Fifty years ago, an American pilot called Kenneth Arnold saw nine discs in the sky over Area 51 in Nevada, where the US military tests high-tech aircraft. (Actually Arnold saw the unidentified craft near Mt. Rainer in Washington State . . . EDITOR) The term ’flying saucer’ was born – and with it, a whole new subculture which believes that alien life is not only somewhere out there, but also here (indeed, probably in Area 51), ready to take over the world.
Highway 93 winds through the Nevada Desert. There are no cars, no houses, no nothing, just sage brush and dust devils and a lunar landscape of grey mountains creeping into a never-ending distance. At junction 375 a signpost says “Extraterrestrial Highway”. The driver has strayed from normal space-time co-ordinates and is heading towards Rachel, the town that thinks of itself as the UFO capital of the world.
Rachel is, in fact, a very small trailer park whose significance arises from the fact that it sits on the border of Area 51. This vast mass of desert land has been central to the UFO myth since, 50 years ago, a pilot named Kenneth Arnold spotted nine discs over Mount Rainer and the term ’Flying Saucer’ was born.
People have never accepted that Area 51 is merely a highly classified military site devoted to testing high-tech aircraft. In 1988 it was claimed on TV that aliens lived there and, furthermore, they enjoyed eating ice-cream and listening to Tibetan Music.
A year later, an individual named, Bob Lazar presented himself and announced that, when working as a physicist on the base, he had seen several flying saucers parked in hangers. Patrol guards carrying guns, surveillance cameras and notices saying that “USE OF DEADLY FORCE IS AUTHORIZED” have done much much to fan an interesting aura of secrecy.
Consequently, Area 51 also known as Dreamland has become a mecca for the subversive, the hacker and those who have seen far too many episodes of the X-Files. . . complete report