FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — “OK, so here we have a government top secret facility that goes deep in the earth,” historian John O’Brien said while standing in front of a bunker at Fort Campbell.

On Oct. 28, he was taking a group of people around to the different bunkers that were a part of what locals know as the Bird Cage. This was a Big Read event, The Bird Cage: On the edge of apocalypse.

“And we do have Area 51 and all the flying saucer people. So where do you think those alien bodies and space ships are being secretly stored by the government,” he asked the group.

A few responded “right here,” jokingly.

He mentioned that he had once told a college student that a purple splatter across the wall was alien blood.

“Everybody knows that’s a joke, right?” he asked.

He added when the group enters the bunker, there’s a mattress in the tunnel where the aliens were allowed to sleep and a desk where the aliens wrote where they came from.

There weren’t any aliens and there are no conspiracies to go along with the bunkers. O’Brien explained as he has been gathering information on the Bird Cage, he’s learned that a lot of pranks and crazy stories that have been told.

He told the group he got a call from the facility master planner asking if there was any validity to the rumor that the bunkers were connected. They are not. Apparently, the soldiers use to leave the bunker through the back door, run to the one next to it, enter that back door and exit the second bunker through the front door to confuse the marines.

There was also a story that a full attack submarine was stored in the bunkers. Really, it was just some torpedoes, according to what O’Brien has uncovered.

O’Brien had plenty of those kinds of stories during his research. He started off with a 45-minute talk about the place’s history. Then he led the group through a driving tour of the Bird Cage, sharing a few more stories on the way. He led the group through where the soldiers who worked there used to live, where a guard station was, where there was an unloading station and more. He even took them to a bunker, which had a fake building behind it. He explained it was there simply because it was heavy and would prevent any explosions on post from rattling the nuclear bombs they had in the bunker underground.

O’Brien then led the group into the bunkers; they walked down a long dark tunnel, leaving the open door and the light behind them. They eventually walked past a set of blast doors, where there would be a dark room. The first one had a bunch of maps — most of which were beginning to disintegrate. The next one had a mattress, lights down and more throughout the tunnel. When the group reached the blast doors, there was a grill and then what looked like a vault door. On the other side of the vault door, there was another grill, which prevented the group from seeing the rooms where the bird cages could be stored.

For one member of the group, Robert Russell, it was somewhat familiar. He worked there as a civilian, decades ago. He started working in the Bird Cage in 1952. In 1961, his employment was terminated, and he moved on.

“It’s disappointing,” Russell said about the bunkers now.

He thought they would have been cared for more.


Information from: Kentucky New Era, http://www.kentuckynewera.com

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MEREDITH WILLSE
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