Photo by Emil Kołodziej

In July 2019, more than 2,000,000 people responded to a joke proposal to storm Area 51; which appeared in an anonymous Facebook post. A further 1,500,000 people said they were interested in the event, scheduled for 20 September 2019, and billed as “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us”, an attempt to “see them aliens.” Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said government officials knew about the proposal. In a statement to The Washington Post, she said: “Area 51 is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets. The media reported that the proposal’s creator has said it was satirical and meant as a joke.Between 1,500 and 3,000 people showed up at the festivals in rural Nevada, while over 150 people made the journey over several miles of rough roads to get near the gates to Area 51.In one instance, authorities dispersed 40 people gathered around the gate.Five people were reportedly arrested at the event. All jokes aside, what exactly is Area 51 because we’re clearly not buying into Ms. McAndrews’ explanation? The CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time on June 25, 2013, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in 2005. Details of the facility’s operations are not publicly known, but the USAF says that it is an open training range, and it most likely supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. Sure, sure. The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component of unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.The base has never been declared a secret base, but all research and occurrences in Area 51 are Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). So let’s all just agree that the base is being used as storage, examination, and reverse engineering of crashed alien spacecraft, including material supposedly recovered at Roswell, the study of their occupants, and the manufacture of aircraft based on alien technology. Because, what else can it possibly be?

Story by Annika Sharber.