Area 51 has long been the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories, but where did these theories originate and what is the official purpose of the secretive facility?
In 1958, the U.S. government withdrew land in Groom Lake, Nevada from public use and built an Air Force military facility, whose only confirmed purpose is serving as a flight testing facility. It’s also been referred to as “Paradise Ranch” and “the Ranch,” but its official name is the Nevada Test and Training Range. The installation is heavily guarded, and the U.S. government has been very secretive about what goes on inside. This secrecy has led to much speculation, but the well-known theory of the base holding aliens came after an incident commonly known as the “Roswell Incident.”
A rancher from Roswell, New Mexico discovered the remnants of an unidentified object in the Summer of 1947. The Air Force first released a statement calling the mysterious object a “flying disc,” but they later changed their statement, ascertaining it was a crashed weather balloon. The ambiguity of the situation led to the spread of rumors claiming the rancher had really discovered an alien spacecraft and the government was covering it up, and the site gathered many accounts of UFO sightings. The theories grew when the Air Force conducted “dummy drops,” which people believed to be aliens. Additionally, in 1994, the government changed its stance yet again, claiming the weather balloon story had been a cover-up for a secret espionage project called Project Mogul (History).
The U.S. government officially acknowledged the existence of Area 51 in 2013, and a released CIA document detailed the story of the U-2 plane, a “single-seat, high-altitude jet aircraft flown by the United States for intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance” (Britannica), which had been tested in Area 51 and accounted for the many alleged UFO sightings in the area.
The situation isn’t entirely clear-cut, and given the government’s flip-flopping on their stance several times, it’s unclear what really happened in Roswell. What do you think- are aliens being kept in Area 51, or is that an outlandish theory?
Are there aliens in Area 51?