We hear a lot of tales of crashed UFOs and dead aliens secretly taken to well-guarded government facilities for study. But, what about cases where the incident/discovery went down in the heart of the sensitive facility itself? That’s altogether quite another thing. I’ll share two such stories with you, one from the U.K. in the 1990s, and the other from the United States in the early part of the 1980s. Both are deeply weird, but for extremely different reasons. As will soon become apparent.
Porton Down is an installation located in the English county of Wiltshire. Its overwhelmingly-classified work focuses to a very significant degree on exotic viruses, chemical-warfare and biological-warfare. Although work at Porton Down originally, and secretly, began at the height of the tumultuous First World War, it was not until the dawning of the 1940s that the installation became the central hub for British interest in, and concerns relative to, the expanding realms of chemical- and biological-warfare. From 1946 onward, one year after the successful defeat of Nazi Germany, Porton Down’s work began to focus more on the defensive – rather than chiefly offensive – aspects of such issues, and in 1957 the installation was duly christened the Microbiological Research Establishment.
By the late-1970s, a decision was made to place the MRE under the control of a civil body. As a result, significant reorganization duly occurred: on April 1, 1979, the MRE became the Center for Applied Microbiology and Research. Then, in 1995, it was absorbed into the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. Six years later, there was yet another change: DERA split into two organizations, a private body called QinetiQ, and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, a body steeped in official secrecy, as a result of the fact that it is an arm of the Ministry of Defense. After that, the facility became known as DSTL, Porton Down.