It’s no secret that certain branches of the military and government need to operate with an extreme level of confidentiality. An all-too-common byproduct of this secrecy, however, is that people tend to dream up all sorts of outlandish theories as to what really goes on inside the most protected bases.

Most of us know about the mysteries that surround Area 51, but in Australia, there’s a similar military base that appears to dwarf the infamous Arizona fixture in terms of frequent, unusual, and, frankly, frightening occurrences. Here are the absolute creepiest theories about the mysterious military base Down Under…

Many people have heard of Arizona’s Area 51 and the unusual circumstances surrounding it—such as UFO sightings and supposed extraterrestrial encounters—but far fewer know about an even more mysterious military base called Pine Gap.

Located in central Australia, Pine Gap is shrouded in secrecy and controversy. Since 1970, it’s been operated by both the United States and Australia, and it currently houses parts of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Other than the actual employees and some top-level officials, no one is quite sure what happens inside. However, over the years, plenty of strange and unsettling occurrences have been linked to the confidential facility. Here are some of the most suspicious ones…

1. Lately, it seems like the only thing we hear about in the news is death and destruction due to the wars overseas, and controversial drone strikes are frequently at the center of the discussion. Turns out, Pine Gap might be playing a part in them…

Following one devastating drone strike in Pakistan in 2013, many human rights groups believed the intelligence gathered for the deadly attack originated in Pine Gap. They also called for the United Nations to investigate whether Australia was complicit in these strikes.

2. Edward Snowden became a household name when he blew the whistle on the NSA for keeping tabs on every kind of communication people had with each other. He also had some very interesting things to say about Pine Gap…

Snowden claimed that the Pine Gap facility is one of the major hubs the NSA uses to spy on the world. The base does closely monitor the many satellites orbiting Earth, so in theory, it has everything it needs to keep tabs on practically every form of communication…

3. One of the strangest stories regarding Pine Gap occurred in December 1989. Three men were returning home from an all-night hunting trip when they noticed a strange door hidden in the natural landscape of a nearby rock…

Suddenly, the door opened and a massive floating disc apparently appeared before them. It hovered for a brief moment, then shot up towards the sky and vanished. The rock-door then sealed shut as if it was never there to begin with. Spooky, huh?

4. One of the earliest recorded unexplainable events at Pine Gap took place in 1973. While carrying out work for the Australian government one evening, a cartographer witnessed a massive blue blaze rise from the base and light up the sky. And then…

As the worker slowly crept closer, he stared in shock as a huge metallic disc lifted off the ground. For the next 30 minutes, he claimed that blue beams of light shot out of the sides of the flying object, and then it blasted straight up into the sky and was gone.

5. In 1984, five men ventured onto the land surrounding Pine Gap after hearing multiple reports of UFO sightings. The leader of the group had a feeling something major was about to happen, so the team split into two and staked out of the grounds for five days…

Nothing happened for the first three days, but on the fourth, the men saw a massive beam of light shoot directly from the base and into the sky, where five mysterious shapes appeared overhead. A strange cloud then formed over the facility, but within minutes, both the cloud and the five shapes vanished.

6. In 1975, a small group of people aboard a private plane flying over Australia wanted a closer look at Pine Gap, so they veered off-course and flew almost directly overhead. While the group looked down at the base, a large white object took off with breakneck speed and vanished into the sky above them…

When the plane finally landed, the pilot filed a report of the mysterious sighting. When investigators at the base spoke with the pilot and his passengers, they apparently told them to forget everything they saw and never speak of it again.

7. Pine Gap employs roughly 1,000 people, and most of them live in nearby Alice Springs. Many who have studied the community say a majority of the residents claim to be gardeners. Researchers assume the employees strive to keep their professions such a secret that they use gardening as a cover for their real work inside Pine Gap.

8. Richard Sauder, a researcher and author who has studied Pine Gap extensively, claimed in one of his books that he firmly believes the base operates in alternate dimensions…

Sauder states that some of the experiments occurring in Pine Gap involve time travel and the creation of futuristic super-soldiers. Although fascinating, Sauder’s claims are all speculation, of course.

9. Some of the strangest conspiracy theories to come out of Pine Gap state that those CIA experiments with time travel and super-soldier programs actually take place—on Mars! You’ll never guess how…

According to aforementioned author and Pine Gap researcher Richard Sauder, a whistle-blower named Rich Hansen supposedly “left for Mars military service from a time portal in Australia.”

Unless the information coming out of Pine Gap suddenly becomes declassified, outrageous theories will always surround the mysteries lying deep within the facility. What do you think is the truth?

Share this mysterious military base with your friends below!