Well, tomorrow is the day if you believe all the hype. The #StormArea51 movement, which has since been completely abandoned by its original creator, took on a life of its own. And now, the residents of tiny Rachel, Nevada (population approximately 50) are watching the first people arriving and the town seems to be holding its breath. Will there just be a handful of curious geeks or will thousands of UFO enthusiasts descend on them? (Associated Press)
“It’s happening. We already have people from all over the world,” Little A’Le’Inn proprietor Connie West said Wednesday from her bustling cafe and motel, where volunteers have arrived from Poland, Scotland, Australia, Florida, Idaho and Oklahoma.
Neighbors, elected officials and event organizers said the craze sparked by an internet joke inviting people to “see them aliens” might become a cultural marker, a monumental dud or something in between.
Area 51′s secrecy has long fueled fascination about extraterrestrial life, UFOs and conspiracy theories, giving rise to the events this week and prompting military warnings not to approach the protected site.
It’s probably safe to assume that all six rooms at the Little A’Le’Inn (yes, that is the total number of hotel rooms available in the entire town) are already occupied. The proprietor set up camping spaces for hundreds more and she should do well for herself this weekend if they are all sold out. Officials have taken down the iconic “Extraterrestrial Highway road sign (sorry, selfie addicts) on the assumption that somebody would probably try to steal it.
So what happens next is a mystery. If these people are just coming to party, the worst case scenario may just be a bunch of people suffering from dehydration and exposure in the desert. It gets down into the 30s at night sometimes and you can roast during the day. There isn’t even a gas station there, so people need to plan ahead. A failure to bring an adequate supply of water with you could be a lethal mistake.
Speaking of potentially lethal mistakes, what I’m really waiting to see is if anyone is actually stupid enough to try to go through the gates and enter the military base. Or even come up close to the gate for that matter. If they do, they’ll quickly become acquainted with the “Cammo Dudes” of Area 51. They will have their phones, laptops, cameras and any other electronics confiscated. Their names will immediately be added to the federal terrorist “no-fly” list, so they should get used to the idea of traveling by train. If they’re lucky and security thinks they are just idiots they may be sent on their way. If not, they may be held for questioning for days or even weeks.
If they don’t follow instructions, they could wind up dead. At least two people have been killed trying to enter Area 51 just in the past year (that we know of). The trespassers’ property will never be returned to them and there’s nothing you can do about it. (Thanks to an executive order issued by Bill Clinton under the Defense Secrets Act.) There are no laws beyond that fence aside from what the people inside say there are.
So if you’re going, be prepared, be careful and be smart. Stay alive and live to tell the tale. And if you’re not yet familiar with the “Cammo Dudes” and their tactics, just watch a few minutes of this video.