Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Scariest Halloween On Record!!!

"Should I be afraid or shouldn't I?"  was the question plaguing many citizens of the northern US states on what could be considered the most peculiar Halloween night on record.  The date was October 30th 1938.  Howard Koch and Orson Welles had written a radio play, adapted from the H.G. Wells novel, "War Of The Worlds," concerning the idea of Martians, aliens from another world invading the earth.  Millions of people thought the broadcast to be credible, and took what they considered appropriate actions in response.

To one,  that meant shooting at a farmers water tower, convinced it had to be a Martian tripod craft readying itself to wreak destruction.  To others, they fled, believing they could smell poison gas, and seeing flashing lights off in the distance, surely it could be nothing else except the aliens utilizing their ray gun weapon of mass destruction!  The community of Concrete, Washington was particularly impacted when a power failure put the town of 1,000 in darkness.  Numbers of citizens gathered their families and headed to the high country, better to be safe then sorry!

One citizen in a state of panic ran down the main street screaming in sheer terror! Thankfully a few hours later the town came to the conclusion that it was, what it was, merely a  fictional radio broadcast.  As bizarre as their reactions  might seem, to be fair I'd say they deserve to be cut a lot of slack.  When considered in a proper historical context,  it should perhaps be considered, they didn't have a myriad of countless ways to verify a story.  We understand The Most Trusted Name In News, outlets like CNN were not as yet born, neither could they google other news agencies for the latest developments.

When researching the event, one can observe there are questions raised and a debate on just how hysterical people became or to put it another way where does one separate the truth from myth?    One thing we do know, the commotion it caused generated close to 3000 newspaper articles discussing the event. Some were even concerned that the purpose  of the broadcast was for an even more of a sinister intent,  a psychological  warfare test, backed by the Rockefeller Foundation, to study the effects of panic upon the citizenry.  How nuts can you get? 

One very influential world leader took it quite seriously holding that it was indeed a US  government conspiracy.  He found it quite deplorable the American elites would use their people in such a fashion and pointed to it as, "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy." How ironic, that this man, Adolf Hitler seemed to forget the meaning of the word "corrupt" and "decadent" some time later, with the great atrocities he committed against defenceless people.  Instead of War Of The Worlds, he insisted I guess in creating his own, World At War, a true monster indeed of whom you'd never want to meet on any scary night of  October Halloween.  I think I would've much rather wanted to deal and try to reason with the Martians instead!

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  1. Well, it proves not to jump to conclusions without all the facts. But like you say they did'nt have all the technoligy they have today. It most certainly would have been a real scary Halloween.

  2. I've heard that story before...I thought it was pretty funny I do feel for all the people that it effected..that would be pretty scary!!

  3. I love it. I had a story I was writing with a whole different approach about that same radio event.. I have the same photos too.. lol

  4. A whole different approach Bearlady? It's interesting that the Orson Wells radio broadcast was a different approach as well, taken from the original 'War Of The Worlds', by H. G Wells....which in fiction was supposed to take place in the 1800's. And then there is Tom Cruise version, of War Of The Worlds...there's always a new way to tell this interesting story and perhaps each new generation will tell it somewhat different. It's a fun story for sure! :)