Jump to content

Dulce Base

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dulce Base is the subject of a conspiracy theory claiming that a jointly-operated human and alien underground facility exists under Archuleta Mesa on the Colorado–New Mexico border near the town of Dulce, New Mexico, in the United States.[1] Claims of alien activity there first arose from Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz.[2]


Starting in 1979, Bennewitz became convinced he was intercepting electronic communications from alien spacecraft and installations outside of Albuquerque. By the 1980s he believed he had discovered a secret underground base near Dulce populated by grey aliens and humans.[3] By 1983, Bennewitz's claims appeared in the popular press.[4]

The story spread rapidly within the UFO community and by 1987, UFOlogist John Lear claimed he had independent confirmations of the base's existence.[5] Lear's statement influenced Thomas Allen LeVesque, pen name "Jason Bishop III", who later admitted to fabricating stories about Dulce Base.[6][7]

In 1986, George Clinton Andrews discussed Dulce Base legends in his book Extra-Terrestrials Among Us.[8] In 1988, the tabloid Weekly World News published a story entitled "UFO base found in New Mexico" which claimed that "diabolical invaders from another solar system have set up a secret underground base in the rugged mountains of northern New Mexico – so they can shanghai human guinea pigs for bizarre genetic experiments". The Weekly World News story used supposed quotes from UFOlogist Leonard H. Stringfield as a source for its claims. Upon learning of the story, Stringfield protested, "I never read such a distortion of facts in my life".[9]


Political scientist Michael Barkun wrote that Cold War underground missile installations in the area gave superficial plausibility to the rumors, making the Dulce base story an "attractive legend" within UFOlogy. According to Barkun, claims about experiments on abductees and firefights between aliens and the Delta Force place the Dulce legend "well outside even the most far-fetched reports of secret underground bases."[2]

Residents of Dulce claim to have seen UFOs, strange moving lights, and other unexplained sightings in the area.[10] Jicarilla Apache Legislative Council president Ty Vicenti "has embraced the notion of a Dulce Base, partly in a push to stimulate tourism", and in 2016, the town hosted the Dulce Base UFO Conference at the local casino hotel.[11]

Dulce Base legends have been noted for their similarity to the Shaver Mystery. In the mid-1940s, welder Richard Shaver began writing letters to science-fiction editor Raymond A. Palmer, who published them in various pulp outlets. Shaver told of malevolent subterranean beings ("deros") who pilot disc-shaped spaceships. Palmer biographer Fred Nadis "specifically highlights the tales of the supposed underground base near Dulce, New Mexico, as a prominent inheritor of the Shaver/Palmer tradition, characterizing Paul Bennewitz’s stories of alien experimentation as 'a dero scene right out of a Shaver story.'"[12]


  1. ^ Donovan, Barna William (29 July 2011). Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious. McFarland. pp. 149–150. ISBN 978-0-7864-8615-1.
  2. ^ a b Michael Barkun (4 May 2006). A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. University of California Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-0-520-24812-0. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  3. ^ Dunning, Brian (3 December 2013). "Skeptoid #391: 8 Secret bases: Real or fictional". Skeptoid. see "§3. Dulce Base".
  4. ^ "UFOs: U.S. reports tell of five sightings in 1980 over Kirtland; city man claims alien contact". The Albuquerque Tribune. Albuquerque, NM. 8 April 1983. p. 1. Retrieved 5 June 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Gulyas, Aaron John (25 January 2016). Conspiracy Theories: The roots, themes and propagation of paranoid political and cultural narratives. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-0-7864-9726-3.
  6. ^ Gulyas, Aaron John (8 February 2016). "Conspiracy Theories: The Roots, Themes and Propagation of Paranoid Political and Cultural Narratives". McFarland – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Gorightly, Adam (3 February 2021). "Saucers, Spooks and Kooks: UFO Disinformation in the Age of Aquarius". Daily Grail Publishing – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Andrews, George Clinton (1986). Extra-terrestrials Among Us. Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 9780875420103.
  9. ^ Bird, Kay; Terrel, Steve (1 September 1988). "ETs living in NM? Not likely, investigators say". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Vol. 139, no. 255. pp. A-1, A-2 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Chacón, Daniel (7 May 2016). "Move over, Roswell. Dulce is home to true UFO believers". The Santa Fe New Mexican.
  11. ^ Chacón, Daniel (8 May 2016). "A town of true believers". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Vol. 167, no. 128. pp. A-1, A-7.
  12. ^ Gulyas,Conspiracy Theories, Ch. 5

Further reading[edit]

  • Gregory J. Bishop, Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth, Paraview Pocket Books, 2005; ISBN 0-7434-7092-3
  • Jerome Clark, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial, Visible Ink, 1998, ISBN 1-57859-029-9