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20 Astonishing Area 51 Facts Many Don’t Know About

Did you know that our government didn’t acknowledge the existence of Area 51 until 2013?

The name Area 51 invokes an aura of mystery, secrecy, and incidents involving aliens. And while the military installation, about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the site of secretive military testing, what do we know about Area 51 besides all those conspiracies and myths?

First, the name comes from designations on Nevada Test Site maps from the 1950s. And Area 51 is part of the area that hosted hundreds of nuclear weapons tests in the 50s, almost 100 of which were above ground.

But since ACTUAL nuclear tests apparently aren’t scary enough, Area 51’s primary claim to fame is as an alleged extraterrestrial technology research site.

This story begins in July 1947, when the local paper in Roswell’s front-page headline declared, “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell.” The US military claimed the unidentified crashing object was simply a weather balloon.

From then on, conspiracy theorists have run with it and insisted it was an alien spaceship that was taken from the Roswell ranch property to Area 51 for reverse engineering.

But rather than continuing with the “he said, she said” part of this story, here at Mindbending Facts, we wanted to dig deeper, leading us to uncover 20 hard truths about this strange place!

…Continue reading and prepare to be shocked by a few of these!

Area 51
Photo by Manuel Esteban at Shutterstock

1. Terrorists Beware!

Area 51 was used as the headquarters for the squad that successfully assassinated Osama Bin Laden, a well-known terrorist.

2. Caution!

It’s impossible to sneak into Area 51 without being seen, which should come as no surprise. In fact, Pilots who deliberately fly into the area’s restricted air zone can face dishonorable discharge, court-martial, and even a possible prison sentence.

Men wearing camouflage drive around the area, keeping an eye out for civilians trying to get a peek. The reality is that entrance to this area requires:

  1. An invitation from a high member of the US military or intelligence agencies.
  2. The highest level of security clearance possible.
  3. Taking a legally binding oath of secrecy.

FYI: Signs placed outside the perimeter caution that Area 51 security is permitted to use deadly force on anyone trying to sneak onto the property!

3. Where Was Area 51 Built?

This mysterious place was built in the desert on a dry lake bed.

4. Classified!

What goes on inside this area is strictly “need to know.” In 1999, President Bill Clinton penned an executive order requiring the Atomic Energy Commission to supply records to an oversight committee.

He was denied access to any records regarding programs at Area 51 on the basis that even the president didn’t wasn’t on a “need to know” basis with what was happening at this facility.

5. What Is This Mysterious Place Hiding?

In any of this site’s declassified documents, only two of the references are unredacted. The rest has been blacked out. It is widely believed that these 2 exceptions were oversights.

6. Obama Did WHAT?

The first American president to even mention Area 51 in public was President Obama.

7. The Lazar Claims!

The first public validation of Area 51 was in 1989, when Robert S. Lazar, a former employee, revealed its existence on the news.

Bob Lazar, who is also the first former employee to break his Area 51 oath of secrecy, made two documentaries alleging that the site was hiding the existence of aliens. One of these documentaries even shows footage of an object Lazar claims is an alien spacecraft.

Lazar claims that he was given the task to reverse engineer a UFO and that he might have seen an alien in a lab. The rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding the area have grown rampant after Lazar’s claims.

8. It’s In The Science!

The initial intent for which this secretive area was built was the advancement of military technology and science.

9. Shrouded In Secrets!

The land surrounding this area is under federal jurisdiction and contains several mines.

Sometime back in the 50s, a miner was so determined to refuse to vacate that land, claiming federal mining rights, that the government finally gave him Area 51 security clearance. But only under an oath of secrecy.

Area 51
Photo by carballo at Shutterstock

10. WHAT Kind Of Waste?

Ex-employees of this facility filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense in 1996 for breaches of federal law in the disposal and storage of nuclear waste.

11. America Takes Flight!

Area 51 is one of the largest air bases worldwide! In fact, the runways here are about 12,000 feet long. That’s long enough to be seen from space! The US Air Force has previously stated that it runs open-air training sessions for its servicemen at this site.

12. Want To Get A Glimpse? Dedication IS Required!

A public invitation on Facebook in 2019 called for a massive gathering to storm Area 51, saying, “They Can’t Stop All of Us.” Millions responded to the online invite, yet fewer than 50 showed up on the event date.

The “Storm Area 51” Facebook event received notice from celebrities like Lizzo, a Jonas Brother, Lil Nas X, and even movie star Danny Trejo. But this trek isn’t for the faint of heart.

Would-be sightseers have to make a 10-hour journey involving hiking and four-wheelers to glimpse the highly-guarded base’s border.

13. Talk About Amenities

Employees get to benefit from tennis courts and a baseball field on the site of Area 51. It also has an on-premise bar called Sam’s Place, named for the former pilot who founded it.

14. No Traffic Jams Here!

Lots of the employees who work at this site live in Las Vegas and utilize charter flights to commute to work.

15. The BEST Spies!

One of Area 51’s primary functions is as a test site for spy planes, which might explain the numerous claims of UFO sightings around the location. Area 51 is also rumored to be home to some of the most cutting-edge espionage programs on the planet.

Speaking of which, the CIA has only declassified information about two of their projects, both spy planes, undertaken at Groom Lake…AKA Area 51.

16. Well-Hidden!

During the day, heat distortion that’s reflected off the desert floor hides this site from a binocular view.

17. Do Aliens Live Among Us?

A poll conducted in 2019 noted that 54% of Americans said they thought it likely that the government has more knowledge about UFOs than they want us to know about.

Why do so many people believe this? It might be because some claim to have been abducted and later returned by aliens while in the vicinity of this area.

18. The Truth Comes Out!

It wasn’t until 2013 that our Government FINALLY confirmed that Area 51 exists.

Area 51
Photo by Fer Gregory at Shutterstock

19. Birds Aren’t Real?

The “Birds Aren’t Real” joke conspiracy theory argues that B-52 planes were built in Area 51 years ago for the purpose of killing all the birds in our country.

The comedians behind the “Birds Aren’t Real” mockery concocted the notion that this is the site where the bird-killing planes were made in secret.

20. Return to Area 51

The Discovery Channel came out with a documentary called “Return to Area 51.” It’s about air force technology…and fun fact? It there’s NO mention of UFOs or aliens.

What did you think about all these “Mindbending Facts” on the most mysterious place in the US? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

And if you found these facts interesting, our site has much more for you to enjoy! We also recommend reading: 8 Amazing Things The Simpsons Warned Us About (and They Were Right)

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