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Believers Are Not Alone : Outer space: A Nevada military base lures the faithful seeking close encounters of any kind with the UFOs they believe frequent the area.


Robert Lazar and others, though, say extraterrestrial technology is involved. Lazar is a Las Vegas scientist who claims to have worked on the power sources and propulsion systems of extraterrestrial crafts at S-4.

It was Lazar's claims on a 1989 award-winning Las Vegas television documentary that first drew attention to the area.

Many have tried to discredit Lazar, who is on probation in Clark County, Nev. on a pandering charge. His educational and professional background cannot be verified--a fact he attributes to government deletion of records.

But George Knapp, the KLAS-TV reporter responsible for the initial television coverage, said he is convinced Lazar's claims are true.

During the evening, watchers shared information about UFO sightings and theories--their own and those of others. They peered at photographs of strange lights and sketches of aliens. And then they went back to the business of seeing things for themselves.

UFOs have been a lifelong interest for many of the watchers. But even they acknowledge that nonbelieving family and friends may think they are a little nutty. Several asked to remain anonymous because not everyone on Earth understands their extraterrestrial passion.

One man said he was fired from his job as an airline pilot because he was quoted in a newspaper article saying that he believed in UFOs.

Morton's dreams of extraterrestrial crafts began as a child living in a Texas community near the home of "Mission Control," where his father handled public relations for NASA. At the dinner table, he said, he listened to astronauts discuss the UFOs they had to keep silent about in public.

Morton, Slack and other UFO enthusiasts make a hobby of collecting audiotapes, videotapes, pictures and articles.

Bundled in parkas, hats and gloves, many observers huddled in cars with fogged-up windows and saw no saucers.

But Morton, director of an upcoming TV documentary on UFOs, and Slack, a "Hooked on Phonics" salesman, drove about 6 miles from the mailbox landmark into the desert and trudged through scrub brush and cow dung to find the best vantage point.

Thick, dark clouds obscured the moon and pounding rain turned the parched desert sand into gooey mud as the pair stared skyward.

Morton and Slack say they saw more than a dozen saucers--their first sighting a trio of glowing, blinking crafts that erratically hovered, zipped and swooped above the horizon.

For Morton, the sighting was a dream come true.

Last summer, he spent three months traveling around the United States and Europe, compiling more than 500 hours of interviews with scientists, UFO researchers and those who claim to have been abducted or contacted by aliens.

"If somebody had a dog that had barked at a UFO, we talked to them," Morton says.

Whether or not the lights in the sky are saucers, they have been something of a boon for Rachel, a town that's not much more than a gas station, a few mobile homes and a diner.

When Joe Travis and his wife, Pat, took over Rachel's Bar and Grill in 1988, business was pretty slow. Eight or nine previous owners had gone belly up and often the only customers were a couple of cowboys downing brews at the bar, Joe Travis said.

But last year, the Travises changed the name of their diner to the "Little A'Le'Inn" and had T-shirts, hats and pens printed with pictures of saucers and extraterrestrials for the tour buses and caravans of the curious that now roll into Rachel.

"I think you have to keep an open mind," Joe Travis says. "I think you'd have to be pretty naive to think that our planet is the only one in the universe that supports life as we know it."

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