The War Of The Worlds Hoax

Strictly speaking, The War of the Worlds is not a hoax as it was advertised as a piece of fiction in advance.

However, it still created the same sort of response as a hoax would have done because many listeners were caught off-guard.


Whilst younger people may think that The War of the Worlds was a movie starring Tom Cruise it was, in fact, originally a book by H.G. Wells.

When it was broadcast, as an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air, all hell broke loose.

The War of the Worlds was aired as a Halloween episode of the series on the 30th of October in 1938.

Coming over the airways from the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network, it was voiced and directed by Orson Welles.

Despite the fact that it had been advertised in advance, many listeners were caught unawares, probably because they just randomly tuned in during the broadcast.

The first 40 minutes or so of the one hour broadcast were presented as a series of fake news reports which left many listeners believing that the planet really was being invaded by aliens from Mars.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I can just imagine the sort of panic the broadcast would have produced back in the day. With the more limited means of communication available people would have been quite scared when they heard this.

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