Area 51: the Myth, the Meme, the Legend


By Tara Phipps

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As 2019 reached its summer peak, the United States government was faced with several challenges. The world we live in has an unfiltered danger that new technology has only encouraged-  especially when Google has all your passwords “securely” saved. How ironic, then, that one of the biggest domestic threats to the US government came from an outdated platform like Facebook.

Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.

At two million strong and growing by the day, the Facebook group that started out as a secondhand joke is now a firsthand problem that has most likely been the subject of several government meetings. In fact, a government official has warned everyone through the Washington Post that storming Area 51 isn’t the best idea because “the U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen about going up with guys that have planes with machine guns on them.

Matty Roberts wasn’t either, but this joke has gained plenty of traction that has filled up all the hotels in the area. The idea to create the event was born after he listened to a Joe Rogan podcast in June that featured two alien enthusiasts. Coming straight from his own imagination and a little conversational inspiration, Roberts told KTNV a big motivator in the creation was simply “it’s funny”. And in the social media world, he’s right.

The amount of Area 51 memes that have flooded my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds since the event was posted has left me beyond amused. Everyone seems to know about the movement to storm Area 51 in September. However, considering the US Air Force seems ready to get involved, Matty Roberts has turned the event on its head and instead has begun to advertise “Alienstock” – a music festival with an out-of-this-world theme. The festival is set to run from September 19th to the 22nd- the same weekend we are all supposed to naruto-run into a government facility- and looks a lot more fun than attempting to commit several federal crimes.

But now that storming Area 51 is out and the chance of getting any solid proof of what goes on behind closed doors seems hopeless, I’ve decided to do my own investigation.

The Beginning

I took a deep dive into the source behind Area 51’s alien rumors. The real origin of the alien conspiracy occurred in 1947 when a “weather balloon” crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico. Kathryn Olmsted, an author and the chair of the history department at the University of California, wrote an entire book called Real Enemies that analyzes the conspiracy. Olmsted explains the incident took place during the emergence of the cold war, and sent Americans into a frenzy, calling news and radio stations to report on any flying disks in the sky. At the time, witnesses believed them to be US or Soviet military mechanisms.

That all changed in the late 1970’s, when conspiracy theorists began to speak on the possibility of aliens, and how the “weather balloon” had really just been a cover-up for the UFO that crashed.


The US Army Air Forces later disclosed the balloon was part of Project Mogul, in which they worked on long-distance sound surveillance to be able to hear Soviet atomic bomb testing. But the damage was already done and the conspiracy had taken the nation captive.

The Majestic 12

The birth of the conspiracy in the 1970’s forged the path to the revelation of a secret group of 12 in the 1980’s. In 1984, Jaime Shandera, a ufologist, received a package in the mail with no return address. The package included film that, when developed, revealed eight pages of an alleged briefing on the Majestic 12. They were a secret organization authorized by President Truman to assess all things alien. The documents also included information explaining that the government concealed a UFO crash in Roswell.

Prominent members in the UFO conspiracy community ultimately found holes in the documents and debunked them, such as improper rankings and incorrect formatting. These imperfections weren’t enough for everybody, though, and I personally don’t think they’re enough for me. The people who wrote those classified documents talking about something so secretive that over seventy years later there’s still no hard evidence are bound to do whatever it takes to keep their secret. I’d put a few lies in there too if I thought it could discredit a whole narrative if it ever got into the wrong hands. The FBI also debunked the documents, calling them “bogus”, but of course they would. They’re in on it.

Robert Lazar

Over the years, thousands of people have reported on alien abductions and UFO sightings, but not too many people working on the inside have ever confirmed the work being done at Area 51. On his deathbed, Boyd Bushman claimed to have photographic evidence, and described just the alien conspiracy ufologists have been pushing for decades. The picture, however, was proven to be fake and therefore the rest of his story didn’t seem feasible.

Robert Lazar, however, has yet to have anyone prove him wrong. In 1989, KLAS-TV interviewed “Dennis”, a silhouette describing nine alien spacecrafts that he got up close and personal with  in S4, a subsection of Area 51’s base. He was sure they were extraterrestrial because they were packed full of technology that no human was capable of inventing.

In 1989 he came forward as insurance to protect himself, and in 2018 helped create the Netflix documentary, Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers. And the stuff in that documentary? Mind blowing.

The first piece of information that had me pausing to process was Bob Lazar’s clearance level. When he got the job at Area 51, they had to upgrade him to the level “Majestic”. Sound familiar? This title not only connects some dots across the 72 year timeline, but also further solidifies the idea of the creation of the Majestic 12 and their purpose.

The second was the beginnings of evidence. Back in 1989, in that second interview, Lazar described a hand scanner of sorts that measured the length of the finger bones as a way to identify the people who came and went from S4. Most people didn’t believe him. In the documentary, though, Jeremy Corbell managed to find an explanation on these scanners, as well as pictures. The technology was previously top secret, and only used to allow access to secret government operations. It only recently became public information.

Other things Lazar talked about that later came to be known in the public eye was a stabilized version of element 115 used as the fuel for the flying saucers that later became a man-made element on earth, and the existence of S4. Another reason to believe Lazar comes with the notorious polygraph test. The American Polygraph Association states that polygraphs are 90% accurate, and all four of Lazar’s were truthful according to the polygraph examiner, Terry Tavernetti, as well as two of his colleagues.

Jeremy Corbell said it himself, “the evidence that he’s telling the truth outweighs the evidence that he’s not.”

And if all that isn’t enough to have you considering the idea of alien technology at Area 51, this next part sent a chill down my spine. Lazar met Corbell in the woods where Corbell promised to encrypt their recording before asking if Lazar had obtained element 115 from S4. Much of the answer is fast-forwarded through. And the next day Lazar’s business, United Nuclear Scientific, was raided by the FBI and several other government agencies. They said they were looking for a customer order from two years ago. Corbell thinks there was an ulterior motive- element 115. Lazar was too uncomfortable to talk about it.

But when asked what the big takeaway of his story was, Lazar wasn’t too uncomfortable to admit, “The big thing is the suppression of extremely advanced technology and the suppression of unknown science.”

They Can’t Stop Us All

While storming Area 51 seems like a small joke, it’s certainly had a large impact on the nation. The resurgence of alien conspiracies from Corbell’s documentary to the facebook group has only furthered the consistent curiosity of alien lifeforms and the mystery of Area 51. Do I think those two million people are actually going to show up to a desert in Nevada on September 20th? Probably not- they’ll be partying in Rachel, Nevada, instead. But if Bob Lazar has taught us anything with his efforts to expose the secrets our government keeps from us, it’s this: they can’t stop us all.