For decades, Roswell has been America's No.1 UFO conspiracy-baiting attraction. However, a mysterious plot of land in Utah has started to attract much of the same kind of attention. Dugway Proving Ground is a monstrously big military facility - over 800,000 acres worth of ground, if you include the Utah Test and Training Range next door.
It was founded during the second World War for biological and chemical weapons experiments, some of the details of which have only recently been released to the public. The director of Dugway's West Desert Test Center, Ryan Harris, told FOX 13 News in 2016 that "throughout the history of Dugway, it has evolved to what we currently do which is defensive chemical, biological and some radiological and explosive defense materials to ensure they meet war fighter specifications."
Despite this assurance, there's still a huge cloud of mystery hanging over Dugway, and this - coupled with numerous reports of UFO sightings around the facility, reports of testing biological warfare on soldiers, and the infamous Dugway sheep kill incident - have led to it being labeled "Area 52."
One of the most well-known creepy things connected to Dugway is the dead sheep incident. In 1968, testing for a chemical weapon called "VX" got out of hand. Considering the test was done in the air with planes spitting out drops of the nerve agent into the wind, the risks seem obvious in retrospect.
The dangerous chemical apparently got swept away amid strong gusts and blew into the nearby farmland in Skull Valley - which, with a name like that, seems tragically ironic. After a few days, between 4,000-6,000 sheep were dead. The military refused to accept blame for the incident but still coughed up the money to compensate the angry farmers.
In 2016, MuckRock.com founder Michel Morisy received a gold mine of information from the military after filing Freedom of Information requests. Dating back to the '60s, the records detailed a lot of weird experiments worthy of several supervillain origin stories that the US Army and been up to.
"A lot of far out research, the James Bond-ey sort of stuff that we see," Michael told FOX 13. "A lot of that stuff has never been made public."
Of all the strange testing that was going on in the name of both military offense and defense, "Entomological Munitions" was one of the most far-out. "They loaded up mosquitos with what they said was an inert disease, an inert bacteria, an inert virus and actually released that on civilian populations in the United States," Michael explains.
The records of freaky experiments carried out at Dugway that were released in 2016 as a result Freedom of Information requests included detailed accounts of soldiers being used as human guinea pigs.
For Steve Erickson of the Citizens Education Project, these revelations are worrying. "Things have changed since then, but there is that long legacy of human experimentation, as well as other questionable activities by the U.S. Army at Dugway Proving Ground," he told FOX 13.
Dugway's West Desert Test Center director Ryan Harris gave FOX 13 a tour of some of the non-secret work that goes on in Dugway these days to try and ease concerns. "When it comes to chemical and biological materials, it's all defensive," he assured. "There's no longer any offensive work anymore."
Don Phillips, an engineer for Lockheed - one of Dugway's biggest defense contractors - supports claims made by UFO investigators and Lockheed's former CEO, Dr. Ben Rich, that his company did indeed conduct experiments to do with "flying saucer technology."
He says scientists were aided by the remains of a crashed craft from Roswell. "These UFOs were huge and they would just come to a stop and do a 60 degree, 45 degree, 10 degree turn, and then immediately reverse this action."