The internet witnesses something going viral every day, but the one event that caught the eye of meme-makers was definitely ‘Storm Area 51’.
So what exactly is Area 51?
Area 51 is a United States Air Force facility located in Nevada. While this may sound like a normal military base, US citizens believe otherwise.
The existence of this military base was recognised only in 2013 after a Freedom of Information Act Request in 2005 for information on the U-2 aircraft was submitted. According to records, this area has been in use since 1955 but was acknowledged publicly only in 2013. The US government’s long period of denial for Area 51, along with the intimidating trespassing signs, security around the region and the inexplicable sightings in the surroundings, is probably what gave birth to the legend of Area 51 and aliens. To the unaware people in the neighbouring areas, the sights of a high-altitude aircraft in the 1950’s could only mean UFO’s, leading to the birth of various conspiracy theories about Area 51.
The alien conspiracy theories gained momentum in 1989 when Bob Lazar stated that he had helped reverse engineer an alien spacecraft that ran on an antimatter reactor powered by element 115, an element that had not been synthesised by humans back then. Today, he even has a Netflix documentary- ‘Bob Lazar: Area 51 and Flying Saucers’. This documentary talks about all the alien tech he worked with and the Government’s moves to quiet him down. Claims such as the one made by Lazar only added fuel to the fire.
The Government’s reaction to anything related to Area 51 only makes people more suspicious. The appointment of heavily armed defence contractors called the “camo dudes”, the close watch on people like Bob Lazar, all point to one conclusion.
While the truth behind Area 51 remains unknown to most of us, the legends with which it is associated have drawn a lot of tourists to the area. To promote tourism, the state renamed Route 375 to ‘The Extra-terrestrial Highway’. There are various destinations around like the Alien Research Centre and The Little A’Le’Inn.
The Facebook event-
The event, “Storm Area 51, They can’t stop all of us”, was created on Facebook by Matty Roberts, scheduled to take place on 20th September 2019. Matty described the event as- “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Centre tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we Naruto Run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.” While Matty’s intention was just to make a joke, the turnout proved otherwise. To everyone’s surprise, the event got over a million ‘interested’ and ‘going’ signatures. This was followed by the outbreak of a new genre of memes, social media posts, news articles, all just adding to the popularity of the event.
The ever-growing popularity caused the U.S. Government to issue official statements to deter people. On 10th July, Laura McAndrews, an Air Force spokesperson stated in an interview with the Washington Post that they were aware of the event and highly discourage any such illegal access. She further added that they are always prepared to protect the country’s assets.
Nevertheless, the event remains open on Facebook and has caused the surrounding town of Rachel to prepare for a huge tourist inflow. Local businesses, hotels, and tourist attractions anticipate profit from the whole event.
The day of 20th September definitely holds surprises. Surprises for the US Government, if 1.5 million people actually turn up to Naruto run, and surprises to the world if the truth behind Area 51 is finally uncovered on that day. Meanwhile, the rest of us can only wait until the day finally arrives.