Over the past week I've spent a total of three days at the US Air Force Museum, located on the grounds of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton OH. It's a huge museum--just the guided tours take a day and a half. I had a great time.
Of course, those familiar with flying saucer folklore will recognize the name “Wright-Patterson Air Force Base”: it is the home of the fabled “Hangar 18”, where the United States Government either (according to which conspiracy theory you believe) stores a number of crashed UFOs from outer space, or temporarily keeps them before moving them to Area 51 in Nevada. According to the stories, the Roswell UFO, the Pittsburgh “Ghost Bomber” (which may or may not have been carrying pieces of a flying saucer), and wreckage and/or dead alien bodies from flying saucers that crashed in Kecksburg PA, Aztec NM, Aurora TX, and perhaps a few others, are all either kept here at Wright-Patterson or passed through “Hangar 18” on their way to Area 51.
Well, me being the wise-ass that I am, I decided to have some fun with the folks at Wright-Patterson while I was there. So I sidled up to around a dozen of the Air Force Museum’s tour guides, information desk attendants, even the driver of the shuttle bus that takes visitors over to the “Presidential Airplanes” hangar, and asked them all the same question: “If I pay you extra, will you take me to see the flying saucers in Hangar 18?”
One person I asked simply told me, “I’ve never seen any flying saucers here.” Another said, “Flying saucers? What are those?” And one leaned over to me and whispered conspiratorially, “I could show you, but I’d have to shoot you afterwards.”
But most of the people I asked actually gave the same answer: “There’s a flying saucer over in the Research and Development Gallery that you can see.” And by golly they were right, though it wasn’t quite the flying saucer you might have expected: the Canadian and US governments once had a joint project to develop an “Avrocar” that was basically a saucer-shaped two-person flying hovercraft. It never worked well and was cancelled. But the Museum has one on display.
Since so many people gave me this answer, in mostly the same words, I suspect that this is the standard answer that all the tour guides give to anyone who asks about the UFOs (and I presume they get asked about them every day).
But one person did indeed give me a serious answer, and here’s what he told me: There is actually no “Hangar 18” at Wright-Patterson—no hangar with that designation actually exists here. But there is a structure that is called “Building 18”, and back in the 1950’s it was used as the cryo-lab, where research was done on liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as rocket and missile fuel. Then one day the lab caught on fire and gutted the building. As a safety precaution, the cryo-lab was then moved to another building, and “Building 18” was repaired and later occupied by a number of classified Air Force research projects (a large amount of secret military research was done during the Cold War at Wright-Patterson, including technical evaluation of captured Soviet MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets from the time of the Korean War onwards). And that is probably how “Building 18” (which became garbled into “Hangar 18”) came to be associated with secret technological experiments, which then became tales of “crashed UFOs” and “reverse-engineered alien technology”.
So not only are there no alien flying saucers in Hangar 18, there isn’t even actually any “Hangar 18” at Wright-Patterson.
Sorry, folks. Had I been able to get those exclusive photos of the UFOs, I certainly would have posted them in a diary here before running off to sell them to the National Enquirer....
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