In Search of the Miraculous

My daughter and i were on one of our yearly winter road trips south with our best friend Happy in search of sunshine. We drove into Rachel Nevada not knowing what to expect. i'd been doing some imaging work for a now defunct website located there. The site was devoted to Area 51 and the alien myths about it. Our plan was to visit the people involved with the website. We found the trailer easy enough, it had a 6ft sign saying 'Area 51 Research', hard to miss.

It wasn't what i expected, the guy i'd corresponded with was there at the front desk, but 90% of the place was devoted to bumper stickers and tee shirts etc. There were a few people combing the shelves for memoribilia. We learned that a little way further into town was the real heart of this mecca, The Little Aleinn, our next stop.

Outside the inn was a fake flying saucer appearing to crash into the desert, 6-8 rental type cars lounged in the parking lot beside a few local dirt covered pickups. We sat down and ordered lunch then cruised their shelves full of little green men and hundreds of other Area 51 trinkets. The walls were covered with pictures of UFO's from everywhere. We sat eating and sipping our cokes while watching the cars come and go from the parking lot. Through the door came a virtual UN of wide eyed people speaking different languages who'd all flown in Las Vegas 100 miles south, rented a car and driven to this tiny town in the middle of the desert in search of the miraculous. We stayed for a couple hours, the flow never stopped. We scooped a little plastic green alien as a momento and while paying for lunch and our little buddy i asked about the place. The lady said the flow was non-stop, the whole town existed to as a destination for the pligrims.

As we slowly drove away into the crystal clear air, while dodging the long horned cattle casually crossing and standing by and in the road, Rachel served as another talking point for my daughter and i. Every other town on the map in this part of Nevada was a ghost town yet Rachel was thriving, new money rolled in every hour, hundreds of people made a living serving the seekers. What they sought was something bigger than themselves, something that defied the laws of nature, a secular miracle. We talked about human nature and how religion, especially in the past, served as a useful tool to comfort the almost universal human fear of the unknown. We talked about how now-a-days lottsa folks everywhere had given up on their culture's religious security blanket but how they still had their fears. We concluded that any unexplainable answer worked and that aliens would do just fine because if you could convince yourself to 'believe' in something, anything, greater than yourself, even little green men, then the miraculous would still exist.