A California man who created a Facebook event planning to raid Area 51 has attracted viral interest --- including some from the FBI.
Matty Roberts said that after inviting people from across the world to join him in storming the secretive U.S. military base long rumored to be the home of a crashed UFO, he got a surprise visit from federal investigators. Roberts told ABC 15 that he received a call form his mother telling him that FBI agents were waiting for him.
"So, the FBI showed up at 10 a.m. and contacted my mom, and she calls me like, 'answer your phone the FBI is here," Roberts said. "I was kind of scared at this point, but they were super cool and wanted to make sure that I wasn't an actual terrorist making pipe bombs in the living room."
The joking Facebook page, titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," encouraged participants to show up at the rural Nevada U.S. Air Force base on September 20 and invade it, demanding to see if there is proof of extra-terrestrial life inside.
The FBI visit isn't the only pushback that Matty Roberts received. As ABC 15 noted, the viral event page and its 2 million followers suddenly vanished from Facebook earlier this month, and he received a notice that it had violated the social media site's community standards. The page was eventually restored and Facebook posted a message saying it had been taken down in error, but the incident caused a stir with followers and pushed conspiracy theories that someone in the government was trying to put a stop to the tongue-in-cheek plans to invade Area 51.
"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry," the event page read. "If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let's see them aliens."While the page was good at generating memes to be shared across social media, it apparently also did spark some real interest among people planning to travel to Area 51. As a report from Fox 5 Vegas noted, some of the rural towns around Area 51 saw an uptick in interest. In Amargosa Valley, nearly all the rooms in the Atomic Inn were reserved for the weekend that the invasion is set to take place. The motel has an alien theme, part of the tourist industry that has popped up around the largely desolate base.
Even before Roberts' visit from the FBI, there were signs that the U.S. military was taking it seriously. The U.S. Air Force issued a statement to The Washington Post, warning that if people actually tried to invade Area 51, they would face repercussions.