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Tiny town near Area 51 braces for alien hunters

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:25s - Published
Tiny town near Area 51 braces for alien hunters

Tiny town near Area 51 braces for alien hunters

An invitation on Facebook has urged UFO enthusiasts to gather on Sept.

20 and "storm" nearby Area 51.

Now, residents of Rachel, a 150-mile (240-km) drive from Las Vegas and home to roughly 50 people, are split on how to respond.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

The tiny town of Rachel, Nevada is home to roughly 50 people and just one business: The Little A'Le'Inn Motel and Restaurant.

But now it's bracing for an onslaught of visitors.

That's because Rachel is just 27 miles away from Area 51, the U.S. military base shrouded in secrecy and the center of conspiracy theories about extraterrestrials and UFOs.

And while residents have long embraced alien-obsessed tourists, the town is now worried thousands - possibly tens of thousands - of UFO enthusiasts could be coming to Rachel to storm Area 51.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RACHEL RESIDENT, JOERG ARNU, SAYING: "There is really no precedent for this event so there is no way to estimate how many people are going to show up." The town has been caught up in the viral 'Storm Area 51' campaign, which started on Facebook as an event calling on people to gather on September 20 to raid Area 51 to look for aliens.

More than 2 million Facebook users have RSVP'd.

Residents of Rachel, a 150-mile drive from Las Vegas, are split on how to respond.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RACHEL RESIDENT, JOERG ARNU, SAYING: "I really think people should be worried for their own safety.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LITTLE A'LE'INN CO-MANAGER, CONNIE WEST, SAYING: "You can fight it but it's coming, so why not turn a negative into a positive." Others like Pat Jordan fear too many people will overwhelm a town with no gas station or grocery store.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) RACHEL RESIDENT, PAT JORDAN, SAYING: "That many people are going to stress the community to the point that we can't cope with it." When the Air Force caught wind of the viral campaign, it issued a stark warning, saying "Any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous." Prompting the organizer of the initial event to change gears.

The Facebook user named Matty Roberts is instead trying to draw earthlings to Alienstock, a three-day music festival in Rachel that Connie West - co-owner of the motel - is helping to organize.

She estimates at least 30,000 people will actually show up so she's scrambling to order enough portable toilets.

So far, she has 30.




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