There can be very few people who have not heard of its infamous name. Many will be familiar with the extraordinary claims of what, allegedly, goes on there. It’s a place that is saturated in secrecy, cloaked in conspiracy theories, and, according to many, is home to Uncle Sam’s very own, highly classified collection of dead aliens, crashed UFOs, and extraterrestrial technology. Highly fortified, and guarded by personnel who have the right to use “deadly force” to protect its secrets, it is Area 51. Although Area 51 – as a classified installation, as a piece of popular culture, and as a magnet for UFO sleuths – has been known of since the late 1980s (when a maverick scientist, about whom much more later, spilled the beans), its origins can be found in the very earliest years of the Cold War. It may surprise many to learn that, contrary to what the worlds of Hollywood and UFO research suggest, Area 51 is not buried deeply in the heart of nowhere and miles away from civilization. In fact, the surprising reality (to many) is that it is situated barely eighty miles outside of the city of Las Vegas. And, while Area 51 is the title that it is most associated with, the official name of the installation is far less infamous and far more bureaucratic: The Nevada Test and Training Range. It’s located on a dry lake bed called Groom Lake, which has been converted into a highly-classified – and decidedly off-limits – facility, one that is supplemented with huge airstrips, runways, hangars, and, so the rumor-mill goes – deep, underground installations that stretch for miles.