Although Facebook took down the viral event invite to “Storm Area 51,” only 150 people showed up Friday (and two were detained) outside the secret government facility’s gates to see the extraterrestrial evidence long-rumored to be housed there.
It started off as a joke. Matty Roberts created a Facebook event July 27, called it “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All Of Us,” and scheduled it for September 20. After about three days, the event page took off, with over 2 million Facebook RSVPs and another 1.2 million marked as “interested” in attending before site administrators took it down.
- Since then, other associated events, like music festivals, sprung up in place of raiding the base and will run throughout the weekend
- The festivals ultimately attracted 1,500 people to neighboring towns, according to the Associated Press. Of that number, 150 people traveled within sight of the Area 51 gates and about 75 actually approached the gates Friday morning.
- Two individuals were detained by the local sheriff’s deputies. It’s unclear who was detained and why, although one woman allegedly attempted to duck under the gates and a man was allegedly publicly urinating in the vicinity.
- Some of the attendees showed up at the gates as early as 3 a.m.
“People desire to be part of something, to be ahead of the curve. 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,” said University of Nevada sociologist Ken Borer in an interview with the local ABC affiliate.
The U.S. military. Warnings were issued that lethal force would be used if necessary to keep people from entering Area 51.
The conspiracies surrounding Area 51 and its purported uses. Although rumors circulated about the base for decades, the CIA only acknowledged its existence in 2013 when a report from 1992 was declassified. It stated that the base was used to test spy planes. But it’s still mostly unclear what the government uses the facility for.