Welcome to October, everybody! Spooky season is here! The skeletons are out to play, and pumpkins have become more menacing. It’s the time where ghosts and creepy clowns have their moment in the spotlight. In honor of the scary season, I wanted to talk about, and learn more about, my biggest fear:
Yes – aliens. I know what you’re thinking – aliens are so September. Especially with the Area 51 raid. But, that’s exactly why I want to write about them today. Because I ignored the raid completely, and now I feel out of touch.
I’ve heard a lot about Area 51 over the years, as you can imagine, but I never paid any attention to it. This was for one pretty major reason – I AM TERRIFIED OF ALIENS. I’m not kidding when I say they are my biggest fear. Irrational, maybe. But I’m so afraid of them, that at one point when I was younger and I hadn’t slept for days after my friends made me watch the movie Signs, my dad (out of sheer frustration) had to say to me (and I quote): “JESS. Out of the billions of people in this world, you really think the aliens are going to come for you?”. Which, now is the most hilarious parenting moment I can think of. And he probably had a point, honestly. If I was an alien, I’m going straight for government officials and billionaires. Probably not 12 year olds in the middle of nowhere Canada. But, I can’t say it helped the fear much.
With that in mind, you can imagine the lengths I went to to avoid ANY talk about aliens over the years. This became practically impossible when earlier this year, the internet seemed to explode over the idea that everyone was going to storm Area 51 in September and find what the US government has been hiding from us. Now that the raid’s over and no aliens were found (thank God. I would have been pissed if they did, honestly. I can’t imagine how I’d live my life with concrete proof that they exist), I figured it was as good of a time as ever to sacrifice a night (or a couple) of sleep, and get myself in the know about what the big deal is with Area 51. Without further ado, let’s get this over with shall we?
Back in June 2019 Joe Rogan released a Podcast episode interviewing a man named Bob Lazar. You may know our buddy Bob from being the man who in the late 1980s/early 1990s made many claims that the S4 Outpost at Area 51 was being used to reverse engineer extraterrestrial technology, and was not only housing nine flying saucers but part of the crew itself. And Lazar would know all of this because he worked at the S4 Outpost. He claims to have seen one of the aliens (which were allegedly referred to as “the kids”) through a window of a door at S4, prior to being pushed away by a guard.
The Joe Rogan Podcast episode with Lazar seemed to have reinvigorated interest in Area 51, specifically within a college student named Matty Roberts. Roberts brought this interest to Facebook, creating a group called “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All of Us”, urging others to join in on a plan to congregate in Nevada on September 20, 2019 and storm (or Naruto run at) the gate to Area 51. And this is when the internet communally lost. its. mind.
Before I get into the Roberts’ Area 51 raid, the events around it, and the outcome of it, I want to take a step back and figure out why on earth (pun intended) Area 51 is so important. And to do that – let’s go all the way back to November 1954.
In 1954, CIA officer Robert Bissell joined CIA director Allen Dulles in a confidential program named “Aquatone”. This program was established with the goal to build a “high altitude reconnaissance aircraft”, with the intention to fly over the Soviet Union undetected. This aircraft would come to be known as the Lockheed U-2. To the best of my knowledge, Bono had no involvement with this specific U-2 project.
In April 1955, Bissell and a few others selected an area near Groom Lake, Nevada as a flight testing sight for the U-2. This spot became better known by it’s map location – you guessed it – Area 51.
Alleged UFO sightings became a common occurrence around Area 51 – the government stating that these were not UFOs, but merely test flights of the U-2. The secrecy and the potential UFO sightings made Area 51 a prime target for alien conspiracy theories and the like.
Area 51 was by no means the instigator of alien sightings and conspiracies. In 1947, a pilot named Kenneth Arnold claimed to have seen nine unidentified lightning fast objects in the sky (convenient number choice, right Bob Lazar?). During the same time, rancher WW Mac Brazel (literally the coolest name ever) discovered rubber strips, tin foil and other paper debris in a field near Roswell, New Mexico. Brazel reported this to the US Government – the Military first stating that this may have been a “flying saucer”, but quickly changing this to “weather balloon”. Brazel holding to the fact that what he saw was no mere weather balloon.
This was to become known as the Roswell Incident. A book titled the same came out in the 1980s, claiming that the original debris was moved to Ohio and replaced with the debris of a weather balloon. So-called witnesses over the years have also made many bold claims about the incident, some saying they’ve seen the saucer, and some stating they saw alien bodies. Bodies that were moved to a little place in Nevada that you probably haven’t heard of…
In the 1990s, the US government came out to say that the debris at Rockwell was in fact a Cold War surveillance balloon and any bodies were simply dummies from parachute tests. As you can imagine, many weren’t buying that for a second.
In the 1990s, Bob Lazar had also revealed his identity (originally going by “Dennis” in his first interviews) for “safety purposes” and continued to talk about what he saw at the S4 Outpost.
Have I mentioned yet that up to this point Area 51 still hasn’t been acknowledged by the government? Yeah. That didn’t happen until August 2013. Even now, Area 51 is simply marked with a chain link fence and warning signs.
And just like that, we’ve made it back to summer 2019. Matty Roberts’ Facebook group that I mentioned earlier – yup, millions of people have responded to it now, with over a million stating that they are joining the raid in September. Some understanding that it’s a joke, others outlining detailed plans of how a million people are going to storm the gate. The event’s premise is simple: “Let’s see them aliens”.
I can’t begin to touch on the countless memes that came out of the internet’s quick and all encompassing obsession with the event. But, Roberts took this opportunity to turn it into something bigger. He joined forces with a restaurant in the small town of Rachel, Nevada (the closest town to Area 51) to create what would have been a music festival experience. Roberts claimed to have big acts in talks to perform at “Alienstock” and was offering weekend camping and parking passes for the event. Roberts pulled out of this idea two weeks ahead of the event, stating he didn’t want to be part of “Fyre Fest 2.0” and warned that if he continued it could have been a “humanitarian disaster”.
Even with Roberts seeming to disassociate himself with any events happening in the desert – and with the Air Force warning that because it is an active training site, it is actually dangerous to be near Area 51 – many still planned on making the trek.
On September 20th, Roberts held a Budwiser sponsored party in Las Vegas (which included an autograph session with Roberts). Meanwhile, many others actually met at the A’le’inn hotel in Rachel, Nevada in the wee hours of the morning. The “raid” was not so much of a raid, as it was an influx of tourists at Area 51. It was peaceful, seemingly, and there was no need for Naruto running – unless you were this guy behind the news camera:
That guy is the best part of all of this, really.
Here we are in the present – did we discover if aliens are being held at Area 51? No. Did the guy Naruto running on the news have the time of his life? Probably.
Am I now in the know about Area 51? I think so. And if you’ve made it this far, I’d say you are too! As I mentioned up top, I’m not claiming to be an expert, so all fact checking or more information is always welcome!
PS – You all are out of this world! (I’m sorry – that was awful)