- Title: Alien enthusiasts descend on Nevada desert near secretive U.S. base
- Date: 20th September 2019
- Summary: OUTSIDE RACHEL, LINCOLN COUNTY, NEVADA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE TO AREA 51 MILITARY FACILITY SIGN READING: "PHOTOGRAPHY OF THIS AREA IS PROHIBITED" VARIOUS OF CAMERAS AT ENTRANCE TO AREA 51 RAZOR WIRE FENCE WARNING SIGNS ON FENCE POLICE CAR AT GATE SIGN READING: "WARNING, MILITARY INSTALLATION, OFF LIMITS TO UNAUTHORIZED PERSONNEL" RADAR SEEN THROUGH AREA 51 FENCE RACHEL, NEVADA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF STREET SIGN FOR THE TOWN OF RACHEL CLOSE-UP OF RACHEL STREET SIGN READING: "POPULATION: HUMAN, YES. ALIENS ?" VIEW OF RACHEL'S MAIN SQUARE WHERE FESTIVAL IS DUE TO TAKE PLACE MOBILE HOME DRIVING PAST WITH PICTURE OF AN ALIEN ON WINDOW ALIEN PUPPET ON GROUND STATUE OF AN ALIEN CARRYING A BANNER READING: "WELCOME EARTHLINGS" VIEW OF LITTLE A'LE'INN (PRONOUNCED "LITTLE ALIEN"), WHICH IS CO-OWNED BY FESTIVAL ORGANIZER CONNIE WEST WEST WALKING OUT OF INN (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL INN OWNER AND FESTIVAL ORGANIZER, CONNIE WEST, SAYING: "You know I can't anticipate or predict what is going to happen. But do I think there is going to be a disaster? No. Do I think somebody might get hurt? Of course. It doesn't matter what you do. My friend tripped last night and she trips over her own feet. But, you know, I think we have a really good handle on it because of the people that are here, the people from all over the world who have come here to volunteer." SIGN SHOWING A FLYING SAUCER WITH THE CAPTION "SELF PARKING" (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL INN OWNER AND FESTIVAL ORGANIZER, CONNIE WEST, SAYING: "I've been told anywhere from 5 to 50,000 could be here. I don't know if that is going to happen or not." MAN CARRYING ALIEN MANNEQUIN THROUGH PARKING LOT POLICE CAR WOMAN POSING FOR PHOTOS WITH STATUE OF ALIEN WOMAN SHOWING OFF HER GREEN-PAINTED NAILS PEOPLE ARRIVING (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICHOLAS BOHEN, 28-YEARS-OLD, FROM FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA, SAYING: "Well there is too many reasons. I wanted ... I've always been into aliens because when I was born my uncle told me that my mom got abducted and turned me into a half-breed alien. I was told that story my whole life and I have always been into aliens, into the whole scene and I have always wanted to come out to Area 51 to see the black mailbox and whatever else. And there is not a better time than now to do it. So, I got the time off and everybody said I was crazy but it seemed like a good idea to me." VIEW OF ALIEN STATUE OUTSIDE THE ALIEN RESEARCH CENTER IN HIKO CLOSE-UP OF ALIEN STATUE WITH MOON VISIBLE IN THE SKY (SOUNDBITE) (English) CAYLA MCVEY, 25-YEARS-OLD, AND NICHOLAS BOHEN, 28-YEARS-OLD, FROM FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA, SAYING: (REPORTER QUESTION: Are you guys going to try to raid Area 51?) MCVEY: "No" BOHEN: "Hey, if other people are doing it." MCVEY: "I will be peacefully at the campsite" BOHEN: "I'm not going to be in the front and I am not going to be on the edge. But I will be tucked in the middle of the back." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE GATHERING FOR EVENT, SOME WITH TENTS HIKO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 19, 2019) (REUTERS) SIGN READING: "ALIEN RESEARCH CENTER" NEWS CREW REPORTING VARIOUS OF PRODUCTION CREW SETTING UP LARGE STAGE FOR FESTIVAL VIEW OF STORE INSIDE ALIEN RESEARCH CENTER/SIGN READING: "EXTRATERRESTRIAL HIGHWAY" PEOPLE SHOPPING (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEPHEN RAY, 28 YEARS-OLD, FROM COLORADO, SAYING: (REPORTER QUESTION: What are you expecting (to find at Area 51?) "I don't think anything, I've already been out there this morning and they've got a bunch of police officers out there, they've got it all blocked off pretty well. So, I don't actually know what is going to happen so that is going to be cool to find out." (SOUNDBITE) (English) JADEN LOPEZ, 16-YEARS-OLD, FROM COLORADO, SAYING: "Yeah, I just want to explore and see aliens because I really believe that they are here and they are going to come and get everyone." (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEPHEN RAY, 28 YEARS-OLD, FROM COLORADO, SAYING: "I don't know, it really depends on the situation and how many other people are going to be there. I'm not going to do it by myself, you know." MAN SHOPPING AT THE ALIEN RESEARCH CENTER T-SHIRT READING: "I STORMED AREA 51" MORE OF STORE INSIDE ALIEN RESEARCH CENTER STATUE OF MARILYN MONROE WEARING ALIEN GLASSES INFLATABLE ALIEN DOLL
- Embargoed: 4th October 2019 01:12
- Keywords: Aliens Area 51 Rachel alienstock storm Area 51
- Location: OUTSIDE RACHEL, RACHEL AND HIKO, NEVADA
- City: OUTSIDE RACHEL, RACHEL AND HIKO, NEVADA
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001AXBRY2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: UFO enthusiasts began descending on rural Nevada on Thursday (September 19) near the secret U.S. military installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace.
Some residents of Rachel, a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base, worried their community might be overwhelmed by unruly crowds turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to "storm" Area 51. The town, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, lacks a grocery store or even a gasoline station.
Dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel's only business - an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A'Le'Inn - parking themselves in cars, tents and campers. A fire truck was stationed nearby.
One couple, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, both sporting UFO tattoos, traveled to Rachel from the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with enough food to last for a week of car-camping.
"I've always been into aliens because when I was born my uncle told me that my mom got abducted and turned me into a half-breed alien," joked Bohen.
"I was told that story my whole life and I have always been into aliens, into the whole scene and I have always wanted to come out to Area 51 to see the black mailbox and whatever else. And there is not a better time than now to do it. So, I got the time off and everybody said I was crazy but it seemed like a good idea to me," he added.
Area 51 was shrouded in secrecy for decades, stoking conspiracy theories that it housed the remnants of a flying saucer and the bodies of its alien crew from the crash of an unidentified flying object in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. The U.S. government did not confirm the base existed until 2013, when it released CIA archives saying the site was used to test top-secret spy planes.
The documents, however, did not end suspicion about space aliens there.
Rachel and its surroundings have long celebrated their place in UFO lore as a tourist draw. A 98-mile (158-km) road running through the area is dubbed the Extraterrestrial Highway, a purported hotbed of UFO sightings.
In June, California college student Matty Roberts posted a facetious Facebook invitation exhorting the public at large to run into Area 51 on foot to "see them aliens."
When more than 1 million people expressed interest, the U.S. Air Force admonished curiosity seekers not to breach the gates at the military base, which it said is still used to test combat aircraft and train personnel.
Roberts then teamed up with Connie West, co-owner of the Little A'Le'Inn, to plan a music festival in Rachel dubbed "Alienstock" to entertain the expected crowds.
In early September, however, Roberts disassociated himself from the Rachel event, saying it was poorly organized and he feared it could devolve into a public safety crisis. Instead, he helped stage an alternative Alienstock set to take place Thursday night in Las Vegas. Beer brand Bud Light signed on as a sponsor and designed limited-edition, green beer cans featuring alien heads.
West said the event in Rachel would go on as planned.
"You know I can't anticipate or predict what is going to happen. But do I think there is going to be a disaster? No. Do I think somebody might get hurt? Of course. It doesn't matter what you do. My friend tripped last night and she trips over her own feet. But, you know, I think we have a really good handle on it because of the people that are here, the people from all over the world who have come here to volunteer," she said on Thursday, adding that some visitors had come from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
About 40 miles (64 km) east of Rachel, the small town of Hiko planned an event called "Storm Area 51 Basecamp" at a gift shop dubbed the Alien Research Center. Organizers promised musicians, artists and "prominent ufologists," and by Thursday had sold 3,200 tickets, according to the store manager.
The influx of alien hunters prompted Lincoln County, which encompasses Rachel and Hiko, to draft an emergency declaration that could be invoked if needed to call in help from the state.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said visitors should expect "a large presence of law enforcement." Authorities urged everyone to bring ample supplies of food, water and fuel.
Despite a festive, peaceful mood back in town, the official Rachel website was decidedly unwelcoming.
"If any event still happens it is going to be a pretty sad affair with no bands, no food, very little infrastructure and a lot of unhappy campers," it said.
(Production: Omar Younis)
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