Monday, March 29, 2010

Of shattered dreams and Area 51

Damn it. Another cool legend bites the dust, and this time, it's dragging a lot of believers into the abyss.

Most of us have heard or read about the legend of Area 51: An alien spacecraft crashes in the southern Nevada desert. People see and photograph the event. Dark government figures confiscate film, pay off witnesses and deny everything. Alien beings are whisked to secret locations, examined, probed and dissected. An entire movement is born out of the seeds of conspiracy and a new-found public obsession with UFOs.

After nearly 50 years, according to a front-page feature in The Seattle Times, a few of the shadowy characters have come out of the woodwork to discuss the true goings-on at Area 51. Apparently, this remote area was a testing site for state-of-the-art reconnaissance aircraft, or spy planes. Prior to satellites and other high tech surveillance devices, the United States employed high-altitude, ultra-fast jets to spy on the Soviet Union. One such aircraft, the SR-71, could fly at altitudes of 90,000 feet and achieve a speed of Mach 3.29, or 2,200 miles per hour, and its predecessor, the A-12, ended up being the "alien" craft which crash landed in the desert that fateful day in 1963.

Due to the extreme secrecy of the project, government operatives descended upon the crash site, cleaned up all the debris and confiscated the film from the camera of a vacationing family who happened upon the scene. No aliens. No space-age technology to be harvested from the discovery.

I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed by these revelations. I really wanted to believe that our government possessed proof that living beings visited our primitive planet in the 1950s and 60s. I yearned to buy into the whole conspiracy theory, just like I'd like to think that Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, Crop Circles, that rumor about Jamie Lee Curtis and the Bermuda Triangle are factual phenomena.

I'll tell you one thing—if I were ever elected President, and there's still time, I'd ask some tough questions about what our government has on aliens and the Kennedy assassination. I'd also ask for a hot fudge sundae every Thursday night, and for all the White House's carpets and upholstery to be replaced in any room that Bill Clinton spent a "significant" amount of time.

Time to get back to my National Enquirer.

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