Halloween Eve, 1938. Orson Welles broadcasted Howard E. Koch’s version of H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds novel for CBS Radio. People went crazy thinking Martians were invading Earth.
But according to a Slate article, panic from Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast might not have been panic after all. The amount of people listening – and then even lower on the amount of believers – were too low to have caused the mass hysteria we all heard about. Headlines of Welles’ broadcast causing “terror through U.S.” were opportunistic journalists wanting to sensationalize the event for readership.