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The hush-hush ground of Area 51 seems to be the perfect host of the equally mysterious Facebook event storming the internet. In case you’ve missed all the social media hubbub, one Facebook user created an open-invitation event called, “Storm Area 51. They Can’t Stop All of Us.” Since its conception in June 2019, the event—scheduled to happen on September 20th—has been modified and basically removed, which seems like a smart move for a variety of reasons. If you were, or still are, planning on raiding the highly restricted, Air Force-run property, here’s what you should know.
The Roots: Roswell, NM
It’s no secret that people are drawn to the unanswered and the off-limits; Area 51 is a hotbed for both. However, the only people who know anything about what transpires on the grounds of the Air Force-owned area are those who work there. As a result of its secretive nature, there are many theories and conspiracies surrounding what’s actually being held, or not held, at Area 51—many of which stem from testing that occurred in the 1950s.
One morning in 1947, about 75 miles from the town of Roswell, New Mexico, a rancher named Mac Brazel found a mess of metallic sticks held together with tape, chunks of plastic and foil reflectors, and scraps of heavy paper-like material in his sheep pasture. Brazel called Roswell’s sheriff to help identify the mess. The sheriff called officials at the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. Soldiers fanned out across Brazel’s field, gathered the debris, and took it away in armored trucks. This was not the only “UFO sighting” activity of its kind. Other odd situations like this occurred in surrounding areas, but no true explanation was given to those who discovered the sky trash.
Concurrently during the 1950s and 1960s, high speed and high altitude aircrafts were being tested. More than half of UFO sightings were confirmed to be these aircrafts. The stories you have heard about the government collecting “stuff” from places like Roswell, New Mexico may be true, but their collection definitely did not consist of shiny UFO parts. And yet, people continue to have their own conspiracies about these black programs said to exist at Area 51, hence leading to viral events like “Storm Area 51. They Can’t Stop All of Us”
An Internet Phenomenon
Just three months ago, a Facebook user created the page, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” as a comedic, satirical event. As of now, there are 2.1M users who replied with a “Going” RSVP. Most of these participants, however, seem to understand that the event is totally satirical and isn’t calling for true action.
Rachel, Nevada, the unwilling “host” location of the event, consists of just a few blocks of small houses and a hotel/bar/restaurant/souvenir store. That being said, this is no place for a massive, controversial herd of people or any kind of conspiracy party.
In addition to the illegality of storming an Air Force base, Rachel, Nevada is also in no way equipped for an influx of visitors. The closest gas pump is around 50 miles away. Campers would freeze throughout the night and likely overheat and dehydrate during the day. Simply put, there aren’t enough food sources, toilets, lodging, or resources for an event of this magnitude.
As a disclaimer to members of the group, the founding user even disavowed responsibility for any casualties if people do actually attempt to raid the military base. Knowing the restricted nature and legal action taken towards trespassers, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to take this light-hearted internet fad too seriously.
If you’re one of the “Going” Facebook event respondents, there are a few things you should be aware of before making the trip to Nevada.
If you’re looking for answers, you won’t get them. Sure, locals can tell you what they’ve “seen, heard, or experienced” from an alien or UFO standpoint in Rachel. But, none of them will be able to give you a sure-fire answer as to what truly goes on at this Air Force base. The only people with a grasp on the flight testing and other government activity that occurs are those heavily-screened, top-secret employees and officials.
If you want a closer look, you won’t get it. From the ground to the sky, Area 51 officials are ready for intruders. Airspace around Area 51 in Nevada will be closed to news helicopters and drones this week in anticipation of the event. The facility is also totally surrounded by fencing and “No Trespassing” signs. Driving into the gated area may appear simple, but we can guarantee law enforcement is waiting for you at the door; this was precisely the case for two Internet personalities looking to get an up-close peek at the grounds. Two Dutch YouTubers decided to make one last pit-stop in America before heading home to the Netherlands. With a car full of camera equipment, the friends mozied on into the completely off-limits base and were very quickly arrested, fined, and placed in a small Nevada jail all at the expense of “getting a closer look.”
If you’re thinking of “sneaking in,” think again. Security at Area 51 doesn’t mess around, and neither does The Air Force. Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews recently told the Washington Post that the area “is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.” There will be no slipping through the cracks for a sneak peek.
If you are planning on storming this government-owned, highly-restricted, Air Force base, don’t. There are plenty of less dangerous ways to learn about Area 51 that don’t put you or others in danger. Brent and Ryan’s Ripley’s Believe It or Notcast interview with aerospace historian, Peter Merlin is a great way to learn from a professional expert on this area. Annie Jacobsen’s book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, is a deep-dive for the extremely curious. And, if you’re looking for more unreachable, off-limits bucket list curiosities, check out this episode of Cool Stuff, Strange Things.
Bottom line: unless your ultimate goals are to wind up in handcuffs, jail, intensive questioning, and debt from fines, we recommend conducting your Area 51 research from the comfort of your own home.