Area 51 is the subject of a classic conspiracy theory. But where did the rumors come from? In November 1989, physicist Bob Lazar claimed to have worked at Area 51 on advanced flight technologies. Lazar said he worked on saucer-shaped spacecrafts that used anti-gravity to give them power, and that the technology was reverse-engineered from extraterrestrial technology. Later, it was discovered that Lazar lied about his MIT degree and may have never been hired to work on military intelligence at all. Some conspiracy theorists believe Lazar might have been a secret agent, planted to distract people from and misform them about the happenings at Area 51. The FBI released its files on Area 51 in August 2013. The files claim the government bought the land in 1955 to test secret spy planes and stealth bombers.
Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? To get some answers, we talked to renowned skeptic Steven Novella of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe on the Curiosity Podcast. Stream or download the episode using the player below, or find it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Gretta.