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Area 51 Wedding & UFO Congress 2010 Review


Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 09/03/2010

It was back in December 2009 when my fiancĂ©e Kate came up with the idea. She rang me at work to see what I thought. Needless to say I thought it was fantastic. Why have a normal marriage in England when we could get on a plane, spend a day in Las Vegas, visit the UFO Congress in Laughlin and get married at the Black Mailbox near to the most infamous secret base on the planet - Area 51? Kate had managed to find a wedding package which included photos at the Extraterrestrial Highway sign, a visit to both gates of the base, dinner at the alien-themed Little A’le’inn at Rachel, and a sunset marriage at the mailbox - essentially a dream wedding for anyone interested in UFOs. The rest of our week would be spent exploring Vegas and attending the UFO Congress, one of the largest UFO conferences in the world. It had been my dream to attend the congress for many years, and now at last I was finally going to get the chance.



And so it was that early morning on Friday 19th February we left Birmingham airport on a three tier flight to Vegas. There had been a heavy snowfall the evening before, and we were worried our flight was going to be delayed, but to our surprise it left on time. By the evening we had arrived at the stunning Egyptian themed Luxor hotel. After checking into our spacious room we explored a while, but were sadly too tired after our journey to head out for sightseeing, drinks or gambling!



The following day was our chance to check out Vegas. There is of course only so much one can fit into a day, but I think we made the most of it. We started with a classic American breakfast at Denny’s. We then had to go pick up our wedding licence from the county clerk office, which was quite far from the strip. After an expensive taxi ride followed by a un-nerving walk through the back streets of the city, we made it back to the Stratosphere hotel. The tower is the tallest building in Vegas, thousands of feet high. We took a lift up to the viewing gallery, and then I took a ride on Insanity – a spinning chair ride which hangs right off the side of the building. The view was truly breathtaking, and understandably my legs turned to jelly! We then headed to Caesar’s Palace for a quick go on the slots and a look round The Forum shopping centre, complete with a free Atlantis moving statues show. Next up was Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, followed by some roulette and cocktails back at The Luxor. Wish I could say I won hundreds of dollars but sadly this wasn’t meant to be. We ended our day in Vegas at Believe – the stunning Criss Angel magic show.

At 10pm a minivan arrived at Las Vegas airport to take us to the Aquarius Hotel at Laughlin for the UFO Congress. Everyone else on the van had the same destination, so we made some new friends from the off and had a great journey sharing our views on UFOs and aliens. If you’ve been to Laughlin before, you’ll know that like Vegas it’s based around casinos. As we saw the Aquarius for the first time we realised that the noise of slot machines is something we would have to get used to! We entered the hotel and were immediately greeted by the iconic figure of the UFO Congress – a massive inflatable green alien. The conference was set to start early the following morning, so we headed straight for our room.



The first day of the congress kicked off in style. We explored the entrance area, complete with another inflatable alien, and immediately bumped into Gary Heseltine and his wife Valerie, who were planning to join us for our wedding. Soon after we met Larry Warren, the famous whistleblower of the Rendlesham UFO incident. We decided to invite him for the wedding as well, which he immediately agreed on with much enthusiasm!





Before the lectures kicked off I decided to have a quick look around the dealer room. It was certainly the biggest room full of UFO-related merchandise that I have ever had the pleasure of exploring! There was table after table loaded with books and DVDs. Some stone Grey heads and models caught my attention, as did some superb funny T-Shirts from Alienzoo. Some other quirky merchandise I spotted included some alien-themed car bumper stickers, a Cow Abduction calendar and some singing bowls which according to the vendor could be used to contact extraterrestrials. I figured I’d leave that to her, and headed into the main hall where the lectures were due to take place.



I can’t say for definite, but I assumed the setup was the same as it had been in previous years – many rows of chairs with a central stage at the front and a huge screen to either side. There were also a few tables behind the chairs for people to sit at with drinks. After an introduction by the co-founder of the congress, Bob Brown, it was time for the speakers to begin. I did not get to see every speaker of the week, we missed the Monday entirely for the wedding, and missed various other lectures to explore Laughlin instead, but I will give you the lowdown on the ones I did attend.



The first lecture of the day that I got to see was Jim Nicholls. It was all about the supposed incident in 1954 where President Eisenhower was rumoured to meet with extraterrestrial beings. During this meeting he learned of their intentions and got to view a number of craft. The aliens also demonstrated numerous abilities including making themselves invisible for a short while. The film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind was apparently partially based on this incident. It certainly seems logical to me that there would have been a number of meetings between ETs and representatives of various countries, and the facts suggest that this did indeed take place.

Next was a lecture by one of my favourite UK UFO researchers, Gary Heseltine. I always find Gary’s talks interesting and he shares similar views on the subject to myself, preferring the nuts-and-bolts angle and looking at what the evidence points to. As a detective constable he certainly has the credentials to do this! Gary’s lecture was all about the online Police Reporting UFO Sightings (PRUFOS) Database. He covered some of the most fascinating cases he has received over the years, as well as gave details of his own UFO sighting which got him interested in the subject.



Due to poor health, Wendelle Stevens could sadly not attend the congress, but we were instead treated to a video recording of his planned lecture. Like Jim Nicholls, Wendelle’s talk covered meetings between extraterrestrials and governmental powers, this time focusing on the rumoured Gorbachev contacts. He described a number of incidents where President Gorbachev met with a race of tall humanoid beings, and a previous landing by the same species. It is believed that these contacts influenced the president’s decisions in government and gave rise to a number of initiatives.



In the evening was the first of a number of contactee sessions hosted by Mary Rodwell. Due to my interest in this particular angle of the subject, she recommended that I came along. About 30 people turned up for the initial session, the majority of which were actual contactees. It was truly fascinating listening to them discuss their experiences with one another.



After one complete day at the congress, our wedding day had arrived! We met up with Gary and Valerie at 7.30am at the entrance to the Aquarius. For a few minutes we assumed Larry was not going to be joining us, but then to our relief he too turned up. A moment later our hummer arrived and we met our driver Dave for the first time. We then set off on our journey which would take us first back to Las Vegas to pick up Kate’s parents, and then onward to Area 51, with a quick stop at a diner for breakfast. It was here that we picked up our minister, Reverend Ralph, who had a great sense of humour.



On route, Dave regaled us with his fantastic knowledge of the local area, pointing out everything from mountain ranges to deserted gold mines. We also got to have a good chat with our guests. As we got nearer we came across a new "attraction" - an Alien Research Centre! Sadly we did not have enough time to take a look inside, so its secrets will have to wait for another time.



Before reaching Area 51, we stopped at the infamous Extraterrestrial Highway sign for some photographs. Seeing the sign with my own eyes was truly an experience and felt like we had finally reached our destination.



We then began driving down the highway towards the back entrance of the base. We were informed by our driver that we were now being monitored and that some of the Joshua trees had hidden microphones in them. As we got closer to the base perimeter, we suddenly noticed a vehicle coming down the road behind us. We soon realised it had no licence plates and immediately became concerned. The car overtook us and luckily continued driving into the distance without incident. I can only assume that they were checking us out.

We arrived at the gate with the famous warning signs, and stopped about 100 yards from the perimeter. It was strange to see a thin covering of snow over the desert ground. To our right was a small hill, upon which another vehicle was parked. The vehicle contained two guards, who were looking at us through binoculars. Our driver said it was ok to take photographs but not to get any closer to the perimeter. The presence of the guards was more than a little un-nerving, so we only remained at the gate for several minutes before beating a retreat back up the highway. As we departed, the vehicle on the hill flashed its lights, just to indicate its presence to us.



Our next stop was the mailbox where we would later be getting married. We took some more photographs and checked out the graffiti on the box, before making our way to Rachel and The Little A’le’inn.



It was fantastic to finally reach at the infamous alien-themed diner. After checking out the merchandise and getting a bite to eat (an “alien burger”) we then chatted with the locals, who were thrilled by our impending marriage and asked whether they could join us for the ceremony. Among our new wedding guests was the mysterious self-titled Agent 51, who rushed home to put on a sharp black suit and shades!









With the afternoon quickly disappearing we drove out to the second entrance to Area 51. Rather than just signs and a fence, this entrance had a double gate and guard post. As we approached, a solitary guard came and stood at the inner gate and appeared to take a photograph of us before heading back inside.



We did not have long, so then made our way back to the mailbox, racing the setting sun. We arrived just in time, with the sun nicely catching the mountains in the background. We stood next to the box for the wedding ceremony, and I am pleased to say that everything went smoothly. The ceremony included a number of alien-themed lines and was great fun. After some final sunset photographs we then began our long drive back to Laughlin. It truly was a superb day and everyone involved was extremely happy with how it had turned out.





Below is a short video I've made of the wedding day, featuring footage from Area 51, the Mailbox, and the Little A'le'inn, as well as some of the ceremony:



Ross Hemsworth from the UK started Tuesday with an informative and amusing look at conspiracy theories and how much or little they were based on fact. These ranged from the well known theories surrounding such events as the moon landings and 9/11, to more modern topics such as swine flu and global warming. He also discussed Project Serpo and the evidence which suggests it may have taken place, including the findings of hacker Gary McKinnon.



John Venture, Director of Pennsylvania MUFON, then gave a superb and detailed lecture on the various prophecies surrounding 2012. These included the ending of the Mayan calendar, various religions which believe that something major is going to occur, and various premonitions by individuals which also point to the infamous date. It was amazing to hear them talked about back to back, and I think many in the crowd ended up with the distinct feeling that something is set to take place, though exactly what is still open to speculation.



I missed the afternoon’s lectures to take a look around Laughlin with Kate, but returned in the evening for the contactee session, which was once again fascinating.

Chuck Zukowski kick-started Wednesday in style with a riveting lecture on a number of archaeological digs which he and a team had done at the various Roswell debris sites over the previous nine years. He talked of how they initially defined the precise locations of the sites, and how the digs were performed. The team had uncovered a number of artefacts including pieces of metal with certain strange properties, and a horse bridal that was coated in unusual chemicals. The metal fragments are made of recognisable earth metals, but are still very interesting. Scientific analysis of the artefacts is ongoing.



Donald Ware’s lecture was interesting and covered six extraterrestrial species which he believes inhabit the earth. Four of these are advanced enough to have flying craft. The other two are spiritual beings in physical bodies, the cetaceans (whales & dolphins) and bigfoot. Not sure if I’d agree with the arguments for the last two being ET, but there was some fascinating information including some close encounters with bigfoot creatures.



Dr C. V. Tramont ended the day with a talk about regression hypnotherapy. He discussed many aspects of the subject including past life regression, and various entities, including extraterrestrial and dark, which can become attached to the subconscious mind. He believes that on many occasions he has assisted in removing these entities, which has apparently greatly improved the lives of those involved.

Wednesday evening was the “meet the speakers cocktail party”. This was held in the same room as the conference, with many tables laid out for everyone to sit round. There was free taco’s and free drinks for a large part of the event. The only odd thing was that nobody could find any cocktails! I and Kate sat at a table with Gary and Valerie Heseltine, Larry Warren, Miles Johnson and some new friends. During the party, Larry went up on stage and introduced a number of witnesses who had testified back in 2001 as part of the Disclosure Project.







Thursday’s lectures were themed around contact experiences. Mary Rodwell was the first speaker, and in the first part of her lecture invited a number of contactees to tell their stories over the mic. Some of them I had met in the evening contactee sessions, while others were new to me. Mary’s lecture was fascinating and covered many angles of the subject, including abductions, star kids, writing and speaking of alien languages and healing abilities gained through experiences. She also displayed a number of fascinating drawings by children who had seen Grey beings in their rooms.



The final lecture of the day was by Stan Romanek, and was easily the most controversial lecture of the entire conference. You may well have seen his footage reported to show a Grey peeping in a window of his house. If not you can now find it on Youtube, but be aware that there are a number of reconstruction videos (and some amusing parodies) also doing the rounds. Prior to the lecture this was all I had seen on Stan’s case so it was very interesting to hear the full story. Apparently Stan has had many experiences over the last ten years, including UFO sightings, abductions, and both Grey and hybrid beings seen around his house. He has also encountered glowing orbs, as well as various other paranormal activity. He presented an impressive amount of photographic and audio evidence to back up his claims, including some other photographic stills of Greys. There also appears to be evidence that he is being monitored by unknown persons intent on stopping the truth getting out. I certainly found the lecture interesting, and also bought Stan’s book to look into the case in more depth. But it almost seems too good to be true, and much as I want it to be real, I remain wary of the case.





Thursday evening’s contactee session was specially themed around MILABs (Military abductions). It was interesting to hear that a number of the contactees present had had particular abductions where military personnel as well as extraterrestrial beings were seen. Melinda Leslie, a hypnotherapist and researcher specialising in the subject, informed me that these had been reported as early as the 1950s and are an integral part of the contact phenomenon. There are many theories as to the reason behind these experiences.

Friday morning began with one of my most awaited lectures – Travis Walton. I had only ever seen Travis speak once before, many years ago at a UFO Magazine conference, so I was really looking forward to hearing him again. The talk began with a video introduction featuring clips from the movie Fire In The Sky mixed with real clips of the actual people involved in the case. Travis first gave an overview of what happened to him, showing a number of illustrations, and described how it had affected his life ever since. He then went on to share with us some new unusual evidence which had come to light. It was found that, since the incident, the trees in the clearing where the craft had been situated are growing at a more rapid rate than before! Diagrams were displayed to indicate what had been discovered, and it was great to see yet more proof that the incident took place.



Douglas Taylor is a contactee and artist. In his lecture he described his experience, during which he got taken aboard a craft and met a number of humanoid Nordic-type beings. He explained how this had changed his perspective of the world, and inspired him to create a number of works of art themed around UFOs and conservation of the planet. During his talk he displayed a number of these paintings, some of which were animated to highlight particular aspects. However my favourite animation was the visual representation of the journey of his mind through space and time on his return from the craft, which featured a photograph of himself rather than a drawing, and was unintentionally amusing (A still from this is shown below).





In the afternoon, Barbara Lamb gave the only lecture of the week fully themed around the crop formation phenomenon. She described some of the evidence which points towards a non-human cause for some of the formations discovered, and showed many photographs of formations from around the world right up to 2009. Some of the larger formations which have appeared are truly beautiful. Despite the fact that many of the modern formations are almost certainly hoaxed, I still feel there is an element of truth to crop formations, and I hope that one day someone manages to prove it beyond doubt.



Richard Dolan ended the day with a well structured lecture on expolitics. Rather than look to the past, Richard talked about the directions the subject needs to head in the coming years, and how we should prepare for the inevitable disclosure of extraterrestrial reality. Richard feels this disclosure will come within the next couple of decades, and that it will dramatically alter our perception of the world, and impact on our society in many different ways.



As we got used to the fact that it was sadly the final day of the conference, Larry Warren and Gary Heseltine took to the stage in a fantastic joint presentation on the Rendlesham incident. Larry first discussed his part in bringing the case to the public’s attention, and showed numerous documents as evidence of his involvement. He did not discuss the events of the incident itself – I’m sure most of the audience knew about what took place already. Before handing the mic over to Gary, he got Kate and I to stand up and told everyone about our marriage to great applause. This was a nice gesture that we were both very thankful for.



Gary’s part of the lecture covered evidence that nuclear weapons were secretly being stored at the bases, and that this was a probable reason for the entire incident. It was certainly one of the best lectures of the entire week, and I look forward to welcoming Larry to speak for BUFOG in April.



Paola Harris was up next to talk, and gave a lecture about the changing trends in exopolitics, moving from a strictly nuts-and-bolts view to take more metaphysical angles into consideration. She discussed how this change in viewpoint can increase our understanding of what is taking place, and argued that it is a vital part of the subject which should not be ignored.



Jaime Maussen and Santiago Garza, two of Mexico’s most popular ufologists, gave a superb lecture featuring a large amount of video footage and photographs. They showed NASA footage of glowing objects captured on camera outside of the atmosphere, various videos showing fleets of spherical UFOs, and some highly unusual flying snake-like objects. They then went on to talk about research into an unusual small creature which had been captured in a trap. Various DNA tests had been done on it, most of which came back unidentifiable, and one which came back as human. I am suspicious of this particular case for a number of reasons, but it would be amazing if it does turn out to be extraterrestrial in origin. Another interesting photograph Jaime and Santiago showed was of a Mayan temple with what looked like a beam of light coming down from the sky into the top of it. Apparently the photograph has been analyzed and is believed genuine.



The final lecture of the UFO Congress was by David Sereda. It covered complex research and experiments into anti-gravity from Lockheed Martin scientist Boyd Bushman. He hopes that someone will fund his research further, which will enable him to create an actual saucer-like craft. David also discussed theories of worm-hole technology which would enable teleportation from a different point in space, and suggested a possible link to ancient Egypt and the pyramids.



After a couple of hours it was time for the banquet dinner and EBE awards ceremony to end the congress in style. After a nice buffet and some free glasses of wine, the speakers and then the organisers met up on stage for some photographs. This was then followed by some end speeches by organisers Bob Brown and Nicola Irvine, and a special video tribute to Nicola’s departed mother.







The EBE awards then commenced, and numerous awards were given out for the many UFO/alien themed documentaries and films which had been played on each of the evenings of the congress (Due to the contactee sessions I had not seen any of these but hope to soon watch some of them online). The most popular documentary of the week was The John Searl Story, which was about a man who has created a method of producing free energy, and has created a number of small flying craft using the technology.



I and Kate set off on a coach to Las Vegas airport the following morning. It truly was a spectacular week, and we loved every moment of it. Even the long delay at Paris due to stormy weather was manageable thanks to Larry Warren who happened to be on the same flight as us! Next year the UFO Congress moves to Phoenix, Arizona, and I hope that it continues to be as top quality as 2010’s was. It’s a shame that it is so far away, making a yearly return to the congress extremely difficult, but I’m sure I’ll be back there in the future – either as an attendee or as a speaker.



Copyright Dave Hodrien 2010

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