With the recent news of one million people signing on to ‘storm Area 51’, it’s worth hearing an account from someone who has done some ‘recon’ of the location. In this article excerpted from Darklore Volume 7 (available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK), Blair MacKenzie Blake talks about the adventures he and friends (including Tool drummer Danny Carey) have had while visiting the outskirts of the famous military base.
It was only moments after we started climbing from the trailhead that I began to sense that something wasn’t quite right. With the beam of my flashlight illuminating a rocky ridge studded with Joshua trees, I noticed that all traces of the reflective metallic gold tape that I had at one time wrapped around their spiky gnarled limbs in order to mark the route had been removed. Even more worrisome was the absence of orange wooden posts that marked the border of the Restricted Zone – restricted, meaning that if violated, the intruder surrendered all of his/her civil liberties. In fact, such was the level of intimidation that signs warned potential trespassers “Use of Deadly Force Authorized.” Already huffing during the most strenuous part of the 45 minute hike on this bitter cold April’s night in the Nevada high desert, as I paused to get my bearings my eager friend (drummer Danny Carey of the prog-metal band, Tool) continued to slowly make his way up the steep sandy slope, negotiating sharp rocks, creosote bush scrub, and dried cow patties. Searching again with my flashlight but unable to locate any gold banded Joshuas, suddenly, from seemingly out of nowhere, a deep voice calmly said, “Gentlemen, you’re going to jail.”
Flinching, I turned to see a man dressed in camouflage fatigues wearing night-vision goggles who was pointing an M-16 at us. Although it had been utterly silent seconds before, he had managed to sneak up undetected, and was now merely a few feet away. Before we could react, two white Jeep Cherokees crowned with light bars pulled up and flooded the ridgeline with powerful spotlights. In the crunch of trampled sage, several more security personnel approached brandishing automatic weapons. Our steep trek along the perimeter of the secret military installation, listed on old government maps as AREA 51, had abruptly come to an end. “You don’t look like Iraqi spies!” one of them joked. Nevertheless, we were forced to lie on the scruffy desert floor while they searched our backpacks, removing a spotting scope, but, fortunately, no cameras. With my face pressed against the hard alkaline soil, I thought about replying to the “camou-dude” that with the Open Skies Treaty having been signed in 1992, it was (or soon would be) perfectly legal for anyone – including Iraqi spies – to photograph the base. Anyone, so it seemed, except for American citizens whose tax dollars had paid for the place.
Rather than shoot us on the spot and leave our bodies for the coyotes, we were informed that the Lincoln County sheriff had been dispatched to take us to jail. It was at this point that I found out that Danny and I were the first civilians to have fallen victim of the Air Force’s most recent expansion of the base’s perimeter – 3972 additional acres of public land that was seized on April 10, 1995. This latest acquisition also included two unobstructed vantage points (somehow overlooked during an earlier government land-grab) of the remote test facility whose cloaked existence attracted curiosity seekers hoping to glimpse its highly classified activities – whether it be unconventional black-budget aircraft or the physics-defying sci-fi exotica that are rumored to be flown there.
We never did go to any damp pokey that night. Instead, we were each issued citations for $600.00 dollars and given papers warning us not to reenter the military reservation by order of the “Installation Commander.”
Of course we did return…many times. In fact, I had actually viewed the ‘non-existent’ base on numerous occasions beginning back in 1989, before Area 51 spawned a cottage industry and became a ufological and conspiracy theory cliché. In those early days the intimidation tactics were even more extreme, with the most menacing feature being a modified Black Hawk helicopter that skimmed the sparsely-forested ridges, lowering its landing skids while sandblasting any would-be snoopers with its noisy rotor downwash.
Each time we made the hike to the (then) legal overlooks, we were shadowed by the anonymous security forces. If we didn’t make our presence known by tripping buried roadside sensors, a series of strange chrome spheres suspended on tall poles (believed to be motion detectors with ammonia sensors) surely did. Add to this formidable security (in the buffer zone of the buffer zone!), motion and thermal alarms disguised as Joshua trees and high-powered range-tracking video cameras mounted on tripods (today this surveillance is probably done by miniature spy drones). Upon reaching the viewpoints of the playa below – my favorite being a promontory called “Freedom Ridge” (named by an intrepid Area 51 researcher) – in partial moonlight the secret base appeared in sharp relief against the craggy outlines of jumbled hills. Amid the vivid blues and reds of runway beacons, the Air Force’s “remote operating location” was revealed to be an extensive complex, complete with large hangars, a control tower, radar domes, fuel-tank farms, satellite dishes and support facilities. Yet, one had to wonder if some of these more conventional features were merely a façade for the more ingeniously concealed structures and/or subsurface installations that house secret experimental technology. If certain shocking allegations are to be believed, some of this might even include aeroforms that defy description. According to one insider: “To compare them to the SR-71 [spyplane] would be like comparing Leonardo da Vinci’s parachute design to the space shuttle.” Indeed, on one occasion while perched atop the ridge, looking for something ‘black’ with our optics and scanners, a static-laden voice on a military channel warned someone at the base to “be advised that there are currently people in the bleachers.” Had our presence on that night caused certain scheduled operations to be canceled? If so, one hopes they weren’t, to quote another insider, “things so far beyond the comprehension of the average aviation authority as to be really alien to our way of thinking.”
With the growing popularity of America’s most famous secret base, numerous researchers have sought to divulge its redacted history.
From declassified documents and the firsthand testimony of former pilots, engineers, scientists, and even the occasional black-world spook, many of its mysterious activities and covert operations are no longer secret (even if Area 51 still officially doesn’t exist).
Located 100 miles north of Las Vegas on a dry lakebed ringed by the parched Groom Range, Area 51, also known as “Paradise Ranch”, “Dreamland”, and “Watertown Strip”, was conceived by the CIA in the mid-fifties. As a product of Cold War paranoia, the barren landscape was transformed into the original testing grounds of long-range reconnaissance platforms developed under intense secrecy. These CIA (and later Air Force) spy-planes included the U2, Oxcart A-12, SR-71 Blackbird, and F-117 Stealth Fighter. Perhaps even more suppressed than these classified programs were extreme bio-hazards as a result of both earlier atomic mishaps and the later burning of toxic, radar-absorbing (Stealth) composites in large open pits. Though originally covered up, it has recently been revealed that also tested (and crashed) were captured foreign advanced fighter jets that were surreptitiously smuggled into the base. However, in 1989, one whistleblower claimed that something being tested near Area 51 qualified as being truly foreign.
A Higher Form of Hungarian
Viewers who tuned into a special report on KLAS-TV (Las Vegas) in the spring of 1989 were no doubt left to wonder as a figure in black silhouette claimed that he had recently worked on a project to reverse engineer the propulsion system of a captured alien spacecraft, at a top secret facility designated S-4 that was located 15 miles south of Groom Lake, Nevada (Area 51). According to the articulate young ‘physicist’, whose name was later revealed to be Bob Lazar, the power source for this sleek, semi-lustrous saucer-shaped craft (which he dubbed “the Sport Model”) was a basketball-sized anti-matter reactor that generated and focused gravity waves to distort space-time. Fuel for the reactor was the stable super-heavy element 115, a brittle, burnt-orange colored substance that doesn’t occur naturally on earth. While in the “Omicron Configuration” the craft balanced on an out-of-phase gravity wave, but for interstellar flight, in order to warp or bend the fabric of space, gravity amplifiers were employed in what was known as the “Delta Configuration.” When fully operational, these rendered part of the saucer invisible, thus explaining all the reported sightings of UFOs making abrupt turns and generally defying the laws of physics. Besides the so-called “Sport Model”, Lazar said that he’d seen an assortment of nine different types of craft that were kept inside hangars disguised to look like the sides of the beige-and-brown hillocks. On one occasion, he might have even glimpsed a diminutive being that wasn’t from this planet.
In what would seem to be a serious breach of his security oath, Lazar took several friends to the perimeter of the base on a pitch-black night that he knew the craft was scheduled to be test flown. From an unsurfaced road they watched with utter amazement as a strange luminous object performed erratic maneuvers in the restricted airspace above the Groom Mountains.
As the pulsating light continued to dart about, security patrols soon cornered them. Lazar tried to hide by running into the desert, but to no avail. After being detained and questioned for over an hour all were released. However, the following morning Lazar was subjected to verbal abuse while being interrogated by his superiors. For this indiscretion his security clearance was pulled and his work analyzing alien antigravity technology ended. Later, fearing for his safety, he decided to go public.
If stories involving the military being in possession of an alien craft caused a sensation, other claims by the bespectacled technician really strained credulity. For example, as part of the indoctrination process, along with briefing papers, Lazar said that he had been shown a strange book (which contained pictures similar to diffraction-grating 3-D images) that asserted that humans were a product of numerous genetic modifications, and were referred to merely as “containers” by the aliens. For our part, the extraterrestrial biological entities (EBEs) that originated in the binary Zeta Reticuli system were derisively called “the Kids.” Even more startling, along with these evolutional adjustments, was the artificial creation by the aliens of several spiritual leaders thousands of years in our past.
Needless to say, Lazar’s startling revelations have made him a highly controversial figure in the world of ufology. Over the years his story has remained consistent, always recounted in a straightforward and emotionless tone. Showing refreshing restraint, he is careful not to speculate on matters that he personally didn’t experience or that that he has limited knowledge of. To many this makes him more believable, or at least suggests that he truly believes what he claims to have witnessed. To some, however, he is an unwitting dupe, either as part of a controlled information leak, or to disseminate disinformation for some hidden agenda. What he was allowed to witness was staged for his behalf and intended to be circulated among the masses, though with a built-in ‘poison pill’ (such as the aliens’ ‘history’ book) in the event that he needed to be discredited. Simply put, the ‘alien hardware’ story was allowed to be made public in order to protect what actually is being test flown at the base. Of course to others Lazar is a complete fraud – the entire S-4 story being nothing but a well-crafted hoax. Those who question his veracity point out that no one has yet been able to verify his education and employment records (although a W-2 form would seem to corroborate some of his claims). Believers counter that someone is attempting to make him disappear. He didn’t learn what he knows by attending junior college. Besides, when questioned by a credible former Area 51 worker as to how he paid for his meals in the cafeteria there, Lazar had the correct answer.
While many were still undecided about Lazar’s wild claims, out of the shadows came a new informant. This was a retired mechanical engineer who claimed that he worked on flight simulators at a secret compound to train human pilots how to operate the duplicated alien avionics. Going by the pseudonym of JAROD 2 – allegedly named after an extraterrestrial named JAROD who served as a technical advisor for the project – the elderly former program insider went on to describe many surprising technical details, but is more famously known in Area 51 lore for his claim that the aliens involved spoke “a higher form of Hungarian”.
Though many laughed at this ludicrous notion, one researcher found some strategic plausibility in the assertion when he discovered that many leading scientists and engineers supposedly involved in the project were of Hungarian extraction. This included the physicist Edward Teller (E.T. himself). Being a very difficult tongue to understand, Hungarian (Magyar) would make for a rather secure system of communication in an already compartmentalized working environment, much in the same way that the nearly indecipherable Navajo language was chosen by the code talkers of WWII. In a parallel involving purported recovered alien technology, Hungarians are considered to be an isolated ethnic group (gypsies?) with a mysterious linguistic tradition, and a people who have long questioned their origins. At any rate, on a trip to Budapest, Area 51 aficionado Glenn Campbell found a phone book that contained many listings for the name Lazar – 422 to be precise. But again, is JAROD 2’s story just another shiny diversion?
Iconic Black Mailbox
At the height of the Lazar craze, UFO enthusiasts from all over the globe made the pilgrimage to a black mailbox situated on a large dirt pull out along Nevada Highway 375. Although just the ordinary mail drop of a local rancher, it also functioned as the roadside landmark for Area 51 sky-watchers. From this gathering place, believers and the curious alike trained optical devices under a brilliant canopy of stars, waiting for the ionized glow of a pewter-colored saucer to appear over the Groom Mountains. (The best viewing time was on Wednesday nights, coincidently “Spaghetti Night” at the “Little A-Le-Inn”, a doublewide trailer-turned-bar and grill some 20 miles up the road.) If nothing dazzlingly conspicuous turned up, any bright illumination drew oohs and aahs from the faithful as video cameras captured whatever it was that shone through the light pollution of distant Las Vegas. Most often these were the lights of a 737, or from the “Janet flights” that commuted base workers. But to the UFO chasers it didn’t matter; they saw what they wanted to see.
Not content with the motor home crowd watching from the Mailbox Road, a small group of black-budget aircraft buffs and anti-secrecy activists who called themselves the “Dreamland Interceptors” roamed the harsh desert terrain in camouflage fatigues – thus mocking the paramilitary security teams that patrolled the buffer zone. Rather than eat spaghetti at the A-Le-Inn, these patriotic gadflies dined on the more austere MREs (modern day K-rations) as they crept about the spiky yucca, wreaking havoc on the goons of a satellite government. When not dismantling magnetic trip sensors on BLM land, they marked their locations with signs upon which the word “SENSOR” was scrawled in fluorescent orange paint. And while sabotaging these high-tech security measures, they were always on the lookout for new high points from which to discern and photograph the aerodynamic schemes of the military’s next generation aircraft. With their telephoto lenses, some might have even wondered what else might be parked in the garage?
Space-Time Distortion on Campfire Hill
Plowing through sagebrush on khaki-colored dirt roads, dodging jack-rabbits and swarms of kangaroo mice, we arrived at our favorite camping spot near the border, knowing full well that the camou-dudes in ubiquitous white Jeep Cherokees were keeping a close watch on us. Along with the wail of coyotes, we could hear the faint whine of their generators while discreetly parked on a dirt spur. Once settled in our lawn chairs, we sipped beers and watched for anything unusual moving against the celestial tapestry. On previous trips we’d seen most of the explainable lights in the sky, including the Janet shuttle runs, strobing red dots (jets), and golden-orange orbs that were most likely infrared suppression flares employed during military exercises.
Despite the security personnel lurking about, the small hill on which we were seated was the perfect place to ponder Lazar’s fantastic tale. Prior to feeling the lustrous sheen of the disc stored at S-4, Lazar had thought the whole notion of UFOs as being absolutely ridiculous. However, for a skeptic who didn’t have any previous interest in the subject, as well as a limited knowledge of ufology’s vast literature, there are certainly many similarities between his story and that of others. For example, his description of the “Sport Model” shares several unique features with the craft that logger Travis Walton claimed to have been inside after being abducted in 1975. Both describe the surfaces of the walls, floor and ceiling all curving perfectly into each other as if molded from a single quantity of material. Also, both commented on how the craft’s metallic skin had the ability to become transparent under certain conditions. But what of Lazar’s alien propulsion technology? There certainly would appear to be some flaws, especially when it comes to bending or folding space around the disc. In pulling the destination to the spacecraft, (or vice versa) wouldn’t one greatly risk destroying it by colliding with everything in the path (no matter how narrow the course) of a focused gravity wave stretching for a hundred trillion miles? Or is cosmic geography and/or artificially created space objects somehow accounted for in the Delta Configuration?
I wasn’t too concerned about Lazar’s lack of credentials, the vagaries of gravity warp drives, or any clever pastiche. What bothered me was that nothing about his story seemed very alien. There are more imaginative accounts by witnesses who claimed that the interior of the spaceship they were in was considerably more spacious than it appeared from the outside, or that while observing the UFO from a distance, their eyesight suddenly had become greatly magnified with regards to clarity of detail. I would think that any recovered artifact that was truly otherworldly would be nauseatingly disorienting, so dissimilar would it be to our own creations. Whether the probe of space-faring colonists on an interstellar ark (artificial biosphere), or robotic scouts of a post-biological intelligence, or, for that matter, the lost new toy of a child whose species is immeasurably beyond the level of human intelligence, I could just imagine the pathetic bewilderment of Earth’s greatest minds still trying some 60 years later to find the doorway into the damned thing, let alone understanding how it operates. Unless, that is, it was a dumbed down creation of advanced sentient beings and didn’t in any way represent the pinnacle of their technological achievement.
This – something that humans could handle – they bequeathed to us (though possibly made to appear as if it crashed in order to be retrieved) so as to give us a nudge in the right direction…perhaps even to reshape our future.
Taking a gulp of beer, I had to remind myself never to make assumptions when it came to extraterrestrials. The spectrum of possibilities was endless. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to the narrow perspective of any one academic discipline. Ultimately, the presence of alien visitors may be undetectable due to the limitations of human perception. Conversely, we might share a common genetic heritage with them, or they might come from a parallel-Earth whose technology is only slightly more advanced than ours. Of course if we turned out to be the conscious inhabitants of someone’s simulated multiverse, then all bets would be off. As for Lazar having read that humans are considered to be “containers”, this I liked. The Earth could very well be a preserve, with humans being someone’s exclusive property. Containers for what, though, is anyone’s guess. It could be something incomprehensible. Noting the indistinct shapes of cows grazing on the open range, it struck me that even if they had some inkling that they might end up as a “Double Whopper” on the menu at Burger King, could they ever conceive of one day being an autographed catcher’s mitt on display in Cooperstown? Again, although I wasn’t that impressed with Lazar’s story, it was the only show in town. Besides, what if it was true? I certainly wanted to see “things that would make George Lucas drool.”
Flying a secret aircraft painted black under the cover of darkness is one thing, but at Area 51, as it turned out, even the starry skies could be taken away. Case in point: while seated in my chair speculating about mysterious others in the infinitely inhabited cosmos, the next thing I remembered was having been awakened by my friend who was leaning inside the open tent flap holding open a plastic trash bag. “Are you going to be sick?” he asked. At that very moment I threw up, having a strange metallic taste in my mouth, sort of like charcoal lighter fluid. My friend told me that he had just woke up inside his tent and had puked. What the hell was going on? How’d I get inside my tent? Later it occurred to us that we had been gassed by someone and placed inside our tents. If indeed that was the case, was it to render us unconscious during some secret test flight, or just the camou-dudes having some fun? Even dastardlier, I think one of them tossed a scorpion into my sleeping bag.
Aurora Roar on a Cheshire Airstrip?
Camping out on the hill another night, the desert silence was suddenly broken by a pulsed, deep-basso thrumming that was much louder than the ground-idling engines of jetfighters that we’d heard over the hills on previous occasions. This distinctive sound immediately brought to mind descriptions of the “sky-tearing” throbbing supposedly emitted by the mythical hypersonic spyplane known as the “Aurora”. Powered by a liquid methane pulse-detonation wave engine, the delta-shaped craft is believed to be capable of reaching Mach 6 or higher.
In the early 1990s, a series of unexplained “skyquakes” that rattled windows and jarred nerves in southern California (always on Thursday mornings) fueled speculation that the Air Force was testing a new secret aircraft that represented a quantum leap in technology. Could these advances have something to do with the back-engineering of alien craft as described by JAROD-2? The former insider had made the distinction of stating that it was impossible for humans to pilot the alien discs, therefore they were being trained to operate the alien drive system when combined with our own technology. If the Aurora actually exists, it is most likely to be a space plane – an aircraft that can travel into outer space after taking off from a runway, as opposed to being lifted into orbit by a rocket like the Air Force’s experimental unmanned X-37B orbital test vehicle. As for the runway itself, this might be Area 51’s rumored “Cheshire Airstrip.” According to several witnesses, this runway suddenly appears out of nowhere, only to quickly disappear again when not in use. Such a landing strip could be constructed to mimic the desert surroundings when not activated by special lighting, or could be a high-tech projection (hologram) on the playa. Though security forces didn’t gas us that night, we never did see anything take to the air. We only heard the unforgettable sound.
Exotic Aeroforms = Burnt Hotdogs
Over the years I’ve heard many sonic booms while UFO spotting near Dreamland. Normally these are from the various military aircraft such as B2 bombers and F-22 Raptors on routine maneuvers over the Tikaboo Valley. However, one night while grilling beef franks and watching the glittering skies for any disruption of stars – the tell-tale sign of “chameleons” utilizing camouflage receptors – a deafening report shook the desert floor. This was similar to both the sky-quakes that I felt in Los Angeles, and to the space shuttle re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Thinking it might have been from the Aurora returning to Groom Lake, I scanned the sky with a pair of binoculars. Once again I didn’t see anything and was left to wonder what it might have been while poking at neglected burnt hotdogs.
That wouldn’t be the only time that franks on the Weber became charred beyond recognition due to anomalous lights and sounds. While enjoying another space picnic, with the electronic music of Tomita for ambience, the secret base suddenly came to life. Dozens of ground-launched magnesium flares illuminated the runway over the hills as a Pave Hawk helicopter buzzed the nearby ridges. Next we could see a noisy C-130 Hercules flying in a wide circle. Through binoculars red darters appeared in each quadrant of the sky as if forming a protective barrier. Amid all this activity, someone noticed a tiny green light very high in the sky. Barely perceptible at first, it descended with incredible speed, appearing as a cool white diamond-shaped object enhaloed with a spectral green plasma as it passed overhead and quickly disappeared behind a ridge where more brilliant golden-white flares hovered. Had we just witnessed the TR3-A Black Manta suborbital prototype? Or perhaps it was the tight-lipped Blackstar spacecraft? Whatever it was, I seriously doubt that we hit the Area 51 jackpot and saw a human-piloted alien craft.
Media Circus on the E.T. Highway
With the dedication of the E.T. Highway in July 1996, I felt that I’d just about spent enough time driving down bone-jarring dirt and gravel roads, leaving in my wake plumes of plutonium-laden dust. I was growing tired of the intimidation tactics and psychological warfare games of the camou-dudes while seated along the perimeter of the vast military reserve, hoping to see something technologically shocking. Rumors still persisted about enormous silent black triangles (dirigibles?) as stealthy troop transports, and of nuclear-powered tactical reconnaissance craft whose propulsion system disrupted gravity. Even the “They’re Here!” Lazar discs had been seen jumping about over the Groom Mountains.
Watching the celebration at the Little A-Le-Inn, I recalled having helped the owner put the two trailers together back before they even had an “Area 51 Visitor’s Permit” bumper sticker for sale. Now there were alien-themed baubles galore as UFO enthusiasts, local ranchers, and anti-government conspiracy theorists talked about paradigm shifts, the Illuminati, and shape-shifting reptilians while eating “Alien Burgers” and drinking Milwaukee’s Best. The colorful assemblage included some regular favorites, like the ambassador from a distant galaxy and a Japanese mortician who liked to sing country-western songs…when not warning people about anti-gravity saucers at Dreamland being pure theater designed to cause mass panic in order to enslave the populace and usher in the New World Order. There were also bits of conversation about boron-snatching EBEs who liked strawberry ice cream, the lunar landing hoax, and a government treaty with ‘greys’ allowing them to abduct humans and perform horrific genetic experiments in exchange for alien technology. By far the strangest of all though was a new bartender (Astro-American?) who appeared to be completely mystified by the concept of a simple bottle opener when one of us ordered a Heineken. As the famous Black Mailbox was being auctioned off, outside the “Interceptors” were involved in a political brouhaha. With all these vendors of kitschy glow-in-the-dark alien gimcracks, talk of milk carton kids, and rambling apocalyptic scenarios, there was only one thing left to do. Head for the nearby sun-baked hills, set up camp in the fragrance of burned sagebrush, and wait for the stars to come out one by one…
Multirole Aerial Drone in a Margarita
Although it was a moonless night, there hadn’t been any activity over the base as I handed my friend a margarita that I had prepared in a large plastic cup. After taking a sip, he spat it out, thinking that a bug, perhaps a large moth, was floating inside it. After a second sip, he again quickly expelled the contents from his mouth. Checking the cup with a flashlight, he was horrified to see a strange insect whose length was almost the same diameter as the cup. Instinctively, he tossed the thing, along with the margarita, out into the desert. Before doing so, however, I had gotten a glimpse of it, and to me, while resembling a dragonfly, it appeared somewhat artificial looking with its whitish, matte-grey color. So strange was it, that I spent nearly an hour searching the area with my own flashlight.
Unable to find it in the morning as well, today I can’t help but think that it was an insect-sized spy drone. The Air Force has admitted to having a microaviary of drones designed to replicate the flight mechanics of birds, so why not dragonflies as well?
TR3 or Tier III?
Could the reality behind all the ‘noise’ of alien craft at Area 51 be the testing of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) piloted by “Captain NOLO” (No Live Operator), along with the militarization of space by ‘futuristic’ craft like the Aurora, supposedly equipped with particle beam weapons to protect our orbiting satellites? Drones had become an Area 51 priority decades ago, beginning with the stealthy black D-21 that was launched from a B-52. Looking at it in this light, could the rumored TR3-A be a misnomer – a phonetic corruption of TIER III, itself the designation of a certain class of satellite telemetry drones such as the RQ-3 DarkStar? If so, one certainly hopes that remotely piloted vehicles with optically transparent skins, or chameleons that take on their surroundings – drones with ominous sounding names like “Predator”, “Reaper”, “Sentinel” and “Global Hawk” – aren’t misused as part of an expanding surveillance state (i.e. in the backyards of fellow citizens). Ironically, in making all those trips to the perimeter of the secret base – hoping to catch a glimpse of something that was allegedly conceived on another world – my friends and I (along with many others attracted to the area) might have served the military’s purpose quite well by providing them with unsuspecting ‘targets’ for the various UAVs being tested there. High tech drones certainly could explain many of the sightings of strange alien shapes performing irregular maneuvers as witnessed by saucer chasers, even though “Captain NOLO” doesn’t like strawberry ice cream.