FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show The Crowd At The ‘Storm Area 51’ Event?
An image shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times allegedly shows the “Storm Area 51” crowd outside the highly classified Air Force base in Nevada.
“Area 51 right now,” reads the caption.
The mis-captioned photograph actually depicts attendees of a 2014 religious event in South Africa.
Area 51, which is the colloquial name for the classified Air Force facility in the Nevada Test and Training Range, is central to numerous conspiracy theories about aliens and UFOs. (RELATED: Does The US Have The Most Military Satellites In Space?)
In June, college student Matty Roberts created the Facebook event “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop Us All,” which jokingly called for the public invasion of Area 51 in search of extraterrestrial lifeforms. The event also spawned festivals in the nearby towns of Rachel and Hiko.
Of the more than 2 million people who, according to the Washington Post, signed up to attend the event, only about 100 people showed up at the border of the military facility in the early morning of Sept. 20. At least two people were detained by local law enforcement.
However, the viral image does not show the crowd outside Area 51. A reverse image search reveals that the picture, found on the In His Name Ministries website, actually depicts attendees at 2014 “crusade” in Nkomazi, South Africa, according to the post. The international Christian evangelical organization holds several open-air events like the one in the mis-captioned picture each year.