Nearly three-quarters of a million people (As of this writing) have signed up to storm one the U.S. government’s most mysterious bases on Sept. 20. Cutting edge high-tech aircraft are developed and tested at so-called Area 51 and rumor has it the base also houses a program to back-engineer alien spacecraft captured by the U.S. military. Now, via social media, those wanting answers to what goes on at Area 51 are organizing to take it upon themselves to find out.
A Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” had received over 700 thousand responses as of the writing of this article, and the number is rising sharply. The story is being covered by nearly every major news outlet.
Area 51 is a classified base in the Nevada Test and Training Area which is part of the Nellis Air Force Base complex. Although the public has known about the base since the 80s, its existence was denied by the U.S. government until the CIA decided to allow its existence to be acknowledged in 2013.
Earlier that year, I took the Kardashian/Jenner clan to Area 51 for an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. At the time, it was both the most secretive and, debatably, most famous U.S. Air Force installation.
The base got its alien reputation in 1989 when a man named Bob Lazar claimed to have worked at a facility just south of Area 51 near Papoose Lake called S-4. Lazar said he was then bused from Area 51 to S-4 where there was an underground facility that housed several alien spacecraft. He claimed his job was to back-engineer the alien technology used by the spaceship.
Lazar’s story became a worldwide sensation and made Area 51 a household name, while the government was still denying its existence. Meanwhile, the tourism industry embraced Area 51’s newfound notoriety. Gift shops popped up in the area, and regular tours to the gates and roads leading to the base started up. Signs warning visitors not to continue going onto the base became a popular attraction. Some of the signs claimed deadly force could be used to secure the base.
So what will happen to truth-seekers that attempt to storm the base on Sept. 20? Let’s take a look at the fate of some of those who have crossed the line and lived to tell the story.
In 2012, a BBC film crew filming a show called “Conspiracy Road Trip: UFOs,” made the fateful decision to cross the line, literally. Huffington Post blogger and U.K.-based UFO researcher Darren Perks was part of the BBC production crew.
“We went to the Area 51 boundary, specifically to film at that location. We also made a collective decision to walk onto the restricted area and continue filming,” Perks told the Huffington Post. “It was a wrong thing that we did, and there will be a lot of people in the States that don’t like it. The thing is, it happened, it wasn’t staged or set up. We went there to film and overstepped the mark — we went a bit too far.”
According to Perks, the guard station at the gates appeared to be unoccupied. The group wandered past the entrance to film and ventured up to 200 yards past the gates filming for about 30 minutes. Apparently, the lack of security guards made the BBC crew feel too comfortable. One of the team knocked on the door of the guard station.
“Eight guards wearing combat fatigues immediately came out with their assault rifles and they grabbed us,” claims Perks. “[The guards] forced us to the ground and we were all made to lie facedown in a row on the tarmac with a gun at our back.”
Perks says they were kept in this position with their faces in the dirt for hours while the guards confiscated their equipment. Finally, the Lincoln Country Sheriff sent officers to bring the group in for questioning.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee says Perks’ account is not entirely accurate. According to Lee, his officers arrived within 30 minutes. Lee also says the guards at Area 51 were watching the BBC crew’s every move but did not approach them until they had gone too far.
Lee says the group was brought out onto a public road and questioned, issued citations and then released. The crew was fined $600 for their incursion.
Perks says the ordeal took hours. He also claims that he asked one of the guards if he had seen any UFOs while working out here. He was told, “You know I can’t answer that question.”
Perks says he prodded further and was warned by the guard, “Son, we could make you disappear, and your body will never be found.”
Another guard allegedly told the film crew, “If any of you had kept going, we would have shot you.”
In another incident in 2014, a tour bus driver inadvertently drove past the signs while taking a group out to see the gates. The tour included a couple from the U.K. and a mother and son from the east coast.
Denis Ryan, the driver of the tour van, was distracted by a question about sports. He missed the warning sign and a minute or two later his passengers noticed a white truck following them.
The tourists thought it was all part of the tour, but once he saw the truck following them, Ryan told the group, “I apologize for this. Those are the Men in Black.”
Once again, the Area 51 guards — often referred to as “cammo dudes” — held the perps until Lincoln County deputies arrived. The passengers and the driver were cited for trespassing and given court dates. They were facing a $650 fine per person and a misdemeanor conviction.
Will Tryon, a co-owner of the tour company Ryan worked for, told KLAS 8 News, “We were afraid they would issue a bench warrant for these people, turn good tourists into criminals.”
Lincoln County dropped the charges for all but the driver, who they barred from conducting Area 51 tours for at least two years.
A third incident was posted on YouTube by Jeremiah Hasvold. In the video, Hasvold and his son are visiting a landmark off of the highway that marks one of the dirt roads leading to the base. While Hasvold and his son were visiting the spot, they met some tourists who did not appear to speak English well. The foreign tourists intended to go to the Area 51 gate, so Hasvold and his son followed them.
Hasvold stopped at the signs and tried to warn the others to go no further, but the other tourists kept going. Hasvold captured what happened next on video.
The family that kept going was stopped by a white truck only seconds after passing the signs. Two guards come out of the truck, one holding a camera, the other a gun. They appear to instruct the passengers of the vehicles to exit the car with their hands raised. The driver is then asked to approach the guards with his hands raised, walking backward towards the guards.
The video ends there, and Hasvold does not provide any more information as to who the tourists were or what happened to them. It remains a mystery. Although, given the other stories, the “cammo dudes” likely detained the tourists until the Lincoln County deputies could arrive and fine them and send them on their way.
I called the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office to find out if they are taking any special precautions to prepare for the potential storming of Area 51 in September. Although they acknowledged they were aware of the event, they had no comment.
MSN was able to get in touch with U.S. Air Force Spokeswoman Laura McAndrews to ask the same question.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train America armed forces,” McAndrews told MSN. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
Although no one has been harmed trying to get on the base, as far as I know, the base is miles from the signs warning people to go no further, so those trying to get to the base have a long way to go before getting to see anything secret.
Not only that, getting guns drawn on you and your face shoved in the dirt, then receiving a fine of $600 for your efforts, does not sound fun. I shared some of these stories with the Kardashian/Jenners while driving on the dirt roads leading to the base. As can be seen in the episode, they were thoroughly frightened of passing the signs once we got there.
The storming of Area 51 is regarded mainly as a joke. However … I am half tempted to go and bring a camera to record what happens. I think the odds of anyone discovering any secrets are slim.
However, the odds of people doing something dumb and getting in trouble are much higher.
Alejandro Rojas is a radio host for Open Minds Radio, editor and contributing writer for Open Minds magazine as well as OpenMinds.tv. For several years Alejandro was the official spokesperson for the Mutual UFO Network as the Director of Public Education. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.