Keep Out! by Nick Redfern
I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people are at least tangentially aware of Area 51, the top secret military base in the Nevada desert that supposedly is the testing ground for captured UFOs, as well as top secret military aircraft. Most people have also probably heard of Hangar 18, another military stronghold that reportedly is the home of little men from outer space. But I’m guessing most people have not heard of the Dugway Proving Ground, the underground base at Dulce, New Mexico, or Porton Down. In his new book “Keep Out!”, author Nick Redfern details a whole litany of top secret installations, including Area 51 and Hangar 18 as well as some lesser-known but equally as enigmatic locations. Some of these top secret facilities are only rumored to exist, while others are in fact real installations, and only the true motives of these facilities are in question.
Unlike Redfern’s last book that I reviewed, “The Real Men in Black,” which was more or less a chronological telling of the legend and lore of the enigmatic entities, “Keep Out” is written in a more encyclopedic style, so you can choose your chapter of interest and not worry about missing anything in prior chapters. And when Redfern references something in a previous or upcoming chapter, he dutifully informs the reader where to find such information. Though I recommend reading the entire book, as each chapter has its own unique charm and mystery.
The tagline for “Keep Out!” is “Top secret places governments don’t want you to know about.” And indeed, Redfern explores secret bases that are controlled by many of the world’s governments, not just the United States. Redfern details the Pine Gap in Australia, a facility that is allegedly in existence for intelligence-gathering for anti-terrorist activities, but is surrounded by rumors of UFO activity. Puerto Rico is explored for its alleged animal testing facilities, which many think could be the origin of the island’s most famous cryptid, el chupacabra. Various nations, including Norway, are shown to have enormous survival bunkers, either for the 2012 doomsday (which Redfern deftly debunks) or some other, unbeknownst to the public, imminent catastrophe. Redfern also details evidence that there may even be military bases on the moon (some man made, and some of extraterrestrial origin), and if not, proves that at the very least, the United States was at one point very interested in the possibility. One of my favorite chapters details the tunnels under London, and what may be lurking there, from escaped big cats, deranged mental patients, to ghosts and government experiments gone horribly wrong.
Not everything in the book is related to the paranormal. Many of the facilities are rumored to have fairly earthly, though still terrifying, operations, such as biological warfare, weather manipulation, remote viewing and human testing. Typical conspiracy theory fodder. But other installations are rumored to be experimenting with concepts that stretch the limits of belief, such as time travel, teleportation, and even physical manifestations of thoughts. The Montauk Project (close to home for me), HAARP, the Philadelphia Experiment, and more can all be found within the pages of “Keep Out!”
The Good: Nick Redfern, as usual, presents a very thorough and broad look at various facilities around the globe. But don’t equate thoroughness to blandness, as Redfern always keeps the narrative moving at a quick pace and peppers the tales with his witty brand of humor (some would say nerdy, but hey, I’m a nerd as well, so it’s right up my alley). Redfern also pokes tons of holes in the 2012 myth, which pleased me as there seems to be no shortage of TV shows and books basically predicting our doom come December. Redfern shows exactly why the theories are wrong, and does so quite succinctly and effectively. One of my criticisms of “The Real Men in Black” was that Redfern seemed to buy into some of the more outlandish theories, and I’m happy to see that he stayed a bit more objective for “Keep Out!” I never judge anyone for their beliefs (I do run a paranormal blog, after all) but rational explanations should always win out over paranormal ones, unless there is evidence to the contrary. And with these secret facilities, Redfern had a lot more evidence to build his cases on.
The Bad: I mentioned earlier about how Redfern keeps the narratives moving at a quick pace, but sometimes the narrative is too quick. With certain stories, I felt that there was so much more to the tale, and that it was simply glossed over. Tales for another book, one would hope, but as a paranormal investigator myself, I am voracious in my quest for answers, and it’s a bit frustrating to get that carrot dangled and not hear the rest of the known story. It only happens a few times during the course of the book, but even a few extra paragraphs of explanation would have at least filled in those gaps.
The Ugly: I don’t have much to say for this category. Some of the pictures would have done better if presented in color or a higher resolution, but I’m basically nitpicking. And I also need new glasses.
The Bottom Line: A great book for a niche look on conspiracy theories, “Keep Out!” is a must for your collection if you are even remotely interested in the paranormal aspects of governmental conspiracies. Lot’s of well-researched yet little-known (to the general public) stories about secret installations that are in all likelihood researching far more than they would like any of us to know. Some of the theories are a little hard to believe, others are just disturbing to think about, but I guarantee the book will make you think. And Redfern’s writing style makes you feel like you’re being told a spooky story from an old friend with inside info. Highly recommended.
Final Score: 90%