The Psychological Warfare Of The Worlds

War of the Worlds tripodTonight, once the episode is posted, we’re heading out to view a re-creation of the classic Orson Welles radio production of The War Of The Worlds, and I’m quite excited. I also find it interesting that, due to the panic caused by the original, conspiracy theories still abound regarding the broadcast.

In the 1999 documentary, Masters of the Universe: The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve, writer Daniel Hopsicker claims the Rockefeller Foundation funded the broadcast, studied the panic, and compiled a report available to a few. – wikipedia

While I’d never heard that particular angle, I do recall reading this second theory in my youth.

There has been continued speculation the panic generated by War of the Worlds inspired officials to cover up unidentified flying object evidence, avoiding a similar panic. 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.” – wikipedia

Of course the Government’s “UFO” files are full of references to the broadcast: this would be something like an investigation of 1950s family structure turning up mentions of Beaver Cleaver – it doesn’t make Martians, or the Beav, any more real.

Unfortunately, not every legacy of the episode was a positive one.

In February 1949, Leonardo Paez and Eduardo Alcaraz produced a Spanish-language version of Welles’s 1938 script for Radio Quito in Quito, Ecuador. The broadcast set off panic in the city. Police and fire brigades rushed out of town to engage the supposed alien invasion force. After it was revealed that the broadcast was fiction, the panic transformed into a riot and hundreds attacked Radio Quito and El Comercio, the local newspaper. In the days preceding the broadcast, El Comercio had participated in the hoax by publishing false reports of unidentified objects in the skies above Ecuador. The riot resulted in six (or more) deaths, including those of Paez’s girlfriend and nephew. Paez moved to Venezuela after the incident. – wikipedia