On October 30, 1938, Orson’s Welles presented an episode of the radio drama anthology The Mercury Theatre on the Air. The offering was an adaptation of H. G. Wells's 1898 novel The War of the Worlds. The broadcast went down in history, as there were some people who mistook the staged alien invasion for a news report. Neatoramanaut Ron Geraci’s mother remembers that broadcast from her childhood.
“I was little. If it was on Halloween in 1938, then I was four years old. I was little but I have some vivid memories from that night. We were in my grandparent’s farmhouse in Ferrell, New Jersey, and my grandmother and grandfather were listening to the radio as usual. Their names were Mary and George. They were my father’s parents. All of a sudden there was a lot of confusion in the house and the next thing I know we were down in the cellar. But it wasn’t a normal cellar, it was just a dug-out hole. It was all dirt. Not just the floor, everything was dirt. I don’t know what it was used for. I had never been down there before. I left that house in the fourth grade and I never went down there again. The house is still there.
“My grandpop didn’t tell us why he brought us down there, though I remember him saying something like ‘they were coming.’ It was dark except for one light, probably a gas lamp. I remember watching my grandparents talking while me and my little brother Billy sat there. Billy would have been about three. They couldn’t take the radio down there since there was no electricity, so it was quiet except for them talking. They were both telling us to be quiet, to not make any noise, though I don’t remember me or Billy saying anything.
But that’s only the beginning of the story. Her grandfather guarded the family with a shotgun, and they came up with an idea for protecting themselves from poison gas. Read the full story at The Minty Plum. -Thanks, Ron!