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.
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.
View Black Mailbox in a larger map
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist
Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You
If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter
The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge
Iran and the U.S. Are Allies
They’re just not ready to admit it yet.
Giving Up on Goodell
How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.