At least, that was what was happening as part of the infamous radio broadcast of Orson Welles' dramatization of H.G. Wells' story War of the Worlds. The program's conceit was that it was in the style of a genuine radio news broadcast, which was incredibly effective in spurring fear in the hearts of its listeners. There were many people so convinced by the program's efforts to sound like a real radio news story that they believed it to actually be happening. While this reaction has become something of a modern legend, it seems that mostly people were scared enough to call their local police (but not do anything else, like set houses on fire or start shooting at planes in terror). Though stories tell of a more widespread panic, but this may have been slander on the part of newspapers to try and defame their competition on the radio.
So with the 75th anniversary upon us, why not check out a recording of that excellent program? Or perhaps take a look at the original book? Or, for those more visually attuned, there's the Tom Cruise movie from a few years ago. All of them are excellent options for this Halloween Eve. Remember, the truth is out there.