black mailbox feature
By Lauren Wong

When I did my Area 51 road trip, the Black Mailbox left me with a lot of questions. The mailbox was decently full with lots of letters, all dated April of 2022. Who empties it? Where does the mail go? Why is it in this location to begin with, when did this whole thing get started? 

The questions surrounding Area 51 seem to be something that’ll never get answered, at least not any time soon. There’s physicist Bob Lazar, who claims to have worked with alien technology at the site, as well as skeptics who’ve picked his story apart. I figured that maybe I could at least get my questions answered about this little, abandoned mailbox sitting in the middle of the desert on an unmarked dirt road. So, here are some answers to the questions that’ve been on my mind since I left my little gift in there for the aliens.

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What is the Black Mailbox?

It’s a mailbox located along the Extraterrestrial Highway at 51 Rd, Alamo, NV 89001. For decades it’s been a spot where visitors/tourists heading down the highway stop to leave messages and/or goodies for the aliens. Throughout the years it’s been presumed to be a magnet for flying sauces, some claiming that they’ve seen celestial oddities in the sky.

How did it get there?

This dates back to 1973 when the original owners of the mailbox were Steve and Glenda Medlin who chose this location in Tikaboo Valley for their cattle ranch. At this time there had never been any talk of aliens as the controversy around Area 51 had not yet surfaced. 

Not long after the couple had claimed this area as their home, a local tungsten quarry opened. This brought miners into a nearby trailer park that eventually grew into the town of Rachel. Postal carriers began delivering to the area so the Medlin’s got a traditional black rural mailbox and set it up about six miles from their home, right near Highway 375. 

It wasn’t until 1989 that all the conspiracy around the area came about. The Medlin’s started having people camping out at their mailbox shortly after Bob Lazar told a Las Vegas television station that he had worked with an alien spacecraft in the area. He claimed that he and his friends would watch saucer test flights in Tikaboo valley.

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Tourism was on the rise, the stories making international news. The state eventually baptized Highway 375 as the Extraterrestrial Highway, Rachel Bar and Grill rebranding as the Little A’Le’Inn. 

People began leaving notes in the Medlin’s mailbox (messages for the aliens), and would even go through their mail thinking there was a possibility that it’d be classified correspondence. Some even left bullet holes through their mailbox. Sick of all this attention to his mailbox, he swapped out his traditional black box with a white bullet proof mailbox, adding a drop box labeled “ALIEN” under it.

However, as time went on, the family got sick of all the theft happening, and surrounding activity that they moved the location of their mailbox. A different Black Mailbox now stands in that place along the E.T. Highway. They also have put their ranch up for sale (listed at $4.5 million).

Where does the mail go? Who empties it?

This was one of the first things I started wondering when I was sifting through all the letters left in the mailbox. Everything was dated April of 2022. So who comes out to this deserted mailbox to collect the mail? I’ve been rewording my Google search in any way I can think of to try and find the answer to this simple question. All I got was nothing. 

Since the Medlin’s moved their mailbox closer to their home before putting it up for sale, my guess is that the city owns it. Someone probably comes around every so often to empty it so it’s not overfilling and leaving litter on the ground. I was hoping for a more exciting answer. Or, maybe the government and workers at Area 51 pick it up. Maybe every last Friday of the month, someone comes around to collect it and all the workers can sit around and laugh at all the notes addressed to the aliens. I like that theory better.

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Some of my favorite letters…

  • “No hagas el video.” – translated from Spanish this means “Don’t make the video.” Every individual letter in this letter was cut from newspapers. Creepy. 
  • “Dear Aliens, SHOW YOUR SELF.”
  • “Dear Aliens, (some questions). Are you green? What do you eat? Do you kidnap humans? Please call me XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
  • “The cats are really in charge.”
  • “Who ever is out there will you say ¡Hello! to E.T. for me! Hope you enjoy looking down on earth and people watching!?”
  • “Greetings from Planet Earth. How are you? Can you come down to visit us in Ohio, United States of America – North America? Look forward to meeting you!”
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