An alien internet meme has caused one Nevada county to declare a state of emergency before thousands of Area 51 enthusiasts descend upon small towns.
One event — called “Storm Area 51 Basecamp,” to be held at the Alien Research Center on Extraterrestrial Highway in Hiko (estimated population: 119) — will unfold on Sept. 21 and 22. Aside from “live music, expert speakers, food trucks, Alien-inspired retailers and art installations,” there will be a screening of Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell’s 2018 Netflix documentary, Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers.
Lazar is a physicist who in 1989 exposed the government’s alleged work on extraterrestrial spacecrafts, claiming he reverse-engineered the ships at the top-secret site S-4, close to Area 51, the U.S. Air Force facility that is rumored to house and test spaceships.
According to a press release, Basecamp tickets (on sale at Ticketmaster) are $51 a piece and cover the cost of admission, car-and-RV parking, two bottles of water, a food truck voucher for $10, and a branded lanyard. Retired U.S. Navy commander Dick Marcinko, who allegedly experienced a UFO sighting, will be a featured speaker.
The press release credits the Facebook event “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” for renewed fascination into whether the U.S. government is concealing knowledge of UFOs.
In June, a Bakersfield, Nev., man named Matty Roberts created the Facebook event “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” now with two million RSVPs and its own Wikipedia page, with a comedic mission for Sept. 20th and 22nd: “We will all meet up in Rural Nevada and coordinate our parties...Let’s see them aliens.”
The military tried to stop the viral event, with Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews telling ABC News, “The United States Air Force is aware of the Facebook post. The Nevada Test and Training Range is an area where the Air Force tests and trains combat aircraft. As a matter of practice, we do not discuss specific security measures, but any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous.”
Roberts rejiggered the Facebook event into a marketing tool for a real-life party called Alien Stock — also set for Sept. 20 to 22 — in Rachel, a 54-person town close to Area 54, just 44 miles from Hiko. “They can't stop us from gathering and celebrating Aliens!” reads Alien Stock’s website.
Brock Daily, 20, of Fayetteville, Ark., who is helping Roberts pull off the event, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “If we do this right, in a few years, it could be an annual gathering like SXSW and generate a lot of money for Rachel.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry D. Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle that at least 250 local deputies and 100 from nearby counties will patrol three areas: Storm Area 51 Basecamp, Alien Stock and Tikaboo Valley, a remote area between Hiko and Rachel where people search for UFOs.
Last week, county officials signed an emergency declaration, which will be submitted to the state, requesting backup for the 11,000 square-foot region that’s home to 6,500 residents. “That means we have exhausted our resources and can’t meet our needs,” Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “In some cases, we might call on state resources or even from neighboring counties or states.”
The last time Lincoln County filed for an emergency declaration was in 2016 when a former nurse died by suicide by detonating two bombs in the Mormon town of Panaca.
“We don’t know what to expect — hopefully most will be peaceful and just want to be near Area 51. But crossing that boundary means a citation for trespassing on a military site,” Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We get four or five trespassers per month — we recently put 17 people in custody. And two weeks ago, seven people tried to enter in the same time period.”
In 2012, a BBC film crew snuck past the entrance and was reportedly forced to the ground at gunpoint, where they remained for three hours until their identities were cleared.
Over in Rachel, all 10 rooms at the Little A’Le’Inn (the only public business in town) are booked solid. “The phone is still ringing all the time,” motel owner Connie West tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s terrifying, exhausting and exhilarating.”
West, who has run the inn for 32 years with her mother, says that neighbors are preparing themselves for the unknown. “There were fears that people were going to come and trash the town,” she says. “I ordered 30 portable restrooms, researched high-visibility fencing and barriers.”
To offset chaos, locals have offered their private land as public parking spaces and campsites. “We’re expecting 30,000 people to come into town,” says West.
The official Rachel website posted a warning: “Other than the Little A'Le'Inn, a small bar/restaurant/motel, there are no services in Rachel. There is no gas and no store… If you plan on attending the event you must be experienced in camping, hiking and surviving in a harsh desert environment and have a vehicle in good shape. You must be prepared to be completely on your own for food, water, gas etc. We expect cell service and the internet in Rachel to be offline. Credit card processing will not work, so bring enough cash… it is not uncommon to go below freezing at night in late September.”
The warning added, “And stay away from the residential part of Rachel. Most residents do not like where this event is going and will respond accordingly.”
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