I-Team: Area 51 Book Offers Wild Claims of Roswell Incident - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Area 51 Book Offers Wild Claims of Roswell Incident

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  • George Knapp, Investigative Reporter

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada's top secret military base known as Area 51 exploded into the public arena in the late 1980's after stories first broadcast on Channel 8 about alleged alien technology being tested out in the desert.

Now, a new, equally bizarre account is generating a furor. It's a twisted tale involving Nazi's, Russians, and horrific human experimentation.

L.A. Times writer Annie Jacobsen did not set out to uncork one of the most exotic conspiracy stories of all time. The focus of her new book, Area 51, An Uncensored History, was always going to be on the Cold War heroes who toiled in obscurity at Groom Lake on top secret programs like the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes.

Area 51 workers, part of a social group called the Roadrunners, first went public with their insiders tales of the base in 2005 on 8 News NOW. Jacobsen knew their histories would make a great book.

But a seven page section at the end of her new book has overshadowed everything else, generating a media firestorm. Jacobsen has appeared on everything from Comedy Central to National Geographic telling a story that ties Area 51 to the infamous Roswell incident

"I got this email from these conspiracy theorists in the UK who were very angry with me and said that even we don't believe you," she said.

UFO researchers have long contended that a flying saucer crashed near Roswell in 1947, that alien bodies were recovered, that everything was whisked to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and later to Area 51 in Nevada. A former government scientist, Bob Lazar, first told us that he worked on recovered saucers near Groom Lake, trying to master the extraterrestrial technology.

Jacobsen says she was told a much different tale by a senior engineer who worked on the atomic bomb program for 30 years, but who was part of a small team in charge of a recovered saucer and little bodies.

"He was told it came from the Roswell crash. In addition to the equipment, he and the four other engineers received these child-sized aviators, two of whom were comatose but still alive," she said.

The engineers were told the saucer had been built by the Russians, based on a flying wing design created by German engineers for Adolf Hitler. The crew members were large-headed, alien looking teenagers who had been surgically altered by Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele.

The plot was to create a War of the Worlds type panic in the U.S., but it went awry when Stalin's saucer crashed.

Jacobsen defends this wild tale based on the credibility of her anonymous source.

"I believe my source. He believes what he was told," she said.

But others have a lot of trouble with the story. The Area 51 roadrunners, for one, whose president T.D. Barnes says that while they support most of the book, they are disappointed with the saucer story and strongly disavow any association with it.

UFO researchers and critics finally agree on something -- that this story is hard to swallow. And national media are aiming their guns at Jacobsen

"So it goes when you're a journalist, George," she said.

The book is already headed for the bestsellers lists. Jacobsen is speaking Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Henderson Library.

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