LAS VEGAS — The creator of Facebook group calling for participants to "Storm Area 51" says he hopes his fellow alien enthusiasts visit the area in peace this September.
Matty Roberts of Bakersfield, California created the event "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" after he watched an episode of the Joe Rogan podcast that highlighted Area 51 whistleblower Bob Lazar.
The event, scheduled for Sept. 20, now has nearly 2 million "attending" and has spawned dozens of memes in recent weeks.
"It started out as a pure stroke of imagination, something funny, something cool, but I don't want anyone to get hurt," Roberts said.
As of Thursday night, 1.7 million people have expressed interest in attending the event, which calls for people to storm the highly protected and isolated military installation.
Military officials are authorized to use lethal force on those who chose to ignore the signs and trespass on the property in the middle of the Nevada desert.
"I'm kind of worried about that," Roberts said. "I've had a couple of people [direct message] the page and they're like, 'I'm willing to die for the government, lets do this!'
Roberts emphasizes the whole "storming the gates" idea was more of a joke and is organizing different plans.
"It's not going to be a military base slaughter, it's going to be something really fun, educational, maybe music and art, that's what I'm working on," he said.
The tiny town of Rachel, Nevada, which has a population of just 56 people, is preparing for the unknown.
"It's sad because they are going to pull resources and people, the sheriff's department and highway patrol that need to be in places," said Linda Looney at the nearby Alien Research Center. "The military will be here."
Locals worry about having enough food, water and shelter for the thousands of people who may show up to see what secrets Area 51 is hiding.
"They are not going to get on the site, it's not gonna happen," Looney said.
Roberts admits his idea is far fetched but it has captured the imagination and the fascination of millions for one of the most mysterious places in the universe.
This story was originally published by Joe Bartels on KTNV in Las Vegas.