July 2nd is World UFO day!
In 1938 Orson Welles caused a panic in the USA with his radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, a dramatization of the H.G. Wells book about a Martian invasion of Earth. Although it was clearly introduced as a radio play, almost a million listeners tuned in late to the program and believed that a real Martian invasion was underway.
Watch As It Happened: War Of The Worlds or The day that panicked America the H.G. Wells War of the worlds scandal to see how panic broke out across the country. The Library also has the recent Spielberg adaptation of War of the worlds on dvd.
In the decades that followed, Hollywood films used alien invasion as an analogy for the cold war and UFO sightings increased. Check out the documentaries Watch The Skies and Between Paranoia And Science Fiction. UFO reports spiked again after the release of the Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Image credit: The Futuro UFO House, Pensacola Beach, Florida Flickr Rian Castillo
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