Area 51 raid: people gather near military base to ‘see them aliens’

Connie West, copropietaria de un motel de temática alienígena en el pequeño puesto desértico de Rachel, en el estado de Nevada, cree que vendrán sea como sea. No los extraterrestres, sino los cazadores de extraterrestres.

Una extravagante invitación en Facebook ha instado a los entusiastas de los ovnis a reunirse el 20 de septiembre y “asaltar” el Área 51, una base militar estadounidense que se rumorea desde hace mucho tiempo que alberga extraterrestres y naves espaciales. Más de 2 millones de usuarios de Facebook han dicho que planean asistir.

Los residentes de Rachel, a 240 kilómetros de Las Vegas y hogar de unas 50 personas, están divididos sobre cómo responder.

Algunos advierten seriamente al público que se mantenga alejado por temor a que grandes multitudes desborden un pueblo sin estación de servicio o tienda de alimentos. Otros, incluida West, creen que lo mejor es darles la bienvenida con un festival de música llamado Alienstock.

Una persona lleva un letrero afuera de una puerta hacia el Área 51, ya que en Rachel se espera una afluencia de turistas que responden a una llamada para ‘asaltar’ el Área 51, una base militar secreta de los EE. UU. Que los entusiastas de los ovnis creen que tiene secretos gubernamentales sobre extraterrestres Nevada, EE. UU., 20 de septiembre de 2019. REUTERS / Jim Urquhart

“Estamos tratando de descubrir cómo hacer que esto sea positivo viniendo de algo absolutamente negativo”, dijo West en una entrevista. “Puedes combatirlo, pero está llegando”, agregó.

West, con su madre, dirige el único negocio de Rachel, el motel y restaurante Little A’Le’Inn, que fue abrumado con llamadas telefónicas apenas apareció la publicación en Facebook. Estima que al menos 30.000 personas llegarán el 20 de septiembre y está intentando conseguir suficientes baños químicos. Hasta mediados de agosto, había encontrado 30.

La pequeña propietaria de A’Le’Inn, Connie West, habla sobre los preparativos, ya que se espera en Rachel una afluencia de turistas que responden a un llamado a ‘asaltar’ el Área 51, una secreta base militar estadounidense que los entusiastas de los ovnis creen que tiene secretos gubernamentales sobre extraterrestres. , Nevada, EE. UU., 19 de septiembre de 2019. REUTERS / Jim Urquhart

Área 51 estuvo cubierto por un halo de secreto durante décadas, alimentando teorías conspirativas de que albergaba cuerpos de extraterrestres y una nave espacial que se estrelló en Roswell, Nuevo México.

El gobierno de Estados Unidos confirmó la existencia de la base recién en 2013, cuando publicó archivos de la CIA que decían que el sitio era usado para probar aviones espías secretos. Los documentos no mencionaban nada de pequeños hombres verdes o platillos voladores, pero eso no puso fin a la suspicacia.

Rachel y sus alrededores promocionaron durante mucho tiempo su lugar como atracción turística. Una carretera de 158 kilómetros que atraviesa el área se conoce como la Carretera Extraterrestre, un supuesto semillero de avistamientos de ovnis.

Reuters

A woman carries a sign outside a gate to Area 51 in Rachel, Nevada, on Friday. Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

ENGLISH

Photographer said it was unclear if arrests were made as crowd gathered at 3am Friday in response to hoax to ‘raid’ the base

About 75 people arrived early Friday at a gate at the once secret Area 51 military base in Nevada at the time appointed by an internet hoaxster to “storm” the facility to see space aliens and at least two were detained by sheriff’s deputies.

The Storm Area 51 invitation spawned festivals in the tiny Nevada towns of Rachel and Hiko nearest the military site, and a more than two-hour drive from Las Vegas.

The Lincoln county sheriff, Kerry Lee, estimated late Thursday that about 1,500 people had gathered at the festival sites and said more than 150 people also made the rugged trip several additional miles on bone-rattling dirt roads to get within selfie distance of the gates.

An Associated Press photographer said it wasn’t immediately clear if a woman who began ducking under a gate and a man who urinated nearby were arrested after the crowd gathered about 3am Friday.

‘Alien hunters’ dance to live music in Rachel, Nevada, on Thursday night. Photograph: Bridget Bennett/AFP/Getty Images

Millions of people had responded to a June internet post calling for people to run into the remote US air force test site that has long been the focus of UFO conspiracy theories. “They can’t stop all of us,” the post joked. “Lets see them aliens.”

The military responded with stern warnings that lethal force could be used if people entered the Nevada Test and Training Range, and local and state officials said arrests would be made if people tried.

“It’s public land,” the sheriff said. “They’re allowed to go to the gate, as long as they don’t cross the boundary.”

A music group called Wily Savage erected a stage Thursday near the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel and began playing after dark for several hundred campers who braved overnight temperatures about 45F (7C).

The music kicked off weekend events inspired by an internet hoax to “see them aliens” that the Lincoln county sheriff, Kerry Lee, said had drawn perhaps 1,500 people to two tiny desert towns.

Lee said late on Thursday that more than 150 people also made the rugged trip on washboard dirt roads to get within selfie distance of two gates to the Area 51 US air force installation that has long fueled speculation about government studies of space aliens and UFOs.

The air force has issued stern warnings for people not to try to enter the Nevada Test and Training Range, where Area 51 is located.

Lee said no arrests were made.

“It’s public land,” the sheriff said. “They’re allowed to go to the gate, as long as they don’t cross the boundary.”

Authorities reported no serious incidents so far in Rachel and Hiko, the two towns closest to Area 51,on a road dubbed the Extraterrestrial Highway two hours from Las Vegas.

Earlier in Rachel, Wily Savage guitarist Alon Burton said he saw a chance to perform for people who, like Martinez, were looking for a scene in which to be seen.

“It started as a joke, but it’s not a joke for us,” he said. “We know people will come out. We just don’t know how many.”

Michael Ian Borer, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas sociologist who researches pop culture and paranormal activity, called the event “a perfect blend of interest in aliens and the supernatural, government conspiracies and the desire to know what we don’t know”.

The result, Borer said, was “hope and fear” for events that include the “Area 51 Basecamp” featuring music, speakers and movies in Hiko, and festivals in Rachel and Las Vegas competing for the name Alienstock.

“People desire to be part of something, to be ahead of the curve,” Borer said. “Area 51 is a place where normal, ordinary citizens can’t go. When you tell people they can’t do something, they just want to do it more.”

Eric Holt, the Lincoln county emergency manager overseeing preparations, said he believed authorities could handle a total of 30,000 visitors to Rachel and Hiko.

Still, neighbors braced for trouble after millions of people responded to the Storm Area 51 Facebook post weeks ago.

“Those that know what to expect camping in the desert are going to have a good time,” said Joerg Arnu, a Rachel resident who can see the festival grounds from his home.

Those who show up in shorts and flip-flops will find no protection against “critters, snakes and scorpions”.

“It will get cold at night. They’re not going to find what they’re looking for, and they are going to get angry,” Arnu said.