The Internet has made first contact with its new favorite viral sensation: Area 51 memes. Last week, a Facebook event went up jokingly inviting people to "Storm Area 51" to "see them aliens." The event exploded in popularity, rising to well over a million attendees. In the meantime, a whole new genre of memes have proliferated.
Area 51 memes run the gamut from classic formats to bold new territory. Some are pictures, some are videos and some are simply text posts.
They all share a few commonalities, however, including exaggerated jokes about government secrecy, security and conspiracies, as well as a general apathy about martyrdom in the name of our alien comrades.
The original event is titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us." It now has over 1.3 million people marked attending, with another million marked "interested." There is little doubt that the event is a joke, however, as it was created by a meme account. Still, that may not stop some from showing up.
Area 51 is one of the U.S. military's most secretive facilities, with no publicly stated purpose. It has long been believed that it is used to develop and test experimental aircraft, and conspiracy theorists speculate that the technology there is based off of extraterrestrial spacecraft.
In urban legend, Area 51 is linked to the supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Conspiracy theorists believe that this is where those remains were taken, and some even believe that the government is still in contact with living aliens to this day.
Speculation ranges widely, proposing that they are secret political envoys or trade partners, or even enemies. As the memes demonstrate, many believe there are aliens held prisoner at Area 51.
As this new viral sensation grows in popularity, the U.S. military has issued a stern warning against trespassing on the grounds of Area 51. Air Force spokesperson Lauar McAndrews spoke to the Washington Post about the "joke" this weekend.
"[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 American armed forces," McAndrews warned.
He added, "The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."
Still, Area 51 does have a customer-facing tourist center built around the UFO and alien urban legends surrounding it, so at the very least, that could see a spike in business on the day of the "Raid."0comments
The increased interest around Area 51 may stem from a documentary released on Netflix back in December. It relays the story of Bob Lazar, a physicist who claims to have worked at Area 51, seen alien cadavers and even experimented on real flying saucers.
Bob Lazar: Area 51 & Flying Saucers is streaming now.