E.T. Post Home: The Alien Mailbox of Area 51

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
April 4 2014 9:52 AM

E.T. Post Home: The Alien Mailbox of Area 51

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

On a desolate stretch of Nevada's State Route 375 — also known as Extraterrestrial Highway — is a white mailbox. Well, two mailboxes, actually — one atop the other. The top one is labeled STEVE MEDLIN. The bottom one is labeled ALIEN.

Steve Medlin is a real person. He and his wife Glenda moved to a 900-square-mile cattle ranch in Tikaboo Valley in 1973. That was 16 years before Bob Lazar appeared on television claiming that the Air Force base near the ranch, known unofficially as Area 51, was hiding alien spacecraft that crashed in the desert.

Advertisement

Lazar, who says he worked at Area 51 as a scientist and engineer in 1989, has never been able to provide proof of the facility's alleged extraterrestrial connections. But he did ignite a frenzy among UFO hunters, who continue to visit this remote part of Nevada with the hope of spotting alien craft.

This is where the mailboxes come in. Given they're the only landmark for 40 miles along the 375, they provide a handy meeting spot for UFO enthusiasts scanning the skies at night. Originally there was just one mailbox — Medlin's — and it was black. Following Lazar's extraordinary claims, people began to fill the box with messages addressed to aliens. A few of the more audacious visitors stole the Medlins' mail in the belief it might contain clues about Area 51. When someone took it even further and shot holes into the mailbox, Medlin swapped it out for a white, bulletproof version and added the Alien box beneath.

The pair of mailboxes, located 12 miles from Area 51, is still known as the Black Mailbox. The landmark is an essential stop for Nevada UFO roadtrippers, along with the Little A'Le'Inn restaurant and the (sternly patrolled) perimeter of Area 51.

Extraterrestrial extras:


View Black Mailbox in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.