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The Martians Have Landed
The Martians landed in New Jersey – not in Ocean County mind you, but their presence was felt just the same. The night before Halloween in 1938, the Martians landed in little known Grovers Mill, NJ outside of Princeton. It is estimated that more than twelve million people heard the news of their arrival.
"A humped shape is rising out of the pit. I can make out a small beam of light against a mirror. What's that? There's a jet of flame springing from the mirror, and it leaps right at the advancing men. It strikes them head on! Good Lord, they're turning into flame!"
Today’s Martians appear frequently on the movie and television screens ranging from humanesque figures with bulbous eyes to arachnoid-like creatures spewing acid. Aliens are commonplace and figure into many a horror or science fiction genre, but in 1938, scorching annihilation from extraterrestrials was a new and frightening concept. It was before jet engines, before rockets, before space travel, when most airplanes still had two fabric wings. In 1938, Hitler annexed Austria, and Japan was at war with China. Most Americans and most New Jerseyans were monitoring events abroad and not above.
On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater group ensemble embarked on the first documented example of real “fake news” and broadcast H.G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds” panicking millions of Americans into thinking Martians had invaded New Jersey. The broadcast, a well-rehearsed production, commenced as a series of news flashes interrupting other broadcasts and dramatized to appear as a newscast of developing events. The illusion of realism was furthered because the
So now that fall is upon us and Halloween looms out on the horizon, remember the Martians of Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and if you are unsure of the landing site, a roadside bronze plaque marks the touchdown.
Grovers Mill, NJ
From your “Running Realtor,” Andrew Gonzales……