Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Oct. 26, 2015
A 2014 poll found 26 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth.
Oct. 30 marks 77 years since a 23-year-old Orson Welles helped set off a nationwide panic over a fictional Martian invasion. The Sunday evening radio show began with this announcement: "The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells."
But hey, who pays attention to such details?
What the listening public did focus on was "Professor Farrell” of the “Mount Jenning Observatory" talking about explosions detected on the planet Mars followed by reports of a large “meteor” crashing into a farmer's field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.
A 2014 poll found 42 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago.
Gathered rapt around their radios, Americans learned a Martian had emerged from a large metallic cylinder at the New Jersey crash site.
"Good heavens," the actor/reporter declared, "something's wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here's another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me... I can see the thing's body now. It's large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it... ladies and gentlemen, it's indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it; it's so awful.
The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate."
The broadcast continued as Martians mounted walking war machines, fired "heat-ray" weapons, sprayed poisonous black gas, and quickly disposed of 7,000 National Guardsman. By the time it was reported that similar Martian cylinders landed in Chicago and St. Louis, a panic had begun.
A 2011 poll found 38 percent of Americans believe the United States has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda.
According to the Museum of Hoaxes: “Some people loaded blankets and supplies in their cars and prepared to flee the Martian invaders. One mother in New England reportedly packed her babies and lots of bread into a car, figuring that ‘if everything is burning, you can't eat money, but you can eat bread.’ Other people hid in cellars, hoping that the poisonous gas would blow over them. One college senior drove 45 miles at breakneck speed in a valiant attempt to save his girlfriend.”
An Indianapolis woman ran into a church screaming, "New York has been destroyed! It's the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!"
I guess you could say it went viral.
A 2011 poll found 44 percent of Americans identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities.
“Mr. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air have made one of the most fascinating and important demonstrations of all time,” wrote Dorothy Thompson in the New York Tribune. “They have proved that a few effective voices, accompanied by sound effects, can convince masses of people of a totally unreasonable, completely fantastic proposition as to create a nation-wide panic. They have demonstrated more potently than any argument, demonstrated beyond a question of a doubt, the appalling dangers and enormous effectiveness of popular and theatrical demagoguery.”
As Thompson added: “Hitler managed to scare all Europe to its knees a month ago, but he at least had an army and an air force to back up his shrieking words. But Mr. Welles scared thousands into demoralization with nothing at all.”
Then again… you never know. Maybe the panic story was the real hoax.
A 2012 poll found 80 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government has kept information about UFOs a secret from the public.
Question. Unlearn. Re-imagine.
Mickey Z. is the author of 13 books, most recently Occupy these Photos: NYC Activism Through a Radical Lens. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, you can “like” his Facebook page here and follow his blog here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
"War of the Words: Invasion of the Mind Snatchers" by Mickey Z. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://worldnewstrust.com/war-of-the-words-invasion-of-the-mind-snatchers-mickey-z.