ONLY 75 people bothered to turn up for an ‘Area 51 raid’, despite over one million expressing their interest.
Thousands have flocked to the remote Nevada desert for the music festivals that have sprung up around it, however.
In June, California college student Matty Roberts posted a joke Facebook invitation exhorting the public at large to run into Area 51 on foot to “see them aliens”.
When 1.2m people expressed interest, the US military warned curiosity seekers not to breach the gates at the military base, which it said is still used to test combat aircraft and train personnel and threatened it would use “lethal force” if necessary.
The whole thing though appears to have fallen flat, so far, with just an estimated 75 people actually bothering to make it to the gates of Area 51, which has long been the focus of US conspiracy theories about aliens visiting Earth and secret military technology.
Those that did make it to the main gates were peaceful.
The Nye County Sheriff’s Office said in a video news release Friday that the group initially came together outside the Area 51 Alien Center in Amargosa Valley at around 3am.
Authorities say some of the people then went closer to the gates before they left after “heated warnings” from officers.
Everyone was gone by 5am. They were described as being compliant and peaceful.
Police made two arrests but were at a different gate.
Cyril Soudant, 25, from Lille, France, said he was disappointed at how few people were at the event but said he would wait until Friday night to make his final assessment on the experience.
He said: “If we get together, have some music, have some beers, that would be a success.”
However more people are expected to turn up over the weekend.
An estimated 1,500 revellers have already arrived at the small towns of Rachel and Hiko nearby, which have a combined population of just 175 people.
Lincoln County Emergency Manager Eric Holt has stated that extra personnel and resources are on hand should the number of attendees swell into the weekend.
He said: “We’re in co-ordination with several other operators to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to the area.
“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. If we don’t get the numbers for what we’re prepared for we can send some of the resource home. If we need it we can have it.”
He estimated the area could cope with between 5,000 and 50,000 people.
DJ Paul Oakenfold is set to perform for the crowd at the Storm Area 51 festival.
The two-day event at the Alien Research Centre in Hiko is billed as an event “for both believers and the uninitiated”, the event plans to help those “have a place to come together, learn more and celebrate the global cultural movement calling for greater transparency around what many believe to be decades of government secrecy surrounding UFO technology.”
George Harris, owner of the Alien Research Center souvenir store in Hiko, said Friday and Saturday’s “Area 51 Basecamp” will focus on music, movies and talks about extraterrestrial lore.
There is also a music festival dubbed Alienstock taking place in Rachel.
Some have already got in the spirit of the event and turned up with ET-themed outfits as well as wearing tin foil hats.
A beer company has produced alien-themed cans, and a Nevada brothel is offering discounts to “E.T. enthusiasts”.
But locals fear that visitors will not be prepared for the harsh desert conditions with inadequate water supplies and improper clothing.
Joerg Arnu, who lives in Rachel, said: “Those that know what to expect camping in the desert are going to have a good time.
What is Area 51? The top secret US air base steeped in extra-terrestrial intrigue
AREA 51 is a highly classified US air base in the remote Nevada desert.
It is officially known as Homey Airport, but gained its now famous name from CIA documents that referred to it by the codename Area 51.
The exact purpose of the air base is not known publicly, and the area is heavily restricted.
Trespassers can face huge fines and lengthy prison sentences for setting foot in the zone.
Purchased by the US government in 1955, evidence suggests the site is used as a testing area for experimental aircraft and weapons.
But the secrecy surrounding it has led conspiracy theorists to suggest the area is holding extra-terrestrial secrets.
Theories suggest engineers examine crashed spacecrafts — and even hold meetings with aliens from across the galaxy.
The crash of a weather balloon at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 sparked wild theories of an alien ship crash.
Some have suggested Area 51 is still storing parts of the crashed ship — or even its alien inhabitants.
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“Those who are looking for a big party are going to be disappointed.”
He added that people turning up in the desert wearing shorts and flip-flops would suffer because “that doesn’t protect you against critters, snakes and scorpions.”
He said: “It will get cold at night. They’re not going to find what they’re looking for, and they are going to get angry.”
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