Now that the government is starting to admit it, there’s no putting the cat back in the bag: aliens exist.

We may not know in what capacity yet or if honest-to-god aliens are piloting them. Still, there is irrefutable proof at the highest levels. Government officials have documented and authenticated unidentified flying objects of some kind.

However, there are two coastal cities in Mexico where just about everyone believes the rumor that otherworldly beings live underwater. They believe those beings have been actively rerouting tropical storms away from the area for the last 50 years.

The most recent diversion, which took place last month when Tropical Storm Karl quickly changed course to the Gulf of Mexico while moving toward the two cities, was a catalyst for a recent profile in Vice tracing the history of an urban legend that has inspired thousands to pledge allegiance to the underwater beings that supposedly control the local weather.

When the storm was approaching the two cities, residents like 71-year-old Beatriz Garcia weren’t bothered in the slightest.

“I immediately said, ‘They are going to protect us.’ And this is what I believe and trust. They exist. There is a base.” That base is supposedly a few miles off the coast of Miramar Beach in an area known to locals as Amupac.

The story begins almost 60 years ago

In 1967, thousands of locals witnessed nine UFOs in the sky. The objects were descending to an area off the coast of Miramar Beach.

The local Tampico Airport air traffic control tower even confirmed the sightings. An article from El Sol de Tampico reported on the 1967 sightings the day after they happened.

Because so many people saw it at the same time, news of the UFOs traveled quickly. The event was treated as an unequivocal truth soon after that. Especially after Madero and Tampico suddenly stopped experiencing extreme weather events following two massive hurricanes in 1955 and 1966. In the fifty-five years since the aliens first landed on that fateful August night, the area has been free of any destruction at the hands of Mother Nature.

Today, the area is home to a UFO festival called El Día OVNI (Objeto Volador No Identificado) Tamaulipas. The Festival is organized by the OVNI Scientific Investigations Association of Tamaulipas (AICOT, in Spanish). It is an activist group comprised of alien investigators.

The festival started as a joke in October 2013 by a notable figure from nearby Nuevo Leon. He called it El Día del Marciano, or The Day of the Martian.

However, people like AICOT founder Juan Carlos Ramón López have worked to turn it into an officially recognized holiday. They’ve done so by doing away with the Martian terminology and refocusing on OVNIs and the various run-ins people have supposedly had with these extraterrestrial beings.

López claims to have visited the aliens via astral projection in July 2013.

He used words like “intraterrestrial” and “multidimensional” to describe Amupac. He defines it as made of metals and crystals and populated by 10-foot-tall beings who have “energy radiating throughout the place.”

“The information that I received in this place is that they are monitoring this stage of this planet,” López said to Vice. “And well, for me in particular, I can deduce that they are psychologists; scientists who are connected in this reality, but they live in the space of no time.”

And while studies into astral projection have yet to reveal anything definitive, the recent proliferation of confirmed UFO sightings has people more curious than ever about any valid claims of human-alien cohabitation.

López describes the beings as evolved in consciousness and intelligence. He suggests an ability to communicate or connect with humans in a non-physical realm.

Tamaulipas’ director of tourism, Nembra Carmen Jiménez, is more than happy to encourage the area’s UFO-based economy. Tourists from around the world come to visit in the hopes that they can catch a glimpse of a flying saucer.

It should come as no surprise to learn that Jiménez, a self-proclaimed believer in Amupac, is also a member of AICOT.

“We’ve had everyone from children to the elderly interested in the subject,” she said. “People come here exclusively to visit this area…to see these types of phenomenons,” cutting herself off to say, “Well, we got rid of the word’ phenomena.’ This type of ‘reality’ that we have here.”

To top it all off, Jiménez claims to have made actual contact with the area’s alien overlords.

“I believe in this,” she said. “I have seen them since I was five years old and have had contact with a spaceship. We are not alone in the universe.” Still, it’s not difficult to see why skeptics like meteorological harbor master Javier Francisco Álvarez would take statements like those with a grain of salt.

Álvarez acknowledges the lore behind an area that seems to be impervious to extreme weather but explained that “the trajectories of these hydrometeorological phenomena are erratic, that is, they do not always hit the same part or in the same place, or enter through the same way, touch land through the same place.” He also mentions that the water near the area is “one or two degrees cooler” than that of the Gulf of Mexico.

Because of the cooler water, “it manages to pull the mass of air and, consequently, causes the rejection of hurricanes.

“The air mass that enters through the gulf is diverted towards the coasts of the United States and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec,” Álvarez said. His biggest concern isn’t the urban legend itself but rather the lack of local preparation because of the blind faith in the aliens beneath the surface.

As far as the locals are concerned, there’s no arguing the facts. Madero and Tampico have been in the crosshairs of a major hurricane on a handful of occasions since 1967. Every last one has rerouted (or been rerouted if you believe the stories) with no explanation outside the cooler water.

Before 1988, Hurricane Gilbert caused billions of dollars in damage in the US, the Caribbean, and Southern Mexico. It rerouted away from Madero and Tampico. It happened again in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina was headed toward the small coastal cities before breaking off and going straight for New Orleans, where it eventually killed more than 1800 people.

The idea of underwater aliens rerouting weather for reasons that may or may not have to do with the people who live nearby is a tough pill to swallow.

But when an entire population has had more than five decades of good luck, it’s probably hard not to feel blessed.