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The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween special on October 30, 1938 and aired over the CBS Radio network. Directed by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' classic novel The War of the Worlds.
The first half of the 60-minute broadcast was presented as a series of news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual Martian invasion was in progress (Because the Mercury Theatre on the Air was at that time a 'sustaining show' [without sponsorship], the broadcast had no commercial interruption). Some fled their homes; others merely were terrified. The news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode launched Welles to fame.
Many people missed or ignored the opening credits of the program, and in the atmosphere of growing tension and anxiety in the days leading up to World War II, took it to be a news broadcast. Contemporary newspapers reported that panic ensued, with people fleeing the area, and others thinking they could smell the poison gas or could see the flashes of the lightning in the distance.
Professor Richard J. Hand cites studies by unnamed historians who "calculate[d] that some six million heard the CBS broadcast; 1.7 million believed it to be true, and 1.2 million were 'genuinely frightened'". While Welles and company were heard by a comparatively small audience (in the same time period, rival network NBC's audience was an estimated 30 million), the uproar that followed was anything but minute: within a month, there were about 12,500 newspaper articles about the broadcast or its impact, while Adolf Hitler cited the panic, as Hand writes, as "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy."
Later studies suggested this "panic" was far less widespread than newspaper accounts suggested. However, it remains clear that many people were caught up, to one degree or another, in the confusion that followed.
Robert Bartholomew and Hilary Evans suggest in Panic Attacks that hundreds of thousands of people were frightened in some way, but note that evidence of people taking action based on this fear is "scant" and "anecdotal." Indeed, contemporary news articles indicate that police were swamped with hundreds of calls in numerous locations, but stories of people doing anything more than calling up the authorities typically involve groups of ones or tens and were often reported by people who were panicking, themselves.
It has been suggested in recent years that the War of the Worlds broadcast was actually a psychological warfare experiment. In the 1999 documentary, Masters of the Universe: The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve, writer Daniel Hopsicker claims that the Rockefeller Foundation actually funded the broadcast, studied the ensuing panic, and compiled a report that was only available to a chosen few. A variation of this conspiracy theory has the Radio Project and the Rockefeller Foundation as conspirators. In a theatrical trailer for his film F For Fake, Welles joked about such theories, jesting that the broadcast indeed "had secret sponsors".
While Mercury Theater on the Air had no commercial sponsor, both CBS and the Rockefeller Foundation were contracting the leading crowd psychology researchers of the time; CBS had Edward Bernays, the Rockefeller Foundation had Ivy Lee. With the involvement of Frank Stanton in the Radio Project and his position in the CBS research department, it is possible the "creative curiosity" of Orson Welles came from conversations within these business circles. A detailed documentary on these circles and the ideas behind social manipulation was made by the BBC called, The Century of the Self.
There has been continued speculation that the panic generated by the War of the Worlds broadcast has inspired officials to frantically cover up unidentified flying object evidence, avoiding a similar panic. In fact, U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of UFO investigatory Project Blue Book wrote, "The [U.S. government's] UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous The War of the Worlds broadcast."
Originally posted by jkrog08
...markets would collapse,economies would collapse,wars would break out over "who owns it",also the psychological influence of living in a COMPLETLY different reality OVERNIGHT would could cause MASSIVE psychological issues.
The people who have the responsibility of making disclosure are afraid of a very powerful group of beings who have dominated this planet for a long time. This group of beings is in the process of being pacified by those whose job it is to deal with such entities.