There is a new book currently on the market, one with a title that is as direct as it is captivating: Area 51.
Journalist Annie Jacobsen wrote the book, endeavoring it would seem to offer a definitive account of the worst, best-kept secret in the US military. I'm only going by the New York Times review linked above, but the text of the book appears more historical in nature than others on the subject, a nuts and bolts chronicle of the Area 51 facility and its role in Cold War defense and espionage. According to the verbatim words of reviewer, Janet Maslin, "science fiction" is eschewed for a "much more levelheaded" approach. Sigh. It's ok, folks. Nothing I haven't heard before.
Indeed the subject of UFOs does come up in the book as it inevitably should, but only insofar as to argue that there never were any at Area 51. Ditto for aliens, living or otherwise. I really don't expect anything else from a "mainstream" text on the subject, even though I'm certain the research is for the most part solid. But what Jacobsen has in her book is one of the most interesting theories I have heard to date on the nature of the Roswell crash. It goes like this:
There was a crash of a saucer-shaped craft in Roswell, New Mexico in July of 1947. There were humanoid occupants inside. Where the Jacobsen thesis departs from the textbook UFO conspiracy is that the saucer was Soviet in origin. Cue ominous music.
Apparently, Joseph Stalin became inspired by the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles that panicked portions of America. Stalin believed that if he could replicate such pandemonium with another "alien invasion," it would weaken our national defenses and leave us therefore susceptible to attack. Jacobsen contends to have evidence that the Soviets did have a saucer-shaped aircraft capable of hovering. And the crew? They were childlike in size and in terms of physiognomy, were bald and possessed of large, almost wraparound eyes...but they were human. More ominous music, please.
The "aliens" were the result of hideous genetic experiments enacted by ex-Nazi Josef Mengele, a man infamous for playing with human guinea pigs. Indeed Mengele did disappear right before the fall of Berlin in 1945 and many have conjectured that he threw in with the Soviets to save his own worthless hide. So if we are to follow the breadcrumbs of this alternative Roswell theory, we are to surmise that Stalin said to Mengele, "hey, cook me up some aliens, you sick Nazi bastard," then placed the subjects inside what must have been at the time the most sophisticated aircraft in the Soviet inventory, then fly it into the United States and give us the willies. Hard to say which theory is more in left field, the aliens or this one. Still, I maintain that the Jacobsen theory is an innovative one and I give her all the credit in the world for it. Maybe it is what happened at Roswell. I have always ben open to the notion that the crash may have a terrestrial explanation, it's just that none of the ones provided by our Air Force have made any real sense. So, it could be that Jacobsen is right. Or it could be Mac Tonnies' "cryptoterrestrials," or aliens, or...who the heck knows.
I won't deny that I would be disappointed to learn that there were never any UFOs at Area 51, but I would yield to the facts if that turned out to be the case. The book does have one bit of hope for us mystery-lovers, though. Jacobsen repeatedly pressed an anonymous, former Area 51 employee about UFO matters at the base. His reply? "You don't want to know. You don't know the half of it."
In related news, it appears UFO tourism might become a cottage industry.
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