Looking at the Bob Lazar story from the perspective of 2018

(Why, oh why, is this still a thing?)


Damn, damn, damn!

I really don’t want to be writing this as I have way better things to do. I thought I happily left all this crap in my rear view mirror 20 years ago, but apparently not. Recently, I’ve noted an increasing number of visitors to the ancient Bluefire part of my website , coming from the /UFOs section of Reddit . Seems like they were looking for information on Bob Lazar.

Tracking the links back to Reddit, I was surprised to find a number of current discussions on Lazar and his veracity. Sadly, there were quite a few posts saying how they believed Lazar’s story and he was the “real deal”. And I’m pretty sure many of those posters were small kids or not even born when all this Lazar stuff first went down years ago (Ummmm….What’s a “newsgroup”??). This was all news to me, as I quit following the subject 20 or so years ago when I started my graduate work in Physics and realized the basic science elements of Lazar’s tale were something well beyond wrong, and moved in other directions.

I have a great love of subtlety and in hindsight I’m afraid my final Lazar postings were lost on some. I pretty much laid the real story all out in pieces, and sort of assumed people would connect it. I apparently was wrong, and a hammer was required. What follows is the hammer, probably what I should have written 20 years ago, and then I’m done with this damn subject….forever (I can dream, can’t I?).

First and foremost, I need to touch on the basic science in Lazar’s tale. In the world of scientific research the harshest insult that can be leveled against someone’s work is that the person “is not even wrong”. In other words, the research or theory is so bad it really can’t even be discussed coherently. If I were feeling charitable, and I’m not, I suppose Lazar’s story may just barely reach the “not even wrong” level.

Now as someone with a real Masters in Physics (with a focus on gravitation, no less!) I could go on for many pages pissing all over Lazar’s nonsensical tale. But it would have to become very technical and the hardcore Lazar believers would not be swayed, so why should I bother?

But this quicky should be easy for anyone to understand…..Recall that Lazar surfaced with his tale well before gravitational wave observatories, such as LIGO, VIRGO, GEO 600 and TAMA, had even been designed, much less made operational. If Lazar’s saucers did indeed operate like he claimed, grabbing distant portions of spacetime and pulling it toward them, they would generate enough gravitational waves to knock the observatories’ interferometer mirrors off their damn mounts. OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but any near-Earth operations of the saucers described by Lazar would result in huge gravitational wave signals. Wait…..Unless the observatories are part of the coverup!!! Um….nope.

Aside from dealing with Lazar’s science being absolute rubbish, I also need to discuss what those glowing objects, seen by many over Groom Lake, actually were. They were, as I apparently didn’t lay out forcefully enough 20 years ago, the result of the operation of a proton beam device. I repeat….THEY WERE GODDAMNED PARTICLE BEAMS!!! There, having said that I feel much better.

Now I didn’t exactly pull that theory out of my ass. It was, um….suggested to me that I might want to pay a visit to my university library and look up something called the Bragg Curve. In essence, it relates how far charged particles can penetrate into matter given their initial energy.

To be honest, my response was “Huh? What does this have to do with anything?”. The result was something along the lines of “OK, moron, pull a certain dusty, old physics reference book and look at the Bragg Curve equations on pages so and so”. I dutifully followed my instructions, and after staring at the equations for about 20 minutes the skies opened and the rain of understanding soaked me. It was truly an “Ohhhh shiiiiit” moment. I’m often slow, but I get there eventually. After that, the rest was just running the numbers.

Since then, I’ve had my posting on particle beams at Groom, shall we say….vetted. I’ve also spoken to people who have seen these glowing orbs of plasma from a distance….and very close up. Finally, I had the chance to ask a real particle physicist who worked at Los Alamos (for reals, a family friend) if dumping a high energy proton beam into the atmosphere would result in the creation of a glowing ball of plasma. He looked at me quizzically for a while and said he supposed it would, but why would anyone want to? And THAT is an extremely interesting question.

Given Groom’s primary mission involving radar measures and countermeasures, my sense 20 years ago was that they were testing something possibly for use in radar spoofing. However the fact it apparently still remains classified today (an important element in the explanation of Lazar’s tale) suggests maybe its purpose was something else, perhaps an attempt at a Star Wars-type weapon.

In the 1980s and 90s there were many reports in the southwest US of slow moving, virtually silent big, black triangular aircraft only seen at night. I’ve written a bit about those here. I was told, by those that know about this stuff, that the project’s classification, continued to this day, was due to these craft violating some provisions of weapons treaties the US had signed. I would speculate that the proton accelerator at Groom generating those flamin’ balls o’ plasma 30 years ago might in a similar manner also violate some weapons treaties and must thus stay severely under wraps.

So let me be completely clear: The glowing orbs seen in the skies over Groom Lake by Lazar et al were NOT “craft”, they were plasmas generated by operation of a high powered proton accelerator dumping its beam into the atmosphere. And…..Lazar knew this.

So enough of this setup. Let’s get into the meat of this tale.

From what I have seen, much of the argument supporting Lazar’s story on Reddit revolves around “waddabouts”. By this I mean that posters say that, “If Lazar’s story wasn’t true, then how do you explain <fill in the blank>?”. You know, “what abouts?”.

The following isn’t a complete list, but covers most that occur repeatedly (I’m assuming you already have familiarity with the details of Lazar’s story else it’s unlikely you’d be reading this) :

• Lazar worked at Los Alamos, showed George Knapp around there and people seemed to know him. His name was in the phone book in 1982.
• The Los Alamos newspaper story on Lazar and his jet car called him a physicist with the lab.
• In Las Vegas, security personnel, observed by others, visited Lazar at his home.
• Lazar was noted by friends and family to “disappear” as part of a job.
• He was able to correctly describe certain aspects of the facilities at Groom Lake.
• He identified a location known as S-4 in the Nellis Range.
• Lazar was able to correctly name specific people involved in the security process.
• Edward Teller appeared to react visibly and uncomfortably when asked about Lazar in an interview.
• He received a W-2 form from the government.
• After Lazar’s story broke, some media members observed possible government surveillance and intimidation efforts.
• Also after Lazar went public, persons around Lazar observed what appeared to be a vigorous and threatening government attempt to silence him.
• Lazar “knew” about Element 115 long before it was ever synthesized.
• And finally the absolute best, Lazar knew about the Wednesday night tests, and showed others.

The posters bring up some damn good points. How IS one to explain all these without there being a hidden saucer facility at Papoose Lake? Well, it turns out there is a very good reason all these things probably did, in fact, happen, and why Lazar still holds to his nonsensical story. Spoiler: It’s about saving his ass.

OK boys and girls, it’s time to strap in and begin our story. Now all that follows may not be precisely true, but whatever deviations that exist are pretty small.

After Lazar got to Los Alamos and set up his photo processing business, he managed to get a limited term, contract job with Kirk-Mayer. Kirk-Mayer was one of the smaller contractors supplying support staff to the Los Alamos lab, such as data entry personnel, machinists, fabricators and electronic technicians. Kirk-Mayer never did provide “physicists” or positions of that caliber. Lazar had some electronic technical education from Pierce College in Southern California and had some work experience with Fairchild, so he was hired as an electronic tech with Kirk-Mayer. I have interviews with several people who worked with him and he was described as a very clever troubleshooter and fix-it guy. He was there often enough to get listed in the LANL phone directory, with the denotation “K/M” next to his name, indicating his affiliation with Kirk-Mayer. Although the following ad is from the Albuquerque Journal in January, 1989, a few years after Lazar had left Los Alamos, it probably closely describes Lazar’s position at the time.

Lazar and his jet car established quite a presence in the small town of Los Alamos, and about a month after arriving, the Los Alamos Monitor newspaper did an article  about him. The story described him as a physicist at the lab, but that was in fact only what he told the reporter his position was. Some people who knew him at the time were quite surprised to see that claimed title. I probably should take a small detour to talk about Lazar’s jet car, the article’s focus, first to demystify it a bit, and to show Lazar’s genius talent for low key self promotion is evident even then as well as his inclusion of nuggets of truth to sell the exaggerations and falsehoods.

The car was powered by what’s known as a Gluhareff Pressure Jet Engine. It’s a uniquely clever and quirky device, burning liquid propane, with no moving parts and noisy as hell. It was invented by Eugene Gluhareff, someone Lazar knew while growing up in the San Fernando Valley. There are images and videos online of Lazar as a kid with a Gluhareff jet strapped to a bike, then a go-kart. Fun stuff! Magazines like Popular Science advertised plans for these jet engines for many years and they can still be found online with a little Googling.

From G8-2 Technical Handbook, 1985, by EMG Engineering

A problem arises when you read the Monitor article’s report of the claims Lazar made for the jet in his car. His claim it produced 1,600 pounds of thrust (deliberately derated down to 800 pounds) seems unlikely. The largest (and rarest) engine designed by Gluhareff, the G8-2-700 produced only 700 pounds of thrust, and was very large (see page 4 of the PDF on Gluhareff jets I linked to above for a sense of scale of the much smaller G8-2-130, which produced 130 pounds of thrust). Also, per Gluhareff’s own technical documentation, the G8-2-700 wasn’t designed until 1984, two years after Lazar arrived in Los Alamos. The jet car photos in the Monitor article show an engine roughly the size of a G8-2-130. As far as I’ve been able to determine, Gluhareff never designed anything with thrust as great as the 1,600 pounds that Lazar claimed his engine could attain.

Another measure of Lazar’s veracity is when he states it’s the most efficient jet engine available, using 1.3 pounds of propane for each pound of thrust it produces compared to 6 pounds of fuel for each pound of thrust with a regular jet engine. This is utter bullshit.

The values Lazar was tossing around are known as Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption (TSFC). From data on page 8 of the linked Gluhareff PDF it appears a G8-130 engine has a TSFC value of 1.33, so he hasn’t left reality there. However when you look up TSFC values for regular jet engines  you find they are typically WELL below 1.0 pounds of fuel for each pound of thrust, and lower numbers are better. Hell, the Concorde burned 1.195 pounds of fuel for each pound of thrust at Mach 2, so even that fuel hog was better than a Gluhareff jet. In fact, Gluhareff jets are notoriously inefficient but were considered to have potential in some situations due to their unique construction/operation.

So having beat this horse well beyond death, given all his misrepresentation/exaggeration of his jet car, is it any stretch to think he might claim to be a physicist at the lab when he wasn’t? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. OK, back to the story.

In an amazing display of totally fucked synchronicity, the Los Alamos newspaper article came out on June 27, 1982 and the very next day Edward Teller was scheduled to give a lecture at Los Alamos. Had this not happened, I doubt there ever would have been a Lazar story. I gleefully accept that Lazar came upon Teller reading the paper and pointed out the story about Lazar and his jet car. Since the story identified Lazar as a “physicist” at the lab, I have no doubt Lazar chatted up Teller, again a master of low key self promotion, trying his best to impress Teller.

Let’s jump forward to 1985 when Lazar blew out of Los Alamos and relocated to Las Vegas. According to the bankruptcy papers Lazar filed on July 21, 1986 (BTW, 120 pages of amazeballs freely available to anyone who wants to pay, case BK 86-01623, US Federal Bankruptcy Court, Las Vegas), he stiffed people right and left before leaving Los Alamos, including family members.

Lazar putzed around Las Vegas for the next few years. I have information from good sources that during this time he worked very briefly at a Smokey Sam site as part of Nellis training exercises in the northern reaches of the Nellis Range. I suspect he had an inkling of what was going on at Groom as I was told Lazar made a number of overnight trips circumnavigating the Nellis Range.

Eventually he discovered EG&G’s connection with Groom, and also Edward Teller’s connection with EG&G, so in 1988 he sent Teller a letter. “Hey, remember me, the Los Alamos jet car physicist? I have lots of experience in particle accelerators, since I worked at Los Alamos’s Technical Area 53, the Meson Physics Facility, which has an 800 MeV proton accelerator. Do you know of any interesting positions where I might be able to put that experience to use??”

Knowing Teller’s Strangelovian background, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the man. But in this one case I feel for the guy. Like so many in Lazar’s sphere of influence, he was had. Maybe it was because he was 80 years old at the time and not as sharp, but perhaps he thought Lazar might be an excellent candidate for the proton beam project and made some calls. Things happened and Lazar gets called in for an interview. Catastrophes are seldom the result of a major, bad single decision, but usually a cascading series of unwise choices. Such was the case here.

Now it boggles my mind how someone with Lazar’s bankruptcy record would be granted any sort of clearance but perhaps it hadn’t been immediately unearthed. And maybe Teller passed on a crazy, glowing recommendation. And possibly Lazar had a previous Q clearance from Los Alamos. In any case, security guys visit Lazar’s home and check him out, they decide he’s their guy (at least for now), and he’s soon on a Janet flight to Groom on a very limited basis doing non-classified grunt work until his clearance is updated. In any case, if he didn’t already fully know, he does now that they’re operating a proton accelerator at Groom, and oh, BTW, they usually fire it up on Wednesday nights. Sounds like it’s time for a party to me!

Figuring out another’s motives is difficult, especially with Lazar. Specifically, I’m speaking of why the fuck, WHY(??) did he decide to bring his friends out to see a Wednesday night test? It could be that he realized his clearance was going to fall through due to the bankruptcy. Or perhaps it was an attempt to prank his friend John Lear, who Lazar often made fun of for his UFO interests. Or maybe Lazar just thought he was smarter than all those security guys at Groom and no one would ever know. Or it could have been something as simple as wanting to impress his friends. Dunno. But in any case, he brought them all out.

But here’s the important part…..Lazar never told his friends/family the truth, that they were seeing the effects of a proton beam. Lazar spun his crazy saucer story to them, in his mind thinking that as long as he wasn’t revealing what they were actually seeing, he wouldn’t be violating security (setting aside for the moment he was bringing visitors to observe classified tests!). The people Lazar brought out to see the tests became his most ardent supporters and defenders, because, hell, he showed them flying saucers and called the days they’d show up. That’s pretty damn convincing. Alas, in a familiar pattern, they were played for fools. I suspect, but do not know, that some of this group may now know the truth. But they didn’t then.

So, April 6, 1989…..It all comes crashing down. Security discovers our little band of partiers and Lazar bolts into the desert. It’s starting to sink in that he could be in some serious shit. The Lincoln County Sheriff later questions the merry makers and lets them go, but they had Lazar’s ID and he knew word would quickly get back to Groom. Uh oh….he could be looking at serious jail time.

The next day Lazar is summoned to the Indian Springs airfield and the full force of the Groom security apparatus is directed at him. He now realizes how close to jail he is. His only defense is that he didn’t tell his comrades what they were actually seeing, but rather it was a made up story of flying saucers. This, of course, doesn’t go over well with the security guys, but they are somewhat stymied. Their choice is, do they prosecute this guy and draw further attention to Groom’s operations, or just kick him out and intimidate the hell out of him to get him to speak no further? I guess, in hindsight, they picked wrong.

Unbeknownst to the Groom guys, Lazar’s tale to his friends cast him as the hero against a hopelessly inefficient, secret government bureaucracy. Their rallying around him and support emboldened him, eventually granting interviews to KLAS due to John Lear’s urgings. Lazar also may have viewed that action as insurance, heightening his profile, should Groom decide to come after him again. But it required him to fully double down on the alien saucer tale he had wove.

Not a bad gig, really. Some minor celebrity and attention, along with occasional paid interviews. And he maintains it to this day, because, well…he has to. It keeps him out of jail. I’m certain the Feds have a long memory when it comes to Lazar and would love to get even for him trashing Groom’s abilities to run secret operations.

So that’s what really went down, more or less. No saucers, just a really neat proton accelerator and a guy spinning a crazy story to stay out of jail. I’ve covered most of the waddabouts in the course of this way-too-long narrative, but I’ll address the leftovers.

Lazar could name security personnel because he interacted with them for his initial access to Groom and later when he was drummed out at Indian Springs.

As for poor old Ed Teller, I’m guessing flaming piles of shit came back to him for recommending Lazar to the Groom project. That would more than explain Teller’s infamous reaction when a TV interviewer directly asked him if he knew Bob Lazar. Well, he knew OF him, and no good came from it.

Lazar’s “outing” of S-4 was anything but. Clearly there’s nothing at Papoose Lake as a number of people have stated since. I know folks who have been there. Hell, with a good spotting scope there are even several perches in the Mt. Charleston range which would give a clear view right into the hangar bay doors, if they existed (Not that I’d know anything about that). Yes, there IS a “Site-4” associated with the Tonopah Test Range, tasked primarily with radar issues and nowhere near Papoose. I wrote about the place years ago, and it was no secret, clearly displayed on maps John Lear would have likely had.

They W-2 form that Lazar claims just showed up one day in the mail may or may not be legit. It could have been forged, as some have argued to support Lazar’s story. But it also could be real, representing Lazar’s few days at Groom. In any case, it doesn’t mean saucers exist at Papoose.

Many people claimed that Lazar had inside info about Element 115 before it was actually synthesized. Well, no. Lazar’s main claim about Element 115 was that it was stable, which amazed folks. But here’s the thing….that concept is really old news. I have a 1969 article from Scientific American with a cool 3D graph showing an “island of stability” around 114. This was also repeated in my undergrad physics textbook. But maybe most interesting is an article (“Creating Superheavy Elements” by Armbruster and Munzenberg) published in Scientific American again talking about a potential island of stability around 114. The article’s date? May 1989, the same month Lazar began his interviews with KLAS TV in Las Vegas. Yeah, probably just a coincidence.

Oh, and since we’re speaking of coincidences, I’m sure that’s the case with Lazar and his particle accelerators. When he first surfaced with his story in Las Vegas, media accounts of him were sure to mention that he had a particle accelerator in his bedroom, you know, ’cause that’s the mark of a true scientist. Later, after the Feds busted his operation in Edgewood, NM for selling controlled materials (and all the fascinating court documents are now online, Yay!), Wired magazine did a piece on Lazar in June of 2006. In it he has yet another particle accelerator which he says he uses to produce a compound for gaseous hydrogen storage. This is a pretty farfetched claim, as the ability to make useful quantities of the compound would take forever with an amateur particle accelerator. I wonder what he really might be using those accelerators for? Again, must be a coincidence.

Oh, and if you’re impressed that someone has their very own particle accelerator, well…you shouldn’t. Way back in the early 1960s Scientific American published an article on how to make a “homemade atom smasher”, AKA, particle accelerator. As a kid I lusted after that project, but its crux was the need to build a mercury diffusion pump (!!) to achieve the hard vacuum needed in the beam tube. Beyond the need for a hard vacuum (with pumps now available on eBay) the rest is trivial. But, you know, why? Unless you want to impress others and make plasma balls.

A last item for your consideration to determine Lazar’s veracity is his academic background. He claims Masters degrees from BOTH Caltech and MIT in subjects they don’t offer and during time periods he couldn’t have physically been at either campus. In response to questions at the “Ultimate UFO Seminar” in Rachael, NV in May of 1993, Lazar was so kind as to offer up the names of two of his instructors at Caltech and MIT, a “Dr. Duxler” as well as “Hohsfield”. He even spelled them. Stan Friedman told me he went searching for Duxler and no such person ever taught at Caltech or MIT. However he did find a William Duxler who taught Math and Physics at the previously mentioned Pierce College and confirmed to Friedman that Lazar had taken at least one of his courses in the 1970s.

As for finding Hohsfield, Friedman rolled snake eyes, beyond confirming no one by that name ever taught at Caltech or MIT. However did you know that in this amazing 21st Century you can buy reprints of all sorts of old high school yearbooks? Like, for example, the 1976 yearbook for W. Tresper Clarke High School? And if one were to do so, one would find that there was a Technical and Vocational teacher there by the name of Frederick Hohsfield. Looks like he was teaching electronics. Interesting, no?

I’ve never understood why Lazar clings to these imaginary Masters degrees when they have been so thoroughly proven to be lies. Lazar’s fans would easily accept an explanation of simple resume padding. But I have to grudgingly concede Lazar has some mighty huevos in the matter. I have read the probation report submitted to the court when Lazar was busted for pandering in Nevada in 1990. Under oath, to the probation agent preparing the report, Lazar continued to claim he had these degrees. Dude, you got some game!!

As for the saucer stories and the rest, that was just a story told to keep him out of jail, to which he must still firmly cling. So you have to ask yourself, am I going to believe a fantastic story told by someone with a well established record of exaggeration and deceit when there is a much more plausible explanation for the same events? And if Lazar’s story is false (which I KNOW is the case, you mileage may vary) it then follows that individuals who have come forward after Lazar with claims of working at S-4, corroborating his story, are also lying. There, see how simple life can be when reason is applied rather than wanting things to be true?

Some will certainly dismiss all the above and say that I’m just a debunker or even an agent of the government (my favorite!) out to get Lazar. Far from it, I just happen to place a premium on truth and folks that waste other’s time annoy me. When I first heard Lazar’s story, many years ago, it sounded plausible. Thus I do have some empathy and understanding of those that have watched his interviews and swallowed it all. It wasn’t until I actually starting looking into the details of his claims that I began to think he might not be telling the truth. Fun fact, my very first investigatory act was to spend time going through Caltech yearbooks to find a passing mention of him, as I actually expected him to be there. Surprise! He wasn’t there.

As for my beliefs, I happen to think that UFOs are a quite real phenomena. I’m not inclined to take any strong position on just precisely WHAT they are, but I’ve read too much and know too many well-connected individuals to dismiss them. And beyond that, I think it’s highly likely we are in possession of some sort of “stuff” from this phenomena from “crash recoveries” or whatever. Finally, I’m sure there are at least a few very dark government programs dealing with this sort of thing, but Lazar never worked for any of them.

To wrap this up, I’d like to leave you with a quote, reportedly straight from the mouth of Lazar, related to me by someone who once knew him.

The more incredible the lie the more people will believe it.

Thus speaketh the Bob. On this one point, I guess I’m in full agreement with Lazar.