LAS VEGAS -- It was supposed to be a fun joke. Create an event on Facebook that was so absurd, everyone would have a laugh, share a meme and then move on with their lives.
Instead, Matty Roberts got a visit from the FBI, the Air Force has warned it is ready for anything and rural Lincoln County, Nev., is preparing to declare a state of emergency.
In late June, Roberts, a 20-year-old from Bakersfield, posted his Facebook event: "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us."
The idea was simple. Overwhelm the top-secret Nevada military site with people -- a mass of humanity that would storm the gates in pursuit of long-hidden truths that have long fueled conspiracy theories and television shows including "The X-Files."
It would all happen on Sept. 20. Finally, alien autopsies, UFOs in hangars and other off-the-books government research would be exposed. Vindication, Mulder and Scully!
The post got little attention at first, but a few days later it started to go viral, and by mid-July more than 1 million people said on Facebook they were planning to attend.
"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry," wrote a video game streamer with the handle SmyleeKun. "If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets."
Naruto run is a reference to anime ninja Naruto Uzumaki, who runs with body and head leaning forward while keeping his arms straight behind his back.
Good luck with that.
The authorities soon heard about the plan and, unsurprising, weren't amused. It wasn't long before Roberts began backpedaling.