Millions are planning to 'storm' Area 51 in September -- or so they say

Air Force warns people not to 'illegally access' test site

By Thomas Metevia - Digital Content Producer
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A souvenir shop beckons visitors near a junction that leads to Area 51 on July 19, 2014, at Amergosa Valley, Nevada.

If you haven't already heard, people are apparently planning on going to an event made on Facebook titled: Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us.

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More than 1.5 million people have marked themselves as going, and another 1.1 million have said they are interested. The group agreed to meet from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sept. 30 in Amargosa Valley, Nevada.

But the Air Force doesn't think the event is funny -- and is now warning people not to "storm" Area 51.

It has warned people not to "illegally access" the Nevada Test and Training Range, perhaps better known as Area 51.

"The U.S. Air Force is aware of the Facebook event encouraging people to 'Storm Area 51,'" an Air Force spokesperson told NPR.

According to the event's page, the plan is to "Naruto run" toward the facility so the group can "move faster than their bullets," the event says. "Lets see them aliens."

If you aren't sure what a Naruto run is -- it looks like this:

"The Nevada Test and Training Range provides flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace to test and develop tactics as well as conduct advanced training in support of U.S. national interests. Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged," the Air Force spokesperson went on to tell NPR.

The event sounds like an internet joke, right?

"Yes, it sounds like a joke, but there apparently are some people who want to check out the joke," Connie West, the co-owner of Little A'Le'Inn (pronounced "little alien"), told NPR.

According to NPR, since the Facebook event launched, West's phone has been ringing off the hook with people hoping to book a room.

The 10 rooms are now full for the day of the event and West said most of the people who made the reservations asked her about the Area 51 gathering.

"Apparently, people are taking it seriously," West told NPR. "I think they're stupid if they think they're going to get to the test site, but I'm gonna capitalize on it."

For West, that means selling T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee cups and keychains at the inn's gift shop.

As most people know, Area 51 has been surrounded by conspiracy theories related to aliens and UFOs. The base was turned into a government facility in 2013.

While it's difficult to say just how many of the event backers know it is a joke versus how many are actually considering a trek to Nevada, it is clear that most of the thousands of posts on the page seem to suggest that it is not serious.

"We are forgetting something very crucial, we need vape lords to create a smokescreen to block out satellite and camera images," one user wrote.

The event was created by a 20-year-old man in California known as Val. He did not release his last name in fear of being harassed for making the event.

"I just thought it would be a funny idea for the meme page," Val said via Facebook Messenger to NPR. "And it just took off like wildfire. It's entirely satirical though, and most people seem to understand that."

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