Trivia

Hard

Who Was Responsible For Thrusting “Area 51” Into The Public Consciousness?

Barry Goldwater
Bob Lazar
Dan Aykroyd
William Moore
A photo of Bob Lazar.
Dudeanatortron/Wikimedia

Answer: Bob Lazar

Bob Lazar isn’t responsible for single-handedly creating the idea of secret government bases, unidentified flying objects seen over the deserts of the southwestern United States, little green men, or aliens cruising around in saucers. Those things have roots much bigger than a single man. The entire secret base/alien mythos reaches all the way back to the middle of the 20th century and is as American as, well, apple pie.

What Bob Lazar did do, however, is thrust the idea of “Area 51” into the public consciousness like a conspiracy theory rockstar. In 1989, seemingly out of nowhere, Bob Lazar made public allegations that alien spacecraft were being tested at the Navy’s S-4 hangar facility just south of Groom Lake in Nevada. He claimed to not only have seen the spacecraft (both in the hangars and in flight), but to have peeked inside them. He reported that the interior structure indicated the creatures that piloted them were very small compared to adult humans.

Magazines, radio shows, talk shows, local news—just about everyone ate up Lazar’s outlandish story. Not only were his stories never verified, but neither was his claimed academic pedigree or even his employment (in any form) at the hangar facility.

Today, Lazar has largely faded into obscurity as a footnote in the annals of conspiracy theories—although you’ll still hear an occasional reference to him if you listen closely, like in the line, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Bob Lazar’s Coming Over”, in the conspiracy-theory-oriented song “Escape from The Prison Planet” by the band Clutch.

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