Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shadowhawk has New Book

Agent Shadowhawk, perhaps the only original Interceptor who has conducted real research over the past ten years, has a new book out: X-Plane Crashes: Exploring Experimental, Rocket Plane & Spycraft Incidents, Accidents & Crash Sites (Amazon).

The book is discussed in an article in the Dec. 11 Antelope Valley Press. (The article is no longer available on their website, but here is a cache of it.)

Excerpt from the article...
Some aviation buffs collect pilot autographs; others gather photos or aircraft models.

Peter Merlin and Tony Moore collect crash sites.

The self-described aerospace archeologists so far have meticulously researched, located and visited more than 100 sites across the southwestern United States. Some have held but a few small pieces of debris, while others have yielded huge chunks of airframe.

They focus their energies primarily on historic crashes related to the "Golden Age" of flight test from the 1940s through the 1970s, the era of the exotic, experimental "X-planes" in which Edwards Air Force Base played a key role.

"There's just hundreds and hundreds of stories" surrounding these crashes, Merlin said. "Many contain heroism or great tragedy."

After much prodding from friends and colleagues to share the stories of their work, the two collaborated on a book, "X-Plane Crashes," available from Specialty Press.

The book is packed with research and photos about the pilots and aircraft as well as the circumstances of each crash and the archeologists' efforts to seek out and document the sites.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Area 51 Contractor?: CSC Applied Technologies

I have heard from a grape in the vine that EG&G Special Projects is no longer the general contractor at the Groom Lake base. As of 2000, it is now CSC Applied Technologies.

EG&G supposedly still has the transportation contract (running the Janet flights), but CSC handles the operation of the base. (Although the Air Force "owns" the base, the general contractor handles everything from food to maintenance.)

There's a jobs listing at the CSC website. It may provide some corroboration (but my connection is too slow to load it).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Sad State of the Area 51 Research Center

On November 6, I visited the actual town of Rachel for the first time in years. As others have told me, the trailer that once housed the Area 51 Research Center is now gone. Only the fence posts and a few trinkets in the front yard remain.

More photos from the Nov. 6 visit can be found in this album.

In the photo above, I note with pride that the bush in the middle of the photo is mine. It is a Big Sage plant (Artemisia tridentata) not native to this valley and that I transported as a sprout from about 50 miles away.

I sold the trailer long ago, but it remained in place for a while. I was told by Freqmeister that someone purchased the trailer park, then evicted everyone, intending to renovate it and reopen it. In the process however, the park lost its grandfather clause on code issues and couldn't be reopened without costly improvements. The same thing happened to the derelict gas station nearby. So now there is only one business left in town: the Little A'Le'Inn.

Here was the Research Center in its heyday....

YouTube: Campbell Tampers with Sensor

Glenn Campbell is caught tampering with a sensor in an ancient YouTube video posted on alt.conspiracy.area51...

Area 51 - Rare Footage (on YouTube Australia, 5:20)

It apparently comes from a TV show, but I can't identify it.

Also provided in the same posting, was a YouTube excerpt from the Bruce Burgess show, discussing the Janet flights...

I don't actually have the patience to watch these videos (The 7 minutes is more than I can spare.) but I did FF through them. They both seem rather quaint at this point. I hardly recognize the guy in the first video. He must be the previous occupant of my "container."

Whether Campbell engaged in "tampering" is academic. He is shown unplugging one of the wires, but he seems to plug it back in again. He vehemently denies "tampering" in his 11/26 response to the posting above (before watching the video).
For the record, I have never tampered with any road sensor, just noted them, published their locations, pointed them out to TV crews, etc. Part of my mantra was never to break the law so the authorities would never have anything to get me on. I was informally studying the law at the time. I'd go right up to the line (whatever that legal line was) but never cross it.

It was always much more amusing to me to know where the sensors were (and complain to the BLM about them) than to steal them....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bob Lazar's Secret Michigan Lair

A reader of this blog, Roy Watson, just happened to pass through Laingsburg, Michigan last month and checked out Bob Lazar's new lair (for his one-man company United Nuclear). It's a storefront in the tiny town's main street. We wonder how much foot traffic he gets from farmers passing by. Here is our informant's report....
I live in Burlington, VT but have had a business trip to Lansing, MI scheduled for a while. I had spent 15 months in Lansing on an extended business trip a couple of years ago. When I saw your post about Bob Lazar moving United Nuclear to Laingsburg, Michigan, I recognized that town as being just a few miles from Lansing. So I started watching the progress of the move on the United Nuclear website. Luckily they just completed the move before I arrived in Lansing.

So, this afternoon I drove up to Laingsburg with my wife with the hopes of meeting Bob. Alas, they were locked up and no one was to be seen. Though I could see bench lighting on at a work table in the back. so he may have been there but was working on secret government research and could not answer the door without violating numerous MAJ security protocols. Or he could have been in the bar down the street … or on the toilet. Above is a fresh photo (2:30 pm, Friday, 10/31/08) of United Nuclear's retail space. It's actually much more than I expected.

Once again I found myself wondering how someone decides to move his "facilities" from the Sandia Mountains outside Albuquerque to Laingsburg, Michigan. Then, exactly 6.9 highway miles from United Nuclear's front door, I found the answer. At first, looking at the smallish diameter, I thought this was on of Bob's famous "sport models". Further examination revealed it was the much rarer "Cub Cadet" model.
Mystery solved!

I have been fascinated with Bob Lazar ever since I first heard him verbalize his story in the 1980's. Like you, I am drawn to his skill in telling an otherwise "out of this world" tale in a way that captivates people. He weaves in just the right amount of ignorance of details, modesty and reluctant participation to make it all seem so real and believable. I find myself oddly attracted to his personality and his story, though I really don't believe in it, at least most of it. I was very disappointed I didn't get to meet him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On-Line Book Reformatted

I have just completed the reformatting of my unfinished book, with an eye to picking it up again.

Only eight chapters have been completeThe project has lay fallow for a couple of years now, but an adviser is pressuring me to get it done. At least it looks better now, and it will be easier for me to edit and expand.

Bob Lazar on MySpace?

"The Bob" has turned up on MySpace, and he has lots of friends.

Is it the "real" Bob? You decide.

A deeper question is: Was there EVER a real Bob?

Does Bob really own Bob, or is he part of the public domain? Why can't we ALL contribute to The Bob and make him what we want him to be?

Let's all support an "open source" Bob!

(Link courtesy of Agent Zero.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Isreali-Alien Connection?

A reader (Harry W.) has alerted us to an ominous conspiracy connection on the Nellis Range. The symbol above was sighted near Dogbone Lake in the Nellis Range southeast of Area 51. The location is 36.926°N, 115.426°W.

Does this mean the Israelis and Grey are in collusion? You decide.

On a more prosaic note, this appears to be an active bombing range, judging by all the bomb craters. If visiting Israeli pilots participate in exercises here, might they be required to bomb the Star of David? Do pilots from Muslim countries delight in it?

Applying Occam's Razor dully, anything is possible.
Click on the image above for a full screenshot.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Triangle Hoax Exposed!!!

It was a rock!

My bad. I didn't exactly lie in my previous post, but I didn't tell the whole truth either. I don't know how anyone is ever going to trust me again. I'm ashamed. I apologize profusely.

And yet, what is that tingly feeling? Could it be... fun?

Here's what happened: I was editing a series of routine photos from Tikaboo Peak. I got to a sequence of shots of a father and son throwing rocks off the cliff on the west side. (It's a boy thing: Every male at the top of a cliff feels the need to do it.) I got to the image in question, and it occurred to me: "Wow, what a great UFO shot!"

That's when I set up the puzzle. It took me all of five minutes. How could I lead people to think this thing was something unusual without actually lying? I was like a magician setting up a trick. The secret is: create a diversion. I did this by releasing a quantity of irrelevant data -- exact time of day, camera f-stop, shutter speed and ASA -- while quietly withholding relevant data, like what the two witnesses and I were doing at the time.

I said, "I can't say what the triangle is." The reason I couldn't say, of course, was because it would spoil the trick!

The triangle itself was ambiguous in isolation, but when you pulled back and looked at the whole scene, I thought it was pretty obvious: The man's arm is recoiling as though he had just thrown something. Why else would his arm be across his face like that? So the solution to the mystery lay not in the object itself but in understanding human beings and how they move. As usual, no matter how good the "evidence" may be, it always comes back to an evaluation of human perception, motion and motivation.

I posted the photos only to my own blog, and I made no attempt to promote it elsewhere. When the photo made the jump to Dreamland Resort, it was none of my doing, although I didn't actively object. When the person who re-posted it asked me for permission to do so, I wrote back "You can do whatever you want with the photos, as long as you refer readers back to my blog entry as the source."

My bad again. But the poster didn't ask me any questions about the object, like its trajectory, sound, etc., so there was nothing else for me to answer. In fact, no one posting at the DLR forum asked me anything about the sighting. If anyone had asked, I would have replied coyly and evasively, which would have been a dead giveaway that something was up.

I sent the same photo to the Original Dreamland Interceptors (ODI), and they immediately shot back annoying and un-fun questions about the craft's trajectory and sound and what I meant by "can't say."

Within 24 hours, things had gotten out of hand and I was getting feedback suggesting this thing was going worldwide. I decided then to bring the experiment to a close. I could have let it gone on for a week or so, but that wouldn't have been healthy. So I "fessed up" on the DLR forum by posting the "before" picture in the rock-throwing sequence. Now you clearly see the man's arm in motion and the rock following along the same trajectory.

One DLR member then wrote to me: "You of all people should not create a hoax. If this is a fake, post your mea culpa."

I thought I just did! There's the man throwing the rock!

This was the first time I ever posted anything on DLR -- and probably the last. This is the place for postings about hardware and facilities, period, with little toleration for anything human. And one gets the distinct impression they really don't like Glenn Campbell there. In fact, it seems to be the official Glenn Campbell anti-fan club (which is flattering in a way), and anything I say or do just riles up the hornets even more. One wrote: "12 years a fan of yours and no more.... grow up." Others had less nice things to say.

I had inadvertently trampled a sacred icon: the triangle. That's what the black world watchers are looking for and can never quite find. If you mess with the triangle, it's like you've desecrated the Koran or something. The believers are not going to like you.

UFO watchers are looking for discs, while military watchers are looking for triangles. It's a little like dogs chasing cars: It isn't clear what either group will do once they actually catch what they're after. In the case of the military watchers, the object is supposed to be super-secret military aircraft, for a purpose that isn't quite clear, built by humans but not acknowledged by the government. In their universe, the government is hyper-efficient and has unlimited funds to build and deploy aircraft of extraordinary ability while keeping them totally secret. If you lurk outside Area 51 for long enough, you are bound to see them.

I have a different take: Having dealt with government at many levels, I see it as hyper-inefficient, wasting vast sums of money with little to show for it and unable to do anything without leaving huge tracks in the sand. Setting aside any aliens (who by definition are capable of anything) what's out there at Area 51 is probably minor variations on what we've seen already. I lived for 2-1/2 years in the shadow of the base and never saw anything I couldn't explain -- but of course I wasn't everywhere, so there's always room to believe.

And thanks to the publicity Campbell helped generate, the black triangles have probably been moved elsewhere -- to the next base, or the next. That's what keeps hope alive. I've been away for ten years, but remarkably little has changed. The celebrated "Aurora", which was supposed to be ripping the sky open 15 years ago still hasn't emerged, but that hasn't killed the dream. The sacred triangle is out there, waiting to be photographed; you just need a long enough lens at the right opportunity and nirvana will be yours.

Every religious group wants something yet paradoxically doesn't want to find it. (Wouldn't it put pastors out of business if Jesus actually returned?) If there was a new triangle out there, and you photographed it and nailed it down to a specific program, it was instantly become routine and uninteresting (like the clunky F117A), and your raison d'etre would go away. The military skywatchers are sustained only as long as they believe there are new triangles yet to be discovered, and the best kind are those that don't exist, because they can never be nailed down to reality.

The function of religion is to continually place barriers between you and your goals. That's what keeps the religion alive and the believers occupied. Likewise, the black world watchers want the truth while at the same time not really wanting it. They've got the notion that their life will be fulfilled if they can capture that sacred triangle, which of course is a delusion. They avoid facing reality by placing more and more barriers between themselves and the triangle. When someone provides the triangle, as I briefly did, it short-circuits the system and destabilizes the religion. The priests are going to get restless!

So now I've slipped into my old role as government disinformation agent. I'm the guy the government sent out to "muddy the waters" so the real black triangles can slip in and out of the base unnoticed. Actually, I'm pretty comfortable with this. Only wish I had the government salary: You know, the hundred dollar bills slipped under the table from time to time. (Hint, hint!)

If I had a few hundred more, I could buy a bigger lens -- a wide angle one.
Drawing source.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Triangular Craft Sighted Near Area 51

I took this photo myself on Tikaboo Peak a week ago. I cannot say what the triangular object is, but I guarantee that the photo itself is authentic and unretouched. The image above shows the object in it's maximum resolution (one pixel on your screen for every pixel on my camera). Here is the entire scene, cropped slightly from the raw image...
This photo was taken at 11:56am on Monday, Oct. 6, 2008. According to information coded on the JPG, the camera aperture was f14; the shutter speed was 1/500 sec., and the ASA was 400. The entire raw image is 2592 x 3888 pixels and over 4mg in size (too big to post here). The mountain just to the left of the man's head is Bald Mountain, so we a looking roughly northwest. Here is a medium view...
You can click on the image above to see it in maximum detail.
Other than cropping the above image, I DID NOT ALTER IT IN ANY WAY.

The witnesses to the sighting were myself and the two people shown above: a visitor from Utah, Kevin, and his 8-year-old son, John Charles.

Alien craft? Advanced military test vehicle? You decide.

Update, 10/14

Here are some discussions concerning this photo on the Dreamland Resort discussion forum: Thread #1, Thread #2, Thread #3

Also see my follow-up posting the next day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

"UFO Hunters": The Tikaboo Death March

Up at the head of the column, the director went into crisis mode and began radioing instructions on how to distribute Ken's equipment so the shoot could go on. Everyone halted and waited for orders. As the rest of us at the front caught our breath, we began to ask a simple question.

"Who's Ken?"

Continued from Part I (but read this one first)

The production company for UFO Hunters first contacted me about a month before their Area 51 shoot. I said I was willing to guide them around, and I recommended a hike to Tikaboo Peak, the last vantage point where you can see the secret Groom Lake base. We discussed camping on the mountaintop, but I recommended the Tikaboo basecamp instead, so we didn't have to haul camping equipment on foot. I said the best time to view the distant base is first thing in the morning when the sun is behind you, and I recommended making two hikes from basecamp: one in the daytime to haul the equipment, then a second hike at night without equipment, after everyone knew the trail and had gotten some sleep.

They finally decided to climb the mountain in a single trip at night, at about 2am, with all their equipment and without camping. I advised against it, since the trail was difficult enough for most people in the day; doing it for the first time at night with full gear would add another layer of risk. They proceeded with the nighttime plan anyway, so I shifted gears and tried to think through all the contingencies and do what I could to make their plan work. I would be assisted by Agent X, who was also experienced on Tikaboo, and together we would try to keep these naïve L.A. greenies from killing themselves.

I meet the crew a day and a half before the hike when we filmed scenes near the Janet terminal in Las Vegas. (This sequence would appear after the Tikaboo hike in the finished product.) The crew looked young and healthy, which relieved some of my anxiety, but I still felt trepidation as I headed north to Alamo the following night (Wednesday) for the 11pm muster.

The crew had taken over the Windmill Ridge Motel in Alamo, and when I arrived at 10:00pm, things were already in motion. Big cases of equipment and supplies were being loaded into three 4WDs, an equipment van and an RV. This was a complex production, and it was moving smoothly. I learned then that the director and three other crew members had already taken the hike the night before. I was impressed! None of the four had been to the peak before, and they had hiked after midnight without a moon, based on my published instructions and GPS coordinates from the internet. This is exactly what I would have done in their shoes: a dry run. It showed me they had taken control of their fate and were not going to be swept along by it.

The expedition headed out promptly at 11pm, getting to the Tikaboo basecamp at about midnight. At my suggestion, they were going to film an interview around a campfire. I had wanted a number of people to chat around the campfire, including at least Agent X, but the script didn't call for others to be on the mountain, so it was just me and the host supposedly camping and hiking alone (pretending not to see the other 13 people). Earlier in the day, I had prepared an unlit fire at our actual basecamp, but this was too far from the generator, so we built another fire 200 yards below. The generator was unloaded and a big overhead light was set up above the fire -- a rather bizarre addition to any wilderness campsite (photo). The host and I, both professionals, knocked off an interview fairly quickly, and the team of 15 prepared for the main assault on the peak at about 2am.

The hike would be only about a mile, but it was a strenuous mile, climbing about 1000 feet on a sometimes dicey trail. This is tough enough for most people, but we were also hiking at a high elevation, starting at 7000 feet, which can be twice as hard for those who are used to sea level.

The producers had thought of everything. They calculated the equipment they would need and the number of bodies required to haul it. To help with the operation, two extra "Sherpas" were brought in from Las Vegas. One was a certified EMT in case there were any medical emergencies. I had initially dismissed the idea of an EMT as prudish. Do you take a paramedic with you every time you hike in the woods? But as the size and complexity of the operation became apparent, an EMT seemed increasingly prudent. Both he and the other Sherpa were members of a hiking club in Las Vegas, so a least there would be two more sturdy hikers in the group.

Agent X was part of the show but not part of the script for Tikaboo, so he went ahead of the rest of us and marked the trail with glow sticks hung from trees. We figured this would be a wise measure to keep everyone on the trail and provide an escape route in case anyone needed to go down at night. Now, it was just a matter of coaxing everyone up the steep trail.

The hike began on a relatively gentle slope that didn't bother anyone, but then the trail got steeper and steeper and a few hikers started falling behind. I was leading the column, followed by those who had been there the night before. It was easier for them this time because now we were following an established trail instead of GPS coordinates. Like similar communal hikes, our expedition began to split into two groups: the gazelles up ahead and the wheezers in the rear. We in the front monitored the rear by radio.

About a third into the hike, when we had hit the steepest stretch, we had our first casualty. Word came over the radio that Ken was down. He was hyperventilating and dizzy and couldn't continue. This was barely twenty minutes into the hike, so it did not bode well.

Up at the head of the column, the director went into crisis mode and began radioing instructions on how to distribute Ken's equipment so the shoot could go on. Everyone halted and waited for orders. As the rest of us at the front caught our breath, we began to ask a simple question.

"Who's Ken?"

Turns out, he was the EMT.

As the crisis unfolded, we began to learn an important lesson: If you arrange to hire an EMT through a local hiking club for a rigorous high-elevation hike, MAKE SURE HE IS NOT A SMOKER. In fairness to the producers, these are things you don't normally put together: certified paramedic, member of hiking club, chain smoker. Crew members who had seen him light up multiple times before the hike had figured he must be made of strong stuff to both smoke and be able to swing this difficult hike with a heavy pack. Turns out, he wasn't.

So the equipment in Ken's pack was redistributed, and he headed back to basecamp. The column started moving again, and almost immediately a second man went down. He was Stu, the story editor, who twisted his ankle and couldn't go on.

I was thinking to myself: "Dear God, what are we going to do on the peak without a story editor?"

So now Stu's equipment had to be redistributed, and some non-essential equipment had to be left behind. The director was showing has mettle now, making the essential triage decisions to keep the production on track.

Stu headed back to basecamp; the hike resumed, and then a third member went down. She was Penny, the sound technician. This was serious, because the production would be crippled without sound. Penny was the smallest crew member, and early in the hike I had taken her heavy pack and given her my nearly empty one, but after Ken's and Stu's equipment was redistributed, she again had a heavy pack. She had fallen in the loose rocks, but it took a few minutes to assess her condition. (Where's an EMT when you need one?)

Penny finally decided that she could continue, but only without a pack, so now all of the equipment she was carrying had to be redistributed or left behind.

We were hardly halfway up the trail at this point, but the steepest sections were over. I wondered who was going down next, and my suspicions centered on the other supposedly experienced Sherpa, who was breathing a little too hard. (What are the entry requirements for a hiking club nowadays?) With a little prayer and duck tape, the expedition soldiered on.

Fortunately, the rest of the hike proceeded uneventfully. I asked the lead cameraman (an endearing wise ass) where his fun meter stood. He answered: "I can't lie, it's gone way up!" As we crossed a saddle, I looked back from the front of the column and counted a string of 12 red headlamps in the darkness. I knew then that it would all work out.

We arrived at the peak in darkness, but with just enough time to get our work done. We had to film the base at night in spooky night vision. Then we filmed night-vision hiking scenes and getting-to-the-summit scenes (which, remarkably enough, were actually filmed at the summit). Then the sky in the east began to glow, and we shot various early-morning scenes as the sun flooded onto the secret base.

We had a massive high-definition camera with a big telephoto lens that was the equivalent of a 1100mm camera lens, all perched on a solid tripod that the director himself had carried. (I really admired the director through all of this. He kept everything on track while still retaining his humor.)

On the peak, everyone did their job efficiently, but something else happened, too. On Tikaboo, nearly everyone on the crew broke out their own digital cameras and started taking photos of themselves on the mountaintop. This was an indication to me of how significant the journey was to all of them. Fuck the History Channel, I say! This was a great experience regardless of the product.

It was full daylight by the time we headed down. There was some grumbling, but thanks to the laws of physics, down was way easier than up. We got back to basecamp and filmed some fake scenes of arriving and setting up camp. (We had our story editor back who could keep this all straight for us.)

For me, the most harrowing part of the whole expedition was shooting "B roll" of the host and I supposedly driving to Tikaboo as we were actually leaving. The host was in the driver's seat of a 4WD, and I was on the passenger side. The director had told us to drive "like Baja 500" on a dirt road past the camera, and the host obliged. I was hanging on for dear life and trying to think of a god to pray to.

We got back to the motel and all had breakfast. Since we had stayed up all night, things were getting surreal at that point. My role in the production was over, and I got to head home to Vegas (stopping to sleep in the car along the way), but the crew had to stay in Alamo. They would have the rest of the day to recover but had to shoot again the next day. Their shooting wrapped up only yesterday (Saturday), and I understand they had a party last night celebrating the end of their second season. (Jack Daniels and cranberry juice was the official libation.)

It won't be clear for several months whether UFO Hunters will be renewed for a third season. In any case, Area 51 is expected to be the last show broadcast in the current season (probably early 2009), and it is expected to be the season's high point.

I am still debating whether I should watch the finished show. It seems so superfluous.

Don't miss my expedition photos. (Tikaboo starts halfway through the album.) Also see "UFO Hunters" on Tikaboo: Part I.
Article & Photos © Glenn Campbell, PO Box 30303, Las Vegas, NV 89173

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"UFO Hunters" on Tikaboo Peak: Part I

Two days ago, I was up on Tikaboo Peak with a film crew from UFO Hunters, a History Channel series. (Here is a photo album of the expedition.) Apart from Larry King broadcasting live from Rachel in 1994, this was the biggest media production ever assembled on the doorstep of Area 51. Unlike the Larry King production, which set up a stage next to the highway, this crew had to haul their heavy equipment up a steep and rugged trail to a mountaintop shooting location—at night! In all, 13 people made it to the peak, along with sound equipment, three video cameras, a sturdy tripod and a big-ass telephoto lens.

Personally, I had a blast, and so did most of the crew (or they will have had a blast once they physically recover). That, to me, is what matters most. For me, the production was an excuse to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The hike at night was almost foolhardy, which I tried to impress on the production company beforehand, but we managed to pull it off without any major problems. The crew was much more proactive than I anticipated, and they were highly resilient in the face of adversity. I came to like and respect all of them. Against the odds, the mission was accomplished, and everyone came back in one piece.

I felt invigorated by the whole enterprise. After almost ten years of refusing video interviews, I was "back in the game" as though I had never left. Even before we started the hike, I was being labeled as the "go-to guy" for information on Area 51 (an insult to the real go-to guys, since I've done no real research in a decade and don't care to do any more). I freely admit that my interest in what goes on inside the secret base has now fallen to less than zero, but I am still amused by the circus outside it, and after a decade-long sabbatical in the trenches of "real life" I don't mind performing again in that circus.

The only potential downside of the production was the little matter of, um, truth. I don't have a TV, so I have never seen UFO Hunters. Even some members of the crew told me that's probably a good thing. Friends who have seen the show have filled me in. Some love it; some hate it, but I recognize by triangulation that I am dealing more with an entertainment product than a journalistic one. The name itself tells us its focus. The existence of the show can only be justified by finding UFOs—or at least tantalizing suggestions of them. If UFO Hunters comes to your neighborhood, they're probably going to find UFOs there; otherwise, there would be no show.

The show doesn't employ skeptics, who are seen as too negative. Instead, it has a "science guy" (who I didn't meet). He typically sets up various new-fangled electronic equipment provided by companies seeking publicity (aka "product placement") hoping to catch some UFO traces. On top of this, saucer-watch scenes are usually filmed with fancy night-vision lenses that can give even lawn sprinklers an otherworldly glow. A good rule of thumb in ufology is the more high-tech equipment you deploy that you don't understand, the more "anomalous phenomena" you are going to discover. It's a simple formula for success: more money equals more high-tech equipment equals more "UFOs".

What is a show like this doing on the History Channel? That's the real alien phenomenon. SciFi Channel, sure. Discovery Channel, maybe. But where is the "history" in hunting for UFOs in the present day? The apparent answer is that all UFO sightings took place in the past; therefore they are history. I am comfortable with this general concept if it stayed in the past. The UFO movement has a very rich social history, regardless of whether you believe, and it certainly deserves to be documented. (Think of the Woodstock-like gatherings at Giant Rock in the 1950s.) Area 51, too, has an extensive military history which merits more attention. What is dubious "history" is the investigation of UFOs in the present. Do you remember when MTV was "Music Television" and was only about music? Well, History Channel may have now crossed the line where it is no longer about history, only about ratings. Maybe it should rebrand itself as "HC."

Furthermore, I can't say that my own motivations in taking this gig were entirely pure. Since I learned that I would be laid off from my airline job, I have tried to assemble several small business ventures to make ends me. One of these is an "Area 51 guide service," which I publicize with a page on the web. For $250 a day, I will lead you and your party to Tikaboo Peak or wherever else you want to go around Area 51. UFO Hunters took me up on the offer, which will help me meet my subsistence budget for next month. The real payoff, however, is the business that will presumably come my way after the show airs. I'm not interested in getting rich, and I see the tour guide thing as a temporary adventure for only as long as I enjoy it, but it would be nice to have the business coming in if I need it. It is to my benefit, therefore, that the UFO Hunters episode be successful.

How does one deal with all this moral ambiguity? It's simple: compartmentalization. Over the years, I've gotten good at it, especially during my decade of "real life." Compartmentalization is when you stop worrying about the big picture and just concern yourself with the part you have been asked to do. It's something we all have to resort to when dealing with the outside world. For example, when we buy a product at Wal-Mart, we don't necessarily worry about the working conditions of the Chinese slave labor that made it. If we tried to run down all those connections, we'd go mad, so we simply buy the product if the offer is good.

On the web, I made a public offer, and UFO Hunters accepted it. I told them from the outset that I couldn't give them UFOs, and they respected that. For the purposes of the show, I was just the Tikaboo guy. I would lead the host to the peak and to the Janet terminal in Las Vegas. In interviews, I would talk about Tikaboo, the Janet flights and my own experiences with security, that's all.

This was a heavily scripted production. What the viewer will see is a seemingly spontaneous "investigation" where the UFO Hunters team goes out to Area 51 with an open mind and sees what they can find. However, any real investigation implies the ability to change course. Your path on each step of the inquiry is determined by what you just discovered in the previous step. You can't "script" a true investigation. You can only script a movie or other entertainment product.

The script in this case was rigid and demanding, and it was written before anyone from the production company had set foot in the area. In fairness, the participants weren't given exact lines to recite, and no one was asked to lie or say anything they were uncomfortable with, but the "story" was determined entirely in L.A. before shooting began. Where the crew would be in every hour of the week-long shoot was strictly scheduled, with little margin for deviation. The director and producer also knew the subjects that they wanted each participant to talk about so the resulting sound bites would fit into the story. They couldn't afford to go into any other areas no matter what turned up in course of filming.

From the production company's standpoint, there was no other way. The History Channel keeps tight reins on the show, and it has to review and approve each story before shooting begins. Any significant changes also have to be approved by them, which is a huge bureaucratic burden. The production company is also trying to turn out a complex full-hour show on a grueling schedule, and it has to be exciting -- a real ratings grabber -- or the show will eventually be cancelled. These pressures tip the scales from reality to fiction, because fiction is so much easier to control.

True news shows are relatively lean. A local TV news crew consists of only two people: the cameraman and the reporter. A network news crew (including magazine shows like 20/20) consists of four people: the cameraman, the sound technician, the producer (who does all the real research), and the pretty-boy reporter (who usually flies in at the last minute and asks questions fed to him by the producer). The Tikaboo shoot, however, consisted of an on-site crew of a dozen people, including a director, producer, two cameramen, sound technician, gaffer, camera assistant, production assistant and—get this—a "story editor". His job was to assure that everything that happened on camera was consistent with the predetermined script. Especially with so many people and so much expensive equipment involved, the script becomes God, and no deviations can be accepted. This means that if UFOs flew out of somebody's ass at a time when the script didn't call for them, the crew could not respond.

Like movies and TV dramas, UFO Hunters is filmed "out of sequence". That means the order of events you see on the screen is not the same as the order it was filmed. All news shows dabble in a little bit of this, usually for fill-in footage where nothing significant is happening, but legitimate news organizations would never do it for the main action, like climbing a mountain: The preparation, the climb and the follow-up all appear on TV in the same sequence they really happened. Entertainment shows know no such boundaries. In this case, we filmed the follow-up first, then the main hike, then the preparation for the hike. This was all done for economy of production, just like for movies. In Las Vegas, about 40 hours before the actual hike, the UFO Hunters host was filmed talking about how "amazing" the Tikaboo hike had been. (I was wondering at the time whether everyone was going to survive the hike, let alone it being "amazing.")

The whole thing was reminiscent of my experiences with the paranormal show Encounters back in 1994 (Desert Rat #10). In that case, the crew filmed the secret base from Freedom Ridge the first night, then the second night when all the "cast" was assembled (including myself), they filmed a fake climb to Freedom Ridge on a hillside nowhere near it. At the top, we were asked to look at a blank hillside and pretend we were looking at the base. From the production company's standpoint, why not? If money is saved by "cheating" a scene and the results on the screen are virtually the same, what's the loss? CNN or ABC News would be mightily shamed if they were found to be faking scenes like this, but there is no real penalty for shows under the "entertainment" umbrella (including all those ugly "reality" shows). The problem, of course, is that when you cross the line into cheating, it is hard to know where to stop. Would UFO Hunters promote dubious UFO video or fail to exercise prudent skepticism simply because it served the needs of production? I prefer not to ask.

Compartmentalization is my friend. The fact is, I really liked everyone I worked with, and I think most of them would agree with my concerns above. This is a cutthroat business and everyone is being squeezed in one way or another. Every member of the crew knows what they need to do to get the show on the air, and there can be some beauty in that. It is remarkable to watch such a big operation unfold and to see everybody work together seamlessly when they need to. "I'm just a cog in the machine," said one of them, and this can bring both pain and pleasure.

I, too, saw myself as part of the machine. I was, first of all, a native guide, doing my best to make sure the crew was prepared for the environment. When I heard they would be hiking at night, I voiced my concerns, but when they were overruled I was still on board, doing my best to make sure things went as well as possible. My second role was as an actor, trying my best to be on-mark when I needed to be and delivering my lines as required. I wasn't going to lie, but I was prepared to take direction and respond to the needs of my team.

My main interview was conducted around a campfire at the base of Tikaboo. I myself suggested the venue in my long email correspondence with the production staff prior to the event. According to the story line, it was just me and the host sitting beside the campfire. We were supposed to ignore the dozen crew members, the two cameras pointed at us, the boom microphone hovering just above our heads and the giant fill light hanging overhead. It was just me and my buddy, out in the wilderness, talking casually about the hike coming up. After a few minutes of adjustment, it all came back to me. As far as I was concerned, it really was just me and the host and a couple other people listening in. I didn't know where the cameras were, and I didn't care what they were seeing, because that wasn't my job. I just wanted to say my lines well and make my friends happy.

I didn't deviate too far from the truth, but I did stretch it a little. At the request of the director, I played up the difficulty of the hike, turning it into something more dangerous and risky than I believed it was (at least in the daytime). The director wanted to ramp up the excitement factor by emphasizing the risk, but I had a different agenda. A show like this, broadcast to millions of couch potatoes, was essentially an open invitation for idiots to come up here and get themselves killed. As I saw it, making the hike seem more dangerous was a form of public service. At the suggestion of the director, I even played up the threat of mountain lions. Now, I've never seen a mountain lion, and I think the chance of being attacked by one is about the same as seeing a BLM ranger—that is, next to nil—but I had no problem playing up the hypothetical dangers of mountain lion attack as a surrogate for much more likely threats, like falling on loose rocks and cracking your head open. If mountain lions can scare off at least some of the ill-prepared dimwits, I have no problem inventing a few.

I truly didn't give a shit about how many millions will be watching the show or how they will perceive me. Perhaps it is a sign you are approaching nirvana (or death) if you genuinely don't care about fame. As I see it, fame has only one substantial benefit: When you meet someone new, they already know what to expect from you, and you don't have to spend as much time explaining yourself. Fame doesn't give you any gratification in itself. It doesn't solve your daily problems; it doesn't make you feel more worthy, and unless you have a clever mechanism to exploit it, it doesn't make you rich. No matter how much of it you have, fame is never going to heal the wounds and humiliations of your past. Even when you are known to millions, your life is still going to revolve around those few real people who you interact with on a daily basis.

That's how I felt on Tikaboo. I liked the people I was with, and I wanted this to be a memorable experience for them. I wanted to give the producer and director the material they needed—preferably even better than they had planned on. I didn't just pretend to bond with the host; I really did, and now I understand some of the stresses he is under. Since we're all just cogs in the machine, what really matters to me, personally, is meshing with my fellow cogs. Dealing with those other millions is mainly a matter of not doing something that is going to screw up their lives, like inviting them to the isolated desert when they are not prepared.

I might not even see the show when it comes out, because in my mind the adventure is already over. I was there and I took some pictures, and they are what I will remember it by. Whatever story the show comes out with is going to pale in comparison to the real hike I remember. Most meaningful to me were the stretches when the cameras weren't rolling, because there was actually some drama afoot. I almost wished there was a film crew recording the film crew climbing the mountain, because that was real fun!

I'll fill you in on the hike tomorrow in Part II: "The Tikaboo Death March."
Article & Photos © Glenn Campbell, PO Box 30303, Las Vegas, NV 89173

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interview with Bill Uhouse

Here's an old interview with Bill Uhouse — aka "Jarod 2" in my Desert Rat newsletters. It looks like the interview was done around 2005.

For a summary of Uhouse's claims, see my Desert Rat: Issue #24 and Issue #27.

Where is he now? I don't know. He would be about 83 now.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Visiting the Minister of Words

For the past two days, I have been visiting the Minister of Words, an Original Dreamland Interceptor (ODI), at his East Coast Ministry outside New York City. As you can see above, the Minister's condition has deteriorated considerably. More photos are available in this album...

Touring the Hudson with the Minister (60 photos)

BTW: Here's a facility in Hastings-on-Hudson that the Minister is associated with...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Photos from Tikaboo Peak and the E.T. Highway

Here is a album of photos I took on Saturday on an Area 51 visit with a couple of Brits...

This alien dude is new. It's a store near the start of the highway that calls itself "The Alien Research Center, Area 51." There appears to be no research going on there. The facility also claims to be a "museum" but there were no displays apart from the original E.T. Highway sign. It's just a gift shop, open only Fri-Sat-Sun. The sales clerk said it had been open for about 9 months and was owned by a George Harris in Las Vegas.

I was there for a while before I realized, "Hey, this is a total rip-off of my Area 51 Research Center!" I'm not particularly upset, though. I don't expect this place to last for long.

Prison for Rachel: Bring it On!

An article in the 9/18 Las Vegas Sun reiterates Rachel residents' opposition to a proposed prison in their valley.

The Lincoln County Planning Commission has approved a permit for a prison near the town that has earned pop culture cachet for claims of alien sightings and its proximity to Area 51, the government testing facility long shrouded in secrecy.

The county limited the private prison to 1,500 beds, although developer Jim Toreson had asked for 2,000. Toreson will have to pay for infrastructure improvements including roads, and water and electric lines to the 100-acre site four miles from Rachel.
After lurking on the sidelines and carefully considering the pros and cons, this blog has finally decided to take a stand on the proposed prison. Now what do you suppose our stand should be?

Let's do the math. The Little A'Le'Inn opposes the prison. All of the Rachel residents who talked to the newspaper oppose the prison. The entire on-line community of Area 51 watchers seems to oppose the prison.

Add it all up, and it's a no-brainer: This blog SUPPORTS the building of a prison near Rachel, Nevada!

Alas, this is little more than empty jabbering on both sides, since the prison doesn't have an ice cube's chance in Hell of actually being built.

Quoting from the article...
Toreson plans to build the prison and find a company to operate it. He expects the state to house overflow inmates there.
In other words, Toreson's got nothing solid behind him. This is like you saying, "I'm going to make a major motion picture," so you approach your local Town Council to ask permission to film your movie there. The Town Council says, "Sure, why not?" but that doesn't mean you have the FUNDING to make the movie or the MARKET for the movie once it is made. Without funding or a market, no commercial project is going anywhere.

Right now, Old Man Toreson doesn't appear to have anything more than a worthless hunk of land, some big talk and maybe a little bit of naive seed money. Where, specifically, is Toreson going to get (a) the company to run the prison, and (b) the prisoners?

A little known factoid about Lincoln County is that it already had a for-profit prison. The facility was actually built in the early 1990s on the outskirts of Pioche -- and it failed. The idea was for the Lincoln County Sheriff to run the prison, while a for-profit company would fund it and supply the prisoners, supposedly based on overflow from Las Vegas and elsewhere. The derelict building is probably still there if anyone cares to open a new private prison on the cheap.

What's so special about Toreson's project that it's going to succeed where the previous one failed? If a bona fide private prison operator decided they absolutely needed to open a facility in Lincoln County, wouldn't they look at the existing building in Pioche first?

The mantra of real estate is "location, location, location," and in Rachel the location truly sucks -- even for a prison. There's no existing pool of labor, no local services and huge transportation costs. The only thing Toreson has in his favor is cheap land, nothing more.

Yes, Nevada's prisons are severely overcrowded, but that's a function of funding, not facilities. The state already has an underutilized prison in Jean, 30 minutes south of Las Vegas. Why would the cash-strapped state turn over some of its prisoners to Toreson at a presumably higher price than housing them itself?

Real private prison operators are different than Toreson. They look for governmental opportunities around the county, bid for a contract, then build a facility to suit. They are going to judiciously choose a location that best meets their needs. Toreson is working from the other direction. He's got this empty land he's desperate to do something with -- this white elephant he is already chained to -- so he's dreaming up fantasy options with no grounding in the marketplace.

But let's say the prison turned out to be a viable option and actually got built, what's the damage to Rachel? Sure, there may be more light pollution in a distant part of the Sand Spring Valley, but its a BIG valley and if you want more darkness, you can always go to the next valley -- or the next or the next. From an economic standpoint, the choice is between upsetting a handful of UFO and aviation watchers who contribute next to nothing to the local economy and having some real jobs and real economic stability in town. The A'Le'Inn could probably increase its business many fold if a prison (and the construction crews building it) actually came to town.

If you think of prisons as being a "dirty" industry, compare them to the alternatives. Why does Rachel and nearly every other town in the Nevada outback exist? Mining. Now there's a dirty industry, devastating the landscaping and usually contributing only briefly to the economy. There was never any opposition in Rachel to the potential reopening of the nearby Tempiute Mine. How is that better than a prison? Prisons don't pollute, and once one is established it is usually sustainable, since the supply of prisoners is never going to run out. Isn't this better than the boom-and-bust cycle that made and broke Rachel?

This knee-jerk opposition to a hypothetical business proposal just reinforces Lincoln County's reputation for opposing and disabling economic development wherever it threatens to emerge. It seems county residents WANT to be impoverished. They want to preserve their open desert and their "rural way of life," but they can't fathom that there's plenty of emptiness and ruralness out there and it's never going to be used up.

Back in the mid-1990s, a small film production company approached the Lincoln County Commission about using the old Lincoln County Courthouse to shoot a small-budget TV movie. The commission hemmed and hawed, demanded more information and more assurances and delayed approval for months. One commissioner even wanted approval authority over the script. Eventually, the production company gave up and withdrew its request.

It would have been easy money for the county and its businesses, but that's not what local residents seem to want.

They prefer hard money.

Posted from Las Vegas

Friday, September 19, 2008

Interceptor Nominee: Chameleon

A new member seems to have mysteriously appeared in the ranks of the Groom Lake Interceptors. She is Chameleon, a shape-shifter.

Chameleon's special Interceptor superpower is that she can turn into almost anyone at will. This is accomplished through a combination of method acting, voice control and secret holographic technology that changes her facial features. Chameleon's unique skills are best illustrated by her very, um, interesting day job, show in the posters below.

That's right: She's a professional Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera impersonator! She makes good money at it touring the U.K., Europe and the Middle East. She also does a killer Marilyn Monroe and can even sing up a storm in her own voice.

You may also notice that she has another unique superpower: When she's in character, SHE CAN COMPLETELY FRY THE BRAIN OF ANY MALE WHO LOOKS AT HER! The body you see above has not been retouched in Photoshop. It is the product of 1000 sit-ups a day and an intense on-stage work-out whenever she puts on a show.

Imagine the use we can put her to at Area 51! She could paralyze the Cammo Dudes by singing a Britney Spears number while we sneak in the other way.

You may ask: How do we, the male Interceptors, look at her and not get our brains fried? This is accomplished with a set of special sunglasses available from me for $20. She's also not lethal when she's not in character. Off stage she has a fantastic mind and an ageless wisdom that seems quite inconsistent with her various bimbo personas. Hopefully, she will add some much needed balance (or better yet, imbalance) to our group.

One thing you need to know about Chameleon: No one knows what she really looks like. "White chick" is about all that any of us can nail down. Her real identity is a closely held secret, and the rest of us are only beginning to fathom it. The whole shape-shifting thing apparently started as the result of an accident in a government lab, but we haven't learned all the details yet.

Ms. Chameleon fits into my own nefarious plans to revive the Interceptor franchise. No longer are we going to be held down by OLD PEOPLE who hardly do anything, as though their TV series has been cancelled. We're going to build a whole new "Next Generation" of Interceptors who go boldly where no Interceptors have gone before.

(Cue music and warp-drive whooshing sound!)

Icon source

YouTube: Louis Theroux

While on the subject of YouTube and its uselessness, someone in the UK forwarded me some YouTube links for a documentary that I appeared in. Now, this PROVES how useless YouTube is!

"Glenn Campbell, you get the fuck out of here!"

The documentary is at least 10 years old (filmed when my hair was naturally brown) and I have only a vague recollection of filming. There were so many documentaries back then, without much variation, and I probably only saw half of them when they were completed. Nothing would bore me more than wasting 20 minutes of my life watching this one (I viewed only a few seconds of each part.), but I provide it here for my gullible readers.

Part 1...

Part 2...

The last one contains the famous line, "Glenn Campbell, you get the fuck out of here!" which just proves that you can say "fuck" on British TV.

BTW: The Area 51 Viewer's Guide that the host is seen reading is still available from me via Amazon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

YouTube: What's It Good For?

Young folks these days seem to be addicted to something called "YouTube." I can't say I understand it. It seems to be like "America's Funniest Home Videos," except that instead of getting a half hour of stupid videos you get HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF HOURS of stupid videos.

Why when I was a kid we read books, and when we wanted to see something, we went there and saw it. (We also walked five miles to school in the snow and didn't complain about it.) Kids these days don't need to go anywhere or do anything; they just call it up on YouTube and get a low quality rip-off of the experience.

When I typed "Area 51" in the YouTube search box, I was amazed! Does anyone on the North American continent have a life? They all seem to have made the same repetitive video of driving down Groom Lake Road to see the restricted area signs.

Now I'll admit that YouTube might have the potential for some sort of productive use. I just haven't figured out what it is. The image quality is very low, hardly comparing to even pre-HD television. For conveying visual data, a still photograph seems far better. If you want to show how visual elements relate to each other, you take several photographs, or you draw a map.

The only personal use I have ever found for YouTube is playing purely audio information. For example, if there's a song I want to hear, there's a good chance YouTube has it, perhaps as a music video. In no case, however, have I ever cared about what was happening on the screen as I listen to the audio. The video portion is just a distraction. A lot of videos, in fact, just show a static picture while the audio is playing. They appear on YouTube only because that's the universal place where people exchange media files.

I challenge my readers to show me ANYTHING meaningful or useful on YouTube -- on Area 51 or anything else -- apart from purely audio information. I'm open-minded. I'm willing to embrace newfangled conveniences like washing machines and pop-up toasters as long as you can show me that their value exceeds their cost.

So where is it? Show me that one useful YouTube video -- something truly meaningful that can't be accomplished with words, a photograph or an audio file -- and I'll shut up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rachel Nevada News Article

An article in Sept. 7 Las Vegas Sun profiles the current residents of Rachel, Nevada, which appear to number about 65 actual living souls.

On Thursday many of the residents of Rachel will meet at the A’Le’Inn to caravan 110 miles to Pioche, the Lincoln County seat, to try to stare down the proposal to put a prison four miles from their community center.

The prison lights alone will ruin the gorgeous sunsets and stargazing available where there isn’t a man-made light taller than a front porch within 100 miles.

The man who wants to build the prison on 1,000 acres here also wants to build a housing tract next to it called Lincoln County Estates. Over the years there’s been talk about building a solar plant and an old folks’ home on the land, but those turned out to be just rumors.

But the prison talk is real and the Lincoln County Planning Commission is being asked by the developer to grant a special use permit allowing a medium-security prison. ...

Toreson’s plan is to build the prison, find a company to operate it, and then for the state, whose prisons are crowded, to pay to house overflow inmates in Rachel. California has private prisons; Nevada does not.
Naw, not real. We think it's still a figment of Toreson's imagination. Totally Looney Tunes.

Nevada's prison's are overcrowded not because of lack of prison's per se but lack of money. There's still a state facility at Jean that is underutilized.

Like in the movie business, people in the desert with big ideas are a dime a dozen. People with funding, however, are rare, and Toreson obviously doesn't have any. All he's got is the land.

The most imporant thing missing from the proposal is labor. Where are the prison guards and staff going to come from? The commute time from Las Vegas or even Alamo is huge, and you'd have to pay a huge premium for force people to live in the middle of nowhere.

It's a fantasy proposal that will go nowhere.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Own a Piece of Paradise near Rachel, Nevada!

Wouldn't you like to get away from it all? Enjoy all the benefits of clean air and country living? Experience the freedom of wide open spaces? Well, Toreson Industries (official website) is giving you the chance. For $16,500 you can own a 1.2 acre lot at Lincoln Estates, a hypothetical housing development 6 miles west of Rachel, Nevada.

Of course, it's been hypothetical for at least 15 years now. We met Toreson himself back when we first arrived in Rachel in 1993, and he had the same plan. He had just bought this huge hunk of barren land west of Rachel for what he thought was a bargain price and planned to turn it into a residential community. Nothing much seems to have changed since then, except Toreson now has a new website.

Wouldn't you like to be the first on your block to... well, be first on your block, period?

The sadness of the proposition is clear when you read Toreson's list of local services. The site acknowledges that there's no Wal-Mart, no Home Depot, but there are "farm-fresh eggs." In other words, people who move to Lincoln Estates will be eating a LOT of eggs. There's also a bar and restaurant (the Little A'Le'Inn) and a convenience store/gas station.

Oops, Toreson failed to note that the convenience store has now closed, so there's no gas within 50 miles.

There are, however, "gourmet restaurants" in Alamo, some 60 miles away. (It all depends on how you define "gourmet.") Schools are located in Alamo, a mere two hour bus round-trip journey every day. (Helps instill character in children.) "These schools are in a safe, crime free, wholesome, environment and have caring teachers." (Again, it depends on how you define "wholesome" and "caring".) You can always take the bus to Las Vegas -- as long as you can get to the bus stop in "nearby" Alamo.

Lincoln Estates is at least 2-1/2 hours from the Wal-Marts and Home Depots of Las Vegas. (Toreson says 2 hours, but that assumes illegal velocity and no traffic in Las Vegas itself.) At current gas prices, that's about $50 round trip in the average car.

Toreson fails to mention that you can save a little gas and a lot of money by purchasing a similar lot in "downtown" Rachel for less than half the price of his.

A better funded version of a similar land scam is Coyote Springs (official website), a hypothetical development you may pass through without noticing on the way to Rachel. It is "only" 60 miles from Las Vegas, and at least it has a partly built golf course (our field report). There are some deep-pocketed investors behind Coyote Springs, but even they haven't been powerful enough to etch a community out of the raw desert.
Remember the old saw about real estate: "Location, location, location." In both Lincoln Estates and Coyote Springs, the location sucks. Starry eyed city slickers don't seem to understand: Out here, you don't own the desert; the desert owns you. You can stake out a tract of land and call it yours, but the desert doesn't recognize your claim and is going to win in the end.

Old man Toreson has been imprisoned by his own land for over 15 years -- which may be the inspiration for his latest scheme. According to local reports (which we haven't verified), Torson now hopes to build a 2000-bed prison on the land. We hear that Rachel residents plan to hold a town meeting about the proposal on Sept. 6.

It's pretty much the same thing: Whether you sell people the land or force them to live there under court order, they are still imprisoned.

8/25/08: Here are some message threads at Dreamland Resort regarding the proposed prison: Disaster in Rachel, Prison in Lincoln County. No worries mate! There ain't gonna be no prison. No public or private prison operator could possibly consider it viable.

Friday, August 22, 2008

EG&G Security Manual

We can't legitimately say we are "back" without publishing some sort of security manual. Fortunately, one such document turned up on our doorstep a few days ago. It is a security manual for EG&G, the private contractor that (last we heard) runs Area 51 for the Air Force. It is dated 31 March 2000 and is 92 pages long. We haven't done more that skim though it, but we offer it to our readers to analyze as they wish...

If you find anything interesting in it, give us a report.

And here's another document that arrived on our doorstep in the same wicker basket. It's an internal newsletter (11 pages) of the private range operator...

We are still a bit rusty on this, but "JT3" is the company name that appears on the Las Vegas office building that we previously associated with EG&G Special Projects at Area 51. (Our 1996 visit there was recorded in Desert Rat #35.) Here is their company website, and a screenshot is below.

Does any of this excite us? Not terribly. This is more the realm of the black world data collectors. We are happy to pass along the information, but it's not primarily what we do.

Give us more aliens! More freaks!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Alien Autopsy: The Third Generation

Remember the Alien Autopsy film of 1995? (wikipedia) Doesn't it bring back warm memories? It was a worldwide phenomenon at the time. The Fox television network made a boatload of money with that one, purporting to show the secret government autopsy of an alien body recovered from the Roswell UFO crash. Of course, the network never took a stand as to whether the film was real. Instead the prime time TV special was phrased as a question: "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?"

It was fiction, of course, and any competent journalist could find that out pretty quickly. What was interesting to us is how the event illustrated how media really works. The media doesn't make any money by exposing the "truth." It makes money by generating drama. The drama takes time and fills programming space, which can then be used to sell advertising to commercial sponsors.

And drama is what the people want, too! They don't want the truth any more than the media does. They want the drama of seeing conflicts hashed out, and as long as it is offered to them, they are going to tune in. It's just like a football game: No fan just wants to hear the final score; they have to see the drama of the game played out -- as inane and useless as it may be.

The purported autopsy film fit the bill. It couldn't be definitively disproven, at least immediately, so it was ripe for the question: Is it real? Then the marketing wheels could be set in motion.

Three years later, Fox milked the autopsy yet again with "World's Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Revealed," which devoted a program to exposing the Alien Autopsy (report). So Fox made money from the original hoax then made money again by exposing the hoax. We don't see anything particularly outrageous in this: It was just the network and its viewers doing what they are programmed to do. The Alien Autopsy was no more phony then the thousands of useless products advertised on TV everyday.

Two years ago, the promoter of the film and mastermind of the hoax, Ray Santilli, sought to garner more money and attention by finally admitting that he staged the hoax. This time, however, the whole phenomenon seems to have "jumped the shark" and it seems doubtful anyone made much profit.

Santilli's vehicle this time was the 2006 movie, "Alien Autopsy" (wikipedia, BBC review) which he produced. Supposedly "based on a true story," the movie tells the story of how Santilli and his crew faked the film. The release of this new film coincided with Santilli public admission that that MOST of the film was faked. But -- get this -- Santilli now claims that he faked the fake parts only because the original footage he purchased had disintegrated. Santilli says that he saw the film just before buying it but that the film stock decayed as soon as it was exposed to air. Then he had NO CHOICE but to "reconstruct" most of it based on the memory of what he saw. Although he continues to maintain that parts of his show were real, declines to specify them.

Hmmm, okay. Even when someone admits they lied, there's always a way to justify it. Good con men can always shift gears to adapt to any contingency; that's the nature of their trade. Alas, the whole thing fell flat this time. It seems nobody cares anymore! The film went straight to DVD and was sold only in Europe. (Europeans can buy a used copy on for £0.01 ($0.02), but you won't find it on

An associate in the UK slipped us a copy, and we TRIED to watch it but didn't get far. It was a technically competent product but pathetic below the surface. The character of Santilli, even presented as Santilli himself must have wanted it, had no personal appeal and was ultimately unwatchable.

We suspect that it wasn't really money that motivated Santilli this time: He got plenty of it from the first hoax. This one seemed more an attempt to set the record straight -- to somehow show that he was a worthy human being in spite of manipulating the world. Unfortunately, he still hasn't come clean: He has just covered one lie with another. It is like a kid admitting he stole the cookies but continuing to blame someone else for his actions.

We have no problem with hoaxes or hoaxsters. There world is filled with them, and the ultimate responsibility lies with the consumer to sort them out. But you don't pull off a hoax without Karma to pay. Every fraud and phony finds this out eventually: Either you return to the truth or you lose your soul.

For some, like Santilli, it is already too late. Millions of dollars don't help much when your time on Earth draws to a close and you have no one left to confide in.

It is the fate of all con men to die alone.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Interceptor Cast: The Council of Elders

In the course of defending our honor at Dreamland Resort (see "Burning History"), SHADOWHAWK put together a pretty good summary of the original Interceptor core group. There were many others, but these nine compose the "Council of Elders" who the rest of you are expected to bow down to. At present the Council is 78% not dead, but this number could change at any time. Shadowhawk's summary, as posted:
For those who don't remember their history, there were nine of us.

Jim Goodall is considered to be the first. He was known by several code names (Yes, we all had silly code names. We never took ourselves too seriously). Jim was variously known as "The Great One," "Agent Orange," and "Spy Two." He was an aviation author who documented the Blackbirds and stealth aircraft from before the time many of them were delcassified. He spent agreat deal of time lurking around Tonopah and Area 51. For whatever reason, he was also intrigued by the testimony of Bob Lazar, who claimed to have worked with alien spacecraft in an underground government facility. Jim remains, fundamentally, an airplane nut, not a UFO nut and works in aircraft resoration at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.

John Andrews, "Spy One," of Testors Corporation - the company that brought us platic models of the "F-19" and "SR-75" - was a gentleman in all respects, with more manners and grace than all the other Interceptors combined. He worked for years designing plastic model kits of both real and hypothetical military craft. His greatest quest was to release models of secret aircraft before the government acknowledged their existence. He passed away some years ago.

Mark Farmer, "Agent X," was a freelance journalist and photographer from Juneau, Alaska. He was always one to push the limits of the envelope, be it in military watching, in extreme sports or in matters of taste. He had all the latest hardware: night-vision goggles, telescope, camera with a mammoth telephoto lens, scanner radio, survival rations for a week. And of course he was stylishly attired in camouflage fatigues that were exactly appropriate for this particular desert background.

Tom Mahood, "Hand," was a traffic engineer from Irvine, California, with a secret passion physics. After slinking around with us along the border of Area 51, he went on to earn a physics Master's degree in the subject of gravity, motivated by the desire to prove or debunk certain UFO claims. He then worked for a short time at a government laboratory in Washington State that was conducting serious research into the nature of gravity. He eventually returned to traffic engineering. He was an excellent investigator, completely focused on solving the current mystery, whatever it it happened to be. Once a mystery was solved, he cast it aside like a completed crossword puzzle and moved on. That was how he treated Area 51. Tom was the second person known to have climbed Tikaboo Peak for the express purpose of viewing Area 51 and the firs t to create a trail up to the peak. He also located the crash site of an A-12 (Article 125).

Mike Dornheim, "The Ayatollah," was a Los Angeles-based aviation journalist and arch-skeptic. As West Coast Editor for Aviation Week and Space technology Magazine, he fought unsucessfully against publishing unsubstantiated stories about myhical aerospace planes. He believed in data, not speculation, but his was a lone voice crying in the wilderness. He died in a tragic car accident a few years ago.

Jim Bakos, "Agent Zero," was a machinist from Hemet, California, known for his good-natured enthusiasm, whose proudest accomplishment was the design and manufacture of the official Interceptor decoder ring. Agent Zero owned his own machine shop, stamping out various metal connectors and other parts, and some of his biggest clients were military contractors. Not wanting to bite the hand that feeds, Zero kept a low profile regarding the news media.

Stuart Brown, "The Minister of Words," was a staff writer for Popular Science magazine, living in Hollywood, California. He documented some of the Interceptors' antics in print and in television interviews. He currently lives in New York.

Glenn Campbell, "Psychospy," was the only Interceptor who actually lived near Area 51. He was a computer programmer who developed an intense interest in all things related to Area 51 and moved to Nevada(Does this sound like anyone else we know?). In January 1993, he drove his camper from Boston to Rachel and moved in behind the Little A'Le'Inn. Over the next several years, he explored every detail of the area, published the "Area 51 Viewer's Guide" and organized the initial events that brought the Interceptors together. He appointed himself public relations officer for the secret base and entertained every form of visiting news media. He tread a narrow path between beliver and debunker, and was more interested in the psychlogican and cultural aspects of Area 51 than in secret aircraft. His greatest contribution was the ability to network people. By introducing a disparate collection of researchers to each other, he created something that was truly greater than the sum of its parts. He also introduced the first comprehensive Area 51 web site and unearthed key information that helped remove the shroud of mystery that surrounded the Groom Lake base.

I (Peter Merlin), a.k.a. "Shadowhawk," billed myself as an aerospace archaeologist and historian. I specialized in collecting data, documents, and artifacts realted to flight-testing and Area 51. I was also the first person known to have climbed Tikaboo Peak to look at Groom Lake. Of all the original Dreamland Interceptors (ODI's), I'm the only one who has continuously researched the subject of Area 51 without interruption in the years since the Interceptors faded from the scene. I'm proud of my contributions to Dreamland Resort (the best Area 51 web site ever!) and Roadrunners Internationale that help preseve the legacy of Area 51. I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have in this endeavor without Glenn's help and that of the other ODI's. Let's not throw all that they have done on the fire.
"ODI" is okay, but we prefer "Council of Elders." They're the useless old guys who don't have much power left, but everyone pretends to honor them. They also get the best parking spots at the Black Mailbox on account of their seniority.

photo source