RACHEL — They came. They saw. They stood there.
When first created, Matty Roberts, the face behind the movement, said in a joke Facebook post to meet at the gate at 3 a.m. on Sept. 20 to storm into Area 51 to “see them aliens.” Area 51, located inside of the Nevada Test and Training Range, has long been thought by conspiracy theorists to hold alien life and their technology.
Law enforcement officers blocked the road about a mile from the gate, with attendees walking the rest of the way. About a dozen officers were stationed at the gate, ready to act if anyone tried to breach the area. At the strike of 3 a.m. an officer with a police dog in tow, walked up from inside of the gates.
Some of the crowd acted as if they were going to “storm” the gates, but stopped after getting laughs from the crowd, as Europe’s “Final Countdown” blared from a attendee’s speaker.
Law enforcement officials were lighthearted for the most part about the gathering, joking with the crowd. They gave a stern warning to a man in a purple Lucha Libre mask for touching the gate as he posed for pictures.
A Lincoln County Sheriff spokesman said one person was arrested for indecent exposure after they urinated at the security gate. A second person was detained but released for going under or threatening to go under the gate.
Rebekah Scholes, 27, from Colorado, made the trek to the Nevada desert just to take part in the alien-themed events in nearby Rachel and Hiko. She had to see if people would actually show up at the gate.
“I’ve been out a few months ago, but I had to come back. It’s pretty out here,” Scholes said. “I thought it would be interesting to see what happened.”
On his way to the gathering, Brown second-guessed if anyone else would show up and was surprised to see the crowd as he pulled up on the dusty road leading to the gate from state Route 375.
“I half expected it, because there was no traffic, it was dead out here,” Brown, 21, said.
“I was nervous, but then we got here and it was like, ‘Oh, people are into this.’ ”
Despite the large group, Brown said he felt the occasion was a bit underwhelming after millions of people said they’d be at the gate on the Facebook post. But was glad he made the trip.
“I’m a little disappointed because it’s a lot less people than they said online,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll be back (to the area). This was kind of the thing.”