Nevada Twilight: Local Lore & Mysterious Matters
Episode 5: Area 51 Whistleblowers, Desert Disappearance, and M Cave
BY ERIC CACHINERO
“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension; a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”
-Narrator Rod Serling, “The Twilight Zone”
Mankind’s natural curiosity for the mysterious and unexplained spans our entire history. Where is the lost city of Atlantis? Will we ever know the identity of Jack the Ripper? How were ancient sites like Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids constructed? Is Bigfoot real? What actually caused the dinosaurs to go extinct? Do aliens exist?
Nevada holds its own collection of myths and mysteries, peculiar and unexplained. Some are morbid, some are silly, but all require the reader to take a small step—or leap, if you like—into a “Twilight Zone” mindset. Sit back, relax, and enjoy, because you’ve just crossed over.
AREA 51 WHISTLEBLOWERS
Smack dab in the middle of the Nevada National Security Site, located deep in the Nevada desert, lies the most famous secret military base that “doesn’t exist.” For decades, Area 51 has been shrouded in secrecy and has developed a cult following in the U.S. The base has been the subject of countless TV shows, documentaries, and internet chat rooms, as well as movies including the 1996 sci-fi action film “Independence Day.” The rumors about the base have touched on everything from government conspiracies to secret weapon testing, but the most common theme is, of course, that the base has some connection to alien life.
Perhaps the most iconic whistleblower of Area 51 activities is a man by the name of Bob Lazar, who claims to have worked near Area 51, at the even-more-secret base called Area S-4. Lazar first gained national attention when, in 1989, he appeared in an interview with investigative journalist George Knapp on Las Vegas TV news station KLAS, where with his face hidden and under the pseudonym “Dennis” he spilled the beans on Area 51. “Dennis” claimed that while at the base, he was hired to “reverse engineer” one of nine extraterrestrial flying saucers. In a subsequent interview in November of that year, Lazar revealed his true identity, along with more information about the goings-on of Area 51. Lazar claimed that the flying saucer he was assigned to examine (he deemed it the “sport model”) was fueled by chemical element 115, which at the time was provisionally called ununpentium, and had not been artificially synthesized yet. Lazar claimed the element allowed the saucer to fly, and allowed it to bend light, therefore appearing invisible and evading detection. He would later claim that while working at S-4, he read government briefing documents that claimed for the past 10,000 years, Earth had been frequently involved with extraterrestrial beings described as grey aliens, who originated on a planet orbiting the twin binary star system Zeta Reticuli.
Subsequently, Lazar’s claims ignited a firestorm of controversy on both sides of the extraterrestrial argument. Though many of Lazar’s claims could not be corroborated, some details of his past have been independently verified, leading to decades of documentaries and interviews. Lazar maintains that every detail of his claims is true, and still presents his points publicly to this day.
Another Area 51 whistleblower surfaced on Sept. 11, 1997, on the Pahrump-based “Coast to Coast AM” radio program hosted by Art Bell, when a chilling call came across the line. Bell was hosting a segment for former Area 51 employees to call into the show and the voice on the phone claimed to be just that. The man sounded incredibly frantic—trembling and tearful at times—informing Bell that he had been released from Area 51 employment just a week prior, and that he was on the run. The call went on for roughly two minutes before in the middle of the call, the radio network’s satellite malfunctioned, and the entire program went to dead air.
Bell: On my Area 51 line, you’re on the air, hello.
Caller: Hello, Art?
Caller: Hi. I don’t have a whole lot of time.
Bell: Well, look, let’s begin by finding out whether you’re using this line properly or not.
Caller: OK, Area 51.
Bell: Yeah, that’s right. Were you an employee or are you now?
Caller: I’m a former employee. I, I was let go on a medical discharge about a week ago and, and…I kinda been running across the country. Man, I don’t know where to start, they’re, they’re gonna, they’ll triangulate on this position really soon.
Bell: So you can’t spend a lot of time on the phone, so give us something quick.
Caller: OK, um, um, OK, what we’re thinking of as aliens, Art, they’re extra-dimensional beings, that, an earlier precursor of the space program made contact with. They are not what they claim to be. They’ve infiltrated a lot of aspects of, of, of the military establishment, particularly the Area 51.
The disasters that are coming, they, the military, I’m sorry, the government knows about them. And there’s a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now, Art.
Bell: But they’re not doing, not doing anything.
Caller: They are not. They want those major population centers wiped out so that the few that are left will be more easily controllable…
[Broadcast starts to break up]
Caller: [sobbing] I started gett…
In 1998, comic book writer Bryan Glass called into the show, claiming that he had been the infamous “Area 51 caller,” and that the entire thing was a hoax. Many people who have heard the call refute the claim, though, saying the two voices sound nothing alike.
The truth is out there…
Did Bob Lazar actually work at S-4? Did he work on alien technology? Was the call made to “Coast to Coast AM” authentic? Or were both stories elaborate hoaxes?
On Sept. 21, 1978, 72-year old Nan Dixon packed a suitcase filled with clothes, a hand-drawn map, and a .22 pistol into her green 1976 Datsun B210 sedan; left her home in Grass Valley, California; and set off alone deep into the Nevada desert. She would purchase $4.18 worth of gas at the Texaco station in Lovelock before heading to the abandoned mining district Seven Troughs, where she planned to meet up with her brother Harry.
Nan was never seen again.
Her purpose for visiting her brother may have been somewhat cloaked in bad blood. In 1961, Nan’s brothers David and Harry were leasing a mining claim in Seven Troughs, believing that it contained a host of riches. The brothers convinced Nan to invest $6,000 in the mining operation, though the mine never produced, and Nan was never repaid her investment. Nan didn’t speak to Harry again until 1976 at the funeral of their brother David, and family members believed that Nan decided to forgive the loss of money, believing that she wanted to reconcile her relationship with Harry.
Nan’s purpose of visiting her brother in Seven Troughs apparently didn’t have anything to do with collecting her missing money. She had asked her husband to accompany her on the trip, though he refused. She also asked a friend, who also refused. This led to Nan—who stood 4 foot 10 inches and weighed 118 pounds—embarking on the journey completely alone, taking the pistol along with her for protection.
Then, as quickly as the trip had begun, it was as if she, along with her car and all of her possessions, simply vanished. Nan’s family quickly informed law enforcement, though no evidence was found and the trail went cold.
That was, however, until a break was made in the case four years later, when coyote hunters discovered her vehicle along with a host of mysterious objects, in a ravine near Seven Troughs.
On Thanksgiving morning 1982, Nan’s car was found rusted and infested with pack rats. It had damaged tires and a destroyed clutch, indicating that it may have left the road and become stuck in the ditch, with Nan unable to recover it.
Interestingly, though, additional objects were found that law enforcement would argue was evidence of foul play. A single strand of gray hair was found on the steering wheel, and officers claimed it had a tiny piece of human tissue attached. In addition, a length of electrical tape, several empty diet cola cans, and several empty packs of cigarettes—not Nan’s typical brand—were found strewn about. Pershing County Sheriffs began to investigate the disappearance as a possible homicide or suicide.
In addition, in what would become possibly the most confusing piece of evidence, was a cryptic note that was found in the car. Though initially illegible, the note has been reviewed and deciphered by restorative experts. The now-legible part reads as follows:
“…keeps telling me to get the gun and end my nightmares, but this I’ll never do. God gives life, only God can take life. Committing your own suicide is the unbearable shame and I’ll never be left by a just God far from habitation with a beat in my heart…”
To date, Nan’s family has reportedly spent upwards of $40,000 in private detectives and other methods to attempt to solve her case. All leads remain cold.
Did Nan Dixon simply drive off the road and succumb to the elements? Was foul play involved?
“That aint nothing. I am a long distance hiker. One time during one of my hikes out by Nellis Air Force Base, I found a hidden cave. The entrance to the cave was shaped like a perfect capital M. I always enter every cave I find, but as I began to enter this particular cave, my whole body began to vibrate. The closer I got to the cave entrance, the worse the vibrating became. Suddenly I became very scared and high-tailed it out of there. That was one of the strangest things that ever happened to me.”
In late 2014, these words were posted to a YouTube video titled “Son of an Area 51 Technician.” The man behind the screen was Las Vegas resident and avid hiker Kenny Veach, using the screenname snakebitmgee. Unbeknownst to him at the time, his comment would set in motion a series of events that would lead to one of Nevada’s most puzzling urban legends.
Kenny’s comment sparked interest like wildfire. After posting his original comment, several YouTube users encouraged hiker Kenny to seek out the cave and enter again, this time documenting his hike, and providing evidence of his strange discovery. He obliged.
He set off to find the mysterious cave for a second time, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun and a video camera. Upon his return, he posted a video of his discoveries. Much to the dismay of those following his claims, he was unable to locate the cave, and his video didn’t seem to reveal any clues to the mysterious M Cave he had discussed in his original comment.
His video was met with much criticism, and YouTube commenters both encouraged and provoked him to try for a third time to seek out the cave. Kenny again obliged, though one comment would stand out among all the others as an ominous foretelling.
It read, “No! Do not go back there. If you find that cave entrance, don’t go in, you won’t get out.”
On Nov. 10, 2014, Kenny set off on his last hike. He told his family he was going for a “short, overnight trip,” though he would never return. His disappearance would soon turn up on a Las Vegas news station, and the search was on.
Kenny was not new to desert hiking or spelunking. He claims to have hiked extensively in the area, even leaving several YouTube comments on the Area 51 video detailing his experience.
“I solo hike across mountain tops that most people wouldn’t dare go. I have been in more caves than I can count. I play with rattlesnakes for fun. But this one particular cave was beyond anything I had ever encountered.”
In the beginning of the “M Cave Hike” video Kenny posted before his disappearance, he is standing by an abandoned mine shaft, narrating some information about the cave he’s seeking out. It was there, that on Nov. 22, 2014, search and rescue volunteers found Kenny’s cell phone, indicating that he had, in fact, gone out searching for the cave again. An article at News 3 Las Vegas details, “We found his cell phone close to a very vertical old mine shaft and we can’t find another trail,” Red Rock Search & Rescue Commander Dave Cummings said. “It doesn’t mean that he’s down the mine shaft, but we have tracked him as far as we can. We are having our other crews come in from the search areas.”
After his cell phone was found, the trail would unfortunately go cold. Kenny was never found, leading to much speculation on how he died. The mysterious circumstances of his death fueled the internet with conspiracy theories of every shape and color. Had Kenny fallen down a mineshaft? Had he discovered a hidden entrance to Area 51? Had he stumbled upon some great military secret? Was the cave connected to aliens? Or had he simply succumbed to the elements?
The trail ran cold for some time, until a woman claiming to be Kenny’s girlfriend posted the following comment on his “M Cave Hike” video:
“I am the girlfriend that Kenny spoke of in the video. There are so many posts. I had no idea until a friend let me know. So many people are wondering what happened and guessing different things. You are heartfelt about the sadness around what has happened with Kenny. He has not been found and I feel that he probably will not be found for many, many months, if ever. I want to share what I know and feel about what happened, so that you might bring some closure and understanding in your own lives. Kenny absolutely loved hiking in the desert. It was his very, very favorite thing to do. We hiked and camped together all over the Nevada desert…sometimes 9 hours in a day. We found many abandoned mining towns, usually referred to as “ghost towns” by Nevada hikers. We explored many caves and mine shafts. We were always careful how we explored them, but Kenny was a bit more daring than I was. We wore snake guards, sun protected clothing, used walking sticks, brought enough water and food for the hiking hours and had extra water/food in the car…I want you to know that I do not think Kenny had an accident. I believe he committed suicide. He battled depression for many years and would not take medication or see a doctor. He quit his job a little more than a year before he disappeared…The search for him was started within a couple days of my call. Over 30 search and rescue team members searched three different times on foot. One helicopter fly over was done and there was no trace of Kenny or any of his camping things. They found his car in the area I told them it would be. They did find his cell phone by the mine shaft in the video. The mine shaft was only about a 4-hour hike from his car. It is my feeling he left it behind so that he could not be tracked from the GPS in it. He also did not take his video camera with him on this solo hike. It was left in his home. So, he had no intention of filming anything.”
Does M Cave exist? Did Kenny discover the entrance to M Cave for the second time? Will we ever solve the mystery of Kenny and M Cave?