If you live in New Jersey long enough, you might just hear it all. But keep listening. Just when you think you’ve heard enough, something bigger and better comes along. For instance, the biggest Halloween prank gone wrong in history happened here in the Garden State.

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 There was a time 83 years ago when Martians landed in the Garden State. No, it wasn’t summer, and no it wasn’t some out of this world family from Staten Island or something. It was Martians and they came to take over the Earth. We can laugh about it now, but for a couple of harrowing days, many radio listening folks all over our great nation thought that was exactly what was happening.

Now if this sounds a little too much like a Tom Cruise movie or something to you, you’d be absolutely right. The movie War of the Worlds was based on a late ‘30’s radio broadcast based on an H.G Wells book, and it was all about the alien invasion at Grovers Mill, New Jersey (a real place by the way, in Mercer County).

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And the fictional radio reenactment of this book was so convincing, even the announcements reminding people it was all fake didn’t stop thousands from mayhem and panicking and thinking water towers were attacking aliens.

Remember, at the time TV was not around and, as a matter of fact, there were only a handful of big radio stations. If you saw that story today on CBS or something, you’d quickly turn to ABC and 40 other stations to see it wasn’t really going on. They didn’t have the luxury of that back then.

So a young Orson Welles orchestrated the whole thing and found himself trying to explain it at a hastily called press conference the next day. Just as an example of just how convincing the radio performance was, History reports New Jersey National Guardsmen were trying to find out where they needed to report to.

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The original broadcast date it’ll War of the Worlds was October 30, 1938 and was intended to be a Halloween prank. But throw a dose of New Jersey in there and you’ll never know what will happen.

Get some great info on the history of real things that happened in the history of Grovers Mill at the West Windsor website.

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