On Thursday, Alien enthusiasts began arriving on rural Nevada near the secret US military installation known as Area 51, long-rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace. 

Rachel is a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base. Some residents of the area worried their community might be overwhelmed by violent crowd turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to “storm” Area 51. 

Located about 150 km north of Las Vegas, there is no grocery store or even a gasoline station in the small town. To visit Rachel’s only business,  an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A’Le’Inn, dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel’s only business. 

Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, a couple with UFO tattoos visited Rachel from Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with enough food to last for a week of car-camping.  McVey told Reuters, “It’s evolved into a peaceful gathering, a sharing of life stories.”

“I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they getting themselves into,” he added. For decades, Area 51 was covered in secrecy for decades and there are several conspiracy theories that it housed the remaining parts of a flying saucer and the bodies of its alien crew from the crash of an unidentified flying object in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.

In 2013, the US government released CIA archives saying the site was used to test top-secret spy planes. However, the documents did not end suspicion about space aliens there. 

To attract visitors, Rachel and its surroundings have long celebrated their place in UFO lore. A 98-mile road passing through the area is named as the Extraterrestrial Highway.  California college student Matty Roberts a few months ago posted an interesting Facebook invitation, encouraging many to run into Area 51 on foot to “see them, aliens.”

Connie West, co-owner of the Little A’Le’Inn said the event in Rachel would go on as planned. On Thursday, she stated that “It’s happening. There was no stopping it.” She said that some visitors even came from Australia and New Zealand. “I hope they just enjoy the party we are throwing.”

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