An Event That Struck Terror Into Portland Oregon Residents
Over eighty years ago. Today people across america woke up to discover that the night before they had been the victim of a theatrical radio presentation. the date was october thirtieth. Nineteen thirty eight. The radio show was orson welles mercury on the air version of h. g. wells war of the worlds nineteen thirty. Eight war was brewing. As germany invaded austria japan was strongly aligned with the invader prior to world war two. It was forecast. That britain would suffer night air bombing attacks causing large numbers of civilian casualties and mass destruction. It was widely agreed that navigation targeting would be more difficult if manmade lights on the ground could be extinguished as early as july nineteen thirty eight. American citizens were urged to practice lights out beginning at dusk it would not be called blackout drills until nineteen thirty nine. Fear across the country as rumor spread about coming to the aid of our british allies. Should war break out that the sounds of war that came over the radio that october thirtieth nineteen thirty eight were not from europe but from mars. This was a live broadcast across america five. Pm in the west which would have made it eight pm eastern time meant. There was no time to warn the west about what was to come a wave of hysteria that swept across the united states at night before halloween as a realistic radio. Dramatization reached all the way to portland oregon. Two thousand five hundred miles from the scene. The fictional invasion the telephone switchboard of the oregonian newspaper was swamped by hundreds of excited calls. People rushed into the business offices of the newspaper demanding information. Hundreds of calls were made to the portland police wanting to know what protection the city offer. And what place might be safe in the event that wholesale destruction spread to the pacific coast.