A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Did They See Them Aliens?

What has driven millions of people to sign up to “storm” Area 51, the U.S. government’s military base? It’s clearly just a bit of fun by internet jokesters, but the U.S. military isn’t laughing.

 The truth is out there, but it’s probably not at Area 51, the secretive US military base in the Nevada desert that has been the target of alien conspiracy theories for decades. Now, millions of people have signed up to a tongue-in-cheek Facebook event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” planned for 3:00 A.M. on September 20th, 2019.

What do these people plan to do? The creators of the page have stated their plans. “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.” “Naruto run” is a reference to an anime television show in which the main character is a ninja who runs leaning forward with his arms outstretched behind him. Try it yourself. You’ll look ridiculous.

Naruto runner infiltrating the military instillation

Who are these people? They’re internet jokesters. Their “plan” includes different battalions made up of “Kyles” (internet slang for aggressive guys), “People Armed To The Teeth,” and “Undercover Aliens,” to mention a few. That is to say, none of this is real. One person who posted a map of the supposed attack added, “P.S. Hello U.S. government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan.” The meme has spread to several social media platforms and spawned so, so many TikTok videos of teens joking about how they’d get along with their new alien friends.

What is Area 51? It’s a real military base, run by the U.S. Air Force and used for testing stealth planes. The projects there have long been held secret, and confirmation of the base’s location about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas and the first official mention of its existence came only in 2013, when the US Central Intelligence Agency declassified a report on the history of the Lockheed U-2 spy plane. The testing of those planes likely led to the numerous reports of Unidentified Flying Objects in the area, though none have been confirmed to be of extraterrestrial origins. The name comes from a convention of naming the plots of land on the base. There are other numbered areas on the base, which were designated by the now-defunct Atomic Energy Commission. In any case, the Area 51 raid was out of this world.