As a kid I loved a good conspiracy theory. In about 5th grade I was sitting in my backyard with one of my best friends, when we spotted a blinking light in the sky. This friend did quite well in school, and read books for fun. At that age, this is enough of a resume to pretty much get any other kid to believe whatever you say. As we were staring at this blinking object in the sky, my friend told me that it was speaking through morse code. Any kid who has wanted to be a spy (every young boy) knows what morse code is, so I thought that might be feasible. He slowly began to translate what the supposed alien craft was saying: “I… want… YOU!” which erupted in screaming and running into the house, at which point we probably grabbed nerf guns and pocket knives with which to defend ourselves. We both knew deep down it was probably just an airplane but we wanted to believe.
With the declassification of the projects developed at Area-51, those who were involved are finally allowed to talk about what really went on there. For those who don’t know, Area-51 is the code name for an area approximately 100 miles outside of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. The airspace above it has been restricted since the 60’s, and there are signs warning of punishment upon trespass all around. For decades conspiracy theorists have speculated what the facility was for. Some believe that all matters regarding alien life forms are handled there, including actual spacecraft and alien corpses salvaged from a crash near Roswell in the 1940’s.
There have been massive amounts of reports filed through the years claiming sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. The speculation has even spread to Hollywood, with Will Smith visiting the facility in the movie “Independence Day” and good old Indy Jones making an escape from a storage warehouse on site, and countless others.
I don’t think that anything can ever kill the rumors and speculation, but with the official declassification of the projects hosted there, we get to hear a little more about what has gone on.
On May 24, 1963, Collins flew out of Area 51’s restricted airspace in a top-secret spy plane code-named OXCART, built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He was flying over Utah when the aircraft pitched, flipped and headed toward a crash. He ejected into a field of weeds.
Almost 46 years later, in late fall of 2008, sitting in a coffee shop in the San Fernando Valley, Collins remembers that day with the kind of clarity the threat of a national security breach evokes: “Three guys came driving toward me in a pickup. I saw they had the aircraft canopy in the back. They offered to take me to my plane.” Until that moment, no civilian without a top-secret security clearance had ever laid eyes on the airplane Collins was flying. “I told them not to go near the aircraft. I said it had a nuclear weapon on-board.” The story fit right into the Cold War backdrop of the day, as many atomic tests took place in Nevada. Spooked, the men drove Collins to the local highway patrol. The CIA disguised the accident as involving a generic Air Force plane, the F-105, which is how the event is still listed in official records.
As for the guys who picked him up, they were tracked down and told to sign national security nondisclosures. As part of Collins’ own debriefing, the CIA asked the decorated pilot to take truth serum. “They wanted to see if there was anything I’d forgotten about the events leading up to the crash.” Los Angeles Times
With the government opening up about these top-secret programs, there is no-doubt going to be claims that there is more information still being covered up by the Government. This is likely, since we have proof that for the past 40 years the Government has actively lied about what has been going on there.
Although I don’t follow the lore now, I find it extremely interesting, and still hope that it is true. I would like to end with my own personal UFO story that is completely, 100% true.
One late night when driving back to Orem from Sandy, I was coming down the final stretch of I-15. By final stretch, I mean the long, straight part just before it turns and goes into Orem, just past American Fork and near Pleasant Grove. I looked out over Utah Lake and saw some lights in the air moving slightly. They were moving enough that I estimated that it was a small passenger plane like a Cessna, about to land at the Utah county airport just south. Aviation fascinates me so as I cruised down the empty freeway in the middle of the night, I kept an eye on the craft. Suddenly the lights changed direction, and at a speed much faster than before, went across the freeway, and at very low altitude into a field. Literally shaken, I looked over my shoulder trying to see it, as only seconds after it crossed my path I passed the point in which it traversed the freeway.
Saying something is a UFO does not imply that it is an alien spacecraft. Only that is is flying, and unidentifiable. That day, I saw a UFO. I don’t know what it was, or what it was doing. But I saw something, and have yet to be able to come up with a reasonable explanation.