As someone who has been passionately studying the UFO phenomenon for more than 30 years, I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make: I don’t know what to think about Bob Lazar, a name which became famous worldwide a quarter of a century ago, but is now probably seldom heard by the newer generations of flying saucer enthusiasts.
To give the Twitter-like version of the story, Lazar is a man who claimed to have worked at the legendary Area 51, back when it was not even officially acknowledged by the United States government –though that didn’t stop the Air Force in their efforts to appropriate more federal lands, in order to keep it away from the snooping eyes of harmless UFO buffs and foreign spies posing as UFO buffs. Not only that, but his story seemed to confirm the beliefs of every faithful Coast to Coast listener: YES the Military was in possession of recovered alien spaceships! AND they had successfully managed to reverse-engineer these craft!! AND were also conducting test flights with them over the Nevada desert!!!
Eventually, Lazar’s employers caught wind of his treacherous indiscretions and he was forced to go public with his story in order to protect his life. Once he was shielded under the UFO limelight, critics began to pick on his story and his alleged credentials, until eventually Bob went back to the comfort of anonymity; the rest, as they say, is Neverland history…
That is, until a few years ago when Lazar began once again to make the rounds in the UFOlogical circles, for no apparent reason: He was invited to the 2015 International UFO Congress, where instead of giving a presentation he appeared on-stage for a Q&A with George Knapp, the seasoned Las Vegas journalist who broke his story and eventually became a personally friend of his –Knapp also managed to convince the reluctant Bob to appear once again in front of the TV cameras for his Las Vegas Now news channel. A year later Jeremy Corbell made a short documentary about him, and in it we can listen to George still supporting Bob, and pointing out how in 25 years he has never deviated or embellished his story.
Now Corbell is getting ready to release another documentary on Lazar, and he has just posted a sneak preview of it on Vimeo:
Like I said, over the years my opinion about Lazar has changed and morphed more than once. Back in the 90’s when I was avidly reading about Area 51 and S-4 –an even more secretive section of the Groom Lake base where the recovered saucers were being kept, according to Lazar– I was certain his testimony would be the spearhead that would unleash the Cosmic Watergate, as UFOlogist Stan Friedman referred to the decades-long cover-up of the alien presence and the nefarious dealings between them and the secret government. Later, when Friedman himself questioned Lazar’s academic credentials and skeptical scientists began to pick holes on his explanations on how the alien disks were able to generate an anti-gravity field around them and warp space/time, my confidence began to falter –not having scientific training myself I couldn’t really question those discussions, however I always found it curious how Lazar’s description of the ‘sport model’ flying saucer he allegedly witnessed at S-4 looked awfully similar to Billy Meier’s Pleiadian beamships… and by then my confidence in Meier was also beginning to deteriorate.
The years passed, and by then not only had I turned my back on Meier’s contact claims –the ‘wedding cake’ photos were the last straw– but thanks to the writings of people like Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop I was even getting disenchanted with the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) as a viable solution for the UFO enigma. I began to read about DMT and McKenna, and compared his ideas with the Castañeda stuff I’d found while in college. I began to really pay attention to what Vallee and Keel had said so many years ago, and my understanding of the phenomenon suffered a quantum leap.
I left the conspiranoid pool of the Cosmic Watergate –which I sincerely believe it can become fertile ground for the ugliest side of the alternative world if you’re not careful, because you can easily slide from ‘the government lied us about Roswell!’ to ‘the government lied us about [insert here]!’– and began to embrace a more holistic –and IMO more EXCITING– approach in which UFOs were just the first step into an endless journey of magical possibilities.
Granted, Bob has not added or deviated from his original testimony after more than 25 years. That would equate him in the eyes of some to Travis Walton, who has also stuck to what he told about his alleged alien abduction on his book Fire in the Sky, which was later turned into a major motion picture –and pretty much everyone I’ve met in the UFO world have nothing but the highest regards towards Travis, and consider him a sincere person.
Unlike Travis, though, Lazar has never been interested in becoming a regular speaker in the UFO conference circle, which is another point in his favor. One could confidently say he never made any real money out of his brief saucerian celebrity status –even though he did try to sell the rights of his story to a movie studio back in the day.
The figure of Philip Imbrogno also comes to mind, because here was a well-respected researcher who quickly fell from grace once it was discovered he lied about his college degree as well as his (spurious) military background. In the unorthodox world of UFO research, where things are seldom proven with cold-hard evidence, you are only as good as your word.
There’s also the fact that Lazar, the ‘cosmic whistleblower‘, owns a company named United Nuclear (which was featured in a 2006 Wired article that had nothing to do with UFOs) which provides the government with rare chemical products. So all that annoying whistle-blowing of what was supposedly the biggest secret in all of history was forgiven then? Imagine if 25 years from now Edward Snowden was found to be a computer consultant for the NSA!
That comparison is not gratuitous. 3 years ago I returned to the Lazar topic and pointed out how his sketchy background actually reinforced his position in a rather curious way, because it showed him to be just as expendable as Snowden was. Thanks to the former CIA operative we learned the government and the Intelligence world don’t seem to be that interested in fancy titles as long as you can get the job done; it could even be argued that having a bit of dirt in the background of those under their payroll could have been seen as valuable collateral, if need be–as it was the case with Lazar, whose sinking marriage was apparently known by his superiors even before he learned his wife was cheating on him.
Call it the ‘pee tape’ warranty, if you will…
So, to cut to the chase: Do I believe Lazar is telling the truth, yes or no?
Well, my answer to that is Yes… and No!Yes, I suspect he’s being sincere in his story and that Knapp thoroughly confirmed he did work at Los Alamos and Groom Lake. But THAT doesn’t necessarily protects him from being an unwilling disinformation agent unbeknownst to him. Which is why I still take the idea of reverse-engineered alien tech with more than a few grains of salt.
On his podcast Tangentially Speaking, Chris Ryan has spoken about the frustration he felt many years ago, when a good friend of his who was an amateur magician patiently performed in front of him the same trick over and over again, yet despite how hard he tried Chris proved incapable of discovering the secret behind it.
“Chris, don’t worry about it,” his pal reassured him. “You are a very smart guy, and the more intelligent a person is, the easier it is to fool them.“
There’s no doubt in my mind Bob Lazar is also a very smart person. But so too was Paul Bennewitz, the electrical engineer and scientist who was deliberately tricked by the Air Force into believing all sorts of fabrications and lies about underground alien bases and an impending invasion in order to exploit his gullibility and protect sensitive classified projects. Was Lazar too an expendable pawn used in some obscure chess game of deceit and disinformation? I can only hope that Jeremy Corbell’s upcoming documentary will shed some light on a few of these questions –and I for my part am more than willing to have my opinion on Lazar changed once more.
The ‘Bob Lazar’ documentary comes out in December of 2018. You can find more information about it on the website Extraordinary Beliefs.