Jan 20, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Did Bob Lazar See a Live E.T. at the S-4 Facility of Area 51? Or Were Mind-Games Being Played?

Today, I'm going to share with you a story that you might not have heard of. It's a story that is, no doubt, bizarre, but thought-provoking. Whether the whole thing was a game of sorts to make Lazar's mind spin, I don't know. Or, whether the story was one hundred percent correct. With that slightly enigmatic introduction finished, let's go straight to the story. One of the lesser known aspects of the Bob Lazar controversy is that which suggests he just might have seen an alien entity at Area 51 – a live one, no less. The story gets very little publicity, but it’s fascinating in the extreme. The issue of aliens – alive, dead or both at Area 51 -first surfaced from Lazar in early 1989. When asked about that specific matter by George Knapp, Lazar quickly shot down the question in an awkward fashion and changed the subject. Later, though, in what was a private, rather than public, interview, Lazar opened up a bit more. What he had to say was brief but amazing – if true, of course. According to Lazar, “I walked down the hallway at one time I was working down there, and there were these doors – the doors that go to the hangar are smaller than the doors in the corridors and have a 9-inch or 12-inch square window with little wires running through it, just about head level. And as I was walking by, I just glanced in and I noticed – at a quick glance – there were two guys in white lab coats, facing me towards the door.”

Lazar then got to the heart of the matter: the two men were looking down at a small, humanoid figure with long arms, seemingly talking to it. Although Lazar only saw the entity for a second or so, he was in no doubt about what it appeared to be. I say “appeared” because Lazar himself wondered if this was some kind of set-up. He said of this possibility: “Maybe they stuck a doll in front of these guys and made me walk by it and look at it, just to see what my reaction would be.” Such a thing is not at all impossible, as the following brief, but notable, comment from Lazar makes clear: “They play so many mind games there [italics mine].” While enthusiastic UFO researchers may dearly want to believe that living aliens are at Area 51, Lazar’s carefully worded statement suggests we should exercise restraint on this issue – at least until, or if, further vindication comes along. It’s important too to note that there is an intriguing precedent to this – a very similar tale of fabricated aliens, as we will imminently see. George Knapp made a thought-provoking statement in 1993 which may have a bearing on the issue of how the government might be using the UFO issue as a cover for something else, such as a dummy for an alien, we might suggest. Knapp said: “Again and again, I have heard self-appointed Groom Lake experts conclude, without any reservations, that the Groom Lake aerial ballet is disinformation, pure theater, a show designed to distract attention away from earthly black projects, or as some sort of exercise in mass psychology.”

(Nick Redfern) Aliens out at Area 51?

As someone who spends a great deal of time digging into stories of the distinctly strange kind, I find myself on the receiving end of a lot of correspondence from people that read my articles and books. Very often, people want to share their stories (or those of families and friends). More often than not, this process opens a lot of doors and offers greater insight into the subjects that interest me – whether the UFO phenomenon, Cryptozoology, or the field of conspiracy-theorizing. Sometimes, however, I find myself on the receiving end of a very different category of story. That category is, for me at least, quite possibly the most vexing one of all. The reason being that it is filled with intriguing stories, but ones that I have never been able to get to the bottom of, and which languish in a realm that might accurately be titled: “Fascinating but Frustrating.” One such account has a bearing on the worlds of psychological warfare and disinformation. In 1997, the U.S. Air Force published a report that suggested the “alien bodies” seen sprawled around the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in the summer of 1947 were dummies used in parachute experiments. They weren’t. There is, however, another angle to the “alien dummies” saga; an incredibly odd angle. Ten years after the Air Force’s aforementioned report surfaced, I spoke with a man who claimed his grandfather, from the 1930s to the 1960s, worked in the world of Hollywood – specifically in the field of special-effects and model-making for horror and sci-fi movies. The grandfather also had another string to his bow: namely, a connection to the secret world of government. And that same connection surfaced in an intriguing fashion.

In 1945, the acclaimed film-maker Billy Wilder – whose movies included Some Like it Hot, Stalag 17, and The Seven Year Itch and who died in 2002 at the age of 95 – directed the English language version of a documentary called Death Mills. It was a film produced by the U.S. Department of War’s Psychological Warfare Department. Death Mills is a harrowing, but acclaimed, production that graphically revealed the sheer, horrific extent of the Nazi holocaust of the Second World War. The Pentagon describes psychological warfare as: “The planned use of propaganda and other psychological actions having the primary purpose of influencing the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of hostile foreign groups in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives.” It transpired that plans were afoot for Wilder to make a similar production for the PWD. The subject? The atrocities undertaken by none other than Japan’s Unit 731 during the Second World War. It was, however, a documentary that ultimately did not come to fruition. It transpires that my source’s grandfather worked on Death Mills with Wilder and, as a result, came to know some of the PWD personnel very well – as did Wilder, which is an important aspect of the story. 

Almost certainly as a result of his work alongside the PWD on Death Mills, in 1955 the special-effects expert in question was contacted by psychological warfare planners in the U.S. Air Force and offered a lucrative contract: to use his cinematic skills to create what can best be described as faked alien bodies. Given the time-frame (namely, the mid-1950s), it would be wholly reasonable to expect that the Air Force would have wanted something to reflect the pop-culture of the day: the bug-eyed, Hollywood aliens of This Island Earth variety; the Krell of Forbidden Planet; or the “Martian mutants” of Invaders from Mars. But not so. The man was asked to design and create eight “alien bodies.” There was just one proviso: they all had to be very life-like, dwarfish, hairless, and topped off with huge heads. Reportedly, so the grandson told me, his grandfather was paid very handsomely for approximately three months of work, which was undertaken in a specially modified trio of rooms at a military base “in southern California.” It doesn’t take a genius to guess that the man asked why on earth the Air Force wanted him to fabricate a number of extraterrestrial corpses. He could understand the military taking an interest – and a very deep interest – in real alien bodies, but faked ones constructed by a Hollywood special-effects expert? What was the point? Well, the point, it seems, was a fascinating one.

(Nick Redfern) Area 51: Mind-games and manipulation

“Scuttlebutt” and rumor that reached the man’s attention suggested a fantastic operation was at work. In fact, it was an operation that was two-fold in nature. First, there was a bizarre plan for the military to photograph the “bodies,” strategically laid out on gurneys or slabs, and then have the images sent anonymously to the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Along with the photos would be a long and winding fabricated letter – one supposedly written by a communist sympathizer in the U.S. military - warning the Soviets that the U.S. Government had got its hands on alien bodies and technology and was well on its way to perfecting that same technology. The latter issue echoes the Philip Corso saga, which surfaced in 1997 in The Day after Roswell, and which also revolved around claims concerning the secret back-engineering of alien technology. It was a strange example of Cold War-era psychological-warfare proportions; an example designed to scare the hell out of the Russians and have them waste their time chasing down what were really non-existent aliens. There was, however, a second part to the story. There were suspicions, at the time, that at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, several employees were selling secrets to the Soviets, particularly secrets born out of the work of Wright-Pat’s Foreign Technology Division (FTD). So, a plan was formulated: carefully expose those same commie-loving characters to a couple of “alien bodies,” strategically placed in a vault or bunker, and have them believe Uncle Sam has recovered a crashed UFO, or several, along with their deceased crews.

Then, it was a case of keeping an eagle-eye on all of those under suspicion and see which of them – if any, of course – might be prompted to do something out of the ordinary, such as make a phone call to a man named Ivan, or meet in a local park with a trench-coat-wearing character with a foreign-looking appearance. It was, then, a program designed to ferret out Soviet sympathizers in the military by exposing them to a huge secret that, in reality, was a huge ruse. While it all sounds rather bizarre, if you think about it carefully, it also makes a lot of sense. After all, what better way to mess with the Soviet mind – and to root out dastardly Reds in the United States – than by (a) dangling a fabricated carrot, and (b) reeling in the enemy without any real secrets ever being compromised? If true, this saga may very well help to explain some of the controversial stories where military personnel have reportedly been exposed to alleged alien bodies in underground rooms (such as the “Hangar 18” legends attached to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base), and under “convenient” circumstances that many skeptical researchers think are just too good to be true. They just might be. But not for the reasons that the skeptics think. The reason: the eyewitnesses may have been set-up as a test of their loyalties. It may have been intended all along for them to see the “bodies” (or, more correctly, the dummies). If they kept quiet about what they saw, they were good soldiers and trustworthy. If they told their wives or girlfriends, they were potential security risks and perhaps needed to be watched carefully in future. And if they ran to a Soviet handler, it was jail-time.

(Nick Redfern) The answers might be in the 1950s-1980s Cold War.

This, of course, leaves us with a pair of highly thought-provoking questions: if the story told above it one hundred percent accurate, does that mean all the stories of “alien bodies in the morgue” are born out of this long-gone Cold War operation / deception? Or, does the government have real extraterrestrial corpses on ice, and, if so, is it using the “dummy” angle just to confuse things even more? These are very important questions, ones which may have significant impact on the story of what it was that Bob Lazar briefly saw at Area 51, back in the late 1980s. Dummy, doll, or alien? The jury is still out. In many respects, this story is a fascinating one, in the sense that it might mean there have never been any real, dead aliens. The whole thing - from the 1940s - onward was just a case of Cold War mind-games. Onj the other hand, maybe Lazar really did see a small alien out at the S-4 facility. Whatever the answer is, it got people listening. Maybe, that was the goal: to play with the minds of the Russians and have them worry that we've got alien technology, when we might have zero E.T. technology.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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