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Most of us have been guilty of taking a joke too far at some point in our lives, whether it's by addressing the elephant in the room or escalating a pillow fight with chairs and other firmer furnishings.
However, few among us have taken a joke all the way to the border of a highly classified US Air Force facility. Yet, it seems on 20 September, many people plan on doing just that. Judging by the surge in hotel bookings in the area, it looks like a good number of people are actually planning on showing up.
If you're not yet in on said joke, basically, a Facebook event was created called 'Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All Of Us'. The idea, as the name suggests, is that people will attempt to invade the military base en masse in order to uncover the alien-based secrets that lie within. Conspiracy theorists have long speculated that the government uses the site to hide UFOs and the like.
The invasion plan involves throwing pebbles and dodging bullets by running really fast, which evidently won't work and can scarcely be considered a plan; yet, some people seem to be well and truly on board.
Connie West is the co-owner of Little A'Le'Inn (pronounced 'little alien'), which is the nearest hotel to the air base in Nevada, situated about 26 miles away.
She said her phone had been ringing off the hook (to use an outdated expression) and all 10 rooms in her hotel had been booked up for the night of the proposed storming. She also has 30 acres of land on which visitors can camp and she said 60 people had already committed to pitching up there before the invasion.
Connie said she had never known demand like it and was more than happy to cash in on the 'stupid' plan.
Speaking to NPR, she said: "Yes, it sounds like a joke, but there apparently are some people who want to check out the joke.
"Apparently, people are taking it seriously. I think they're stupid if they think they're going to get to the test site, but I'm gonna capitalise on it."
Connie's lack of faith in the plan is well-founded, with US Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews issuing a warning to those who are even half-considering going ahead with the storming.
McAndrews told The Independent: "[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."
Indeed, even the event's 'master strategist', Jackson Barnes, has made it clear on the event page that this is all a joke - perhaps fearful that some of the 2.5 million people who have clicked interested or attending might have gotten the wrong end of the stick.
He said: "P.S. Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet. I'm not responsible if people decide to actually storm Area 51."
So if you've got a room booked at Little A'Le'Inn, you may wanna go ahead and cancel.
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