Weird History

The 1938 Fake News Story That Mobilized The Navy... In Fear Of Aliens

In 1938, aliens attacked. Well, that's at least what Americans heard over the radio. Orson Welles and a group of actors interrupted a radio broadcast to warn the public that the planet had been invaded by aliens - really, they were just reading a script based off the novel, The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. Unlike successful real-life alien hoaxes, this '38 fake news story spiraled the entire country into mass hysteria... Or did it? 

The War of the Worlds broadcast was definitely a false tale about aliens. However, its affect on the public is not as clear. Sources dispute the amount of panic actually caused by Welles's stunt, a Halloween prank with its effects hyped up by a newspaper industry out to damage radio's reputation. The fake news phenomenon impacted people beyond the US, and even worried the US Army enough to mobilize the Navy. Read on below to find out more about this wild alien stunt!