It’s all fun and games until you accidentally incite a massive mob to raid a top-secret US military base.
The internet has been buzzing with excitement about the Facebook event to Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us, with 1.6 million people having clicked “Going” and a further 1.2 million indicating they’re “Interested” on the event page.
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Now the man behind the legend has stepped forward.
On June 27, Matty Roberts, who lives in California, created the Facebook page as a joke, not realising that millions would rally behind his battle cry to “see them aliens” at the Air Force facility in Nevada.
An elaborate plan was designed by Melbourne man Jackson Barnes, who spoke exclusively to Seven’s Sunrise on Friday about his part in the plan.
Most, but not all, knew the desert congregation scheduled for September 20 this year was in jest, as the page included instructions such as “If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.”
(“Naruto run” is a reference to a type of running in the popular Japanese anime TV show Naruto, and involves running bent over at the waist with both arms flung out behind the back.)
Out of control
“I waited for like three days and there were like 40 people and then it just completely took off out of nowhere,” Roberts told Las Vegas TV broadcaster KLAS-TV.
“It was pretty wild.”
Roberts told KLAS he’d declined interviews as interest was skyrocketing, because he thought if he revealed his identity he might have FBI agents showing up at his door.
‘The FBI’s going to show up at my house.’
“I was just like, ‘the FBI’s going to show up at my house’ and it got a little spooky from there,” he said.
Roberts said he came up with the idea for the meme page after podcaster Joe Rogan interviewed Area 51 whistleblower Bob Lazar and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell.
Lazar claims he worked with an alien spacecraft while he was employed in one of Area 51’s underground facilities.
Before revealing his role to KLAS, Roberts communicated with NPR via Facebook messenger under the pseudonym Val.
‘I just thought it would be funny.’
“I just thought it would be a funny idea for the meme page,” he wrote.
Roberts/Val also said that, although he doubted he’d have an actual army gathered to run into Area 51 this September, he’d been in touch “with some pretty great people” to plan a safer, yet still out-of-this-world desert event.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force told the Washington Post that Area 51 is an “open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces.”
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This content was originally published here.