September 21, 2019

A YouTuber and a U-Haul full of strangers: Inside the final attempt to storm Area 51
There were more news crews than alien hunters at the second attempt to "storm" Area 51's back gates in the predawn hours of Saturday morning. A guy with a plunger and a neck brace led the charge toward the secretive facility after hyping up a small group of us with a speech, but stopped short right before the gate. The number of campers in Rachel, Nevada, had doubled by Friday night, but only a handful of people showed up to actually Naruto-run through the military base's gates. More than two million people RSVP'd to the viral "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All Of Us" event on Facebook. About a thousand showed up in Rachel and Hiko, two small towns in Nevada that are both hosting music festivals, to either camp in reserved sites or snag a free spot on Bureau of Land Management land.SEE ALSO: A group of people ready to 'Storm Area 51' were met by armed guards at the gateA crowd did gather at the back gates in the middle of the night between Thursday evening and Friday morning, which was technically the morning of the 20th like the Facebook event planned. But there was some confusion among campers about when the storming was supposed to start, since so many people arrived on Friday. During the day, people trickled in and out of the 9.5 mile unmarked dirt road just off the highway, which leads to the only publicly accessible gate to Area 51. Led by YouTuber and professional slackliner "Reckless" Ben Schneider, Mashable joined a smaller group people as they tried to charge the gates again early Saturday morning. Some of them squeezed in the back of a U-Haul van -- no, there weren't any seats -- at 2 a.m. near the entrance of Alienstock in Rachel. After a bumpy drive, we wandered around the blockaded path until 3 a.m. when Schneider tried to rouse the crowd of less than a dozen into running. "Let's all Naruto run in there," he shouted, brandishing his plunger like a sword. "Remember, they can't catch us all!" Matt Nyhus, an Alienstock attendee, managed to snag a video of it. Since he doesn't have an active Twitter account, he AirDropped the video to me and gave me permission to tweet it. > I dragged myself out into the freezing cold desert at 3 a.m. to watch a guy with a plunger lead less than a dozen people into storming area 51 > > big thanks to my new friend matt nyhus for this video! we met at a tent of 20 year olds trading grilled cheese for alcohol & chairs! pic.twitter.com/KomBLmFi7k> > -- morgan sung (@morgan_sung) September 21, 2019Another stormer named Jasmine, who didn't know Schneider before Alienstock, described her harrowing experience riding in the U-Haul, which she called "a rapist van." "I met these random eight dudes who were running around telling me to get in a van with them, and I made the stupid decision to go with them," she said after the underwhelming Naruto run. "I thought I was gonna die. He [an Australian tourist who was the designated driver] didn't know how to drive very well, so we kind of flew into each other a couple of times."Reckless Ben and Jasmine sat in the back of a U-Haul van on the way to the Area 51 gate.Image: liz hamer / mashableThere was also way more press than actual runners, which disappointed Jasmine. There were more news crews than raiders.Image: liz hamer / mashableAt least Schneider -- who the group called either Reckless Ben or "Plunger Guy" -- seemed to have a good time. Definitely not the two million people who  promised to show.Image: liz hamer / mashable"We're gonna plunge the truth," Schneider said in a bizarre interview with Mashable where he insisted on also interviewing me. "Do you believe in aliens?"After taking a few group pictures, he and his crew piled back into the U-Haul for the wild ride back to Alienstock. He said he didn't want to risk actually making a run for Area 51, which is about 60 miles from the gate and behind a mountain, because he's going to be on TV next week.
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