Area 51 & All The Other Great Alien Research Conspiracies

Since the 1940s, there have been numerous theories about crashed alien spaceships, secret labs in the Nevada desert, and government coverups of alien contact. There is little evidence to suggest that any actual aliens have been encountered, but that doesn’t stop the cultural phenomenon of conspiracy theorists and alien enthusiasts. Ultimately, the root cause of the UFO conspiracies can be traced back to the US government itself.

In 1947, a weather balloon crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. An official press release from a nearby army base mistakenly identified this as a “flying disc”. Despite being quickly corrected, the legend was born. Soon, there wereclaims that bodies were recovered, or that the alien craft was being reverse engineered at a secret desert base. Most speculations about a secret government base doing UFO research center around Area 51, also known as the Groom Lake test facility. Government secrecy surrounding the facility is very tight, which leads some to wonder what it might be used for. However, a much simpler explanation than alien research is that Area 51 is used to develop and test entirely human experimental aircraft.

The culmination of belief that the US government has covered up alien contact and is building spacecraft from alien technologies was that 1990s television series, “The X-Files”. On the program, renegade FBI agent Fox Mulder subscribed to dozens of conspiracy theories about aliens and the government, and was shown to be right week after week, though proof always narrowly escaped him. The show never asked if there was a conspiracy to cover up the truth, just what the details of the conspiracy were. Even as a work of fiction, this subtlely reinforced the fiction that UFO conspiracies were a fact of American life.

Unfortunately, it appears that there is no UFO coverup, and there are probably no aliens exploring earth. The US military conducted an exhaustive study on UFOs and flying saucers known as Project Blue Book, and found no reliable evidence of their existence. Of course, Blue Book itself may have been a massive coverup, but at some point, the scope of the conspiracy required stretches the bounds of plausibility. How many people could be convinced to keep quiet about the biggest secret in history? 100? 1000? 10,000? So it seems that we’ll have to keep waiting to meet real live aliens.

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