Is Fort Campbell, Kentucky the 'Area 51 of Appalachia'?
The state of Kentucky has, at times, been considered a rather odd place. Tracing the state’s northern border, one can follow the Ohio River all the way down to its tributaries that empty into the southwest end, forming a cluster of counties that are riddled with odd stories of weird creatures, mysterious flying objects, and an entire host of other strange mysteries. ~ Micah Hanks
It is indeed very odd that little rural areas the likes of Kelly and Hopkinsville, over in Christian County on Kentucky’ southern border, have had such strange myths associated with them; ever since the mid 1950s, when literal reports of “goblins” began to stem from one branch of the Sutton family over near Hopkinsville.
The place has been host to periodic reports of the weird and unsavory variety (and speaking of things weird and unsavory, if you’re a fan of late-night radio that gives you the creeps, check out the latest Gralien Podcast).
Despite the urban legends that have become appended to such rural parts of the Ohio River Basin, there is something of a modern mythos surrounding the region as well, drawing from reports of odd aerial happenings down along the Kentucky/Tennessee border.
In fact, if one drives just ten miles south of Hopkinsville’s city limits, they will soon approach the home of the American 101st Airborne Division, along with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, located at an Army installation known as Fort Campbell.
Much like other clandestine locales across the United States (Area 51, the highly-secretive base near Groom Lake, Nevada, comes to mind), many have asserted over the years that there are numerous oddities associated with Fort Campbell, ranging from strange synchronistic parallels to famous rock bands and iconic artists, to the appearances of UFOs and covert “black helicopters” associated with popular conspiracy theories.
What might draw one into taking an interest in such a location? For me, it all started falling together, and innocently enough, following an odd email that appeared in my inbox, which referred to the place as “The Area 51 of Appalachia.”
Fort Campbell: Area 51 of Appalachia?
The email in question had arrived from a television producer friend of mine who, seeking my opinion on the location, had been asking about mysterious activities associated with this apparently rather secretive military base along the Kentucky/Tennessee border. The note read:
“From the perspective of the UFO community do you think there is any validity to this claim: ‘Fort Campbell, KY is the Area 51 of Appalachia?’ “
To be honest, at the time I knew very little about the installation, let alone the potentials that might exist there in terms of qualifying for being anything like Area 51.
After doing a bit of digging around, it turns out that there are at least a few elements that begin to emerge which could link Fort Campbell to a handful of modern conspiracy theories. One of these involves the appearances of “black helicopters” popularly associated with government surveillance, special ops, and even some UFO sightings.
Black Helicopters at Fort Campbell?
Without question, the presence of not only “black helicopters,” but a host of other special-ops aircraft, can be confirmed at Fort Campbell, in conjunction with their 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). According to the website GlobalSecurity.org:
The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment [based at Fort Campbell] uses specially modified aircraft and highly trained pilots and aircrews to get special operations teams to their missions. Often moving through hostile territory or flying in bad weather or at night, the 160th SOAR has adopted the name “Night Stalkers.” The Regiment is recognized for proficiency in night time operations.
In truth, there’s nothing really “conspiratorial” about the fact that the government uses black helicopters amidst their array of aerial vehicles for a variety of special purposes, which include night missions (hence one reason the black coloration becomes a logical factor in the practical design for these craft).
Rather, the shadowy aspect emerges from the kinds of things the black helicopters become associated with, such as chasing or appearing in conjunction with UFOs (consider the Cash-Landrum incident, a UFO close encounter that occurred in 1980 where the witnesses claimed to watch 23 dark-colored helicopters follow the unidentified object as it left their vicinity).
Obviously, the black helicopters associated with the 160th SOAR at Fort Campbell aren’t UFOs themselves… but that doesn’t remove UFOs from the equation altogether, so far as their relation to Fort Campbell.
Flying Saucers and a “Mother Ship” Over Fort Campbell
In an incident dated September 10, 1981, a MUFON witness report alleged that an elaborate, multiple-witness encounter had taken place over Fort Campbell, during a training exercise being carried out by the 101st Airborne Division. Below is the original MUFON report (with minor edits), as filed by a witness who claimed to have come within inches of a “landed” saucer:
“We received a radio call from division HQ that [we had been ordered to halt] the exercise and observe the sky for unusual objects. We [were] notified that the object is unidentifiable.
We were asked to mark our watches and monitor time loss. After the event we should examine ourselves for puncture wounds in the nape of our necks and behind the ear lobes. Not long after that (about 1 minute) a large object appeared in the sky… I could not see it at first. It appeared like all the other other stars.
“The radio operator… and the company commander… pointed out the object. It grew bigger and bigger and appeared to be approximately 2000 ft. up. One object turned into 4 maybe 5 smaller objects. They were discs and they came from the larger object. Now I can’t figure out if the larger object was a cylinder or a larger disc because of the angle and postion it was in.
The smaller disc as I recall glowed green on one side and orange on the other. They flew faster than any earth bound vehicle and could stop on a dime, a very sudden stop no coasting. These discs wanted to be seen obviously with bright colors and it appeared that the were flying in a pattern to triangulate the entire [division] and then they stopped and spread quickly to various points.
One of the silver discs stopped maybe 150 meters away from my company. I immediately asked the company commander, I volunteer to go forward and make contact. I will be peaceful and show no hostility. He said Doc I need to get that cleared. He radioed division [headquarters] and they said proceed with caution… make note of any markings [and observe] any life forms inside.
The narrator, “Doc,” then claimed to have approached the “landed” disc, which made no movement, or any other kind of activity that could be discerned.
Doc also “offered” rations he had been carrying, with the apparent presupposition that this craft was being controlled by extraterrestrial intelligences (hence the members of the division being asked to “monitor time loss” and watch for “puncture wounds” in various places around the neck and ears.
If this incident is to be believed (and perhaps nothing should be taken merely at face value, despite the witness claiming to have served on the 101st), it still does not directly correlate the UFO activity with any operations that may actually be housed there at Fort Campbell.
There are, however, a host of other strange correlations that exist in relation to the the Kentucky installation, some having to do with rock legends like Jimi Hendrix and The Byrds, among others.
Finally, there are often assertions made in relation to so-called FEMA “concentration camps” that list Fort Campbell among the many government installations that would seek to imprison Americans following panic outbreaks and martial law.
As is often the case, one might surmise that there is far more that could be said, than which could actually be proven; such is quite obviously the case with Fort Campbell, too.
The location has nonetheless maintained quite a mystique of its own, and whether or not one finds it deserving of being called, “The Area 51 of Appalachia” or not, there are still plenty of peculiarities about the odd Kentucky stronghold that will keep a few of us wondering.
Micah Hanks - January 21, 2013 - posted at GralienReport