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Where Is Area 51 & What In The World Happens There? Freaky Facts & Theories About The Top Secret Military Base

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Where & What Is Area 51? 7 Facts (& Conspiracy Theories About Aliens) Behind The 'Raid' On Groom Lake

Do you believe?

Editor’s note: This article was updated with new idetails on September 20, 2019, and will be again as more information becomes available.

Unless you've living under a rock, by now you've seen more memes and social media posts than you could probably stomach urging people across the United States of America to "Storm Area 51" — gulp — today, Friday, September 20.

Although approximately 2 million people marked themselves "interested" on the since-removed Facebook event page created by a man named Matthew Roberts, CBS reports an estimated 1,500 people showed up for "Storm Area 51" festivals in the small towns of Rachel and Hiko, Nevada, with over 150 people "made the rugged trip several additional miles on bone-rattling dirt roads to get within selfie distance of the gates," and only about 75 people turned out this morning with the stated purposed of storming the facility in order to find space aliens.

"Authorities say one person was arrested on a charge of public urination and another was detained early Friday at a gate to Area 51 on Friday. Lee scheduled a media briefing later Friday.

What — and where — is Area 51?

Area 51 is "the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force (USAF) facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range. Officially, the facility is called Homey Airport (KXTA) or Groom Lake, named after the salt flat situated next to its airfield."

Located in the heart of the Nevada desert, it is also the frequent subject of serious speculation.

For decades, this top secret detached section within Edwards Air Force Base has provided fodder for TV shows, movies, and many of the world's top conspiracy theories.

In particular, Area 51's remote and mysterious location is a constant topic of conversation for believers in aliens, the paranormal, government conspiracies and so on, and it's easy to see why.

RELATED: 35 Funniest, Best Area 51 Memes On The Internet Right Now

To put it plainly, there's just so darn much about this place that we, the general public, simply don't know and can't easily find evidence of. It's no wonder the Area 51 conspiracy has been talked of for decades.

People believe all sorts of different things about Area 51.

Some speculate that it's where the government keeps crashed UFOs. Others believe it's the headquarters in which they are busy creating the kind of menacing technology you only expect to hear about in science fiction.

If you've ever wondered about Area 51, check out these 7 facts and conspiracy theories about where it is, what happens there, and how you may even be able to pay it a visit yourself!

(I mean, if that's your thing. Seems a bit extreme to me, but life is meant to be lived and it's not a dress rehearsal...)

1. What the government has said about it on the record

The first mention of the base was made by then CIA Director Richard Helms in a memo he sent about sending special planes over to Vietnam.

Helms mentioned the base, where spy planes have been tested before, and when the memos became public, this mention of the base managed to slip through the cracks.

All other mentions have been totally redacted by the government — that is, until they decided to acknowledge that the base existed in 2013, when the CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time, declassifying documents detailing the history and purpose of Area 51 based on a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005.

2. Why the base was built

Area 51 was built to produce, test and house the Lockheed U2 ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

This plane could fly up to 70,000 feet, which was considered impossible before its invention.

It was a great achievement for the US, but it also made relationships with Russia pretty darn frosty since they perceived these crafts to be a threat.

3. Its role in drone development

When you think about the army using drones, you probably think of them flying over some place like Afghanistan.

The truth of the matter is that the government has had drone technology since the 1970s.

In fact, the very first drones ever used in US combat were tested at — you guessed it — Area 51!

RELATED: Meet Bob Lazar: Star Of 'Area 51' Netflix Documentary And Whistleblower Warning People Against Storming The Nevada Government Facility

4. Its rigorous security

Part of what has made people so suspicious about Area 51 is the level of security that the base has.

Could all of these cameras and surveillance be because the place has access to UFO technology that they are researching? Sure!

But it's also pretty typical for a government base where new and secret (and earth bound) technology is tested regularly. The base even has regular patrols of the perimeter to keep people from taking photographs of the new technology.

How serious is their security? Area 51 is the only place in America that astronauts are not allowed to photograph from orbit.

5. Why aliens?

You can't talk about Area 51 and not talk about aliens.

The reason for this is something known as Project Blue Book which ran from 1952 to 1970. A team of researchers at Area 51 were tasked on this project with verifying UFO sightings throughout the nation.

Did the government really want to do a sweep for aliens? Not really.

The reason the project was taken so seriously was because some people believed that these so-called UFO sightings could actually be Russian spy planes. While they didn't find evidence of Russian planes, they didn't find evidence of UFOs either.

6. Top Area 51 conspiracy theories

Because the base is so secretive, because of its desert location and because of Project Blue Book, it is only natural that Area 51 became a source of intrigue for conspiracy theorists.

Some of them believe that the facility exists to store and examine living and dead aliens and their technology, including the wreckage of the infamous UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico.

Some people go a little further with what they theorize, believing that inside Area 51 they are creating teleportation technology, time travel, and the ability to control the weather.

Frankly, even just one of those would be enough to delight me.

7. See for yourself...

If you're curious about what Area 51 really is and you want to crack the case for yourself, you might be in lucky ... if you're willing to quit your day job.

Janet, a top-secret airline believed to stand for "Just Another Non-Existent Terminal," was recently reported to be hiring flight attendants to operate out of its Las Vegas base.

The job application states that people applying "must be level-headed and clear thinking while handling unusual incidents and situations (severe weather conditions, including turbulence, delays due to weather or mechanicals, hijackings or bomb threats).Active Top Secret Clearance Highly Desired."

The airline is so secret that the government refuses to confirm that even exists, so good luck connecting with someone from the place on LinkedIn.

RELATED: 27 Examples Of The Mandela Effect That Will Make You Question Reality

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York, with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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