Macabre Grimoire Chapter 27 Let’s Storm Area 51 ‘Lets See Them Aliens’
Hosts Ari Show, Robert Mehling, and Travis Nye
Produced by Robert Mehling
Voice Over by Dave Holly
Opening Theme Enhance Your Starry Night by Mouthful of Bees
Aliens, Spies, Snipers, and Trolls Oh My! No this isn’t the premise of Netflix movie, this is a real life story from the internet that has grown way beyond it’s joke page origins to become the talk of the web. But is what has started as a joke turning into a national security issue? Maybe even another Russian internet psy-op? This week we’re looking at the “Let’s Storm Area 51” Facebook gag event that took over the internet.
Over One million believers have declared they’re rushing Area 51 to “see them aliens.”
By late Friday, 1.1 Million Facebook users RSVPd “yes” in hopes of catching up with their other-worldly friends at the event “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” on Sept. 20 in the Nevada desert. An additional 494,000 users responded that they were interested.
As of Wednesday July 17th the event was at 1.1 Million (It was 496,000 when we started researching this on Friday).
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” according to the event organizer, whose Facebook handle is Sh**posting cause im in shambles.
“If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” the organizer wrote, referring to the Japanese anime “Naruto” title character’s distinct running style, in which he runs with his arms outstretched straight behind him. The term is also a popular meme.
“Lets see them aliens,” he concluded.
They have a website but the only thing on it is a very lame buy “the most uninspired area fifty one t shirt ever.”
According to the Guardian:
As you may have surmised, the Area 51 plan – which was organised by an anonymous user called “Shitposting cause im in shambles” – is a joke. The US military, however, does not seem to find the viral event very funny. The US Air Force told the Washington Post that “[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.” Which boils down to: if you try to “see them aliens” you are going to get shot.
It is not just the military that is taking the joke a little too seriously. According to investigations by NPR, excited alien hunters have already booked up accommodation near Area 51 on the event date. “I think they’re stupid if they think they’re going to get to the test site,” one hotel owner told NPR, “but I’m gonna capitalise on it.” (Spoken like a true American.) Stupid or not, I have got to sympathise with the extraterrestrial investigators. There is a reason this event went viral: we are all desperate for the aliens to come and take us from our leaders.
The United States Airforce told the Washington Post:
“[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. … The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post.
About Area 51
Area 51 is a government facility in the Nevada desert near Groom Lake, a dry lakebed located about 120 miles north of Las Vegas. The site was chosen in the 1950s to secretly test the Air Force’s U-2 aircraft and train pilots, according to the CIA.
The area had earlier been used during World War II as an aerial gunnery range for Army pilots.
Employees take small, unmarked passenger planes from the Las Vegas airport to get to the remote area, according to Business Insider.
President Dwight Eisenhower approved the facility’s development in the 1950s, according to the CIA. The site was used by the Air Force to test the U-2 spy plane during the Cold War.
In 2013, the CIA acknowledged its existence, releasing its location and how it had been used to test military aircraft, including the F-117A, A-12 and TACIT BLUE, according to Business Insider. While it isn’t exactly known what the base is currently used for, an Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post that Area 51 is where “we train American armed forces” and “is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force.”
“The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” McAndrews added. McAndrews discouraged civilians from visiting the area.
It has been linked to alien conspiracy theories since the testing of a spy plane in 1955, leading to sightings of what people called “unidentified flying objects.” For decades, it has been thought to serve as a holding site for UFOs, aliens and government secrets about extraterrestrials. However, Air Force officials at the time couldn’t reveal the top-secret U-2 tests to the public. They explained the sightings as “natural phenomena” and “high-altitude weather research,” according to Business Insider.
UFO fever gripped the U.S. nearly a decade earlier after an unidentified object crashed in Roswell, N.M on July 8, 1947. Officials would label the crashed object a weather balloon.
Some people don’t think this is funny.
Andrew Korybko with the think tank Eurasia Future:
From the government’s standpoint, what started off as nothing more than an online joke could ultimately have real-world consequences because the action that’s being encouraged is legally classified as trespassing and it’s possible that some attention-seekers might try to provoke the military for publicity. Furthermore, given the Hybrid War hysteria nowadays about foreign actors supposedly trying to manipulate domestic processes for political ends, the intelligence services might suspect that state parties could try to exploit this viral event in order to cause a scandal if they succeed in advancing the aforementioned scenario of getting Americans to provoke the military at the facility. It’s therefore not inconceivable that the so-called “national security state” could unleash the NSA’s spy capabilities against the Facebook users who said they’d participate.
The American government is already spying on practically every person in the country anyhow as revealed by Snowden, but more targeted measures could be implemented against some or all of those who publicly expressed their interest in trespassing on Area 51, especially since there’s been a trend in recent years of singling out so-called “fringe” and “conspiracy-inclined” individuals as supposed security threats. It’s probably not a problem for anyone to post statuses or share funny memes about the event, but signaling their intent to commit what is legally designated as a crime against federal property could very easily put them under more of the NSA’s algorithmic scrutiny. It’s therefore best for people who are aware of this running joke to not join the Facebook event in order to protect what little privacy they still have left in their lives.
A brief history of flash mobs: 2003: NYC and “Bill”
In the summer of 2003, e-mails from firstname.lastname@example.org began to circulate inviting people to convene in a public place to take part in a random act with the sole purpose of confusing others. The first successful mob took place in a New York Macy’s. There, hundreds of mobbers entered the store in search of a “love rug.” After that, about 200 people flooded the lobby and mezzanine of the Hyatt Hotel in synchronized applause for about fifteen seconds, and next a shoe boutique in SoHo was invaded by participants pretending to be tourists on a bus trip.
The idea of these mobs (and influence to future mobs) came from a man known only as “Bill.” In 2006, the identity of “Bill” was revealed to be Harper’s Magazine editor Bill Wasik. According to an interview with stayfreemagazine.org, his goal was to create an internet meme where people would simply be invited to do nothing to become part of the next big thing. Subsequent media explosion
After the first New York flash mobs, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN, and Wired Magazine covered the new phenomenon. These articles explained their organization by the mysterious “Bill” through the use of e-mail listservs. These articles emphasize the random fun mobbers were having as well as the role technology and the Internet played into their success.
Soon, the New York Times ran their take on the flash mob craze: the backlash. This article told the stories of people using the Internet to spread anti-flash-mob sentiments, the lack of a point and even the decline of interest of mobbers themselves.
Mobs spread around the world
Since the New York flash mobs, flash mobs began to appear in other large cities in the United States and around the world. Poland and the United Kingdom have active flash mob groups that continue the idea for mobbing for the sake of mobbing. In 2004, a flash mob in Shanghai used text messages to mobilize thousands to the streets to protest Japanese refusal to acknowledge alleged wrongs done to China by Japan during WWII.
End of NYC mobs
According the Wasik’s stayfreemagazine.org interview, the final New York flash mob came after the New York Times ran a backlash story about the flash mob movement. Wasik decided to end the mobs at the height of their popularity rather than letting them die in popularity so much so they wouldn’t attract participants.
Flash mobs are still popular in certain cities and college campuses. The idea of random fun or sudden protest still appeals to both young and old. Advancements in communication technology like text messages and social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have helped people easily organize flash mobs.
Mobs today do not receive the same media attention as the first mobs of 2003, but some local media outlets continue to cover flash mobs in their area.
Flash mobs will continue as long as people are amused by taking part in random acts of silliness. While the media exposure may continue to decline, the mobs themselves will live on through videos posted on Web sites such as YouTube, which currently has hundreds of flash mob videos available for viewing.
Personally I think this event is kind of a hybird of a “Classic Flash Mob” and some of the social media protest we saw around events like the Standing Rock oil pipeline protests.
“More than 1 million people have checked in on Facebook to the Standing Rock Indian reservation in response to a viral post claiming that doing so would help protect activists in North Dakota protesting against an oil pipeline from police surveillance.”
The Facebook Event that started everything
News, ABC. 2019. “Half A Million People Pledge To Storm Area 51 To ‘See Them Aliens'”. ABC News. Accessed July 17 2019. https://abcnews.go.com/US/half-million-people-pledge-storm-area-51-aliens/story?id=64291285.
“Shitposting Cause Im In Shambles”. 2019. Facebook.Com. Accessed July 17 2019. https://www.facebook.com/shitpostinginshambles/.
“Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us”. 2019. Facebook.Com. Accessed July 17 2019. https://www.facebook.com/events/448435052621047/.
“Storm Area 51”. 2019. Storm Area 51. Accessed July 17 2019. https://www.stormarea51.us/.
Mahdawi, Arwa. 2019. “Why The Joke Facebook Page Calling For People To Storm Area 51 Went Viral”. The Guardian. Accessed July 17 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/17/joke-facebook-page-storm-area-51-viral-million-people-rsvp-military-serious-response.
“Area 51, U-2 And The Accidental Test Flight — Central Intelligence Agency”. 2019. Cia.Gov. Accessed July 17 2019. https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2015-featured-story-archive/area-51-u-2-and-the-accidental-test-flight.html.
Korybko, Andrew. 2019. “The Area 51 Flash Mob Isn’t A Laughing Matter – Eurasia Future”. Eurasia Future. Accessed July 17 2019. https://eurasiafuture.com/2019/07/14/the-area-51-flash-mob-isnt-a-laughing-matter/.
“Flash Mob”. 2019. En.Wikipedia.Org. Accessed July 17 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_mob.
“Flashmob: 101 – Flash Mob History”. 2019. Plaza.Ufl.Edu. Accessed July 17 2019. http://plaza.ufl.edu/pduffy01/flashmob101/history.html.