Bob Lazar: True or False?
By Glenn Campbell
I am happily retired from the Area 51 field and am currently enjoying a blissfully UFO-free lifestyle, but one issue won't leave me alone: People keep asking me about Bob Lazar. True or False: Did he work with flying saucers at "Area S-4"?
I adore ambiguity, and I really hate being pinned down like this. I mean, what is truth anyway? My idle-handed colleagues and I have been researching Lazar's claims since 1992, but I wasn't there when Lazar first made those claims, and no one can visit the secure military areas where Lazar's experiences supposedly took place. Who am I to declare what is and is not reality?
Still the inquiries keep coming, especially after Lazar's recent reappearance on Art Bell (June 6, 2002), where he announced yet another movie deal. The only way to efficiently deal with my questioners is to come up with a crude one-word answer.
Unfortunately, that answer is False.
I don't mean this as an insult to Mr. Lazar. He's an incredibly creative and intelligent guy. I also don't mean to denigrate Lazar's many supporters. One thing I learned while studying Area 51 is that you don't mess with people's religion. Lazar, I believe, has a right to make his claims, and people have a right to believe him. Lazar's flying saucers have become part of Nevada's identity, and probably even my own. I mean "False" only in a rather mundane factual sense.
Lazar did not work with flying saucers in an underground hangar near Papoose Lake. He made the story up. Furthermore, he made it up by himself, without the help of any nefarious agency and probably without any deep motivation other than the pleasure of attracting attention and putting people on.
The story evolved out of a long heritage of pre-existing underground alien base claims, which eventually infected the pilot and conspiracy theorist John Lear. Lear announced, in electronic bulletin board posts in the 1980s, that gray aliens were eating humans in deep underground facilities at Area 51. Lazar met Lear, heard his ramblings, and decided to give Lear what he wanted. Lazar took Lear's paranoid delusions and repackaged them in a much more intelligent and internally consistent rendition. Initially, Lear was the only audience, but he tipped off a Las Vegas TV station, and the frenzy began. The story soon spun out of Lazar's control, and, at least until the recent Art Bell appearance, Lazar seemed to sincerely want it to go away.
Lazar's limited knowledge of Area 51 came from secondhand sources, which are plentiful in Las Vegas. Lazar has never been to Area 51. His "S-4" is a relocated and reconfigured version of "Site 4", a real Top Secret radar testing facility west of Area 51. Lazar's saucers and their propulsion system seem plausible to anyone without a physics degree. They were constructed, in Lazar's head, with the same fastidious care that he has lavished on his real-life fireworks, jet cars and other mechanical projects. "Element 115" and its peculiar periodic neighbors were discussed in an article in Scientific American just before Lazar used it to fuel his craft. Lazar has always displayed an exceptional respect for detail and consistency, and he has an extraordinary ability to focus his attention on whatever his current project is, to the exclusion of everything else. His only deficiencies are moral (that is, if you consider lies and the exploitation of others to be somehow 'wrong').
A good model for how Lazar operates is found in the forger Mark Hoffman, now in prison for murder.
While forging Mormon documents, Hoffman built a detailed web of lies that still leaves researchers in awe. Hoffman's forgeries were internally consistent and perfect in every detail, and they meshed seamlessly with the world of existing documents, many of which he also created. His trance-like ability to focus his attention was so highly developed that he easily fooled polygraph tests.
Lazar is in the same league, having convinced a hypnotherapist of his truthfulness and earned at least an "inconclusive" polygraph report. Lazar might be even more clever than Hoffman, because he hasn't significantly broken the law, and he strictly limits his claims to his original story.
You can ask me for proof for my Lazar position, but I'm not going to play the game anymore. The Lazar documentation on the internet is already massive, and the heated debates about one detail or another of Lazar's claims have been going on for over a decade. It is senseless to harp on his false educational credentials, enhanced employment claims or pandering conviction.
Those who believe in Lazar are going to continue believing, and those who don't will only say, "I told you so." The funny thing about oral traditions like this is that they continue to live and propagate regardless of the evidence and far beyond their original source. They spawn new stories, like the similar UFO claims of Bill Uhouse, aka "Jarod 2" (which is another fascinating personal journey). Lazar's story has grown much bigger than Lazar himself, and no one will ever be able to follow all of its threads.
Answering "False" still rubs me the wrong way. I distain finality, and I certainly don't want to attract the attention Lazar's rabid supporters. Instead, I would rather state things in relative terms: Lazar's claims _could_ be true, like the boy crying wolf who eventually encounters a real one, but given the known lies and lack of new information, the joy of exploring the story has dwindled. Life is full of more interesting mysteries.