New Jersey celebrates 80th anniversary of ‘Martian invasion’
New Jersey is celebrating the 80th anniversary of an “invasion from Mars.”
The Oct. 30, 1938 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’ dramatization of the science fiction novel “War of the Worlds” had some New Jerseyans convinced that aliens landed in the Garden State.
Virginia Seery of Hackettstown says that she was listening to the broadcast that night with her family.
“My father said we have to go. We have to find someplace safe. We’ll go to Great Meadows,” she says.
Seery says that her father began to pack in a panic.
“And he started to load pots and pans and dishes and clothes and milk for the baby,” she says.
Len Arfer, 94, says that he was listening at the time with his younger brother. He says that they started to arm themselves.
“We got the cap pistols out and we loaded them with caps, just in case,” he says.
The radio broadcast took place in the Grover’s Mill section of West Windsor. It has become a tourist attraction of sorts, with plaques around town explaining the event.
Ed Beckerman says while he didn't listen to the show he remembers the newspaper headlines the next day.
"I think I went my way still unconvinced that the Martians had landed but I remember many people believed it," he says.
Some research does dispute the legend that there was mass panic during the broadcast.
Events were held in Grover’s Mill over the weekend to commemorate the anniversary.