In July, a 21-year-old college student created a joking Facebook event inviting people to help him storm Area 51 to "see them aliens."
His logic was that if enough people stormed the Air Force base at once, authorities wouldn't be able to stop them all.
The event went viral, with over two million people RSVP'ing to help raid the infamous base in Rachel, Nevada.
Worried about the dangers of innocent people trying to storm a heavily-guarded base, authorities quickly discouraged anyone from actually arriving on the day of the event, September 20. The student who planned the "event" would go on to cancel the original plan and instead hold a festival called "Alien Stock" the night prior.
Unfortunately, those efforts did little to dissuade major alien fans from arriving at Area 51 anyway.
A group of people and law enforcement at the back gate of Area 51 near 3 am. #area51 #StormArea51 https://t.co/pMz90zRtyJ— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568972848.0
#Area51 #StormArea51 #clapthemcheeks https://t.co/PSb8M6kkEj— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568980428.0
The morning of the event, dozens gathered outside the base's security gate to hold a makeshift rally.
The Area 51 gate gathering. #StormArea51 #area51 https://t.co/bBwxxe2eJT— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568980609.0
People actually turned up wtf #Area51 https://t.co/EbnBTvumLM— ConnorC2021 🏴 (@ConnorC2021 🏴)1568974795.0
What a time to be alive, witnessing this on twitter 😂😂 #Area51storm https://t.co/TvE7TD01XQ— Günther? i hardly know her. (@Günther? i hardly know her.)1568986146.0
With signs and costumes, the crowd looked ready to meet some aliens.
Storm Area 51 Day 2: About 100 gather at security gate https://t.co/zO61PNmq7f #Area51 #StormArea51— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568985637.0
Many people were seen preparing for the "raid" with instantly-memeable Naruto runs.
Naruto run! Some guy who's probably going to get himself killed is the first 'Storm Area 51' meme… https://t.co/LHlsaSyKCQ— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo)1568988971.0
Not all heroes wear capes. Some naruto run on television. https://t.co/vR6LWnMBW5— Kyle Kashuv (@Kyle Kashuv)1568969616.0
Everyone who showed up to Area 51 will someday be able to tell their kids about the crazy event.
The Alien Research Center has a new sign up greeting visitors and one that reads ‘I stormed Area 51’ ahead of Frid… https://t.co/bIC9wZRlRG— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568843265.0
Last night at #StormingArea51 These boys were ready #Area51 https://t.co/Un31kmcBi0— Sarah Fraser (@Sarah Fraser)1568984749.0
What was originally planned as a raid warped quickly into a festival.
The stage is being prepped at Area 51 Basecamp at the Alien Research Center in Hiko, where various events are plann… https://t.co/3b0T0yru3U— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568916215.0
Here are a few of the many offsite camping spots in Rachel. #alienstock #area51 #stormarea51 https://t.co/Oo2Xwi5JZr— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568907546.0
Art being put together at the Area 51 Basecamp at the Alien Research Center in Hiko. The mound of tires will be a t… https://t.co/LzIvj82v7a— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568916398.0
True believers never forgot the true purpose of the gathering, however.
A pair of attendees from L.A. “storming” the mock Area 51 gate at the Alien Research Center in Hiko. Something that… https://t.co/3n38p2iv7Z— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568915167.0
Practicing my ‘naruto run’ to dodge bullets when we storm Area 51. Storming is set to happen tomorrow morning 3am… https://t.co/48ei9cakwv— Sarah Fraser (@Sarah Fraser)1568943225.0
Law enforcement patrolled the area to make sure everyone was safe and the crowds didn't end up doing anything crazy...
...like raiding an Air Force base.
STORM AREA 51: Here’s the journey to the back gate Rachel gate of #Area51 from the Little A’le’lnn in Warp Speed. (… https://t.co/AnPke1UEBj— Faith Jessie (@Faith Jessie)1568946808.0
Law enforcement officials are working 12-hour shifts. #area51 #stormarea51 #alienstock— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568908014.0
What is your estimate for the number of people who show up in Lincoln County, Nevada for the #StormArea51 events?… https://t.co/yGQLSjAw7M— Vanessa_Murphy (@Vanessa_Murphy)1568919163.0
Meanwhile, Alien Stock was happening in Las Vegas and the fun people were having was out of this world!
Night 1 Alienstock. #Area51 #StormArea51 #AlienStock https://t.co/stGjkwh4xR— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568949906.0
Here are a few people who are really taking in the spirit of the event downtown. #Area51 #LasVegas #SeeThemAliens… https://t.co/t8PAbu5CXv— Max Darrow (@Max Darrow)1568957039.0
Matty Roberts, the creator of the #Area51 celebration, told @johnnykats that the scene tonight at @DLVEC is "absolu… https://t.co/tg4iLPK9tf— Las Vegas Review-Journal (@Las Vegas Review-Journal)1568955233.0
Little A’Le’Inn Owner Connie West reflects on the first night of Alienstock. #AlienStock #Area51 #StormArea51 https://t.co/ivwdxsajTC— Mick Akers (@Mick Akers)1568951443.0
Memes were being shared left and right as the events went on!
Anyone riding a UFO out of Area 51 today can recharge at our nearby Supercharger in Beatty. One day only. https://t.co/3mKU0UGWBr— Tesla (@Tesla)1568988387.0
Me leaving area 51 with my new alien buddy in his whip #Area51storm https://t.co/yYixCtBrvr— Tyler (@Tyler)1568987500.0
Here because a 21-year-old college student made an online joke at 2 a.m. over the summer. #StormArea51 https://t.co/EtiST3uqkL— David Montero (@David Montero)1568919984.0
Me leaving Area 51 with a toothpaste that recommended by 10/10 dentists. #Area51 https://t.co/Mc33V1LpvD— Vadapaav Wala (@Vadapaav Wala)1568957778.0
Though they may not remember meeting any actual aliens, everyone at Area 51 will surely remember the friends they made along the way.
Guys, where are we meeting before we raid Area 51? Anyone wanna grab a Starbucks before hand?— Huw Samuel (@Huw Samuel)1568920815.0
TINY BRAIN: if enough of us ironically naruto run into area 51 we can overwhelm them NORMAL BRAIN: please do not s… https://t.co/VDAEAZ1WeO— Netflix Geeked (@Netflix Geeked)1568918679.0
the guards when only 4 people show up for the raid tomorrow #Area51 https://t.co/xJzwvJHsNd— morgan⁷生 (@morgan⁷生)1568921760.0
Of course, no one should actually try to raid the base.
Please, no one run onto the base.
A Nevada Senator is warning people about the dangers of attempting to “storm Area 51” https://t.co/zagC44z3g1— KFOX14 News (@KFOX14 News)1568942400.0
Happy Area 51 Day, everybody!
The book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base is available here.
Listen to the first season of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!' where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
Be sure to subscribe here and never miss an episode.