What we thought Area 51 was:
What it actually is:
Newly released information from the CIA recognizes the existence of Area 51, the military test base that has been the subject of conspiracy theories for decades. Because the government never openly discussed its existence or its relationship to the Roswell, Nevada UFO landing, Area 51 was long suspected by X-Files aficionados to be home to extraterrestrials or hold information regarding time travel.
A CIA report released today in response to a 2005 Freedom Of Information Act filed by Jeffrey Richelson suggests otherwise. According to the documents, the site was apparently used to test U-2 spy planes used by the United States during the Cold War. The U-2 planes flew to an altitude of 60,000. Since this was higher than any other plane in use at the time, it is possible that people living near the test site became suspicious of the unfamiliar planes and reported them to be UFOs.
The documents state that, "U-2 and later OXCART flights accounted for more than one-half of all UFO reports during the late 1950s and most of the 1960s."
Area 51, near Rachel, Nevada, is officially known as Groom Lake or Homey Airport. It is the size of Connecticut, and is a remote division of the Edwards Air Force Base. The report, titled "Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and Oxcart Programs, 1954-1974," makes no reference to use of Area 51 after 1974.
The report has not thwarted all conspiracy theories.
Los Angeles Times writer and author of Area 51: An Uncensored History Annie Jacobson interviewed dozens of former pilots, engineers and spies, and believes U-2 flights and top-secret weapon tests were not the reason for the government's consistent secrecy.
A source told Jacobson that the UFO that landed in Nevada was actually an aircraft from Russia holding 13 year old children who were surgically or genetically deformed. Her source and four other engineers were the recipients of the aircraft.
"After WWII," she writes "Joseph Stalin employed Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele to create alien lookalikes out of human guinea pigs. He then placed them in a round, hovering aircraft and sent them to America hoping to set off a kind of mass panic that came after the War of the Worlds radio scare."
Her source, a 90-year-old man who has chosen not to publicly identify himself, reports that Area 51 was so highly classified because the U.S. government used the deformed children for medical testing and human experiments.
Many experts denounced her theory.
Although the conspiracy theories live on, the report suggests that the government test site was used exclusively for weapon and aviation testing.