It has begun: Alien enthusiasts are descending on the Nevada desert to 'storm' Area 51

Mandatory Fun

VIDEO: What 'Storm Area 51' will really look like

RACHEL, Nev. (Reuters) - UFO enthusiasts began descending on rural Nevada on Thursday near the secret U.S. military installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace.

Some residents of Rachel, a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base, worried their community might be overwhelmed by unruly crowds turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to "storm" Area 51. The town, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, lacks a grocery store or even a gasoline station.

Dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel's only business - an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A'Le'Inn - parking themselves in cars, tents and campers. A fire truck was stationed nearby.

Alien enthusiasts descend on the Nevada desert to 'storm' Area 51

(Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Attendees arrive at the Little A'Le'Inn as an influx of tourists responding to a call to 'storm' Area 51, a secretive U.S. military base believed by UFO enthusiasts to hold government secrets about extra-terrestrials, is expected Rachel, Nevada, U.S. September 19, 2019

One couple, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, both sporting UFO tattoos, traveled to Rachel from the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with 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, sizing up the crowd. "I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they getting themselves into."


Area 51 was shrouded in secrecy for decades, stoking conspiracy theories that it housed the remnants of a flying saucer and the bodies of its alien crew from the crash of an unidentified flying object in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The U.S. government did not confirm the base existed until 2013, when it released CIA archives saying the site was used to test top-secret spy planes.

The documents, however, did not end suspicion about space aliens there.

Rachel and its surroundings have long celebrated their place in UFO lore as a tourist draw. A 98-mile (158-km) road running through the area is dubbed the Extraterrestrial Highway, a purported hotbed of UFO sightings.

In June, California college student Matty Roberts posted a facetious Facebook invitation exhorting the public at large to run into Area 51 on foot to "see them aliens."

When more than 1 million people expressed interest, the U.S. Air Force admonished curiosity seekers not to breach the gates at the military base, which it said is still used to test combat aircraft and train personnel.

'No stopping it'

Roberts then teamed up with Connie West, co-owner of the Little A'Le'Inn, to plan a music festival in Rachel dubbed "Alienstock" to entertain the expected crowds.

In early September, however, Roberts disassociated himself from the Rachel event, saying it was poorly organized and he feared it could devolve into a public safety crisis. Instead, he helped stage an alternative Alienstock set to take place Thursday night in Las Vegas. Beer brand Bud Light signed on as a sponsor and designed limited-edition, green beer cans featuring alien heads.

West said the event in Rachel would go on as planned.

"It's happening. There was no stopping it," she said on Thursday, adding that some visitors had come from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. "I hope they just enjoy the party we are throwing."

About 40 miles (64 km) east of Rachel, the small town of Hiko planned an event called "Storm Area 51 Basecamp" at a gift shop dubbed the Alien Research Center. Organizers promised musicians, artists and "prominent ufologists," and by Thursday had sold 3,200 tickets, according to Linda Looney, manager of the shop."This whole thing has been a shock to this little community," she said, adding that organizers had hired 15 security guards and a private ambulance and ordered 80 portable toilets. "It's going to be really cool. I'm excited."

The influx of alien hunters prompted Lincoln County, which encompasses Rachel and Hiko, to draft an emergency declaration that could be invoked if needed to call in help from the state.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said visitors should expect "a large presence of law enforcement." Authorities urged everyone to bring ample supplies of food, water and fuel.

Bohen said he and McVey encountered five sheriff's patrol cars posted just outside the Area 51 gate, along with a handful of people who had come to take photos.

Despite a festive, peaceful mood back in town, the official Rachel website was decidedly unwelcoming.

"If any event still happens it is going to be a pretty sad affair with no bands, no food, very little infrastructure and a lot of unhappy campers," it said.


Photo: Twitter

For an organization that is constantly shining a light on things that would rather be kept out of the public eye, the moderators of U.S. Army WTF! Moments have done a remarkably impressive job at staying anonymous.

That is, until Monday.

Read More Show Less

For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.

"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.

In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.

"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."

Read More Show Less

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.

Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.

Read More Show Less
ABC News anchor Tom Llamas just before his network airs grossly inaccurate footage

Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.

Read More Show Less

The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.

On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.

Read More Show Less