LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KLAS) – A Facebook spoof that called for a public invasion of the top secret Area 51 military base has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon and is growing bigger by the hour.
As of Wednesday, more than 1.5 million people had pledged to join the effort and storm Area 51 on Sept. 20. And another 1.1 million said they’re thinking about it.
If only a fraction of those people show up, it would have a huge impact on rural Nevada.
The I-Team has been reporting on Area 51 for three decades. Area 51 is almost synonymous with secrecy. Even though the person who proposed the idea meant it as a joke, it has taken on a life of its own in news reports, social media and in ominous warnings by the U.S. military.
The man who started it all has remained anonymous but agreed to speak with the I-Team’s George Knapp.
Rush hour is pretty tame on Groom Lake Road, the main drag into Area 51, as a few employees dash for home and others ride the bus with the blacked out windows. Now imagine a million people, with cars, RV’s and tents. It would be a madhouse.
“We had an event right at the gates. About 50 people showed up, maybe 30 vehicles on Groom Lake Road on a dirt road, and we had a minor traffic jam on our hands. We had to regulate traffic. Now imagine you have a million people show up and try to park? That’s not going to work,” said Joerg Arnu, Dreamlandresort.com webmaster.
He lives in Rachel, the tiny town next door to Area 51. His website Dreamlandresort.com focuses on black projects and military secrecy. He thought “Storm Area 51” was a joke, until he didn’t.
“I used to get about 500 to 600 hits a day. Right now, I’m getting up to 3,000 a day. So, there’s a huge spike.”
A Facebook page started the furor. It was always meant as sarcasm and contains several clues to that effect. Its creator never meant to suggest that a million people could invade Area 51 in the belief that the military can’t possibly shoot them all. The idea has been proposed multiple times over the years but this time, it caught fire.
“I posted it on like June 27th and it was kind of a joke. And then it waited for like three days, like 40 people, and then it just completely took off, out of nowhere. It’s pretty wild,” said Matty Roberts.
He has declined to be interviewed until now, in part, because once his idea sailed past 500,000 signatories, he was concerned he might get a knock at the door.
“The FBI is going to show up at my house and it got a little spooky from there.”
Matty says he got the idea after watching podcaster Joe Rogan interview Area 51 whistleblower Bob Lazar and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell about alleged UFO technology hidden in the Nevada desert. That story about the secret base has spawned its own mythology, along with the world’s only state designated extraterrestrial highway. Joke or not, businesses on both ends of that stretch of road are now preparing for an invasion of visitors.