Earth is being invaded by alien memes, as the Internet laughs over a new viral plan to "storm Area 51." While it may seem like this joke came out of nowhere last week, it may actually stem from a compelling documentary that debuted on Netflix just a few months ago.
Back in December, Netflix released Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers. The documentary tells the story of Lazar, a physicist who has long claimed that he worked at Area 51 and experimented on UFO technology.
Lazar's story is not new, but it did get a fresh take in December. The filmmakers spent a lot of time with Lazar, portraying him as a rational, grounded man with a secret he could not get the world to believe. Lazar spoke with authority about seeing alien cadavers and working on UFO technology, which the U.S. Military wanted him and his team to reverse-engineer.
Now, just a few months later, a joke Facebook event is taking the Internet by storm. It is titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," and it proposes that civilians charge the top secret military base to "see them aliens.
The event is very clearly a joke, set up by a meme account filled with cartoon references. Still, more than 1.3 million people have signed up to attend the "raid," and a million more are marked "interested." It could be that the documentary about Lazar renewed interest in this old secret, and social media has empowered viewers to take action.
Lazar himself came out against the "Storm Area 51" event on Tuesday. The scientist posted on Instagram, urging his followers not to do anything dangerous or unwise, no matter how badly they wanted the truth.
"I have to comment on this 'Storm Area 51' thing. I do understand it was started as a joke by someone, but there are a number of people who are actually planning on showing up. This is a misguided idea," Lazar wrote. "Area 51 is a classified research base. There are no aliens or alien technology located there."
Lazar went into the details about where in the complex of military bases his research took place, noting that "that was 30 years ago" and the layout likely looks different than when he left it.
"I do not support this 'movement,'" he went on. "The last time someone tried to get in to Area 51 he was shot. This is not the way to go about trying to get more information. What is good, is the interest in the subject - the science and technology. That is what would immediately change the world we live in."
The U.S. Air Force has also issued a warning, reminding people that trespassing in Area 51 is illegal. For some, that remains the point.
Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers is streaming now on Netflix.