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19 Creepy, Unnerving, And Surprising Facts About Area 51 That Will Keep You Up At Night

"Use of deadly force authorized."

1. The name "Area 51" came from a simple grid reference on an atomic energy commission map.

The National Security Archive / Via

This is the CIA's declassified map of Groom Lake/Area 51.

2. Other names it has gone by in the past include: Paradise Ranch, Watertown, and Dreamland.

TD Barnes and Roadrunners Internationale / Via

All to make it sound more appealing than it really was.

3. It was created in 1955 for a secret project with the code name "Aquatone."

National Geographic / Via

Aquatone was the code name for the U-2 aircraft, which was created to spy on the Soviet Union.

4. There are actually no fences surrounding Area 51.

James Aylott / Getty Images

There are just orange posts marking the border, warning signs, and a security cordon.

5. However, if you do cross that borderline, you will be arrested...or potentially worse.

Barry King / WireImage

According to one former Area 51 security guard, he had been given the "all clear" to "waste" anyone trying to "penetrate" the borderline.

6. Area 51 employees reach the facility by way of airplane through a restricted terminal called the "Gold Coast" at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.


Look at that huge parking lot for JUST this terminal.

7. And the planes are part of a classified airline called, "Janet."

Tomás Del Coro / CC / Via

The planes are unmarked, but feature a red stripe.

8. Area 51's location was originally an abandoned air strip at the edge of Groom Lake in Nevada, which had been used for nuclear testing.

TD Barnes and Roadrunners Internationale / Via

Also, "Groom Lake" was ANOTHER name used for Area 51 in the past.

9. Today, Area 51 is administered by Edwards Air Force Base, which is located in southern California (not Nevada).

James Aylott / Getty Images

Area 51 is located roughly 150 miles northwest of Las Vegas, for reference.

10. 30 years ago a man named Bob Lazar told local news station KLAS-TV that he worked at a "secret facility" near Groom Lake (Area 51).

8 News NOW / Via

He claimed alien technology was being "reverse engineered" there.

11. And here's a look at a drawing he made at the time of spacecrafts he'd been testing.

8 News NOW / Via

This drawing is from March, 29, 1989.

12. Lazar described the craft that he worked on as flying, not like in films, but with its "belly" or "bottom" forward...

8 News NOW / Via

13. ...which matches the footage of the "Gimbal UFO" a video released by the Pentagon in 2017.

To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science / Via

In 2015, U.S. Navy video captured a UFO encounter from the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt near the Florida coast.

14. The CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time in 2013.

ABC / Via

According to Reuters in 2013, "Released by George Washington University's National Security Archive, the 400-page CIA history contains the first deliberate official references to Area 51 as a site developed by the intelligence agency in the 1950s to test fly the high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance plane."

15. However, the released CIA document makes no mention of aliens or UFOs.

Barry King / WireImage

An image of a guard gate at Area 51.

16. Area 51 originally had one runway, a few hangars, some trailers for employees to live in, and a mess hall. Today, it's grown to have multiple runways and a lot more infrastructure.

National Geographic / Google / Via

The mess hall even served lobsters and oysters on occasion back in the day. Today, you can see a baseball field!

17. Activity on the surrounding public land is heavily monitored by the military.

National Geographic / Via

There are magnetic sensors on the roads to alert the guards where you're coming from and how fast as well as cameras on the hilltops.

18. If you check out Area 51 on Google maps, the little street view guy turns into a space ship when you hover over the map.


The map coordinates are: 37°14′06″N 115°48′40″W.

19. And finally, there's a conspiracy theory that the moon landings were staged there.

Nasa / Getty Images

This hasn't been confirmed or denied, but space equipment — including land rovers and life support systems — were tested at adjoining facilities at Area 51.