'We're Preparing For The Worst': Why People Are Flocking To Area 51
The Facebook event has been canned and an arrest warning issued, but it hasn't stopped dozens of people flocking to the American desert to 'see them aliens'.
Campervans and four-wheel drives have descended on the tiny town of Rachel in the Nevada desert near the top-secret Air Force base known as Area 51.
It all started in June when a guy called Matty Roberts launched a Facebook group 'Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All Of Us' as a joke, promising that if enough people gathered at the Air Force base, they could "move faster than bullets" and "see them aliens".
Within months, two million people had confirmed they would attend, with some taking the charge more seriously than others.
And people have started rocking up. Some hung inflatable aliens from their campers, others pitched tents ahead of what authorities fear could be a hectic weekend.
Little is known about what happens within the boundaries of Area 51 but for decades there has been a conspiracy theory that it holds all of the U.S. government's secrets about aliens -- hence the battle cry: "Let's see them aliens".
It has been the subject of science fiction films, TV shows and literature, despite it not officially acknowledged until 2013, when the CIA declassified documents that, for the first time, recognised that Area 51 was used as a "test base".
There is no grocery store and no service station in the area, only a tiny little bed and breakfast, fittingly called Little A’Le’Inn.
Nobody has a clue how many people will actually show up -- it could be hundreds, it could be tens of thousands.
That's despite the official tourist page for the region warning travellers to "STAY AWAY FROM RACHEL THIS WEEKEND!"
Roberts, the guy who started it all, said he was in fear that the "FBI's going to show at my house" admitting it "got a little spooky from there".
So, he changed track, canned the storming event and instead began to promote Alienstock Festival -- a music festival celebrating aliens to be held in Las Vegas on the same weekend.
In another blow to the weekend's plans, the event, dubbed 'Fyre Fest 2.0,' was dumped "due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000+ AlienStock attendees," according to the festival's website.
Alien enthusiasts, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, have still driven to Rachel, Nevada and packed enough food to last for a week of car-camping.
"It's evolved into a peaceful gathering, a sharing of life stories," McVey told Reuters.
"I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they are getting themselves into."
But, it appears there are some who are still taking the original storming event seriously.
Ohio real estate investor Art Frasik told the BBC that he and others were determined to enter the facility to "expose and embrace the discovery of the aliens".
"I'm going into Area 51 because our American tax dollars funds this facility and after 70 years of hiding alien technology from the world, it's our right to see it," he said.
If those, like Frasik, decide to go through with the break-in, it will be live-streamed, Area 15 confirmed on Twitter.
It's a risky move. Already two men, both from the Netherlands, have been arrested after entering a secure U.S. government site about 15 kilometres from Area 51.
According to the Nye County Sheriff's office, Ties Granzier, 20, and Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep, 21, told deputies they spoke, wrote and read English, and understood the "No Trespassing" signage but wanted to check out the facility anyway.
Granzier, a YouTube personality had been filming inside the area.
Photo: Nye County Sheriff's office
Authorities say they are prepared for an influx.
The Federal Aviation Administration closed nearby air space this week while hundreds of law enforcement officers and medics will be on hand, along with the Nevada national guard.
"We are preparing for the worst," said Joerg Arnu, a Rachel resident told the Associated Press.
He has strung up outdoor floodlights, fencing and 'NoTrespassing' signs across his 30-acre property.
He fears that people will show up with food and water, wearing shorts and thongs.
Matty Roberts is the man behind the mayhem. Photo: KLAS-TV
"That doesn't protect you against critters, snakes and scorpions," Arnu said.
"It will get cold at night. They're not going to find what they're looking for, and they are going to get angry."
The U.S.Air Force has done little to quell the alien speculation in the midst of this Facebook drama, explaining only that people need to stay away.
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