There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| The woo is out there|
|Aliens did it...|
|... and ran away|
Robert Lazar (1959–) is a double-edged sword of a UFO crank. On the one hand, he's a pathological liar with a long laundry list of fantasies about working at Area 51. On the other hand, he runs United Nuclear, one of the very few chemical supply houses still supplying as many unrestricted chemicals as possible to amateur chemists. Make of him what you will, but if you need fifty feet of magnesium ribbon, a neodymium magnet the size of a brick (for, I don't know, wiping credit cards from ten feet away?), or a jar of heavy water, he's your best source.
Back in 1989, Lazar was first interviewed, albeit anonymously, by reporter and ardent UFO believer George Knapp on a local Las Vegas TV station. But it wasn't until 1992 that his claims of being employed to secretly reverse-engineer alien spacecraft for the US military reached a national audience, thanks to Coast to Coast AM host Art Bell's encouragement and unflagging gullibility. Lazar went on to become a featured speaker at UFO conventions and regular guest on Coast to Coast AM throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Knapp went on to earn a spot hosting Coast to Coast AM and producing and appearing in UFO and paranormal-themed documentaries.
Lazar sank slowly back into relative obscurity until 2019 — when a feature-length documentary produced by Knapp and directed by Jeremy Corbell called Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers appeared on Netflix and exposed a whole new mistrustful-of-the-government generation to his dubious claims. The film positions unabashed bullshitter Lazar as a brave "whistleblower" and victim of government treachery, adding lots of creepy visuals, ominous music and gravelly narration by Mickey Rourke in an attempt to lend credibility to this fantasy. To drum up more press and media interest, Bob Lazar and Jeremy Corbell went on the Joe Rogan Podcast. This was published Jun 20, 2019 on YouTube under the title "Joe Rogan Experience #1315 - Bob Lazar & Jeremy Corbell", where they talk an entire 2 hours and 14 minutes about their "experiences".
- In 1990, Lazar pled guilty to felony pandering.
- In 2007, United Nuclear Scientific Supplies LLC was fined $7,500 and received three years probation for violating federal law which prohibits the sale of materials used to make illegal fireworks.
Most people in the UFO community think Lazar's even too crazy for them. Some of his claims:
- Got a Master's degree from CalTech.
- Got a Master's degree in Physics from MIT.
- Invented an car engine that worked 100% on hydrogen from water
- Was hired to work as a scientist at Area S4, 15 miles south of Area 51.
- Worked in US military program to "back engineer"[note 1] alien technology and power anti-gravity propulsion craft.
- Browsed inside UFOs powered by Element 115 parked in a hangar, tried to sit in seats but found them too small.
- Saw secret reports documenting grey aliens involvement with mankind for over 10,000 years.
- Says aliens are from Zeta Reticuli.
Proof of his claims
(He said it so it must obviously be true*...)
- However, you don't build a rocket-propelled motor vehicle from scratch without some scientific knowledge and / or background.
The hand scanner
From the beginning, Lazar's story included a description of a security device employed at Area 51 when he supposedly worked there — a type of "hand scanner" used to measure bone lengths and confirm an individual's identity. When filmmaker Jeremy Corbell unearthed photographic evidence that just such a device was being used during the late 1980s to secure access to top secret military development program sites, it was heralded as unassailable proof that Lazar was telling the truth. How could Lazar have possibly known about this super secret device? Easily. The device (called the IDentimat 2000) was public knowledge as early as 1971, and in 1977, it was even featured in the film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind when a character uses it to gain access to a "top secret facility".
Area 51 declassification
In 2013, declassified CIA reports identifying Area 51 and its location were released. Prior to this, the government had never openly referred to Area 51 as a government facility. Some might feel this vindicates Lazar and adds credibility to his story. But he wasn't the first to publicly identify Area 51, nor the first to promote Area 51 alien conspiracy theories. Aviation buffs had long known Groom Lake existed as a classified development and test facility for aircraft such as the U-2 spy plane, and Nevada UFO enthusiasts had been publishing "guidebooks" to the site as far back as 1992. And no government document is known to have ever mentioned anything called "S-4".
Long before Moscovium was synthesized, and assigned the number 115 on the periodic table of elements, Lazar claimed it was capable of powering anti-gravity engines. Some people feel this vindicates Lazar (and proves the rest of his kooky claims). However, for Bob Lazar to be right, virtually all of modern atomic physics would need to be wrong:
“”Unfortunately, the very method of his apparent vindication – that element 115 had finally been created – directly contradicts a key claim that Bob Lazar made: Ununpentium cannot be synthesized in a lab. That it must be found in naturally occurring deposits that can only be made in high-mass star systems.
Claims of stable isotopes of element 115 are unlikely according to our knowledge of nuclear physics: in particular, the predicted Island of stability and known magic numbers. Magic numbers as we know them are always even numbers; therefore, it is very unlikely (admittedly not impossible) to have stable heavy elements with odd numbers of protons.
- OtherHand.org: The Bob Lazar Corner – The most comprehensive investigation of Lazar's claims, with detailed info on Bob's bad science, the good science behind particle beam testing and plasma balls that likely account for the "saucer" sightings, and much more.
- See the Wikipedia article on Bob Lazar.
- Stanton Friedman - Articles: The Bob Lazar Fraud
- United Nuclear – Lazar's business.
- YouTube: "Physicist Robert Lazar Sentencing in Nevada court 1990" – He pled guilty to pandering and was ordered to do 150 hours of community service, stay away from brothels, and undergo psychotherapy.
- More commonly known as "reverse engineering".
- John Lear and Bob Lazar. First Interview, December 12th 1992, Classic Art Bell YouTube
- Bob Lazar and The Rachel UFO Conference Reno, NV Gazette, May 1993
- Robert Knapp IMDB
- Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura IMDB
- The Hunt for Skinwalker Amazon
- Yep, That’s Mickey Rourke Narrating ‘Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers’ Decider.com
- Joe Rogan Experience #1315 - Bob Lazar & Jeremy Corbell YouTube.com
- Los Angeles Times - Unusually Fanatical Observers - May 06, 1993
- CPSC - New Mexico Company Fined, Ordered To Stop Selling Illegal Fireworks Components
- Does the U.S. government keep alien spaceships at Area 51? The Straight Dope
- Bob Lazar 2014 (May 22, 2014) YouTube.
- Area 51 worker's alien story CONFIRMED' by shock photo of SECRET hand scanner Daily Mail
- Computerworld 1 Dec 1971
- Screen shot from Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters Of the Third Kind (1977)
- There It Is! Area 51 Revealed In Declassified CIA Report NPR
- Popular Science, March 1994
- Area 51 Viewers Guide. 1992-1995. Glenn Campbell
- Episode 133 - Element 115 and the Credibility of Bob Lazar's Claims Exposing PseudoAstronomy