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Annie Jacobsen Discusses the Infamous and Unknown History of Area 51

Conspiracy theories can be fun, right? It's a lot cooler to believe that little green men from some distant planet crashed on a Roswell ranch in July 1947 than to think that the Soviets were trying to scare Americans with a stunt straight out of a science fiction novel. But that's exactly what Annie Jacobsen, Los Angeles Times Magazine contributing editor and investigative reporter, argues in her new book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base. And, frankly, what Jacobsen believes happened in the New Mexican desert is more frightening than UFO conspiracies.

Area 51 has been at the center of conspiracy theories mostly because, well, the government refused to acknowledge that section of Edwards Air Force Base even exists, but now Jacobsen's book is drawing new attention to the mysterious military installation. Jacobsen interviewed 74 people who either worked at Area 51 or were involved in projects at the base, and the one anonymous source she cites has quite the story about that mysterious crash in 1947.

Jacobsen's source claims that the object was not a UFO, but in fact an aircraft developed by the Soviets to scare Americans into thinking the United States was being invaded by aliens, à la The War of the Worlds. What's truly shocking about the source's story is the allegation that the aircraft was operated by children who were intentionally disfigured to resemble aliens. And who were the people behind this plan? Jacobsen's source alleges Stalin recruited the Angel of Death himself, Josef Mengele, to perform the atrocious surgeries.

You can hear all about this and the top-secret projects conducted at Area 51 tonight when Annie Jacobsen visits the Rosewood Crescent Hotel for a discussion and signing of her book. The discussion, presented by the World Affairs Council and Museum of Nature & Science, begins at 7 p.m. and is preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, $20 for members of the World Affairs Council and Museum of Nature & Science. Visit dfwworld.org to purchase tickets, and take a look at Jacobsen's interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last week:

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