Today in History: Orson Wells broadcasts “Fake News” Martian Invasion

Orson Welles tells reporters that no one connected with the broadcast had any idea that it would cause panic (October 31, 1938). - Source: Wikipedia

Happy Halloween from all of us a Myfreakinworld.com!

As we near the end of this year’s “Spoopy Season,” I’d like to share with you the curious tale of how Orson Wells and a radio group with a large imagination, some sound effects and rather convincing storytelling caused a panic nearly worldwide.

Orson Wells had been working with a group called the Mercury Theatre On Air, which was a low budget radio program that had specialized in doing adaptions of well known stories.

With Halloween coming up, the team hatched a plan to broadcast the “War of the Worlds” story as a real life breaking news segment that covered a Martian Invasion in New Jersey.

“I had conceived the idea of doing a radio broadcast in such a manner that a crisis would actually seem to be happening,” [Wells] said, “and would be broadcast in such a dramatized form as to appear to be a real event taking place at that time, rather than a mere radio play.”

To hear the broadcast in its entirety as well as read more about it, check out the SmithsonianMagazine.com write up of this famous broadcast