10:13 GMT +320 August 2019
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    The outdoor sign for the Little A'Le'Inn restaurant in Rachel, Nevada

    With 2 Months to Go, Police and Businesses Brace for Invasion of Would-Be Area 51 Raiders

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    The alien-hunting craze has swept business owners in small towns dotting the Nevada desert, near one of the most secretive places in the United States – the near-legendary Area 51.

    Those living off Area 51’s alien-related legacy appear to have been unprepared for the upcoming influx of UFO enthusiasts, triggered by a Facebook campaign which has already generated dozens of memes.

    Just under 1.9 million earthlings have RSVP’d to attend the satirical ‘Storm Area 51’ event, and while most of them probably did so in jest, the turn-out on 20 September might still become a problem for the owners of local hotels and bars.

    Too Little an Inn

    Pat West runs an alien-themed restaurant/motel called Little A’Le’Inn – the only place to stay in the small town of Rachel, which is the closest you can get to Area 51.

    Pat, who co-owns the gimmicky inn together with her daughter Connie, says they have been arranging tours and events for alien enthusiasts for roughly 30 years, but the growth of public attention generated by the secretive military facility is unprecedented.

    She said things look pretty “serious”, as Little A’Le’Inn has been booked solid for September 19th and 20th.

    Area 51
    Area 51

    According to Pat, police and local authorities are aware of the planned invasion of alien hunters, and that even approaching the heavily-guarded base is a reckless and dangerous idea.

    “This is the most overwhelmed I’ve ever felt in my entire life,” her daughter told NBC News.

    The military has warned would-be raiders against any attempts to break in, saying that the facility is “an open training range for the US Air Force”.

    The man behind the ‘Storm Area 51’ idea has vented concerns that although it started out as a clear joke, some people said they were willing to die for the event.

    More Than Spy Plane Testing?

    Area 51 is a high-security US Air Force facility built around the dry Groom Lake in the state of Nevada, some 134 kilometres northwest of Las Vegas.

    The base was established in 1955, primarily to test the Lockheed U-2 spy plane project. Around that time, reports started to emerge about UFO sightings in the area.

    Later on during the Cold War era, Area 51 was used to run test flight for the successor to the U2, the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft, as well as the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet.

    However, many people believe that this is where the government actually keeps its secrets about alien encounters and UFOs – and possibly holds live ETs. This speculation has left a sizeable footprint in American pop culture, and can be seen in a number of movies and video games.

    It gained traction in 1989, after a man called Bob Lazar famously claimed to have seen and worked on extra-terrestrial vehicles inside Area 51 as a physician. He has provided no evidence as to prove his claims, and there are no records of him receiving a master’s degree from California Institute of Technology or MIT, despite what he’s stated.

    Lazar has decried the ‘Storm Area 51’ event himself earlier this month. “This is a misguided idea,” he wrote on Instagram.

    “There are no aliens or alien technology located there. The only place there was ever any alien technology was at Site S4, south of Area 51 proper. That was 30 years ago. S4 may have moved decades ago or it’s possible it’s no longer being used for the project. I do not support this ‘movement’,” he added.

    The US government declassified the mysterious facility only in 2013, eight years after Jeffrey T. Richelson, a researcher from the National Security Archive at the George Washington University, made a Freedom of Information Act Request on the U-2 programme.

    “There certainly was — as you would expect — no discussion of little green men here,” he told The New York Times in 2013. “This is a history of the U-2. The only overlap is the discussion of the U-2 flights and UFO sightings, the fact that you had these high-flying aircraft in the air being the cause of some of the sightings.”

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