film crew, including the Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and UFO expert Darren Perks, tried to sneak into Area 51. Their attempt was not very successful – a security team eventually arrested them for trespassing into the secret facility.

The BBC crew consisted of 12 members and all of them were forced to lie down on the ground for three hours as the security team checked their credentials. But that’s not all! The crew was actually held at gunpoint and their phones, wallets and documents were confiscated from them.

The crew said that they initially arrived at the site with the intention of contacting the security guards but no one was around and there were no signs that would indicate as to how the security team could be contacted. So the BBC crew walked through the barriers and did some filming. It was only after they knocked on the security guards' hut door that they were arrested.

4 Area 51 Location


Area 51 is located in the high desert in Nevada. Originally, the U.S. government simply refused to acknowledge the facility's existence. Area 51 was left out from U.S. Geological Survey maps. But pilots knew it existed as they were not allowed to fly over it (unless they were employed by the CIA to work in the area) and they had nicknamed the area “The Box”.

The area itself is off-limits to most people to this day. But the area around it, such as the town of Rachel with a population of 54 which is located on the Nevada Highway 375 (which is also known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway”) attracts plenty of tourists. You can find Area 51 on Google maps and there’s even footage of the area on YouTube.

3 Entertainment At Area 51

If you had been a worker at Area 51 in the early days, you would have probably been incredibly bored. According to inside sources, back in the day Area 51 seriously lacked entertainment options. All it had was a single cement tennis court and a tiny bowling alley.

There was no TV and you could only listen to the radio in the evenings because that’s the only time radio signals made it through the mountains that surround the area.

So what were you to do if you weren’t sporty? Well, you could always eat. The mess hall in Area 51 sometimes served lobsters and oysters. Plus, once a week workers got to enjoy steak night. So perhaps it wasn’t all bad.

2 Drone Tests And Foreign Aircraft Testing


Area 51 was the place where the first recorded unmanned drone was tested. The drone was called the D21 and was to be used for surveillance and spying purposes. It was first tested in 1964 but it was only two years later that the drone managed to go up 90,000 feet high.

During the fourth drone test flight something went wrong and both the drone and the carrier plane from which the drone was set free were destroyed, killing one crew member in the process.

But it wasn’t just drones and U.S. aircraft that were tested in Area 51. Foreign aircraft that have been captured by the U.S. were also tested in Area 51. This was done to find out the weaknesses of the foreign aircraft. This knowledge was then to be used in combat with foreign enemies.

1 Area 51 Secret Club Roadrunner Internationale

Have you ever heard of “Roadrunners Internationale”? Don’t worry if you haven’t – it’s a very exclusive club accessible only to those who used to work in Area 51. Basically, you can become a member if you’re a former pilot, crew member, engineer, support personnel or even government contractor that worked in Area 51 on projects U-2, A-12, YF-12 and SR-71.

Not much information is available about this exclusive club on the internet. All that is known is that members of Roadrunner Internationale meet regularly to discuss the time they worked in Area 51 and in a way, to preserve the history of Area 51. Of course, most of what they discuss is classified!


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