“The CIA declassified most of the records on Area 51 up through the late ’60s and early ’70s. It’s out in the public now,” said museum CEO and executive director Allan Palmer.
“Now we know a lot more about it and can present some of the really true stories that happened out there. And we feel a bit of an obligation to tell the larger story about the public’s perception of Area 51, which runs right into aliens, UFOs and extraterrestrial time travel, and those kind of things,” Palmer told The Huffington Post.
For years, UFO conspiracy theorists have claimed that the U.S. military was using a secret facility in the Nevada desert to examine captured flying saucers. Fuel was added to that fire when many people reported seeing strange craft in the skies around the mountains that surround an actual military base, located near a salt flat called Groom Lake, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas.
It’s now widely known that Cold War spy planes (including the U-2) were developed and tested at the base. The man who broke the story in 1989 about alleged alien technology at Area 51 was Emmy Award-winning news journalist George Knapp of KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.
“There had been bits and pieces in aviation publications about the possibility of something really weird flying around there, but nobody had done any serious reporting about it,” Knapp told HuffPost.
In 1989, Knapp met Bob Lazar, who claimed to be a physicist employed at an area of the base named Sector Four, or S-4. As the tale goes, Lazar alleged that this secret military facility was used to study several alien spacecraft, with the ultimate goal of trying to reverse-engineer the technology to figure out how it worked.
“There are questions that I have about Bob,” explained Knapp, “and I know there are problems and gaps within his story, but there were a lot of things that Lazar knew about the base that are really difficult to explain. For example, he knew there was a place called S-4, and that had never been printed anywhere.” …
Prior to the news series that Knapp reported on Area 51, the world had never heard of the place. Only the people who worked there or lived in the area knew about it. Unless you had a specific connection to the activities there, you wouldn’t have known the place existed. …